The old Brundrett house is on the corner of Brundrett Street and
Oleander Street, and across Oleander two trailers over is Floyd the electician
with his dog Baby. I hear Floyd now telling Baby to stop barking, slapping his
belt at his pickup bed where Baby is chained, and Baby barks. It is when
Medicine is temporarily fastened on this front porch we hear this, when they are
about to pull out going on a call, or maybe Baby is simply inside his fenced
yard but can see Medicine. It is fortunate Medicine is a restless Sagitarian and
goes in and out, in and out, and is not out on the porch very long. As they pull
out Baby in the back of pickup is railing at Medicine, Floyd saying stop
Floyd is keeping Baby inside more. Since we returned form the cabin Baby would carry on as we set out with bike or either just went round the block on foot, and two or three times he broke loose in different ways, old Floyd in clumsy pursuit, and Baby attacked leashed Medicine, knocking over the bike, Baby going on under Medicine getting bloodied and we would go through this of pulling them apart. One time Baby knocked Medicine over, and Medicine took a foreleg and got atop and bloodied Baby worse. That time my talk was not doing it and I spied a short thick stick and used this for jaw lever. That day later from pickup Floyd asked me was Medicine cut up any this time and I sad naw andd he said Baby sure was. He was thinking to neuter Baby, because "male dogs aren't good for anything but fighting." He was thinking to take Baby to the vet before Baby got infected. I said aw now don't do that, he'll get under better control, and you don't need to take Baby to the vet because that's only money and dogs heal easily, quickly. Floyd said getting him neutered might be better than having a tore up dog. Baby and Medicine had grown up across the street from one another, would play when they were both loose, if Floyd were not present for Baby to show off for, Baby acted tough and mean for Floyd then. I was remembering how Floyd proudly told me he had "got some pussy." Floyd had enjoyed his little dog's high spirit. Baby may weigh forty. Baby absolutely would not jump Medicine were Floyd not in sight, had the impulse but checked it, and Floyd the normal dog owner did not quite know what was happening. I recall Floyd firstly had not believed Medicine is a pitbull, had not known what one looks like. I think Floyd had about grasped Medicine who is easily thirty pounds heavier than crazy Baby was getting pissed, and last week Medicine got to Baby and cut an artery.
Medicine had been the most sociable puppy I have known, with dogs or people. But something in his chemistry prompted neighboring adult males to ghrowl and snap or try to bite him. He did not trust them to belly up, as young dogs will normally do to adult dogs, lick me I'm a puppy, but Medicine would wag and yap and play at the blustering neighboring male dogs, who three years or four years back were less leashed in Port Aransas. Now, Medicine has beaten up these dogs but one, usually from my leash, as they have gotten out and come on and gotten bitten. He has not got the large dog who did bite him, who had come into this yard to attack him a couple of times, first time bit Medicine's flank, second time a night Medicine turned such a circle the big old dog caught only air, Medicine was back of the bewildered dog, standing, watching, could have got him, less than a year old, maybe he had bitten him from circle, for the dog I did notice couple daylights later was cut on flank. That night, Medicine thought about having the fight, decided not to. When we were back from the cabin this dog was suddenly old, graying and unsteady, and fenced up, and his master, a friend of mine, fearfully making sure.Medicine the pup had been social, yet stoical, getting bitten meant nothing to hin, and he began beating up male dogs and fighting animals during our stay at the cabin, got chewed up by something one full moon at the cabin, in as he had come in exausted for two days he had killed the animal. Anything hung in with him that long he got. But till Joseph's fifty pound pitbull tried to latch on Medicine was not set to murder his kind. I do believe the whites of Medicine's big eyes had been white, before the pitbull incident, where they had bulged red, Joseph a former dog fighter saying he had not seen this before, and the whites of Medicine's eyes are pink now, vessels ruptured. After that incident, before he got to Baby, there is this one other nearby dog, trailer obliquely in the oleanders and pepper trees next door, a similiar dog to Baby, in appearance and maybe fifty pounds, named Boss. Boss is athletic and crazy and impervious to pain inside a fight like Baby. When we were back from cabin and he got free one night and Medicine went through a screen to get him and I heard and ran out, Medicine had braced him, then seeing me running out went at him, and Boss on hind legs back peddled a huge circle one side of this yard before Medicine got a grip, and I got Medicine and shock and argued, freed Boss in a minute about. But Boss won't quit fighting, or not offhand, and has a nice woman owner, a person who has not lost composure when I've pulled Medicine off Boss - she has a brother in Pennsylvania who has raised pitbulls and "is crazy" and she had once pit/doberman who liked fighting and grownmen owners of male dogs would threaten to kill her dog and her. So she is OK, but recently in Medicine's round block before turning in for our night, Boss was loose again, and jumped in. I could not wave him off. Boss went under with his face being chewed toward his throat, and I pulled them down the night street, preferring to be unseen. I got Medicine to turn him loose but he would not go home, thought he should have last bite, came biting onto Medicine's lower back. Medicine was willing to let this be - could I then have run Boss off. But it annoyed me and I allowed Medicine to slowly turn around and take Boss on back under. Curious, this time, I let Medicine do some chewing. Pulled them further down the street wondering what should Boss choose to go through. But before we reached the end of block Boss got real, quit biting back and it was just his ear in Medicine's mouth. Fairly bloody, then was Boss. Before the corner Medicine let him go and he gave a litlle yelp and to home. Even after the pitbull incident Medicine is not set to kill the regular fool dog on purpose. Dogs in a breed are individual. Of many wild type dogs I have owned Medicine is the sole one who will not crunch skunk, possum, and hardly even racoon. Other dogs crunched a skunk and stank all week. A possum is too boring for Medicine to kill. A racoon he fences with, letting it likely grab a tree. Few days ago he fenced with a fighting gopher, ate it when done. In New Nexico at cabin he saw this skunk raise its tail, it was just too weird for Medicine Dog. Dear Reader, you should believe me, one night Medicine came walking up abreast of a skunk. Seeing them coming I thought it somebody's little dog. I bent to pet it then realised it was a skunk. Dazzled, drew back.Perhaps most dog owners do not know what dogs are exactly. For example, dogs are like children, acting up for their owners, such that, no matter what owners of the rat-dog yappers believe, their dogs do not think they are ten times bigger than they really are. In my presence, Medicine acts up on other humans, throwing himself bodily upon them in a social aggressiveness rarely seen on Earth. My parents and Bix and Johnnie and Madrea like him but folks mostly think he is a maniac and he thinks it sport to goose them and nibble on them softly. If I am not there, he is subdued and well behaved. Nearly always I am there, snapping leash to reel him in, very funny he thinks. He had been a six week old pup running free with siblings in a yard of chained fighting dogs, his mother not there, when Tamara put him in my arms. He is uneasy without me, a spooky dog. Yet my selection of pups in this yard of fine looking pitbulls lunging off staked chains, which the police forcce Port Aransas authority soon abated, was which one is most adventurous or aggressive. Tamara pointed to the pup across the yard sniffing his uncle the champion. I got the alert and spooky one, but male, and usually it is the famales most alert. Canine personality runs parallel with human personality. We were both the predator who ganged up on prey, and we would scavenge one species the other and we trailed one another and became symbiotic, during many thousands of years. Next, farming by man, unto city state, desensitized people to their dogs. Dogs were herding man's grazing animals andd guarding his stuff and his children, while man thought to rule man, but often lost touch with self. Man the individual was going with mobs ruled by kings and priests. This is where mankind is right now. Not many folks remember exactly who is dawg.
Floyd never knew it had been his reactions prompting Baby's folly. Last week I was making coffee maybe seven thirty after Medicine and I had done his round the block quickie trip. Medicine was barking out the living room window and I thought to fasten him onto the front porch, thought these females who get loose and play with him were out there. This cord on front porch lets him stretch a few feet from porch , and he is such a balled up lout, will try to hump one of these females who will play in and out with him. But this day he burst from my fingers and caught unleashed Baby along the edge of this yard, who had come "jogging" with Floyd. I was over there and lifting Medicine by collar and spinning backward from Baby, Who leaping worked to get in his own bite. Then I was apologizing and carrying Medicine by collar, and Floyd was exclaiming Baby was bitten bad. I had thought not bad, that this was exaggeration.
That afternoon a cop was at the door for the details. I learned Floyd had Baby at the vet's. The cop was decent, said Floyd said it is his fault too. This cop said maybe I could help Floyd pay the bill. I would learn from Floyd the cops thought I should pay all the bill. That evening I visited Floyd when he came home. Morosely, uncommunicative beyond the necessary, Floyd informed me Medicine had cut an artery and as the port Aransas veterinarian had not yet opened, he had run Baby over to Dr. Skinner's in Aransas pass and Baby had nearly bled to death. Next weekend I would bring this up to Joseph and he would tell me that yes, dogs can die quickly from cut arteries. Skinner is an old, real, cheaper veterinarian, I was glad it was Skinner because Floyd wanted me to pay half the bill. I tended to balk in a rationale it was not mine or Medicine's fault, firstly told Floyd I live "hand to mouth" and am just a writer (now you, Floyd, you go get money for working), "trying to get some stuff published," (likely never does Floyd read), that Medicine has been angry with Baby because Baby has attacked Medicine. Floyd did agree in the one part, said this is why he told the police it is both our faults equally and this is why he thought I should pay my half. At that moment his logic pained me. I tried telling him Baby and this other neighboring dog Boss are aggressive as pitbulls are supposed to be and the primary difference between them and Medicine is Medicine is twice as strong, that I am having to put up with all these dogs attacking Medicine all the time while there is this general prejudice against pitbulls. I could tell Floyd believes pitbulls need to be exterminated. In a context of his own mind, he said the strongest breed is the rottweiller. We disagreed on that, just as I caught my momentum. I agreed to pay half the bill. I went patient, having to hear a pitbull story - his nephew had owned one and treated it like a baby and yet it turned on him one morning when the guy was trying to sleep late and had slapped the dog off his face. So Floyd's shithead nephew had had it coining but I had caught my momentum. I went back to the Brundrett house, to Medicine in my room. Next day having felt I should not have balked about paying half the bill I went over to Floyd's who had Baby back from the overnight stay at Dr. Skinner's. I was glad to hear the bill was only $58, complimented Dr. Skinner for being the best and handed Floyd two twenties and he gave me but two fives for change. Baby had stitches high on his right foreleg, was friendly and meek, even smaller than I had known, very small in head like a female. Tragicomically, a few days before nearly being killed, he had been neutered. Because he is neutered, said Floyd, he is not chasing cats so much when he gets the chance and he is not so able to defend himself as he had been. Floyd asked, since he had gone to this with his dog, would I do so with mine. Appalled, I told Floyd I plan to breed Medicine. A shadow of horror went through Floyd's face. His suggestion had got my momentum going again. Before I got hold again, I had given a picture of girlfriend who had given me Medicine gets out of school in a year and we will move to the country and breed pitbulls. I but reacted to fix a picture for Floyd, but not to shake him. I could have given the greater reality, my ambition of acquiring a pure wolf puppy for Medicine's mate.Besieged, Floyd sits in his trailer with Baby or they take off and he is trying to get Baby to shutup, neutered. I have not observed that Floyd even drinks, or sees any women. If he is at the Whattaburger place and Baby chained in back of truck and Medicine and I wheel on by, Baby barks. I feel kind of like a cattleman dealing with nesters except this time I am less the property owner and the law enforcement favors these very many small folk. I had learned Floyd had called the police, for he said if my dog is loose again he will call the police again. My dogcatcher friend Tom has left port Aransas but I went and visited the new dogcatcher, who is friendly and had already days earlier complimented me on Medicine - "I love your dog" - she had already known about Medicine. I forget the woman's name this moment. I had wished to brief her on the prejudice I deal with, and we got in some talk in her office at the dog pound before much interruption. I learned there is a law in Port Aransas against owning a "dangerous" pitbull, but, says she, Medicine is a nice pitbull, can pass other animals without needing to kill. I observed her alert to facts in the Floyd case, which I only chanced to think to mention: the fights with Baby were all on this property, and, but for the last incident, when Medicine was hampered by leash. On the well known incident with Sterling, and his dog whose name is Rambo, she said her own dog had beaten up Rambo, who had been frequently loose and "aggressive. With my complaint of my getting no credibility with the cops and Sterling's lying and getting credibility, she informed me the cops "are onto Sterling," know he "deals drugs," etc. Then we were interrupted too much....um...Sterling seems to be doing alright, also Rambo, tied up on his porch barking when we wheel by.
Mike O1ive and I were communicating well before he left this last time and he had been looking through a couple of o1d boxes of his stored in Aransas pass a couple of decades ago, and he presented me with some old letters and writings of mine I had forgotten sending to him. Here be a couple historical ones, Dear Reader. A surprise to me is this one of longhand from this boy's camp in East Texas I had worked maybe a month, couple of months before I first went into the interior of Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, fell in love and went tragically mad and began to seriously write, and hitch hiked next winter to New york, or maybe it was toward spring, to get an anvance on my half completed novel thought I, this letter before all that.
Post date on that envelope is Aug. 21, 1959, a Camp Fern out of Marshall, Texas.
July 29, '68
I guess you all know I failed in Mexico once again, the missionaries having beaten me to the Indians by about ten years, no, twenty or so, and also all the monkeys and animals have been killed down there, so the Mayan Indians raise corn and dogs and chickens to eat and hunt with twenty-two's. Corn fed dog isn't too bad, better than armidillo, and those wretched dogs barked at me avery time I got up in the night to take a leak, must be their diet, most nervous dogs I've seen, so corn fed dog beats tortillas, but those poor Indians were not my scene, disheartening though it was to reach the conclusion. They were not friendly enough anyway, most of them, though one who was for a while wwas this young man who wanted to guide me out of there, being as I was broke practically, and no tourist plane was showing up no how. Had got in there that way, with two other foreigners chipping into the fifty dollar fare with me, but I hiked out, starting with the little Indian guide, plus another Indian and a Mexican, all who proved unfriendly soon as they thought maybe they could break me, or some such nonsense, as I did see the morning we got underway. Saw it in the "guide", who previously had said we would discuss the price in Palenque, the friendly little bastard, but half a day out in the mud and jungle it came out as I was wasting myself dragging behind trying to lug a suitcase on my head, that he wanted five hundred pesos, then he wanted four hundred, and I said maybe ten dollars, one twenty-five. He got pissed off and threatened to leave me, and I told him suit himself. But even one twenty-five is plenty bread for the greedy little bastard, and besides he had other affairs, like selling a twenty-two he was carrying, so it wasn't until the middle of the next day that I got rid of them, and glad I was to do so, because the five foot little bastard could really move through the jungle, and, I had both ankles sprained from not knowing how to walk in the sucking mud, and too, there was enough path going one way by then. It was the rainy season, ruining my suitcase, which that first day I discarded, putting things into a pack I luckily had in suitcase, and also a straw bag I had, and the Indians had stolen some of my clothing as they were being washed, too, so by then my load was light. They had tried to lug the warped suitcase, first my greedy guide, then the Mexican, but the middle of the second day the Mexican let it go at this farm house, though no one would pay him anything, but even empty he didn't want to carry it more. So the affair with the suitcase was amusing, and as I sat talking to some people more friendly the Mexican said Vamonos, and rubbing my ankles, tired of ignorant Indians yelling all the time at what I guess to them was one big fierce Gringo, I yelled back Vaya, and people laughed, and I let them go without me, and now that I think about it I feel more pissed off than I was. Goddamn people who know no better. Yet I do know when to take it easy. It was an unpleasant trip. I had a bunch of tortillas, eating at least half a dozen a day, following the difficult path, puddles, slush, logs under and over stumps, holes through the thicket, on bad legs, and people afraid of me, and the third day I traded a shirt to eat a meal of six boiled eggs, and that protein made a great difference, and the fourth day started out with some improvement in a muddy horse trail, that did open up into a road toward the afternoon, and I was planning on getting a bus that tay, but the bigger river had overflowed so the bus (pickup) did not come that far that day. There are these many villages, mainly Indian, not much Spanish spoken, with no roads, except paths which they call roads, but by now I was on a road, passed one then later one other stalled catterpillar, a very great deal of sudden progress going on, and on the fifth day I came to the town with the larger river. There had been many small rivers trickling along in the rainy season, so water I had had, drinking very much of it when I would sit down and have a tortilla. The town with a river was good to see, a cafe, and also it was a big truck stop. The day before A Christian had conned me out of my chalmaldra convincing me I had it made getting the bus that day, so at this truck stop town on the other side of river I slept with no cover, but having sold the chalmaldra for thirty pesos (can't remember but seems the chalmaldra - if that's the word had cost maybe one fifty), I did eat well and slept not too chilly, and got the pickup next day and rode to town with train, had to stay over night at station, getting train for Palenque my town in early morn and made it in that morning to civilization, which was a good thing, because, as I learned, I am a man of culture and better things. Much as I admire adventure.On way to Port Aransas, I met this young cat in Vera Cruz. Turns out he was just faking it as a hippie. He is from Norfolk, Virginia, seen a lot of action with Marines in Viet Nam, was wounded badly, is getting one thirty five American a month, was down there trying to get into grass scene. We met on way to Mexico City, smoking, and at first, what with my non-Texas accent, and his being a bit strung out depressed on pills, and hot in Veva Cruz, due to complicated little frame up from other gringoes, and etc., just having had bad times with people, he was fairly paranoid. I had become strangely nervous, and taking peyote with him, his first trip, in a Mexico City hotel, I began to bring it out. We're killers, and he has killed a great deal in this life, felt I had somewhere too, and was thinking me some agent and that he might be needing to kill me. It was quite an experience, the one knife between us, his scout knife, cutting that peyote. But I brought him, a little paranoid just about the whole way, to Port Aransas, where he does like it, and he does have what it takes, and will be a friend of mine, named Tommy Ray. Last name is Sligloff or something but he he doesn't like his last name. I never before felt as good getting into Texas. Guess I will identify with Texas now. Port Aransas is still very good. Wonderful waIking out into those warm waves. Mexico is getting too nervous, and Port Aransas is most peacable place I know. Brundrett house better than ever. People said Jim is crazy, Gone now. He no longer goes to the shop. Jim said hello, and tried to turn away but I demanded a handshake. Shit, Jim and I still get along. Everybody has given up on him because he howls and and grunts and moans, makes noises with no five minute break all day long, loud enough that Tiddle over at the courts hears him sometimes, but Jim is just expressing himself. He does not go out either, just makes the noises in a swound. Other words, he is better than ever. And he finally admitted "I am dying less, enjoying it more." He has even threatened A.R. with a shotgun. But interestingly enough, even A.R. seems more relaxed, not ranting at the four walls as much. And even Mary Jo will on occasion in group down on beacb partake of a little grass. Anyhoo, P.A. really felt good to me, and I plan to get a job down there, though maybe have to get one here first.
May 1, '69
We heard from mother, letter you got. She also put us in a brief excerpt from your letter where you mention weighing one sixty but feeling old and lonely, Kelly thinks you should leave Berkeley. I don't know about that but it bothers me for you to feel this way, especially as I am happier with age. If you are not that enthused about the things you are doing, Mike, you should do something else. I have been a little curious and interested in the thing you told us in a post card you are studying now. Mother and I did not know the word you called it, looked it up and still didn't understand too well. It sounded interesting, but if you are feeling this way, Mike, you should really do something else.
You know, I am enthused about psychedelic drugs, think they will figure more and more in man's development. LSD did stimulate me past a lot of pain, more pain than I knew I had, and it does a lot for my ego. Nothing happens overnight, it first appears that you learn more under the drugs than you do, but I know I have benefitted. Other people don't always react this way, and I can't know exactly why they don't. So I can't be sure, but it seems to me you could see into and past whatever it may be dragging you. I don't mean one trip, either; I feel one trip only on LSD is a dangerous thing because it leaves you hanging. Actually, as impulsive as you can be, I think mescaline is more your speed; I like it better myself. But anyway, Mike, I wonder how much you have had hanging from the one large trip you did take, and I wonder why you won't try again. The younger you are, the less painful acid or mescsline can be. And never compare them to pot experience. Pot is a slow vivid mentality too subjected to imagination. Acid is clear, a little too dramatic but more real. Well, it is all real enough. I've been any which way, moments I've seen without drugs, and maybe, without collecting it, many other people have, but acid, and the psychedelics, will let the mind run mostly true. A few trips would let you know
what you are interested in in life. You should take some trips alone, because people distract and interfere. I wish you would try. That's all I can say. If you take a cap by yourself on top of a hill, what can you be afraid of? Demons? The sky, yourse1f?
I've sent you more of my current writing. I feel it is probably my best work but I would like to hear your estimation. I have this style, write in circles, and wonder at my clarity. I've been sending a copy also to my girl in Baytown and she says she doesn't understand it. I doubt I am less clear than I have been - the parents never liked the method - but I wonder if I may still be too lackadaisical here or there. If it doesn't seem so to you I would appreciate hearing it. Otherwise I would like to hear it too.
Like other schools there is a bit of radical activity here. Two days ago there waa a big ROTC affair, citizens coming to watch, and the hippies staged a little march beside it, against mandatory ROTC, the war, etc. Kelly and I went, just to watch and laugh, though Kelly is a little vindictive regarding the trouble the administration gave him last year over the statements he made. We stood by a large group of cowboys as they collected, they didn't know who we were and went on talking themselves into disrupting the hippies, grabbing their signs and crosses they carried. I began saying things to them, on two occassions they attempted to untie this black ribbon around the dog Thor's neck - the kids were wearing these ribbons on their arms for some reason and one was given Kelly which we put on Thor - and Kelly and I became pretty threatening. We had another guy with us, a young kid I've smoked and worked out with. We psyched out about thirty cowboys. Just a bunch of kids, didn't know what to make of mountain men. Not wanting to fight them, I concentrated on giving them white eye. Then we would ignore them and look at other things, laugh a bit, and when they would try to pull out of their silence we would snap, bully them. I was getting a little wild, no longer rational, starting to yell at people by the time Kelly the other friend, a gutty little guy, filed into the back of the hippie march, and Kelly began trying to cool me down. Funny, I had only come there to watch. But the mountain men did keep the cowboys from stopping the demonstration. After it was all over, part of the hippies went for another triumphant round on the field, and then the cowboys broke loose and grabbed some of their things. Kelly was apart from me and my little friend, holding down Thor who had been running about, and as the cowboys passed me going for the other hippies on the side line I had some exchange with them but was so worked up I could hardly speak, and I ran to prevent them from grabbing more things and of course wasn't going to play much tug of war. Things at this point are too psyched up to remember clearly my friend, Rudy Sanches, says I had grabbed a cowboy to slug him, cowboy had taken a swastiska from some one, when the school's vice president and group of men in suits ran between, telling me to cool it because everybody had already done what they came to do. A great group of cowboys were gathering and to keep them psyched out I said I knew
everybody had done what they came to do but I just wanted to see some blood. Then about four athletes, three of then black, maybe averaging two thirty, guys friendly with Kelly and me, came beside me and the couple of people with me, most of the hippies falling back across the street to watch. It seemed to cool off though, so Kelly and I left. Then a person among the cowboy ranks threw a stick which cut a Negro hippie in the head. Then six blacks went into the president's house, gave him until twelve thirty today to get the guy who threw the stick, and were arrested for not leaving when asked to. It is a quarter to six, I don't know what may happen. I don't really concern myself with any of it. I find it all silly, and smoking lately have felt silly and worried about myself. Really, I favor the sick hippies over the other sick end of it but I have no identification anywhere. I worry how the hell would I ever stay out of a revolution, when there's violence I may run amuck like a cop and not know exactly what I do. For the past two days I have even been too up to type without continually making mistakes, finally today I am about back to normal. Rudy Sanches, only eighteen, thought it was great shit, he's had fights, etc. But twentieight year old writer Bill Olive can't keep hold his mind under action.
Well, Mike, I miss your sobering influence. Kelly is fairly sober. Getting to know him better he reminds me so much of you. I have the tendency of calling him Mike. But he is interesting that he likes to push trouble so he can watch it and deny having arything to do with it. He is funny. If I cause something I am more apt to be proud I did, but Kelly gets kicks from pretending, even to himself perhaps, innocence.
Do you know anything about Jim Voeller? I've written him but he won't answer. Do you know anything of Louie? I'm about two letters ahead of him now. If you can, I would like the News1etter piece. Tell Ned hello for me and that I look forward to getting with him sometime again. Should you see Leslie, you might ask her if she minds the use of her name in my book.
So look, Mike, please take care of yourself. We don't want you growing old on us.
P.S. Case it matters, the blacks in the president's house were not arrested. This I had heard over the news, plus that the stick thrown had a nail in it.
Dear Blackolive:My first love was jazz. Bebop through free jazz; I'm no longer up on what's happening.
Saunder's letter I got on my return here a day later, Jeff's a bit later on. B.E. was playing solitaire again, on his couch again, appearing better. Wwhat can it mean. Medicine Dog was overjoyed, turning mightily in my hands, yelping. Lyla had her camera ready and photographed this. I know Lyla had finally told B.E. something of my going to New York while really he has always hoped I could get somewhere. In my departure she spoke something in front of him, a hope. I can get some money out of this somehow. I said no money is forthcoming that fast, this is one step at a time, more fame, fame before money. This logic and humor registered on my father's face before he forgot it.If life's journey has put me melancholic even should I gain wealth and raise hell and have fun, I am finally this season beset with allergy trouble. I have been eating over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, such as primatine pills, which for several years now is cut with a foul substance to keep the kids from trying to get high on the ephedrine in them, and I seem allergic to the foul substance. I can't get pure ephedrine in Texas now even with SSI without paying thirtysomething dollars for the prescription, so I discovered after big hassle a couple years back re. LL. I had rather predicted this strenuous NY trip. Airports are insane and my good friend Joy has two cats and I'm allergic to cats. I'd had to transfer in Washington and coming back had to in fucking Chicago, and each way one flight got cancelled. I learned the traveler must go speak up for his or her own self, get his/her ticket redone, or else not make the next flight. Pople tend to walk into you and they mob up glazed eyed at the ticket gate like they are pressing for a life boat, pitiful. Too, I had not quite understood Joy that I meet her inside, as I come right off the plane, had thought she had meant outside, with the cabs and clouds of cigarette smoke. Always in the streets of this greatest pulsing city poor devils breathe their chemical cigarettes, life is short. Fortunately Joy thought to walk outside - in the hour. She had tried to page me and she had called Kelly. Kelly had just learned his longhorns up on the Medina River property had broken out of the fence again and he was having to go up there, and he told Joy to go on home and Bill would find his way there eventually. But she found me faster than the trip could get that bad. She is great. Her apartment 21 stories up has a superb view of dynamic Manhatten. Outon her scape with wooden table with wooden owl to scare the shitting pigeons she had a case of Corona which mainly I drank though she gave me permission to use her place to meet the others, use it for a base she said. I already had messages on her phone recorder so next day Jack Saunders, Jeff Potter, Karl Wenclas came up. Her cats are a brother and sister confined inside the apartment and the male is huge and friendlier than most dogs and he bounds up and down all over like a giant squirrel, knocks things over more than a squirrel would. I gobbled pills with beer, but actually had built a bit of resistance by second night, used only antihistamines sleeping second night better.
Big Jack from Georgia is 62 and melancholic who, with a full time technical writing job still gets in his own writing, often on job time with their computer, amazingly. He writes about not being published in the U.S. He goes on, on, unfolding, further. Joy and her colleague, an attractive young woman named I think Amie, and Shade Vaughn, Steve Vaughn's son (surprised me, I had forgotten Shade is living there lately, with a public relations sort of job - I saw him and went blank - he smiled he saw I had made it - then I realized this is somebody I know, then realized who but could not think of his first name, said "Vaughn"), who visits Joy in NY because she is a great friend, had liked the first couple of performers but had found the several in the middle boring, before I then Jack wound it up. Joy likes Jack's self humor. Indeed, performers. Somewhere along in it a "Writer" did not even read; but paced and talked at the audience about his study of teenage Thailand prostitutes, tragedy in Thailand, took a shower with one saying he did not touch her and he asked the audience was this unfaithful to his Thailand actual girlfriend - incredibly - on a scale of one to ten how unfaithful asked this celebrity - did not appreciate that one woman kept hollering "nine" - Joy found this guy suspect, saw no good cause for his carrying on about sad conditions we all know of anyway. And we had one actual stand-up comic, an honest non-writer. But Jack and I read straight.Jeff Potter of outyourbackdoor.com who is in later thirties is all and more that his outdoors but eclectic magazine champions, wholesome but hip. I like he is training for ax chopping competition in Michigan. He says he grew up this way, skiing, canoeing, back in teenage life he would be getting his friends into outdoors stuff. He would envolve in their citified stuff with them then try to get them to come along into his fun too. King Karl Wenclas from Detroit now living in Philadelphia is the prime mover in the Underground Literary Alliance. Maybe his partner Michael Jackman is sort of the second guy. Wenclas had had a bit of a fistfight with Jackman, which he spoke of up in Joy's apartment this day we met. Wenclas is balding, medium height and frame, fiery, alert, maybe early forties. Later on, Jeff remarked the fight sounded like friendly sporting, if maybe their babe writer, Ann Skirtzinger, had some influence. Jeff was less surprised than I. Wenclas and Jackman had gone to a reading at a bar somewhere, of these published writers. They were drinking and disrupted the affair, their criticism becoming physical challenges, inclusive of the bouncers. Nobody would fight them, and they left. At another bar they drank, and inspired to go out back, to, says Wenclas, "see who is toughest," says he cannot remember any reason other. Michael Jackman was removing his glasses and Wenclas wailed on his body. Hell, he's bigger than I am, said Wenclas - this is how we do it in Detroit. Jackman kept coming and Wenclas connected perfectly to his jaw and Jackman kept coming. That bar's bouncers broke it up and Wenclas says he is glad they did because Jackman takes a good punch and kept coming and might have kicked his ass. Funny stuff. The two friends seem OK about it. My kind of guys. For the reading at 8 PM we had a little practice run at 4 o'clock, at the Amato Theater, small beat place. Jeff naturally fell in with King Wenclas helping organize. Another writer, and mover, is Doug Basset, who had both called and written me here in Texas before I got there. He is a whacky sort of enjoyable guy, whose face sometimes forms this strange square on his forehead not quite between his eyes, if this was not my hallucination. I guess Jackman, and Basset, are over thirty, and many of the other writers in their twenties, like Crazy Ann Skirtzinger. One is a Joe Smith, who, after it was over and Joy had told me she was ready to drop and needed to go, gave me his zine from the public table, Orthophobe, and asked could he get a Texas Gang book. Couple years ago had got one to Wenclas, and Potter had found one off the internet, has given me a good review at a web chatroom, see his letter. I explained to Joe Smith there was only 2000 copies of TG in 1978 and I have not had money to reprint and have but one myself. Later, having read Orthophobe, which is good, I hoped I had not been too abrupt, and sent Joe Smith a letter. Number three headliner was Ann Skirtzinger, who rigs up these scanty dresses and the way she reads and enjoys carrying on ought to be in theater, a slender pretty girl in glasses, a most amusing girl before she read, cut across the stage from back stage dressing area in flimsy costume when one of the first couple of readers was doing his thing, could have even been Joe, I get confused with a bunch of faces before knowing people. I surely feel the selection Karl Wenclas had me to read did work, heavy Blackolive after stand-up comedy and would-be U.S. celebritude. Even underground writers may not always reflect what means challenge to literary establishment. We were having constant rain in New york where Wenclas could hardly hand out any more flyers, thus sparse attendance, and plus Paris Review people or media people did not seem to come back after a beating Wenclas, and Crazy Ann had delivered verbally, at the press conference. In the early parts one witty ready writer was doing fine and this fat stand-up comic young Turk I had been talking to earlier (had said he worried how much should he turn loose and my advice was go gonzo)(really, the pent up guy had been up in the balcony singing loudly off key way before any eight o'clock) was interfering and abrasive from the audience - he bugged the performing reader/writer about tight jeans or anything till the fellow on stage spoke of kicking his butt like King Wenclas would. They bring up King Wenclas a lot, like when the walker/talker on Thai 12 year old whores had gone on a very long time he remarked King Wenclas was pointing to his watch (thank the lord). Wenclas sets a reasonable standard. Next the reader getting pissed invited the angry fat comic to come on stage. Next at a side of stage this writer was laughing at the fat comic's spiel. Or seemed to me it was more his delivery than what he ever said. I remember his snarling about his divorcing parents. Too many kids have divorcing parents and never get required human attention. By time of the mundane middle performances all the pills and shit I had been through was shaking loose my water - badly I needed to piss every twenty minutes - said fuckit, sitting besides Jack at the front just kept getting up to piss - I patted shoulder of fat comic at back toward bathroom, told him he did good. I read after Crazy Ann. With me, and Saunders, Wenclas gave introduction. Mine had this from aclaimed Ann Seaman. I had known Wenclas had asked it of her, but I had thought she would be too busy on her current bio of Madelyn O'Hair. She had sent me a $100 "for New York," which I ended using before getting there. She is great. Anyway, she did it, Wenclas said he had edited it a little shorter. It was kind of a nature boy a la Lyla take, Bill likes dogs and children. When I read I was pumped by then but read straight, enuciating my words in thought I soon would be heading back to Medicine Dog. Fake war on drugs and developing police state. The evening's lighter mirth stopped at Blackolive. Saunders read last and nor did he perform, in vein of humor about being unpublished original author in U.S. Establishment people these days are all but naught but heads in sand. Guys like Wenclas and Potter will be able to grab whatever literate youth. When it was over and Wenclas congratulating me I inappropriately spoke I cannot do this hardships of travel a second time. But of course we shall manage. I have recovered and Jack is sending me his stuff and Pants Falling Down Man and I are digging it and Jack has sent me this remarkable bio on Chester Himes by James Sallis.
Sorry to be lax in writing. Been finding solace in keeping busy lately, putting more of myself into the school I just signed another two year contract at, trying to keep up my Japanese studies, get exercise when I can. Now I am on a Spring break and Bonnie will arrive in two days for a one week visit. Will be nice to see Japan through her fresh eyes as I begin to become inured to the place.
When do you go to New York? I like the idea of your going there, doing the reading, feeling the New York vibe. Texans and New Yorkers are full of personality and directness, make for interesting company. Yes, I've enjoyed emailing with Tammy, would like to meet her and her daughters someday.
Sorry to hear Daddy Bill Is not playing solitaire, does indeed sound like he's going more quickly. Strange how a person will just stop doing more and more things until they finally just stop living altogether. Seems a rather anti-climactic and ignoble finish to a life. When did Daddy Bill ever get to bask in the glory of accomplishment? His retirement, in my recent memory, was spent mostly on that couch, it seems. His fiery younger years were given mostly to the company, and when he finished that, he just started resting. There's a lot I don't get about life. Lyla seems to still have an edge, I hope she can stay fiery for years to come.
Ah, sentimentality is lodging in my throat like a chicken bone. (I know dogs chew 'em up.)
The muse is not with me, Bill, but wanted to acknowledge your letter. Yeah, that Jack guy's stuff is amusing, I can tell he has method behind his ramble, is aware of himself. I enjoy his references to people, movies, books, music. I like a lot of the same stuff he does. Made it through another Winter in Japan. Older I get, the less I like Winter, though it's pretty. I definitely come alive in Spring, get more active, get into outdoor sport. Things are well with Akiko. She's a good lady, warm in a simple, unconvoluted way.
Give word on the New York scene when you get the chance. Love, Geof