LAST LAUGH CXXXXV
I am happy with Jones' second LL letter. Doris 15 being mainly cartoons, maybe I should send him a Doris with more Cindy's heartful prose but Jones is iconoclastic. But interesting thought: You are naive if you think you can save human beings from their frailties because they revel in them and think that that is their strength....
Wow. Sounds true....
I forget what I had written to Jones about this. Possibly it was on threatening manhood of presidents and generals, conquering the world via Web. But tell a sadist in authority he is weak he thinks you fear him. Folks lie best to themselves. So you do fear the authority of a sadist but, call him out. In childhood I heeded how vulnerable are adults. In patriarchy are grown men especially. The male wit can shake presidents and generals of the world. Would not Bush and Gore be entertainment were their manhood plainly questioned. Oh, the female wit can do this. Sadists miss their mothers. Not to matter had sadists any mothers, this is genes. Female wits might point out to Albright she sees children as cannon fodder but, in patriarchy, men are the frail.
B.E. may have been the most popular baseball coach in the history of Aransas Pass, never demonstrating the raw nerves he could in his "own home." I trust Jackie either way is not fretting how is Madrea going to afford " a college education." The asthmatic tough eldest brother dropped out and bummed on everyone and had shock treatments and had a daughter he has not supported. Well, sirs, this is the United States of America and she shall attend college should she care to, way I see it. Howsomeever, we are artists and the entire world owes both us a living. Armed Mescans are this moment crossing the river. B.E. feared for his children and his first one is weird. He needed to believe in authority but not to believe he is led. He has believed in UFOs and reincarnation. Still my talk has bothered him some ways, hard to say. The parents read much, mostly pulp, paperbacks and book-of-the-month. I recall somewhere around 1950 they read Orwell's 1984, which, I am certain, they have no memory of, nor would they now know what is "Big Brother." The only other science fiction book I know of our father reading is Childhood's End, before Mike and I were in our teens, famous book I forget it's author, Mike would know, Mike became a science fiction reader. Our father, somewhere it was earliest fifties commented to us, favorably really, what a strange book, Childhood's End. We two snatched it right up, read it. Shortly later, but I have no idea whatever Mike or I could have said or done, B.E. was cross with us and he blamed it on our reading junk like Childhood's End. Strange stuff, my siblings would have me forget like they. We got television kind of late, maybe in 1955, at dinner table anytime people had serious talk B.E. would grimace and turn up the volume. In the U.S.A. dinner should be TV. To eat in peace with Big Brother.
I had just picked up Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. Geoffrey had spoken to me about it several years ago. My focus was distracted, I had to back read nearly 100 pages before suddenly seeing I was into it. That very morning I had heard something off NPR finally once again after 2 or 3 years nudging fear from the top on down to the little liberal shits, of current Iraqi horror of U.S. led NATO. Couple days later something off NPR about old hippies in Berkeley remembering their fantasy revolution of decades back. Hard to believe.
What Faulkner got away with using English before scared, chicane television. When came Kerouac there was television and Faulkner disremembered for being impossible to speed-read. Thus Kerouac took the idiot-critic shit. It is not the guns, it is the lies. Hokay, government shall not control the web, the youth international. Jones sent The Fall of Yugoslavia by Misha Glenny. I wish to Jump on it but maybe in a couple days because I am an artist and will study this piece of Faulkner. Language and history is good.
Homo sapiens now get found and dated at a hundred twenty-five thousand years or so. I am gentle to not even carry on about millions of years no cops before modern man. In half a decade modern humans will be labeled older than one hundred twenty-five thousand years, no cops. Yeh, technology came and went. A few times maybe, and in between no authority. Only the shaman, holy woman.
An old southerner like B.E. may still say his people treated their slaves good. His mother's parents, probably the Olive line of criminals never had any slaves. Treated their slaves good, loved them like their own.. Why then did they not turn them loose. Kelly was visiting and we were drinking Modelo Negro he had brought. B.E. had said he thinks he has had about five lives. I reacted in my intrigue but that inhibited him. I grinned maybe he was Print and I was his foreman Bad Nigger Jim. Said, or maybe Kelly was Nigger Jim because Jim's last name was Kelly: On this our father chose to go blank. The Charles Praisure novel Cold Mountain was on the coffee table of B.E.'s eternal solitaire and I spoke to Kelly how it does not romanticize Robert E. lee, is hostile to officers and has these surviving confederate soldier young horrified men stopping to note they have never owned any slaves, that war is owned by the rich. "The Big Man", they call the slave owning establishment, and they are deserting, on foot for stealth, slipping on back home, but they are being hunted by very nasty horsemen outfitted by southern wealth. Little farms get pillaged on suspicion of harboring any deserters. People can be raped, tortured, all livestock shot, all buildings burned, surviving women and children to stand shocked in the elements. I do not know about around the other family members, but B.E. and I are tied in some way, and to me past year he keeps telling of his grandparents who, he says, were both doctors, and in the war had this hospital in Kentucky where they treated both Union and Confederate wounded. Always in this is his grandmother who was feisty and she broke a bowl of soup on this yankee officer's head. The officer wanted to shoot her but another officer stopped him. part of all this then he adds they were good to their slaves, loved them like their own. Part of this we do, I say why didn't they set them free. So he exloded with Kelly there who fears for his heart. Nice Lyla was out for all took to yelling.. Where would they go. Hell, whatever, they could hang out and work, but they are human! I rose to take out Medicine , they both were telling me to get out. Oh, it was alright when I got back, or I was the only surly one. Actually, around that time of the hospital camp in Kentucky, his grandparents set their slaves free. Who knows where they went or hung out. Kelly never knew we had been talking this of B.E.'s mother's parents whom he knew into his early teens, that in one instance months ago I had spoken up for the slaves they loved but did not turn loose first thing, he said, you don't know what they (the slaves) were like. You should've seen them. Now, I was there, son. And as he gets a little muddled over solitaire over these reincarnational type effects, and I get too intrigued, he shifts, defensively into Twentieth Century, for whatever cause. Maybe he was the best baseball coach, Aransas Pass Little league and pony League. The baseball was integrated a year or two before the public schools, and he was sharp with black kids as with brown or white and black kids were as smart playing ball as anyone else and in all this familiarity there was never any problem integrating the schools. It is a strange world.
Suddenly, I am finished with the Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. Maybe it is more moving than Cold Mountain. Whew. We shall see. Or it is about a family of Mississippi redneck farmers living isolated inside the family. I appreciate the contact my family do have. Shit. What instincts of Faulkner. Such the rulers ran Christianity, people to think Heaven is segregated, and church. But not to think, but to get a job. And The Fall of Yugoslavia tells of other people divided-and-conquered and nuts. Around 1958 I told B.E. I would not live this way, get a job to pay bills in this manner, said I would rather be dead.
He's still alive in prison as a letter arrived yesterday. But there are new complications. I feel I must retire from this involvement and hope it is not too late.
Read your LL which over all was interesting, especially Wenclas "You write good action."
Don has been having prison pen pals, but it is such booming industry, inside and outside, pen pals outside can be shot. Don had helped the guy pay for a weapon, if I understand enough of it.
June 9 in 2000 am halfway in Misha Glenny's The Fall of Yugoslavia. Yesterday 2 books came in from Mike Lyons with his HiTMotel Press. Great to see, tell him I am a slow, distracted but studious reader, will read these after I next do Cormic Mccarthy's Cities of the Plain. Ann Seaman has inspired me that we are
Southern Gentlemen and ladies of Letters and I had thought to do post Fraisure's Cold Mountain a Faulkner and then a McCarthy to indulge and compare our eluticisms, but meantime Misha Glenny moves me, with more on how seriously impaired most men are, then add institutions and mob rule in a gun culture. To never digress about "gun culture," in as all governments can shoot their people. No, what is significant is what I know from past lives, or this one. Men all over are about as nonthinking as stupid other men but who have guns and money can lead them to be. It is not cute for a grown man to not be a thinker.
Censure all the brutes first thing. Sitting here thinking about it all, and hearing over and over my new tape of Spencer's and Suzy's strong songs, I remembered I had refound my old story, The Tortilla Hike. I had separated it from a novel, of which it is last chapter, misplaced it. The novel, wild Bill in Berkeley in the Sixties, I did in 1969. Always it was Charmaine's favorite of my stuff, and a puppy of Bix's chewed up a copy and Charmaine had had the other copy, which she mailed back to me about ten years ago when I knew Ann Vliet. Vliet who taught the novel thought it too amateurish, she who says TG should be edited no further I must repeat. In all events this The Tortilla Hike got redone maybe about 1971, as I had hit stride in Texas Gang, and this copy looks like typing by Janus. In those days some in family thought I might make it. After a reading of The Tortilla Hike this morning, after years or decades, I am happy how well it demonstrates my talk in TG or LL. It is too huge a job to retype (thanks, Janus) into single space, just to save a couple dollars, and too I leave the Dear Reader these wee insertions, change naught, not names of Frankie and sophia to correct names of Wanda and Cudilus, my black (and distinctly different, while it chanced each were athletic and big boned) girls who had ripped my heart in and out of a four years in Berkeley, before Berkeley's big fake revolution. Berkeley was being tear gassed - all the campus and most the town to hear it now - and even well dressed ladies clubbed and tossed into the wagons who could not sprint - my athletic friend Ned was on a roof on Telegraph Avenue lobbing his box of bricks at the helmets, with girlfriend alongside, but had to make an escape and the girlfriend was slow and the other side did get to bat her running buttocks-while I, ho ho, lay in a hammock in the Mexico jungle. I knew it was bull shit, not the real thing yet. I wanted no part of the real thing either. I did believe off mucho LSD the real thing was just about here. Well, I have been re-evaulating it all ever since more carefully. There is in this last chapter of novel other small reference, I see something concerned methodrine brain damaged Dan Mcconchie going into fits about such as leaving our campsite sloppy, we were trying to rehabilitate him and practice for the Holocaust with my unemployment checks, he would rage about my having left a catsup bottle top off the bottle and anything, we did not get along enough and I had left him in the California hills. Another thing I see in this draft of TH is my thinking these Mayan descendants who have/had returned to primitivism were called in the Spanish Las Candonis., whereas they are Lacandonies (sp). And enough about it, see I was worse in tendency to generalize then than thirty years later, worse brazen, example I knew few "bisexuals," I believe, and here is some cavalier take on "anal retention," I think, now females that way were O.K. by me, or what call people who just want more stuff. I have hardly ever read any official psychology. But either way you look at it, Dear Reader, is not this a beautiful description of peyote?
Hey, Yesterday was my last day of school. I got out 3 days early cause I didn't have to take any exams. I had an A or B average in every class and I was only absent three days.
Cynthia and Harry left this morning to head down South to sell carvings. They'll either be back tonight or tomorrow night. They're closing the shop within a month. The rent's too high. It's like $300-350 a month. Cynthia could make more profit selling wholesale from the house.
I'm still seeing Dave. It's been about 5 months. The 16th was his birthday. He turned 19 yrs. old. My mom bought him a 6 pack of Dr. Pepper and a keychain that said: 'Hurry up! Your first impression is almost up!' Or something like that. I sent off for 2 Rocky Horror Picture Show T-shirts, One for me. and one for him, (different ones and they haven't came in yet, but that's my present for him. He's more in REfi'S than I am.
The other night, I finished reading 'if' By Stephen King. Then the next night I read the Goonies book I'd never seen the movie, but I found the book at a thrift store. Then last night, I started reading 'The Girl', that book you sent me. I read until about Ch.4, I think.
Did you ever check your email and get those pictures I sent there? They're from my New Year's party. That's the last party I had. Dave's trying to straighten me up or something. He doesn't drink or smoke or anything, he's all straight-edge or something. Just spends the majority of his time 'diddling' with his computer He's started on making his own RP(3 computer game, but I think he's getting bored with coding it.
Anyways, I'll talk to you later. I hope Lyla and Daddy flill are doing pretty good. Say hello to them for me and to Steve and Nancy and the Brundretts.
Got the latest LL Will pass it on to Rasmussen next AM at school now, using a school computer to type this, so do not have it in hand to respond to. Are you off the internet now? Rarely do I send letters, but will try Being at school, morning coffee buzz long faded and no beer to drink. Can't find much inspiration, but can maybe keep up correspondence anyway. I enjoyed stories of the brothers Brundrett, as always. Rasmussen still talks of the scene in the kitchen there, of the piles of cans on the table, the hairs stuck to the legs of the table and chairs. He got some good pictures on his last trip through, you and Jimmy and he seated in the kitchen. We showed some of his Texas pictures in a slide show here, people watching mostly having no comment when pictures of you or Jimmy or Medicine came up. Only when a picture of a sunset or the like was projected would they comment, a note of relief in their voices at finding something they could grasp onto. Pretty funny. We showed three or four peoples slides at the slide show party; mostly Japanese folks excluding Rasmussen and myself, and the other slides were of scenes in Japan, and one guy's pictures from his visit to New York City. I waxed nostalgic at photos of the gulf coast, imbibing heavily as the assembled shifted nervously prompting Rasmussen to quickly click on through it.
Have I told you Rasmussen wants to start a bar? He and his semi~alcoholc Japanese friend, Ket have been looking into renting this large second floor space in a sort of hip yet lo~lifay area not far from my house. They want to put in pool tables, have a bar. Old lady who owns the place has been living there, with many cats, is reluctant to lease out the space, which was her husbands pool hall before he died, but she may be relenting. So, Rasmussen is perbrmnng weddings weekends, teaching extra Junior College courses to get capital for investment.
For my part, I'm in a good rhythm these days, having figured out how to have a better diet than in my first year (including forking out for overpriced tortillas and beans and avocados from the overpriced foreign goods store), and getting daily exercise going to the gym, or playing basketball at the school gym, or riding my bike or doing pull-ups and dips in the park. Feeling strong, enjoying having a thirty-something year old body. I get sore and stiff more than I used to, but am also stronger, performing better than ever, perhaps. Mike and Woody have both sent me letters this last year in which they claimed the thirties was the best decade of their lives. Mike's reasoning had to do mostly with his physical performance then, while Woody's was more to do with it being a good time to form relationships and forward a career. I think Woody feels I'm prolonging my resistance agannst gainful future, securing employment by being here, just buying time. People are getting great jobs in the States these days, buying houses and new cars and having two kids and still finding time to go to the gym after work, play tennis on the weekend while I get older, more unemployable, less focused. I wonder at what point a parent accepts that their kid has gone a different route than they'd have deigned prudent and looks to different criteria in passing judgment, but when I bear that Daddy Bill still goes on about your getting a job, I wonder if parents generally do change, or if they just get more socked in, more sunk into the folds of their own brains, destined to rethink and rethink the thoughts they've had before, their conviction as to the correctness of their thinking bolstered with each subsequent rethinking. Must our minds stiffen as surely as our bodies? I think you do well to keep LL going and to rage at the machine. I don't know how attainable an absolute truth might be, or what burden might really he lifted from the man who finds it but the rage seems the thing, apathy the true killer of mind and soul. I find I enjoy being outspoken these days, though in truth the points feel unwilling to budge on are few. I just like the churn in my gut, the slight discomfort produced in someone who doesn't expect to have their view challenged
Thanks for correcting my Baghdad vs. Bangkok mistake.
I enjoyed hearing from Jack in his letter to you. It's interesting to know people over generations.
A videophile friend here passes videos on to me to watch and is recently in a Clint Eastwood phase, gave me a few of his, one of which I did enjoy, called High Plains Drifter. Have you seen this movie? In it Clint comes to a small townn that fears for its safety as a couple criminals from the town's past have been released from jail and will be coming back to the town to take revenge, they fear. After a couple buffoons try to challenge Eastwood and get handily blown away, the town decides Enatwood is just the guy they need to protect their town. So they hire him, but he calls the shots, has the town do crazy things, kills some more fools who stand up to him, and generally creates havoc, appearing to have no personal moral barometer nor any particular attachment to defending the town he's been asked to protect. In the end he does kill the returned bandits, but also about half the town are dead, many buildings burned down or painted red, upon Eastwood's orders, and the people in a daze. Terrific anti-hero, out for nothing more than chaos.
Welp, I better get off this computer, try to get this in the mail.
Further in my generalizations by now (re. TH, p. 1838 in II,) I crave amending, I do respect some "white hillbilly" music now. Austin has everything and I can't keep up but women country singers I kind of like sometimes someway (Gee, my woman so busy in school now is/was a kicker), and Willie Nelson or Richard Lobson are truly good. I can respect Hank Williams or Johnny Cash by now. I don't know what happened exactly out of the ill fifties, but bluegrass, which seems in my genes, was obscured same while blues or influence permeated pop culture. I was digging jazz from the start before knowing someway about bluegrass. Yes, before knowing, I heard Joe Williams. Hell, Big Joe Turner, real rock'n roil. I suggest it was the big band sound before the war blasting off of swinging country music of Negroes and my parents did not know this, same while the rednecks did their juke box stuff never knowing about mountain music.
While I sat waiting on the train platform my ankles were free to swell and I would punch inch deep holes in them and contemplate the holes refilling in the seconds. It can be fascinating to read an account one has written in the past, discover forgotten details. like the kid Theresa wanting to see each item in my suitcase. A detail I do not know why I had not written in TH but today remember, I was trailing well back of the 3 jungle fuckups who were single file taking this bend around a small clearing, that I could look across to the eyes of my yelling competitor, like 25 yards, eye wise said to him I would like to snap off of his life. He got it, pretty funny, at the next rest stop demanded of me what do I know about killing. I Iooked blankly at him there, put on to not understand. So easy to toy with the male resentment or fear, it is vulnerable in such awful way usually I let it go. It is pathetic, bad sleep for poor bastards. They feared me but I was so friendly and gentle like Chief Obregon and could not fit into their wee categories. Any person has something to contribute in honest conversation, but how, I inquire my long life, do commoners stay mostly stupid. With all their gray matter and human nervous system. Alone on the jungle trails and encountering these small groups of wretches who would jeer, indeed when I was limped well enough past one or two would claw for a heckle in Spanish, my conclusion went it is one in ten humans of the world who, like Theresa or Obregon, have it. Of humans up trail seen by a limping outlaw, one in ten hearts not be squeezed in fear. They live fearlessly and consciously and are curious and kind. This is the natural child, free. This is the power, only this love. If regular folks are not in right groups, if they are not nice neighbors next door, what grips them but pain out of their past lives and their childhoods, is my guess. But one of the open souls I could see fifty yards up trail, the calm face, gait, the awake face. The wholesome individuals are better looking, now I remember the jungle trail. I recall a man with his woman, both had sturdy shoulders, yes. Open in their eyes, the two coming. People like this would assure me in my directions. Might I be armed they already knew we be in kind. These are humans not led. I generalize today, I was there and saw. Should these folks get caught into the warfare this day, they do not kill children.
Hey, I do not speak of any bluegrass, quote unquote. None of the watered down stuff. Only the high lonesome or the power. Jazz, or flamenco and so on, but the power. Conscious people are wild. They can be tranquil when they feel like it. Hold their children.
June 18 return to Brundrett house after the long Aransas weekend, wherein oddly this time B.E. never once told me to get a job. Last time he did so was when I disagreed his Civil war grandparents loved their slaves, the consequent blowout with him then Kelly. Generally by now he has to sum up his short range arguments with me by telling me to get a job and support "my family" It is a rationale or principle - if I do not get a job to support my family my credibility on anything else is less - my favorite example maybe, re. LL I am about age fifty and dusk return to my parents' house Madrea on my shoulders, both outside out of their minds that I am not back with my child by sundown, whew, help us all - the Yugoslavians have their madness but what the hell is this thing with U.S citizens?
Yes, my father can be enjoyable and interesting, but reincarnational tie does not withstand his choice to bicker. It has not always been so necessarily, except that he is law abiding and I am not, and past decades our disapproval of one another gathers. Or my never ceasing to try getting him to see reality. A few years back I said to him man does not live by bread alone and he said: No, he needs clothes, and shelter. So I said this to him maybe a month ago, he said: That's how little you know, son. Even as Kelly has brought to the parents a Van Gogh print, very pretty plants in a garden, and our father keeps appraising this, looking at it, calling it beautiful and Lyla has it right in his easy view from couch and his solitaire playing, and he has known of Van Gogh's reputation, if vaguely but he chuckles about that. It could be pleasant to get along all these last days of his with him, though it would surprise me. But the karma is the stronger part. Jim said to me he has trouble telling people how is it Billolive lives in his house and I said tell them it is karma, and Jim follows that. Inside his solitaire B.E. knows it too, so maybe I am trying to talk less.