Notes to Poem:
Psychic Cleaners

Peter Y. Chou

Preface: This poem has been on the back burner for over four years. I moved to Pamela Drive Apartments in Mountain View
(January 1, 2012-March 31, 2014), andlived there over two years. After ballroom dancing on Saturdays at Cubberley Pavilion,
I'd get a ride home with Ann Olmsted. She would turn on Bay Street, drop me off on Pamela Drive and head back to Palo Alto.
Passing the sign "Psychic Cleaners $2.50" at the corner of Bay Street on El Camino Real, I fantasized on a poem visiting the
psychic on chakra cleansing. However, the Psychic Store was gone sometime in 2013, replaced by some Mailbox Rental outfit
and later by Cash for Gold Store. I've been going to Parktown Dental (990 Bay St.) that's close by. After seeing my dentist there
on May 5, 2016, I went around the corner to find the $2.50 Cleaners also gone. Took a photo of 75 W. El Camino Real with store
signs "Tanning" and "Palace Vape", both stores empty. Also took a photo facing Bay Street with empty sign. While searching for
"75 W. El Camino Real" in Google Images, found a photo of $2.50 Cleaners with Psychic Store gone. I retouched this photo in
Adobe Photoshop putting back the Psychic Store and wrote this poem.

Tanning & Palace Vape
at 75 West El Camino Real

Empty Sign at Corner of Bay Street
W. El Camino Real, Mountain View

75 West El Camino Real
$2.50 Cleaners with Psychic Gone

Commentary on Poem "Psychic Cleaners":

Psychic Cleaners $2.50—
sign at the corner of Bay Street near
my apartment in Mountain View
but not visited in two years.

Psychic Cleaners $2.50 sign
corner of Bay Street, Mountain View

Psychic Cleaners Stores
75 West El Camino Real, Mountain View

225 Pamela Drive Apartments
a block away from Psychic Cleaners

While living at 225 Pamela Drive Apartments in Mountain View (January 1, 2012-March 31, 2014), I would see the sign "Psychic Cleaners $2.50" every day for over two years. It's just a block from where I live. I'd see it getting off Bus #22 at the Valero Gas Station stop, walking home on Bay Street. When Ann Olmsted drove me home Saturday nights after ballroom dancing, and turn on Bay Street, we'd joke about this sign. I never visited the psychic and the store moved away in 2013. Photo Sources: Psychic Cleaners $2.50 sign (; Psychic Cleaners Stores (; 225 Pamela Drive Apartments (

Curiously, I opened their creaky door—
"Come in" she waved me to her table
with a giant crystal ball at the center.
"Horoscope? Palm Reading? Tarot Cards?"

Psychic with Crystal Ball

Zodiac Horoscope Reading

Palm Reading

Tarot Cards Reading
After retouching the photos and restoring the "Psychic Cleaners $2.50" sign and the stores that moved away from 75 West El Camino real, I fantasized going to visit the psychic in writing this poem. Some earlier poems involving Tarot card: "Nine of Pentacles" (1-11-2011) and "Galactic Birth" (12-22-2014). Chakras are mentioned in my poem "Most Evil Man in the Universe" (4-1-2009). I've not used Tarot Cards for fortune telling, but read many books on the Tarot to study their philosophical symbolism. I bought a book 1001 Nativities from Anthony Damiani's American Brahman Bookstore in 1968. This book had the planetary positions of many famous people, so it was easy to cast their horoscopes. I found Beethoven had many squares in his chart, hinting at his struggles in musical compositions. However Michelangelo had lots of trines in his horoscope, suggesting his prolific genius. When Buddha's disciples wanted to visit an astrologer, Buddha said "Every day is propitious for a person who does a good dee." That's when I stopped studying astrology (circa 1970). It's more important to live well and help others for good karma. Image Sources: Psychic with Crystal Ball (; Zodiac Horoscope (; Palm Reading (; Tarot Cards Reading (

She told me her chakra cleansings—
a girl's throat chakra cleared for opera,
a hedge-fund manager's third eye opened
for faster and better pickings of stocks.

Chakra Chart: Seven Chakras of Yoga

Girl Singing Opera

Hedge-Fund Manager Trading Stocks
Chakra (Sanskrit cakra, "wheel") is thought to be an energy point or node in the subtle body. Chakras are believed to be part of the subtle body, not the physical body, and as such, are the meeting points of the subtle (non-physical) energy channels called nadi. Nadi are believed to be channels in the subtle body through which the life force (prana) (non-physical) or vital energy (non-physical) moves. According to the tantric texts, there are seven chakras that are considered to be the most important ones. Image Sources: Chakra Chart (; Girl Singing Opera (; Hedge-Fund Manager (

A monk requested crown chakra cleansing—
She confessed "If I could do that I'd become
a Buddha myself with millions of followers."
She asked me "What can I do for you?"

Meditating Monk

Crown Chakra: Thousand-Petals Lotus

Buddha with Crown Chakra

Psychic Consultation
Crown Chakra or Sahasrara is the 7th and highest chakra in Hindu tradition. It is situated four finger-breadths above the top of the head and has 1000 petals, arranged in 20 layers, each of the with 50 petals. Also called Brama-randhra, it is the meeting place of Kundalini Sakti and Siva. The petals bear the total sound-potential represented by all the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, 50 in each layer. The chakra synchronizes all colors, encompasses all senses and all functions, and is pervading in its power. The Crown Chakra symbolizes detachment from illusion, and experiencing Cosmic Consciousness, seeing everyone and everything as oneself. When a yogi raises his or her kundalini, energy of awareness, up to this level, Samadhi, or union with God is experienced. It is often related to the opening of the third eye or pineal gland and related to the color violet andd the thousand-petaled lotus. The Crown Chakra image shown above if from C.W. Leadbeater's The Chakras (1980 paperback of the original 1927 edition) Image Sources: Meditating Monk (; Crown Chakra (; Buddha with Crown Chakra (; Psychic Consultation (

I came for your $2.50 cleaning
pointing to the sign outside her store.
"Ha!" she laughed, "that's the price pressing
a shirt in the Dry Cleaners next door!"

Psychic Cleaners $2.50 Sign
Facing Bay Street

Psychic Cleaners $2.50 Sign
Ouside Psychic Store

Angela's Cleaners
$2.50 Dry Cleaners
Took almost an hour to render the empty Bay Street Circle Sign to "Psychic Cleaners $2.50" image in Adobe Photoshop.
Since $2.50 Cleaners Store has also moved away, I found inside the empty Tanning Shop, a poster of "Angela's Cleaners"
and took the photo on May 5, 2016, and cropped. Angela's $2.50 Dry Cleaning moved to 110 East Fremont Ave., Sunnyvale.

Images: Psychic Cleaners $2.50 Sign (; Psychic Store & $2.50 Sign (; Angela's Cleaners (

I complained her room is too smoky—
"Misty!" she countered, "We psychics like
to work in a mist." I joked whether steam
was piped in from her next-door neighbor.

Smoky Room of Psychic

Psychic & Crystal Ball

$2.50 Dry Cleaners Store
Of all the photos gathered from Google Images for Notes to Poem: "Psychic Cleaners", it took the longest time to find "Smoky Room". So it was a delight to find a blog post of October 30, 2010 at weirdbird studio this photo with commentary: "There was a fortune teller set up in the living room. Once again, the smoky look comes from actual smoke machines. Soooo cool!" Because the psychic's neighbor was the $2.50 Dry Cleaners, I joked that steam was piped in from next door.
Photo Sources: Smoky Room of Psychic (; Psychic & Crystal Ball (; $2.50 Dry Cleaners Store (

I told her the word "fog" (nebbia) appeared
four times in Dante's Inferno, five times
in Purgatorio, but none in Paradiso
so enlightened eyes are not dimmed by mist.

Nebbia ('fog") citations in Dante's Inferno (A) 4 times & Purgatorio (B) 5 times from "Concordance to Dante's Divine Comedy", page 352

A Concordance to
the Divine Commedy
Dante's spiritual journey has inspired my own quest for wisdom. His vision of the cosmos has given
me much energy in my research on protein structures, nature's language of life. Dante's poetry has
helped me in teaching poetry writing to students in the California-Poets-in-the-Schools program,
as well as uplifting my creative writing. I was introduced to Dante's Commedia by three wonderful
Dante scholars— Etienne Gilson, Charles Singleton, and John Freccero at Dante's 700th Birthday
Symposium at Cornell University. Singleton's image of Dante's Commedia as a work of reflective
symmetry, a crystalline snowflake has remained with me all these years that I approach Dante with
much awe and humility. I was fortunate to take Professor Freccero's "Dante's Divine Comedy"
at Stanford in 1991 which provided much insight to this great poem. I took Freccero's Stanford
class again in Spring 2001 on "Dante's Paradiso". Wrote "Dante's 55 & the Platonic Lambda"
paper and composed a web site Dante at Wisdom Portal to share with lovers of Dante. While doing postdoctoral research at Brandeis University (1970-1977), and living in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
I went to Pangloss Bookstore opposite Harvard Widener Library. There I bought A Concordance
to Dante's Divine Comedy
for $15. My marginalia on page 352 (7-25-1990) showed my epiphany
in finding zero citation of nebbia ("fog") in Paradiso, so enlightened eyes are not dimmed by mist.

Image Sources: Nebbia Citations (; A Concordance to the Divine Commedy (

I offered her an Abe for our session
but her consultation fee is a Ben.
She said "We're even" when I gave her
the lyrics to Mick Jagger's "Fortune Teller"—

U.S. $5 Bill "Abe"

U.S. $100 Bill "Ben"

Mick Jagger: "Fortune Teller"
I recall reading that gangs use the slang "Abe" for $5 bill and "Ben" for $100 bill, since their portraits appear in U.S. currency.
The 8-stanzas Lyrics to "Fortune Teller" sang by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones (1966) was written by Allen Toussaint.

Image Sources: U.S. $5 Bill "Abe" (; U.S. $100 Bill "Ben" (; Mick Jagger: "Fortune Teller" (

"I said I didn't see nobody
Why'd she made a fool of me...
While looking at the fortune teller
I fell in love

Now I'm a happy fella
I'm married to the fortune teller
I'm as happy as I can be
Now I get my fortunes told for free."

Allen Toussaint

"Fortune Teller"
by Benny Spellman (1962)

Rolling Stones 1966 Album
Got Live If You Want It

Rolling Stones 1966 single
45 rpm "Fortune Teller"
"Fortune Teller" is a song written by Allen Toussaint under the pseudonym Naomi Neville and first recorded by Benny Spellman in 1962. It tells the story of a young man who is pleased to learn from a fortune teller that he will find love "When the next one arrives". Next day he returns, angry that nothing has happened, but falls in love with the fortune teller. They get married and are as "happy as we could be", and he gets his "fortune told for free". Rolling Stones recorded this song in their album Got Live If You Want It! (1966). It's the last song on side one, 2:09 minutes long. The last song on side 2 is their bigger hit "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" (3:45 long). Image Sources: Allen Toussaint (; Benny Spellman (; Got Live If You Want It! (; "Fortune Teller" 45 rpm recoecord (

Notes: Attending Rolling Stones Rock Concert at Cornell (October 30, 1965)

1965 Program $35

Rolling Stones Unused November 1, 1965 Ticket
on sale at eBay for $279.99

The Rolling Stones (circa 1965)
Mick Jagger (2nd from left)
On Saturday, Oct. 30, 1965, I went to a football game at Cornell Schoellkopf Field, where Cornell defeated Columbia 20-6. As a senior at Columbia, quarterback Archie Roberts defeated Cornell's Gary Wood 25-21 at Baker Field (11-3-1962). After coming to graduate school at Cornell in 1963, Cornell has beaten Columbia 18-17 (1963), 57-20 (1964). After the game, I walked back to Baker Chemistry Lab to do more research. (Just learned that George F. Baker financed Baker Field & Baker Lab both in 1921). Passing by Barton Hall, there was a long line of students. When I inquired whether a basketball game was scheduled, they told me it's the Rolling Stones concert. A girl told me "The Stones are hotter than the Beatles!" I've never heard of Rolling Stones, but bought her extra ticket for its original price $2.25 (since her boyfriend had gotten her one). I sat around the third row and had a good view of the stage. When the rock group appeared, several students danced in the aisles, and I did too. Mentioned to a student sitting next to me that the Stones' music was rattling. He tells me "Those are just the warm-up performers. The Stones haven't arrived yet!" When the Stones arrived, pandemonium broke out as everyone stood up and cheered. I enjoyed Mick Jagger strutting the stage singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction". I bought their 1966 LP album Got Live If You Want It containing this hit, but it was "Fortune Teller" on the other side which I enjoyed more. While looking for date of the Stones Concert, found Cornell Daily Sun October 5, 1965 issue "Rolling Stones to Perform at Barton Hall Concert". The Stones were paid a flat fee of $10,000 for the 5:30-7:30 pm October 30, 1965 concert. 7200 tickets were on sale at $2.25 apiece. Mick Jagger was 22 at the time, now at 73, he's still performing, with ticket prices over $500 each. Additional Note: I read the poem "Psychic Cleaners" at Waverley Writers Poetry Reading at Quakers' Friends Meeting House (957 Colorado Avenue, Palo Alto) on Friday, June 24, 2016. It received a warm ovation after I sang the last two stanzas. Mary Marcia, editor of Waverley Writers' Fresh Hot Bread published this poem in the October 2016 issue. Image Sources: Cornell-Columbia 1965 Football Program (; Rolling Stones 1965 Concert Ticket (; Rolling Stones Oct. 30, 1965 Cornell Barton Hall Ticket Stub @ $259 (; Rolling Stones: "Fortune Teller" (

— Peter Y. Chou
    Mountain View, 12-7-2016

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P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
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