1984 Iowa City, Iowa
I usually think about what I need to find in a second hand shop, walk in and the first thing I touch on the rack is exactly what I need. Like a pair of Levi’s 34 by 31 for 15 bucks at Goodwill, think it, go there, buy it. I said Usually because one time when I was thinking about a new pair of army boots, I walked into a second hand shop, touched a jean jacket on the rack just to see what would happen, and puff I saw this incredible embroidery on the back of a Levi’s Jean jacket, a Hopi Kachina Doll. I even knew what it was because I knew about those things from Rolling Thunder, a book my high school counselor had given me to read. I always used to draw a Kachina doll stick figure as a doodle after reading Gary Snyder’s Turtle Island and seeing the woodcuts stamped on its pages.
One day after leaving the Plasma Center I left the jacket in an International House of Pancakes. I never could believe that the hippie looking waiter didn’t actually see the jacket crumpled up in the booth after I stumbled out, almost forgetting to pay the bill. I knew from the gleam in his eye that he had kept if for himself, denying everything when I went back with my memory intact the next day looking for it.