I just caught this comment over my Pot Stories and Humanist Essays. 

"Typical pot head ranting as the druggies do."

There's no way this guy could have possibly read the book. It's more about Shakespeare and opera than about any sordid drug deals or squalid crack houses. I find it a tragedy that Americans are divorced from the arts and culturally deprived. The legacy of past generations is so wonderful. The latter stage of my life is devoted to the humanities. I wrote the pot story to raise consciousness as to what the younger generation is missing.

In younger days, one night quite high, I took in "The Merchant of Venice" in Central Park. The duet between Shylock's daughter, Jessica, and her boyfriend, Lorenzo, was ineffably melodic like a beautiful love duet by Puccini or Verdi. But it was just words, poetry.

I later found out that the great composer, Hector Berlioz, was also a big fan of William Shakespeare. He took the exact words of the duet cited above and incorporated the verse into his epic opera, "Les Troyens." Imagine my ecstasy when I recognized my favorite Shakespeare in the middle of a French opera. It was sublime and high on some ganja all the better.

Excerpted from the book to show it's not at all typical ranting of a pot head. Please read the poetry slowly to capture the full effect of the sonority and euphonious musical quality.


...Kelly took a deep toke that chilly December morning by the Fifth Avenue wall at Central Park. We could see the Plaza Hotel doorman ceremoniously opening the cab door for some hotshot guests across the street. The city was serene and still, so the doorman became the focus of attention of anyone still awake. A few of the horse carriages were there trying to entice some extra late night work. The familiar farm smell was there but not as strong as in the old days.

“I still remember it though my French isn’t so good anymore… but I remember it in English,” she said, pressing me closer and pulling my suede coat around her waist to keep warm. “It was around 40 years ago and I still remember every word.”

Her gentle, girlish voice was as sensually pleasurable as the crackle of a clear mountain brook at dusk.

“The moon shines bright: In such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees
And they did make no noise, in such a night
Troilus methinks mounted the Trojan walls,
And sigh’d his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressida lay that night.”

The language was so mellifluous and sweet-sounding— no wonder Hector Berlioz inserted it into the fourth act of "Les Troyens." What a score, what a feeling of nocturnal peacefulness and well-being. The most rewarding pleasures in life are intellectual, I thought...

The rest of the story is in the book. It'll be worth the five bucks just to read the French translation even it you don't speak French. Berlioz was a great master and wrote all his own libretti, y'know. Not bad. Also you have to find out what happens when a cop comes along and sees us high reciting Shakespeare at two in the morning. To him we were criminals. I wonder what Cassandra and the Trojan women would think.

And it's a true story. It actually happened. Not exactly a typical pot head rant.


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