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Online autobiography of George McClure, writer and showman - "from dirt roads and street corners to Nashville and CMT"
Favorite color today: "Indigo" (since I am one)
Favorite Book/Author: "Webster's New World Dictionary Third College Edition"
Today's fave bluesman: the great Sam Lightnin' Hopkins
Early inspirations for me:: Flo Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross.
George grew up without TV, so he never saw these artists perform until on youtube around 2000! Same with Chuck Berry, Ray, and Roger Miller. George learned music solely by listening to radio and records.
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("THIS IS A PACT WITH THE DEVIL, BOY!")
Autobiography - George McClure
"He who listens with ears and heart, knows true beauty." - George McClure
I. Bulgamerica and the Sunningbird Oven
Well I fell between the Mississippi mud, and the carpet catched my eye, so I twisted around again, and that nigga's big sparkly ring flashed at me. You know those nights with the honeysuckle on the air so heavy and thick that you feel like you're breathing water, warm water 97 or 98 degrees with big bugs and may flies and stuff in it that catch in your throat but the honeysuckle is viscous and slippricates everything in all your openings, you know what I'm talking about.
Yes, am slippery slithery stingy things in the night, and they'll creep right up out of the bayous and sewers and sludge along the pavements leaving sticky sloverly trails and you know if you step in that, man, it's a real bad mess 'cause that slug slime won't come off no matter what you do. You're just stuck with it till it wears off, maybe a day or a couple two.
The big girl now she wants to drink her vodka 'n juice down on the beach where to be seen and to see and the boy, now he wants to pick that nasty black banjo over by the dock o' the bay and watch the building - no, island - sized ships come by, I mean so close, you could almost throw a rock and hit em, but how do they flow so close and draw so deep and not run aground? Now tell me that, how do they flow so close that you could almost touch it, your vision is so close to it, and man they are quiet, too, just almost ghostly creeping up there and if you weren't paying attention and watching out, you could just look up and see this house - hell, a starscraper on its side - floating by you almost to crush you, just your little insignificant body, and you weren't even aware of these huge immensities in existence right next to your door. Jeez, just fall off and wham! you're splattered to bits by this mountain coming over you.
Sex was in the worst way, yeah, all day long with my fly buttoned up and not a sticker-bush to leap over, nary a sticker-bush in sight! Those are those awful long starry Texas nights when the time moves slow and life moves fast and you can see your world stretching out like a hot blacktop highway effervescing heat at night bubbly just when you want it to be cool, 'cause if you wait, now, into the night, finally an incredibly cool breathlet washes over you, it crept down from the hills so cool, and you just sit there and go "aaahhhhhhh", just to feel that cool air again, like maybe your mind and body forgots it existed.
'Course you deepen into the hotness, and you might can wait three, four, somemaybe fifteen or twenty days and nights with no breath nor hint 'nof coolness nor notwhere, and if you're not careful you're ready to punch strangers or those strangers you call family kin around you. Those critters of habit surround you. You might just grumble at somebody, boy, so make sure you rest from that heat cause it'll kill you, man, it'll burndry you out like an old piece of leather in a half a day flat if you're in the wrong place. That's the sun, baby, it's all life and it's all death, in the desert. It's all life and it's all death in one time and place and it's spiritual, man. Just spiritual.
The lady next spoke to me. I had spoken with the spirit deer and hushed the spirit and captured the soul of the feathered grouse with my power, and I spoke to this woman through the spirit talk cause she'd brought been in the psychodelics ward and she just talked in gibberish. The doctors nary a one could make sense of it so they left for me to charge and I just tried the spirit talk.
I never told her my name. I stood and looked over the desert, thinking how a man could lose himself, just wander free, leaving behind the world of clothes, cars, shopping malls, cigarettes and girls and bars and sycophants and blues into searing whites and blood red just wandering free be the desert just renounce the world, i mean fuckin renounce it and let it go, man. Then she gets very quiet, just calm, then says clear as a bell "Steve, if you take off your clothes and just walk into the desert, you'll have everything. You'll find everything." My head whips around and i look at her, fleeting grin, then she's immersed in gibberish again.
Just pure stream nonsense gibberish and with jumbo fries, i mean that's what i want just now, right now, hombre, blue ridge samplers and crash lot campers chili and beans and ain't them frijoles good? Mmm, mmm... You give me a good ol pinto bean, now, butter beans are fine, but a eatin' bean is a pinto beans, you just gotta get the rocks out of em cause man ain't nothing worse than some rocks hitting you in the face when you dig in them refries hungry as a junkyard dog and they just splinter there, just tear those teeth right out, and you don't want no one to go grinding them teeth out before they're worn down by the ravages of time, do you?
So then the doctors come back, take the lady away and we're hangin smoking a cigarette and i say hey now, what happened with that woman anyway? and the guy says she lives away out on this ranch half way down to Senoita and her husband says she just periodically goes plumb raving mad crazy out there and freaks and dismemberates and they bring her in here and pump her full of goodies and strap her down for awhile and then she goes back out there. Well i just let that kind of in onest ear and most of the way out the other, for waiting further analysis, see. "Requesting data input."
Just happenchance i was in ER when her husband came two weeks later. i told him i watched over her a bit, she talked to me. I said, hey, what's up, like what does she do?, just try to kill you or what? you know what he says? he says she just ever so often goes crazy way out there on that ranch, with no one to talk to but the bugs and stuff. she takes off all her clothes and just walks into the desert and i have to go out and find her and she screams and wants to go free and i have to bring her in here. happens about once or twice a year, she just flips out, he says. Jesus i say. He says, once she went about four years, that was a good stretch. She wants to go out in the desert, says there's everything out there and she don't want her clothes or anything. i never tell him a word over my spirit stuff. Jesus.
Yeah, this is real, man. it all happened to me, every bit of it. you know, truth is bigger than friction thing... Jesus, i'm living proof of this incredible stuff. wait till we get to the orbit guy in Massachusetts, or the mad cow chick out of Phoenix up in Provo Utah with the Mormons and the spring water running through the streets, cities so clean you can eat off the sidewalk or drink that snowmelt water from the gutter, and that's the truth.
well, more later....
Okay, it's never-not-time again and the kids are playing with the chickens so I guess it's time enough to write for a little while. Tonight the goosebird sucked the chickdaddy and while the baby squalled, i just split for a walk 'cause you know it just ain't right to be around those goshawk younguns with their spirits so low and the uzis so tall, it must be springtime agin!
Sanity walks wild and that's the truth. And Jesus come out of the train. The bare bones truth of the matter is i liked the guy even though he was a puke and couldn't tie his shoelaces right if they got untied when he was caught in an infinite loop, you know, one of those forever deals where the ladies panic and squeal and it takes some kind of Man to bring it to a stop. Yeah, that's John Henry and he's up against a computer this time, the computer gonna run him down, down.
So he's a real puke, really doesn't understand technology at all, in fact he's a little ascared of it, and shit, ain't no bear or some spruce bog at 65 degrees below Frickinheit when you make one false step, boy, you can be gone for good! Like they'll find your body, maybe in a day or two or maybe after the thaw when it starts to stinking and the crows and ravens and vultures are hovering near, but either way, you're done passed on, boy, it's over and over for good this time. Jeesh, you step wrong in the summer and go through the cover and the conifer brine'll cure you up in a hurry! Much less you'd never find the surface again 'cause there's a couple feet of bog cover over it, drown 'n down.
i just told him, i said yeah, you are a tired old stupid old lazy dog, and be lyin too, and that just shut him up and put him in his puke place. his puke face. those people are just sad, hombre, i mean how Do they get by? just in purse string hell and with an iq of 90, Jesus.
The slathering sluthmuck done run dry.
i first knew i was chosen when the spirit deer walked out of the forest and came to me. i was calling, sending, over the mountains and hills surrounding, and walking out i knew this would be the sign from spirit world if i was a chosen one. and then i saw her, she was by the edge of the forest bordering the field, and she just looked at me, unafraid.
i feigned to approach her and she didn't flinch or move, but i passed on by. i continued to send and think about the deer. i think and feel-think in the quiet still evenings and i feel-think in the early night, too, and in the peaceful early mornings when i wake. i feel-think, she's asleep now, and i feel for her, i feel for her when she chooses a spot to bed down, and i feel her when she goes to sleep. the next day i find her bedding spot by the forest, and i know she is near, just off eating and doing the things deer do, and i speak with her spirit feel.
i know the indian legends i know about the spirit deer comes to the chosen ones, and i says i wonder can this happen still, can this happen today? the next day she was closer, half way across the field to my path of travel, and the same thing, she was unafraid.
i began to think perhaps she was there to see me, or was sent there for me, and on the third day she was right on my path and i stood and watched her. she was five feet from me. i stood and marvelled; i had never been so close to a live wild deer. she was unafraid, and i stood. then she walked to me and stood next to me. she didn't smell me or anything, she just came to me and stood by me. she knew me.
of course i wondered was she sick and there were no signs of any illness whatsoever, she was perfectly healthy in every way, eyes clear, color and fur healthy. i put my hand on her back and stroked her coarse hair down her sides. no fleas or ticks no parasites no sickness at all.
she turned back toward the forest and i followed her back in, my hand on her back and walking side by side. she was a splendid awesome animal and my gift was complete. she had come to me and i know i am chosen. she was my spirit deer and she came for me to a sign, for the world to know i am the gifted boy.
it happens when i was a boy, i'm reading by the light, windows open wide and moths come in, sometimes they come in by the hundreds, just cover the walls and light on everything. first i goes berserkes and smash them around, but too many and it's senseless, the windows were open after all.
so i settles back into reading my book, and i'm engrossed in it, when i become aware of a strange buzzing around my ears and head, and my perception comes out of the book and around me, and there're moths buzzing by my ears so close i feel their wings and hear them buzzing. I snaps, and look, and god damn the moths are in a circle, flying head to tail, in a hoop around my head. It's the god damnedest thing. I watch them for a minute then i yells and flash my arms and they fall out of formation.
i go back to reading and jeez, it's just another wonder of the world that i've experienced.
about this same time i hunt with gun, and i trudge and forage over the mountains i travels far. one time i get turned around up on top of the mountain and says i'll pick a direction and stay on her, straight, and come to look out over an immense broad valley, and slowly i realize i have come over miles and miles of mountaintop and come to the broad cherry creek waterway, it's ten to fifteen miles by road but i come over the tops of the mountain just exploring it free.
there is an easement up there, someone has built a lush swampy reservoir, and i am slightly perturbacious that i hasn't even seen a grouse or rabbit much less had a shot at one, in many a trip. i comes up along the easement pond and i sees a grousebird in a small conifer tree. all i has is a .22 and you know you got to have incredible shot to kill a flying bird with a .22, and i says the only way i'll get this bird is to walk up right close and him sitting still, then i can shoot him.
i know if i move she'll explode in a bomb of feathers, they has this way to make a huge exploding sound when they fly, that'll unsettle you if you ain't accustomed to them, and they are magnificent experts at flying through branches and underbrush, it's a miracle to see. they are fast, very very fast and like a sports car delicate fine maneuverability, they don't hit nary a twig and are fast fast fast.
so i says i must spirit think her, is my only chance, to keep him still, and i quiets - still - spread out - send it - and then she's entranced and me too we're in it together. i knows if i kill her it's misuse of my power and i vows my solemn vow i mind spirit think i'll not harm you, little grouse, i'll not harm you my rifle is silent it is as nothing next to me, i am the power and you are safe with me.
i approaches, first i am stalking very softly, incredibly slow careful steps, just i stalk her, the way you do a natural critter, you must go just a little foot, and stand stock still and wait, and feel, then move another few inches, and stop and wait, still and wait, and then another few inches.
you stalks a critter like that, in the outdoors, and i does this to the she-grouse. as i get to ten feet, then eight feet, i realize she is under my spell, and i moves up to five feet, and then i just walks up to her normal, and i reaches out my hand to her.
her eyes are flashing around, they are like dark almost black beads, and i calms her with my heart, i calms her with my feeling sending, i know if i get foolish or excited, it will break and she'll flush, and i keeps my spirit feel coming.
i put my hand on her feathers, and on her breast, and i feel her furiously beating little heart, it's going incredibly fast, and i marvels. i just marvel at this magic beautiful creature that i just stalked with nothing more than my spirit power.
finally i break the flow, and i mind-say goodbye little bird, goodbye spirit bird, thank you, and i walk slowly away. when i'm about thirty feet off i turn and look at her, she's still sitting transfixed, and she turns to me and faces me. i know i can kill her with the .22 easy now, she is waiting for me, but i doesn't need her, so i turn away, back to my everyday world, and a moment later i hear her explode and flush behind me and she's gone, it's over.
that's the spirit world. and that's my gift.
Billie Brewster said hi to me again in the hall, and i just squatted down and blinked. you know i always like that when she talks to me and i get all giggly and lift my skirt and oh!, i'm doin it again and it just feels so goooood! like a toasted marshmallow, toasted on the end of a bayonet over one of those cars going up in flames along the streets and byways, in the nervous mad dog nites of our summers with the lizards by day and the heat snakes by night and the nervous tension gets pushing the high end of its register, and you can feel it getting ready to snap, and then when it lets go it snarls like a highline breaked, you know that deadly kind of metal scream, and someone dies and lives are ruined, mothers cry and babies go to jail. Hey now, i like Billie, she's super-alright and it's a fine finned ass, it's a mobile and it's free as a bird, it's freedom, man, and that is where i stand, but it shore gets rough when she picks up that skirt and smiles at me.
So this guy friend had a nice four wheel rig and we all loved to get up in those desert mountains, so i said let's go and he says okay. we get together $40 each to fill the two tanks and get the beer and the blonde babe there in ER says i can get my friend to go too, you won't make us pay will you? much?
Then Susan she got screechy and demanding, you know that type of woman who's really insistent, and it ain't too bad if she's just in charge, but this one, she's self centered too, so it's all screeching about me - me - me - Suzy - Suzy - Suzy and so after awhile we dump her ass off and she really has something to freak about then, cause she's out in them desert montanas and it's a pretty good trek back to syphilisation if she even knew which way to go a tall. we tells her, we'll pick you up coming back through, which we does even though the bitch doesn't deserve it!
The temp it went up to 117 degrees and i was sleeping under bushes and stuff at night. it wasn't too bad cause by about 1 or 2 am it cooled off enough you could get to sleep. by five am it was bad cold, boy, you wouldn't know it not to live there in the desert, but the differential can be 40 and even 60 degrees, and that's a hell of a shock to your body, so you lay there shivering and wondering if hypothermia's done set in yet. then, before you know it, that solar furnace opens up again and man all thoughts of any cold are gone, that sun just burns to look at you, and all your thoughts are just on that day's survival, now, just how am i gonna get through this day without dying again.
I decides to head up to Golly Gulch and see if the wind blows up there, who knows there might be trees or something there that'll help keep a body cool. So i hitches out and gets up to Phoenigs but i am stranded outbound out of there. i've got plenty water so i'm not worried, but when it stretches into four and a half hours, i been there on the shoulder of this eight-lane from noon on and the light is stretching out and temp is going down, shit it feels like strandnation and i don't want to sleep in no ditch gully with the bugs and stuff and no food nor nothing, so i start dancing at the cars, waving my arms, doin the dogtrot and flaggin them and gettin out two lanes, man ain't nothing working.
Then i sees a little VW bug flyin along, yep there's a female type critter in there and i go wild. i mean i dance, i flag, and i gyrate. Glory be, she pulls that thing over and yanks to a stop, slams her in reverse, and oh shit - first intimation of trouble! - she's screaming down the road at me, in reverse, weaving over two lanes and the shoulder, coming for me, and i'm startin to think of cover when she gets it slowed down and stops nearby.
I gets in, goin to Utah i say, and she's a big girl, brown hair, but not too bad overall and hell, who cares, it's just a ride, right? Am shay mamma wanta go to the Glory Hole and since i thought it might be cooler there anyway, i says, fine like cool momma we's goin we're on our way. we tools on up to the South Rim and pulls in there, looks her over, eats, and everything. She am go Utah too so we park it in a lot and crawl in the back.
Now how we got a baby water buffalo and gazelle in the back of that thing, and under covers too, i'll not never know, but that little buggy's rockin and rollin and then tap - tap - tap on the window glass. oh shit, no permit, no sleeping here! i sticks my head out of the covers and there's those mountabillies around, with those big 36" long dong flashlights (i guess they do the cows with them things out on the plains - you know, you've read about them things) and they wants to talk.
Good evening, with a slantwise grin. well what the hell's that for, i think, and i say howdy. Watch you all doin in there? i figures to get out and straighten them out before they banishes us or something, so i disflagrilate and put pants on under covers and crawl out in my barefoots. I says, look, orificer, i'm just getting some of them southern girl fixin's in the back of that little bug car there and besides, we ain't hurting nobody. The guy says yeah, i knew what you were doing, you don't have to paint me a picture. i figured i'd better say something on it, it'd been since the mountains with betty girl and god damn it, it felt good to be getting something again, and i didn't mind if he knew all about it. So he says you gotta pack it up and go so we does. sleep along side the road somewhere outside the park.
The apaches and navajos happened in there in the summer too, plus those corrupt mother fuckers on the North Rim skimming profits like crazy, they had that accountant in a state of seige, ain't no lie neither, that man was fearing for his life. i know the signs, man. yeah, this is the freaky shit life is made of, too bad nobody ever thought to tell you about it. preparation, you know.
we'll get to this stuff next time mayhaps.
Well i had this female neighbor, she was a cute thing and sexy in a slutty sort of way, you know that shit-brown Italian eyes and little hot bodied kind of way. she'd invite me down to her sex parties and stuff, and drank a ton of those designer teas she got down to the health food store. She had this guy friend who'd come over on his Harley hog, claimed he was a med student but he was high every time i saw him so i didn't believe much of it.
One time i goes down to her boyfriend's place and see what it's all about, they ain't a drop of furniture, i mean not even a chair, except this one dude who looks like Charlie Manson is in a wheelchair and all these people clouding around him like skeeters, you know, in an orbit like electrons or something. There was shit on the floor, and this guy with tubes coming out of him in the wheelchair, and i said, jeez, this where that poor girl spends all her time, down here? I split, i didn't need that crap, man.
This other dude moves in down by and becomes a neighbor. Says he's a writer, writing a novel, but he won't ever let me see it or anything. Says he was with the state department, over some foreign country third weird place in Africa like Nairobi or some blamed thing, it was Peace Corps he says after awhile. We'd talk out there, drawing lines in the dirt with sticks (I didn't want that pukish bastard in my place. He had a way of showing up at meal time and crap like that, that i didn't particularly care for. Something skrimed about him, no doubt about it, he was slimy, scummy, in some kind of pathetic sick way. Like if you got to know him, he'd turn into a major sycophant and you'd just have to kill him to get rid of him he'd be so insinuated into the core of your life and then there'd be murder and blood on your hands, and where the hell would that go, so better not to let the puker in the house.)
So this cat, he says he lives on the next place down from the Tohono O'odham, 'cept they ain't no next place down from there, i know cause i know every place around here and they ain't one there. I tells him so and he insists he lives there and finally he trusts me enough and i don't believe him enough that we walks down there and shoo-ee there's a little closet, i mean a tarpaper roofed closet, tacked on the other side of the Tohono O'odham's house so i guess he's partially real after all. He pays sixtyfive dollars a month to live there, he says, and i pretty much believe him. I knew old Putzi was a slumlord but man, this was bad. That poor bastard had a dirt floor and no swamper, no cooler of any sort, no wonder he was always out crawling around like a sun lizard.
Meanwhile we're drawing sticks in the dry dust and i listen to his talk of the Peace Corps. I think he got kicked out. He keeps wanting to barter pot for food, but i doesn't smoke that stuff, just don't need it clogging up my mind and obfuscating my faculties, and i don't never trade him nothing at all. I suggest he take a bag of pot in a gas station or store or something and try to get goods for it that way.
I quit associating with this guy, i really thought he was nuts, i wouldn't talk to him anymore. Then i didn't see him for several months and you know what? Lisa, that chick next door, says he got busted, some pot thing. Then i get a newspaper and man, i can't believe it, it's this guy, he got busted sure enough, trying to trade a lid of pot for a tire fix in a gas station when he got a flat! When they wouldn't give him the tire fix, he went nuts and tried to attack one of the guys so they called la policia. Jesus. It's just pure sick insanity and you've gotta laugh at weirdness like that. I had him convinced society was so open and forgiving you could barter with pot on the streets of Tucson without fear 'nof hassles.
Lisa moved out of there, and some family deal moved in, a guy and woman and three or four screaming babies. At first, for a week or so, it was almost like normal, he'd go away in the day and she'd be there with the kids, but then they were both leaving, sometimes the kids would cry, but nothing extreme. They'd come home and cook and eat and stuff.
One day a strange auto pulls in and i'm immediately suspicious, i ain't giving No information away to anybody, this guy gets out, starts asking me nosy questions about my neighbors and i don't tell him anything at all. Says he's a defective, i shrug, i ain't interested, and that's final. he drives off.
Then i don't see anything over there next door (these places are like two feet apart, so you really know what's going on next door if you're home) for about two days, just zero activity, then i begin to hear howling and moaning from inside and i realize it's the kids, Jesus, they must be tied up or something cause they ain't no sounds of movement at All, and day three or four the moaning is a shrieking, i mean those kids are dying or something, no cooler on, over 100 degrees outside, i imagine they're starting to die of thirst.
Stealing forms quiet in the night, the parents are home, shushing the children, food, it's way in the late late hours, maybe three or four a.m. and i'm barely awake, they load up and go. Next morning that detective bastard is a-knockin on my door and i steps out when he asks about the people next door, and i tell him about the screaming of the kids when he asks about unusual activity, and i says they're gone, they left in the night, and he goes Damn! and stamps and clobbers around, he is pissed, man, really fried, and i back up, surprised, and he says, almost snappin at me, why didn't you call me? and i say call you? i didn't know they was damn criminal junkies starvin and strappin their innocent babies, Jesus, you never told me that's what they were doing, and he says, yeah, you're right, god damn it i screwed it up, i can't believe i lost them again, i been after them a long time and they always get away just an hour before i get there, god damn it. he's in armed robberies and grand theft and everything, the guy says. I say sorry, man.
Ah, shit, it's just too depressing thinking about things like that. Those crazy things in life. So I get me some meditation Chinese calligraphy paints and inks and stones and brushes and rice paper and all the fixins, and listens to the son of a great Chinese master, a real revered master of the ancient Chinese calligraphic art form, and i smooth through it, i move and blend with it, i do this daily ritual spiritual meditational thing with it, it feels right, just feels good with all the green corn tamales and frijoles and jalapenos and chiles and corn tortillas and the brilliant-brights painted tile floors and walls and split tile roofs and 190 degree days and the grit and grime and it ain't never ever gettin cool, it's just brutal all the time, 'cept that cool floor meditational medicinal ancient calligraphic art form, a way of expressing myself it's like painting almost, but very minimal playing field and no colors but the black and white rice, and the ink you grind yourself and it's this fantastic little bit gritty texture but you mixes it with water then get it just right, and it becomes this shocking black strokes on the beautiful textured rice paper, you know it's kind of like looking through a real rice grain, not one of those pre-processed ones that cooks in five minutes, but a real 35 minute grain, you know it's a little translucent. But i grooves on it, i really do like that thing, it's right, man, just feels right and good so i does it. And it makes me feel better.
okay, i'm gonna sit a spell.
You know something? when that ol' temperature gets up a little over 105 108 degrees, your body turns over its thermostat, just like a seasonal roll over. you just walks outside and stay out there, i shivershake like a cat, goosebumps come and go, then i'm turned over for the season and i Loves that 110 degree heat, man, it just feels so good, just stay in that warm seeks to the center of your bones, man, through the marrow, it soaks and seeps in there to the core of your bones and your body is Right, i mean it is truly warm and that ol termostat has to go from warming to cooling setting, ain't no need for warming up anything, hell it's hotter outside than in, so's it gotta cool now, it works strategies for cooling, cause that's all that matters now. Just keep it cool, baby, and don't freeze into hypomalnothermia at night.
That queer acting dude across the gravel path, that place that it turned out the roof is full of holes so bad (I found out after Marcie moved in there and i went over once and she had about a million cups, bowls, saucers, and pans all over her furniture and floor in strategic spots, just so thick you could not walk, and i said what the hell is this and she goes the roof leaks, it's pretty bad. damn, i guesses it is) but anyway one day he pulls in in that little convertible deal he has with two babes, not bad a tall either, and they goes in his cottagehouse there. i sees everything from just sitting, hell it's hard not to notice everything cause i just sit there and play that banjer about a million hours a day, so's i know what's going on around there.
after awhile i sees the guy spreading out a blanket or sleeping bag or something on the living room floor. i kinda wish he'd close the curtains, it was growing duskish but you know how it is, i didn't mind a little peek into this prick's life either, if there were a couple babes mixed into it. So they get down there, all three of 'em, yeah i saw them all get down, i didn't go look in at the window or nothin but i could see them get down on the floor. then nothing i see for twenty thirty minutes or so, maybe even forty, then he's up, gesticulating and waving his arms and hands around, like he's upset or something, and then i see the two girls just laughing, then all a sudden he jerks the blinds shut and that's the end of that. they all leaves after about ten or fifteen minutes. guess he couldn't perform with them purty girls, that's why they was laughin at him, at least that's what i figure.
That susan babe down to the ER, well maybe it was really that incredibly hot Latina married and ready to ride the staff, i mean the staff of Life, and she did, too, but one of them had this bra with big nipples onto the ends of it, you know, so they'd put it on under their shirts or sweaters and act like nothing was up and of course i was getting a yankon and man i was buzzin around like a big bee after honey, and that's just what it was, too. at first i thought that babe's high beams were on, man i was swelling up like a zucchini squash too, and thems all gigglin and me hot hot hot.
next day the brown skinned pretty one has huge nips under her sweater and i know something's up then cause she's kinda shy and i think she loves her husband or something, or is true or scared or whatever, but she ain't the type to come on to anybody, so's i get suspicious, but that doesn't stop my body from reacting to the visuals. Then i walk around and come back through, i thinks i overhear sue saying it won't fit, and when i come back through her tits are out like a set of melons, all swole with big hard nipples and man i freaks. i just lose it i Got to have some of that, and it's suzy girl anyway so i goes after her. they all scream and laugh and she runs in the back and then i know i've been had, they done played that joke on me, but what the hell, i mean i purely enjoyed it, i sure did, all those women had nice snockers anyways, it just sort of accentuated what they had and perked up the days!
then the suzy wench took to riding home with me but she'd harp about no blinker signals and nice turn there, butthead and nice brakes there, buddy, nice signal your turn there and finally i had to get rid of her, i knew she was some kind of control witch, so that's why we just dumped her ass out in the desert when she got to wearing on us all; i knew what she was about. sometimes it just don't matter how nice them melones are, just ain't worth it!
jeesh there was this guy there, just wander around kind of slow with this bucket in his hand, a bucket always covered, but that didn't bother me none once i established he was real and he works there, i ignores him, there's lots of pretty strange mother honkers around there, and i just goes about my business and ignores him. somedays he's there, most of the time he's not. he likes to talk to the hot Latina married one a lot, they stand outside and put one foot up on the cement curb along the rail by ER and yak and smile a lot, i think too much. but they seem innocuous so i ignores it.
after i been there a while, i guess the pail guy gets to trusting me or something, he comes up and asks can he bum a smoke and i gives him one and walk away. next time i sees him we cigarette and yak a little bit, he's normal, far as i can tell. but then he starts telling me, he's had that job for about six or eight years, i think he's gonna lay that old i hate my job i'm stuck in it thing on me, but that's not it. he say he start having real bad nightmares at night after he started his job.
i just listens, this is getting interesting, and you know how hot and dull and boring life gets with the melon sisters and everything. he says, at first i just cleans up and that's my job, run little errands and packets around for the doctors and stuff, but, he goes, i start getting these horrible nightmares at night like i'm burning someone's heart and they're screaming at me, dying, and all this weird shit. i go, this cat is tripping or crazy, one. he seems sincere, though. i ask a couple questions, and he explains.
says that pail i carry around? i says yeah, he go that's full of body parts, human body parts, i gotta go round and pick them up and throw em out. i go where you put them? he say put them on the incinerator and burn them up, jesus i say. he says i get those bad dreams at night, burning up all these body parts of living people like that. i says, what you find in there, and he says at first i just throwed that crap in the furnace, slammed the door, and didn't look, but after awhile i looks and watch those things sizzle and fry and cook and burn, then the nightmares start real bad, he says. cripes, i say, don't look at that stuff!
he say, most the time i don't look no more, but sometimes i kinda peek in that pail, since i'm gotta carry that thing around and it's my job anyway, he says, and i go yeah, what you see in there in that ol' bucket o' death? he says lots a times it's just glop, can't tell what it is, but once or twice he says there was a eye in there lookin at me, and i freaked he said. it was watching me. and he goes, there's warts and growths and oncet i found most of a hand and it's bad, he says, when you get almost a whole human arm or a leg, you know they gots to amputate somebody's leg sometimes, something heavy in there, god i just feel like i'm burning a living person then. i don't know quite what to say to this dude, but i sure as hell have a lot more respect for him now. Corpus christi.
sweet dreams. more tomorrow.
Yes, the hairy bluefish dove out of the dust pile, and i saw him slithering and slapping, jumping as a fish can do to travel across dry land, and if i hadn't a seen it with my only two eyes, i never couldn'a tof thought it was true, but that ol' catfish was sure crossing dry land! I mean i Saw it, man, with my own two eyes. He was jump-flipping through the dry leaves, during the dry part of summertime, from a stream to a pond. What was in the middle? a vertical water chute maybe eight feet straight up concrete and he couldn't make it, so he was flippin around and over that bank there to get to the pond! I just let him go, he knew i was there, i just let him go. he had enough trouble on his hands.
well you know animules gets from one body of water to another, i just spent so damn much time outdoors i see em doing things like that, is all. that's just all there is to it. i feel them, the animals, and sense them, and i can tell what they're feeling and doing too, and i can tell when something special is gonna happen, when it's coming. and they know me. we can feeltalk like that, it's kind of the spirit talk, but it's a feel-be-world. I spread out and open myself up and send it and we're there in it together, not like the musquash thing that was all chemico-emotional act react animal response stuff, but i'm talking like when i hush the spirit of the feathered bird and calm his mind and capture his heart and soul and then i touch him and feel the fast beating heart and stroke his feathers and we are locked in the universe together, pure existence. it's a gift and i've got it, it's for you to tell me how you feel and for me to see the world as it is, it's the work of God. I'm blessed and you're the child of God, we are all the children of God.
i am tired now.
the pukes done pafikulated again, the bigthorns has aglomulated, those big night crickets are scrowfling, you know those cicada bugs, "but it's a dry heat". Least we've got that - "it's a dry heat." Stupid sons a bitches, well i was wet before the day i was borned to this world, and i'm wet now, so don't you talk to me over no god damned dry heat when there ain't none. it's hot and that's all there is to it.
My buddy Danny, now he said we'll take our banjers down to the corner, down by the bars, and make a bunch of money, and i said no way, i never heard of any such bullcraps in my life, i just play this here machine for the pure joy and love of it, and they ain't no money abouts it. he says there is too, you come down there and then he gets that little hangdog beat look after the little bit irritated look he gets when he knows he's right and you just won't do something, you know that little bit whipped look he gets, so i says okay we'll go down there when do we go?
oh danny boy says i'll come back up here for ya and we'll go down, i gotta play the guitar though, you take the banjo. i says no, man, take your banjer and he wants to use my guitar besides the sound's better that way so i says okay. i'll be there, what's gonna happen to the guitar with me right there besides him, right?
so we get our selves and axes down there, it's good and dark, maybe ten, ten thirty, eleven, and there's people a-millin around betwixt the bars and stuff down there on Speedway and 4'th and 5'th, you know how it gets filled up with everybody switchin bars and cars and wine and womens and guys and dolls and stuff. danny says right here and whips out the guitar. some guy sees, grins, and steers our way and danny yells out play floggy mountain breakdown! and i scrambles for it and dig in. we play the hell out of it right there on the sidewalk in the street and people gathers around and then danny kicks the case and they all start throwing money down, quarters and change and bills too.
i figures we got a dollar or four plus change, when they move off we look and there's a god damned twenty in there, you know i'm like a barnacle on a tree or a lichen on a ship been here awhile and a twenty was about as much as a fiftly right today. so i'm screamin now, i mean i was a-thrilled a minute ago playin froggy mountain for these guys who digs it, but now i'm seeing dollar signs too, so i have some kind of elation thing in my heart, and i just takes off, i mean i takes Off.
then a funny thing happens, i get still inside and it's like i'm seeing myself play and i'm bearing down and lightening up and i'm playing for the folks and they giving moneys. i'm quiet inside and i know i am chosen again. and i loves the people, i loves the scene, it's a spirit connect. hmmm, it's spirit connect. and i loves the people.
we kept going around there maybe forty five minutes all told, shifting around a little bit. danny says it's drying up, i says no it ain't either but he does like to party down so we splits the bread and he's gone, totally out blink your eyes he's gone, pard! i'm there with about twenty five thirty dollars, pockets all full of pounds of coins, and a guitar and banjo, and i set out home. i get in there and i feel damn good, jesus i say, i can make money at this here musics and the people, they'll give Money to hear me play, and right then i knows what i'm in for for the rest of my life, i got the secret now, baby, i got the scent - those people will Pay. Shoo-eee! it's nothin short of a revelation, is all.
then danny he's got this girlbabefriend, she ain't too bad, either, i seen her hangin around the men's dorms some, she's hot looking, a little bit low classed but what the hell am i, i say, jesus it might just be superficial anyway, little too much makeup once in awhile, but she ain't bad, for someonebody else. she comes in there parked out there in her little pickup truck, and i don't pay her no mind. i figures her like a natural critter in the woods, i spirit think her, when she gets tired of him she'll come to me, and i just don't pay her no mind.
then one day i come in, i'm got my groc's on my back, and there she sits in that truck but ain't no sign of danny nor notwhere. he had said to me, with that hangdog look of his, he said she don't want me no more, she wants you and he smiles at me. jesus. i hadn't said anything, and now this - there she sits, awaitin on me, sure as can be.
okay i says let's get this motherfucker over with, i'm gonna nail this little bitch and make her sore enough to remember me about two weeks so we globdamulate right there in the front room, well that's really danny's room, but who cares, he ain't there, and he gave her over to me anyway when he saw she was going, hell he was a gentleman about it too, then the kitchen table and the floor and halfway out the back door. i got rid of that though - i never did like any kind of used or store bought or dirty, you know. kind of picky and clean is more like it.
so danny he gets down on the bread and he's hungry, i can tell he ain't a doing too good, he wants some food and i share it with him. i only got enough just barely to feed me but i split it down the middle with him and we talk about it. he says he knows the hobo code and i says that's cool, i try to get him to tell me about it but he don't say much. he just says i'm good, and that. i say they ain't no way someone come round here is gonna starve, if they're really hungry, while i'm eatin they're eating too. he goes out there and spends about half a day climbing around on the next house over up and down the walls and stuff and i never could figure what he was doing cept maybe trying for a piece of that old scallybag back there, the one with five kids all different colors shapes sizes looks and hair, from cream white through a rich dark brown with a curly black hair, cept i hadn't seen her around in a long time and besides i didn't think even danny could do that!
but danny up and splits, he's a good boy, we all have our problems but he shared my path with me awhile and everybody's just made of colors if you just look at them and experience them instead of jumping their shit or something, if you just keep your nasty old inner voice from nagging at you, you can really see people for what they are, and danny was just a good soul, kind of lonely and prone to boozing to extremes, but he was my friend for awhile and i liked him. he could tear that banjo down too. his fingers were good and short, they just sat there over the strings and he could play like hell, just fast and smooth too. he was the first guy i saw could talk you a conversation while he played "Jed Clampett" or anything. he just plain split and i never saw him again.
one day, fall time, i think it was, but seasons changing so the light was warm, not that bright white like an explosion, it had some color to it and was on the verge of being warm instead of some nuclear holocausted reaction somewhere, and i had just warmed me some can of chile and had a piece of brown bread to go with it. you know i was pretty pressed at that, and i thought i'd heard-seen someone out there the day before, looked, didn't see anyone, but then there's this knock on the back door, and i wonder now who's acoming to my back door now, and me just sitting down to eat my meager meal?
well i let this guy in, he's thin, alright, but his eyes and minds is clear and i feel for his soul, not getting a reading, but his minds is clear, so i lets him in. he's hungry and god damn it i don't share my meal with him. it bothers me still, i'm really sorry sorry i don't know why that greed thing came over me, lord knows it was the right thing to do to share my feed with him too. i could get more tomorrow or day after, oh i had a week to go on three or four cans or something, at least i knew it was coming though, but not necessarily so for him. he might not have another meal. see, i was afraid he'd freeload, afraid he'd stay, afraid he'd stay and i wouldn't be rid of him. cause i wouldn't be able to tell him to go, if i fed him once i would always let him stay, period. i knew that's what i'd do, so i didn't share my vittles with him. coulda got a reading on his soul, would of answered that.
you know what he says? he says, come on, i don't want to have scrub all that hobo sign off that building back there, it'll take me half a day he says, and he says i know you're good because somebody put that sign there, they spent a lot of energy puttin that sign there cause of you're good, i don't want to have to take it down. i says what sign? he says right there plain as day, it says food here there's somebody with a kind heart here. i says where and he says right there, see it on the side of that wall right there? i says no, he goes right there, it's in big big letters it says it, it might look grey to you, but it's just bright and plain to me i know how to read them signs. i looks and there's real real big, real real faint, it's scraped or colored on there, in hobo code. must've been danny boy. bless him. that's the kind of guy danny was. some cop got shot in nashville, named danny driscoll, from california too. i called them, they said it wasn't him though.
This nice looking auburn hair girl moves in, she drives a Fiat, pretty pale yellow, a nice sedan. she's the one with the million containers through her house when it rains. i drinks a beer very very now 'n then with jim, and there's this other pukester with a bike hangs over there all the time, i mean he's mind-fucked on something's, from back east some damn where, he just runs his mouth nonstop and with the purest bullshititis you ever heard, some kind of psychobabble comin outa him, make your insides wanta create bile. something downright de-evolutionarily sick about this boy, there's a disease growed in his brain, not like the weed-for-tire guy, who's just eccentric and a little skrimed, this guy is puke rotted, kinda like a smelly old fungus growth you find in the woods, with a little slimey slippery surface and stinks down in, if you split it open it's different colors and smells like some kinda rotten feet or cheese - you know the smell, well that's what this pukester with the bike is like. i just can't stand to get around him.
jim he's a great old cat got a old '60 Chevy wagon. it's all primered out and he builds that motor up from the pan, takes her out on Speedway and shuts em down. yeah, i like jim, he's a okay dude, he hits that wacky weed and beer and stuff pretty heavy but i can stay away from that no problem and he never tries to shove anything on anybody, he's a total layed backer and that's cool. just a dude.
after awhile i go over oncet when he's crocked and he shows me this whole big collection book of pictures of Nam, mountains and rice paddies and trees and stuff. he's blitzed, he's really totalled out tonight crankin that canned music out, he has some serious badass kind of stereo and he's playin the hit stuff, and i digs it. Jesus he came thru Nam and he says when he got back just everything totally different, they was cheering him and others was protesting him a yelling and spitting at him and you could tell it messed him up, just a plain simple homeboy from down country city way got ramblasted into that thing and all i've got left from it is a terminal case of very serious confusion and alcoholistic dependency, it's a real shame, it is, that man helped protect me and my country. i wished there was someway to tell somebody that but just couldn't figure one out so let it go. let it go, that ol highway, goes on forever.
anyway i eventually meets up with this pretty nice girlbabechick and she's got a nice freckles painted down her from the top of her head over her neck and arms, i like her, she talks nice and she's basically sweet and i go jeez, where's a nice girl like this gonna fit with some been-through-hell-and-back ass-cracker son of a bitch like me? her hair is natural wavy that red-brown just about brick color and freckles just everywhere and you know i do like a freckled woman, and it happens, that magic comes creepin in and afore you know it we's out or in but either way she's sweet and i's nice to her. her name's marcie girl and i likes her.
she said she had this dead brother martin but no pix of her, pix of him and all the others but not her, and it seems he died about the time all her pix and stories started, and i wondered if martin done become marcie, i only hinted at it once or maybe twice, i really didn't want to spoil anything, we had better things to talk about. she shows me this amaretto n coffee stuff, about all i ever had was either orange-black pekoe or some kinda coffee, and to show you how she changed my world, she brung this amaretto in there and put some in our coffee. now that was Good, i say make me some more and she laugh, say you only do one, i say like hell i want about five six a them things so we have another cup. good. and warm on those chill fall drippy days when that ol desert gets c-o-l-d.
you know what it was? she was cultured, she brought a little bit of upbringing and culture in there, and that was different. sophistication, was it.
somehow one night we were drinking, which i did back then, she was driving, Marcie was, and anyway she's got loosened up and we're toolin downtown, those underpasses and stuff and she's letting her rock across the two-three lanes and back, well it's after midnight and they ain't no cars to speak of, and she's driving so i ain't worried over the cop stop, but when she goes up over that curb, we're doing more'n sixty, and on an underpass too, nowhere to go, i gets edgy. she just goes "Wooooooohhhhhhh!" and then does it again and laughs, jeez she's just having fun and a flat slammin the rim into the curbs and i've gotta fix it, but i don't mind, i'm getting time with the marcie girl and she's havin fun and she's kind of like sugar, ain't been all messed up by the fucked up shit life is made of.
But i lets her go, it's just one of those things, life is funny like that. people are just so very differents, they all have an effect on you, some in this way, some in that way, some passes on and others stay, and it's kind of like sharing a path for awhile. marcie's the only person where my every feeling membory of her is pleasant, sort of overiding sweet and pleasant, like the desert after a early summer rain and the flowers are blooming and the sweet smell is everywhere, on the air and in the mist and up high down low, can't escape it it's just everywhere nice beautiful clean ain't no bad about it smell.
life is like a railroad, life is a road, it just stretches out before and that ol highway goes forever, that ol highway goes on forever, even after you die, it just moves over a little, it changes course some, but she still flows. and i hope marcie's on it, around there somewhere.
I got caught down to pukeville again but this time i leapt the bridge so it didn't matter. i jumped the bridge and that was a rite of passage was what, way too scary for a kid, only could handle it when you're turnin manhood, or sisterhood i suppose. it's up high enough to where you fall on the pavement, you'd be hurt hospital bad maybe even dead, and the other way's the water and it's a good four five meters beyond the level of the pavement, so you know you're doing a good thirtyfive fourty feet down there. you hit the water pretty damn hard, you better be pointed right, cause you can break a back doin that shit if you dive in wrong. mostly just jump, the challenge is not hitting the old submerged dam one and trying to make it back to the surface without dying two, she's a long long haul back to the top, you go so deep you barely see light, just some kinda very dull greenish barely can see it glow, but your body know which way is up and you're crawlin for your bejeeberin life to get back up 'fore you runst out of air, and when you break surface and gasp, you're elated but mostly just god damned Relieved that you're back.
so i done it two - three times, conquering every bit of my fear, yeah i did just that. stand up there, no arms, no hands, just do it boy. passage to adulthood. and some people and kids come out to see me doin it, crossing that line. people are watching.
the most dangerous thing i ever did, outside of a couple car things, was diving head first into the chasm, down the waterfall, from off the rocks, little cliffs to the side of the falls. this was class five water, if you measure stuff like that, it just means it was unboatable and life threatening in a very real way.
so's i float through and over that falls once, the water roils you around, pulls you under a bit. i tucks my feet up into a fetal position to bounce off'n the rocks. the water it's really funny texture, there's so much air in it, it sort of bubbles all over you like some bath in big bubble champagne, makes you giggle and smile to feel it all over your body, but the water is fast and pulls you around and under for ten fifteen even twenty feet at a time, you can feel it's dangerous, and it's fast. i kick and thrash my feetlegs everywhere, a feelin for rocks, cause those are the killers when you're going headfirst off the clifflettes into that chute.
i jumps next, maybe two three times in different parts of the falls, i'm testin for submerged boulders and rocks, gotta be some in there, else why the water flying up five feet in standing waves and stuff? but i don't ever hit one, so i dives it. Jesus, she's fifteen feet down and the falls another five or ten, and in, don't even know How deep it is, can't get your feet down when coasting through on account of the current's too strong, jesus she's a risk, and if i hit it means concussion, paralysis, death, one for pretty damn sure. life ruint in a single leap and that's the biggest risk to my life outright i ever took. yet.
so i does it again a couple times to feel it out, and proves i can, then i lay off of it, it's just muy peligro to keep tempting fate like that, i'm convinced there's boulder rocks in there, you can hear them rolling down the bedrock chute, Jesus you Know those are big big rocks for you to actually hear them rolling down, you feel them hit, they go bounce - bounce - bounce with time in between, others just s-c-r-a-p-e, god if i could see them no water how big would they be to make all the chute reverberate, they must be three feet, two feet? diameter at least, bouncing down. The two footers are flying, barely touches down, must be the three footers i hearfeel bouncing and scrape sliding. i've slid big hunks of rock around before, slabs a foot thick and three meters by two growling over bedrock, and that's what this sounds like. Jesus that's what carves these rivers out, it's bouncing damn boulder rocks, just smashing the crap out of everything. Crush your bones in a instant, all there is to it.
tumbling down the bed of the water chute, holy jesus don't let me die in this i know them rocks is Big or i wouldn't be able to hear them over the rush and roar of the water and the falls smashing down, and spray foam flying twenty five thirty feet in the air, mist everywhere up and down the river, that current grabs you and you're stuck in its power, and when you dive you're sucked underneath in its fast pull, all the water's moving with you same speed, you're sort of suspended in it and can't move up nor down nor notways, you just hope it don't pull down, 'cause you're going everywhere it says. just hope you come up, released, before your air run out.
The weird brownish yellow foam flicks up to the top and licks around, it don't even appear till twenty and a hundred meters downstream, that's where your body comes up when you dive, stuck in the middle of that damn current diving instead of near the top of it floating through, and lord almighty thank you god for not taking me there cause i know i tempted you. i don't know how i made it no wreck or nothing. Lord knows someonebody shoulda died there that day or been permanently relieved of consciousness or locomotion.
i've done got on all this death and thank you god stuff and i swear it's time to lighten it up a bit! ain't no sense in life being morbid like that. so i'm hitching in - or was it out of - el pueblo viejo, i'm on the interstate walkin out from a on ramp, and the highway paterol blinkin lights stops up the road, i keeps walkin and then stop, so we're about twenty five thirty feet behind the car, and he's got a buddy in there.
this little law dog walks up to me and spits on my boots and it ain't lookin real good, he says where you going boy, just like that, i say i'm going up to hitchensnitch up there. he say what you doin here, boy, this is My town, and i don't like the looks of you. i thinks i don't like the looks of you, neither, you skrimy little bastard, but i don't say nothing. then he says what you doin here boy i got lots of room in the county jail and i'm gonna put you there, you know it's against the law to hitch this year highway? and i say yeah he say get offa here now, then he calls a insult no man can back down from, he's only about five foot two or three, very small, and i want to clobber the livin shit out of him, and i catch movement out of the corner of my eye. it's the guy in the car, he's unbracing a pump shotgun, and he pumps a round into the chamber and twists around with the shotgun and i go oh fuckin no these bastards is out to kill me, make it look justifiable homicide or some shit, and that finalizes everything, this is my life here now.
so i let that little bastard say whatever he want, he sees i ain't reactin nor rufflin a feather now, and he says get offn the highway, i say i can't get a ride off the highway and he say you go to jail i come back and you're up here, so's i walks down the ramp, and they tool off. i give it ten or fifteen minutes to see if they're gonna double back, be just like them, the miserable pricks, but they don't appear, so i climb back up on the highway and get the hell out of there. i watch sharp as shit for anything looks like a cruiser or lights or anything, too.
daybreak in Dixie. now wasn't that right cheerier'n the rocks boiling down?
back now to Wyoming, i was hitchin and hikin through, and i really didn't mind it when i didn't get rides, i just hiked it on down. if it got bad enough i just watched the weather so's to not get caught in some bad storm, and i'd just hoof it on in to the next town. if someone picked me up, fine, if not, fine. i'd eat on jerky and nuts and dry stuff and i had plenty water, so i was alright.
i got a ride in back with some indians, the old gringo in the cab just liked pickin up strays i guess, and i just throwed in with them three illians in the back. they was cool, grin a little bit and i had me a smokes and we all shared some. i knew them greasy bastards though and even though we was friends, you got to understand an illian 'cause if you let him get it, it's okay for him to take what's yourn, so when we pulled into a little dirt track grocery general store, and i wanted a cool drink, and one of them indians hung back, i knowed what was up. i went to go in, and he was a-movin on my pack so i goes back and just sits. i says i just sit, he say he sit too, and fine. we grins. finally i pulls my pack and go in the store with the whole shebang and get me a can of cool drink and back out. indian be your best friend, only one thing you can't never ever do to an indian, and i'm just the same way. just the same. that gringo was kind, you know, to haul us all along like that with nice long stops and everything.
so i'm a-hitchin and a-hikin through central wyoming on a u.s. highway, and i'm stuck out. walked in, watered up, rested in the shade, walked out, and half a day later i'm still outbound and they ain't No traffic, one semirig trailer passes me outbound in three four hours, and i knows i'm basically there for the night. main thing is, i don't want some rancher or lawman to shoot me down in the middle of the night, so i walks out a half mile, you know, a kilometer or so. there's just grain and hay fields both sides but a little overgrown half acre on the left with some old battle scarred sycamores, cottonwood trees in there and this weird looking little two story house no windows no doors no paint just all windblown and empty looking.
all the fields is fresh mowed around but not this little bobwire fenced off, the grass is long long it's a good upper thigh high, most a meter high, good lush thick grass. the rancher he mowed up to the little square around this ol little twisted grey house, then just let her go. i wonders why. and i goes on feelings, you got to in places like that, you got to navigate on feelings, boy, cause they don't never lie, and they'll keep you alive when others is getting lost.
my feelin's is tellin me this place don't right add up, and i says i'll sleep right to the side of this high grass lot, in the fresh mowed, but then i go, that ol' rancher, he'll come by in the morning and find me asleep by his lot on his land and he'll be pissed and i got no right to be there, and he obviously don't use that ol abandoned little house lot, so i climbs through the wire fence and slides my pack under, stretch out the poncho and my sleeper on top of that. i don't need a tent, i checks the sky real thorough - real thorough, cause you don't want no sudden rain and high thunderstorm comin down on you in the middle of the night, with no shelter atall, and that little grey twisted house don't look like anywhere i'd like to be in a storm. no protection at all, and i had walked over to it earlier, toward the front door, and got the awfullest feeling i ever did get from a place, so i know i ain't goin in there if a storm comes up.
so i beds down she's clear and sharp as a bell, i can see all the nubulae and milky whey and everything's out there she's just as clear as can be and i figures the temp'll drop pretty good, maybe be a solid heavy dew to wet my stuff, but it'll dry up pretty fast in the morning sun. Then i dozes off. suddenly whoooosh whoooosh there's a wind whippin over me, trees are branches rattling and wind blowin the leaves hard. i just snap awake, figure that was me dreaming, you know how sometimes when you drop off you have a little dream you're falling or something, i just put it off to that, checks the sky, clear as a bell, and i rolls over to go back to sleep.
i does, i'm solid asleep, and think i start dreaming heavy big damn storm comin in, and lightning high wind, heavy rain'll come on in in a second, and i lie still. i don't move a muscle, cause this already happened oncet, and i lies still to test my senses, is it real. she's real alright, real as shit. the leaves in trees are thrashing, and i hear a shutter or something on the old skeleton house banging, and i say ain't nothing ground level. and i looks straight up, the sky is clear as a bell. uh oh. those bad chills starting at the back of my neck. then, the grass blows like hell all around me. this has done been checked against my senses, i'm in clear mind now, and that grass is yammered by the wind, the sky is clear, and i Move. i mean i grab my stuff and throw it over the bob wire, and roll myself through and i jumps about fifteen twenty feet outside that fenced off area. the wind is still blowing as i scramble out, and i'm gettin ready to light down that road 180 miles per hour with all my gear, but as soon as i'm good and clear, it all settles down and goes to normal.
i'm a bit jittery, as you might imagine, though, and moves my gear and me away a hundred meters or so. then i gets brave and go back to the edge, and nothing happens but they ain't No way i'll go back under that fence, so i sleeps about fifteen feet outside it. in the morning a farmer comes down, and he looks me over real careful kind of interested like, but never says nothing, and i don't neither. funny thing is he walks up close to me then kind of rocks back and forth on each foot, coming close enough to me to look square and deep into my eyes, our faces are about 8 inches apart, and i knows he knows. i just packs my shit and shoulder my gear and i move out. i got a ride out of there.
this rancher picks me up - this was before the illians, but it don't make much difference, as it all happened to me and it's the human interest in it that makes it matter, not the time frame, you know. so this rancher dude picks me up, i throw in the back and climb in the cab, she's just about a brand new truck by the looks of her too.
we ain't gotta say much, you know folk on the road and in the country, we don't gotta say much atall to get along just fine, he give me a little hate to do it but gotta acknowledge your presence peck of a glance and pulls his hat brim down, in the universal language we men critters got that says i ain't talkin, you mealy mouthed motherfucker, till i good and ready, so don't go to intrudin on my solitude! he say howdy after awhile i say year, howdy.
after awhile further he finishes up this drink he's been workin on, and he says i own a spread up whatchacallit county and runnin head. i says oh yeah that pretty good life or what and he says year, i just sold me off a twelve thousand head and he tells me how much after awhile and i thinks jesus, this futhermucker just made enough money to buy half the state of rhode island if he's telling the truth, and i reserves judgement.
he go i just bought me this brand new pickemup truck and he says i got a tape player. whoopee doo hot shit i think to myself, he grinnin like a kid and he slides in a waylon tape and lets her rip. shit, he's lovin that stuff and i ain't too bad with it either so we just enjoys the ride. he say stop here, we pulls into looks like a bar, just a big dirt parking lot out to front of it, low roofed saloon. he say, come on i'll buy you a drink, then he looks sharp at me and says on second thought no i won't your old man payin for that college you say you gettin, you buy your own damn beer. i say ain't nobody payin for me but me i go my owns way all the fuckin way and he say alright come on then i'll buy.
we go in there, it's cool, and not bright. this rancher cat he know everybody say hi, order two doubles and a tall beer chase, and he say what you want. i turns to the barkeep and say i want milk, jeesh it was a hot mother fucker day and i was tired, i wanted some energy drink, not a beer to fuzz my senses. the bar dude just looks at me, says what'll you have and i say milk. he just looks at me and i says look, i know you got milk in here you gotta have it for some of the drinks, so just give me a glass of it or a carton or something. now three or four other guys in the bar is looking, it gets quiet. i says, a little perturbed, give me the milk! and bar dude he reaches under smooth as silk and poors me a glass of milk!
i drinks it a little at time, enjoying it, then ready to go, but the rancher dude's run off somewheres so i hang. he comes back, downs two more fast ones, gets ones for the road, drinks it down, and orders one more for the road. no lie. jesus. we gets out to the truck and begins rollin again and i'm watchin this buzzard, you know i don't want no headons or nothin. he's looped, i mean this dude is seeing stars, but i likes him so what the hell, i just watch that wheel and the road. there's about one car every fifteen twenty miles, next to nothing, so i ain't too worried.
he says you got balls, man i say what? what's this shit, i wonders, then he says you got mighty big balls, son, walk in a bar like that. i say, what with a pack, what? and he say, no you walk right up there in a bar full of men and order milk like that, don't you drink beer? and i say, yeah, i drinks beer alright, i just didn't want one right then, i wanted milk for the energy. i likes milk too i say. he say there ain't very many men in this country'd have the balls to do that.
we hits a fork in the road, he going right i straight, so unloads and out and gone. guess he really did unload a twelve thousand head, that motherfucker was one of the drunkest human beings i've ever been around, and known it anyways.
welsir, i damngobulated down to the yellowstone country, wants to walk through the backcountry afore she's all gone, and i heads in. the mountiebacks not in the office, i hangs around, and noone does show up, office open wide. i reads all the letterature and goes over the maps. about five o'clock woman walks in says them not here come back tomorrow and i do.
next mornin about nine i packs in and unloads, and a mountieback dude says come back about eleven fifteen i run then. i wonders what the hell i wanta come when you'se running, and say so. he say come back then, knock on back door if i'm not here.
they wants money and permit for the walk the backcountry and i says bullshit i ain't paying none of my hard-earned money to walk this god damned national land that belongs to me and you and all of we. i gonna walk that motherfucker anyway, and i does.
but before i hits the rear country, i stops back in at eleven fifteen. office closed, i walks around and knocks on the back door. woman comes to the door, big sick grin on her face, robe on is all, all hangin open in the front, she's a firecracker, boy, ready to pop. she opens the door and a mountie dude jogs around the corner - the other one, not the one told me to come back at eleven fifteen.
he's scared then flash to anger and i backs off, him poppin mary poppins there all the time his buddy's out joggin, ain't no mind of mine, at all. i winks the she-bitch firepopper and leaves.
welsir, i heads out into the backcountry. start on horsetrails and i'm movin up thy Yellowstone river, they ain't even a trail, you just walks the river bottom is all. i do see horse tracks so i know they work the country. they're old, been one to two weeks at least and i expect few humanitarian life forms through here. i'm just wild and free, the sun is shining down on me, and i ain't even hiking a trail, it's like i'm exploring her, and i am, exploring her, first time through that country for me, and i's happy inside.
come a pounding upriver, and it goes on by and circles back, it's a horse and rider, and i been out two three days now but i'm avoiding humbin contact. so i watches. 'course i'm technically in there with no permit, so i want to make sure ain't no mountabilly.
dude reigns in a big chestnut horse, he's bouncy too, he pulls up and reigns around. he can't hold that horse still, he's dancin up on his toes and giving little kicks and every few seconds he sort of gathers up his four legs and jumps straight up, he's like acrost between a scared cat on a hot skillet and horse at the start of a race. he gathers in, jumps, and dodges for a run, and his rider pulls him down and says "whoooooaaaaaa, boy" and i know that big chestnut bay loves to run.
he circles around me, first in front, around back and sides. he backs up where the rider can't see, he's back steppin for me and rider can't keep him still. he's a mighty fine animal and i admires him, but i keep my four five meters back off'n him.
the chestnut's hooves are striking the rocks, ringing out, and he's makin' quite a fuss, the dude yells you seen blah-de-de-blah? over the clatter. he give a description, she run off he says, and he's angry. now why should he be angry? i ain't seen a human life form in two days and fifteen miles of this river, i tells him, which i hasn't, thank god.
he spins around and that horse backwalks and cakewalks and the dude looks at me with respect and says you know horses, don't you and i says what he says he's trying to take a pot at ya but you're staying clear. you know animals. i smiles and he says he's got spirit, i gotta ride this stallion he loves to run but i can't keep him still and he gallops back off, upriver, the bay's hoofs clatter like slate sheets thrown down on rock. he a okay plus caballero but just barely controlling that horse.
welsir, i heads into the high country and she turns to stormin, and i up in the pines, up 7000, 8500 feet, it went from summer to high country summer pretty quick. 'cause up so high, you know.
i'm hikin, been all day, and it's midafternoon, storm comin in, and i've got a choice walk on about six eight miles to lower elevation, or stop in the little glade. i decides, as i'm chilled to the bone, wet, and gotta pump carbo's, and storm incoming, that i'm better off camping at the higher spot, wait the squall, and hike it down and out.
i'm comin into the glade with big pines, along a stream, and i see girl clothes and pack i sneak around why there's a girl critter stuck in a pool right six feet off the trail. she's a canny bitch, though, knows i'm there and stays in. i gives it up and look, all up and down this little hillside with the stream running along the trail, there's pools and a few has packs out and people's heads sticking out! it's all little hot springs, burbling outa the hillside banks.
i pitches camp, leaves my stuff in the tent, and figures i gotta get warm or could danger of hypomalnothermiate, so i strips and jump in that hot pool the girl was in. it's just perfect right temperature, and i warms up to the bone. starts snowin while i'm in the hot water. later i gets out, dress and back to tent. least i know i won't hyponal out here, i can set the storm in the hot water if i got to.
the temp is falling and i ain't got the necessary wool, my clothes and gear is wet. didn't figure on a blizzard, and gets very cold. when the body shakes start - you know that's a early warning sign for hypomalnothermiate - finally i asks some campers for a cup of hot and they gives me hot chocolate and i shiver and shake through the night.
get out in the a.m. and there's four inches of wet, heavy snow everywhere! ain't no way to pack dry, just pack all my gear wet as sop, and tail ass out of there. i just want down country where it'll be warmer, maybe not no drier, but warmer at least.
another day and the wind is up, i'm following downcountry, and a ranger puke comes up. he wants to see my permit, ain't got one, i says, i'm just hiking this here outback and it's national land, i got the right to use it and travel where i please on it, i ain't disturbing a single thing, and he goes to writing me out a ticket. a god damned ticket in the yellowstone outback, now ain't that damn ironic. well, it was then, but not no more.
he go what's in that case, banjo? and i says yeah. he say, excited, my sister plays one, you play froggy mountain breakdown? and i says, yeah, man, i can play it but i got caught in that storm up yonder and i haven't had it out. i've got it all shock corded (you know, that bungy cord stuff) to the back of my pack so's my hands are free, and it's a bitch to get her on and off, so i don't wanta play this assfuck anything on it.
he go, you got a high powered rifle in there? he say people been shooting elk back in here and i say godamnit, does it look like i have a elk on my back, you stupid son of a bitch, and he's taking my integrity into question, and i'm pissed but wary.
he keeps insisting and finally i figure this pisshead's gonna write me two tickets, so i unstrap the whole shebang and opens the case. those strings have gone to pure rust, in two days flat. only time in my entire lifes that i've had a whole instrument's strings rust, even in the viscous Mississippi sweatin' weather when you're breathin fish the air's so close to bein' water, and the 120 degree Arizona heat blast, nor not the 100 degree Carolina honeysuckle humidity where the wet runs down you in sheets.
i have the outside of the case all painted with polyurethane, she's water proof as can be, but the joints ain't! i built that banjo, and i know it can take that wet and hardship if she has to, but the strings is gone. so i plays a little froggy mountain for the bastard and he smiles and taps his feet, and then i sits down to change the strings.
he writes me a warning ticket, say you gotta get out soon's you can, and i change the strings, put the olds in my pack, and shove on. i come on dude and babe look like college and they insist on chatting but i'm code of the backcountry i don't wanta have to talk to nobody unless i damn well feel like it, and i sure doesn't feel like it right now.
finally i asks them you in school, where, and they says something. they're mountabillies in disguise, working for the man, is what it is. the ranger dude called for them on his radio, to check on me, and i knows it and it rankles me. bastards, it's public land.
i hikes down and out, goes by the ranger office again, and same thing, everybody's bopping the ranger's wife while he jogs and does his thing. and he knows about, hell, it's hot fun in the summertime, and all there is to it!
i got my ass back down to el pueblo viejo, groovin on the heat and pretty girls and stuff, and got back down in that crounty jail - no, the brounty hospital. my job was to set in the mental building, it had a high toxicity side, a wide hall through the center, and a low desperation side. it was kind of a square building with that long corridor splitting it down the middle.
they give me a red phone and a little desk and couple chairs, i just set there. lady say now you be nice to him, okay? he the brother of doctor so and so, he's a little deranged, but just laugh, okay? make him feel good. i wonder what the fuck, and watch everybody sharp as shit.
there's this little short fat guy in white coat, you know that long kind doctores wear, he's got rimless glasses and mustache, little beard, just like a little freud fuckin nietzsche, just look the bill all the way. he the brother one. then a few days later this little fat guy, no glasses no facial hair, he come through and say my brother work in there, i'm going in to see him. i says alright and sign the pukester in, that's him, i guess that's the brother one she lady told me about. he carries a big black lunch box, the round-roof barn type, and he wears those brown washing machine repair outfit too.
the little washing machine guy comes and goes, he roams around free, good thing he ain't doing drugs or something, they'd be coming in through him, but he's okay. after awhile i see a patient or two, they brings em out to see daylight, i guess. they got this pretty babe, they let her talk to me a little, she's nineteen and hot looking, has some vicious old aunt put her there, and i don't know no more. one night they bring her out and she's smashed, just totally wrecked on her meds, her mouth is twisted not straight and the fat nurse has to hold her up she's so totalled she can't stand up. the fat nurse runs her hand down the front of the girl's jogging pants and tweaks her and the girl lights up. they takes her back in the low security side. i never goes in there, and after that, didn't want to either. well, i'd like to play with her but i know better'n get into that wasted on meds psychiatro nurse and patient thing. no way.
the sarge man he come and visit say they got ol' fat freddie they caught him and we gotta watch him, he's down here now. i cool, okay, and he takes off. the floor doc on the high intensity side comes out, he's looking scared too, and says i thought you're inside and i says okay, i'm inside now. i goes in, through one locked door into a holding bay, you lock up the one behind you, then they buzz you through the inside one. nurse's station buzzes you through.
we go in, i goes over the place so i know what's where, and i say to the doc i heard he got frisky last night. the doc he looks scared and says he pinned me in the shower and the doc had these big bruises around his face and head and i says jesus. they say that's him and i go meet him, he's six three and at least three hundred pounds, black stick hair on his head and his eyes is gone, just gone. ain't nothin in there but anger, just pure damned animal anger. black eyes.
he shuffles around with about eight ten inches ankle chain and cuffs in front i say cuffed in front could be peligro, they say that's why you here, we gotta cuff em in back can't do alone he almost killed a nurse a little while ago we tried. i thinks okay this is what they pay me for, so i tells six three what we're gonna do and i'm braced for a life and death fight if i need to subdue this bastard, but he's mellow, just like a cow. we chain him back behind his back and it's done.
guess those nurses and docotores they feel safer with me in there or something, they just leaves me in there every day. can smoke in there and sit on the couch i say hey what'd the chain man do anyway and that scared in their eyes look again, he killed two girls and he's county in for observation. he was a mind blower.
i gets out of there, the ol' pot smokin night nurse has her shit together about all this madness stuff, you see those people inside lots of em act no more abnormal than you or me, just shufflin around, sometimes they come over to reach out and ever so gently touch you, just watching you, but most of em just normal like, play cards and tv and stuff. it gets pretty heavy and the night nurse she's in tune with the feelings, she's a feeling night robber, and she knows i's in trouble, and she says to me finally, she says look it's just a definition and you're on one side and they're on the other. that's all it is, it's a definition. and i works it through many days and i think she's right, ain't nothing but. it's scary, but the truth is it's a continuum.
they put me to roam er'ing again and one night i gets the call on la radio, come to er nurses in trouble and those nurses, especially er nurses, they don't call unless they really need help, so goes on the trot. i say what's up they say we got a drunk inlian in there, berserk. i say is that all, you got one doctor, two male internpostmed junior fucks, and there were five nurses, no lie. i say all this shit for one drunk? no way. she say Need you, gotta pump him out and he's fighting.
i go in i'm all business those nurses ain't afraid but they're gratified i'm there, i can tell, and they say when we start the tube down is trouble. we gives it a go, and that god damned indian was as strong as a heifer, heifer with four arms and biting teeth too. we let up i says jesus let's not do it. the junior doc things say no he die if we not pump him out so i go this here's this futhermucker's life we're saving so i gives it everything i mean all i've got and we hold the sombitch and they gets the tube down then the guy settles down and they say alright, be fine now, sayanara.
them indians when they gets near death drunk, man watch out. well anyway there was some pretty edgy muck fuckers come through that place. there was this guy thought it was the wild west and i was sheriff or something, he sneak around all over trying to get the drop on me, draw his finger like a pistol, it got to be a kind of a game to me but this guy was edgy i just had to watch him cause if he goes off and tries to hurt somebody i gotta take care of him. he never did get the drop on me, i just catch him with my eyes you know.
this carpenter babe drifts in, cutoff jean shorts, and a bikini top with c+ boobs barely strapped in, and this big ol heavy carpenters tool belt on, full of tools! she goes through, i thinks nothin of it, and later i sees her on the other side of the compound, figure she's waiting on somebody, till the next day she's there all day, everywhere. i asks the nurses, she incoming? family wait? what's up and nobody knows so i watches her. asks her what's up she normal for a minute. i asks you waiting on someone and three four sentences in she starts getting ramifacious, i'm just as good as any man on the crew and goddamnit leave your hands off me don't come near me, you mother fucker and she pulls a 2 pound claw hammer and oh shit gonna need some help here i backs up and talks calm then like a flash she's back, lucid, tools in her belt, and i watches her.
i see she don't get crazy except when a man tries to talk to her more'n howdy, so leave her pretty much to herself. i just don't want her attacking somebody cause that hammer can kill if it's used right. after a couple weeks she drifts out again, and in and out for short periods. i checks at the menternal ward, she's not anything to do with them, just a citizen. she's getting browner and browner so i knows she's living on the streets, in the hospital.
i get tired o seeing all that action and no death first hand so when we get the radio call gunshot coming in, i clear all the people and cars, then they rushes him in, on this one i stays. people running and shouting directions, i keeps way back. eight or ten minutes, maybe a few more, it's over. somebody says that's it, and they all leave. the nurse pulls the sheet down for me to see, i wants to see his face, and there's a little tiny blue spot in his right temple, nothing else. just a little blue hole, but it just looks like a spot. i says 22? and she says it was a 38, he was dead when he got here we just had to go through the motions. i walks back through the waiting room every face turns my way i smiles and step outside.
there was this sheriff motherfucker, he'd drive in sometimes and i'd watch him he was out of nogales and was out of his district. he knows i'm watchin him and after a couple runs in he comes over and talks to me. he comes up for a cup of coffee, he says, then i sees he's border patrole, it's cool with me. he say i bring a ride up here now and then, i say uh. we coffee and cigarette.
next time, he pulls in just at dusk going dark and the passenger door opens before the car is stopped and a mexican kid hops out runs like a scared rabbit i mean scurry and gone, just gone. i knows what's up but don't say anything i just go away. i'd rather not know too much on this one. the sheriff dude he comes in regular for a while, then don't see him for a long while. sometimes alone, sometimes a passenger, and once had three. they all runs.
i guess they got bored over mental so i'm back over there for awhile. that's a crazy kit and caboose over there, always some weird shit goin on seems like. i'm in there reading my book by the red phone one afternoon and the washing machine repair brother guy comes in grinnin like he's high on something mighty good, and he's about four meters in and he spills open that black lunchbox of his and dildos start bouncing everywhere, must be twelve of them, some double doers, all shapes and sizes. i breaks his heart, don't even crack a smile, but a nurse from the low insecurity side comes out and laughs like crazy and saves the day. it was the fat short one that molests the pretty girlbabe over there at night.
so i's a-settin', i's a-readin', and i ain't used that silly ass red phone yet, except it rings my nurse friend from the other side acallin for me. i'm a settin' reading and all of a sudden the low security pops open and the pretty twisted girl bursts out, she runs over to my desk and i see her slash and blood explodes it's bursting on the walls, the floor, the big glass windows and i call Stat it's the red line to er move it. the blood splashes with every beat of her heart and i knows that's a fatality a-coming in.
i just gets to her side and everyone boils out of low security and they're on her, have the blood stopped, the er crew arrives and it's all out of my hands. i don't see the pretty twisted girl for awhile then when i do she's quiet, probably blasted on psychotropics, and she has big big stitches across her wrist, about three four inches up her arm. unfortunately that's not the last i see of her neither.
i'm wandering around get a broken call there's a battle goin' on somewheres but it's too broken i ignores it. about ten minutes later i get another help over the radio and that's unnatural cause we got the codes ain't nobody ever say help, so there's either serious trouble afoot or someone's playing. wait, then i get a beam in on it it's second floor stat and i shove everyone off the elevator and hit the emergency i hits the floor, quiet normal i says loud where's the officer they say out there and i runs. there's a 400-pounder aready to throw the sarge over the side it's an open patio walk with three foot thick walls chest high and she's got him ready to throw over he says she's gonna kill me get her.
it takes every bit of my strength and his too but we unstick her from him finally, ropes her up with a leather belt, and i say jesus she just attack you or what and he say she broke out of mental, she in the highly mentally secure side, i say oh you want help get her back, no i got her now thanks. something maniacal about that big girl, and something like i seen her before. i keep running it through my mind coming up blank, nothing.
i got out of there only so much i could take there was some crazy mother pluckers down there. one day a guy comes in wants to sign himself into the mental ward, i says just a minute. talks with the doctore, no can do. tell the guy, no can do. he freak, i say sorry, gotta go. he hangs outside come back next day he's still there gotta come in i say why. he says i'm going crazy, i know i'm gonna blow, i start watchin him now. say, sorry. he says god damn it and i go here it comes but he runs out the door.
starts up his car, he's a rammin for the front door scatter i yells there's speculators now they felt the building shake i says Go and the ladies scream and they runs and the guy rams a pillar and the building shakes. i say oh shit we need pd here now this fucker's gone and he's gonna kill us battering ram that car he could take the building down, walls ain't that thick. he backs her up and guns her and i'm oh fuckin no better be pd on the fuckin way cause we ain't armored or nothin', just rentals.
they's three orificers there now, the head honcho dude never does show think he's scared. these two city brother fuckers ain't scared though, one yells i'll get him donnie and runs for the car. the madman now he's got her in reverse and the wheel pulled tight, pedal to the floor all four tires screamin and smoking so he's making big widening circles backwards, in the parking lot, and he's gonna take out some cars and at least he ain't ramming the building now but i'm worried.
the other brother says don't do it zebbie he'll kill you and he says donnie i got my piece i'll crack his head. he's chasing the car, trying to grab the door handle to get at the crazy guy. chasing, jesus, he gonna hit the parked cars and a lady behind me go that's my car! that's my car! and i say steady, lady, just stay right here till we get him contained, you'll get hurt out there.
it goes on and on then finally zebbie he throws his body through the driver's window and rips him out, the car spinning out and we're diving on it now, and zebbie beats the crazy down and everything slowly spins to a stop like a merry-go-round when you stop pushing. they takes him to er and then later they brings him over and in the door to psychiatricks ward and he's smilin and says see? i needed in. i shakes my head.
about the only other thing that happened over there was the pretty twisted one got loose one day i say oh shit she'll cut herself again but they say no, no knife, but gotta catch her so we goes. we got her and she was fighting like a bobcat. if you ain't ever fought a bobcat, or seen one be fought, you're missing a major spectacle of life. ain't nothing like it, you wouldn't think a little fifteen twentytwo pound varmint beast could explode like a bomb but brother it's pure adrenalin excitement, i'll tell you.
that's how she was, and i felt sorry for her cause of that mean aunt bitch that tortured her into there and the fat nurse molesting her and everything. it was my duty to subdue her, but i wasn't sure where my allegiance lay, not sure it was better or worse for her in that place, and finally decided i didn't know but wasn't a cyliac trained like them so let it go.
they said in the padded room and in there we went, there was a flat bed white sheets with these big strap belts strapped around the bed you know chest stomach legs and they had to literally throw her on the bed. padded walls everywhere. i wasn't doing a thing, just observing. they flipped her over and took her clothes off and strapped her down then the wrist and ankle straps too, and they gave her a shot while she twisted and fought and spit and cried and freaked out. it was one of the most emotionally wrenching things i've ever witnessed.
they takes off her bra and panties and the little fat short brother doc with the thick glasses and mustache said no sheet and the nurses and aides sighed and i said what's that and they said we don't have to do the wet sheets we hate that. i said do you really have to strap her down like that and they looked at me said yeah she'll kill herself beating herself if you don't. that wet sheet really works to quiet them down you tie it over them but we hate doing that.
jesus i think i was sure i read that all this shit was outlawed thirty fourty years ago and what was that one flew over the cuckoo's nest thing didn't all this go away with the dark ages? i didn't say another word though, we all left with the little crazy doc in the lockdown room with her naked and in straps and cuffs. the pretty twisted girl.
actually there was more i saved the junkie's life. he hung around, i'd see him once or twice a week and then not for a while, then back. always over at the free clinic part, it was a separate building like the psychotricks place. so this one time he comes up to me, speech all slurred, bad slurred, he wanted help. all i could figure was he wanted me to ask the nurse something for him, so i asked at the desk, he got appointment. she ignored me, and they were run frazzled, them receptionist nurses, so i set near the guy cause i know by now he's not in very good shape.
i'm next to him, five minutes, then stretching into eight, and thinking it's okay, when i hear rough breathing turn to him he's puffed up like a fish, hot and falling out of his chair. i catch him, pick him up and he's hot, hot like death and i know he's going and fast too. prop him up, run to the desk, nurse! she ignores me i shout NURSE! This Man Is Dying! and she hits stat and everyone runs, like a blur.
i carried-drug him in the back and on the table and the doc and a nurse and me did it to him i wasn't leaving his side those bitches out front was letting the mother fucker die knowfully, and i was sticking with this one till he was totally back. i just did what the doctor told me to do, hold this here, give me that there.
i did, i stayed, the druggie got up after a half hour then back out to the lobby later in the afternoon and i saved that man's life that day. the doctor said he had about one more minute or less was it. i felt okay that day, at least i accomplished something saving that poor bum junkie's life. and he had come to me knowing he was od'ing someone said later, i guess that was it. he knew he was in trouble and those brass bitches at the desk wouldn't hear him.
oh, it's been a trying day.
i was going thru one a them midwestern towns, just had to stop and get water and use the faxilities, so i packed into this gas station on the road. the bathroom was locked i says to the guy is there a key to the bathroom i just want some water. he looks me down then up then down again and i's wonderin what the hell's this asshole's problem, he was kind of bald, didn't have on soiled clothes or a jump suit like a mechanic, he was some kind of middle class schmoe trying to look better'n the rest of the people around there. anyway after he looks me over real demeaning like he says okay, you aren't gonna do anything Weird in there are you? 'cause those hippies'll come in here... i gives him a nasty look and says i just want some water, what'ya think i'm gonna do?
he unlocks the door and i goes in and that was that. i did need water, i filled up all my bottles and containers, took a teamster dump, and then lit out again. i've laughed about that narrow minded scared somebitch ever since - he was so scared i'd commit some evil in there, this rank stranger and foreigner! poor guy probably never even sucked his wife's tit in twenty five years, he was so hung up and repressed.
i got me a job up to the North Rim, you know, Golly Gulch, or Glory Gulch as i call it. i didn't figure it'd hurt to pack away a little earnings part way through, and it would be fun to hang on the north rim where it's cool and just soak it in.
so i signed up this big italian idiot hires me, i help in the kitchen, mostly food prep. i gravitate off the day, you know with my antisocietal maniacal tendencies i do better away from too much normality. so the crew clears out, i work, and these illians come in. we get friends i like these guys they got total open unambiguity like i like, and they doesn't give two shits what any gringo pukes think either, 'cept they don't call us gringos, they don't pay me anyone much mind i don't think they figures we real people or don't have souls or something, and they mayn't be far wrong at that.
they wants to know what i doing there, not say much cause just laying in a little supplies for later in the year. i wants to know what they're doing there and they stop, look at each other, then say we saving for the powwow! i say where and they talk indian and i don't know where it is. they say we work till go just go and i like them boys, i'm doing the same thing work till time to go then it's over and out.
well i just had to whiz over the edge of that mothernonstrosity even if just once, you know biggest pee drop in history thing, so i wangs it out way over on the edge i mean i even crawled out on some rocks and looks down, she's a good thousand feet right down and that's a pretty fair pee drop so i drags it out and let her roll. let her roll, baby, roll, let her roll. i'm enjoyin it groovin on the nature al way and everything and i hears a pebble, twig, something stopped. jerk my head around but nothing see, my senses never lie so i know someone sawed me. oh well. i just has to have that experience and i did!
'bout a week later i'm walking through and this security schmuck is talkin real loud "i seen it with my only two eyes, right in broad daylight too" and he gives me a disgusted look. i sort of pauses, then continues, listening. he says and there he goes as if nothing ever happened, i am pure disgusted he says. it's all superficial show, he just wishes he had the balls to walk up the edge of the Glory PeeTrain and whang her out and gush. he secretly admires me, but can't let on. well don't appear like this ahole's gonna do anything so i forgets it.
i hear bad rumours, provoke fight, fire some guy, guy afraid the bastards gonna shoot him, some pretty wild shit but i keeps my eyes open and i doesn't get too far from my gear cause i don't want anything gone and i might need to split pretty fast. the italian muck trucker is giving me real hate filled looks ever since i caught him bopping the head chef's wife. they're all a pack of lying thieves it turns out.
see they put me in this cabin right on the edge i kinda like it, and there's a super legs natural blonde out there next cabin, about ten feet away, always a-sunnin and a-shinin and a-grinnin at me. she's playing for me and italiano sees it and he's wild in jealousy even though it ain't even his female, it's the head chef's. italiano he say keep your mouth Shut. jerk off.
my cabin mate is this decent kind of guy, he's a cook, and he's okay. got a bad cough, though, and i notices when he gets up in the morning he coughs and the water runs way long i mean way long then the hand towels is all solid wet like been washed and i puts it all together and this poor bastard actually has TB, or something damn like it! i read about it, there's cures now though, and i asks him careful where he's before here (ranch) what's that kinda cough (ain't nothing atall) and sure nuff he got tuberniferous on that ranch freezing through the winter. i tells him over and over there's cures for it now, he gotta go see the nurse, she knows, there's cure for it now.
after about a week or so i misses him a day two and ask italiano what happened my roomie and after i prods him a little he says went to see nurse and we took him out, out to a doctor. he had TB, he says, real quiet like he don't want anyone to know. well how do you like that. maybe the dude got better, i don't know.
so pukeman he moves me to another cabin so he can continue fucking the chef's wife, works his shifts and everything, and i goes over some cabins. the manager of the place is mormon and there was a gazillion mormon schoolers in there, from little kids on up to about nineteen twenty. all the ones about thirteen up was working. this old groundhog had a bunch of pretty girl daughters, too, and we all was hangin togethers. those girls would squeeze me tight just riding around in the pick up trucks, sit all over in your lap and pinch you everywhere, they was a hot bunch of people i'll say and those little girls bangers would go at night too when we'd sneak into their cabins after lights out.
italiano has some hate problem, i get my check and instead of cashing and carrying around hundreds of dollars - ain't no way i trust those bastards, and italiano he's getting worse by almost the day - i take that check walk twenty feet to the PO branch, put it to cash, and i buys a money order with the cash, fills it out to me, and puts it in a envelope and mails her off to the southern torrid regions. it'll be there waitin on me when i returns. i do this with all my checks, italiano is following me around now, kind of psychopathic almost.
i likes my fresh air and cigarette at night and i walks out to see the stars, sit on the edge and hear the wind blow and howl in the canyons down below. that is wild forbidding country, ain't no bout adout it, she just howls with the wind and you move a half foot wrong, you're over the edge and gone. ain't like somebody built a railing around a thousand miles of canyon rim or anything. she's one of the wildest places i been. see, ain't no way for man to get down those cliffs and in all them box canyons, it's just pure perfect wild in there. it's home to lions and mulies and eagles and hawks, it's nice and she's beautiful and free.
it's up there on the Kaibab and that's purty country. i hikes out and in behind and finds it's clear cut for miles and miles, as far's the eye can see, just devastation, and a strip of forest just a half mile or so in off the roads left, as disguise cover for what they're doin on the inside. it's a mind blower for sure. but i'm gettin off the pukester taggin me around.
so i gets weary of this idiot's game and i know he's packing his .45 'cause he's getting it out loading the chamber i sees it in the street lamp light. the other dude said what happened with little guy was italiano threatened to shoot him for allegedly stealing a vehicle at night out in that lot, so i know what's up. this bastard's gonna allege i'm doing some evil crime out there and he probly could get away with it too, so i gets weary of his little games.
i saunters along, in full light, and he gets cocksure, then i move easy into full shadow - dark - and sprint walks super silent - you know, the five or six mile an hour walk that's almost a trot - staying in the black no light, and i plumb vanishes to him, and he's caught out in the middle of the bright lit lot and of course if i wanted to i could've killed him then, but i'm just playing with him. i circles around behind him, re-enter the lot where we originally did, while he's running fast among the shadows and lot, cursing and stamping, all furious.
the bastard's so stupid he ain't even paying attention and i has to whistle and scuff rocks with my boots to let him know i'm there. he whips around and sees me, knows i tricked him, and now he hates my blood and my guts, he wants to kill me i can feel it, but he can't do it in the middle of the lot, no cars immediately to, and him not paying attention could be witnesses now, it's just like a poker game, is all.
it isn't but one or two days the asshole provokes me on the loading dock, only thing is, i use the can out there, and there's cig smoke coming from it, and i investigates, it's the head manager dude, the one with all the mormon daughter girls. only thing is, he doesn't ever come out of that bathroom - he's been in there thirty five minutes and i'm wondering something mighty strange up, oh he's waiting on a lover rendezvous, when italiano comes on the dock and tries to provoke me into a fight.
then i've got it, he wants me to swing at him, the goober pops out of the can and witnesses it, i'm fired and they're done with me. 'cept i see it all and don't get pissed, i'm laughin at these colossal cretins who thought this stupid ploy up, and i doesn't show a sign. i just reason with the guy and he can't figure out why i ain't pissed or fighting.
after about ten minutes he gives up and leaves, and i just sit. i sits right down on the dock, smokes a cigarette, and waits some more. finally pukeman number one comes out of the can with the sheepishest lookin face i ever saw, i mean ever. see this number one guy wasn't so stupid, he knows italiano's a idiot, and he knows he been had real bad by me, and i forces him out and i say what you been doing in there you been in there over a hour more and he can't even look me in the eye.
i figures now's the time and i won't go at night less the low iq one throw a rod or a bearing or something and actually shoot me, it could be done along those eighty miles of unhabitated roads, and i figures he wouldn't have the balls to do it in daylight with cars and tourists and stuff around, so i goes over to the po to unload the last bit of everything of my cash 'cause i know po man, he'll have to tell italiano and then italiano'll know i ain't got no money on me, that much less motive for him, and we don't need adding any motives this fucker pure hates my guts now.
the po guy, he's also the accountant, he's scared. he's very scared, so scared his face is white, and he knows i's straight shooter he's part afraid o me but mostly of the italiano bossman situation, and he says the books aren't right. i says to myself now this is mighty peculiar, looks like this skinny little guy gonna spill his guts to me and his hands start shaking. he says they'll do anything and i looks him in the eye and i says give me a money order for eighty five dollars and a stamped envelope too, and his hands shake out uncontrollable. i says you've Gotta do it, it's your job and then he makes it out and takes my cash and i addresses and seals the envelope, drops it in the mailbox slot, and i go.
i guess italiano told him not to give me any more money orders, but that post office stuff turns into federal crime and i guess the guy thought he better not cross that line, and you know he made a good choice cause i woulda raised holy hell from Birmingham to Fresno over that shit.
before this all degenerated into a big pile of poop, those illians got rowdier and rowdier, they took to turning the big cooking kettles over (they washed the pots) and beating on them with those big twenty inch stir spoons and stuff. they'd beat, and dance, and do their chants and songs. one'd beat, two dance and chant and sing, they'd call out do the watchacallit, do the whatsitsname and they laugh and scream these long blood curdling kind, i digs it. i tries to get them to tell me the names of the dances but they either doesn't, or it's in Hualapai or Chemehuevis or something. Next day they're gone, just like the coughing blood guy, just vanishes, no trace, nobody say nothing.
so i packs the night of the black eyed bastard wanting to kill me in the lots, and i'm gone the next day. i did the post office thing, shouldered my pack and banjo, and was gone. never looked back on those motherfuckers either. ate jerky and water till i hit syphilisation again, which is a long ways up there, got only one direction to go really.
it's a break.
lady says you be our guide and i says year have some jerk, you black hearted bitch, well i didn't say the black hearted bitch part i thought it but i did say here yave some jerky and begunst to gnawin on it. she looks interested then either gets a whif of me or the jerk and she wrinkles up her nose like a little bunny rabbit and then looks sidelong at her partner and gives him a funny look.
so i says those mountains over there real far they sam francisco peaks and this year's the kaibab, the mighty kaibab plateau, land of wilderness lions and snakes and she turns petrified, not scared in the least, her body just turns to stone for a minute and i wonders did i say something wrong when she partly turns to partner there and looks at him a slight bit worried.
i decides they really have absolutely no idee what's out there so i commences with the kissing bug story, this a true one and you know by now you been readin these here tales long enought now you know truth is stranger than friction and so i lays the kissin bugs on her. i forgets whatwhere their plates was but they was kinda faint blue, outa staters for sure. Maybe freneticutt.
now back down home in el gran desierto i takes to sleepin on the floor on a mattress, really feels better there and cooler summer times only thing is closer to the bugs and rattlers and if you think i'm joking you never been there is all. i has a big crack under front door, it's really part of the door sawed off it looks, but i gets the place cheap and i ain't too worried. i has about thirty five feet of one inch chain and a combo lock and a key padlock and i chains my banjo to the water pipes in the bathroom, you know the big hefty ones that'd take a while to get through. so i ain't too worried about that big crack.
i finds once i winter through, though, that that old arctic winter wind likes to blow right through there and i can'ts keep it warm even with the gas stove bull bore, but it was still summer when i discovers the kissers.
i ain't worried on critter bugs got a black widow web all crazy web you know, they the only spider to not draw a regular web, theirs is all crazy zero pattern and they's a marvel to look at. so i got me a wider growin outside one of my windows, and i've had em actually build their crazy web from my settin chair to the door frame, man that's close. i don't go with them three inches from my hand but if they're ten feet or more i'm cool.
the crack under the door is about one inch on one end and widens to a good three centimeters other side of the door so pretty much whatever wants to gets under there. one night summer hot hot just sweat alayin still even with the swamper on, and course you're insane to sleep with a sheet much less blanket and i'm a layin and a trying to go to sleep through my sweat.
just drops off and i feel like a hot needle went into me on my thigh and i wakes with a start. i hears a scurrying sound and i'm suspicious, and then my leg starts to swelling a little but nothing unusual but then everything go to buzzing in my ears, little light buzzing can't shake it, and my body buzz too but i ain't worried on that, buzz when i drink six cups of coffee fast too.
i gets all relaxed and dropping off and i feels the red hot needle again, just as i goes to sleep, and i jumps up thrashing around. i hear buzzing of a large insect flying it sounds like a june beetle and on go the lights i'm tracking this mothertrunker down i'm killin this bug, it's a death warrant, and pay up time.
i can't see him anywhere but i heard him fly so know he's here somewheres, and i rip furniture around, bedclothes then entire mattress up, i tears the whole goddamn cottage upsides down and no hide nor hair of the critter. takes me about two hours to calm down and cool down outside a little and finally i sleeps.
next day big black lumps, circular about six centimeters across, big black ugly, like big bruises and swollen too, are on my leg. i concludes it's a cone nosed kissing bug been to see me and vampire on my blood last night. nasty bastard.
i'm ready next night, i'm primed to awake to the scurry of a insect on the floor or the whir of its wings in the air, and i sleeps the night like that, all on edge. cool that night, then next, i's droppin off, and my autopilot is keeping track, now, of all sounds, and i wakes and lay stone still. nothing, nothing atall. back to unwinding and dropping off the sleep and Up! with a start, i'm convinced this diabolical little vampire beetle can sense when its prey goes to sleep and attacks then.
they stick this big long proboscis into you and inject this pukus that keeps your blood from congealing on them, and they suck away till they're all bloated to pop, and drop off. they're big, too, up to and inch and more in size, and they pump a lot of blood out and a lot of that magic jelly into you to keep you fluid. that's the stuff makes your body and head buzz and the huge black and blue lumps on your flesh. those lumps stay just like a bruise, well that's what they is, and they slowly turn to browns and yellows and all them sick colors black through yellow till finally they all clear up, takes a time too. and itch, hurt in between.
so i tells the thin lady in the blue plates truck and she comes to the conclusion i'm plumb crazy, i can tell she just don't believe a word of it. i sighs and crawls back in my mind and munches jerky and drinks water and tries not to fart cause i know that'll really blow their tender tragic little minds, and i takes the ride down and thankful for it too. i thanks them goodbye and i'm glad to be on my own again i'm lookin for a spot to tent and sleep bivy up for the night.
i slithers back through the torrid regions. we all decides to have a meeting of the minds, the old timey and BG'ers from Tucson way with the Phruxnig contingent, and we meets up in Picacho Peak. we doesn't want to start when it's too hot so we all pulls in around five six and they dribbles in till dark.
well i meets those rank strangers from up Salt River Valley way, they rank alright, but we can tromp their asses in picking (you know that bluegrass, it's so damn competitive it's almost not no soul in there but there is, there's tons of it), so we mixes around and finally she goes to cooling off a little, which means it drops from 110 down to about 95. it's open desierto, just rock shelters but they doen't dos much. (no, that ain't a mistake, you silly son of a bitch, i says it that way. now don't interrupt me again, by god.)
then - sigh - it goes to a little bit dusk and more peoples is a-pullin in and tuning up and then it gets a shade more duskier, that point where you begin to lose shapes in the distance, when i sees the desert floor moving like waves on water in my peripheral vision. i's just pickin with a few others at this time. i swings my head around and stop playing and watch the desert and it's rock still.
we goes back to pickin and the same thing happens again, all the way through me stoppin and the desert floor stoppin and i really thinks i'm seeing things when i goes i'll play but watch sharp out of my peripherenals, which i doeses. then i sees it - the whole desert floor rises up, shifts, comes to life, and there's critters crawlin everywhere just solid crawlin everywhere and about that time a boy about fourteen cries out "the tarries are out!" and races off.
i stands still and i sees they are a sea of tarantulas, everywhere you see, just as thick as cattle in a holding pen, and i next to freaks. that's about the only time in my life i've damn near run of some kind of animal shear fright from something in the outdoors.
i wrestles with my emotional reactions and stands still - i know these things don't hurt you and their stings is not deadly, although they hurts, and i knows they are docile like honey bees. so i forces myself to stand and stay and watch the spectacle.
the boy kid runs up he's got one in his hands and says i got one, wanta hold him? i says let me look at that thing and holy jesus mother of christ this is puke disgusting unless you love arachnids or something. that spider is as big as his hand - it's sitting in his hand, filling it up - and he's hairy and got these huge eyes on spindles his body is bigger than a rat's and he's segmented just like spiders are, and i wonders what this thing's got in it, as in stomach intestines guts and so on.
i know insects is copper base blood (you know, green blood) and i wonders what this thing has inside him but i knows he's been eating on mice and huge moths and birds and lizards and stuff and i ain't any mind to squish this thing. it'd be a huge awful mess if you did, it'd be like squishing a rat or balloon full of blood or something except it's a god damnedaceous spider. hey, man, those things are serious. now i know why that big crowd of lady pickers took off about ten minutes before - they knew what was coming and got the hell out of there!
there's the key to the highway and the spiritual oneness of time and place and speciality, it's there in the desert and i discovers it. oh, others know it's there and experiences it too, i ain't no buddha - well maybe I am, Buddha's brother or something - but i notices it and i thrives it it's like the spirit feel when i quiet - still - spead out - send it - and then i'm with the spirit grouse and i can walk to her and hold her in my hands and feel her little wildly beating heart, it's like that, except you don't have to do the quiet - still - spread - send it part, it just happens THAT'S the spirituality of the desert.
i begins to notice it after i watches the sunsets and sky and shadows on the mountains as the light draws out and the temperature drops and evening and night is the crack between the worlds and i sits out and watches it every night.
see, the desert, the day with the sun is a solar blast furnace, it'll kill you and it goes to 120 degrees easy, up to 130 and 160 even in the sun down on the rock desert floor through midday early afternoon, and it's an incredibly hostile deadly environment. then night, sun down, cooler in, she's down to 90 and then if you're lucky 87 88 maybe, and creatures move out and around and you can stand to walk outside or sit outside and cig a smokerette or drinks a beer or sliced tea.
by day you just sets out water and some tea bags in it, in a four liter glass jar, screws the cap on kinda loosish, and sets it in the sun on the cement place. you comes back later, that's the bestest fresh tea you ever had, it's brewed the nature al way, and - if you're stupid enough - you can try some hot. yeah, it's hot as you make on the stove and pour into a cup.
anyway, you take that sun tea and chill it all out, it takes a good two days to chill down in the fridgelator, and when you drinks that stuff all freezy cool in the mid day, man, that's the bestest she comes.
anyway, Aridzona Sonora there's these fantastic shows from just before sun drops to a few minutes after, they the best in all the americas i been told by people who's been, and i been over a good bit of it myself. the whole thing may be one hour but ten fifteen minutes before the turn over through about one or five minutes after, is the spiritual time.
the turn over is the thing. it only happens in the desert, and you have to be there you know have to have your body heart mind soul to be it. oh, sherry feels it i can tell, and even drunk ol bob gets still at the magic moment, but me i'm in spiritual flight existence and i does hear them talking as a background softly, and i just grateful they gets quiet at the turn over time.
the desert she beats with a heart beat in the day, there are doves gently cooing and little sounds like people makes in their houses and a little bit of insectivories sounds and pebbles scraping and doors of people things. and little hot breezes and huge dust storms which is really high wind sand storms that scour the paint jobs right off your cars and force you off the road, deposit 2 millimeters of the finest silt powder you ever did see right on your living room table and chairs and stove and everything - comes right through the walls.
and the desert night beats with a different heart she's deep and purple and throbbing and magical. she's softly beating wings and moths bigger your hand and bats and nighthawks and cheeps and chirps. the heat drifts off and the dome up overhead opens up like a giant observatory and you can see everything. the heat evaporates straight up, the sagauro blossoms open and then close again for day, there's a whole different world out at night, different critters and different plants and them doing different things.
but it's that special little transition point that is the magic of desert, it's the secret of the desert, and once you be it, you never the same again. capture. rapture. words won't do it, words are not in our language for it. Hopi and Yacqui and a little Spanish, but not English. it's the crack between the worlds and you can slip in it if you're spiritual enough if you're brilliant enough if you learn or if you're taught.
we're watching the sky. it's close to sunset so the light has already stretched out and the trees shadow some of the pavement and ground, so it's growing habitable outside again. i goes to sippin my suntea and watching the sky.
first she goes all colors, incredible shades of yellow, and i doesn't mean sear white, like the desert sky is daytimes, i mean she goes to yellow, and there be pinks and fuchsias and oranges mixed in big jet trails and clouds. the clouds radiate color and they shift through coral to orange and all the shades of red and yellow and blues and purple. the sky gets richer and richer blue all the time.
They say the dust in the aire with the very special light and lines of the world contributes to it, make all those fantastic brilliant desert colors in the show up above.
the sun beams still shine in through over the mountains and the clouds move move move it's just like the light on the mountains in the burning searing day, the mountains change shift every moment it's a dance of shadow light every instant it's a show.
now the clouds and sky are doing, and this isn't sky and clouds like you've ever seen before, this is the entire dome the globe is afire and radiant and she's giving her final show of the day she's saying goodnight and it's glory it's glorious it's glory hallelujah. all the death and threat and pain and power of the sun is gone and it's soft and wonderful and warm, instead of the killer of the day.
the background sky edges darker, you see it in one moment as you watch hold your eyes open no blink so you see every moment, the light in the sky blinks ever so slightly and look at the mountains, the sun is still beaming over but it's not on the ground mountains anywhere it's pointed up on the clouds in the sky in the show way high above.
you're seeing the curve of the planetary atmosphere, and the show and the light is up high in it, not on the mountains or dirt ground anywhere. that's the first blink - when the sun goes up off the ground. it changes the light the ambience, and it feels like a sigh. the world sighs, the nuclear blast is over for the day.
then there's the second little blink flash where the sun goes down but it's still shining above through the heavens, above the sky even. after watching studying being observing i knows what's happening is the sun's actually gone down but we see the sunlight still, it's being curved around the earth by the atmosphere. you see it shining brilliant the heavens the light the glorious golden light it's alive it's breathing it's birth it's solemn and it's spiritual and le toca todo el mundo, toca spiritual todo.
and i see it. i see the plasma of space time, the lines of the world streaming through with the sun curvature around the earth it's the light from another time and place we're just getting here in the skies above it's borrowed not ours. it's hitting the earth somewhere else and it's full of life you see it, streaming lines like protozoa.
it's a heady feeling and my spirit world when i first experience it, the dome atmosphere of our little globe. i'm down near the Dragoons in the what i call las pampas, the grass grows waist high, and i looks up and to appreciate the sky and my body rocks, my world spins, and i almost fall over. i look again and i see it i see it we're on a little globular planet and you sees the whole thing when you're there.
you know when you lay on a merry go round and watch the sky spin around? you can see it spin here, and she's the biggest friendliest merrygoround you ever imagined it's the planet and she's spinnin! it's the sky and clouds and the vast spaces and you sees the curvature of the earth in the huge sky dome above and you know you're seeing 150 200 maybe even 250 miles out and across. all the layers of the sky to outer space are visible, you can see it all.
you see the layers to the blue black of space, you see the different layers by looking vertically over to 90 degree angle from that, horizontally through all the different layers. you can actually see the layers. (visualize slizing a fourth of an apple out, and look out those directions.) and you know. it's an incredible feeling experience and it's as fundamental and molecular as the air and physical body.
well i watch the sky, as she's preparing to turn over, and we all watches the dome and the colors shifting and playing moment to moment, it's all one continuous shiva dance with no jerks or stops or nonmoving parts.
and then it comes ready, it comes time, and i know we're about one minute out, and i feels i senses my body is alive my body direct sensory and i feels everything all together.
at that about one minute moment, there's this little pause in everything. the lady stops crabbing at her child, and bob and sherry and the other person pause in their soft talking, the birds quiet for a second or two, and everybody's taking a breath, cause we all know in the spirit world, that it's coming and everybody is excited and we're getting ready. every body knows it, whether consciously or not, the bodies feel it coming.
then there's a last little flurry of activity, you hear the birds scrambling for their night perches digging deep into the bushes where it's safe and the lady says come in and the voices around me resume for a moment. and i spread out and i feel and my eyes are open and full of light and i watches near the sky and the mountain and then everybody's heart beats together one gigantic heartbeat of the desert and everything alive in it, spirit and body and soul, and then there's a pause or a space, between the beats, and there's perfect silence, and it stretches forever, it's a forever time, then there's a heartbeat every soul's heart beats one and the night has come in and it's night sounds now and we've made the transition to the spirit world of la noche.
you see what happened at the very moment, is the borrowed sunlight streaming, stopped, because the mother earth turned a little more, and the borrowed light blinked at the very moment the hearts beat one, with the gigantic forever space in between.
it's the crack between the worlds.
but the desert . . .
the birds now are different birds, different sounds, and the bats are thicker, and you hear a nighthawk squawk, and a car starts up on the street, and you hear traffic flows off somewhere and a voice speaks again near you and the dome up above has gone to cobalt blue through to midnight blue, and it's over now, the night descends in literally ten seconds from the turn over point it's dark.
it's less than a minute in transition, a matter of seconds in nightfall. it goes immediately like that cause it was borrowed time light, after the sun had gone down, this was just the light bent by the atmosphere pouring in on us, and when it blinks out, it's full dark almost immediately.
it's heavenly, it's just incredible, but no words can do it you really got to go southwest go to Sonora and do be it yourself. don't be in a rush, it may take you a little time to know the desert, and it won't hurt to know the people type critters there too, and all the beings and places and magic of the night and days. it won't hurt to sit and reflect and get to know yourself a little too.
If you ever plan to motor West
travel my way take the highway that's the best
get your kicks on Route 66
Well it winds from Chicago to L.A.
more than two thousand miles all the way
get your kicks on Route 66
You go through St. Louis
Oklahoma City that's mighty purty
you'll see Amarillo-oo, Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff Arizona, and don't forget Winnona
Kingman Barstow San Bernardino oh
Won't you get hip to this timely tip
when you make that California trip
get your kicks on Route 66!
[c. Bobby Troup]
do not be afraid. your self and inner being is not a monster; oh, there might be a monster or two in there, but you can pass them or conquer them through understanding. go on, forge ahead, and learn your true inner self. you'll be amazed. the desert is for being. the desert is for discovering. the desert is for knowing. growing. it's miraculous.
it's a break, for now.
there's another susie girl in there too, yeah is true. i let know down to the escape office, you know the find you a job on the outside orifice, that fbi good job? how get hired by? they say we not know and i checks the infos they do have, but it ain't much.
then one day i'm over to the little snack cage gettin a soda before my 3 oclock class, when this sandy colored hair girl walks up to me and says hi. i likes her, i getting good vibe from her, but she not say much, name susan. we talks a little and i runs to class.
then she show again, same place, two four days later. i says hi, smiles, she smile. somehow the conversation goes straight to jobs and job chit chat and i says i'd Really like to get in fbi but no office no know and she say my dad work for fbi i say yeah? and she smile. i go wow cool. i says how you get in? she say only one way to get in, you get someone in fbi to write you a recommendation.
i starts to say i doesn't no know one when i gets it - her dad. i start to see this susie babe has all her wits abouts her and she ain't quite what she seemed, or at least quite what i thought she was. i asks her, do you come with the deal too, kindly kidding, and she just little smile. hmmm. i splits for class.
i hears someone scratching around through the wall of my hovel cottage in the day and i goes around. a dude in plain clothes is quick walking away. then i notice cracking noises on my telephone. i'm suspicious as hell but that ain't no proof of nothing.
i sees fbi susie a few more times. i thinks it through very very careful and finally decides maybe they kill me if i ever want out, you know you've heard those horror stories, and i doesn't want a lifelong career deal, and fbi susie she sharp as hell and she know it without me even saying it. very sharp.
i hears scraping again, this is maybe two three months later, and i runs around. i confront a guy there, he's in telephone clothes. i says you telephone company and he says yes i says show me your id and he refuses. he doesn't tell me what he's doing. so i calls the phone company and demand to know why they sent a repair guy who's digging around in my back wall in the phone box. they says not send no one, nothing wrong with your phone. ain't lookin too good, is it?
well all that stuff eventually ended. i was also offered a job by a certain other organization, one more to home, and i also gave it my utmost careful and sincere consideration. but - for same reasons - decided no. what if want out after, say, five years? fifteen years? maybe not let get out, so i very very politely declined. carefully and politely.
i sees fbi susan from afar, my very last day on campus. she was giving me the chance just in case i changed my mind. i'm still curious, mighty curious, today. it's the intreague, the acting, the double life. yes, that's it, and the adventure and thrill of danger. that's what it is.
they got a very special office over there by the snacks cage, it extension of the library and called special collections musics and ethnology. i goes in cause i backtrackin deep into cultural historic musics even at this juncture, and they got some fabulous old sounds and rithmetic, you know just like a banjo some rural ancient stuff and i goes in to listen to it. i goes through all their directories and catalogs aseein what treasures they got locked up in there.
the dried up old curator she-thing say no can't touch not listen it crack it and wear it out just to view and is a mighty treasure and i says i know i understands and i goes. it prey on my mind though and tosses and turns near end of school i goes back and in. that wizened old bitch come out firm she say no can't touch it and i say Got to am going to hear it, it's very important. i stands up straight i know, this critical and essential. i understands the risk and the degredation and preserving it. i have weighed the risks and i must have it - it's there for me and the very special few like me who can appreciate it for what it is.
she pull it out and place it proudly in fronts and i plays through on tape and etched pads notes and headphones and i hears the authentic sounds of ancient rock lords of el gran desierto a ghost whistles and splay foot dancing and i hears the vivid visual membories of my banjo root cellar sealing and i am honoured and i am special and i am with the spirit forces who walk this earth. i partakes and i more free i more me. i'm one of the very very few ever even hear that music and see those writings, it's excruciating visual spiritual crescendo, it's purple blood red purple is the color and it's me it's the bloody key it's F.
it's a break.
Momma's playin with the pigs again and suppertime's fast and late, so here i amst, doin chores again and against my willis you know that Jeep type thing them old willis jeeps that'd pull down a tree Bill Yangst said anyway. but momma's got sick and mean and baby brother all he does is sit on the floor and watch the dust in the sunbeams and Smoky Mountain Memories are flooding back abain, it's all wreak and wreck and havoc and goddamn and soliath, you just about know where i been. and that's the truth.
So i meet up with this girl, marty's her name, and she's slim and pretty and got the purest white hair i seen, until on sheila but sheila girl's way much later after the sunningbird oven. marty's in the oven, we play some geeter sing some and she has a rough sweet voice too.
actual was my mentor like who put us in together, she came up to the coffeehouse and we set and saing and played a few out together. then we walks on home in the dark, just talkin as we go. she am lady of the street she say and i say me too am man of the street and cock of the walk, and she like little perturbed, not irritated, just slight bit perturbaceous that i don't be gettin it or something but i not worry no care anyways, she's got soul good + to maybe extry excellent and peace surrounds her so i'm good with this one, no matter what where been.
finally, she say, i work the streets, i street walker and i not care, i says. we goes home and we sing some more and then we sleeps curled up like puppies on the mattress, well it's the season of the kisser bugs but they weren't there then. we just shared and curled up and just held onest another, and in the morning she took out with her guitar. we would sing and hang from time to time. never no money no sextrifics, just being ourselves no sextras.
way much later i sees the crazy white haired on the streets, you know, down on fifth where all the streets live, and she's a dead ringer for marty and i knows the truth. she's a good heart to care for her mom like that, only way she knew how, and it didn't make her crazy or cruel nor nothing, just understood a great bunches about the world and she cared for her momma, who was invalided in her mental places. never hurt noone not even a soul, just it's life, and it's made of things like this.
and i picks up a pretty girl, hell she's just plain beautiful, about fifteen i'd say, sparkly clean long white dress no undies and she says i'm hungry. i says where to, she say anywhere, and we drives then i says i going up this here street to that there street, where you wanta go and she say anywhere all flat in her voice then she say i'm hungry and looks desparate. i takes that poor girl to the corner restaurant and feeds her all she can eat, then she thinks she going to have to do something she don't want to, to pay me, but i says go, just go y vaya con Dios. just be safe, k?
i just couldn't a got that around my little hovel 'cause i know it woulda turned all bad me lasciviousizing her and stuff and illegal too, and you know there's those little sawed off mountie bastards around and they'll bust your butt just for the sport of it as look at you, so i feeds her and hopes she's to makes it okay on her own. can't rescue every damnacious stray comes along, just select ones!
i got frunculated into the cigars and bars and we played a lot, making good money weekends and pick up gigs through the week. i quit every last vestige of day job, wasn't one i mean not even a One person said go for it, even my bestest music buddies said no don't. so i does it anyhow! i had this Studebaker, that thing was a frame the size of a VW bug with a V8 and when i dropped her in overdrive, punched it to the floor, that thing was doin 70 in half a block, no lie. it was just the fastest little sombitch, no wonder people likes those things.
i bought it off a guy about six blocks over, i saw it every day goin past on my 10-speed. i finally stops in after i sees the price dropping, and this guy comes out paranoid as hell. who you, what want, scared edge of paranoid, i'd say.
he begins to trust me and says everybody gettin busted, he's been dealing dope, he gotta sell the Studie Lark fast, he say, either he busted or roomie and they got a fine to pay or something, so i buys that studebaker classic mochine for $175 cold hard cashes. i puts on the table and takes the keys and title and it runs good everythings.
jerry jeff, oh what was his name, it was bim, little tommy two shoes, he has a bass fiddle he brings over, and after he gets the hound dog hots for my live-in, he brings the bass over a lot, but anyway, he brings it over and we're all just jammin around. he say you play, he pick up guitar, we all trade around but i don't know the first thing about playing that thing, and says so.
he looks at me and laughs, says you just do this here, steve, and that there, and pluck that mumfucker right there, and i goes oh, is that all? and i'm playing that thing in literally a minute, just groovin it. so i goes to playing the bars and clubs at night and teach some lessons by day, it's a great lifestyle, just keep food on the table is all.
I answers an ad for country music band, and meet this guy name George, and he has an electric band called "Country Caravan" with drums, bass, guitar, me on banjo, and somebody on steel who can't play worth a shit. So I convinces George (his real name is George Jones he says and i make him show me his drivers license and it is - George Jones from Macon Georgia) - i convinces him that what we Really need is to go bluegrass, i got some good musicians and we can still do country, just mix it right in.
So we get a dude on fiddle, Rennard was the best then in S. AZ but he had run off somewhere, Summerdog had broken up. Later Rennard came and played with me at the Gaslight Theatre but that was a couple years later. So we got Rubin on fiddle, and George on guitar, me on banjo, and that was the core of the band.
I came up with names and we put them in a hat and they drew "Salt River Ramblers" and george had business cards made and everything. and we go to work. George is really good on getting us gigs, bars clubs stage events, you name it he gets it. we're playing essentially every weekend and i sub one to two nights through the week with somebody. Since i play bass and banjo i fill in other acoustic bands that need someone.
well i has students coming from all over, and timmy two shoes says some very very elite people lives in Tucson i go oh yeah boring and he say very very elites i go i not impressed i totally unimpressed with that in awe of greatness thing. he kinda laughs and says it's rumoured the beatles is around here and i go look, timmy two shoes, i told you i doesn't give a fuck and i don't. i don't believe his gibberish he just want to get in my live-in's pants anyway.
some students i drives to their houses if they asks, and some in stores, and some come to my pad hovel and dance in the dust. i pulls that carpet up one time (it's nailed along the wall with a little 8 mm aluminum strip, nailed to the floor all around the edges) and goldamn if she ain't a solid half inch of dirt under that thing in spots! no wonder the dust fly.
anyway, i has this pickmeuptruck student, two different womens drop him off, and somethimes they trading him out like one drop him off and the other pick him up, he bring a sixer each lesson and pays me cashes and he practices and we set and enjoy a-visitin a little bit too. his one girlbabefriend takes kinda helping hand and bring a few napkins and paper plates one time, then she bring some chips several time, and one time she brung toilet paper cause i didn't bother to stock none most of the time.
now rosalee she complained on that once and she says "I'm gonna sue you steve" and i ignores it, she repeat it again, she say no light in there, no toilet paper and i says what's the matter with you, you fragile? there's a sink with hot water and soap and clean towels and hell who needs a light? that place about move to touch a faxility, and window too, what the problem? ain't nobody else complaining.
then she say, real quiet and still, "I'm going to sue you steve" and i looks at her quizzical, i think she bonkers or half witted or something, and then i laughs at her and shrugs and says go ahead, i ain't got anything to take!
anyway, i get a call teach a little boy banjo, he got one, and i drives way out east in the foothills, it's a address just on a dirt road, and there's a brick house there being built, and i checks the address three or four times, it's right, no car, all half built and open it looks.
i drives up - i has the Studie now, i has to coast it down the drive to jump her off - so i parks her in backed around at the top of the drive and gets out and go in. a second later a car pulls up and it's the lady, she's more like a girl, and she has the little boy. she leads him into a bedroom, they ain't no furniture in the rest of the house, and he sets on the bed and gets out the banjo and he likes it too.
she says see? i brought your little who-ya-call-it and i brought your truck over for you too. he looks kind of amazed, he sees all his toys here and he just left his house, how did they get here? you can see it's magic to him, he's at that age.
i start him banjo, exit the boy's room, and the lady is standing in the kitchen staring out the window, just silent. i says the boy is doing fine and she turns to me with this great sadness in her eyes and she says i'm so lonely, i just want to be around people, so my husband is building this house for me. i go oh, that's nice. and she turns and just stares out the window. She says my name is linda, i'm so tired of that i want people around me again.
i figure they're splitting up and she's getting a new house out of the deal, for her and the boy, and she's getting him broke in on my time. well that's fine, i'm for to teach the little boy and that's all. but she sure seems weighted down sad.
the next week they're already there when i arrive, and i go in and start the little boy. he's only about three, and his fingers are just too small to go the strings, and i start him on his right hand. his fingers are incredibly soft and tender when i feels the tips of them too, and i know those big wire banjo strings are really hurting him.
i step out and the lady is crying at the window again and she just barely glances at me then out the window and she says i have cancer and i say i'm so terribly sorry, and i want to comfort her but i just don't know how. i don't think she wants my arms around her, maybe she does, but it wouldn't be right, so i listen but she says no more, and we finish the lesson.
i tell her the boy's fingers are just too small, we should let him grow just one more year, but she doesn't seem to accept it. she says his father Really wants him to start now. just half a year then.
the next week was the last i saw them, actually the boy wasn't with her but the pool was in and she seemed a little brighter, there was furniture in the house now. but she didn't pay me and the boy wasn't with her, so i didn't go back again. she tried to talk me into teaching him just one string left hand, but i thought his hands would do it better with a little growing, and i told her so.
it was years later her picture on the news i see and it's Linda McCartney and all of a sudden everything fits, and it's true. you can ask the summerdog boys, they were the connection cause they were the top acousticats in tucson so natural. everyone knew i was the best on tablature and teaching, Chip's a great banjo picker with a style of his own and i love his framming too, but everyone knows i was the best straight scruggs player and teacher, that's why i got the referral. you can check with mccartney, he knows.
the alternator is stickin on the Studie and battery not charge good so i parks it on a hill 1/2 block from my little hovel cottage deal, and jumps her off down that little rise. thing runs like a clock. finally i sells it to a collector dude who goes $350 for it with bad alternator, says he'd go over $1000 and more for od still in it, but i fried that thing out. oh, i hates it, but they had a poor design and people just burns them up! those were those old, pre-inflation dollars, remember.
so i gets me a VW fastback with the little pancake engine in it. i likes that thing, like a little porsche. Sherry - she lives with the dyke phys ed coach - likes me but all i feels comfortable about talkin is my VW or musics, and she lost on both of them. Ahh, it's a pack of insanity and i'm gonna tell you abouts it!
The fasterback burned up, she blew out a rear seal and i drove her through the whine then the screech like a wild metallic animal screaming to get free, louder and louder everybody a block away is looking and i knows i done burnt fried that motor out and shore enough she's out of oil when i check. oh well.
i puts her in the paper, tan VW fasterback, i says, with burnt motor. cheap. about 25 peoples drives by, looks, calls, everything, but no one comes to the door. can't figure this shit out, so i drops the price and runs her again. she's down to $225 then $200 (those old dollars, you know, worth more) and then this old bastard calls, says i called three weeks ago, still for sale? i says yeah, ain't nobody coming by. he says be right over.
this ol desert rat shows up not five minutes later, pulls in in the dust in the dirt lot, to the door. he screws me down to $175 - goddamn it, i gotta sell it - and then after it's done, he say that car green, boy, you color blind? crafty bastard, but that's the name of the game! he was the one smart enough to figure it out, put two and twixt together, and get that car for a major savings! said he had a junked one but good motor, just drop it in there.
so i buys an ol low rider, twas a Chevy '63 and dark dark almost midnight blue, well it was really a tiny twixt past cobalt blue toward midnight blue, about the color of the Texas sky after the sun's gone down on those big big beautiful nights before the stars come out, it's all the very dark blue over the horizons, into the dome up above. She's a beaut, got a spring out in the rear and the muffler's disconneculated so she sounds like a straight pipe almost. i buys her off some guy in a halfway house, i guess alcoholisticness and the slave master makes him do it and it's rippin his heart outa his chest you can see but i gets her for $425. Thing'd sell for $2000 today, same shape.
so we bobdamulate all over town in the chevymobile, drives her to the bar gigs and stuffs, and cause of that muffler out, we roar down the alleys all the way across town. you know, in Tucson, they garbage alleys you drive on for miles across town, you just gotta cross all the streets in the middles, no intersections, no lights. so you can slow and look and safe, or you can blast and roar and take your almighty chances they ain't no car coming down the street when you fly across!
depend on how wasted i was, one party i was drunkaceous, the girl say i drive and first i say yes but then no goddamn it, you know that ol male masculinity musculine muskvarmint thing, so i takes the keys and we roars through the gutter byways and alleys, with her throaty roar wakening up neighborhoods for miles. dust clouds flying, garbage cans a-rollin, we's on our mission to Hell and we's comin Through! so don't do nothing stupid like try to back your car out to pull out cause we're at flat 60, bouncin through.
see, those alleyways, they go ups and down, usually straight, but it's hard to get her much over 50 with all the ups and downs, so it's like a merrygoround with rollercoaster rises and falls built in. it's fun, and it's a little bit dangerous, but not very. every now and then my senses tell me slow for this street crossing, and i hits the brakes, we slide in the dirt rocks and pebbles flying bouncing off of parked cars and houses and fences and garbage cans, and toboggan out onto the street and screeches to a halt, looks around, all clear, gun her again.
other times i'm caught up with the thrill and the chase and the beer and the roar bouncing off the houses and echoing down, and i puts her to the floor and across the streets that way, from 30 to 55 or 60, we're comin through so i hope like hell ain't a car there, cause we're gonna crash like a son of a bitch if there is. but we never crashes, makes it home alright, many a night. about five a six blocks out of home, comin in, we'd let off of her, gunnin her, cause so noisy. just let her purr in, that purr kinda like a tiger kitten, with some teeth in it!
so i sells the slightly darker than cobalt blue '63 lo rider and we go. made my escape from there lovely Tucson, city of my dreams and loves of my life. Mi querido Tucson, mi corazon.
"Si quieres la verdad
he amado muchas mujeres,
pero solo tu, solo tu
permanece en mis pensamientos
Quando los cielos, se vuelven frio y gris
y las palomas esconden sus cabezas
y las noches son largas y frias
y la lluvisna goteya, de los arboles
Springtime, Sonora, in Old Mexico
lemon yellow is the color of the sunlight and sunlight is gold
the creosote bush growin, the cactus is swollen
with the bountiful rains and the snow from the mountains above
I ride out, far in the desert we go
climbing the trails through the brush and the arroyos
steadily higher, but soon we grow tired
I turn my eyes o'er the valleys and vista below
[Interlude - Coro]
Le amo carinosamente
prometio de encontrarme
en la vereda de San Jacinto
en las montanas Tucsones de la sur de Arizona
Fourty and sixty and ... eighty and more
miles I see deep in the Territory of Old Mexico
the buzzard is glidin, and I see beside him
the canyons and washes, los arroyos, las lomas of home
Le amo carinosamente
prometio de encontrarme
en la vereda de San Jacinto
en las montanas Tucsones de la sur de Arizona
Le amo carinosamente
prometio de encontrarme
en la vereda de San Jacinto
"Mucho carino, mi corazon"
Si quieres, la verdad
he amado muchas mujeres
pero solo tu, solo tu
permanece en mis pensamientos."
[c.1999 George McClure]
i sees the blueberry hills and the skunkweed and the bitterroot, and i smokes the herb from the hoof and toe of bison and vision plainly they comes to me. the massive shaggy buffalo, he brother to the heavy rugged musk oxen, and the caribou have the special foots to grab tenderly and nots to crush the spongy tundra mosses and lichens, on which they subsists through the winter.
it's all a delicate web, is what it is, it's just a big web of life and we're in it, although there's them that'd just as soon be blind to the fact. well, you know what? when those ones lay down to die, then there'll gonna know, then they'll find the whole truth, and how very far astray they've been and what evil and misjustice they've propagated. then they'll know.
but i'm fallin astray of the gist of the story, which is me and Gloria girl was on an excursion in the Alaska wild primitive type places, you know, outs where y'all can feel aLIVE and your wits is matched against the survivalist subelementals i guess you calls it, but it's the preal deal and i'm about to tell you about it.
it started on a early early mornin and we meets at the Alaska train station before darks to lights, except ain't no darks to lights cause it's summretime almost, and it's light twenty four hours a day! just a little grey period two hours along around two to four or one to three, you doesn't need a light but it gets greyish out.
so it's chilly and we meets i got the tickets already so we throws our packs on and climbers aboard. i likes her, the train that is, she's a coal-fed mothermonstrosity and runs the ol steam way, boiler, steam overflow, build up the pressure, let her roll, and she rattles and clackers and swings and sways and i feel good.
it's cold ayonder, about 40 degrees or 45, just over freezing. we don't see much atall along the tracks, it's hundred miles of spruce bog and trees and track and clickety clack and ever so often just a little trail come to the track. the train'd slow and throw off a large package, then chuff on, building speed.
sometimes there'd be a person out there, highs peering out of their heads, god damn it's the first human life and syphilisation some o these people has seen in six months and more! Jesus, she's remote as hell, just plain fuckin wilderness and that's people livin a wild style of life, just ain't even 1/1,000,000 like anything you ever seen or imagined in your entire life. movie? you jokin? maybe sawed one fifteen year ago if ever, those boys along playin basketball, naked waist up and below 45 degrees frickinheit, and it's summretime!
they really wasn't but five human lives we seen in Fairbanks to Denali, along the tracks, not counting Nenana, but they was the trails coming out the wilderness, just a little footpath. some was homesteaders, some was just comin in for annual supplies and trade out furs. yessir, she's the re-al deal. and there was Nenana, along out. there was ilnians around everywhere. not much a car - what the hell good's a automobile with only three miles of road around and nowheres else to go but drive around in a little circle around a town? Yet people'd bring em in there, you'd see the damnedest things brought in, rusting away, big power boats and trucks and stuff. either drove in on ice or come in on the railroad. or river, lord knows they fought the bitter fight on the river.
Gloria's liking this guy playing and singing for drinks, just all kind of songs, and she likes to drink anyway so she has fun up with the group laughing and drinking around him. everyone has fun till several hours in he's too drunk to sing and falls over and passes out. guess he lives on the train, singing and playing for his drinks and tips and occassional meal. i restes and we cool along till the train start to rockin real heavy and i looks out the window and jumps back in surprise.
there's a goddamned stone wall just a foot and a half off the window, it looks, just jagged rock and we're rocking in and out and you know it ain't but inches we're offa that thing. then i gets the bright idee, look see what's over the other side of the train, and then my previously safe comfortable feeling evaporates, and for good. it never did return that trip!
what's out the left side of that train ain't nothin, it just ain't a goldamned thing, she's a pure gorge chasm and WE AIN'T ON LAND we travellin on air and my stomach goes out below me, just sinks. I better looks, get a grasp on this here, i says, so i crawl back over the other side of the train, rollin and rockin she is, a pitchin and a yawin, and i looks out and peer down mighty sharp, i wanna see what we're travellin on, by god, and i'm gonna proves to myself what's holding us up.
wellsir, what's under there is trestle type stuff, you know, just railroad timbers, just stuck to the side of that goddamned rock cliff wall, grown out at an angle like a triangle, with us riding along the top flat side, the cliff straight up, and you gets the picture. if that wasn't enough, the rockin and a swayin, next to bouncing off the rock wall on the inside, and man you don't WANTA look out the outside, when she's swaying outwards. Jesus.
she goes along like that for miles and miles. those mothernanuckers put in some serious serious work putting that road in there, just stuck to the edge of a rock wall cliff like that, and strong enough to support a steam slocomotive and loaded train cars and all... man, she's afrumunculated, sure.
we pulls in a little drab place, drab army color buildings along the tracks, and it's Denali. we detrain with our packs and our gear and there's only two three buildings there, no food, nothing, course we're cool with that we brought our own for to pack into the outback.
we goes into the building with maps and ranger dudes, and looks everything over real careful, just take plenty hours now and make sure all our maps are accurate and the ones we need, get the logisticals down. we'll ride in on the shuttle, which is a old school bus. only vehicles allowed, and they're running on gravel road. everything is gravel or dirt road. we filed our flight plan and they make you read a million fliers on walls, in your hands, in your packs, everywhere, everything about bears bears bears and i digests it.
we rides in, miles and miles and miles of splendor and not a person type soul, no road, no trail, no autos, no buildings, just the hugest landscape ever you see in the world, you get to thinkin it's normal mountains, get off the bus, and start walking down slope. cold arctic wind blowin steady like in the rocky mountains but a little colder, cold so three shirts, wool sweater, and either windbreaker or down vest over that, and hat. June.
i walks down ten minutes and stops to look, and the visual scene is identical - it's so blamed vast, the dimensions are so huge, that it hasn't changed. my movements are so minute in the vast sculpture of the riverine rocks and mountains crested and carved, huge alluvial plains stretching for tens of miles - thirty and more miles of them you see, easy, but until i walked i hadn't known how absolutely immense they were. she was a mind blower for sure.
we gets to the Toklat, that's our stop, and we're offloaded and down, and out. now really on our own, and i sense the loss of civilization as the bus moves out of sight and sound, and i grow into the mood and spirit of the vast isolation. it's tundra now, they ain't no trees at all, just low scrubby wind and winter-beaten bushes along low protected areas, less than knee high. they could even be fir or spruce trees, all stunted out in the horror of the climate.
we hike down and out and across, we'll cross the Toklat, i says, and head for them foothills to camp. well, that's what you'd do in the lower 48, head for the foothills for cover and shelter. this river don't look wide nor too bad, we hike down about 1/2 mile to it and footing turns to cobbles. another 1/2 mile along, no place looks good for crossing, when gloria she just goes right in.
she's up to her thighs in it, almost off her feet but she plunges on, but i'm more worried about her than me so i'm in too, fourty pound pack on my back, swinging around. (you don't want it strapped on cause if you go down, you're dead, no second chance at all. so you fight the swaying around as you wade the cobbles.)
gloria's to her crotch and i plunge after her. it's some of the fastest water i ever crossed, very very fast and thigh deep, i can't see how she can make it, she's tough and that's a natural fact. just tough. she's half eskimo and half something else, like all of us.
but the real danger in that water is its temperature - that's the real killer out here. the water is not wide, we get leg chilled, but nothing at all, nothing at all. if the water were wide, or you washed down, that's when you could hyponalnothermiate. but we's fine, and we're across on the other side, invigorated!
takes stock, look back at the road, but she's gone. just ain't no road, no road bed, nowhere, it's back maybe three miles now, and even though we're climbing that giant alluvial outwash, and looking downward, can't see any road anywhere through that valley. it just vanished.
i looks up river toward the "foothills" - fuuuuck, those aren't no foothills like i ever seen before, and i been in the Wind Rivers, and Sawtooths and Beartooths, the Tetons and the Appalachians, from Georgia to Maine in the Smokies and AppleChain, the White Mountains and the Wasatch Range, and the Bigtooth and the Bitteroots, and the Sangre de Cristos and the Mimbres, the Black Mountains and the Mogollons, and the Pecos and the Chisos and the Superstitions, the Dragoons the Catskills the Chiracahuas the Rincons the Catalinas Golly Gulch the Tucsons Canyon de Chelly, on the Kaibab and the Mogollon Rim, on the Blue Ridge (she's a rim, like's in the West), San Franciscos, in the Slickrock, shit i been in some mountains, now. i been through the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, the Peloncillos and the Sierra Madre Orientals y Occidentals, there's montanas all the way. But this here has just put every last one of them to shame. it's just like child's toys against the real thing, the little tinker toy model against this. all the others is just model toys to this baby.
well, as i looks upriver toward them so-called foothills, i realizes all this, while steadily truckin along, don't slow that pace, too practiced outside to slow to view or think or something. we gotta travel some ground and i wants to get somewhere before we bivy up for the night. and i realizes we ain't a drop closer to those so called foothills as we were when we disembarked from that ol school bus back on the road no longer visible. no engine sound. no planes. ain't nothing there, man.
every so often you hears a wind slip and fluttery flap, the heavy feather ruffle you hear up close to a large bird falling, and it's a raven dipping around you. they's alone and isolate too, and wants to check out this lifely form truckin along the dirt rock and scrub dog. reckon he's following the grizz on chance a pickin up dinner leftovers! i knows we hiked three hours and crossed a river and we ain't any visibly closer to those mountains and stuff, we ain't never getting in there tonight, nor probably even tomorry, for that matter, gotta rethink this deal.
so we goes till we're worn out - tired, not beat down - and it's been maybe three four hours, and we pitches my little "three person tent" which is just perfect for two plus all your gear. out of habit, i looks for trees, dips, land formations, for protections, and they ain't one. nothing. it's just cobble stones, miles and miles and miles of cobblestones, and not never no tree, nary a not one tree, not even the little scrubby things, just absolutely nothing but sky and wind and rocks, and the Toklat river way below, it's about 1/2 mile or more below us now.
the cobbles gradate from large down in the Toklat up to about the size of your fist where we are, on up to small like half dollar another mile or so from the river. the farther you get at right angles from the river, the smaller the pebbles, and you'd have to go five to eight miles to get to little gravel stuff. so we pitches and beds down on the cobbles and i looks forward to a night of mighty bumpy rocks in my back.
i gets some fresh water from the Toklat, starts some liptons soup on a little white gas stoves i got, and then we heats up some corned beef whilst we drink the soup. i looks for grizz's very sharp before starting the meat, cause all those warning fliers and rangers and everything everywhere says no meat or fish, cause it draws bears.
so i don't see a thing in that mighty immense landscape, nary a thing but wind and river and rock, and cold sky and cloud, and we starts the food cookin. everything going fine, we eating the soup, when i look up and see a grizzly coming upriver, a waving his huge head back and forth as he moves, a sniffin the air waves and he's directly downwind of us. oh no.
his head is swaying back and forth, left to right, like a light on those trains in texas, that blow your mind so the first time you see one, sweeping the horizon. i'm concerned, but my concern turns serious when he changes course from the river to follow the scent, dead on for us and our little cornbeef and lipton soup and pup tent powwow.
my instincts kick in - protection. looks around. no tree. no hollow, no dip, no rise, no hill, nothing just flat slope upwards thirty fourty miles to those huge ol mountains. like a holler or dip or tree would help, it wouldn't, just instinctive things look for. they ain't a gold blasted thing, just a nylon tent and you know what that'll do to stop a 1,000 to 1,500 pound freight train!
now my concern turns deadly serious. i think defense now, and this here's one of the stupidest things i ever done in my life, at least so far - i turned down a friend's imploring and insistance and even his putting his .357 magnum in my backpack before we left Fairbanks, i turned it all down. he said just take it, you might need it, even just have it, it won't hurt to have it, and i had to play god and say no. i told him no. he would not relent, but finally had to.
anyway defense, so i gets out my buck knife. oh yeah, that four inch blade? absolutely powerless. no firearm. so cobbles, i gets about five ten together, figures i can bounce one good one off his nose, maybe surprise him into stopping. only chance. sound pretty totally pitiful? it was. like i said, it was one of the stupidest things i ever done, so far at least.
the grizz he breaks into a trot, and i'm oh shit we're done now, and Gloria belle she grabs pots and pans and starts to dancing in circles and clanging and banging and whistling and laughing and i momentarily thinks she's berserk but flash - all the brochures and rangers say make noise, jump and shout, bears have weak vision, let em know you're there.
dumps the soup and joins in with gloria maiden and it's the only thing to do anyway, we're dead meat if this mother wants us, so we goes crazy out there in the wind and the rocks and the sky and that weak weak sun. and the bear hears us, stops, and swings that huge head back and forth, he gets up on his rears for a second, he's trying to see us. damn thing really is blindaceous, he's about two hundred yards off and can't see us.
but the ruse works and he points back on an angle to the river, continuing his journey upriver. we relaxes a little bit and looks at each other, gloria belle's face is flushed with excitement, pretty round smile and almost black eyes shining, and she's at home. me, i'm cautiously relaxing and watching the grizz to make sure he doesn't break course. i watch till he's clear of our scent trail in the wind, and then keep an eye on him till he's out of sight.
i takes the corned beef remnants to the river, washes the piss out of everything, and we moves camp since spilled the soup out, and i'll tell you what i couldn't care if a arctic type fox comes after the soup, but i sure don't want no grizz coming down river for that smell later.
you can look at it like you want, but it's sheer stupidity to go into the outback unarmed. there's no room for errors of judgement, even if you are learning. dig out one of those Jack London tales and you know what? every bit of it's true. every little bit of it's true. one match, one misstep can cost you your life.
i sleeps about twenty minutes the whole night, we all grabbled together. my alarm system just doesn't even allow sleep this night, through the greyish like two hours of twilight. the water freezes in the water bottles. jesus, June.
gloria doll, she's probably 95 or 103 pounds, if that, near black hair and near to it eyes, and they bright and shiny and she's at home, we crawlses in the bags and she's warm turn to hot magic in the cold Aleut night and she's just alike a little girl, all smooth no furry. she take no shit offa anybody and she drinks her booze and do as she please, and that's just about the only kind of woman person i can stand anyway so we's natural.
i start into her and she flips over on her belly and she says give it to me in the butt, i love that, and then she whispers to me in the butt, i love that do me in the butt, stevie and then i see glory and sephroni and i'm become a lover boy which you and my mind stretches out and i'm awash in feeling and panic and sex and blood and i see stars in the grey grey twilight and we sexplodes and for that moment the grizz and gloria and the raven and the fox traces and the rocks and the show and me and her and time is one and we are one, the grizz and gloria, the raven and the fox and me. it's wild spirituality and i'm one with the universe of time and speciality.
next 'day' we get out, just rock and wind and weak weak sun, and we trudges up river. i know we got other things to do so we go upriver, camp, exist, and then come back down she's penultimate after meeting the grizzled mighty one, jesus why did that thing even back off of us, anyway? must be evolution thing, thousands of years of built up experiential knowledge saying this little monkey man things can hurt or kill you, no other reason, sure, 'cause i was a defenseless as a baby child, for truth.
another couple days we get back down river and find the road - well, that wasn't no feat, cause it crosses the river! - and we sits by the gravel road in the little scrubby less than knee high bushes that might be little stunted spruce trees, stunted by the horror of the winters, and we waits on the school bus shuttlemobile.
i begins to think they just stopped running them, it's a half day down there, and one comes along. she pulls to a stop and we gets on, there's three human beings on there, one driver and two rider people. they doesn't speak english and they doesn't speak Aleut nor Inuit not Inupiaq but i tries.
we rides to Denali, and i says where is it, i looking around, and then i sees this thing, half way up the sky, you know, half way up to the zenith, straight up, and my eyes go back to searching around ground and hills and mountain level when the fact snaps my eyes back to the clouds and it's Denali, she's half way up the sky and no lie, top all ringed with clouds and peak stickin out above that. Just flabbergasted fabuloso, is all. She's the mighty peak of the Americas, or at least one of them, maybe Machu Pichu and Andes got one this big and tall, but this here? she's the mother horn of em all, and i'm giggly over it, has this strange effect on me and the few others there too, it's we're here, it's absolutely fabulous, ain't nothing grander, it's one of the very greatest natural sites and experiences in the world, and we all laughs, elation and bubbles and fabulaceousness and sigh face relax meltdown sitdown peltdown no building no road no tree no nothing just a mighty monstrosity and its presence is so dominating, its spirit, it's breathing life, and we feels its spirit and we giddy elated it's warm and benevolent presence. it's a spirit feel just like i feels the animals, denali she's a warm moist goddess, warm in the barren desert of cold. she breathes to me.
no, i didn't spirit think the bear. mighta tried if it'd actually come for us and the grub. mighta worked, who knows. stranger things have happened, and if you've read this far, you know they've happened to me, too.
so we pooped around denali, the goddess, in the misty cold rain, and then took a evening shuttle out. we rode it for hours, then disembarked on another river, you just point and say there and one place as good as another, it's just miles and tens of miles and hundreds of miles of unbroken wilderness. we saw those mountain goat critters too, white, way up high, hell they was up a mile had to have a minor telescope to see them! but you could just make out white dots bare eyes.
so i says year, on this bluff overlooking a river we steps off the bus with all our'n gear, and my plan is hike out along this river following the bluff. wind means lesser bugs, and jeezh, ain't told you about the bugs, cause they weren't bad back yonder but here? like death, and you'll see why. they can suck the blood from a full grown moose in two three hours, this here damn serious boy, you better get right cause satan comin and he's a wearing a mask and it's bugs.
we gets hit soon's the bus pulls off and it's a black cloud. no, not ten mosquitoes, no not a thousand mosquitoes and gnats, no not a million mosquitoes and gnats and deerflies, but tens of millions, and they make the air dark and you breathe them in if you don't close your mouth, and they're crawlin through your nose and down your throat so you're always going kakk! kakk! coughing spitting those things out.
natch we battens down the hatches, some wear the netting over a hat way down under your shirt, we do the bug dope repellent on the skin, it's kind of oily greazy and it's 80+ degrees, did i forget to mention that up on the taiga and tundra it goes over 80 degrees frickinheit in the summer? well, it does.
so i got rubber bands around all cuffs, arms, legs, clothing is protection from the bugs, not the weather, sweat rollin down under your clothes, all buttons done up, wool hat on for protection, bugs in the corners of your eyes, inside your ear canals, they crawl under the rubber banded shirt sleeves and up under your clothes and have a veritable feast.
did i forget to tell you about the terrain? while we're bundling up against the onslaught of the bugs, we shoulder our packs, that gloria belle ain't no weak-kneed little corn puff, neither, she grabs her gear and on her back with a good twenty five pounds at least, she's just as tough as the permafrost, and she a arctic gem!
i climb off the road - that's right, it's built up above the brush, about five six feet high, all graded dirt here in this spot. there even a tree or two along this year river, little ones but they there. so i climbs down off the road bed and into the bushes. they's cranberry bog bushes, and about knee to a little above the knee high.
steps in, and go on, then i sinks full to my crotch straight down on about the fifteenth step. sheesh! ain't no bottom, she's a bog, and have to lever yourself up with your other leg, no hand holds on nothing. picture one foot on ground, other foot on the hood of your family car, with a fourty pound pack on your back, and water and bog to your crotch. now lift yourself up with the leg on the hood of the car, and of course once you're up, then you gotta figure out where the hell to go next!
i gets up on the hummock, and figures and learns a way through it. it's along the river in the quicksand (yes, it's real, and can be dangerous) and mud (you can get stuck in it too) and no good camping place, or along the river bluff through the bog. godamned bog grows upslope, down, on angle, high, low. it's standing water in moss three feet deep with cranberry hummocks in between.
i tries hopping hummock to hummock, no go, you can grasp the hummock with your feet while it quivers and quakes. if it's strong enough you can cling to the sides of the top of it, feet clutching it. most of them are too weak, and quiver you off, and it's wasted energy for nought. so i tries slogging around them; impossible, cause no footing and it's water, and you can't get around the hummocks, you gotta go over them. oh now i'm getting it, this is why people do their serious travel in the winter. bog is frozen, no bugs, and grizz's away somewhere.
turns out the best way is to lever up - try to step right where you doesn't sink out of sight - step - walk - continue till you fall in again, then lever up - and keep going. she's a bitch, and ain't no lie. i wonder how the hell gloria is handling this and when she goes in it's to her waist and i have to pull her out. she tries to keep one foot on solid bushes, and fights her way through like me, and we crosses it together, holding by the hands.
well, sir, we fight our way out 1/2 mile into that bogstrosity, remember this is the uplands, and i says fuck it, we'll do the number right here. as soon as we stop, those black grey clouds descend upon us and we tighten up the hatches. i gets out the nylon tent, unfurls her in the bog - she'll be a cold wet mothernanucker tonight, by god, and lifts the tent. gloria's fixin us vittles and fighting the bugs.
i gets the tubes in the tent and not need no stakes here, nothing i mean nothing but air and water and bushes to stick them in anyway, and tent won't blow away with us in it, ain't no storms comin in and wind ain't over 5 mile an hour, the normal things. we eats hot tea and cheese and cracker and gorp and glop, and it's mighty good, 'specially that hot tea.
i unzips the front flap and rolls in, as much as you can roll over hummocks, and zips her up fast as lightning. i lie on my back and stretch out, sweating like crazy - it's over eighty five degrees in the tent, no air moving, nothing open, and i looks at the roof of the tent and it's black just solid black. i go what, did it get dark so sudden, and i looks again, it's moving, it's just solid godamned bugs just solid so it's black. down on the side walls of the tent it gets lighter, see the red color of the nylon, then i touches up above and i recoil - those bugs are on the inside and i just can't believe it. shit, she'll be a hot uncomfortable night tonight.
i zips gloria in and we gets naked under the covers, has to be under covers cause the bugs, it's sweat running off you not many bugs or take cover off and cooler - for a minute - and a gazillion bug bites, but then you get hot anyway, so we stays mostly under. she's a firecracker anyway so we loves our worries away and cuddles, away out there in the lonely Alaskan dusk on the taiga.
in the night i gets cold, add wool sweater and zip the bags up tight, and we sleeps, at least as much as you can in Alaska in the summer when it's light twenty two hours a day and twilight two. the sweat and boggy water is all through the floor, the pads, and our gear and it turns mighty cold indeed in the wee hours and we shivers. when we arise the water among the hummocks is frozen. we strike camp and hikes down the little river and follows it down and back up. g ain't talkin so much anymore guess we're both tired out and we goes back to the road and climbs up on it, and sits and waits for a tour bus to come along going our way. the days are twenty hours long for us and you can do a lot of trucking in a day!
we catches the shuttle back to Denali base, and she's a long ride in, too. we arrives tired out but dichoso, and throws our trashes away and breathes a big sigh of relief we're back to syphilisation - no bears. we gets the train on and i restes and g she finds the little crowd by the guy singing ballads and train songs and songs of life and travel. he's downing the drinks and swaying with the train and he swiys and sangs till he cain't stay upright and slumps down, sings and drinks some more, till he finally passes out. everybody laughs, just brings some gaiety to the folks ridin on the city of new orleans.
i meets susan, one of the many suzie girls i's to meet and breathe and lift and fight durings my stay here on earthly morticians tables, and she's my charmer, she's the no. 1 top of my suzie list in the entire known eunichverse, she's a dream from PA way and must be some kind of pure german strain of blood in there, she's my darling to behold, and she comes to me in the Alaska dusky twilight hours.
betty babe and i decides to flee and we hitches a rides out of thar Fairbanks with a dude in a van, no just two front seats, and mattress in the back. the roads are paved for about a half a day, course it's twenty two hours full light and two of greyish dusk, so we do some travellin. this dude's a little crazy, he don't talk right and have an angry management problem that shows its ugly little head now and then, but i don't worry on it figure we'll just keep his little monster pointed some other way for awhile. he got a .44 and that thing's a fuckin cannon, but i don't worry none on this mothernuckerhole.
we rides and it goes to gravel road, where they been in grading lately, you we go pretty fast, up to sixty and seventy, hell no cars no trucks and johnny law? ain't none, little children, ain't none. we makes our own law, that's why we call it frontera! so we matches our speed to the contradictions, there're places washed out and gullied where we gotta go ten and twenty mph and there's miles after miles after miles of washboard road, the dirt's just hard as rock and washboarded, and you can't go fast over that, it'll wreck your ball joints and idler arms and suspenseshun in a hurry, and what if your ball joints go out? then what you gonna do? sit on the road and cry? might as well, cause it could be two weeks or more till you could even find syphilisation with telephone or garage to order that thing, then wait for it come in, then you gotta put it in your vehicle yourself. you don't think someonebody's gonna drive 400 miles over dirt gullied washboarded road to fix your car, do you? hell, no. it's factacious, not ficticious up here, you gotta deal with reality with a capital z.
we do sees trucks abandoned along the dirt road, and cars, and the goldamndest things, even saw a mg midget car mobile trashed on the side of the road. they just grades them away when they doze out the road again and they're pushed up the side like a snow plow bank, except it's dirt and rock plow bank!
the road it's turned to dirt, now, we're in the Northwest Territories and we actually getting a little bit of dark stuff in the wee hours now, and we goes a hundred two hundred miles (that takes us more'n a day on those bad spots) one time without seeing a house, much less a gas pump station. we fills the van tank from the reserves, goes on. finally we sees one - we're about two, three days out from the last town or station now - and we drives in. we doesn't even know when she turns over to being the Yukon, not no signs, just all mossy boggy glum woods now, decaying. everything's rotting. we drives around and in.
ain't nobody inside, she smells like kerosene and diesel, one ol gas pump, a kero pump, a diesel pump, and a schlozzel onto the top of a 100 gallon drum, guess it's tranny fluid or rear end fluid. there's a outbuilding to the left, the pump in the middle, and a low roofed building to the right, guess it's store/station. it's all dark gray and it's the color of the stuff we's smelling, strong and dark like the forest, which is overwhelmingly mossy boggy glum. just rain and wet and thick decay.
we finds a lavitration point out back, it's a outhouse. nary a soul there, doors wide open. i can tell no one's been there, not today, not yesterday, not for a long time. no one's been there - that owns it or habituates it - for weeks, or a month. maybe a visitor, like us, but not today, and not yesterday, and not the day before.
all everything on shelves open, tools full of garage, everything. what're the people doin, i think, then - why, they're out makin a living somewhere, doing something! they shootin' moose or layin in fish. they just have this stop off point for people's need it. you need to fix something, why, you just wheel her in there and does it yourself! no phone, no lights. so we fuels her to the tops - we were getting concerned before, too, no sign of human life for over 200, 300 miles like that, and fills up the reserve cans we have - and we discusses it. they not around, i say, and .44, his eyes glint and looks criminal, and i says they just leaves her open so everyone needs it can help themselves. we's sposed to pump it ourselves, and leaves us our moneys somewheres, i says. his eyes drop, not get away with robbery here, not with me here.
so we does, we leaves them fair moneys on the counter in there, US moneys, the squirrels and ravens can play with it, says thankyous and goes.
she's the code of the Northwoods, the taiga. it's purely based in survival. you does to survive, and you break that code too far, you threaten somebody's survival, you know what? you get taken out, just like a match snuffed in your fingers, and nobody faults nobody for doing it, either.
oh, peoples die, no lie, there's murders there every long long fourty fifty week winter of only one hour partially grey partially light, the cycle of days and nights disappears and it's days weeks days weeks hours time dark days weeks hours time all dark all dark never no sunlight, it's a physical thing and animal thing and it happens to your systemic body, your biorhythm system your mind burrows back in your cave like a troglodyte, it's something that happens in nature polar icecap regions. it's frontier, la frontera, pure and simple, and she's virgin, wild, jagged, exhilirating. and deadly. they says if you make it two winters you never leaves.
we get back on the dirt road, she's packed clay like stuff now, and we go fast till we hit slick stretch she's as slippery as ice, as butter on a skillet, we slides for crazy and recovers and slows Way down. we hit some washboarded patches that'll rattle the fillings and brains outa your head, and they're just as bad at five mph as 35, so we does what we cans.
the road goes back to gravel and it looks worked recently, and we brings her up to sixty-five and seventy, and we passing big semi rigs coming toward us, they going way faster than us, rocks spewing from their wheels like slush spraying from a car's tires when it turns a corner in slushy snow, except these gravel rocks one to two centimeters in size. they sprays the van and hits it like machine gun fire shit there goes what's left of the paint job. there goes the metal too.
we see the trucks (not many cars on this road), the 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks, most got wire screens on the fronts, they're heavy guage wire screen in a rolled steel frame, bolted vertically to the fronts of the vehicles. the wire needs bolt cutters to cut, it's pretty heavy guage, and the rigs weigh down the fronts of the trucks. we even sees them on cars, and we knows what they for!
in the throes of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, we might see one vehicle all day of driving, period. down into Canada and Saskatchewan, we meet maybe one two passenger vehicles coming toward us, in a day, and probably three or four semi rigs, and maybe one little sedan car like a toyota vw type thing and you wonder what the fuck is in those peoples' heads, 'cause there's some rough roads ahead for them, for sure!
when that road's good, you push it, cause next thing you know you'll be stuck going five creeping along slick washboard on a ten degree slope where you're fighting sliding off the road every second and drive wheels spinning, mud splattering everywhere, and we're mud clothes boots inside the van everywhere hands guns food it's culture and it's life and she's all over us. we in a good spot, i'm shotgun and .44 he's driving he pushes her up to fourty, fourty five, she's loose graded gravel and you gotta watch the thick spots it pulls you and the rig slides, and don't wanta go off those six foot roadbeds, cause it's all like gloria belle and me found in the taiga, she's a marsh bog and get in that, she's over for driving!
so we's pushing her up and keeping afloat on the gravel, and those motor monstrosity semi rigs are barrelling through, and some are doing eighty, no lie, and if you think there ain't a backwash on one of them, you're wrong, brother, just clear wrong. we gets aside, clear off the road sometimes, when one's coming, she move one foot in the loose gravel, and we's history and nobody care, probly not even stop, she's a wild lawless motherfucker and she's exhilirating!
oh, there's up to two inch rocks hitting the front of the van, and they hits like little meteors striking a spaceship in a asteroid belt, and we gets a headlight busted out, we doesn't even stop. then a semi rig passes us, and he sways back in outa the loose gravel to the better footing a little ahead of us, and i sees a cobble fly up, 'bout the size of a child's head, and oh shit she's way high and we're clear then bam! the world flashes and that cobble hits the windshield, lays a big crack across her and stars her but doesn't break through it. jesus. we all sighs relief and just trucks on. we were lucky on that one.
we got hit by a lot more rocks, and we passes two cars no windshield at all, just drivin her in the aire, and most vehicles with no rock guard is smashed someway another. we's toolin behind that semi, and that bastard is on a mission to hell, too, rollin that thing like a skateboard eighty miles an hour on thick gravel roads way up there in the outback! and we rollin pretty damn fast too, rounds a corner and oh shit! ain't no road, road is gone, the semi is in a huge cloud of dust and we know he's in a 18-wheel slide and we does the same.
river washed the road clear away. they's a dozer in there, and a passenger vehicle like ours, and the semi rig, and we waits half a usual day, which is about 1/4 day there, about five hours, for them to grade it out and fill in again, and we crosses and hits it again. we hits several washed out places, been repaired a week back or so, and there's one place we fixes the road ourselves, cause ain't no one there and not likely to be, either, so we lays small logs and shovel dirt, and builds the road back good enough the get the van through, and goes on our way.
seems like days weeks half a month, and we turns onto a rock built road, you know, the paved with rock kind, and it feels weird, all smooth, no texture, no ridin the sled toboggan and feel her sway and slide, navigate that highway, that part gone. she's flat and uneventful as the picture perfect calm of still backwater when not even a bug breaks the surface, no breeze, totally still and perfect surface. it's like that.
we slowly gets used to the hard paved surface, and sees a actual gas station, of course we stops. but they don't speak english, guess it's french canadian or mukluk dialect, probably canadian, and they eyes our moneys, they on canadian dollars and coins here. last god damned thing we cares about is exchange rate, we just pays them fair moneys and leaves it at that. we gets milk and bread and peanut butter, stuff like that, and heads on.
after about a day of paved we almost used to it again and we hits a field, we find an actual field with grass, and we scatters and crashes. i take my shirt off and sleep face down in the sun, and wakes up three four hours later with a sun burn. i don't know how bad it is till later in the Tetons when she hurts and when betty girl looks at it she gasps and i know it must look pretty bad. it turns to puss and awful stuff she says, and keeps sayin i got to see a doctor but ain't no doctore here one, and no moneys for one anyway, two, so she nurses my back through as she can stomach it.
but meanwhile we re-acclimate to hard paved roads, and once it sinks in that we're really back, we assess the vehicle damage. all turn signals and lights except one headlamp gone in the front. crack and star windshield. dings and dents to a centimeter deep all over the thing, head to foot. one tail light out - we never even knew most of them went.
we hits Saskatoon, and thinks we'll see some kind of big city, but she's a real surprise, in two ways. first, it's so terribly strange to be in a city - it's been a couple years since i experienced a real city in the 48, and my body/mind memory of city is gone. so we walk around, there are stores and a few cars driving, and there are people. the second thing is, Saskatoon is really small - you can cross it in five minutes in a car or skip a stone across it, almost. my mind had imagined a great metropolis and we found a rural outpost city, rugged ranchers and peoples on business, and not much else. and it was dirty. there was dust and dirt blowing down the streets.
Alaska is not dusty and dirty. this was. it's the first honest to goodness civilization we've seen in what seems fourty days and fourty nights. remember, with that twenty two hour days no dark at all, and in the heavy dark, twenty two hours of pitch black and one of slight grey, your time tables is all screwed up, and it was fourty days and nights to us coming through the gravel and dirt roads. we did 800 or 1,000 miles of gravel and dirt, but it seems like never since we've seen actual civilization, lights at night, stores, other vehicles on paved roads or streets.
well the phlegmatic phlimphlam done phremigulated again, and i got shot down to the barstool, so it's time to listen to the crickets and watch mamma chasin' the pigs amongst the barleycorn and the chickens a crowing on sourwood mountain, hey dey ing dang diddle allee day. so many purty girls i can't count em hey dey ing dang diddle allee day.
yes, mamma hamshay brievoratory and if it tweren't for the lagnacious, it'd be plumb unbearable, and just about is anyway. but the news come through and johnny got shot, and there was grievin mommies and pisshole slimeys and bramiculated varmints of all confessions a-pallin' araound. you know what i mean, they's evil ones and dark ones and shifty eyed ones and crafty ones, and they's evil smiling ones and crooked smiled ones and twisted smile ones.
they's big toothed grin ones and tight lipped no smilers, happy tot trailers and monster cat wailers. there's ambition and then greed. there's mother faggots and then need. there's a-rhythmic sonnets and then feed. and everybody bleeds. everybody bleeds.
she's dark and she's bloody, she's like a well hole gushing crimson purple blood, pouring out in profusion against little contusions and it's pitiful, just pitiful. to hear saint stevie crying like that, it's pitiful, just pitiful. crimson purple gushing pounding breathing gasping bloody hole pounding never stopping and she's evil in nightingale clothes, she's evil in nightingale clothes. she's a monster rules the night and she's out of control, sick lost in her power, sick lost in her power of destruction. she feeds on the dissolution and destruction of a human soul and that soul is me. a monster in disguise, she's a sick giant monster in the night with beating wings settles on your body and feeds with a craze chews your genitals and body parts up kills you in the night and wakes with a mask a silver mask she's terror cry in the night and she's deathness to behold and it feeds on me. the horror feeds on me.
'twas in fraglaska where i started on that banjo mochine, had one book, the pete seeger, and i goes through it. then mountain banjo book, and in that one i sinks my teeth into two finger and gets a good grip on it too.
i does the migratory down to the sunningbird oven and there i takes a big big gamble i takes a deep breath then another and i renegs and i redecides and i firm i don't want to lose touch with that austere beauty of the two finger and the deep deep mystic mountain true musics, all them unbelievable modalities, not no keys things like spirit sisters in modern european times use, just fantastic moody spellbinding events feelings colors and shades of grey, she's all there, and i doesn't want to lose sight of it.
i plays Rueben's Train two finger (it in one of those special modal key deals, D tuning it's called on a banjer and there's many variants of the D tuning. i learns it with in D with the F# fifth string. later i use the D tuning with A fifth, and Dminor) and i does start my learning of the sally tunes although at this point doesn't know there's a entire collection of sally's, i just on the first one for me, she's in the sawmill tuning and pretty as pie. (Sawmill is G tuning but with modal, it's G tuning with a C second string so's you fret 2 on second to get the D note match first string.)
so i does it, after i buys the earl scruggs book and goes through almost a good two weeks or four of gyrations over it, i decides by damn i'm gonna do it and i digs in. i promises myself i won't lose sight of the precursor beauty however.
see, they say the very first banjo you ever see being picked, that's the master for you, and everyone knows in the banjo kingdom, that big earl is the king and always will be. my ol egghead buddy gerstman drug me forced me made me go to a scruggs review concert, he even had fourth row seats which was unheard of, we was Right in front of the stage and could see every thing, just everything.
i'm oh shit this gonna be boring, and a really terrible guy single on acoustic guitar is the warmup act, and he ain't worth a shit, and the whole damn thousands is edgy and irritated and can't get rid of this guy then it turns ten minutes till scruggs act on, and the people picks up, then five minutes and everybody's primed then the dude swings throught the last chorus of his last song and that fuckin crowd blows wild, man, just screamin.
well he probably thought he was getting applause but we all glad the stupid bastard's aclearing the stage, that's shout energy, not we like you energy.
then the curtain goes up and there's most of a band on stage, couple more walk on, then earl he come with his banjo he dressed in a black suit too.
i doesn't think nothin on it, i watches, shit gotta sit through this thing and really i'm sulking and nursing my pissed at buddy for forcing me there, when they digs into the second song and it's earl on that banjo and something happens away monumental as basic fabric as the marrow in my bones, the molecular structure of my body it's hit my soul she's a direct line hit through me and i dies and i'm reborn.
i hears i sees i watches every note my eyes not left earl for more than five ten seconds the entire rest of the night. i'm up out of my chair once or twice i'm pulled up it's heaven and i never stood for no man never stood at no concert before. nor since, not like that.
they played earl's and they played rueben's train in D and they does Sally Goodin, although i doesn't know the names of anything they're doing every note every syllable every phrase every motion every beat goes to my soul and is imprinted, every one the whole night through.
and when earl twisted those tuners in what i later grew to know was a tune called flint hill, i died all over again i was washed clean and annointed it was revelatory fundamental spiritual flaming Mississippi nights. earl stood rock still, never moved a thing it seemed but this machine gun fire of notes and i fried. you see his hand, fingers going like crazy, left hand on the neck, but him stand still immobile. i sat on the edge of my chair riveted, incredulous.
they played foggy mountain and left and we stamped our feet and clapped and yelled and i Never clapped and yelled nor beat my feet on the floor for Any entertainer, before or since. all i knew was i had to hear more of this phenomenon. and they comes back out, encoring, and then goes. we stamps. shouts. whistles. we stamps, shouts, whistles more. i watch my watch (i wore one in those days!) and we all stomped and clapped a full twelve minutes and then some lady comes out on stage and the roar deafens it crescendoes and stills, we think they're coming back again but then she says "The Scruggs Review is not coming back. They have left the building" and the crowd blows, just back to fever pitch a roar that hurts your ears and makes your brain buzz it's so loud. we stand and yell and clap for another eighteen minutes i timed it no one even started leaving for twenty thirty minutes and they were still screaming as our little group left.
i never got over it. earl scruggs was the first person i'd ever seen play a banjo three finger. later i'd learn that j.d. and sonny and little roy all experienced the scruggs phenomenon, yes, and doug dillard too. i got to meet every one of these guys, and little roy and i hung out some, and doug has become one of my bestest buddies in nashville and on this green earth. he's the humblest man, just like ralph (stanley), just as honest and straightforward and humble as can be. that's the kind of people who are banjo people - it's a special breed, no doubt about it.
well ralph really learned from scruggs too although not many peoples know it. Ralph was playing frail from his mother Smith and then two finger, he was on two finger when he and Carter recorded their first and were on the air. Ralphy heard Earl - everyone heard scruggs - and he went to a couple monroe shows (f&s were with monroe then) and learned the three finger, then he started playing it on his shows a little later.
much later as i hung with ralph i learned secrets about these boys, old rivalries and things, see they all played together back fourty fifty sixty years ago and things happened over the years, lifting tunes and sidemen coming and going and things like that.
back to my larnin'. so i sneaks into the listening room, the music one, this is at U of AZ, and listen to vinyl records they's two bluegrass ones, and i fries out and jams down in there, i has the musics too loud they comes and threatens at me and throws me out and i gets banished. finally i knows got to break a rule, got to tape it, cause can't listen eight hours a day in there full bore and i crazy crazy on you, crazy on you, you the magic man, understand.
so i sneaks in my tape cassette recorder and holds the headphone earpiece down to the mic in the recorder, and plays it as loud as i dare to not arouse complaint. the grey prune comes in, the one who banished me a few days before, but i hides my head and she go away. turns volume up again and tapes her all.
i gets a complete Barrier Brothers record with some of the greatest cleanest bluegrass ever recorded on it, and a complete flatt & scruggs record, still to this day some of my alltime favorite of all f&s songs and cuts, even from now having heard dissected and internalized essentially every last song and cut these guys ever made, and a goodly lot of taped live off the radio things that were bootleg, and that's well into the hundreds, quite probably thousands, of songs and cuts and arrangements.
often i learned eight breaks to one song, note for note, and for some, like Earl's and Floghole Mountain, sixteen or more solos and background arrangements (fills and licks) behind other lead parts. learn every note he played, foreground and background, through an entire record album. and then on to the next, and the next and next!
where there wasn't tablature for the breaks, i learned it right off the record or tape, playing through it over and over, till i had it right. first you get the rolls. then you get so you can play the speed of the record. then you learn to tune to the record. then you try to figure what the fuck this genius is doing!
after enough of it, you get pretty good at it, and when i got into the Bluegrass Album Band four years later, i could pick up a JDCrowe solo in ten twenty minutes, and have it polished in an evening, off a record. I've played some of these breaks from the old scruggs records down at jams in nashville and around the world, and people go wow! what a great break! and they doesn't even know, they never even heard the really far out masters of the music. if they had, they'd know i was just playing an incredibly tasteful earl scruggs break that he'd recorded in 1958 or whatever.
Songs: (all c. S.G.Miller)
Lisa, Trilogistic Odyssey, Rincon Blues, Hardy County, Devil's Island, Mass Grass, Bulgamerica, Sarah (Rag), The Phoebe Rag, Tucson Special, Song for Gail, Lee Street, Thank You, Schizo Blues (Disraeli Blues), Polyphony No. 1 (Opus 21), Opus 24, Last Chance On The Prairie (The Young and Nomadic), The Wind Blows Around My Home, ...
wellsir, like i said, we moved away from there fair cuidadito, Tucson, and migrated east. i wanted to soak up some of that authentic north carolina banjo pickins, and we set to chapel hill. she was a mighty rough winter with a heavy eight inch snowfall that shut things down most a week, and a bitter cold snap too. we rented a little eight-wide trailer and shivered through the winter.
i got out amongst local pickers far and wide, from burlingtong east to concord and fuqua-varina. there was a few good'uns scattered through, but hard to get them ripped out of the little outfits they all had goin on. so i decided to write her up in a banjo book and move on.
i wrote the book in my mind at night, just tossing and turning, you know i'd only sleep four to six hours a night anyway, for days at a time, then catch up a little. i was practicing banjo two to four hours a day and also learning fingerstyle guitar, i had a nice new guild discount line guitar i was playing on so it sounded good.
i learned the piedmont style guitar, i was right in the very town libby cotten grew up in and wrote her "Freight Train" icon about. i'd walk the railroad tracks to carrboro (that's where she grew up, it's across the tracks from chapel hill - you know, it's actually one town but the colored folks were carrboro side of the tracks and whites the chapel hill side, back in libby cotten's time, that is.)
and they've got a plaque on the fronts of the old cotton mill by the tracks there in Carrboro, commemorating Elizabeth Cotten and everything. so i was learning myself the etta baker and some libby cotten, and tunes like "Bully Of The Town" and "Grandfather's Clock" and etta's masterpieces, "Railroad Bill" and libby's "Freight Train". i spent about two hours a day on guitar and the rest on banjo and writing the book and things.
so i'd write the tablatures in my mind at night in bed, and get up next day and write them out, and play them and see how they sound and play. make refinements, make the book. i takes her to local printers, two gay womens own this one shop, but the quote is more than i've got so i go with a old groundhog printer. he prints the books but does a very lousy job. i's pretty green and doesn't know how to shout or fight them bastards that tries to screw you, i take the books and go.
it's a break.
Songs (c. S.G.Miller and Wlm. Young)
My Darlin' I Know You Are Gone ("The Whipporwill Song"); Jesus Said; Carolina; Zera's Blues (Kumquat Blues); Ebo Walker; Believe I'm Headin' South; America; Many Years Ago; Left My Home In Georgia; The Man Is After Me; ...
so after awhile i hit thy road back for the torrid southwest regions and played the cities again, Tucson through Las Cruces, down in "las pampas" heart country of arizona. got a good run in a live theatre in Tucson, the Gaslight, playing the pit and intermission music for a quasi-comedic, set in old times, musical play ("Dogbite Hoover") with lots of singing and chase scenes.
and George, he had a pretty good band going with the Salt River Ramblers, had a good female lead singer, and a melodic style banjo dude, and someone on mandolin. They were singing country and a little grass and some originals and playing the Ramada Inns and places like that on steady year 'round gigs.
they needed a bass player and i could use the work so i took the job playing bass guitar in the band i had started with George two - three years before! At first it hurt me every time that banjo player took a break, i felt it hurt me in my midsection, and i reason it out. Number one, i need the work, number two i like playing the bass, i can enjoy the music more and not be playing backs and fills and leads all the time, and number three i'm on bass 'cause i'm talented enough to play more than one instrument pro.
i tells myself those things, especially the last two, over and over. well, i Feel the second and tell myself (rational thought) the third, over and over. Then i'm grooving, i'm Really having fun, and kickin it. and you know what? a funny thing happens, i begin to actually Enjoy hearing the banjo breaks, all melodic and nice. It's really a nice change for me to hear this through all the tunes i know, and the girl is really a good singer and it's very enjoyable, and an easy gig too.
I write a lot, some good ones come out, i'm independent self employed by my arts alone, 100% income from playing music. Now that's a fine living.
Songs: (all c. S. G. Miller and Wlm. Young)
Rollen Stone; CottonPatch Blues; Cry For Me; the Ditty Blues; Low Easy Blues;
I blows east, i had an invite to play Galax with Bobby Harrison from Fancy Gap but i'm still in the Gaslight run till into mid-September or a little more. I eases out later in September, staying about a month in Las Cruces checking out playing and teaching but ain't much there, and i heads back to Carolina.
there i listens to tons of great country and bluegrass, there're some fantastic AM stations playing about 50/50 grass / trad country, and i tapes plenty off the radio. I hear my first Patsy Cline original recordings, willie nelson's "Crazy", and "Walking After Midnight", and i think her very best ever recorded, "I Fall To Pieces". She's just fantastic.
Marty Robbins has one of his last hits at this time, "Some Memories Just Won't Die", and i'm really expanding my horizons musically and playing finger style guitar more too. I go out on a four day trial run with a VA band, there are some good pickers in the van too. I really don't want to do it, sleeping in a shelf in a van, three high bunks, on a board, and i don't take the job. Karen is going to UNC Charlotte, in grad school, i'm teaching lessons and working a part time day job in Charlotte.
I looks at her long and hard, says well i've got one degree (cognitive anthropology, University of Arizona) but we all know how good that is for getting a job - but a great education - and i decides to just take, just try, a business course and a computer course, at UNC over the summer. Just see how it goes and how i feel about it.
i does it, and i digs the business, but the computers rings my bell, and i love the magic of the mathematics and visuals and language things all wrapped up into one package, plus the thing Does something for you - figures out problems, prints out results and everything! i love it, and decide to do more.
i look at the degree program, i enter the BA/BS math/computer science program. and then the busiest of the local teaching studios offers me a job teaching banjo. I take it, and it grows into teaching songs and guitar as well. I work there and i'm writing as prolifically as ever, and i found Trowbridge Publishing.
Songs: (all c. S. G. Miller and Wlm. Young)
Sunny Summer Blues; Randy Pandy; Can't Drown Your Memory; Double-Sided Mirror; Big Red River; After One More Song.
II. Technocracy and the Heart of the Monster
i go to school full time, teach in the studio three or four evenings a week, and do a weekend security job where i sit and write my computer programs and sing and play the guitar. i'm taking calculus and programming classes.
I try one more winter full time music, and the people are crooked at the studio, ripping songs and not paying others, and recording albums then dropping them. They're pissing a lot of people off and in this country, people let you know. Three times during the two+ years i was there, they had their entire huge plate glass front window smashed with bricks and rocks. And they ended up screwing me on a guitar commission, wouldn't pay it, and it was a confrontation, they refused to pay so that was it. I took my best students and left.
so i dove into the computers full time, took a job in the computer lab, and taught myself Pascal during the summer, so i could use it in the data structures class. I aced it, aced everything, in fact, math and computers and all. I talked with one two my favorite professors about grad school, and i got the nod.
before long they ask me to teach a class or two, intro computer science for majors (4 credits), which do i prefer, Pascal or FORTRAN? They know i taught myself Pascal, i had made sure they knew it earlier, and i say "Which do you need me to teach?". Dr. Schell says "Hi, I'm Joe Schell" and thrusts out his hand with a grin. "Will you teach Pascal or FORTRAN?" so i say "Pascal" and it's done. I'm on the official payroll as a part time university professor!
We get to C and UNIX, finally there's a course in OS and it's UNIX, and we have a few DEC machines and one is running UNIX BSD and i dive in, really dive in, i'm all over and in and through that machine. UNIX is open system, and we use the talk / phone - instant messaging, way back these guys invented it and put it in UNIX/C, the AT&T Bell Labs guys, Kernigan and Ritchie and the gang.
They built it as a playground for further OS development, both C and UNIX were their tools, and they're just terrific, for computer geeks. I spent hours days months years of time in there, and we wrote device drivers and shut off terminals and ran them with our programs and everything. it was very, very cool.
i graduated and bailed. I still played music, bands would pick me up for a weekend now and then, and i played a lot of fiddle conventions and won some prizes, too, for my banjo playing. before i left AZ that last summer, by the way, we all drove to Willcox for a contest/festival, and everybody won at least two prizes on different instruments and classes. Betsy Rome won guitar prizes, I won banjo prizes, Larry won fiddle contests, and Tim took something on bass. but back to NC...
I got out of there, got out of Charlotte, into a COBOL db programming job in VA. Turns out the company management is changing all the figures in the databases two days before government inspections/audits, and then changing them all back again the day they leave. I don't blow the whistle on these thieves, though, I just leave when my sys mangagement work is over.
Into an HP COBOL shop, the HP is a solid cool machine and is running an early UNIX look-alike, it's a mainframe 8000 series. These guys do their PM and upgrades to the latest OSes and hardware, and it's a good environment. I move on to graduate school, however, accepting a graduate assistantship at Texas A&M University in College Station. Turned down UT Austin, University of Southwestern Louisiana, and a Michigan school.
This is hot shit and it's the big leagues and I know it. I'm up against the wall, now, with nobody there with me either. I'm alone on this test and it's a big one.
it's a break.
I like Texas, it's good and hot and dry (I move in during August), and the cottonwood trees are drying out and the cicadas rattle in the heat and I settle into a routine of school again. I'm running 3 1/2 miles before lunch six days a week.
They give me two FORTRAN classes to teach (three the next semester); intro for engineering majors (we're in the School of Engineering). They're on the somewhat primitive (to me) VMS OS but it suffices for teaching and of course my concentration is on my course work.
AI, Software Engineering, and Automata make up the gist of first semester studies. Little do I know two of the classes are with the one toughest "impossibly hard he'll keep you here for YEARS" prof, and a crack-your-brain dude in AI. I find out soon enough.
A little background: in fourth grade, I knew the entire year's curriculum by September second week, and asked to be moved ahead. I knew every answer to every question poor Mr. Hylan asked all year. They wouldn't move me ahead, though, it was "against school rules." I knew this was bs because they'd moved my brother ahead the year before he died, but I was learning the school system held me back and forced boredom on me. Wasted hours of time.
This was the first grade I ever acted out, and they instituted a little scheme meant to enforce behaviour via peer pressure. The teachers set chairs out on the stage in the auditorium/gymnasium, and you got to sit in those chairs if you were "outstanding" - Trouble was, I was too smart and knew what they were doing, so I sat out. They couldn't figure out why it wasn't working and I ignored them.
I got through; thank god I got interested in girls and they in me, and we passed notes and kissed in the school yard. First Karen Martin, until that kind of fizzled out. Of course Debby Fay was the first girl I ever loved and I kissed her in the dewy grass in the schoolyard, holding her down while she giggled and wriggled, and said she'd marry me. She wriggled like a worm on a hook, like a puppy with a bug, and all happy and excited. I think that's the sweetest girl I ever got. But Karen Martin and I were in love through a good part of the fourth grade school year.
I entered fifth grade (at the big school) with a sense of renewed hope, however quickly dissipated. Mrs. Wales was a kindly teacher, but I was so far ahead of everything I didn't need classtime (I read my assignments at home and needed little or no time on it beyond that) except in math. I told Mrs. Wales, "I know all this already" and she asked me questions and yes, I knew it, in all the subjects, too. She was careful to ask questions from all the books.
But when she brought the math over, she said do you know this? and opened the book near the back, and I didn't know it, she set me to working on the math problems. I would get it on my own, and finish all the exercises, and then just sit and daydream or look out the window. There was nothing to do.
I was reading voluminously at home, sometimes a book and two a day. We made weekly trips to the city library and I chose books for the following week and returned what I'd read. There was a reading book allowance (one or two books a week) and I spent that as well.
I was diving deep into trapping and hunting, outdoors, novels, travel, global studies, sleuthing, science fiction, everything. Science fiction and adventure, nature and boy things, and moving into light literature.
I got through fifth grade, Lord knows how. I would sneak out sometimes and go upstairs where the sixth grade classes were, and listen outside the doors, and wish I could be in there where I could learn something and there'd be something to do. And I sneaked down stairs where the doors said "Special Class" and listened. They invited me in for awhile and I knew I was special, maybe this is where I belonged. However, when they got one day to reading and I found they were before kindergarten level, I fled.
By this time, isolated and alone, I knew I was special, but couldn't find my place. I also knew every adult breezed over me and by me and overlooked me and my intellectual capacity, with the exception of my first and rarest angel, who took me out of school to every symphony orchestra, ballet, nationally touring folk show, and concert in the region. I was ushered into the adult world and allowed maximum freedom to grow in the arts as an adult.
I moved and stretched through and into sixth grade. Luckily I got Mrs. Scanlon. Some of the girls in my class were looking mighty pretty and I was socializing a lot more with them. There was Mary Adee, with pretty golden hair. All the other girls were jealous of her because she was "in a A cup already" and I was trying to figure out this new vocabulary while my senses opened up to their tender straps and perfumed soft skin and charming secret giggles.
Yes, I really liked Dolly White, she had rich creamy skin and frizzly black hair, but she was intensely quiet and rebuked me. She wouldn't talk to anybody, I saw, so didn't take it personally, although I was perplexed. Leslie was the first girl I gave a ring to, and the first girl I fought over. I figured out it wasn't much worth it, right then and there.
All this is getting to tell you about sixth grade - I spent 90% of my time in the fields and forests and stuck deep in my books. Nothing else. At school, however, I finally found a challenge: the SRA weekly reader comp tests.
They were color coded and the higher you passed, the darker the colors went. I flew through all the lower level yellow and greens and had my eye on the dark reds and blues moving into deep purples, for this is where they ended. I was moving through a color a week and could work - sigh - finally - at my own pace, with no interruptions.
I accelerated. I excelled. The class had spelling bees. I won every one. I had my eye on the finish line in the SRA deals, and I noticed Mrs. Scanlon acting funny when she scored my cards. Then one week she sat down and watched me and sharpened her pencil and I saw her peeking at me and she started the same moment I did.
She came and got my card, but she felt funny. She felt closed off and unfriendly, adult. I watched her sit down and score the two cards, and a look of horror then fear cross her face as she looked at me.
The class was quiet for awhile, as everyone was taking their tests. Finally everyone finished and the buzzing started. She came back to me and said "You've got to STOP! You've got to STOP!" Not understanding, I asked "Stop what?" and she said "You have to stop getting better!" and that was that. I did as I was told and stopped getting better, and there was very little if anything in the world of school for me, of any real interest, other than playing with the girls and running in the fresh air up on the high playing field.
I was disillusioned and I was slowly growing pessimistic. My only real intellectual expansion was at home reading, and moving among the wilds and grasses and animals and plants and wind and fields and ice and trees and gurgling brooks and broad river waters. I wandered near and far, caring not if I returned by dark or in time for dinner or meals. I fled far and wide.
I got on into seventh grade, and had an array of classes in diverse subjects, and this saved me in a lot of ways. Of course there was diversity and breadth in socializing too, with boys and girls from the small city who had not grown up in strictly rural environments like mine.
We had state history, and English had turned into literature and poetry from Greek times by a wonderfully interpretive and partly crippled lady named Mrs. Bridger. We read the epics and read Odysseus; Beowulf and Homer; day after day we revelled in their glory and explored their universe side by side with gods and goddesses, spelled their folly and felt their tears and joys.
We learned lessons of love and war and tragedy and ecstasy, and rose to ballistic planetary solar stellar mythical metaphysical heights in epic journeys over a lifetime; shared their burning ideals and accomplishments and the bitter pain of their failures. I got a peak into what life was like for someone else; for the very first time, there was a person who could Communicate her feelings and thoughts and artistic ideals, and communicate she did - day after day, lyric after lyric, story after story, with a burning passion that piqued my flame.
There was music and marching band, but the teacher was uninterested and uninspired and only made me work when the entire section sounded awful. One day, fed up, he had us all play our parts solo, and i was moved to second chair clarinet the next session. It surprised me as much as anyone, since i was sure i had played poorly.
And there was algebra - eighth and ninth grade we moved into algebra and i liked it, just naturally liked expanding my horizons, did my homework every day, and got 98's and 99's on everything, before the ribbing from the other guys went into overdrive, and peer pressure surely nailed me into getting my 88's the rest of the year. I tried to sneak a few 98's and 100's but the guys kept close eyes and immediately hazed me back into the 88 line.
I was slowly learning to get 88's in all my classes. It satisfied the teachers like Mrs. Scanlon, and kept me from the brilliancy peer ridicule. But that didn't stop me from liking math and music, I just went kind of underground with it.
This is the backdrop from which I entered graduate school and finally put myself up against the pure intellectual tests that were absent throughout my childhood.
it's a break
So I did the grad school thing, Don and one other grad student and I were the only ones who could even understand what we were working on in theory of computing; it was Chomsky all over again (I had studied him in Anthropology at UofAZ so many years before, and look - now Chomsky's delving deep into theory of language and computation; funny how the circle completes like that.) It's Whorf applied to deep math and theory of comp issues.
My first semester was the roughest, I almost broke down and I told my wife (we were married but separated) "I don't think i can DO it." This was the first time in my life that there was a possibility of failure. It was unthinkable; i crashed. I cried. First time for everything.
I adapted and pushed like a motherfucker and worked from the time i arose to eleven or midnight at night. The only recreation i had was running every day with my great dane doggie, Lady, and about thirty minutes walking with her training her, or doing a little light reading for a few minutes.
By my third semester i was hitting all A's, maybe one B, and i was the only person in the College using the front end Lisp interpreters and some of the AI machines (the Mac Ivory came out at this time and we had one for evaluation.) So I was defacto testing brand new technology, as I was the chief user and the dude in the know. I was the number one Lisp programmer in my class, which means in the university.
My last semester (MCS in four semesters) i took 16 credit hours and i ended up with a 3.89 average and the respect of every single person in that department, top - mean - and indifferent. Every last one, from my fear of failing in my first semester to top flight, baby.
Companies and concerns flew me all over the country my last semester too, and I liked a St. Louis MacDoug job in AI research; they had a project going in reading pilots' brain waves to control the planes during the short little blackout period that occurs due to the huge G-forces. And they had a neural net going, training it to eat candy or something (I don't remember what it was supposed to do.) And i liked a C++/UNIX top-secret position in Huntsville AL with a rapidly expanding geo company called Intergraph Corp. I took the UNIX job and about five years later read a write-up of the McDD research in Scientific American.
I chose the Intergraph job because it was only 70 - 80 miles from Nashville; because they paid me better; and because McDonnell Douglas put a blank sheet of paper in front of every inductee and said "Sign it across the bottom in ink." Right, bullshit. Major problem.
I kicked butt at Intergraph, was second in my group in output (at 40 hours per week while others were cranking 60 to 80 hours per week.) Management was a pack of horses' asses, though, rather blue collar primitive, and there's only so much of that shit any advanced degree people can take, so when the contract completed in 18 months or so, i began looking again.
That's when Lockheed-Martin at JSC called me and flew me out for a visit. They gave me a rental car, hotel, and five days expense account, and talked with me two days. I explored, and I spent a day touring the campus; it was basically a beautiful scene and the money was a 38% increase (and who can not take that seriously) and i accepted the job as Research Scientist. (They let me choose my own title. I was doing AI research for the Station.)
I was the second highest paid person in the Intelligent Systems Division at Lockheed-Martin (it was just Lockheed then), and the only one with an advanced degree in AI. Pretty cool, for a digit head with anti-societal tendencies who gravitates off day shifts.
and then much much later i came to nashville, i trashed that old Nasahole job, to the Nasaites  i said goodbye, oh Kathy was okay on the AI but it was all politics and shit ain't no life for me so i pulls stakes and heads for nashville. and i have bobby hicks come play on one of my records with me, i meet him at one of his shows and ask him about this swing lick that he plays and don reno used to play on the banjo a lot through his smiley period, when that lick was popular in country, and ask him will he record with me and he says yes. he's one of the guys on the Bluegrass Album Band records that i used to play to, working out breaks for the hell of it!
 Derivation: Sheiites >> NASAites; assholes >> NASAholes
III. The Saturday Night Lollipop Story with Underbelly Signatories
[c.1996 p.1998 S.G. Miller; Trowbridge Publishing/BMI]
[All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited and punishable under applicable laws.]
grey-green skies and honey dives bungalo spreads and spider webs neon sights, fascist bites traffic fights and warm warm nights. Peruvian devils, sunfish speckles, iridescent poppies and lollipop mommies, Sad leap tides, silken sun shines, crocagators wallow in wild marshmallow. Yellow-painted monks and spiritual healers dancing to the Sugarfoot Reelers Saving grace with plasticoid lace diesel trains without no pain. Sad leap tides and Friday's sky Ham sandwiches with mustard and rye Yellow bluebonnets and a-rhythmic sonnets Sing are a favorite of my fewest things.Printed Source: The Ever-Flowing Stream, National Library of Poetry; Owings Mills MD (1998)
[c.1996 p.1998 All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited and punishable under applicable laws.]
>> By the way, who the hell is this "Miller" Dude anyway?
"it's history, history.
"well, long, long ago, on a small dark planet, an evil plan was hatched. the salient beings there decided on a star voyage, to escape boredom in their otherwise high-IQ, uniformly dull, existences.
"they came to Nashville and founded an earthling company, "McClure & Trowbridge Publishing", and decided to take over the worlds' human psyche through growing the company and influencing peoples' minds. the salient beings believed earthlings were far off track spiritually, and focused only on "mind" and "body", leaving out "heart" and "soul", resulting in massive damage to the planet and its heart-mind-body-soul systems.
"After a little research, the beings found stunning evidence - scientifically, spiritually, and historically - of some profound errors in the fundamental philosophical bases of western civilization (european civilization), the dominant driving human society on planet earth.
"First, the salient beings tried to work within the world of science to make the world a better place, and to spread their ideas of a balanced philosophical framework for advanced human forms on the planet. They found, even after experimenting in interplanetary voyage operations and some of the most advanced technological projects on the planet, that it would take ten to twenty years, optimistically, to disseminate some of their ideas to the populace of earth.
"And they feared it could take much longer, as with a monkey-god called Einstein, whose relativistic ideas took eighty years to really seep into the human psyche. So they decided on a plan to more immediately touch peoples' lives, and to effect the good and the change in a more direct and immediate fashion, and they noticed an almost universal phenomenon called 'entertainment' which seemed to lift people, make them laugh, make them cry, and take them out of themselves for a time, and change them.
"And they found the plan was good, and they brought about change, a little at a time, touching one human soul at a time, in journeys over the planet. their change was immediate and might touch one, or ten, or a hundred, or a thousand; it was not change on a greatly reduced time table of technical wizardry necessitated by the god of western civilization, "science".
"And the salient beings saw it was good. And they continued in their plan and their work."
it's a break
[c. ag 13-14, 2004 words & music George McClure; Trowbridge Publishing/BMI]
[Cmaj7 b3 (Cmin Maj7) - Fmin9 - D9 - C - D9 - G6|Gmaj7 - D9 - G6]
El tiempo es largo
el tiempo roba su vida
el tiempo roba su vida.
pero es repleto mi corazón
pero es repleto mi corazón.
una buen(a) vida
y no he lastimado a nadie sino a mismo
y no he lastimado a nadie sino a mismo.
Me vida es
como la guitarrita volverá nada pero al polvo
volverá nada pero al polvo.
El tiempo es largo
pero es repleto mi corazón
pero es lleno mi corazón.
c.2004 George McClure and McClure & Trowbridge Publishing. All rights reserved.
[To my spirit sister Dani]
for the rest of it, my first visit to Geronimo's graves (even though they say he was exhumed and taken somewhere north for reburial):
it was on a tour, i had danny with me (a Cherokee from georgia - fiddle/mando). we both wanted to stop at G's grave while we were in the Medicine Park area. We spent several hours trying to find him on the military park, and finally did.
We paid homage, took a few pics, and the boys wandered off somewhere. I wanted to touch my spirit so strolled down the line of graves, slowly passing Geronimo's, and down to the end and on a little path beyond. the flies were buzzing a little, it would be very hot later in the day (90's).
I heard the sounds of a truck gate and soft native voices, and i kept moving slowly away. I intentionally didn't turn or look, i felt it was an amrican thing going on, and i didn't want to disturb them.
I stood and waited, faced away. Eventually i heard a truck drive away, and after about ten minutes more or so, i turned and moved slowly back. My eyes popped out of my head, as i saw a pony, with a brightly colored blanket, decked out super-fine, things tied in his mane and forelocks and everything. he had a rifle on him too, if i remember right. he was tethered to the tree at Geronimo's grave.
I walked to the grave, and i left my gift to aid Geronimo on his way to the spirit land, and watched the pony. I didn't want to touch him because i thought maybe he was an apparition! Eventually i left, and found the guys, and we drove the van to the other area of graves, where i spent another 30 minutes or more.
We loaded in and got ready to leave, and danny said look at all those eagles. I looked up and there were three or four, and i thought, i usually don't see more than one or two together, then as we watched, four more flew in very quickly, and then more, and more, and more.
It was incredible. I said to danny, eagles don't ever glob up like that; they are solitary creatures or paired or just with the young. He said, there's something going on, it's a sign.
I stopped the van and we just watched them accumulate, and they circled in big circles altogether, kind of in layers. There were too many to count exactly, but i know it was at least 20, maybe 24 or 25. I had the realization that it was a portentious sign. I knew, and danny knew, that some great spiritual event was taking place or had taken place. We marvelled, danny and i.
Then i thought, maybe it's to do with the spirit pony, maybe it's the date Geronimo died (it was April 22 or 23, 2000.) And the eagles are all coming around because of Geronimo's spirit. But then i remembered the magic deer coming to me from the woods as a boy, and the grouse, and my desert home, and then - then i thought they were there for me. Because i'm the gifted boy, or maybe because danny was with me too, and we were always close, share thoughts and things at times, and i knew he was a large part Cherokee.
I felt it. It was a remarkable experience.
Thank you for everything,
your spirit brother,
(trauma,) fr. Outstanding Poets of 1998; Ntnl. Library of Poetry [S.G. Miller; Trowbridge Publishing/BMI] stars dripping light from their eyes in heaven, cosmos blanket my soul. timeless as the vast salt sea . . slithery stingy living things from night wake me again and break me in flight. stars blanket my light-dripping soul as I fall with the weeds of time time's life juice oozes away and I hear you call my name. "My void," say I, "do you fairly?" (Almost fell into the round hole squarely.) Printed Source: Outstanding Poets of 1998, National Library of Poetry; Owings Mills MD ©1992, 1998 All rights reserved.
The Hard Rock Blues (Fornication Blues) c.1993 S.G. Miller I woke up this morning with pain in my head reached my hand over baby, oh empty was my bed [CHO] I got the Hard Rock Blues, I got the Hard Rock Blues, I got the for-fornication, f-fornication blues I know you need it baby it's a simple fact of live so why don't you come here baby and love me through the night [CHO] I got the Hard Rock Blues, I got the Hard Rock Blues, I got the for-fornication, f-fornication blues I'm a-layin' here baby your puntang on my mind you know I need it baby like a wino needs his wine [CHO] Now look here little mama just open up your shirt pull your pants down baby let me squirt - squirt - squirt [CHO] Woked up this morning with pain in my head reached my hand down baby and played 'till it was red [CHO] I got the Hard Rock Blues, I got the Hard Rock Blues, I got the for-fornication, f-fornication blues c.1993 S.G. Miller. All rights reserved.
Windows Of My Mind c. George McClure 1995 p. 2018 FREEDOM TRAIN V1 -- Standing on the window of my mind, see the lovely things I left behind standing on the brink of all time, we'll all be angels in heaven by and by In the first and second grades we would play in the schoolyard said she'd marry me, Debby Fay Standing on the window of my m-m-m-m-mind, we'll all be angels in heaven by and by V2 -- Later I roamed the world a time or two, looking for someone special, just like you I gambled for gold in Norway, hiked Austra-li-yee I watched the spout of the humpback whale at sea I run the powdered gold through Mexico learned the Spanish tongue so it's told Coming n-north to Houston, crossing El Rio Grande, caught by the border guards like Vietnam V3 -- After I roamed the world a time or two, I come back home to Georgia, and you I hugged you in my arms again, and kissed your pretty lips I felt your breath upon me in the mist The clay was cold on my fingers in the soil but I had to see you once again just as before It's five years since she's gone, they told me, in a crash on Route 7 with a tree
untitled fr. Planet Arkadelphia [v.1 n.2] Through the crimson deserts of time, and life's half blink dawn bursting diamonds in the sky, the raindrops are Heaven's tears dripping over us all like a warm blanket for the soul washing us clean from every Sin. [c.10/08/1998 S.G. Miller]
09/Feb/2003 SPECTOR'S DIRTY DEED c.2003 George McClure Caliopes seek the pain carousels float aflame the rats are in the fridge the rats are in the fridge the rats are in the fridge and the lightning led the train The lightning fed the pain exploding out his brain under panting frown under panting drown under panting down and the sparklers blew his brain INTERLUDE I She lay her down beside him opening her side touched her heart and liver stenched her breath and vomit INTERLUDE II The slaying of the lambs in the quiet of stillness mourning stencilling the eyebrows in burgundy perfume INTERLUDE III Wondering trods the trenches dressed in red wanting to join the living wishing she were dead Caliopes seek the pain carousels float aflame the rats are in the fridge the rats are in the fridge the rats are in the fridge and the sparklers blew his brain All rights reserved. c. 2003 George McClure
Champagne Saturday c.1997 G.McClure; Trowbridge Publishing/BMI p.1999 George McClure "Champagne Saturday (Alien Love)" p.2006 George McClure "Playboy Swing" We're sittin by the fireside the tea is nearly gone, been sippin champagne all day long The inner fires a-burning, embers glowing bright one more Saturday night. I love you pretty baby, it's plain to see you keep the fires burning deep inside of me The night is gently falling, the wind is blowing free we're sitting here together just you and me. The coral in the surf, in the early morning glow the gulls laughing high then they dip so low The crab is slowly crawling, trying to beat the sun back into the sea where his life begun. I love you pretty baby, it's plain to see you keep the fires burning deep inside of me The night is gently falling, the wind is blowing free we're sitting here together just you and me.
America (Ditty) c.1981 William Young; Trowbridge Publishing/BMI p.1999 in George McClure "Champagne Saturday (Alien Love)" Rollin along in my '49 Ford, she's blowin mighty fine the stars overhead a-winkin at me, we're doin 79 I left my home, I'll never go back, I'm on a one-way track just smile at me little darlin, before I turn my back CHO I'm a long way from nowhere, and that's where I've been I'm a long way from nowhere, now I'm on my way again tomorrow when that sun come up, I'll be on the road again We're cruisin now, down the grade, comin to a narrow bend oh no Lord I'm movin wide, where's that pavement end the tires are squealin, we're flyin through, we're makin it one more time if I get to the bottom of this hill alive, I'll be a new-born man CHO I'm a long way from nowhere, and that's where I've been I'm a long way from nowhere, now I'm on my way again tomorrow when that sun come up, I'll be on the road again tomorrow when that sun come up, I'll be on the ro-o-ad again.
My Darlin' I Know You Are Gone c.1980 S.G. Miller; Trowbridge Publishing/BMI p.2018 FREEDOM TRAIN Last night I heard the whipporwill, he was cryin' up there on the hill Last night I heard the whipporwill, and this is what he had to tell CHO Oh my darling, I know that you are gone, and I know that you have left me. Yeah my darling I knew that you had gone, when I heard that old whipporwill. Last night I had a dream, dear, when everything was still I dreamed I saw you, darling, walk away from me down that hill CHO Last night I heard the whipporwill, he was cryin' up there on the hill Last night I heard the whipporwill, and this is what he had to tell CHO
Jesus Said c.1980 S.G. Miller; Trowbridge Publishing/BMI p.1992 CHO Now Jesus said, to be free, there is just one way you gotta be, Now Jesus said, to be free, you must follow the same path as me. When I was startin, I was going astray I wouldn't give ol Jesus the time of day, but now I've grown, and now I've known, that this old life can go wrong. CHO There were two things that led me astray, one was fast horses and the other was pay, but now I've grown, and now I've known, that this old life can go wrong. CHO When I was young and things would go wrong, I'd hide my troubles in a brand new song, but now I've grown, and now I've known, that this old life can wrong. CHO
CottonPatch Blues c.1981 S.G. Miller; Trowbridge Publishing/BMI p.1992 I was born in the land of cotton way down near Atlantic Island oh Lord that was the home for me Little truck farm and a vegetable garden peach trees in the summer sunshine yessir, that was the land for me But everything changed and I grew older I thought I'd like the weather colder so I loaded up and headed for Calgary Got me a little ol Eskimo bride with the lighted fire in her eyes oh Lord I thought she was for me CHORUS I've got them CottonPatch Blues down in my shoes come on babe whatya got to lose just come on down to the sunny side of life Just fly down south where the people talk slower yeah, just come on over, come on down to the sunny side of life We headed on down to Nebraska-land bought a little farm had a little band oh Lordy, just a happy as can be Then a big ol storm done wiped me out and left me here all down and out just sittin on the corner singing the Dogpatch Blues CHORUS I got them CottonPatch Blues down in my shoes come on babe whatya got to lose just come on down to the sunny side of life Just fly down south where the people talk slower yeah, now come on over, just come on down to the sunny side of life
"I've been layin around and playin around this old town too long
summer's past and gone, Lord, winter's comin on
I been layin around and playin around this old town too long
and I feel like I gotta travel on"
"Dark clouds a-risin, sure sign a rain
Sure sign of rain, boys, sure sign a rain
Dark clouds a-risin, sure sign of rain
and I feel like I gotta travel on"
"High sheriff and po-lice comin after me
comin after me, Lord, comin after me
High sheriff and po-lice comin after me
and I feel like I gotta move along"
"Dark cloud's a-risin, surely is a train
Surely is a train, boys, surely is a train
Dark cloud's a-risin, surely is a train
and I feel like I gotta move along"
"I've been layin around and playin around this old town too long
summer's past and gone, Lord, winter's comin on
I been layin around and playin around this old town too long
and I feel like I gotta travel on"
It's a Gift - Free
Content dedicated to the human race, la gente, and to the fish, the sea, and the stars... a todo el mundo