Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time In a bottle

Children, it has always seemed to me, have a greater understanding of many things than adults do. As they grow up, this native sensitivity is smothered, buried, and destroyed like someone pouring concrete over cobblestones, and finally replaced by what we call knowledge. Knowledge is a vastly inferior commodity when compared to imagination, Imagination is the money of childhood. That is why it is no surprise that little children have a better understanding of nature, death, God, animals, the universe, and some truly hard to grasp concepts like love, than do most adults.

Now with the eyes of a child I focused on everything that wasn't there. The world has changed, it's a different kind of place now, people have changed. Instead of looking up at things we now spend most our time looking down on them. Another reason no one is happy anymore is that people don't have the balls anymore to do anything about the negative these days. Balls, like Imagination, seem to shrivel with age.

In my arrested development stage, life still holds a fascination for me, suspended like the sun over happy memories of the last days of my childhood. Some one, or some thing watches over us I believe, even those of us that stray from the herd.

Here in Texas it is rumored that when you die you go to Willie's house. At the very worst you wind up in a bar singing Jimmy Buffet cover songs. While both of those sound like good destinations, I sat under an apple tree my mother planted many many years ago and thought about a place healthy for kids and green plants, of diamond studded sky's at night, fields of bluebonnets, and everything else time has taken away.

Monday, March 30, 2009


There is always something especially nice about the first time a lady smiles at you. I contend that at that moment, if you observe her smile, her eyes, her body language, you can determine the nature and depth of your future relationship with her.

"I'm sorry," she smiled, "that seat belongs to my boyfriend."

Your gaze averts hers as she fumbles for a cigarette. You reach across with a match. The flame ignites, as do your dreams. Your eyes meet again briefly and something is unlocked as if by an old fashion hotel key.

"There he is now."

There are certain sacred moments in the oft jaded field of a budding romance. This wasn't one of them. But I'd play along. I'd let her think I still had my pride, my dignity, my ego. Afterall she was letting me think she still loved her boyfriend.

4:00 o'clock in the morning and I was still awake. At four in the morning whites and colors sometimes get mixed up in the wash. But lying awake at 4 in the morning wasn't entirely fruitless, oft times you see things you don't see everyday. There were a myriad of images, after-images, dreams, almost-dreams, visions and revisions that like rare virus' in a rain forest would never survive in the light. Imagination! Hell, the power of imagination is larger than the information highway. You know the Information Highway, where they spent billions and billions of dollars so millions of people can endlessly debate who was the better Star Wars captain.

But back to the pointlessness of this journal entry. It's always hard to believe that someone you could love isn't the person you thought she was. Or was she? I thought, as I daydreamed a little. I saw a little girl in a peach colored dress. She looked not a day older than the day she last kissed me as I boarded a bus headed for an airport that would drop me off in a jungle somewhere.

Geographically, culturally, philosophically undesirable, yet we were perfectly suited for each other in all the timeless, primative, clandestine ways that can be reckoned with in daydreams.

At my age I had long ago admitted that whatever I thought it was that I was looking for, I was never going to find.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is it the end or the beginning

When I stumbled outside late this morning, I was met by a brutal north wind of 40 mph and blowing snow. If you wanted to be charitable, you could say I was taken by surprise. If you wanted to give me the benefit of the doubt, you could say I had known about this storm for some time, but was in denial since the temps have been in the 70's and 80's. But the weather is not why inquireing minds are reading this journal .

The mind of a hopeless romantic is driven always by that fateful, pilled-to-the-gills trio of teamsters: desperation, paranoia, and necessity.

Maybe there was still time with Freckles, I thought. If I screwed it up there would be lots of time later to sit and wonder where it had all gone. I put on my cowboy hat and headed out into the miserable wind blown snowy morning. At least I didn't have to yell, "Follow that car." The spiritual hallmark of this story has always been that there is no car to follow. And if I wasn't careful, there would be no passenger either. Just a shadow in a dream. Just a girl I used to know.

I began slipping and sliding to Freckles apartment. I began the trek up four flights of stairs. I heard a child crying, a young couple arguing, and someone cooking breakfast. I walked upward past the routine archaeological layers of life. A young girl was standing at the top of the stairs. She was kind looking, carried a frail sensuality about her, and she was holding a cat, gently stroking it.

'She left in a hurry last night."
'Say where she was going?"
"Say when she ws coming back?"
"No," she said. "but she gave me her cat."

There was a certain finality to that remark that made furthur questioning unnecessary. I tried the door to Freckles' apartment and knocked on the door a few times. Kind of like kicking the tires of a car you knew you wanted to buy.

I said goodbye to the girl. Never did get her name. There are millions of girls and millions of cats in this world and sometimes I wonder if we ever really get to know any of them.

As I reached the bottom of the stairs my eyes met the bluest eyes in Texas.

"What are you doing here?" spoke Freckles. 'My sister had her baby last night so I went over to babysit my niece."

'Oh well, err I was just out for a morning drive.'

"Yea right."

While Freckles slept. I had a cup of coffee. There are a string of clues in this story that stand out like a gaudy neon necklace of winking motels signs along old route 66 that all of us seem to have traveled by too quickly. Nobody saw them for what were, especially me, and no one put them together until it was almost to late.

From behind Freckles' voice whispered, "Time to leave the ghosts of the past, Wes. Time for new friends and time for new relationships. Time to move forward and corrupt me" She laughed..

Thers was something uplifting about her words. The sights and smells and sounds and neon signs all seem to run together.

When I got home I pulled out the picture of Miss Amarillo 1969, kissed it then put it back in the drawer. I knew she would understand.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Walk out my front door. Turn right and walk out to that apple tree stump. Now look up into the clear Texas night. See that star there, the third one from the right. Yea, thats it...Miss Amarillo 1969. Those stars around her: My Dad, my Mother, Bill, my brother, my grandparents, all in the salt shaker stars in the Texas sky.

While in a narcotic state in a hospital this past fall, I heard a voice. Seeking, comforting encouraging. I momentarily stripped away the background sounds and communed with that voice I had known so well. One that I had taken for granted that it would always be with me. At that moment I felt a great inner peace, as if I had died and gone to Baby Jesus, or Buddha or L. Ron Hubbard, but I suddenly realized they were all in attendance at the same AA meeting in the sky.

It was a mystical experience for me-almost as if I'd been working out for an hour on my Thigh-Master. It was four-thirty in the morning and only paranoia was keeping me awake.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lets haul this story to the attic

Thinking about Freckles and the latest news caused me to have an unpeaceful sleep. Either it was that or the pizza I had before I bedtime.

I dreamed Freckles was holding a gun to my head.

"I ordered pepperoni and I expect you to deliver me pepperoni," she was yelling.

The pizza in the dream was finally delivered. There was a black funeral wreath atop the box.

I put on my cowboy boots to leave.

"Nice boots." Freckles said.

"I need them, I may be headed for the last roundup."

There were some important questions I knew I wanted to ask her, but in the irritating fashion of dreams, I could not put the right words together.

" How are you going to find me?" she said in a voice that was fading with the dream. '"How are you going to find me if you don't know who I am?"

Her face seemed to melt and some of her flesh was now falling directly on the pizza in rather neat little circles that bore an uncanny resemblance to pepperoni. Her eyes fell somewhere into the pizza like two olives and I found when I stared into the empty sockets, that I could no longer remember if they were blue or green. As the dream ended, I heard a dull explosion somewhere in the near distance and woke up.

Freckles seemed like a dream. maybe she wanted it that way. I patted the pizza box affectionately a few times. A still, small voice within my head was beginning to whisper to me. This had happened before. Most every one I knew was jealous of the voices, because they only talk to me. Something about the voice was reassuring and it told me there was a solution to this Freckles mess.

In a perfect world we would all laugh and laugh and the birds would sing in perfect stereo, then tragically little toy trains would derail and people who really loved each other would go their separate ways in this cantilevered remedial world.

I had never particularly minded being alone and I minded it even less now that almost everyone was gone. I had my memories. What else did I need?

The only business I had today was to call Freckles and settle things once and for all, and maybe do some daydreaming. And daydreaming as most government analysist say today can be hazardous to your health. Of course, as most government analysist today also agree, so can everything else.

The little voice inside my head kept saying this would be my lucky day. Not that you should ever actually listen to those kind of voices. The voices guided me to a bedside table with a drawer. As if guided by the voice I opened the drawer and inside I found an old Timex watch given to me by my friend Bill the day he was killed my a mortar in Vietnam. I reached further into the drawer and found some old photographs I hadn't even realized were there.

I put the Timex on the table and poured a cup of coffee and put the photographs there also. My apartment I reflected, had turned into a halfway house for relics of dead friends. Later as I was flipping through the pictures, sifting through the ashes of my youth, I picked up an old picture that Miss Amarillo 1969 had given me. She was a young girl of about 19 holding the hand of a soldier at some beautiful, forgotton, faraway bus depot. The soldier was wearing a Class A US Army Uniform and you could tell he loved the beautiful young girl and that she loved him. He was a good looking lad when the picture was taken.

Miss Amarillo's eyes were shimmering roulette wheelsof childhood, spinning stars into my soul, making me imagine that the girl knew she was destined to die young and to frolic forever in the airport waiting lounge I was pleased to call my mind. And in her eyes I saw every woman I had ever loved. I no longer had to wait to work things out with Freckles, In a very real sense I already held the answer in my hands.

I took a walk and as I walked the sad undecaffeinated truth kept stepping up and slapping me in the face. I had been looking at things through the wrong end of a telescope and they seemed very far away when, in truth, they were close enough for slow dancing in the make-believe ballroom of my brain.

I don't know if this train is bound for glory. I decided I had to do what my mother had told me many times to do. " Sometimes son you just have to follow your heart."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On and On like gunsmoke reruns

continued from Monday and tuesday

I woke up about half past Gary Cooper time. Freckles was gone. She had pinned a note on her pillow saying she left breakfast on the table. Whatever it was fizzed and bubbled and turned into a darker color like a high school chemistry class experiment.

As I read the morning paper, I kept seeing her face and mine passing each other like two strangers on a commuter train. I then decided I needed to have a serious talk with myself which is hard to do with someone who won't listen. In the parallel lives of Wes and TcbnTX I cared about them both. I may have even loved them. I mean afterall, between the two of them they almost made up an interesting person.

By the third cup of coffee I had fairly given up on the dreamy shards of any youthful notion that life would go on forever. Like every other graffiti-strewn, ennui-driven subway train to nowhere, life would come to a screeching halt and all the passengers would have to get off.

I decided to leave my three rooms and a path and get on with life, instead of waiting around waiting to hear from dead people. "Forty years is long enough to wait on a dead person." I said to all my imaginary friends.

I was one clean shirt away from having to stay in. The background music was trying to convince me that there was no way I could see a happy ending to this story. Maybe Hollywood and the fairy tales had used so many happy endings there were no more in stock.

I tried to recognize the face in the mirror but I was amazed to find I hardly remember what I looked like. Is that what happened when you died? You just blipped off the screen and people forgot you? I still thought TCBnTx and Wes equaled an adequate human being for me. Not that I was all that demanding.

The news was depressing. I left the building doing my best Elvis impression. I stepped out into the day and saw a guy living in a cardboard box, cutting little windows in the sides like you did as a child. If anybody has ever been a child.

I walked to the corner store run by some kind of born again Koreans. More and more I began to feel like I had the soul of a Korean businessman, I did not waste time on the window dressing of life. I survived only on the bare essentials. And these I stockpiled fairly heavily. If things got as bad as everyone was saying I may not want to go out again. I bought enough food for nine lives and enough coffee to keep Amarillo up well past its bedtime. I thought of my old grandpa Slim, wearing his John Deere gimme cap sitting on the porch watching the world go by.

I begain thinking I should try creating a new magazine. I would call it High Times, its major feature would be a foldout centerfold with pictures of high quality cocaine. I don't know what the readership would be but I suspect a lot of people might like to snort the centerfold.

I was confused by todays news. I considered a prayer. Then I said to hell with it. Let the good Christians of the world pray for my eternal soul. Let the little old man with the beanie tranverse the slums of Africa and tell the aids ridden, starving, hopeless, uneducated families of twelve not to use condoms. It cost forty million dollars for him to make the trip. I'm not sure the Church might not have been better served spending that money on cat food for all the cats left behind by all the witches of the world it had burned.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cont from Tuesday and Monday

I ate five shots of Crown Royal with several Vodka Tonics on the side. By then everybody in the place looked familiar, especially after I had a Long Island Ice Tea as a chaser. Freckles didn't seem to be able to keep up, but what the hell did I know. I did not decide to purchase a small aluminum foil package of new improved Tide from a nervous pale man called the Weasel who didn't know why he was called the Weasel. I reflected how few of us in this crazy world know who or what we are.

I was pretty well walking on my knuckles by the time we got home. Freckles was taking a lot for granted as she began removing her blouse and her skirt.

"You know I have been impotent for about as long as you have been alive," I joshed.

"That's fine," she said, " it's that time of the month."

'"You are fucking kidding." I cried out.

"I ain't fucking at all"

I just stared at her.

"We could cuddle." she said.

Very late that evening the phone rang interrupting cuddlaribus. I untangled myself from Freckles. Earlier we had talked and I just presumed I had done the right thing before Christmas by giving her her space. What she had wanted was my space, and by that I did not mean the social networking site. I'd been parked in a spirtual towaway zone for many years now and I wasn't sure I needed to start feeding the meter just yet.

She was looking at me from the bed.

"Why me Allah?' I said.

The idea of renewing this doomed relationship was not especially wise or clever. It was just an admission of my own ability to love anyone. Love to me was alot like sticking your sausage in a light socket while playing Russian roulette with the breaker switch. This did not make me a proud American.

My thoughts were a troubled, jumbled embroidery of love, loneliness, distance, life and death. My life flashed by like the blurry, pastel view from a childhood carousel. I thought, maybe that's all it really was.

When I climbed back into bed. Freckles was asleep.

I didn't bother to wake heer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On and On an On9 continued from yesterday)

I had to face Freckles. I decided to pray. Dear God, Allah, Jesus, or L. Ron Hubbard. I wasn't taking chances, maybe it was a cry for help. I waited and waited, no one answered. Either thet didn't exist, they didn't care, or maybe none of them were not interested.

I ventured over to the window and thought I saw a vision. It was not clear if the vision was biblical or not, but several times in the past she had given me a religious experience. Time would tell. She was a gorgeous blond about nine feet tall crossing Austin Street toward my apartment. She looked up foar a moment and I saw her face, she did not have that humorless, cold, brittle, Teutonic look. She appeared vibrant, full of fun, adorable, and it's hard for a nine foot tall girl to appear adorable. She looked very sophisticated, at at the same time, like someone you might have left at the country fair of your dreams. Someone who should have always been with you.

I watched as she turned up the sidewalk. Over the fence in the distance near a warehouse I saw a limo, a dollop of clear Texas blue sky, a slow motion man going through a garbage can in the world of the dimly lit, roiling around in the ancient streets like dung beetles pursuing happiness as they are being run down by life .

I closed my eyes and thought of dreams that never were.

I stepped out on the porch and watched Freckles coming up the sidewalk like a red tide at sunset. Somewhere in the world there was a sunset. when I lived in New York there was often no sun or sky to speak of, just garish shadows that fell like elderly people onto the sidewalks and the dull gray blanket would turn darker and bone shillingly colder and underneath it the rats and people scurried faster and faster.

I seem to have become disenfranchised from the rat race and the human race, and began experiencing an inability to differentiate between the two. A possible index of my loneliness.

Freckles waved at me. Now I had to decide where to take her for dinner.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Do I lovw thee

After Freckles hung up the phone. I sat at my desk for a long time like your everyday catatonic. My mind was humming along on about one cylinder. I knew she was right. In the final analysis though, no one was right and no one was wrong. Just different. clearly there were many pieces to the puzzle and if anyone should be able to see the complete picture it should have been me.+

In my brain dead state I gave up the task and walked over to the couch for a little power nap. That was very taxing because the dreams and faces were all starting to run together like an old tye dyed shirt I had left over from the 60's.

I tried to imagine Miss Amarillo 1969, Freckles, the lesbian from Kansas, the mysterious redhead, Miss Fire Ant 2005 and so many others passing like so many faces in a train window at night. My mind was blank much like this computer screen I'm stareing at.

For a moment, I thought I saw something, something familiar in the eyes, the smile. Then I lost it, partly to the nightmare and fast-lane insanity that I call my life.

I kept mixing Freckles in with all the others, then losing her in the dark disembodied images percolating from some place in my not- so -distant past. It was the kind of thing providing you were sane at the moment could drive you crazy.

"How do I love the?" I said to no one in particular?

"Let me see if I can find a way."

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Maybe it was the morphine, maybe it was the rain.

One morning in August,2007 I woke up in a hospital room but I figured that was better than waking up on a cloud playing a harp. There was an angel in the room with me reminding me with her presence that I was still alive. We hadn't had much to talk about in our lives. Like millions of conversations between fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, lawyers and whores, hunters and the hunted, full of all the words Andy Gibb ever had, full of horseshit and fury, signifying only the meaninglessness of life.

Yet even though we had not had the music and the words. life did convey a flying scrap of reckless wonder from the beautiful heart of a daughter to the tattered heart of a lousy dad.

There are people I thought, not for the first time, there are people. And the beauty of it was you never knew who they would be. Old Friends, perfect strangers, even your own child, all might catch you in the wink of an eye, call your name like a train whistle in the night and guide you like an angel sitting on your shoulder. There are people I thought, and one of them was sitting in my hospital room working a cross word puzzle.

Time drifted by as it tends to do in hospitals, airports, train stations, whore houses, and slaughter houses. It drifted by like a hobo in the night, so slowly, so swiftly, so silently, that you almost forgot it was there: little minutes, little moments, little pieces of our lives we can never recapture, maybe not ever make right, but little pieces of our lives that no one is ever quite sure of what to do with. The present blends with the past and the faraway becomes suddenly very close to the heart and the lost and distant are suddenly near and dear and the pearly shells on the childhood beach are the bright, dead leaves in some old forgotten mans front yard.

When I came to again I wasn't sure if moments had passed or years. A Nurse was checking the IV fluids dripping into my arm. For the first time in what seemed ages my mind was clear and lucid. I knew who I was, where I was, and then it became the near blurry past and I lost clarity and watched it all disappear like a lover on a train. Now my room was filled with the forms of people I had known and loved in my life. Some I knew to be still alive, and some I knew to have long ago departed this busy station of mortal sadness.

"What are all these people doing in my room?" I asked

They are here because they loved you." answered someone.

"Oh," I said as I closed my eyes.

This is when I learned a great lesson of life and death. When you close your eyes the living disappear but the dead keep on living. So I traded all the ghosts of my past, all those dead and gone that I had loved and lost in the past, for my two daughters and a brother. It was a good trade, maybe not good enough to win the pennant, but it was a good trade non the less.

Unfortunately it looked like no one was going to punch my ticket to the Grateful Dead concert. My number wasn't up yet so I had to go on living whether I wanted to or not.

Reflecting back on the moment I don't think I really wanted to die. I just needed to get away from myself for a while. I mean I wouldn't have minded dying, and I will die someday, but I don't think my two kids know how much I really love them and frankly I didn't think I should go out with my last relationship being with a lesbian dance class instructor.

Is that a square light in the middle of darkness I see?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Place Another Time


She was standing outside a little bakery on West 6th Street in the San Jacinto area on Business Route 66, she held two tiny dogs on leashes. She had a spectacularly beautiful American face, upon the planes of which intelligence and innocence fought a pitched battle that looked like it might last a lifetime. She had rich-girl hair- long-straight, blond and thick. She had a peach colored bow in her hair that matched her peach colored dress. Each of the dogs had a bow as well.

As a light rain glinted through the sunlight, the girl in the peach colored dress gave the effect of a vision-impossibly fragile, ephemeral, childlike, so beautiful you could see right through her to a better world. It was not surprising, I reflected, that she appeared so childlike. She had to be all of six years old.

"Are you a real cowboy?" she asked, pausing perfectly to adjust the bow in her perfect hair. "Or are you just dressed up like one?"

Leave it to a kid to ask all the hard questions, leave it to a kid to make you momentarily wonder if all your life you lived a lie. Ok, so maybe she was seven.

"Of course I'm a real cowboy," I said struggling for a measure of masculine indignancy, "Haven't you ever seen a real cowboy before?"

"Not like you in public," she said. The kid had a point there. I hadn't got caught up in the Urban Cowboy craze. She also had a smart ass edge to her that was starting to get under my collar. She was going to give some poor stiff a hard time one of these days.

"We went to a Dude Ranch in Arizona when I was four," she continued. "They had cowboys there, but they didn't look like you."

"You can't always tell a real cowboy just by looking at him," I said. It was too late to tell her I was a male model on my way to shoot a cowboy commercial for Ralph Lauren. Besides I wasn't.

"You mean real cowboys are a lot like fairies?" She said with that sudden gasp of truth that only childhood engenders.

"How old did you say you were?" I asked looking vaguely around for her mother.

"I didn't say," she said, "but I'll be six on August 14th, and if you are wondering where my mother is, she is the well dressed lady in that store who is watching you very carefully right now. Do real cowboys carry guns?"

"Of course not, we are always contented that if anyone wants to kill us they have to bring their own guns. Whats your name?"

"Megan'" she said kneeling down to introduce the dogs, "Molly, Holly, I want you to meet a real cowboy."

The dogs who were about half as high as my boots seemed midly interested. I hunkered down at a safe distance so as to not further agitate the well-dressed mother and made a clumsy adult attempt to relate to the nervous rodent - sized creatures. "They are cute little boogers," I said "And so are you."

One of the dogs bows came undone and in less time than it took to light a cigarette, she bent down with both leashes in hand and tied the bow. It was an amazing thing to watch, tying a bow while holding two dogs on leashes. The kid, at age six, knew exactly what she was doing, which was a hell of a lot more than I could say for myself. There are, of course many things the kid didn't know or understand yet, I am sure. She probably couldn't tell you why we fought in Vietnam and I doubted very much that she knew that Turkish people once brushed their teeth in urine. These are the kinds of things you pick up as you go along.

"Lets go dear," said the well dressed woman, giving me the wintrist of smiles. As the little girl, her mother, and the two dogs rounded the corner on their way out of sight, she tossed her rich-girl hair in a very adult affectation, then gave me a friendly good bye wave like the child she was. When I see something like that I always wonder if the kid isn't growing up too fast. Of course I've often thought the same thing about myself. I tilted my cowboy hat to her, "To the future."

"The future is merely a necklace of nows"

Dennis McKenna


I woke up on a cold floor with a hell of a headache, surrounded by mounds of chalky white dust and large white chunks of the same. It looked like a Peruvian Marching Powder train had tipped over and trapped me underneath it. At first it didn't seem like a bad way to go, but I tasted the powder and it didn't seem to give me a buzz, it tasted more like sheet rock. The next thing I knew two little dogs began ice-picking my brain with loud barking. Somewhere between the two dogs stood a tall, beautiful, blond girl in her early 20's who looked vaguely familiar. The afternoon sunlight was streaming through her hair.

"Where the hell am I?" I said.

"You are lying on your kitchen floor, shit for brains," she said. "Some dancing lesbians in the class upstairs must have knocked some sheet rock loose and it fell on your head."

I felt as if I had been sleeping twenty years, I felt groggy, the dogs didn't help.

"Anna, Hanna," she said in a stern yet some how sweet voice, "be quiet darlings, you are disturbing the old man Wes. When you said you were on your way to take me to dinner and then didn't show I became concerned and come over to your place to check on you. Your phone was off the hook and I found you on the floor covered in this mess. Don't you have a maid?"

"Well Shannon said she would stop by, but the game got rained out." I was coming around, the gorgeous creature was standing in front of me holding two dogs, she was dressed in very tall heels and a very short red dress that looked very good from where I sat.

"How long have I been out of it?" I asked.

"Oh, I'd say about sixty years, but out on the floor about two hours."

"Incredible." I spoke.

"I can think of a few other things to call it," she said, "One of them is pathetic."

"I was headed out the door and something happened on the way."

"Something happened to you alright, some dancing lesbians knocked ceiling plaster on your head. By the way your liquor cabinet is empty much like your head. Do you want a drink?"

I nodded and as I watched Megan and the two dogs head for the door, I saw another young girl wave to me from the corner of my eye.

"Goodbye, Megan, I said. 'goodbye Holly, Molly."

Megan stopped in her tracks. For the first time since I had known her I had her flustered. How could you know about them? I don't remember ever mentioning my first two pets to you." she asked, suddenly rather shakey.

I just sat there in the dust. Smiling up at her, smiling up at the ruined ceiling. smiling up at the crazy screwed up world.

I said as gently as possible. "Maybe you have forgotten."

Monday, March 9, 2009

The best people you will ever meet often come to you like stray dogs, moving with graceful evanescence through you life, then leaving you forever with empty spaces that only your dreams can fill. I saw my childhood best friend, and Miss Amarillo 1969, several more times during the past forty years, they moved on the streets and alleyways of the world, leaving me with no choice but to relegate them to the blameless flickering of a computer screen like a journal still in progress, never quite being completed, thus never ending.

The last time I saw Miss Amarillo 1969 she waved goodbye to me from the departure gate of a bus station as I left to return to hell. She hugged me as I left the platform. I will never forget that beautiful golden haired girl with the peach colored dress. I rejoined my friend Bill; he also hugged me as I arrived back at LZ Betty. He looked pale and wan and a bit shaky but he still had that infectious, world-beating smile. This time, however, the smile did not seem quite able to reach up to his eyes.

He gave me an old Timex watch of his, passing on a trinket of his existence. That evening a mortar killed him.

I guess you would expect a want to be author to have an eye for detail, but sometimes tears conceal the keyboard so much that one cannot continue to chronicle certain details. Minutes later after the explosions and sounds of small arms fire the area around me seemed deserted. The whole world seemed deserted. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with a cold and unforgiving rage that came from somewhere deeper in my dark and deserted soul than I ever cared to know about. The sweltering heat around me turned cold and unforgiving also. Time had become a one-way street and it was a one-way life and you had to pull the trigger and kill someone, you either lived or died on this one-way street. There was nothing between me and the pajama clad being yards away. I aimed the gun and watched as the M-16 did what it was designed to do.

Several days later on a tarmac, I leaned over a black body bag and cried. "You were alright as friends go." I spoke.

The night before I left, the night before I was to ship out after a months leave. Miss Amarillo 1969 had shown up with a small suitcase. Of course her mother and father would not have approved of this evening but they no doubt knew how much I loved her and no doubt how much she loved me. I saw the sparkle in her eyes, dimmed recently by tears, during which time I promised I would return. It was a moment, it passed, and I let it. It was like that and I am not sure I can recapture that moment with words. I couldn't help a few months later thinking that she had slipped through the fingers of my life, consigned for better or for worse, to the flickering of a computer screen. And maybe that isn't so bad I thought, a few people you don't know might stop and read what you write, and they may or may not pass judgment. And that doesn't matter so much because at least they can't see the tears on your keyboard.

I guess the only things you really keep are the things you let slip through your fingers. Or something like that.

She lit two candles that night. The candlelight touched her skin like fireflies, like roses, like little fingers of light and lightness through which would slip a memory I would surely keep.

She slept in my arms that night, we shared love, we shared something, and we shared something I am not sure I have ever known since. As you know, Miss Amarillo 1969 was killed when a truck ran a red lightand killed her as she was returning to Amarillo.

Almost forty years have passed since that night And a lot of things have happened in the parallel world of Wes and TCBNTX. In less time than it took me to write this journal entry the candle of Miss Amarillo 1969 burned out.

Oh and by the way, I have forgot to tell you in the many times I have written about my friend Bill or Miss Amarillo 1969. About a month after I left, Miss Amarillo 1969 was runner up in the Miss Texas Pageant in Austin. She had written me a letter after that event. I kept it after these many years. Here I'll read it to you.

Dear Wes,

I am still in Austin, I am afraid to go back home. But I have made the decision because I won't be able to keep the secret very long. My heart is happy. I am at peace.



P.S. By the way. You will be a father by the time you get home.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Walk

Part 1
I had walked down Sixth Street, Old Route 66, in Amarillo, many times, but this was the first time I had walked down it actually shopping for something specific. I almost felt like a young suburbanite buying decorative things for the home. You can buy almost any kind of antique on Sixth Street, if you are crazy enough to want it.

I edged into a store, into an era that had ended in my teens, but was constantly being brought back from the dead by trendy Americans. I felt a little uneasy, like a kid just before he gets lost in a museum.

I found what I wanted and walked out into the odd reflected light of the first decade of the 21st century. I walked two blocks and turned into one of those places that Jack Kerouac used to hang out in. I didn't see Jack but this was one of those places you could almost hear the leftover conversations and smell the whiff of sweet and stale perfume wafting in the aroma of the coffee. One thing about all night places, in the daytime there are few customers and you are not interrupted as you hold onto your biggest memories like a weary circuit preacher hugging a ragged Bible.

Part 2

I drank more coffee and looked out the window as history ticked by on the already ancient street outside. The past and the present are deeply intertwined I thought. History is what happens when one of them gets a little ahead of the other. When a couple of kids on skateboards rolled by, I closed my eyes for a moment amd it almost sounded like a street car.

Part 3

I walk alot now. There is a difference between the street and the road, I thought about it as I walked down one and remembered the other. Shadows seemed to shiver around me as I walked down a contridiction...Sixth Street.. Old Route 66... The Mother Road.....
I must have walked a while because by the time I reached the little store that specialized in Beer, Cigarettes, and Energy Pills I felt like a shadow myself, only there was no place to fall. The afternoon, like a well rehearsed magicians trick had turned into night.

The guys who ran the store were of a heavy rather uncertain ethnicity. They looked Italian, Greek, Lebanese or Pakistani depending on how you felt at the time. That evening they looked Pakistani. Nobody was from here anyway, I thought. Nobody spiritually speaking was ever from anywhere. Everyplace and everybody was merely a station along the way.

This is the legacy of the road. I headed home, in my memory I saw a clear picture of a dusty pickup and an empty rural Texas Road.

A door knob distributor, a Bible Salesman or a traveling nipple jewelry salesman may think they know the road, and perhaps they do. It is their territory they say. The road does not belong to them, nor do they belong to the road in my mind. But thats just me.

By the time I got back home, the road like my memory, receded like a lukewarm love affair.
A bright red Porsche sat in front of my house. It probably belonged to one of Janis Joplin's friends. It seemed out of place in the reeling darkness of my neighborhood.

Tonight...so did I.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

and on and on and on

A bit of time has passed and I am now pretty much back to my senses. The mind is a funny little thing and God knows where it can sometimes take us.

The events and characters written about in this journal are not a dream. Some of the events happened exactly the way they are described, some didn't. But the characters of this journal are very real.

My best friend Bill, who went to Jesus in 1972, and Miss Amarillo 1969 who kissed a windshield in 1971, left this earth far too young and way too soon.

Many of the characters are still very much alive, the mysterious redhead, Freckles the lesbian dance class instructor, and many others, as well as myself sometimes stalk the valley of ennui.
As far as Miss Amarillo 1969, she was brilliant, gorgeous and sophisticated, but as I occasionally like to point out she had some growing up to do. Unfortunately she never got to.

She will always be there. Walking across the pages of my life with an awkward grace, saying nothing. Like the land my mother owned, all she did was hold my world together.

That may not mean much to you, but it has meant a river of tears to me.