259. March 18th….Today is give yourself your own nickname day…I just made the day up a few minutes ago…so…it’ll be slow to catch on….let me know what your new nickname is…..

West Texas ramblings

“Smells like Wet Towels” 2009

“Meaning is not what you start with, but what you end up with” – Peter Elbow

I’d like to be the guy that puts the icing on the cake…just having that job title makes the job the best possible job on the planet…think of it…when someone asks me….”what do you do?”…I’d have to raise my eyebrows a few quick times lower my voice a bit to Barry White levels…and say…”I put the icing on the cake”…..god that sounds nice…everything is always perfect…then….people would even know me as “The icing on the cake guy”…..that would be better than the pope…or maybe even George Clooney…..forget that I had a name….instead of like Prince changing his name to a symbol…which I don’t know anybody that can pronounce his new name….my name is changed to a phrase…and a good one at that….one that everyone understands….without a doubt….even know what the connotation is….that’s what makes it the best….

I like to think of the nicknames I’ve had…and wonder where in the world they came from…some of them are obvious while others were so arbitrary and random…I think of all of my many nicknames…my favorite was “Robert T”…which evolved to “Bobby T”…which finally settled at just “T”….T has nothing to do with my name other than the last letter of Robert….not my middle initial or even close…I started a business at 17 selling rough turquoise…to jewelers…and needed a business card…the printer….added the “T” kind of like a middle initial….and rather than saying anything…I just said “OK”…took the cards and began giving them out by the hundreds….before long…people were calling me asking for …..none other than …”Robert T”…….soon those familiar with me changed it to “Bobby T”…and before long the girl I was kind of dating said to me one day…”T…would you get me a coke while you’re out”…well everyone heard that and for the next few years my name was a letter…..a letter that had nothing to do with anything other than a typo…..

I did have an alter ego once….his name was “Art Zabari”…sort of a pull your pants up high on the waist…black socks with sandels kind of guy that talked in phrases…that were always preceded with…”What you think you’re some sort of”……and then the tirade began…he was relatively short lived…due to the medication starting to work….efficiently…if you know what I mean….

I never really gave any meaning to any of the names….other than “T”….it had a sort of unknown…known…sound….I know that sounds a little Donald Rumsfeldish…..but something about going around being called a letter leads people to believe a multitude of things about the person being called the letter……these days I prefer Robert….unless of course  things begin getting a bit to drab…and I unexpectedly start signing my signature………”The icing on the cake guy”.

235. February 20th…Space Truckin…with Captain James T. Kirk….if you’re lucky you’ll wake up 6th or 8th…..

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

“Wall of beer cans” 2010

We’ve got to risk implosion. We may explode into the biggest fireball this part of the galaxy has seen, but we’ve got to take that one in a million chance. – Captain James T. Kirk

I have always…..loved watching Star Trek….especially the crises that arises while down on some other planet….there are the blatantly obvious  characters that are not leaving the planet…they will be vaporized….disappear in a maze of sound waves…or be frozen solid by some beam emitted from a rock….I really like when some strange plant gases everybody…knocks them out….James T. Kirk is the very first person to regain consciousness…and is always the very first person to regain consciousness no matter what scenario it is…..be it bugs….sound waves…plants….beautiful blonde women….it doesn’t matter….he wakes up first…followed by Spock…Bones…Sulu…Chekov…and Uhura….the rest of the crew then begins to stir….they awaken stunned…sort of disoriented….and it’s always Bones that makes some incredible discovery…that transpired while the crew was slumbering….then James Kirk….in his staccato speech….figures out what to do…of course with the logic of Mr. Spock……right there by his side….

The thing I really liked about Captain KIrk…he was a “Go for it all” sort of guy…he would jeopardize everything to prove a simple point….he never said no….and he and Uhura had the very first interracial kiss on national television….he would make Scotty say….”I‘m giving them all they got Captain” when he would force Scotty to push the engines to warp factor 8…and they were low on Dilithium crystals..or when Bones would lose his cool…and say his classic line…”For Gods sakes Jim, I’m a Country Doctor…not a miracle worker“……and through it all Captain James T. Kirk…knew everything was going to be just fine….because he…was in charge of the bridge…of the Starship Enterprise….and he knew what was and what wasn’t……

Captain Kirk knew the truth…and the truth always set him free….we as viewers….knew Captain Kirk was a stand up guy…he was honest….romantic…a tough guy…(especially when he used  his Karate chops)….witty….probably the most eligible bachelor in the galaxy…a real heart breaker…..fair…and most of all with the aid of Bones and Spock…. a Taoist…..a non action/action type of guy….think of how many times James T. is ready to fly off the handle….and Spock will throw some philosophical thought out there for Jim to ponder before acting….or Bones will make a suggestion that makes Jim take a second look…I said he is a Taoist with the aid of Bones and Spock….by himself he is a lumbering philosophical ignoramous……out to be right…but that’s why buffers like Bones and Spock….were cast into James T. Kirk’s world…..

I once saw Sulu at the New Orleans airport…..I could say nothing…I just stood there in awe…..and to think he woke up fourth or fifth…from the gas….what a lucky dog…..

233. February 18th…Black and white cat….black and white cake…..

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

“The Blue Chairs” 2010

“Ridicule is the Burden of Genius.” – Daffy Duck

everything either compliments or contrasts…often not a purposeful thing…more of a natural event…like height or eye color….who thinks about how tall they are or why they have green eyes…or black hair….it is…what it is…and changing that doesn’t really change anything in the big picture…changes are a temporary issue…only as long as the dye last…or the duration of the colored contact lens…in the eye… the big stuff is important…the contrasts that make statements…the compliments that say something significant…the rest is just a push-pull of small events…he everyday yawns that make sure you get the sleep you need each night….

for as sick as I feel today…there are days I’ve felt exactly the opposite and wonderfully well…so within me I have the ability to wax and wane to polar opposites….exact contrasting states of being…so I guess I’m saying I have the ability to be light and dark…on or off…pretty amazing…especially when I’ve no desire to be the opposite of well….I’m certain with each tick of getting well…or getting sick…there are complanmantary…aspects that I’m probably choosing to ignore….as it sounds like the “It’s going to get better” conversation….and that in itself….is a conversation I’d rather see arrive than have to look forward too….the process of finding the complement to be ill….is like forgetting all about desert…..and then a few hours later when you’re tucked into bed remembering there is a wonderful chocolate cream pie in the refrigerator….just waiting to meet you….

I hope all of you stay well…..

232. February 17th…painting for two…is nothing like eating for two….still only a few hundred calories per serving….

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

“Crack-R” 2010

“They’re funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.”
— Winnie the Pooh

I like the idea of painting for a show…specifically making work….that is going to a particular place….I like the pressure…I enjoy the challenge…and I especially like how the paintings almost seem to know…they are unique…they are designed for a space…that is very interesting….I am painting for 2 shows next month…one here in town….the other out of town…the logistics for here are easy…basically just show up with the work…give them to the person who knows where and what they want and that’s it…the other show is different…a small…more intimate venue…more of an artist’s show…so all of the works fit the space….built to match the room…the nice thing about this smaller show is the opportunity to think smaller…take the level of complexity I paint….keep it ramped up yet on a smaller scale…that is a challenging….task…something that has started to happen by working out of a smaller space….

I guess the confines of the space dictate some unconscious….smaller thinking…that is a pretty spectacular event….my paintings will grow based on the size of the studio…I find there is a level of information needed to express what I want…that requires a series of planned/random events take place…these events then have a series of placement on the canvas…until the conversation seems like it’s hard to hear just one stream of words…well in the smaller space…all of this sill takes place…but scaled down…it becomes a much more calculated process….with smaller expectations and smaller results…just by the nature of the thinking…I am enjoying this process very much….

all of this got me thinking how this translates to just living life….I’ve chosen the wide open spaces (geographically) for a reason….I can see further than I can do anything else…..my  personal aquarium…is pretty large…allowing me to grow within the confines of that space…for as along as I need to grow…I wonder how my work would transform….living in a larger more crowded city….with less room to move….perhaps the changes would be significant…or maybe not…

Wednesday….January 13th…the 200th Post….too bad there’s no prize for that…..

West Texas ramblings, Writings from the "Cuff'

“Signs” 2010

“I’ve found you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.” – John Coltrane

she handed me the lighter….it was red hot…”this means you love me” she said…I did…but not this much….he said…”I do”…..”I do love you that much”….it was like a joke gone bad…she’d never love a red-headed boy…how could she…she wrote in her diary…with the little lock and key thinking…and her not so young…but not so old girl….body and mind…..she had trouble written deep in the creases of her little girl body….it had already gotten him sent away…to that school where the boys…live….way out there at the end of Winder road…where the wind never stops…he’d be home in a few more months….it had been 13 months…in a few days….for him a birthday and a half….he was different his daddy told me….something happened in there…but now it was the start of summer…and the wet excelsior smell filled the house….and the late night…stars could keep me awake as long as they wanted…I had nothing on the papers for tomorrow….or the next few days other than the normal stuff….he said “here drink it…it’s like soda”…..I tipped the green bottle to my lips…it smelled good…but it was soapy water….they laughed as I gagged…and he pushed me into the wall…the bottle fell…and broken on the cement…..little buubles everywhere….”You’d better clean that shit up before dad gets home”….he just walked a way from it all….he and his friend John P……the boy with the shellacked…. coal-black hair…and I wished somehow I could have been in Mexico…right then……

I thought about where it all was going…I mean she was a dancer…with a 3 year old…married a G.I. a few years before…but couldn’t find him to divorce him….I was working doing nothing….mostly gladhanding those fucking people…that couldn’t figure out simple things….was it 10w 40 they needed or 20w 10….I just lied…told them they were “right”….and what did they need me for….she asked if the blue lights on stage made her stretch marks noticable….I always said “No”…even though you coud see every one of them…follow them from her belly to her thighs…..”he was big baby” she’d say….”he really messed me up”….her lips would get thin lines in them when she smoked….and she laughed with that mucus laugh…..like she was going to cough…I was going to talk to her….see if she wanted to make some extra money….I didn’t really love her…I just needed her….I knew she could get us more…but she couldn’t do it on her own…she needed me….too…like how fish work in a small bowl….everybody gets theirs….just in smaller pieces….the boy just sat there he’d suffered from her…he paid the price for her…and would for a few hundred years…..every 4 hours…hook him up to the machine….just to breath…..never going to be normal….but who were we…to talk….

It was all so bright and noisy….I could hear every scream….every gunshot…every balloon breaking…..and smell the horse shit…all over the ground….each tent had hundreds of bright-colored balloons and streamers….I felt like Pinnoccio…and would soon be turned into a donkey….there was a grease smell from the rides….their big gears…hydralic piston…hissed…and churned…it all seemed so unreal…yet here we were…by ourselves…I didn’t have to hold on to my mother’s skirt…and keep my other hand in my pocket…I could touch things…without a scolding….I watched the smoke from the cook tents…..cover the night sky with a white haze….and those tents you had to be over 18 to get into…he told me they had sex shows in there…..but he also told me humans make….peanut butter….in their bodies…..it didn’t matter there was far too much to see and take in….I just wanted to sit and watch it all happen….I wanted it to never end…..I peeled a flake of pale blue paint from the metal bench…I sat on….it cut underneath my fingernail…..a drop of blood fell on the white toe of my tennis shoe…….

Friday….January 8th…”Hauntings”….sleeping by yourself…and a new pair of white “GoGo” Boots….(you know the ones with the zippers in the back)…oh….and the marks light makes…..very important!!!

West Texas ramblings, Writings from the "Cuff'

“Light Marks” 2009

“You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?” – Steven Wright

I couldn’t tell fresh…from frozen…from fabricated….so the experience needless to say was a stumble in a greater degree of darkness than…I was accustom too….sure things were going well….we had a place to live in with 2 doors….Wanda was wearing antlers at the truck stop…and shoes that were reminiscent of her bowling league days and me….I was…..saying stuff to the neighbors that…had the city fathers concerned about who they were really parenting…so you could easily see there was a strained dynamic…in the making…it wasn’t my drinking…or the massive cocaine habit I’d acquired over the past 23 years that was causing all of this…it was more the small stuff…you know…like mosquitoes when I was trying to sleep at night…I can’t say either….that the voices didn’t have something to do with it…but who listened to them all of the time anyway…..over the past few decades I heard them as a baby in a car seat crying on a long cross-country car trip….in Nevada…with the air conditioner broken….and the wife and I were arguing for a few hours about if Granny was older than Jed….in real life….so the voices…counted for little….he said it was spelling Bee day at school…a day that not only brought back a  degree of memory that caused me to hide under the dining room table at around 7 am…but also a great day for carwashes….and applying calamine lotion to the never-ending bites of “Pogonomyrmex barbatus”…something we’d grown accustom too living right where we did…it was sort of like living on some ancient burial ground…you know…they really should disclose that before purchaser signs beneath where seller signs their name….after all….who knows what spirits are going to be disturbrd….by Saturday morning lawn mowing and deep root fertilizing…not to mention the endless barbaques…and people walking over their graves…it is a set up…a place where certain pretty ugly things are going to happen late at night….and not many people are going to believe you….no matter how you try to explain those claw marks on the door…or the welling abscess looking thing on the side of your face that you swear your husband did not hit you with the shovel in a fit of rage….she put the prayer beads…out…sang a few hosannas…. talked right to the face of the Virgin herself….she even sorted through all of the tortillas at the grocery….hoping to find an image that remotely resembled Christ….she called the bottled water company and asked if it was blessed by priests….and if it wasn’t….could it be….she hit Send” and off her romance was….he was waiting on the other end…wearing a Blue prom dress….from 1973….drinking black coffee…listening to a Fleetwood Mac album that skipped every few seconds….his black horn-rimmed glasses slipped on his nose…..and all the while…..hoping she might be the one…..he  put the prayer beads…out…sang a few hosannas…. talked right to the face of the Virgin herself….he even sorted through all of the tortillas at the grocery….hoping to find an image that remotely resembled Christ….he called the bottled water company and asked if it was blessed by priests….and if it wasn’t….could it be….he needed to remind himself…to iron the wrinkles out of the prom dress…..he wrote on his hand….”Iron dress”…..she wrote on her hand….”Sweep floor”……and realized she had to hurry…she had rattlesnake handling at 2 this afternoon……God works in mysterious ways….she thought…….

Randy was an alcoholic…he was a dreamer….a point on the pin tip that made everyone nervous for a few minutes…..well read yet lost his articulation in the weeds by the side of the road….so really he was now a thinker…in those abstract ways…..those dark closet treks…from side to side…in that 6 x 8 space….seemd where the life could be sucked right out of you if you let….didn’t cover your mouth at night with a towel…or a sock… and they were those bi-fold closet doors with the spaceship looking brass disks….for handles….they were so modern…so “Now”…like gogo boots…the white ones with the zippers in the back…and he’d just push his way out in the morning…..a night time of howling in the closet….remembering  the breath of all of those people…kept him there…made him a little frightened…until the sun put light marks on the floor…enough to burn him hot but not enough to fry an egg in that sidewalk thinking…..where you could stand for hours…never hear a sound…no sizzle….nothing….just traffic from the freeway…down the hill….where they found the rusty gun…that morning when they were digging for the overpass…there next to that pile of bones that turned out to be a human skeleton….there was no more truth….it had long since gone….left in the wind that summer….when everything blew away….I remember walking those few blocks of town….her bras…hanging on the line….blowing in the dusty brown haze of the day….I really wished for green trees…and some water…and I didn’t care….anymore that his heart ……was weak….and we just could play hard…..or do much of anything….she lied a few days later…said he’d gone to heaven….and wouldn”t be back….this was surely going to be a long summer……

Sunday….January 3rd…I was poisoned 16 years ago today…..closed the doors and never came back….sort of a “Momento” moment….you’ll have to ask me….

West Texas ramblings

“Shadow Play” 2010

“Once you can accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which is something, wearing stripes with plaid is easy” – Albert Einstein

I didn’t know much about giving…I’d taken most of my 36 years…so this concept was new…something that would require….either quick learning or putting the grains of sand on the scale one at a time until…things evened a little more…if that was possible….seemed the slow draw made more sense than just jumping into the pond without testing the temperature….at least with a toe….or maybe a quick hand through the dark blue…we all had a manual…something we read….with those dog eared pages…that sort of defined how we were going to place our piece on the board…move it forward or sideways…and if we were even going to follow the rules….and I guess that’s where we differed…I might have been a taker but I followed some unwritten rule where as he…he took ….and had not idea there was a rule other than his own….which needed to be in place…like a cast setting a fragile broken bone…it would change as everything around him changed….but always to the hard side…that place that made you a little afraid to look him straight in the eyes…for fear he might notice….say something that would draw you from your seat….but these days the devils had moved a bit further south….they fly up periodically….cause a little trouble and then leave….maybe it’s their nature…or it’s that string I forgot why it’s tied around my finger…but maybe that reminder….keeps me  in that same jar…some days…out of the jar others….it sounds like a sirens singing while I’m tied to the mast…for fear of the insanity finding a place to call home….or somehow…when I look down…see the….”danger on the rocks….is surely there”….all of this becomes somewhat of an illusion of sorts…on those days…when the fast scurrying birds….chase the foamy beige tide….out….looking for the small things left behind….and I have to ask myself if I…still do that…too….

there were those afternoons I could remember….time stood still seemed when I looked at her…she laughed all day long in…slow motion….and we’d make those plans…that maybe weren’t for tomorrow or the next day…but more those gray-haired days….when we could have a little dog….and not such a small apartment in the city….a place that had a flower garden…and moss cover edges on the walk….maybe the waiting would make it happen or maybe thinking enough about it caused it to churn from the bottom of the world….someday to the top….where we were….I hoped…those days…even prayed a little to God…explaining the way I’d been was different….now….and this would be like a reward…I know….and it’s hard to think that doing something right for doing something wrong only spells the words….in another way….I watched my great-aunt Emily…put her hats carefully back in the hat boxes…she handled them like sleeping children…the pearl hat pins…were shaped like teardrops…with a long thin sharpened metal end…she wore those black lace up shoes….that caused her ankles to swell…and a white blouse…buttoned to her neck…I loved her…because she was who she was…and she was left handed…she scared everybody…but me…when she used a knife….to cut up vegetables…..I saw her once in my life with her hair down…..it was early in the morning…she was sitting on the stone steps in her robe…looking towards France…..maybe she was there….I closed the door…went back to bed….it was still dark….

I just wanted the noise to stop and…the music to begin…sort of like an elevator with too many people in it…somebody has bad breath…or forgot deoderant…..and it’s a long flight…..up….wishing the 28th floor came before the 9th…hoping those days of rolling brown outs here in the city was not today…not in a few seconds……

I heard this song for the first time in 1987…after hearing it…I went to lunch…quit my job…and decided to open a business…I guess the music began….

Wednesday…December 23rd….Hopefully…Santa’s bringing Jambalaya…..or the stuff for making velvet paintings….

West Texas ramblings, Writings from the "Cuff'


“Park Ave” 2009

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going”  – Beverly Sills

it was a jet plane day…or better a winged serpent sort of trip…awaited…I’d be in Thailand in a few hours longer than a few…I needed to remember somethings before I embarked…not on a trip…but on a life….things like what not to be later in life…things like…whatever mistakes I’ve made….are okay…and that even when I couldn’t read a measuring tape…and just said numbers…they were close enough to build  a house…so maybe things were a little short…or long…did it matter when the walls came up…did anyone ever call and say…they were concerned….wanted their money back…or that part of their life they felt cheated from…I saw here just a few days ago…she once took me to a Tanya Tucker concert…I told her I’d leave her for Tanya…I wouldn’t but it made things more tangeble…more wanting to grip the frying pan by the hot handle rather than with a towel……look at the scar a few years later and sing them cowboy songs when we drove down the rode…wishing we had a top to put down…..

I called her Bev…when her family called her Pearl….she was a gem…though…a real pretty sort bar girl….made you want to be with her…but not for keeps…she took a look a long time to fade….I drank a few drinks in her trailer behind the “Side Door Lounge”…she had a couple of those panthers painted on velvet..and one of Goofy blowing Micky Mouse….above the metal door with all the rivets in it and the fogged glass…her boy had just been killed in a car accident…. few weeks earlier….she’d wake up on the floor most days of the week…or in some strange man’s bed….wondering what was coming next…there were far to many envelopes…waiting to be sent….she just needed the stamps….and a way there….spelled her name sometimes in print…sometimes in hieroglyphics….either way…they never got there….and if they did…nobody read them…they only could speak the words…not read em….they were in the twilight times…that place between heaven and hell…just waiting for something to either turn them around…or burn them to a cinder….right where they sat….while the small screened black and white TV talked all day about what to look for…when cleaning the collar of a shirt….and why those dogs next door bark to long into the night…..made you a little tense….there about 3 am…I seen you there….sitting on the porch…playing that thing in the bucket….calling it all up from underneath the skirt of the mobile home…maybe it was dead dog spirits….or them young kids that just disappear every so often….but there was something more to you and the world around you….I watched your smoke for many years…even when you was younger…and slick….with them whores in Juarez….handing them money like it grew on trees…she called you “Diablo…..the rat killer”… I thought more of you as a sign…maybe a way of saying far too much without ever moving your lips…..like them dummy wooden dolls they have down there on Star Avenue at those shows…where the fella talks with out talking and the doll moves his mouth…that kind of magic….stuff from them old books we read as kids…remember…..remember when we tried that….

he was far to afraid to lift the door open…afraid indeed of what was there just ready to spring forward…..”come on…I don’t want to do it”….nobody really did either…so we just gave him a hard time…called him a  few names…his hand was still on the handle….and just on the otherside…not 2 inches away was everything we all feared…it was real…just waiting for us to open the door….it had no fear…it was ready…..waiting….but it would be another day…and other kids….who did what we couldn’t…..and maybe what they feared was real too….”but they aint here any more Bobby Ray….you rekon….he took em…like them other kids”….I smelled salt water…the ocean for the first time when I was 13…years old….we all sat waiting to see what she’d turn over…her hair was red like fire….and blood I thought…she looked at me….”this may not be so good”…she said…..just do it……she turned the card over…it was the 3 of clubs…….they all looked at me….she…started to say something …..but turned around and left…..when she got to the door she looked at me…raised both of her hands…..said….”don’t come round here no more Bobby Ray…I mean it”…..the porch light went out…I could still see where the yellow from the bulb was….I saw my breath in the air…it felt like it was thinner than before…..

Monday…December 14th…I dreamed she was….Streaking for a living since 1972……still don’t get smoke signals…

West Texas ramblings, Writings from the "Cuff'

“Face Lift” 2009

“When a superior intellect and a psychopathic temperament coalesce . . . in the same individual, we have the best possible condition for the kind of effective genius that gets into the biographical dictionaries.” – William James

“it was going to be short” the little guy behind the fire cracker counter said…”I like to add a little excitement to your lives”…..so he cut all of the fuses in half…he wasn’t kidding….now instead of 3 inch fuses they were an inch and one half….the directions said have a minimum of a “3 inch fuse” for safety….”Wear eye protection and have an adult present”…..I wondered did that mean the adult with eye protection could be drinking…at the same time….it didn’t matter…fireworks were like rattlesnakes…when you’ve been bitten once….hardly want to feel the cylindrical shape in your hand….nor those two fangs finding someplace a little deeper than a scratch….but once the venom flows…it’s sort like a firecraker….right in the eye..a gray shadow for weeks…don’t tell mom and dad…..just keep your head down…that’s what he told me to do…”keep your head down”….it got a little lighter…then the rockets red glare…for a few months…and everything was just fine….we’d talk on th phone a few times a week…make that sort short words…conversation…”Yep”…”naw”….”I’m sure”….”really”…it made no sense to reveal it all before the magic even appeared….what if there was no magic…and the rabbit didn’t come out of the hat or worse…the wand….didn’t work…then what…..we’d stand there hoping an explosion would happen…or maybe a fire alarm might go off…somewhere close enough to make us all scurry towards the yard….wearing those stupid blue uniforms with the patches…only God himself understood…crosses…swords….drops of blood….wreaths…what was this…whole thing a code…decipher it and it got you in to heaven a hell of a lot quicker than the guys in the back by the dumpster….huffing gold spray paint from th plastic bottles…weren’t they lambs too…or were they the meat for the wolves….never would know…at least not until the sun went down…and there was that quiet…that time where a hiss sounds like a scream….further though down the road from where we were standing…..

I guess…I didn’t understand the answer….it seemed far to volatile to be just a short burst of a few words that solved it all….maybe more of how all of the parts of the motor worked…made more sense than a plain old “Yep”….and that got him the garland…the hoist on the shoulders of those summer boys…with there peachy skin…and black comb hair….seemed like they knew what each other was looking for…sort of a club but not really a group that understood the rules…they never made up….so it seemed like garbage floating on a lake….no particular place to go…until the deep feelers grab you….slowly tie itself around your pearl white ankle…..a little tug…and the nightmare begins….closer than your bed allowed before…I mean now…it feels like you’re right there…pulling the rope through the sand…emptying buckets of nothing on the fire that rages…close enough to singe your hair….peel the paint from the house Gramps built by hand there by the orchard…..and then like light…a puff…and the candle wick glows …. tangerine…smokes…the room for an eternity….and the night noises…..stop….safe for another…day….at least you hope so….

the wire was red hot….hot enough to melt through just about anything…even my skin……the pile smoked for a few days….and there was something about the smell that was appealing as well as nausiating…..maybe it was a meteorite…..or some sacrificial pyre…that burnt down before we got there….we’d have to wait…for a few days….before the bee stings would stop itching….and the red clay dried on our shoes……it added a few pounds…but every crack…was filled like a perfect fit….like those days in summer when they pour the black tar on the road…to fill the cracks…and they form their perfect little tar lake pools…..where the moths get stuck….and flutter until their wings work no more…and they give it all away…that’s where I worried….sweated those nights…trying to learn to keep the blanket over my head…..when I’d scream silently…..hoping the mute sounds hit those deaf ears…..but like ice….making …what’s it take to freeze…..just a few hours…..there in the gutter in front of the house….I’d break the twigs from the ice…..hold the ice to the sun and look through it……while the gray….water ran down my hand to my elbow…..like an electrical shock….I heard those older boys….he wore a checkered red western shirt….his hair slicked back……”I was sitting in the back seat with this fat chick…we was having fun…minding our business….just getting to know each other y’know”…..what was her name….I thought maybe Wanda….or Verna…or something along those lines….when his talk stopped…..and her daddy…..hit him in the back of the head with a shovel…..he sort of…floated for a second….and fell face first into the welded pipe that held the tray table and the speaker to order from….and all his friend could say was “Damn”……

Sunday…December 13th….Giving out Trophies for Good Ideas….Good Ideas…only….Coincedences and the whole notion that dark can be really dark sometimes

West Texas ramblings, Writings from the "Cuff'


“How Light Works”

“When I was little, my grandfather used to make me stand in a closet for five minutes without moving. He said it was elevator practice” – Steven Wright

today was going to be a day like no other…not since it was an automatically built-in concept of individuality…more from the perspective that I…me…was going to make the day different…it required a rather expensive printer…some convincing down at city hall…and a few thousand truck loads of bowling balls…to “litter the street with”…as the directions clearly stated…”litter the street with a few thousand truck loads of bowling balls”….I couldn’t really figure out the bowling ball issue…and I was on of those people who needed to know all of the ingredients in the Pasta Puta Nessca long before I turned on the gas burner…call me crazy….but it was just the way…dad wired us up to the car batteries in the garage when we were kids….sort of his idea of turning chickens into…ducks….but he had ideas…you know lofty ones that said things like “Up here”….so we ate the fondue with toothpicks…only to save money on the dishwashing…which seemed such a logical approach she got a trophy for that idea….we were randomly giving out trophies for ideas that began with Okay and ended in great…I mean a step forwards step back sort of motion didn’t get you anything…not even a consideration…but now if you pushed a wheel barrow…with cats in it…or maybe…made taffy…blinfolded…you got a few trophies…hands down….it was not easy….making these decesions…I’d received death threats from some pretty upset people…and had hired a Zina Princess Warrior look-alike to make certain I’d be unharmed……..it was a suggestion….and that suggestion…got them a trophy…sort of a trophy that looked exactly like the Publishers Clearing House Check…and all of the build up…you know….the guy in the suit ringing the doorbell….the girl with the big smile and the dozen roses……but the person couldn’t cash it…it was just for show…we didn’t have any money…to give…just trophies…….

who really cared what key did what..as long as one of them did what we wanted….start the car….open the door…..unlock the lock….she had lived a life of drama…the deep sighs…over the top….issues with Chad or Bill or Niko…whom ever was the 32nd…33rd flavor…her masquera…was always a series of thin charcoal…lines… down her cheeks….most conversations were sobs or those painful stigmata looks as she buried her face in her blood soaked hands…she’d never be a saint…only the whipping post…and he knew that…that’s what he was designed to do…..worked hard at having none of it…so he could have all of it…seemed almost torturous…enough to make you think that people like this were trained…made that way…and nobody…understood why or wanted to…..never had their own voice….more that of a puppet…..string in the back talker…..something on a stage that makes it all fun…rather than dangerous….but either way…you blow the candle out or suck the flame to you…..it’s out….it’s dark…and there’s no place……to go but….right there…..where ever here might be at that moment….so those quiet sheet days….make me think of her….where she sits today…maybe making men happy for a few dollars…or settled in there in that place in Montana she dreamed about….she’ll always wear the long sleeves though….and she may cry out for him when she thinks of what could have been…but he’s long gone…..there to that place….where the darkness swallows people…like ink soaked cotton…..you know that place…..

I reached for the gum in the rack…while he stood in the far corner…pretending to be really interested…in mops or….broom handles….or something that a 7-year-old kid had zero ideas about….I felt his hand grab my wrist….I knew things were bad at that second….and only going to get worse…..he shuffled me around the counter…like a fighting puppy on a leash…told my counterpart in crime to come to the counter….he was already crying…..his mouth wide open….spit lines in the corners…pointing at me…trying to say…”It was his idea”…..coincidence …has always entered my life like a… tsunami…or a broken beehive….this day marked the beginning of this lifelong series of coincidences….he walked in…with mirrored….sunglasses…. a black uniform and a black cowboy hat….he was a Texas Ranger….I heard they could snap your neck with….one hand…..kill you with a single finger…”Thank you for getting here so fast”…..the store owner said to the larger than life Ranger….”I caught these two boys stealing candy”….”how many years do you think they’ll get?”….I was certain I’d had a birthday in the time it took him to answer…his accent was like everything I thought a Texas Ranger would sound like….he did that teeth noise….outlined his chin with his thumb and index finger…..said…”20 maybe 25 years”…..my knees went weak…I’d be getting out of prison when I was either 28 or 33…..my father was going to do a whole lot more to me than prison could…so I was hoping we could by-pass him….and go straight to prison…the ranger…handcuffed us together…lead us to the car…..frisked us….made a few fake radio calls about the “Criminals” he’d apprehended…and placed us in the back seat….I never knew the prison….was in the same neighborhood I….lived in………