Last Laugh CXXXXIX


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 barking.

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.


Aug 20

Hi there Mike old fellow,
I have absolutely nothing to do right now so think I'11 contact you. I am sick and I lay here alone and listening to el radio during sup. They have pretty good radio out here. It's not hard to pick up Jazz, they have a coulored station which is often pretty good and they have this program called "party line" which I think is once a week and maybe this is the night. It is funny and interesting as hell. This guy reads letters that people write in on anything they like (I've listened to "short shorty" [Dear reader, I have no idea what is this], "segregation," "flying saucers") and then you can listen to the idiots, idiots, idiots call in and talk to the D.J. It's rich. Right now I'm listening to some program with a combination of jazz blues with a bit of pop.

I am sick with a virus which has stricken the camp and it lasts a day or so. (I'm listening to the Negro station. 0ften they have a lot of spiritual music but I like this bit better.)

I have been mostly staying around camp and thus saving money but it's beginning to work on my mind. I don't think I've felt much better than when I was in the free and easy border towns and I would really like to be there now watching the scene. Last night I dreamed I was in Aransas pass and some Mexican girl was talking to me on the phone and really laying herself at my feet. Finally because I didn't know her I said "Who are you, anyway!" and suddenly I heard "Aw, Art, quit tying all those knots, Common Art, Golly!" and immediately I awoke and instinctivily said "Shut up Mark!" and found myself looking over at the wrong part of the room. I looked over at the other side and saw Mark sitting up in bed, I said "Wake up Mark, think clearly and go to sleep!" and about that time I began to wake up. I climbed out of bed and stepped outside and took a leak and when I climbed back into bed I could hear John Charles stirring around with the sickness, underneath me.

Well, I have of course been body building and I think I have gained slightly on my shoulders, back, and chest, perhaps my arms. I have been running an 8/10 hilly mile but I was interupted about three days with asthma and so wasn't able to really try to run it in 4 mm. I was out of shape but quickly caught up with the couple of guys I was running with (a football and basketball player) and then they haven't run durring the last couple of days for fear of lowering their resistence durring the last couple of days and I didn't run alone and now I am sick. I could run it in about 5 minnow and I honestly believe that I could get to where I could knock off a min but even though I like to run, I would hate to run a mile as fast as I could, even though I'd love to break a record.

We have some good looking Negro maids out here and often I'm the last person in the dining hall because I've been eating like a horse. Two or three have given me the eye and one is very pretty, light skin with white features and she's sweet looking. This is of course very akward and I don't think I could do anything about it. Then there is this one that is an assistant nurse (Dear Reader, a black beauty - pigment never mattered - who had complicated feelings for me) and from afar she very boldly meets and holds my eye but up close she seems shy and also sweet. Of course I've never been anywhere alone with her. She is extremely good looking. Also one of the campus mothers sexes me up because I think that if I was alone with her I could make out but still she seems very much the family mother. Mrs. Selber and she and the father are pleased with Chuck no longer being sissified. She's pretty.

I have learned to canoe and guess I'll canoe up the Amazon someday. I haven't ridden too much because of the trouble but I went riding a couple of days ago and got lost. How about that. Boy, I can't wait till I get lost on the Amazon River. Hot dog! I tried to let the horse have her head but it didn't work. I rode from about 4:30 to nine. I enjoyed the ride though, I had a very nice horse, she wouldn't run until she was sure the sorry rider wanted to. I could love horses. We traveled all the hell over and once I stopped behind a fence beyond a run down farm house and shouted questions at this Negro woman. Finally she sent this little kid over and he kept saying "Naw suh!" At night when I had come to a highway I stopped at a little Negro farm house and when I walked up I saw this old woman sitting in the front room bare breasted. The old man came out, I was extremely polite and he afraid, and gave me some very wrong directions. Out on the highway I came to this Negro service station and drank a couple of soda waters. I left at the same time a couple of Negro high school kids were and one of them had a horse. I walked with them a short ways and we talked of the horses, my directions and then because of "why not" I brought up racial trouble and we had a very short talk on that before they departed. I was very blunt and after gunning the south I had begun on my views. Then at the last one of them gave me some terribly wrong directions. I don't know what the Hell. I stopped at a lighted house and phoned and I was picked up.

I am not going on the canoe trip that I mentioned in Mother's letter because John Charles is going on the road with a band. He plays trumpet. Unless something suddenly popped up, I'm comming home.

I don't know what the Hell but I'll go to Mexico. I don't see what use I'd be in Mission unless they have some athletic program. Well, I have to hit El Green House (the privy, Drear Reader).

Keep Cool, Brother Bill

P.S. Careful I may have contaminated this letter.


Post date on that envelope is Aug. 21, 1959, a Camp Fern out of Marshall, Texas.


July 29, '68


Dear Breathren,

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

Dear Mike,

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.

Your brother,

Bill

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.


These other couple letters to Mike 0live - well, one was carbon copy to the general brethren, thus this blurred effect 3 decades later - came around the point in his professional student life that Berkeley malaise drove him to mountain climbing of Boulder. Wrote me the tear gas was just too much pollution and he craved some cleaner air. Boulder, he quickly gained ten pounds of muscle and felt perkier, began leading Outward Bound expeditions for troubled teenagers.

B.E. has played no solitaire since the past hollidays, somewhere back in the last LL. Solitaire he has played, with the television oblique and noisy, each day he did not have to go anywhere, since his retirement from Standard 0i1, quarter of a century now back. For about the past year, it has been simpler for me to get along with him, as he grew less able to sustain memory in a quarrel or orientate enough to tell me to get a job. He is not comfortable on his couch now, but sits at the bar, tween kitchen and livingroom. He might look over at the TV or listen at it a tad, should I have it on. He may need to take some oxygen, from this tank rented. With his cane he can get to the bathroom and back. It is remarkable how Lyla keeps him going. Now that I am flying to New york, Lyla gets my fare, and chooses to keep her husband out of it, not trouble him about flying Bill his first born who will not work to New york.

It can be, B.E. and I know one another, underneath the crap, better than other 0lives know one another. I don't know. Is he Print, and I his foreman who saved his life, Nigger Jim Kelly. Can't tell. Thing is, B.E. and I, in all his worry, know something. Maybe everybody knows something.

Kelly Olive was here past weekend, partly to help negotiate my getting to New york. To fly to New york from Corpus Christi would be too round about and twice as expensive. Kelly or his wife Janus will pick up my ticket somewhere and I have to get the old truck up to their town of Seguin, maybe hundred eighty miles, then to Austin maybe fifty miles, or to that airport. Maybe I can leave my truck with friends in Austin. I go alone now, Bix has asked out, says he has too much fear of flying. As I have written Barron and Stuart in Austin, about leaving the truck somewhere safely while one of them drives me to the airport, Stuart calls, twice, saying he can take me to the airport but, first call saying he has no parking space, too many people living in his house now, but second call he says he thinks we can figure me some kind of safe parking space.

Since LL CXXXXVIII the New York trip looms over all. King Wenclas corresponds he feels I should read in my twenty minutes slot from LL CXXXXVIII p. 1896 "This morning he and Jimmy stepped outside the 0live Aransas house" to p. 1900 "and you ain't believing in God then." I think this is a fine selection from Wenclas - these things in my talk other writers are not talking.

This past weekend, Kelly in our dialogue spoke of ancient Greeks having generational gaps, that it has been thought to be but human nature. I went on, that being there is not generational gaps in aborigines, anywhere, 100,000 years no generational gaps except they get conquered - it has to be the city state, our past ten, twenty thousand years, somebody has to build stone walls against barbarians and this means workers, prisoners, men to toil in mind busting monotony, with priests and kings to keep them at it, which becomes bureaucratic, shifting, insane, secrecy between generations in shifting times. But, ten or twenty thousand years ago a father and son knew the same things. Slavery, this attempt from humans to own the bodies of fellow humans, is schizoprenic, telepathically, causes schizoprenia in all who do not protest. Tell rednecks their sons must risk life in war for the wealth of others alongside darker pigmented young poor bastards, and tell them same time to be patriotic, rednecks either lose manhood or defy their government.

It is not the guns, it is the lies. Big Jack Saunders from Georgia, the #1 writer/reader at the Underground Literary Alliance reading in New York City at the Amato Opera Theater March 21 , has been sending me his stuff, a surprising amount complimentary of Blackolive. He used above Blackolive bumper sticker though minus my comma: It is not the guns it is the lies.

Jeff Potter who puts out an outdoors but eclectic magazine, OUT YOUR BACKDOOR, from his website outyourbackdoor.com, dabbling in publishing and championing Jack Saunders, had contacted texasgang.com. Jeff Potters was reading the TG novel, had acquired a copy off the Internet. He emailed with Bix and told Bix how Wenclas was stirring things up in New York - there had been a loud press conference with people present from the Village Voice, the Paris Review, and others.

I drove over to see Bix in Fulton, a few miles, to see this from Jeff Potter. Soon as Bix and I took a break from his computer my woman Tamara called, and came there with her two children, Shelby, Nexpa. From there we went to Port Aransas in Tamara's new car, drinking enough. Bix regards Tammy as best looking of any my past women. I had not thought about it. She feels good as any. Bix thinks her kids are extraordinary, individual. It was great to see them, if over a night, telling Tammy how the NY thing is heating up to something historical. Ah, maybe Tammy is historical.

King Karl Wenclas has been splendid, has with his associates shaken the New york literature club beyond any expectations of mine. The ULA had this "press conference" which gave George Plimpton of the Paris Review a hard time, after wondering would he deign to appear. There is this great telling, in a zine of Wenclas', that Jackson has now on texasgang.com, where Wenclas gestures to a poster of Blackolive off the Texas Gang cover of novel, this American author who asks no quarter and has sixguns in his belt, and little woman holding a rifle, maybe it's a .22, alongside him, marvelous, legendary for sure. Plimpton was curious, I was to hear, but read on, Dear Reader, he just took too much a beating this day.


Hi Wild Bill!

Well, it sure was nice to meet you last week. I had a fine time visiting the city and seeing the Big Reading Show that you guys all put on.
One thing I liked about NYC was that there were no ignorant teenagers behind the counters. Or ignorant anyone. People did seem like they cared about being there, in that town. I thought the locals were quite friendly. It seemed like they were doing just fine being crammed in like that.
The other thing I liked was that I didn't really see any chain stores. Certainly no minimalls. I liked the old buildings and the views and scenes. Our little French cafe had a nice ambience. But maybe the air and the crowds did get to me near the end. I about passed out in that airport. Maybe it was just car-sick or not enough sleep.
The ULA Gang seems like a funny, diverse set of people. I think they should do fine once they get going. Maybe the bad weather was a blessing in disguise, a test of solidarity. What group ever gets a great popular success right out of the gate? I think there were a good 30 people there who had a night they won't forget. It sure was a different kind of reading than what I've seen or heard of before.
Thanks for letting me know about the benefits of wood chopping on bone mass. I hadn't known that before. The old dead hardwood tree is still caught in a snag. We have had a blustery snowstorm on us all day long! I'll work on that snag later.
I don't get into airplanes or visit big cities for just anyone. I'm glad I got the chance to meet you. It was neat to hang out with you and Jack and the others.
I'd like to try to help you get your novel back in print. Afier your pals get the text all into datafiles, maybe I could get a print-run of it set up in a nice layout. If you wanted I could be publisher of a new edition for you. It wouldn't be all that big of a deal. I couldn't put a lot into it. But I could get it into a nice book form again. Then I could make it available online at my website, at a few really big online bookstores (where I already have some of Jack's books, like Amazon.com, which sells about 20 books per year of Jack's titles) and you could offer it at your website also.
I would offer you a net 7% royalty on books that I sell. I could also sell you copies at 50% off cover price wholesale rate. That would work out to $1.05 royalty for each book sold at a fill price of, say, $15. When I sell books thru wholesalers, they only give me 50% so that then you would only get $0.52 each. But I'd sell you copies to resell at $7.50 each. The books would probably cost me close to $7.50 each to print. It's not great economics. But it's not bad for direct sales. Maybe we could use finer print and get printing down to $5 apiece. I'm trying to figure out another way to print. My method currently works best with runs of 20 copies. It ends up as a nice paperback and uses decent cover stock. It's a very rare set-up and is actually very good quality and pricing for what it is. But I hear some vague word that there's a better way, especially for around 100 copies.
I'll include a couple samples of how my printer makes books for me. He's a cool guy with high-tech equipment. It's the only outfit doing such tiny runs as quality paperbacks at these prices in the U.S. that I have found. He's a hard­working guy, too.
If I can find a cheap way to print more copies, I might also put together a catalog mailing to a bunch of bookstores and libraries offering all my OYB titles. I could add yours to that line-up if you wanted me to. I'd like to have a new title for Jack as well. Right now I just do some reprints and new-old-stock of old books for him.
I'm a little worried that if we got books into stores that they still wouldn't sell. In an instant I could get thousands$ in inventory put out into bookstores and not have any more say over them anymore. Well, it might be neat to try it anyway. I guess I could just do a small test mailing and distribution effort to start with and see if any sell that way. Bookstore clerks are so bad these days, but some are still good, maybe I can somehow make up a list of good ones.
All this is something I'd do within the next couple years. I did a lot the past couple years and so now have to take it easy for awhile.
Oh, and here's the review that I put together of your book.

****

A REVIEW OF "TALES OF THE TEXAS GANG"

I'd say that this book has some of the strong elements and flair of Huck Finn, Blood Meridian and Confederacy of Dunces. You could toss in Keroauc and Conrad. But it's better than Blood Meridian. It's more direct, natural, cosmic, heartfelt, realistic.
It is written in the vernacular, in a hardcore conversational style that matches the pace and tone of events... and not as a pose. I hear that the author never went to college. He has a natural ear for dialect and action. There's plenty of hilarity mixed in with the violence. Just like in real life. Plenty of depth comes out thru the straight storytelling. It's a great case of a writer getting out of the way. Just say what happened. Set the story free.
It's a relentless Wild West story, set in the post Civil War border area between Texas and Mexico near the Gulf Coast. It shows the life of desperate people in desperate times. Desperate but hopeful. Cheerful. Don't mind a little death and mayhem. We don't go looking for it, but it sure finds us. Especially if you try to live free.
It's about a bunch of pals who are in an extended-family, gang culture, who are trying to figure out something worthwhile to do in life in between robberies, ambushes and siestas. It's a changing world. They're used to being free men. Frontiersmen, mountainmen, trappers. But now it's ranching, ugh. Bossmen, ugh.
As railroads move in they find they have more sympathy with the untamed Indians. They're a bunch of outlaws. But they set up a little town (halfway thru the book) almost by accident, which they feel uncomfortable with. They want to avoid work. They like fame and notoriety. They can get amazing things done with their little finger. Because they have Good Medicine and no fear. But they don't quite know what to do.
I like how Blackolive calls outlaws and their work 'artists' and 'artistry.'
These guys are into the beau geste.
It's multicultural in that it shows the influence that "injun weed" and peyote maybe had on some folks in that part of the country at that time. There's a rustic, natural approach to visions and getting one's head straight. Free men who took part in ambushes or survived attacks would've needed time to hole up, to rest up and recover from wounds, recover from shock, and figure out what to do next in this crazy world. This brings in the role of the medicine man and woman. They get religious, too. Or try, too. (See what happens as a result, it's hilarious.) There's lots of sex. It seems likely that outlaws had plenty of time for that sort of thing, so why not. There's a lot of mixbreeding and race stuff.
I would say that the inspiration for the book is freedom. I think that the 60's, drugs, Vietnam, prison and gangs are all a real part of it. High octane stuff. Maybe it also relates to today's drug and gang scene, to punk. To lots of things.
This was a selfpublished, selfsold book done back in 1978, 2000 copies. Wild Bill sold em all. Many from a table set up on a sidewalk in Austin, TX. A few copies available at http://www.abebooks.com. Handsome book. Cool cover photo of the brawny author. 340pp.
Afier reading the book I found out that the Texas Gang has a web site! http://www.texasgang.com. Then I found out that the characters in the book are real people and many of the incidents were based on real events. Personalities, too. It was VERY STRANGE to get an email from Bix Bayless...one of the outlaws in the novel! Textfiles for the novel seem to be up at the site. The author says they are rough. I guess a friend is scanning them up and no one has had time yet for perfect editing of the result. They're new to computers. (...To the 20th century.) But this is one way to get the book.
Maybe someday there will be another printing of the Texas Gang novel. The author says "I am interested in spreading *Texas Gang*, the novel, onto the world in sake of freedom."
What a fresh change of pace from the wimps, climbers and liars who currently dominate literature. Let's revive this book and work to get more like it put out there whenever the spirit so moves a writer to create such a work.

Regards,

Jeff Potter


Dear Blackolive:

My first love was jazz. Bebop through free jazz; I'm no longer up on what's happening.
I listen to classical music on the radio.
Owen plays fiddle with James King. Played with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver and with the Gillis Brothers, who sounded more like the Stanley Brothers than Ralph Stanley without Carter.
Balder toured with the Gillis Brothers two summers, in middle school and high school. Was a trumpet player in a Marine band in New Orleans. You probably got that from Cooking with Owen and Cooking with Balder. Balder now plays around Seaside, Florida, as sideman, leader, and solo.
I read Ann Seaman's book on Swaggart. Amazing.
I remember when rednecks, hippies, and blacks didn't mix. Pot, and music, brought them together. And dogs and motorcycles and booze, fighting, being flicked over by strainers. Business majors. If one good black, redneck, or hippie leader could get us to quit being separated by guns, welfare, and abortion, maybe we'd stand a chance against the bossman.
Rather, if we can't see what we have in common and put aside our very real differences, but differences of degree, compared to mutual ground, we're sunk.
Maybe they'd just all say flick it, get high, and not vote.
Yea, those old pictures of lynchings, with white people grinning, are sickening.
I think I know why they're grinning. It's that pachuco thing, if you're white, and don't join the Aryan Nation, the blacks, the Mexicans, and the Asiatics all get a piece of you.
I never was a joiner, and if I give the impression when I put down other races I am pro-white, that's as wrong as saying Celine was pro-Hitler, when actually he was anti-Soviet and anti-French, especially the collaborators, whom he got lumped in with.
I wasn't a hippie, I wasn't a redneck, I wasn't an intellectual, I felt like a working-stiff, and worked manual labor, plenty, but have worked as a pencil-pusher, a pointy-headed bureaucrat, for 20 years.
I consider myself an artist, but a vernacular writer, not an artiste, and books utilitarian objects, not belles-lettres.
Books will save your life.
See you soon. Before you get this, probably.

Jack


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.


Bill Blackolive's friend had an apartment on the 21st floor, with a balcony, and I looked out, down, on the rooftops, or across, at high buildings, and one man had his roof covered with whirligigs, that is, folk art pieces, movable sculptures, powered by the wind, and another guy kept pigeons, and a building across had concrete gargoyles, and I thought of the guy who scouted locations for the movie Bonfire of the Vanities, and what I do is no better than any of that, but it's just as good.

And I'm lucky to have found a way to do it.

Jack Saunders


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.



Hey Bill,

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


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