Is it my imagination but why is it that liberals are never poor?
Is it my imagination but why is it that liberals are never poor?
I could sit on my porch when I was eight and see Pittsburgh as a rough circle about twenty miles away. In daylight, it was the size of a full moon. I had daydreams that it exploded in a mushroom cloud. It was the madness of my childhood.
I wonder if white kids going to movies today think about getting shot. It happens mostly to white children. White men are the ones that shoot into crowds of kids. It is the madness of the elite.
Do black kids worry that cops will come in an emergency and shoot them? Or do they more fear that police will not come at all, letting them be murdered by criminals that look like them?
What is the common insanity anymore? I miss sharing a fear with others.
Not an apologetic man, Merle Haggard told me straight out, “Mr. Boff, I don’t believe the Good Lord ever intended a man to open a show for a woman”. And with that I flew home.
I badly needed Merle to open a country show for Dolly Parton. Dolly was vastly more popular at the time and they knew each other. Merle grasped she was the bigger star and he wanted the money. Still, Merle had honor.
Haggard was a convicted robber. He had spent a good deal of his life in prison. His band, “The Strangers” seemed to me to be populated by musicians who just happened to be on parole when his tours began.
I liked him. I have always felt he liked me as well. Then again, thieves attend pleasantly to people who have money.
Asked once what his biggest mistake in life had been, he blurted slyly, “ Pulling my jobs in small towns.”
When I got home I called Dolly and told her what he said. She told me she would call me back. Merle did not pick up phones. She left a message with his drummer to tell Merle.” The Good Lord Dolly Parton wanted to speak to him.”
Truthfully, I only want to watch attractive people have sex. As a youth, I was curious about what beautiful gay people did to each other. Once I got a handle however on the structural opportunities they brought to the table, the identical disinterest in unattractive homosexuals repeated itself.
My riddle is that I am not attractive myself yet I still demand what I see and sexually touch to be beautiful. All men are this way. Ask them.
The Early man simply sniffed out beauty. It was a successful system, and we multiplied notwithstanding our repulsiveness for millennium. All that ended with the advent of perfumes.
In the early fifties, all human sexual aromas were drenched by the French liquid, Chanel # 5. This perfume instantly made billions of unpleasant people sexually uninteresting. Men immediately, in their perspicacity, associated beauty strictly with their eyes and only so, from then on.
Of course, this was the last thing old Coco Chanel thought she was doing when she came up with her scent. She thought it would level the playing field for hideous people. It did not.
In this passage, Cather’s narrator is lying in his grandmother’s garden, drowsy and drunk with life under the warm autumn sun:
The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermilion, with black spots. I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.
The truth and beauty of this vignette never left the soul from which it sprang. Cather requested that her grave site, which she shared with her partner, bear the inscription: “…that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.”
The flight of refugees out of the Middle East is about to submerge the ten -thousand-year-old borders of Europe. Africans routinely migrant like locusts in search of food while running in panic from the uncivilized. Central Americans and Mexicans, hypnotized by the same advertisers that have turned Americans into dreaming cadavers, stream like computer data bits into our neighborhoods.
It is humanity curing itself by leaving home.
According to the Old Testament, God was the first and last man to give birth. Apparently, He did not enjoy it so much.
I plan to tie a string
onto a bell.
To tug on
Keith always insisted they had a connection.
The trajectory of my mother’s last years was not unlike what was finally to be his as well.
They both headed south like programmed seasonal geese into jet engines taking off from God’s airport. Neither jet nor psychosis willing to alter course.
I loved them both. My mother more. Their broken feathers scattered all around me. Moon’s drifted over all of music
I showed him a picture of my mother once; she was beautiful. Someone had snapped it in the decade of the flowered smock. He was smitten. His mind tended to cut into the lines of his own thoughts so he would often bring her up to me out of nowhere.
The smock dress, a product of the 1950’s, was the church’s last attempt to stifle any hint of a woman’s sensuality. It failed, of course. You can’t camouflage the female body. The more one tries the hotter they get. I owe all my sexual fantasies to those repressed draconian Puritans. They managed to make sex so dirty humanity has nearly wrecked itself consuming it.
When my mother died, conveniently between Who tours, he took it in pace. He was inclined, for years after, to sidle up to me and whisper in my ear to ask if I had any luck yet in finding a flowered smock in his size.
The Football Fields of Pittsburgh
Every summer in the sixties, fat dump trucks would appear with fresh young dirt to heave onto the cement floor of our football field at South Hills High School. The caravan of heavy loaders would struggle up a ramp and through a special gate that was theirs alone. The trucks were trailed by men who leveled it with rakes. What they dreamed of I don’t know but I would guess it was a job in the Steel mill. We all did.
Locals would plant themselves outside the cyclone fencing on concrete stands seamlessly joined directly to our field like giant cement Legos. The neighborhood residents, eager to break their summertime boredom used this event to bridge their lives until the after-school fist fights at the sandwich shop started up again.
The testy summer schoolers, roasting like dull birds in the classrooms, would wave from the windows and breathe in the dust. They knew a good thing.
Two weeks before football practice began in August, oil trucks would spray the field to dampen the dust. It would glisten and was still black when the first cleats stepped on the field. Even today the smell of petroleum can ferry me back to those days.
There hadn’t been a water break at our school since 1952. Water was a sign of weakness and a sure indicator of sterility. We would have been called homosexuals if we drank, but that idea hadn’t reached Pittsburgh yet.
We were routinely urged to down salt tablets. They were pink, small and fabulous. These equipped us for rampant pill popping that was to arrive in the seventies.
As the winter months loomed, mountains of dirty salt crystals were dumped at the crest of every hill in my hometown to be spread by our fathers in the case of treacherous ice. In the morning, we would fill our pockets and eat it all day as a treat.
We were hit with long wooden paddles if we got D’s, or E’s on our report cards. Two swats for an E, one for a D. They hurt and scared me. I saw a black kid who I feared break down and cry. Until college, I was subject to getting hit. When I was very little the wait was as bad as the act. Oddly, I try to get bad things over quickly as an adult. I do not hesitate to confront the inevitable. I think that was all I learned by getting hit.