This Sensitive, Lean and Haunted Man – Excerpt from Chapter 5 of Turquoise Interlude 1968

… Towards the end of November, in La Cantina, the crowded bar on the Taos plaza, a tall, gaunt, dramatic-looking romantic poet, Roberto “Bob” Rivera, engaged me in conversation. A cigarette hung from his long, thin fingers, moving in gestures, as we discussed poetry and writing. My writing-self clung to his words, feeling understood and fed by his artistic sensibilities. “My grandfather used to be Mayor of Taos,” he told me. “I have come here specifically, from San Francisco, to explore the land of my ancestors.” His dark hair framed his intense face in curls, his eyes shooting passion above his high cheekbones. “I just rented a small adobe bungalow with a coal stove,” he added, “And no plumbing, but right on Morada Road in Taos itself, near the cemetery.” 

Bob, dressed in black, prowled the graveyard during the day and also at night, searching for his grandfather’s grave, often with me in tow, trying to commune with his grandfather’s energy. Starved for someone to talk poetry with and by that time feeling even more thwarted in my self-discovery and bored with Andy, I fell madly in love with this sensitive, lean and haunted man. But still I stayed with Andy, unsure. 

These were the times of “free love” in the counterculture. We gave ourselves hedonistic permission to indulge our senses, to let the sexual currents, enhanced by our mind-opening drugs, flow through our bodies and guide our actions, the pleasure ecstatic. My innocent sexuality overflowed with joy, exploding in love. …

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