1950s: The Unknown Blonde: Poetry by Erich von Neff

The Unknown Blonde

By Erich von Neff

We had drunk San Miguel in Pete’s Cafe in Half Moon Bay*
Joe Lauricella climbed in the Lancia Aurelia**
and I on the passenger side
“—- going straight back to San Francisco,” Joe said
“Let’s put this car through its paces.”
We climbed up to Skyline Ridge Road
and soon began a wild descent down Page Mill Road
“Joe I’m going to heave,” I said
Joe stopped, the door opened,
and San Miguel poured out of my mouth
We continued, the headlights peering into a light fog
Then, suddenly an apparition. Or reality?
A blonde woman in a red evening dress walking awkwardly in high heels
Joe slowed the Lancia, then stopped
I got out. There was a tense silence
She hesitated a moment, then climbed in
I shut the door quietly
Joe continued driving though he was no longer Manuel Fangio***
Questions raced through our minds
What was she doing on this road in the middle of the night?
It was a good six miles to the nearest town
And why the party house and high heels?
“Where to Miss?” Joe asked
“Palo Alto,” she answered in a determined voice
Joe drove and she directed him like a taxi driver
“This street. Straight. Turn left here. Stop.”
Joe stopped in front of a house with the lights out
She walked up the pathway and was soon inside
We sat there a moment, each thinking: What happened?
Had her boyfriend put her out?
Or had she slapped his face slammed the door of the car,
and said, “To hell with you,” and walked down Page Mill Road
damn glad to be on her own
And what would she have done without us?
Walked on I suppose
We drove back to San Francisco, now more sober
We have fogotten the house
But we remember the blonde hair and the red dress in the fog
An apparition in a drunken stupor.
*Half Moon Bay: A coastal town 25 miles south of San Francisco [for Erich’s readers in France.]
**Lancia Aurelia: A two-door “fastback” with bodywork by Pininfarina
*** Manuel Fangio: 1954 Formula 1 World Champion

About the author:

Erich von Neff is a San Francisco Longshoreman. He received his masters degree in philosophy from San Francisco State University and was a graduate research students at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Erich von Neff is well known on the French avant-garde and mainstream literary scenes. he is a member of the Poetes Francais and La Societe des Poetes et Artistes de France.