Brautigan > The Galilee Hitch-Hiker

This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's poetry book The Galilee Hitch-Hiker. Published in 1958, this single poem in nine parts was Brautigan's second published poetry book. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.



The Galilee Hitch-Hiker is a single poem with nine separate parts. All nine parts of the poem were collected and reprinted in The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster.
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"The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Part 1"
The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Part 1

Baudelaire was
driving a Model A
across Galilee.
He picked up a
hitch-hiker named
Jesus who had
been standing among
a school of fish.
feeding them
pieces of bread.
"Where are you
going?" asked
Jesus, getting
into the front
"Anywhere, anywhere
out of this world!"
"I'll go with you
as far as
said Jesus.
"I have a
at the carnival
there, and I
must be

Textual References
Baudelaire: Charles Baudelaire (1821-67), French poet.
"Jesus. . .fish . . . bread": cf. Matthew 14:13-21.
"Anywhere, anywhere out of this world!": the concluding lines of Baudelaire's prose poem "Anywhere Out of the World" in Paris Spleen (1869).
Golgatha: the site of Jesus' crucifixion. See Matthew 27:33.

Selected Reprints
Seven Watermelon Suns: Selected Poems of Richard Brautigan. University of California at Santa Cruz, 1974.
Limited Edition of 10 copies
Printed by The Crowell Press
Seven works by Brautigan, each printed as a separate 6" x 8.5" broadside with embossed color etchings by Ellen Meske. Contents included
Title page
A passage from In Watermelon Sugar (pp. 38-39)
"The Fever Monument"
"The Nature Poem"
"The Symbol"
"The Harbor"
"The Galilee Hitch-Hiker"

"The American Hotel, Part 2"
The American Hotel, Part 2

Baudelaire was sitting
in a doorway with a wino
on San Francisco's skidrow.
The wino was a million
years old and could remember
Baudelaire and the wino
were drinking Petri Muscatel
"One must always be drunk,"
    said Baudelaire.
"I live in the American Hotel,"
said the wino. "And I can
    remember dinosaurs."
"Be you drunken ceaselessly,"
   said Baudelaire.

Textual References
"One must always be drunk . . . Be you drunken ceaselessly": from Baudealire's prose poem "Get Drunk" in Paris Spleen (1869).

"1939, Part 3"
1939, Part 3

Baudelaire used to come
to our house and watch
me grind coffee.
That was in 1939
and we lived in the slums
of Tacoma,
My mother would put
the coffee beans in the grinder.
I was a child
and would turn the handle,
pretending that it was
    a hurdy-gurdy,
and Baudelaire would pretend
that he was a monkey,
hopping up and down
and holding out
a tin cup.

"The Flowerburgers, Part 4"
The Flowerburgers, Part 4

Baudelaire opened
up a hamburger stand
in San Francisco,
but he put flowers
between the buns.
People would come in
and say, "Give me a
hamburger with plenty
of onions on it."
Baudelaire would give
them a flowerburger
instead and the people
would say, "What kind
of a hamburger stand
is this?"

Selected Reprints
San Francisco Express Times, vol. 1, no. 49, December 24, 1968, pp. 8-9.
Learn more

"The Hour of Eternity, Part 5"
The Hour of Eternity, Part 5

"The Chinese
read the time
in the eyes
of cats,"
said Baudelaire
and went into
a jewelry store
on Market Street.
He came out
a few moments
later carrying
a twenty-one
jewel Siamese
cat that he
wore on the
end of a
golden chain.

Textual References
"The Chinese read the time in the eyes of cats": the opening sentence of Baudelaire's prose poem "The Clock" in Paris Spleen (1869).

"Salvador Dali, Part 6"
Salvador Dali, Part 6

"Are you
or aren't you
going to eat
your soup,
you bloody old
cloud merchant?"
Jeanne Duval
hitting Baudelaire
on the back
as he sat
out the window.
Baudelaire was
Then he laughed
like hell,
waving his spoon
in the air
like a wand
changing the room
into a painting
by Salvador
Dali, changing
the room
into a painting
by Van Gogh.

Textual References
"Dali": Spanish surrealist painter (1904-1989).
"cloud merchant": see the fourty-fourth prose poem in Baudelaire's Le Spleen de Paris [Paris Spleen], "La Soupe et Les Nuages [The Soup and The Clouds]."
"Jeanne Duval": Baudelaire's mulatto mistress and the subject of many of his poems.
"Van Gogh": Vincent van Vogh (1853-90), Dutch painter.

"A Baseball Game, Part 7"
A Baseball Game, Part 7

Baudelaire went
to a baseball game
and bought a hot dog
and lit up a pipe
of opium.
The New York Yankees
were playing
the Detroit Tigers.
In the fourth inning
and angel committed
suicide by jumping
off a low cloud.
The angel landed
on second base,
causing the whole infield
to crack like
a huge mirror.
The game was
called on
account of

Selected Reprints
San Francisco Express Times, vol. 1, no. 49, December 24, 1968, pp. 8-9.
Learn more

"Insane Asylum, Part 8"
Insane Asylum, Part 8

Baudelaire went
to the insane asylum
disguised as a
He stayed there
for two months
and when he left,
the insane asylum
loved him so much
that it followed
him all over
and Baudelaire
laughed when the
insane asylum
rubbed itself
up against his
leg like a
strange cat.

"My Insect Funeral, Part 9"
My Insect Funeral, Part 9

When I was a child
I had a graveyard
where I buried insects
and dead birds under
a rose tree.
I would bury the insects
in tin foil and match boxes.
I would bury the birds
in pieces of red cloth.
It was all very sad
and I would cry
as I scooped the dirt
into their small graves
with a spoon.
Baudelaire would come
and join in
my insect funerals,
saying little prayers
the size of
dead birds.
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