Happy Birthday, Hunter S. Thompson
(July 18, 1937 - February 20, 2005)
The management does not believe you're dead, at least
at San Francisco's, far-from-downtown, Seal Rock Inn.
There's a large room reserved for you... stocked with Wild Turkey,
a mountain of grapefruits, a sack of coke from Peru, and the desk clerk
is doing all he can, with pepper spray, to disperse over three-dozen friends.
They have quick-printed invitations to your party. They are sure
the doctor is going to be in... and the good times are triggered to roll.
You'd recognize the ocean-view room. You trashed it, trashed it again,
trashed it... and management declared it The Thompson Suite.
Among your friends, shooting silly string at the desk clerk,
is Riya, owner of a Tenderloin massage parlor.
Riya says, I'm fifty-one going on nineteen.
You'd recognize this, good doctor, as a humble-tussle, nothing serious,
only the weird grief of story makers, autobiographical fantasists
who perhaps, in better and wilder days, shook your hand,
perhaps even read Songs of the Doomed to their children as bedtime stories.
At peak, San Francisco will be 64-degrees by late afternoon, cloudy...
wonderful for a roar down the Great Highway
and then south on 280 to Woodside where pot is still queen,
where shrines to you are being constructed with redwod burl,
slight likenesses of Hubert Humphrey... targets to be shot
dead-dead-dead... because you might have led the festivities.
This poem, and other bio-sketch poems, are included in Red Shuttleworth's Ghosts & Birthdays (Humanitas Media Publishing, 2012), available from Amazon: