Goodbye Mary Jane

Panama Red: New Riders of the Purple Sage

This song was a favourite of dope smokers in my younger days. The New Riders of the Purple Sage original line up featured the legendary Jerry Garcia and toured regularly in the early seventies. The video is a later one, when the band were a lot older. If you want

new rider of the purple sage

to watch a version from when they were young click here . Warning. The quality of the video is quite poor.
Some clever lines like “Searching all the joints in town for Panama Red” and “Nobody feels like working because Panama Red is back in Town”. Watch and enjoy as you read the poem. Full lyrics here.

new riders
I don’t think I ever tasted the delights of Panama Red but there were many other varieties with equally exotic names such as Nepalese Temple Balls, Durban Poison, Acapulco Gold and Mary Jane. In those days being a dope smoker made you feel like a rebel and it was also part of the counter-culture I identified with. It was also a reward at the end of a working day when everything was sorted and you could relax with a spliff.
Eventually, I tired of the weed and was also keen to stop smoking the tobacco that also went in to a joint. It is a decision I do not regret except having been through the process of quitting two things became obvious, one it was not the dope I found hard to be without but the tobacco. Secondly, it was the ritual and reward aspects I missed much more than the effect.

Goodbye Mary Jane

Meeting you for the first time
Made my head swim
My heart beat faster
My pulse pound in my veins
At first things were awkward
My teenage fumbling embarrassing
Soon I became an expert at turning you on
My fingers working up an expert rhythm
We would meet at hippy parties
Chilling out with stoned friends
Passed around as casually
As a packet of biscuits
In the end, it was just the two of us
It crept up on us like old age
I was eager to meet you after work
Winding down after the graft of the day
We were settled in our routines
But we weren’t good for each other
After a night in your company
I could feel you in my body
My lungs heavy as a thunder cloud
My mind plagued by paranoid ramblings
When it finally happened
And we parted
I expected that I would miss you
Yearn for you in the still long night
However, it turned out to be a relief
The paranoia passed, I felt better
Walked taller, breathed easier
My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier
I would have saved myself a fortune

©Jeff Price November 2017

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