Friday, December 11, 2009

Kudos for Jim Harrison


Jim Harrison is one of my favorite authors. The following was lifted from today's The Writer's Digest, by Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion. His collection of short non-fiction, Just Before Dark, is
fantastic, and his other novels, including Woman Lit By Fireflies, Brown Dog, The Beast God Forgot To Invent, were introduced to me by my good friend Lee Meekombs a year or so ago and since I have read everything Harrison has written. He is a man's man, outdoorsman, hunter, yet a sensitive poet and his stories touch on the edge of darkness yet reflect a kind of hope that by reaching into that shade he may draw back light. In read searchers this morning without realizing it was by him, and felt this familiarity and a kind of longing that linked his reaching to mine and then only after reading the bio did I realize it was really Jim Harrison. The only problem with Jim is that his searches for what he was seeking led him into psychotherapy to which he refers from time to time, which to me is the evil of our times and of all times through what ever priest of bone rattler has has proffered disaster in the name of help.

Perhaps that is the reason Jim never emerged as the real spiritual being he
really is--let one in and he will, like a rapidly spreading cancer, first
destroy your hope and then your very spirit will turn inward---look at
Hemingway, et al. Don't get me started. I see a great spirit in Jim Harrison
that I am sure was suppressed by them. This is speculation, but like something
dead, I can smell it overpowering the desperately seeking spirit of this
man.
I grieve over such great spirits never knowing Mr. Hubbard, my guide and mentor.


Searchers
by Jim Harrison
At dawn Warren is on my bed,
a ragged lump of fur listening
to the birds as if deciding whether or not
to catch one. He has an old man's
mimsy delusion. A rabbit runs across
the yard
and he walks after it
thinking he might close the widening distance
just as when I followed a lovely woman
on boulevard Montparnasse but couldn't
equal her rapid pace, the click-click of her shoes
moving into the distance, turning the final
corner, but when I turned the corner
she had disappeared and I looked up
into the trees thinking she might have climbed
one.
When I was young, a country girl would climb
a tree and throw apples
down at my upturned face.
Warren and I are both searchers. He's
looking for his dead sister Shirley, and I'm wondering
about my brother
John who left the earth
on this voyage all living creatures take.
Both cat and man are bathed in pleasant
insignificance, their eyes fixed on birds
and stars.



"Searchers" by Jim Harrison, from Saving Daylight. © Copper Canyon Press,
2006.

It's the birthday of Jim Harrison, born in Grayling, Michigan (1937). He had a
happy childhood in Michigan, growing up in a big family of people who liked to
read. But when he was seven years old, he was playing doctor with a friend and
she cut his face with a jagged piece of a glass beaker and he went blind in his
left eye. He said, "Ever since I was seven and had my eye put out, I'd turn for
solace to rivers, rain, trees, birds, lakes, animals."
Even though he liked to read as a kid, he wasn't particularly interested in writing, and in fact was
more interested in religion. He said, "I finally realized that writing, or
art as I'd just as soon call it, had absorbed the transference of all my
religious impulses at age sixteen. Up to sixteen I wanted to be a preacher, and
then one day I did a whirlwind: I jumped from Jesus to John Keats in three
days."
So he set out to be a poet. He went to school at Michigan State
University and married his high school sweetheart. And he got a master's degree,
even though he hated grad school, and published his first book of poetry, Plain
Song (1965), and got a job teaching in New York. But he didn't really care for
the East Coast or for teaching, so he moved back to Michigan and made $2.50 an
hour as a construction worker and wrote some more books of poetry — Walking
(1967) and Locations (1968). And he liked being back in Michigan. He said, "I
figured out that my main obsession is freedom, and if I didn't have the freedom
of close access to the natural world, I wasn't going to survive." And he said,
"If things are terrible beyond conception and I walk for 25 miles in the forest,
they tend to go away for a while. Whereas if I lived in Manhattan I couldn't
escape them."
Then, in 1970, he was hunting and he hurt his back so badly
that he had to stay in bed for months. His friend Thomas McGuane told him he
should try writing a novel, so he did, and it was Wolf: A False Memoir (1971).
It didn't do very well, and neither did his next couple of novels. Then he was
visiting the set of the movie The Missouri Breaks, because Tom McGuane had
written the screenplay, and he became friends with Jack Nicholson. Jack
Nicholson wanted Harrison to keep on writing, so he ended up lending him a chunk
of money to get through the project he had started. And that was Legends of the
Fall (1979),a collection of three novellas, and it sold well and got good
reviews and made Jim Harrison famous. He's continued to write novels and poetry,
most recently his novel The English Major (2008) and his poetry collection In
Search of Small Gods (2009), his 12th book of poetry, which came out earlier
this year.

--
L D SLEDGE
1516 COLONY COURT
PALM
HARBOR, FLORIDA 34683
www.spotofsledge.blogspot.com
standwithfist@gmail.com
"They made the world
round, so you could not see too far down the road."



"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a
good poem, see
a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable
words."



Goethe

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Healing Cancer


Mes Amis:

Regardless of the hype made by the Cancer Industry, composed of drug companies and the AMA, we are no closer today in finding a cure for cancer through conventional means than we were fifty years ago.  The statistics of "cures" are merely remissions based on five year, not complete cure, numbers. They are no really interested in finding a cure, but spend millions researching and earn billions in their horrendous treatments of chemotherapy and needless surgery.

Did you know that cancer, when found, has been growing in the host for many years? It is a very slow process. And it may take many many years to finally kill you.  But the treatments will. The merchants of medical chaos will rush you to chemo or radical vivisection as if this discovery was some overnight thing, when it has been resident in the host for perhaps decades, finally making an appearance, and there must be a quick fix---their quick fix is most often the cause of quick death. I would take a life of pain or whatever than the horrors generated in my body and mind from such as chemotherapy, or the lopping off of my breasts if I was a woman when that may not be necessary..

So how do you explain those cases when the cancer disappears without a trace without their chemo or radical chopping off of your parts?  They explain it by saying it was misdiagnosis.  Yet when it is found, they rush to cut or hit you with chemo, etc., which renders your life living hell.  A friend who recently died from ovarian cancer did chemo, and I swear chemo killed her, said that it felt like her body will filled with straws sucking her very life out.  It is so sad that people will listen to their doctors because "doctors know best," an amazing blind faith that has been instilled in us since birth. If you have a doctor friend who is honest enough to talk to you about their "art" of medicine, what you will be told will shock you to the core for they simply do not really have a clue beyond setting bones and the efficacy of aspirin, etc. Other than those, they will readily admit a placebo works about as well as most pharmaceuticals in curing something other than the effectiveness of psychotrophics which fix nothing but create addiction and more TV watching.

How about those amazing disappearances of even advanced cancer after a radical change of diet from animal to plant foods?  How about those cultures which have mostly plant foods in their diets which have almost no incidence of cancer?  How about the very low incidence of cancer in countries where they smoke like potbellied stoves, with low intake of animal (meat) protein and high plant foods?  Does that tell you anything? 

I was handed a revelatory and provocative DVD by Dr. James Keppler of Sacramento this week:  "Healing Cancer From Inside Out," by Mike Anderson with such research and medical authorities as T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D, (The China Study), and many others of high repute in the medical community who are not afraid to voice their opinion about what is happening in the Cancer Industry.  This DVD is two hours long; the first hour dealing with the so called cure by the medical research and treatment community (and drug apparatus) and the second dealing with what really can and does cure cancer dealing with diet primarily of plant origin. It discusses studies in just about every culture and country in the world, and primarily a huge study in China, which reveals unequivocally that diet is the source.  My old doctor who mama took us to in Shreveport, Dr. Tom Smith, always said "You Are What You Eat," and after sixty or seventy years that is becoming clearer in my mind what that old boy was saying. 

I would go even further and say "you are what you eat and what you surround yourself with (including who you surround yourself with)."  Ingesting that most wonderful ribeye or tbone, juicy, succulent, dripping with juices, filling the air with mouth watering smells, is the apex dining experience of most Americans experiences---given a baked potato flooded with butter, sour cream and chives and maybe bacon chips.  But that is the meal that kills. Not only choking your arteries with fat but loading your body with the poisons the stockpen owners injected the cattle with, and on top of that what they fed those animals which in turn is loaded with pesticides and herbicides, and you became, at the top of the food chain, the ultimate depository of all those wonderful man made carcinogins. What the hell can you expect will happen to you?  We are just to damn lazy to find out, and then go through life with increasing debilitation, accepting the stiffness, the moodiness, the depressions, personal awareness winking out like lights going out in a building, growing into regular and then finally accepted chronic lower energy and increased body pains. We accept this scenario as what normally happens when you pass forty.  No, this body is designed to last well over a hundred years at a ripping howling enduring asskicking screwing laughing day by day life until something external knocks off this meat body. We are committing hari kari with each mouthful of generated foods.  So eat organic, whatever you eat, and eat primarily plant based foods.

As to cancer, what is it?  We are literally swarming with cancer cells, waiting to be triggered into a life. You trigger it primarily by your diet, and in part by your associations and environment, but primarily what you put into your body as food. And when it is triggered, it grows slowly usually unless it is at the last stages---depending on where it is and in what organ it manifests itself.  If you are diagnosed, please do not listen to their idea of rushing into chemo, for that will kill you for sure, or surgery, depriving you of a part that may not have to be removed, for it has been there for a long time, usually, and if the part is removed, the cancer may come back somewhere else. Change your diet.  (And hey, remember the author who had cancer and decided he would just get away from everything and laugh a lot---and cured it through laughter....) After publishing this rant on my general email (standwithfist@gmail.com) I received a number of responses from friends who had either personally or had friends who changed diet and removed any vestige of cancer.

Have a great day. This is good news.  There is a way to beat it.

ldsledge

Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Remember a List of Ten Items



Have you ever gone to the store and couldn't remember some of the things you went to buy? Here is a simple way to remember ten items at a time. I learned this years ago and use it all of the time as a "to do" list, and don't have to write it down unless it exceeds ten items. There is a way to remember twenty items, but I am only going to show you ten, for you seldom have more than that do to.

The method is simply hooking the item to something easily remembered. This is probably the way those savants who can remember the names of an audience of a hundred people. They may be simply gifted, but this system is for the non gifted, like me. Here goes.

Hook the item to the following list of rhyming mental pictures.

One = Run. A group of runners in a marathon, each one carrying the item you want to remember.
Two = Zoo. An island in the zoo, across a fence from you, filled with monkeys playing with the item.
Three = Tree. A huge tree, with the item hanging from the branches, falling like fruit to the ground.
Four = Door. A big door with the items falling through, squeezing out of the door.
Five = Hive. A huge beehive, with bees carrying the objects away and bringing them in.
Six = Sticks. Piles of sticks with many of this item mixed in the sticks.
Seven = Heaven. The clouds parting and the item is falling through the clouds from a crack in the sky.
Eight = Gate. There is this big swinging garden gate, and this item is tumbling through.
Nine = Vine. The item growing on a huge vine like clusters of grapes.
Ten = Den. A bear's den, with bears sitting on, playing with the item.

You can use this list over and over. Each time you use a new set of items, it erases the old one and the new one is now in the hands of the runner or monkey, etc.

Have fun trying this out. I think you will never have to write out a list again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Great Pretender





The Great Pretender


Prefer I to press to these keys
To imbed on my own memory and cyber world
The imaginary cankers that I seem to cherish
And hold dear
When I know they are only phantoms of old dead dreams
Long drempt, long past in memory
Of lives lied in the dim half world of shadow
Somewhere back in the days of maybe regret and too little joy’
And now I know what is important,
For it is joy that I can make for myself
It is the day I can fill with laughter and crystal dreams of now
Of bells that ring like little birdsong
And fragrance on the breeze
And the tug of a fish on my line
The touch of her gentle fingers on my body
The breath of her on my ear
And there is more for I can look and see dimension
And form and the floor beneath my feet that stays
Level and firm so I don’t sink to my chin in doubt
Yes to know I know, to know I am me
To know I am pretending
A pretend that I am pretending
Oh what fun.
Fill my pretended lungs and let out a laugh
At how silly I am to try to not know
And to know that I am really having fun
Pretending to pretend,
always.
And forever
Amen

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Michael Jackson's oil portrait "HomageKOPH/15)



Michael Jackson, the innovative musical genius of his generation, left a legacy that changed the face and pace of Rock music forever. He is gone, but his music and images live on. He is linked to Dick Zimmerman, masterpiece portrait artist, labeled by the public as “The Rembrandt of the 21st Century”.
Zimmerman started as a portrait painter, and because of his very realistic style, painting exactly what was on film, he moved into photography to enhance his reference photographs. He then studied photography and found he was fascinated by the medium, and was so successful that he got caught up in it for twenty two years and at that time gained his reputation known as the celebrity image maker. But he longed to return to painting, his first love.
Dick has been painting again for the last eighteen years and has just completed an oil painting, a tribute to Michael Jackson, entitled “HomageKOPH/15” using his reference photographs taken of Michael through the last fifteen years, which they had created together. During that period, he had the opportunity to do three photographic sessions with Michael: The Thriller Album cover, the exclusive wedding portraits of Lisa and Michael, and Steven Spielberg’s ET Narration cover. You can read the story of the creation of the Thriller album on our website, www.dickzimmerman.com.
Dick will be traveling to Los Angeles this week and will present the first copy to the Jackson family, and selected museums throughout the US. During that time there will be numerous interviews and TV appearances.
During and after the painting presentations and media blitz in Hollywood, the demand for his paintings will undoubtedly accelerate, so will his commission prices. Most likely 100% to 200%. Certainly there is an opportunity here if you were originally interested in a family portrait commission, to take advantage of the current commission prices.
Art like this is a double investment. It increases in actual value over time with the acceleration of the repute of the artist, but it is much more of a private investment, for it pays personal dividends in priceless pleasure every time you look at it.
Dick is no longer doing art festivals. He is dedicating his time exclusively to painting. His agent/representative, David Sledge, stands ready to answer any question you may have.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

To wit: to woo.


To wit, to woo.

Well, how do you go about it? Do you have some great lines? "You got any Irish in you? How about, "Shall I call you or nudge you?" "Are you tired?" "What's your sign?" "Do you come here often?"

That is not going anywhere. Thus begins the mating ritual of the most ridiculous species on earth, the Homo Sapiens male. In our effort to woo, men forget one minor detail: women are human beings. They respond to genuine, sincere communication. Because the thought of this kind of interaction makes most men a little queasy, we sometimes look for a way to get things rolling. Palm reading is just this sort of invention. And I think it's on the same plane as astrology and reading knobs on your head, but it has advantages in the mating ritual.

In the course of discussing the lines of your respective hands, you may learn a few things about each other. You know that the line that runs across the upper area of your palm is the heart line. Maybe you can pick up on just how sensual she is by checking that out. Then there is the head line, the one in the middle. Is she smarter than you? Is that what you want? Then the long one on the bottom is the life line. Of course there are many interpretations of these lines.

The life line may be a little scary, if it has lots of breaks or if it is short. And the head line may go nowhere, or streak deeply across the palm. But then, if the heart line is deep and long, you may feel you have advance surveillance going on and have a bit of jump on the mystery awaiting in those eyes so close.

At the very least you'll get to hold a pretty woman's hand for a few minutes, and that is not a bad thing at all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009



July 21, the birthday of Earnest Hemingway. I grew up with Hemingway being the literary giant of the age. "The Old Man And The Sea" was serialized in Life Magazine in the Fifties. I read it wondering at the futility of effort and life that exuded from the story, hoping for something more. An old fisherman caught this huge fish that pulled him for days until it surrendered and he brought it in after nearly killing himself to prove to the villagers that he was really worthwhile as a man. But when he got in the predators had eaten it. The reason I put the image in this of the "flowers in the dark" as I call them, is that Hemingway was a man with flowers in his heart but darkness in his soul.

Then he did lots of things he should not have, as most of us have, and had no tool to deal with it or cleanse himself of his overts and withholds as we call them, and suffered. The suffering from such by a sensitive soul is to bring self inflicted justice in such extreme measure upon ones self that it seems inexplicable that one could have so much bad luck. He made the mistake of seeking help from psychiatry, and shock treament. They put electrodes on both temporals and send huge jolts of electricity through to "cure" one. They have no clue as to what this is supposed to do, but it subdues the patient, giving him more problems than he had before. I have seen this happen over and over, and then the patient turns to drugs to ease the new pain overlaid on the old, and dies while still living. Hemingway took a shotgun and blew his brains out for he found he could no longer write or create----it stripped him of his creativity and thus his very life.

I know of a few who do not look for love. Some are able to sublimate the need for a partner with whom to laugh and create and satisfy needs with activity of some sort. I am one who needs both, needing a sexual partner and someone with whom I can create joy and life. I happen to love the grace and wonder of a beautiful woman. I recently fell obsessively into the abyss over an exotic Italian woman who couldn't make up her mind. She had me, lock stock and barrel. Her reach and withdraw was maddening. Maybe something like that happened to Hemingway. He was married a number of times, and loved the ladies, and when you play that game you expose yourself to the vicissitudes and wild random variables of the game, and can become a babbling idiot over a woman. I know it can drive one over the edge, but I fortunately had my tools of Scientology to save me. Poor bastard didn't have anything but psychiatry, the very essence of evil, which crushed him in its tentacles and destroyed the essence of his life.

There's a legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to create a six-word story, and he said, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Inspired by this, an online magazine invited readers to submit their own six-word memoirs, a collection of which was published by Harper Collins in 2008 as Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. Six-word memoirs include: "All I ever wanted was more" and "Moments of transcendence, intervals of yearning" and "They called. I answered. Wrong number." (The above paragraph was stolen from today's The Writer's Almanac,by Garrison Keillor.

Seems both presidential candidates in the 2008 election said that his "For Whom The Bells Toll," was their favorite book. A wounded man in the Spanish Civil war heroically holds off the enemy while his comrades escape. I can see McCain holding this book to his breast, but the idea of Hussein Barak Obama having any courage or bravery as a mantra is a mockery.

I read somewhere that someone asked Hemingway about rewriting a story, saying, "I hear that you had to revise it fifteen times, why did it take so many times?" Hemingway replied, "to get the words right." Writing is rewriting. Write the story fast, et it out of you, put it on the paper, don't give a damn about grammar or anything, just get it out. Then go back and fix it. He was a master of minimalism. I wonder, with the writer and reader climate of today, if he would be recognized as the great icon he became or have been swallowed up in the stampede of writers trying to get attention---and if the women editors and publishers would have approved of his extreme maleness. I wonder. Seems the male icon is vanishing. At a writers conference, a woman editor/agent brayed to the audience, "The Day of the Male is dead, thank God." Appears she was close to right. Look what we got for a President.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quote by Martha Graham



I am not a great fan of dance, but I have been to the ballet and I have seen some strange things done on stage called dance. But when I saw the Martha Graham dancers performing at the Louisiana State University theater back in the seventies, I was impressed. This was truly dance as it could be, for it wasn't just a bunch of jumping around emoting---it was exquisite, fluid human motion, expressive and so unique that it left an indelible impression of aesthetics on me.

My good friend Eugenio Castillio, of Mexico City, a great artist and performer in his own right (I never saw him dance and would probably ask him not to try when I was looking) sent me this quote by Martha Graham.


“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.”

“It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly; to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open…”

“No artist is pleased… There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reaching for ourselves, sometimes finding.



Man reaches for beauty, and in touching knows, but only has a hint of what is there that is his to have. We know there is something there, something so valuable and so powerful that we try to express it in mere words, usually called poetry, or song, or images, to say to ourselves and others what we feel, and always come short for there is no way in this mortal form that we can fully have it or say it for in its raw form would be too beautiful to hold.

I truly believe we had it once, as we had other universes, and I don't mean other worlds or other places somewhere among the stars of this one---I mean universes that were universes of song, of aesthetics, and it is that toward which we long. We sometimes touch chords that resonate through barriers around us we have self created uusually to protect ourselves from the backlash of our own transgressions---so we have gone deaf and dumb to the music that surrounds us. Even the chimp in the image knows something.

The following poem was "lifted" from Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. Poems like this touch the longing in me for that which I feel I lost somewhere along the way.

Black Islands
by Martin Espada
for Darío

At Isla Negra,
between Neruda's tomb
and the anchor in the garden,
a man with stonecutter's hands
lifted up his boy of five
so the boy's eyes could search mine.
The boy's eyes were black olives.
Son, the father said, this is a poet,
like Pablo Neruda.
The boy's eyes were black glass.
My son is called Darío,
for the poet of Nicaragua,
the father said.
The boy's eyes were black stones.
The boy said nothing,
searching my face for poetry,
searching my eyes for his own eyes.
The boy's eyes were black islands.

"Black Islands" by Martín Espada, from The Republic of Poetry. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2006. Reprinted without permission

It's the birthday of poet and politician Pablo Neruda, born Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto,  in Parral, Chile (1904). As a boy, he read all the time and wrote poetry. Even though his father disapproved of his writing, he kept doing it, and he was encouraged by the poet Gabriela Mistral, who lived in his town and later became the first Chilean to win a Nobel Prize. In 1923, when the boy was 19, he sold all his possessions in order to publish his first book, Crepusculario (Twilight), and he published it under the name Pablo Neruda so his father wouldn't be upset. In 1924, he published Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada, known in English as Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, which was incredibly successful.

The following is a Poem Of You I wrote after reading L. Ron Hubbard's little Essay "You."


A jewel that is not a jewel, but is worth more than all the jewels in the universe.
A light that is not a light but a torch that burns forever witha brightness that illuminates all.
A song that is not a song but contains all the music that is or ever will be.
A power that is not a power but a potential of uniminaginable exquisiteness.
A promise that is not a promise but a future certain waiting to unfold in the fullness of time.
A knowing that is a knowing of all, past and future,and a certainty beyond all certainty.
A truth that envelopes the allness of all, that reaches beyond the beyond, untroubled and waiting for the defoliating of the dreams of pain and storm.
This is song of you, all this and more, a thing of infinite beauty.
May 2007

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Declaration of Independence, my version



There comes a time when you have just had too much, and too much is way far more than enough, and you reach the point when you simply can’t stand yourself any longer for putting up with it. You don’t file for divorce, you just walk. If you gotta fight, you fight your way clear. There is no back door. The only way out is through the front door right in the face of it. If you stand in the way, I am going to walk all over you for if you won’t work with me, and respect me for who I am, I sure don’t owe you a thing. Get out of my way. I am coming through.

A man or woman doesn’t belong to another man or women. Man is an immortal spirit with the right to fight his way free, and if he fails to be constantly vigilant to anything that may deprive him of this precious and God given right and to be always ready and willing to kick the behind of that which stands in his way of this freedom, he will always be enslaved. This holds true whether the suppressor is a man, a group of men, an army, or just an idea within himself that holds him back from being the power that he is. You are not my master. I am going to show you that without any equivocation.

You say you are my friend. You have used my good will and my willingness to share the many things for which I have worked so hard. You constantly refuse to grant me the beingness that is guaranteed by the clear universal imperative to all men. You think you are wiser because you are older and bigger than I, that you have the right not only to rule but to control every aspect of my life through force. You are wrong. I am hereby telling you that I am going to fight you and I am willing to die rather than continue a charade of pretended loyalty to one who thinks of me as a vassal and nothing but a material possession.

I have asked you many times to realize that I am not your possession; to honor me. You do not own me. I am not your suckling babe. I do not need you. You need me. You are too stupid to see that. Yet you continue to trample. I will no longer petition your good faith for you have none. You give me no choice, for your continued harm and threats to me and mine prove that you have lost your humanity. You are only a cowardly bully and I have outgrown you not only in physical prowess but most significant of all in my inner will to kick the hell out of you to make you understand not only to back off but to get out of my house. You are a very unwelcomed guest who has fouled my nest.

While I don’t need to give you a formal declaration of independence, I am doing so just because I am a nice guy. I am giving you this notice for you might wake up from your stupor and realize that I am armed and can and will stomp your royal behind into the ancient muck of ideas you think of as justice. I dare you to cross this line I am drawing in the sand of time. It will set us so far apart in the future that you will lose sight of me as I sail to freedom, while you sour in the arrogance of your ruinous and no longer workable ways. I will soar in the joy of the new light of knowing, in the unfettered manifest destiny that stands before me with my new life that you have given me, thanks to your abysmal lack of common sense.

Get ready, I am about to introduce you to a new reality.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Random Acts of Senseless Cruelty



Thoughts on Random Acts of Senseless Cruelty
Reading Jim Harrison’s novelette, Wolf, later made into a movie starring Jack Nicholson, I recognized a trait the character had that I somehow outgrew. He called it “random acts of senseless cruelty.” This struck me with a bit of déjà vu.
The character, Swanson, is camping and hunting in the woods of Northern Michigan trying to stay sober, for he had to put fifty miles between himself and whiskey to try to dry out. As he tramped through the woods, slept amid clouds of mosquitoes, stood naked in the plumes of smoke from a boiling campfire, swam in the chilled waters of Lake Michigan, he pondered over his life and the incidents came to life on the page as little vignettes of adventures and misadventures, usually involving women, sex, and liquor, and more sex and women and liquor, meanwhile wondering what the hell it was all about.
He would wade sloughs and icy rushing creeks, push through brambles and briars, fight his way through clouds of stinging insects, all the while reminiscing about his misspent life. You may think this is a terrible book to read, but Harrison’s prose is wonderful and you get caught up in where he is going and where he has been. I have read everything I can get my hands on. His Legends Of The Fall was also made into a screenplay and was a bit different from his other introspective novels. Just Before Dark is a batch of nonfiction short essays about his experience in hunting, women, drinking gourmet cooking, literature, and another adventure in reading. A wonderful story, A Woman Lit By Fireflies ,about a upper middle class woman tired of living with a man who evidently was a good lover to her, but was totally involved in his business and who never thought of anything but the market, and on trips only listened to stock market news and never involved her in anything though she wanted to listen to classical music sometimes. He was oblivious to any of her needs, and had lived on her money until he became independent of her. On the return trip from visiting their daughter, they stopped at a visitors station and she simply walked out the back door and into a cornfield and kept walking. She spent the night at the edge of the field in a kind of nature made cave of leaves, and while she walked the rows and built her fire and boiled water from a creek in a small can, she thought of her past. All of his stories are filled with flashbacks. During the night she woke completely covered with fireflies, like a living lamp of flickering incandescence. The next day she walked back and divorced her husband. A story worth reading for it leaves traces in your heart of an odd dissonance, a victory but a sad one. I usually don’t go for things like that, but it really left an impression.
Ok, about senseless cruelty. Swanson shot a turtle on a log with his high powered rifle, rendering it to shattered pieces of shell and flesh. He shot into a swarm of bees on the side of a tree. I remember, as a kid, hunting, shooting into a squirrel’s nest, shooting birds nests and little birds like sparrows, beautiful blue jays, rabbits, squirrels, catching bullfrogs and later cutting their legs off for dinner while they were still alive. I never thought of their pain, and how the suffered.
My final hunting trip was thirty years ago when I went squirrel hunting with my cousin David Sledge and his father. I had a shot gun and wanted to see if I could still kill my limit, eight, of squirrels by “still hunting.” That is by being very still and slipping up on them. I killed eight, stuffed them into the big game pocket on the back of my hunting jacket, and when I returned to the camp I dumped them out on the ground and was totally shocked. There lay eight tiny creatures, curled in on themselves, little clawed paws in prayer like position, more like tiny dead kittens than anything else. I felt a horror at what I had done.
At least I was left with fishing. Then I learned that fish had nerves in their mouths. I had been told they had no nerves in their mouths and you could catch them and not hurt them. I saw a demonstration of a lady putting something on their mouths and then released them back to the brook. The fish went into horrible spasms trying to rub it off of their lips in the gravel and dirt beneath the water. Now that screwed me out of my fishing. I have been informed by my old buddies that I am really a pussy for allowing this kind of thinking. I can’t help it.
I have realized that all creatures are entitled to life, even the tiniest little crawly thing unless he biting or infecting me in some way. I cannot understand how such minute creatures I sometimes see crossing my desk can possess this precious thing called life, but they do, and what part do they play, and why are they here? Well, if I don’t have the answer to these things I surely can’t presume to have a right to smush them. My friends simply slam something down on them never thinking about it. I hate houseflies, roaches, mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, no-seeums, horseflies, and will kill them in a heartbeat, but most of those little fellers aren’t harming me, even spiders, and I let them go. I think spiders are pretty cool.
So there is the evolution of a man up from one kind of barbarian to another, perhaps more noble, maybe just silly, but that is the way it is.If anybody wants to take me on about it I am willing to stand my ground and kick his ass for I feel life is inviolate and precious, though I don’t understand it and how it works, but I know I am creating mine in some way that I hope someday I will understand better. Alvin Rubin, my freshman law school property professor, told of the pilgrim who finally made it up the mountain to ask the wise hermit who lived up there “what is life,” and the hermit said “It is a cream soda and a matzo ball.” Oh well, that makes sense when you think about it, I guess.
So there is no telling where a stray idea, like “random acts of senseless cruelty”, can lead. It led me to this point, at which I am going to stop writing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My First Kiss



It is June 17, 2009. About this time of year in 1950, I was fifteen years old, and in love with Sylvia, whose family came over from Yazoo City, Mississippi, to visit relatives in my little country town of Castor, Louisiana, during each summer. I was euphorically in love with her. She filled my eyes. In those days there was no such thing as having sex, and the most one could hope for was maybe holding hands and acting stupid trying to impress the girl with inanities that were usually blurted out and immediately regretted for being totally non sequitor and out of place. Here is a little poem, sort of, I wrote a while back about our kiss on that star flung spring night.

First Kiss

The July moon dappled the old
porch and steps with silver
through the sycamore leaves,
painting the yard pewter
with deep moon-shadows.
Embraced in the warmth of the evening
and the heat of each other
we sat nervously in the swing on the high old porch,
talking about whatever fifteen year olds in 1950 talked about.
Trying to say the right thing.
Groping for words to amuse and touch.
Afraid, hearts thudding at the
closeness of the other
The mystery of what was happening, drawing
together and pushing apart in uncertainty.
Then, a sudden stillness.
A mutual decision to stop the parrying
Our faces drew close
Our lips touched.
There was cold fire and I spun out into the
Summer night with Orion and Pleiades
We were too young, too afraid to think of more
than what our lips were about.
We kissed and kissed with the hunger only lips
can know, being lips, until our lips were bruised
wanting more but kissing was all there was.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

He who owns your food owns you

He who owns your food owns you.

Assuming that there are sheperds out there watching over us, they are asleep or we have given over our lives to the wolves. While we were sleeping Montsanto has bought you, your food, your body, and all the seeds that may be grown to feed you and your family. These seeds are genetically altered to resist pests and weeds. They are specialized. Just a few years ago there were hundreds, maybe thousands of varieties of potatoes, corn, even apples, but now they are reduced to a specialized few, and in the corn and grain business, they are owned lock, stock and barrel by Montsanto. Take out these limited varieties of food, and there is no food.

Watch this: http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food

Farmers who lived on their land, grew grain, wheat, rapeseed, other vital crops, had an unwritten law that one farmer didn't do anything on his land that harmed another. The very first case we learned in property law was Fletcher v. Rylands, where a farmer diverted water flowing over his land onto his neighbor's property. Fletcher won, for one can't do anything on his property that will injure his neighbor. Simply the Golden Rule put into law. This has been followed until now. The powerful Montsanto raises its horrible head.

Montanto has genetically altered seed. These seed were carried in a truck along a road boarded by an old time farmer of grain. The seed falls out of the truck along the way, mixing with the crop of the farmer. The farmer's crop is now mixed with the creation of Montsanto. Montsanto sues, saying the crop of the farmer now is owned by Montsanto, for he is using genes created by Montsanto, now locked into the farmers crop, and the genes of Montsanto are patented and everything that has that gene is owned by Montsanto. Montsanto won. The farmer of fifty years is bankrupt.

Carry this a bit further. You eat the grain, the grain becomes integrated into your system. Montsanto can, eventually, carrying this into the extreme---own you. If Montanto has its way, it will. Up until this time, there was a basically sacred rule that one cannot patent and own a living organism. But Montsanto, through legal maneuvering, managed to get through the Supreme court of the US a little ruling dealing with having exclusive right to a genome or gene of a created organism that ate oil spills, but that then grew into a larger monster for the law expanded into allowing anything containing the created gene to belong to the patent holder, Montsanto, Dupont, etc. Now every ear of corn is literally owned by Montsanto.

Now to Armegeddon. Suppose, as in the potato famine in Ireland, there comes a blight or totally immune insect or disease, that takes out the now genetically altered corn crop which has become so specialized that there is only one kind of corn? The law I live by is "If It Can Happen, It Will Happen." Creating crops resistant to pests and unwanted weeds seem smart, but the human consuming these foodstuffs are now consuming an alien food that can, and will, eventually alter the human being who evolved by eating natural foods, now foods altered to resist insects, which genes are different from the genes eaten by man's ancestors. So with the worst possible scenario, we could be exposing ourselves to famine and mutation of the species.

Then, the old fear I learned in economics in college that was generated by Malthus, that population would outstrip food supply, will come to pass. If it can, it will. So man is truly fouling his nest in as many ways as he can imagine, and soon will realize his ultimate nightmare come true, for he has been working hard at it for a while. If he doesn't bring the roof down economically, through physical nuclear destruction, he will do it by the substance he consumes for his very life.

I feel we, as Scientologists, have the only way out, and I am not considering it through what one may believe or what one may achieve through prayer though I feel prayer is important, but what one does to clear himself of those things that make him do what he is doing to himself is vital. The only technology existant is that of Dianetics and Scientology to solve and the only possible hope mankind has to save himself. We are nose diving into a horror for the basically good beings in this universe that we can only imagine. First of all, buy Dianetics and read it. It is in every bookstore. It will give you the truth, the real idea of what you are up against, and it gives the answer.

So the only way to tell one of a problem he has is to propose an answer. If you just give him a problem, you are not a good person. If you awaken him to a problem that is jeopardizing his life, and give him an answer, you are a hero. I am giving you this gift.


http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Poetry




Poetry

All of us have a bit of Poet in us. I have written things, never thinking of myself as a poet, just a scrivener writing scattered shots about things I have to say or words that seem to burst into my subconsciousnes and beat at my bay doors for release. I am not a poet, just a writer who occasonally gives birth to something akin to poetry. I am still not sure what poetry is for it seems to take many forms and I have never studied it at all.. I was accidentally awarded the first place prize in the International Contest for Poets for Human Rights last year. Must have been the only entrant. No, there were hundreds.

Poet In Prison

I am a child of the universe.
I am a song, a poem, a living thing
I care not what you do to me.
for I am a forever spirit.
You cannot contain a song
A Poem
A spirit
With your Bars
With your Fears
With your threats of reprisal for reaching and touching.
I will always be here singing,
writing my poems
when your bars are rust
when your fears are memories
when your threats are but echoes
of bad dreams long forgotten.
My song will still ring among the stars.
November 7, 2008


I re-discovered Billy Collins, American Poet Laureate. He makes it look so easy. I find it so much more satisfying to read a poem than hearing it read. There must be a better way to read poems than those I have heard or read myself.
I have listened to poets read their stuff, and stuff of others, and wondered how a poem should be read to get across the spirit living within that sparse distillate of language that says so much. Tasting a poem a la carte, licking it directly from the page, actually gives me more sustenance than hearing it read. Those words lying quietly on the page seem to take hold of my mind as I am feasting on the entirety of the way it looks, naked and wanton there, offering all of itself to me, not giving itself in small verbal bits and bytes across the space between the reader and me. I think the way words lie on the page have a magic that the spoken word lacks, regardless of the way the meaning touches me.
I am a fan of Billy Collins, American poet laureate, as well as W.B. Yeats and his mystical “Lake of Inisfree,” and numerous others---there are poets everywhere—peering out through the foliage of their hiding places---many not wanting to be known. I could never get into Keats. Too much is enough. Poetry flows and works its way through the cracks of cathedrals, prisons and outhouses, Grand Ole Opry, kindergarten and in the mist that rises in the woods just before dawn. It is a touch of soul that can be savored in a moment, for the poetry I love is not epical, but in little mind candy packages, easily unwrapped and quietly sucked for a quick trip into that place you go when you can forget where you are.
I was raised in the country in N. Louisiana, white anglo saxon protestant country. It was a place where there was no music, except the current pop and hillbilly music of the late forties and fifties (I graduated high school in 1953) and there was very little “culture”, or “refinement.” My mama read poetry. I never realized how it touched her or appreciated her for that until recently. I should have. She was a very unhappy being, alone, though she was married to my father and later to another man. She would sit in a darkened room, with barely enough light to see, and read poetry. I have two of her collections. I never appreciated her for that. She killed herself in 1997. There was depth there, too much depth for her to swim. It took me a long time to appreciate poetry. And I do, but find myself in abyss of mystery unless the poetry is clear and not too oblique, like the real world poems of my good friend Stazja McFaydden.

I chanced upon the following piece on how to read a poem out loud, and since have been able to convey the content of poetry when I read it. As a result, I have been asked to read to groups. I simply read slowly, articulating all of the words according to their rank of importance as I see it, and make sure by looking up at the listeners to make sure they are getting it, and they do. It isn't the reading, it is the listening and duplicating that you are about.

But with all that said, here is a little piece by Billy Collins, on how to read a poem out loud.

"No doubt, most of the readers will be students with little or no experience in reading poetry out loud, especially to such a large group. And we know that a poem will live or die depending on how it is read. What follows, then, are a few pointers about the oral recitation of poetry. The readers, by the way, should not read cold; they should be given their poem a few days in advance so they will have time to practice, maybe in the presence of a teacher. In addition to exposing students to the sounds of contemporary poetry, Poetry 180 can also serve as a way to improve students' abilities to communicate publicly. Here are a few basic tips:
1. Read the poem slowly. Most adolescents speak rapidly, and a nervous reader will tend to do the same in order to get the reading over with. Reading a poem slowly is the best way to ensure that the poem will be read clearly and understood by its listeners. Learning to read a poem slowly will not just make the poem easier to hear; it will underscore the importance in poetry of each and every word. A poem cannot be read too slowly, and a good way for a reader to set an easy pace is to pause for a few seconds between the title and the poem's first line.
2. Read in a normal, relaxed tone of voice. It is not necessary to give any of these poems a dramatic reading as if from a stage. The poems selected are mostly written in a natural, colloquial style and should be read that way. Let the words of the poem do the work. Just speak clearly and slowly.
3. Obviously, poems come in lines, but pausing at the end of every line will create a choppy effect and interrupt the flow of the poem's sense. Readers should pause only where there is punctuation, just as you would when reading prose, only more slowly.
4. Use a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words and hard-to-pronounce words. To read with conviction, a reader needs to know at least the dictionary sense of every word. In some cases, a reader might want to write out a word phonetically as a reminder of how it should sound. It should be emphasized that learning to read a poem out loud is a way of coming to a full understanding of that poem."


Nonetheless, I always return to Yeats, whose "Innisfree," "When I am Old," "Wandering Angeus," really penetrate this thick covering of my being and go right in, carrying a mystic message that tells me there is a world beyond mortal sight, something better and wonderful that maybe I can reach "when feeling out of sight for ends of being and ideal grace". We all came from that magic universe once upon a time, and that is why we strive to the stars or to the places and spaces that mimic to some faint degree that which once was that we know was who we were before we spiralled down into this dismal place we now are. But we do have poets, and poetry, and song----.

The Cloths Of Heaven (Yeats)

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dick Zimmerman, Rembrandt of our time


How wonderful to have a compelling talent that has been touched by Angels. Such is the talent of Dick Zimmerman, ww.dickzimmerman.com, my old friend of twenty years, who has been known as the celebrity photographer of our time, now turned to his old love of painting.
Dick is a true genius, who, as you can see in this portrait of a beautiful young girl, can capture on canvas a spiritual instant. Like the Mona Lisa, the subject's personality, a moving flicker of light, the best of the person, the inner self, caught forever through the eye and brush of this amazing artist. I am in awe. Go to his website and watch the video, see the many portraits, read his intriguing inside stories about Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Salvador Dali, Michael Jackson, Tom Selleck.
I am writing his bio, and there is a plethora of material on this unusual and gracious man, for his photographic career carried him into places and lives of people the entrance into which are forbidden to the normal human being. Such are the ways of genius---somehow their talent, when blended with boundless energy, a sense of purpose, an ethical foundation and that something else that seems inherent in this rare combination of beingness, opens doors into a labryinth of wonders that we the comparatively mundane never dream of knowing or seeing.
I intend to help him become who and what he deserves, to be recognized as the Rembrandt of the century, the Da Vinci of our time. He will come to the home of the subject, set up the whole scene, and then use his skills toned over three decades as a celebrity photographer to capture images on his digital cameras, and then return to his studio to paint them on canvas. That is where he is able to transform technical skills in photography with traditional portraiture, and while that is not unique as a method of reproducing images on canvas, his eye and talent of putting it all together to draw out the thetan, the spiritual beingness of the subject is what makes him the unique artist he is. I want to help this man.
We are taking commissions now. Usually, after a sitting, the portrait is complete and shipped within sixteen weeks.
Dick usually works from nine at night until four in the morning Working at night leaves him undisturbed and free to become his art and meld with his subjects to produce that certain thing that only he can do for his subjects. I consider this a privilege to work with Dick. Smoking cigars, sitting out on the windy porch of his sixth story condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, talking about art, our Church, our goals and aspirations, planning the future, is a real joy.
Call me if you want to schedule a sitting for a portrait. 727 667 1191. The fee depends on the size of the canvas and the number of faces. I find it interesting that he will only paint a face that is of normal size or larger on a canvas. He says he doesn't paint shrunken heads, so if there is a large group, as in some of the paintings, the canvas has to be large enough to accommodate each head being normal size.
It is a great day in Clearwater.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Technicalia, I am getting dizzy

Lately I have either signs of dimentia or confusion from the dizzying changes in technicalia. Seems every day there is some new online social club you can join-Plaxo, Facebook, Twitter, et al. Twitter lets you put in 140 characters as a message to an expanding list of "followers" you generate to read that brief concept. And reading them is like trying to decipher a foreign tongue. But there are many interesting things to chase down and surf from those little snippets of data--they refer you to exotic or previously unknown sites full of intereseting data that may or maYy not have practical purpose. I find myself wasting time. However, ifyou have half million followers, as some actually have, you can promote something to that group reading your little pieces of data, and my friend Laura Sherman who has "Your Chess Coach", teaching kids and adults to play (she is a master herself) has reached and developed a chess public through Twitter. It has practical uses. But how do you keep up?

Talking to a buddy yesterday in the Qual section of the Flag AO, who queried why kids go around texting, buried in their cell phones. I ventured that they were wanting to be acknowledged, wanting to be assured that they exist in this rapidly moving world where people are piling up one on top of the other and individuality is dying in a grossly accelerated homogenization of the species. They are crying out to be acknowledged for themselves and not being able to "be" they are "doing." Inasmuch as the elements of life are "be" "do" and "have"they can't achieve the be. You have to decide what to be so you can be that and then do the things that that beingness is so you then can have the things that the beingness wants and achieves through doingness to get it. But to do that, you have to back in, learning what you want to Have first, to find what you need to do to be that. So these kids are craving beingness, but seem to be sucked up in a technical spiral like my character in my novel Nimrod's Peril---the N'aa'maan, who lives for information, data, thinking of it is food, rather than developing spiritually he just gets more data, not knowing that knowledge is not data, but certainty. Seeking certainty, these kids are texting texting texting. Doing, doing doing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Angel on a Harley

How do you forget when you have been within someone's universe and you wanted to stay, but then it is gone? How do you stop wanting to reach and find that being and hold for as long as you can? Do you ever stop the longing, the intense aesthetic dream that may not have ever been, but you know it was real--real enough to create angst from its absence? She is gone,but you know you will see her again someday, and maybe even make it become real, as impossible as it may seem, but you know it may leave you bereft again for it still may be as tentative as the angel she seemed to be. This thing called love. This intensity of admiration. This obsession. This phantom of delight. This poem is dedicated to her, wherever she is, if she is real. Was she real? Or was our joining an ephemirality only, as tenuous as the fog that permeated my being that day, or was it months, years?

Angel on a Harley

Her eyes told me that there was a world beyond mortal sight.
Then I saw the shimmering moonlight that was her hair,
All a tumble
With waterfalls and birdsong
that I could hear across the rift of our universes.
Her gossamer blue wings iridesced in and out of my vision.
And there was a hint of lilac
And something else
Undefinable, like the smell of wonder.

She revved her Harley, just feet away from my open window at the stop light.
She looked into my mind and smiled a smile that sucked me right out of my
Head and smacked me against the wall that separated our worlds.
She laughed.
The very air became her joyful laughter,
Blessed
As in kissed
Made love to
She let me in and I soared
United
For that sparking instant
In a joining I had always known was possible.
I knew then that a moment could be a lifetime
And it might be enough,
But it was not enough,
Just to know.

The light changed.
She fled away.
Weaving through traffic.
I couldn’t catch her.
The last I saw was her red taillight dropping over the other side
Of the overpass a quarter mile ahead.
I was bereft.
I am still trying to catch my breath.
After seeing an angel on US 19.
I wonder if I was dreaming.
I want to go to heaven if that is where she is.
Or get a fast Harley and catch her..

Friday, May 8, 2009

Facebook, what is it really?

As Alice's White Queen said, "I am trying to believe three impossible things before breakfast."

It is getting curiouser and curiouser.

I have asked about Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo and the other seemingly innocuous social type internet programs---and who is really behind them, what do they have to gain, do they harvest information about the members, is it all legit? I sniffed a sinister origin, and have asked many friends what they think and nobody seems to worry or even wonder about what comes their way on the net when asked to join or have been to confirm that Joe Blow wants to be a friend. Who can resist being a friend?  Watch this little video below and if true will answer this question.  What the hell, I am sure "they" have a dossier on me and have had one for a long time for I have been a rather mellow dissident and always have been a relatively harmless question-asker who nobody really should worry about.

Here’s a relevant video. I haven’t Snoped it yet, but I don’t always trust Snopes. This video answers my paranoia.

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/603.html

With satellites that can track your every move, read the time on your wristwatch from miles above the earth, with tv cameras on street corners in major cities, with social security numbers, economic stress, environmental threats and terrorists,  the coming identity card and even chip implants to assure you of your security and well being, we are already in a kind of cyber prison with invisible but impenetrable walls. We can run but we cannot hide any more. 

But we must remind ourselves that we are immortal, eternal spiritual beings temporarily housed and even warehoused in this transportation and communication system of flesh that we are being more and more convinced is ourselves.  This is a lie. We have been and are being implanted by electronic and ideas jammed in our heads through all the media and TV every day that we are weak and nothing, and have to worry about all this, but now our big brother is going to take care of us. where is this going?  I think you thinkers know.  Nowhere good. So rather than leave you with this doom message, which I have sworn never to do, I want you to know there is a way.  Know thyself for who and what you are.  Never think you are what they say you are or have become. You are your best friend. You are more powerful and good and greater than anyone every allowed you to think you are, and you, with your friends, can come together and defeat this oncoming blight by simply knowing who you are and your power is without limitation.  "They" are cowards, hiding behind lies and terrified of you. Don't be fooled.  Together, believing in ourselves and not in the lies that they want us to believe, we can kick their ass.

Lovingly

LDSledge
Maverick

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Voodoo Man

I haven't written anything for a while, so last night I decided I would write a little flash type fiction as fast as I could type, and I type very fast. I wrote this little story in around thirty minutes. I is a true story.

Voodoo Man

Our cook, Alonia, was a huge woman, weighing in at close to 300. She worked steady from seven in the morning until three and cooked everything “down.” What I mean by down is all meat was cooked in a gravy, and vegetables boiled right down to the bottom of the pot, but she was honest and faithful. And superstitious.
She wore a bandanna around her big round head and her eyes were bulging saucers, looking not unlike Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the Wind. I swear she must have copied the stereotype, she even looked and dressed like her, but in the forties all southern black domestics looked and dressed much the same as they did in the Civil War. Things and attitudes in the South had not changed much in the seventy five years since the war between the states was over.
I was ten years old in 1945 when Daddy came in and told Alonia that an old man by the name of Lazarus was in town and had been arrested as he got off the bus. I thought Hazel was going to faint when she heard the name.
“Mr. Laurie, you don’t mean Lazarus?”
“Little man, real dark complected, wears a black hat and got real black looking eyes.”
“Ooooweeee, she wheezed, looking all around. “That;’s the voodoo man--he real bad.”
Alonia lived in a little cabin in the pasture down below our house. She became very agitated.
“I ain’t goin’ to stay in that house tonight by myself,” she moaned.
“Don’t you worry, I am going down town to see what is going on.”
Daddy and I drove the half mile to our little village of Castor, Louisiana and arrived to see a scene like I had never seen before. We didn’t have any law in our little town, but there was the sheriff from Arcadia was standing by the bus with a long stick in his hand. A little black man was sitting on the ground with an open gash in his head that was gushing blood. There was blood all over his clothes and the ground around him.
An old suitcase stood open by the bus. It was brimming over with money. There were ones, fives, tens and twenty dollar bills, and a bunch of silver dimes and quarters.
There must have been two dozen people standing around, watching. I remember the scene, still frozen in time. This seemingly harmless old black man, sitting on the hard dirt under the shade of a big sycamore tree right at the low board porch of Tooke’s cafe, butcher shop and grocery. The deputy was a large white man with a star on his chest He held a three foot stick, which I assumed he had used to hit the old man in the head blood pouring out of the coal black curls on his head.
Daddy was Mayor. He spoke to the sheriff.
The deputy pointed at the suit case. “Sonofabitch been stealing from people think he is some kind of hoodoo man. There must be five thousand dollars in there,”
Our little town, with its four stores, two gas stations, cafe, barbershop, depot and post office had a railroad track running through the center had never had any crime that would require the sheriff to come to town. Being Saturday, the town was filled with people who came in on wagons filled with cotton to be ginned pulled by mules, old trucks, even an A-Model Ford or two was putt putting down the one street. A crowd had gathered, about half white and half black onlookers. The blacks were cowed back, some holding their hands over their mouths, eyes wide in fear, looking at the little man sitting on the ground. He looked harmless enough, but he was enough to terrify Alonia.
“What you gonna do with him?” Daddy asked.
“Gonna take him in. We been keepin’ track of him. Heard he was headed for Castor to do more of his mischief. Need to get somebody to stich him up first.”
About that time, my granddaddy, who was a dentist, walked up. He had a little case and he bent over the little man and dabbed the blood away from the cut on his head and, poured some alcohol straight in the cut. The little man let out a holler as the alcohol scalded through the bloody mass.
“Hold still,” Grandaddy said, pinching the edges of the cut between his thumb and forefinger and began sewing the hole closed. Then he rinsed it again with alcohol and stood up.
“There, that should do it till you get him to Arcadia,: he said, wiping the blood from his hands with a cloth he had taken from the bag.
The sheriff stood the little man on his feet and put cuffs on him, then tucked him in the back seat of the sheriff’s car. He then closed thesuitcase and put it in the trunk.
He drove away and the crowd commenced to talk excitedly. I heard one of the black people say “that’s a hoodoo man. He can put the mojo on you.”
“Steal you soul,” one said, “make a walkin’ dead man outta you. I seen it happen. He one bad man.”
“Creep around at night, steal souls,” another said.
One bug eyed woman, wearing a red bandanna and carrying a walking stick said, “You can buy a spell from him and put the gris-gris on somebody. He burn candles an’ make spells. They work. I seen it happen.”
She went on, herself supposed to be a hoodoo woman who could do spells herself, “you listen tonight at nidnight, and see if a rooster don’t crow and a mockinbird don’t sing, and see if somebody don’t die hereabouts. He done took another one.”
A tall black man wearing overalls with no shirt under the galluses said, “He got all that money from the devil. He sold them souls to the devil. That Satan money we just seen.”
Daddy shook his head and smiled at me. I was wide eyed myself, listening to all this talk from this group of terrified men and women. The white people listened, though they avowed they didn’t believe in that, they were listening, very quietly.
Daddy moved back toward the car and we went home. He told Alonia what had happened.
“Wooie, Mr. Laurie, I am so glad that man is gone from here. Wherever he goes somebody dies, and he always has lots of money. Said he steals souls and sells them to the devil.”
I looked at daddy. He shook his head, and said” son don’t worry about that, ain’t nothing gonna happen.”
That night, a rooster crowed at midnight and a mockingbird sang in the plum orchard below the house. I slept upstairs with the windows open and I remember it was a full moon and that rooster crowed. And also, a dog howled. My skin crawled.
The next day I heard that Miz Skinner, the old maid that lived by herself in the big old house by the railroad, had died during the night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Storm On The Gulf

Morning Storm On The Gulf
Omigod, this is one of those glorious spring days here on the gulf in Palm Harbor, eight miles from Clearwater. It is 6:30 a.m., and a storm hits with wind whipping the palms and big oaks, lightning and sky splitting thunder. It’s dark and threatening out there. My windows are open so I can feel the damp wind and occasionally a cold drop blown through the screen. The world smells rich and loamy, and the morning full of energy with the incessant rolling thunder, rain beating the roof, slashing of the limbs on the big oaks in their frenzied dance, and flicker of light through the dark jungle of my back yard from the lightning far above. The sky darkens and there is a riot of motion and sound everywhere, crashing fronds and frantic trees doing their prayer dance to the great storm god as the torrents pour from the heavens amid a shrieking climax of thunder and lightning. My backyard rain forest of palms, ferns, white bird palms, drink the warm downpour in a joyful feast of life as the storm peaks in an exultant climax with a huge drumroll in the sky, and I can feel the storm dissipating and moving inland, carrying with it the greatest orchestra of all in a traveling show that leaves a quietening here, distant thunder, the limbs and fronds now slowing to small dances in the zephyrs and my world and yard are sated and smiling a thank you for today’s blessing. Now there is only a steady gentle rain soothing my garden, me, my world in a post climatic peace. The world has made love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Responsibility

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every
man is a piece of the continent, a part of the
main. If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory
were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or
of thine own were: any man's death diminishes
me, because I am involved in mankind, and
therefore never send to know for whom the bells
tolls; it tolls for thee."
John Donne
Devotions upon
Emergent Occasions, no. 17
(Meditation)
1624 (published)

I was a courtroom lawyer for forty three years. I told my juries that what they did that day in their verdict would create many effects unknown to them. It was like dropping a pebble in a pool, and the ripples spread out to touch every inch of the pool’s edges. You never know what effect your act or omission today has on someone far away, even unknown. My words spoken long ago have come back to me in the mouths of strangers, most of whom have reported having been happily changed, bemused or even enlightened. I never heard of those bad things I may have done or said, and what changes they evoked. I am sure they are there, in abundance.

Responsibility in its broadest definition doesn’t mean blame; it contains an essence that elevates one who is responsible to a state far above that of the human, but including human. It means one who is willing and able to be at cause over every phase of his life, the lives of others, and all things sentient and non sentient in the universe. A fully responsible man would literally be a God.

Life is tough. Man is ill equipped physically and mentally to handle things that come his way on a regular basis. Growing up in a world that believes in force as its means of survival seems to require that one use force, when understanding would resolve any conflict. Man wants to be happy, and feels he must fight to survive, and meaning well sometimes steps on others toes in the process, bumps them in the crowd, says and does stupid hurtful things to his friends, spouse, children. These insults affect the lives of those who received them, and they repeat them, like echoes.

I was a Boy Scout and active in the Scouts with my sons. Their Pledge is one of taking responsibility for self and others. It means more than just being helpful. It means giving service and exchange in abundance, giving more value than one receives. This oath and the definition of responsibility represents the spiritual ideal of mankind: Love of one another.

It is so easy to communicate through a smile, a nod, a friendly acknowledgement. Most people have never been acknowledged for who they are or what they do. It is so easy to say, “Hey, you are looking terrific today.” Find something you truly admire about that kid, man, lady, nearby while you stand in line at the market or bank and sincerely tell him or her about it. There is always something. Emerson said, “Every man is in some way superior to me, and in that I can learn from him.” One thing you can get from that guy in line is a smile, for he is burdened, you can count on it. You can move him out of it for just a moment, and that may be enough to get him through the day. You get it back double over.

I noticed that when most clients brought their kids in, they didn’t introduce them. Kids are adults that have not achieved full growth, and probably have never been acknowledged as a person. I would squat by the kid, offer my hand (not some shallow high five) but a real handshake as I looked him right in the eye, being really sincere, and said, “I’m L.D., what’s your name?” He would tell me. I would say that I was glad to meet him, and really meant it. You could tell he knew it, for he would brighten up. In a short time he would be hanging on my leg or wanting to sit in my lap or tell me something important about his day. I would let him and listen. Usually the parents were amazed that their kid had opened up like that to a stranger—and to a lawyer at that! That kid would go away realizing he was worthy.

I am responsible for you, though I don’t know you. You are part of the fabric of my universe, and when I see you we will know one another, for we are somehow kindred spirits. And if you just cut a few of the little threads holding yourself, you will know and show that you love me and I love you. That is the way things should be. That is responsibility.

“Don’t send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random

This is a randomized blog, written on the 24th of March 09.

I googled myself and found the following article that I had written in the mid eighties. I was asked by OSA to go to a convention in San Francisco onTorts and Religion. There had been a rash of lawsuits against churches and the convention was packed with religious representatives of every description: Moonies, Hare Krishnas, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Scientologists, Buddhists, etc. The cult of psychiatry was there represented by "Dr." Jolly West, of University of Southern Cal., who was reputed to have killed the university's pet elephant by drugging it with too much LSD. Tim McNamara, an old frat bro (TEKE) from LSU was there representing the Catholic Church from Lafayette, Louisiana. That was a period when the very first lawsuits were developing against priests for sexual abuse, and suits against evangelists for hustling too much money from converts. One church had all of its churches and branches closed in the northeast from a judgment of millions, saying the convert was brainwished and should not have donated that money.

I wrote a piece and sent it to many ministers, warning them of what was coming.

http://www.helium.com/items/989269-torts-religion-and-the-menace-of-psychiatry

I learned that many ministers, to be ordained, must take a course psychology, and in some cases had to be psychoanalyzed. Now this is such an extraordinary thing. Psychiatry does not believe in God or the spirit of man. On top of that, if a penitent confesses suicidal intent, then the priest or confessor much refer them to a psych or if not, his church can be suit if suicide does result for not sending the person to a psych. So what is a religion purporting to represent God doing referring its parishioners to a cult/business---for it is not medicine and cannot rank out there with medical doctors---in the first place. What is it doing consorting with these cretins in requiring their sanction in order to be men and women of god?

Here's some information that may be useful:

FIRST
Emergency

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find Yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to Establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND
Have you locked your keys in the car?

Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys In the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot >From your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other 'remote' for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).

Editor's Note: It works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!'

THIRD
Hidden Battery Power

Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.


FOURTH
How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?

To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following Digits on your phone: *#06#. A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.

If your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

And Finally.

FIFTH
Free Directory Service for Cells

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800)FREE411, or (800)

"Making love to a woman--an activity full of delights, but none of them predictable and the best of them capable of inflicting grievous injury on a man.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Right there in front of my nose


In my quest for defining and locating the Supreme Being, I knew it was not an entity cast in the beingness of man. It is the allness of all. So what does that mean? Just what it says, it is everything everywhere.. And I am in the center of it all. This beingness is not just connected, it IS everything. The very molecules of air that circulate around and in my body, in this pen I grasp, and in the nupernova in a nebula that I have never heard of trillions of light years away. All. Unimaginably, all.

Sitting in my car with the seat kicked back, ready to nap (poco reposa in Italian) with the windows open, the cool breezes from the gulf ruffling the scruffs of hair I have managed to grow on the circumference of my head, I looked into the tangled bare limbs of the tree above, and realized that they were perfect. The bark on the tree was perfection, then it dawned on me that everything was perfection, in perfect coordination and balance with everything else.

I tried to conceive of what kind of mind that could create that leaf dancing in the breeze above my head. This is beyond belief, but it was made, it was not just grown out of some sea of ammonia. Perhaps it all evolved through some implacable force that ruled out the inferior and allowed only the winning superior to survive and reproduce, constantly squeezing out the losers, now we have the winners today but tomorrow they may be squashed in the remorseless advance of evolution toward a better leaf, tree, squirrel. But it was made ultimately by intelligence and not by accident. That would be all too improbable.

So I decided to mock up a prayer:

Oh thou great intelligence, now that I know you are there and where you are, I ask of you, what may I brace myself against to hold the line? It is so like lifting myself by my bootstraps. I know that I am responsible, ultimately, for all. And in seeking more responsibility, I am forever pushing to remove the stain within that flaws me. I now know that it is simply ethics, but how do I change me? How may I atone for my excesses and for my omissions, for my failure to act when I should have acted, for the gnawing in my loins and struggles within that must be quietened to fit this society of man, so I may do no harm, and serve others.

I am about to go to sleep, and now, after knowing you, I rest, in your arms. I am safe. I know you are only good, and will do no harm. You are my best friend. I am a mirror of you, under the mask I wear that reflects the conflict I lived before I knew that we are one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Daybreak

It is still dark, though it is seven A.M. There is a vague hint that morning is imminent, the light is changing, the leaves of my oak are particularizing, coming out of hiding in the night, awakening, changing from an umber mass to individuate themselves in the graying light.

I welcome the new challenge of the day. I have plans but have kept from myself what will really happen, so I can have mystery and game. I will rise and stretch, exercise, coffee, break the fast and then get on my motorcycle and attend to things on my list.

What is next? What joy will I feast on in the coming hours? It is up to me.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Recovering Romantic-seasons of love

Recovering romantic from an ill fated love affair. When I first saw her on her motorcycle, with long black hair flying, I was smitten. I lost myself in that image of wild beauty. I wrote this poem, later played piano and sang it.

Her eyes told me that there was a world beyond mortal sight
Then I saw the shimmering moonlight that was her hair, all a tumble
with waterfalls and birdsong
that I could hear across the rift of our universes.
Her gossamer blue wings irridesced in and out of my vision
and there was a hint of lilac
and something else
the scent of wonder.

She revved her Harley, just feet away from my open window
at the stop light.
She looked into my mind and smiled a smile that
sucked me right out of my head and smacked me against the wall that
separated our worlds.
She laughed.
The very air became her joyful laughter,, blessed
as in kissed
made love to
She let me in and I soared
United
For that sparking instant
in a joining I had always known was possible.
and it might be enough,
but it was not enough, just to know.

The light changed
She fled away
weaving through traffic
I couoldn't catch her
The last I saw was the red taillight dropping
on the other side of the overpass a quarter mile ahead
I was bereft
I am still trying to catchy my breath
after seeing an angel on US 19
I wonder if I was dreaming
I want to go to heaven if that is where she is
Or get a fast Harley and catch her.
--------------
Soon after, I met her, for real, and we talked. I was in love. Euphorically, floatingly in love with this beautiful being. She was Italian, mysterious, alive, hot, reaching. I fell on my head.

Without going through details, months passed of reaching and withdrawing, and now it is over, and I am still connected for I have tasted her universe. That is what communication does, reaches and enters other universes and draws them near, and if you are brave, you enter and can lose yourself in the labryinth of baffling mazes. Love is the melding of universes in a sweeping joinder. I wanted this joinder completely, but she held back, and the more I reached, the further she retreated. Only when I withdrew did she reach, but tentatively and without commitment. The game became pain, then loss and blame. It is over and the scent of wonder still remains, with angst, in my bones.

I was reading a poem this morning, which jumpstarted this little piece, from my wonderful friend, Shirley Windward, who at 90 is still writing, still loving and being. I so wish to deserve the love that she reflects giving someone in this somewhat erotic piece:

Maelstrom Encounter
"---you leap into the navel of his belly
whee the hair grows perfect, evenly arranged like an oriental fan
and trace that fan along the rib of sliding sweet skin, moist with itself
and with your own sleek lips
touch that generous nipple with your
tongue, pressong to ecstacy
in the throat hollow, and up the ridge
of his chin, and then plunge, the arrival,
the attck on his round, red,
barely waiting, ah----beloved lips."

Thank God I have known such touching by a loving woman, but have never been able to deserve keeping her. I learned why, just yesterday, because I was never true. I had never committed myself totally to a women out of fear of losing myself from betrayal or just not being honest, having a back door, keeping that door open for the perfect one that may come along or as an escape route. I opened myself once and stayed married almost twenty years but lost her because I was selfish and lack of my integrity--I didn't screw around, I was just not thinking as I am now and wish I had then the wisdom I now have learned through painful necessity.

When I realized what a worm I have been all my years, I knew I had to change for my viewpoint has proven to be the roadmap to the perfect storm of misery which I have known so much during my life. One knows so little about love; there is no roadmap to the perfect relationship. Relying on emotion as the main criterion is the road to hell. I know.

One is either cause or effect, or somewhere between, and when it comes to love, sex, one wants to be effect and simply opens the door to all that comes through that door to smack him right where he lives. I feel wounded and wonder if I will heal right now because I relied on emotion, but it was a welcomed euphoria I haven't had in a long time, and a feeling of connection I don't remember having this lifetime. I wonder if I can stop loving her. It is an aesthetic undefinable tie that has a beauty that I wish I could control, but it has a tentative hold on me with no future. I still don't understand it but I do know that again I did not take responsibility for myself, and for her, and managed to wreck it again. There will be a next time, and this time I will dedicate myself so fully, regardless of the consequences. I think integrity is the ability to commit oneself fully to another, a job, an effort, without reservation, with the willingness to have whatever comes from the result, hell or high water, and then can look back and say "I did my best." I screwed this one up and though it had problems of age difference, cultural and language differences, if I had this integrity, I could have made it go right. I will never go at anything that I undertake half assed again. I did it with my law practice, always wanting out from the beginning, but in spite of that I was successful for forty three years as an asskicking courtroom lawyer. Maybe that is where I got that attitude. Regardless of its source, I am the one responsible.. It is time that I grow up and become responsible. I devoutly will keep this promise to myself. I will be true to myself and to my mate, my work and life from this point forward. I will be awake every moment from here on to choose the route that serves the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics and elements in the world, and not just for my selfish self. I want balance,and I will have it. Nothing else will serve. I promise you, my friends, and myself. This is a defining moment.

Then there is my poet friend, Dean Blehert, whose words "We have drawn apart to play catch," once blew me in the weeds with that concept. He has millions of poems. I think he must write dozens every day about everything. He is funny as hell, making points without being serious. His recent publication, Deanotations, Volume I, are poems written beginning in August 1984. Such as

Fame has not changed me
though I daily bask in the applause
of future readers.

The suicidal cavalry officer fed his horse
beans, then locked himself in the stable
with the horse running.

No wind
A tree talks very slow.

The clouds have vanished
and the sunlight is getting
all over everything.

Snap goes the shoelace. The short part
hangs from my hand, lookikng apologetic.

He compared her to a flute:
"I fingered all her stops."
My first date was like that:
Whenever I touched an opening,
she said "stop."

There comes a time in a man's life
when he has to choose. I can't decide
if this is that time or not.

-------------------------
Ignore the craziness of the day just for a while. Sit quietly for three minutes and look at the quietness that surrounds you, reach into their simplicities and be that, find a momentary peace for the noise is only in you. Love yourself, for you are your best friend.

I love you
Can you love yourself as much as I love you?