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click for The Trip To The East
1. Bird Sculpture One 2 x 3 feet
2. Bird Sculpture Two 2 x 4 feet
3. Butt Board and Gun 3 x 2 feet
4. Sky Tits One 3 x 3 feet
5. Sky Tits Two 3 x 3 feet
Above are a few of the sculptures I worked on while Ruth was in the east. They are in the sculpture garden at IN CAHOOTS.
This week I carried on getting the work site set up in the back yard for building the extension.
Being the last day of September seems odd. The summer simply evaporated overnight. It is almost scary the way time appears to be slipping by at an incredible rate. And yet...
As always I have so many projects, so many things to do, so many ambitions yet realized, I wonder if in this life I will ever just come to a day where I can sit on a beach and not give a damn about doing anything but watch the waves roll in. Honestly I could use a day or two like that, but it is not my nature.
Today I will try to resurrect one last sculpture which has been out in the weather for ten years. To say "resurrect" is fitting, being the sculpture was originally the symbolic "Phoenix" of a large installation.
The "Phoenix" is mixed media standing four feet high with a wing span of seven feet.
I have been promising Ruth an extension to the part of the house she uses for her office and general dumping grounds of personal accoutrements.
What it comes to is what Ruth tells me is every woman's secret desire: a walk-in closet.
For the next few weeks if not months, my daily routine will be adding a new section to the house that keeps growing...considering it was originally just a single-wide trailer, maybe eventually it really will be a House.
A good omen today was when a man came to my door and bought one my of Elk Sculptures, the one on the right.
That is the sculpture a friend said of, "That's not a sculpture. Its is just well assembled fire-wood."
As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Yesterday I went into the hen house to collect eggs. My four hens and two ducks come up with two or three a day. I wish now I had gone to the hutch with a camera.
I stepped through the door and nearly dirtied my shorts. There nestled amongst the eggs was a 4 foot long rattlesnake looking snake. I slowly reversed and went out to the yard where there was a long handled snake solving shovel.
I timidly looked through the door the second time, and carefully prodded the end of the snake. The tip that had been obscured in the straw now whipped out and I could see there no rattles.
Then the round head of the snake came from behind the eggs . I said, "Hello Mr. Bull Snake,"
The pretend rattler wiggled out of the chicken house.
Hey, he can eat a few of my eggs as long as he catches an occasional pack rat.
...the last day of summer...
Damn, it went quicker than any I ever remember, so in theory that must mean I had a good time, right?
In truth it has been a very interesting year since Ruth came into my life. I am grateful.
I spent most of yesterday with my daughter Rowan. She gave me a complimentary "facial" at the spa where she works. It was very relaxing and I have to admit the result on my wrinkled old mug was amazing.
Later Rowan and I went to the movies and saw TWO DAYS IN PARIS. I was good, in fact quite good and funny to boot.
We finished the evening at one of Santa Fe's favorite eateries...Harry's Roadhouse.
I came home, flopped into bed and wished Ruth was home. Life is good but it will be better when she returns. What joy one can have is being with someone who makes the world a happy place.
I got an email from an old friend and a happy birthday wake up call from Ruth this morning.
I am officially an "old geezer" of 63.
This morning Ruth departed for a week long tour to the east, doing details for her old home in Lake Waubeeka and rendezvousing with a circle of colleagues.
Already the house seems empty.
I 'm happy when she is home.
In the meantime I am not one to give up on spontaneous compulsions.
I have searched again for the missing titles of THE ZEN COWBOY JOURNAL.
I came across many things I have not seen for years. Some photographs, a few collected quotes and at last the missing titles.
There are 118, and not 150 as some were duplicate of the original 100 titles.
The truth is I could come up with another 20 or 30 as the list is ten years old.
Each one of the titles is a memoir of an incident of time in my life.
I seem to have had several lives, but always I have wavered between being a lonesome cowpoke and an outcast bohemian as the photos below demonstrate.
1. From the left, me, sister-in-law Beverly, brothers Robert and Tommy at Tom and Beverly's Lucky Creek Ranch in eastern Oregon, 1999
2. Me painting Elvis at the El Madrid Lounge in Albuquerque, 1986
A quote from Moritz Thomsen’s THE SADDEST PLEASURE.
“...without rage and guilt I may wind up as a man without qualities. I scratch around. What I am left with I decide is a conviction that each day I hold will become mathematically more improbable: I am not going to die in the next twenty-four hours.”
ZEN COWBOY TITLES
I will try my best to tell over the next few weeks... each one, an exercise of expedient writing, lets say, within the view of one screen without scrolling down even though I might cheat and make a smaller font...
These tales are on a separate page you can click at will:
NEW TALES OF THE ZEN COWBOY JOURNAL
I looked briefly in the book shelves of my collected journals, notes and strata of divergent mind farts but I did not find the 150 titles of the continued "ZEN COWBOY JOURNAL" as I promised earlier.
Not to be thwarted with the idea of dumping a few literary ambitions in place of BLOG INFO about Ruth and my daily adventures, I give you a small poem of irrelevant whimsy.
The Battle of God and the Devil
Somewhere else on the other side of this life,
There is in a gray-haired old woman who lives in a cave.
She is a scholar.
She reads nothing but philosophy and poetry.
She believes her brain is getting bigger and bigger everyday.
The bigger her brain gets,
She believes the smaller her body becomes.
One day her head has filled the entire cave,
Her body is so small it has nearly disappeared.
She decides before the hand withers away to write,
Before fingers shrink to nothing,
She writes a small note
And gives it to an owl to take it to the post office.
On this side of time,
A young man of 25 realizes he is living at the beginning of his life.
He does not know what to do.
He decides to stay in his room and wait until someone knocks on the door
To tell him the secret of existence.
He waits until he is 85 years old.
He is no longer a young man.
One day the mailman arrives and delivers a letter by mistake.
There is no return address.
The old man looks at the letter and decides to read it
Inside the envelope is a lock of black hair, a pink perfumed handkerchief around a piece of paper
A small note says,
"I have missed you so much. I have waited for you every day.
I don't know if I can wait to another month. Please come or I shall surely die."
The old man smells the perfumed cloth,
Then puts it back in the envelope and walks out of his room.
But up in heaven
God has become bored.
God decides to do something to amuse himself.
God decides to create a puzzle that is so clever
He will need the Devil to help him figure it out.
The Devil decides this is the possibility to overthrow God
They agree to start early in the morning,
The first one to arrive at the river in the evening
With all the answers gets to create the next day
Until 1000 days have been created.
Whoever has created the most days at the conclusion
Gets to be in charge of the human heart
For the next one thousand years.
Meanwhile the old man walked by a motorcycle shop.
There is a black motorcycle.
It has been waiting in the shop for a young handsome man
To buy it and ride to Hollywood.
That's all the black motorcycle dreams about.
But on this day the 85 year old man walks into the shop
And pays cash for the black motorcycle.
The motorcycle is horrified,
Believes that it will be parked in a garage
And be polished for eternity.
Much to the motorcycle's surprise,
As soon as the old man climbs on top,
He becomes 30 years younger.
The old man drives the motorcycle
Into the desert until he gets rest stop.
At the rest stop there is a brand-new red Cadillac convertible
It is on fire and burning to the ground.
The battle between God and the Devil continues.
It is a tie, God 499, Devil 499.
The Devil wakes up on day 999
Goes to take a shower in hot sulfur
When he gets to the bathroom door he sees
The room is filled with pure white angel feathers.
He jumps back in horror and tries to scream an obscene curse,
When he opens his mouth
The sound of children's laughter comes out.
The Devil runs to the top of a volcano,
Hoping to burn the Holiness off
Jumps into the molten lava, it turns into syrupy chocolate.
The Devil points at the sky to hurl insults at God
His arm turns into a tree covered with sweet figs.
The figs all have faces on them with an eye in the center.
They sing sickenly and sugared
"Don't Worry, Be Happy, Every Little Thing, Will Be Alright”
The Devil had to concede defeat.
It is day 1000.
If God wins, he has the hundred years in his pocket
If The Devil wins they have to start the game all over again.
Meanwhile the old woman in a cave had a dream.
She dreamt she is a beautiful long haired Italian woman
In absolute panic because her red Cadillac is on fire.
She is trying to put the fire out.
The red Cadillac explodes.
The old man passing by
Becomes 30 years younger,
He scoops the beautiful woman up in his arms,
Saving her from danger.
She slips onto the back of the black motorcycle,
The old man now is only 25 years old.
They roar off down the highway,
Her long black hair blowing in the wind.
She laughs and wraps her arms around the young-old man.
The black motorcycle hums and has a smile
They disappear into the sunset horizon.
God has to admit to the Devil
That was a better day than his.
So once again
There is a dead tie,
God 500, Devil 500,
They must start the game all over
And play for another I 000 days.
I have been thinking about reviving an writing exercise I started back in the early 90's.
The idea was to finish in one sitting a memoir on one handwritten 8 X 11 page.
The writings became a collection of 100 pages I called THE ZEN COWBOY JOURNAL.
Somewhere in my library I have a list of 250 titles that I have not developed yet. When I find it I will consider the possibilities of going back to that old habit,
Below are two from that first period, that can be found along with a larger collection on the ZEN COWBOY link on my homepage
What is a journey? Do you go someplace? If you are still, someplace may come to you.
I think it was a steel horse. It might have been plastic, but it seems like it was steel. The horses that came sometime later were definitely plastic, but the first one, the one in the dark garage in our house down by the Arkansas River, sounded like steel. There was a slunk and a boing noise when it bounced on the springs. Plastic goes thunk. Also this horse smelled like steel, the way rocks smell when they are hot under the sun. The smell of this horse was not very strong because someone had knocked over a gallon of red-oxide oil-paint and a poison smell covered the dark. When the door was open, you could see the black horse paint was chipped where the steel let off little smells into the red-oxide air.
Every journey will contain both sides of an experience in a fast/slow, ugly/beautiful loneliness.
In the middle of winter, 1957. I wore a tee-shirt and a James Dean Levi jacket and a greasy duck-tail. I was cool. Very cool. I was so cool I even had horse-shoe heel plates on my black wedgies. Me and the Johnston boys would hang out in the entrance hallway of the Colorado Movie Theater. It cost twenty-five cents to get in but that day we spent our quarters on Lucky Strikes. We were all cool together. I remember watching the brand-new electronic temperature sign on the Skaggs drugstore. It said minus 20°. We stayed in the hallway until it was getting dark. We all had to go home to get supper. Go home through the cold in our tee-shirts and thin Levi jackets. The cars went by on Elizabeth Street, full of people being warm. It was twenty-nine blocks home and fifteen cents for a bus. We spent the money on cigarettes. There is not much heat from the glow of a Lucky Strike.
I don't have much to report or perhaps it is that my spirit is just reporterless... as the phrase goes...whatever. The beginning of autumn is always melancholy for me, so rather than lapse into some dismal account, I will pass on a bit of TV wisdom from the past.
Although it has been years since the infamous 9/11, it came to my mind when I saw the date on my computer...and of course probably as many do, reflected on what I was doing, where I was and the scene that unfolded the hours of that day...truly it was a horrifying day.
And the world goes on. At least my world, and yours if you are reading this. How have we altered our lives because of the brutality and tragedy of reality?
I am grateful to be alive and marvel at the the phenomena we used to call "THE FLYING FICKLE FINGER OF FUCKING FATE"... as it seems to still be in motion...at least for me, since 9/11, death has whistled past my head three times that I know of and I did not get a scratch.
Probably I disserved as much to die as any one of those 3000 plus souls that perished in the modern towers of Babel where money was the common tongue...but I have not gone...yet...and all I can do is say, "Thank you for letting me stick around," to the utterly indifferent Godhead who guides this ball of mud. If there is a heaven, I wonder if Kurt Vonnegut is there.
I wish the Gods would give my dog back.
Other than that I am happy. I have a wonderful daughter and Ruth is in my life for keeps.
August was a hard time for Ruth and me and our personal emotions.
For Ruth it was the fact the house she had grown up in was defiled by a non-caring renter--the end result was to put the property up for sale. For Ruth it was not just selling the house, but selling the memories of a lifetime.
Lake Waubeeka, Danbury, Connecticut. The red circle indicates the location of Ruth's house.
It was difficult to witness the pain of Ruth, and then a message came from New Mexico painful to me. My faithful friend and companion for the last four years had gone missing. Flat Tire is the kind of dog that only comes rarely. The worst was not knowing what happened to her. I checked the website of the local pound daily (and yet still) put up reward posters and have walked the roads and fields looking for her remains. She simply disappeared.
Perhaps Flat Tire is still alive and will return. Perhaps Ruth will win the lottery and save the dreams of her childhood and formative years. We can only hope for the best.
Ruth and I are going through a strange period of grieving
The Trip To The East
If anything would have stopped Ruth and my career together, it would have been the month of hell in Connecticut...not either of our choosing but hell none the less. Anyway as one may note above, on the occasion of returning to New Mexico and celebrating Ruth's birthday, we are still doing just fine.
1 to 4 One day off in Connecticut at the New York Renaissance Fair, with Ruth's long time friend Marian and her son Damien. We got to pretend we were somewhere else.
5 to 15 The very last day we were at Lake Waubeeka it was foggy in the morning and even though the house had been a tough experience, I could not help but see it was beautiful and feel very sorry that Ruth had to put it up for sale.
16 Ruth bought several wall plaques at the fair and brought them home to Madrid.
17 Ruth demonstrating her exhaustion at the yard sale in front of our house. We sold several hundred bucks worth of her past collections in four days.
18 Now this is another story, but it was the official "signing day" for the "OLD GEEZERS CALENDAR 2008" of which I am part of...check out www.geezers-illustrated.com
19 to 20 Ruth's surprise birthday party at our house in Cerrillos where I gave an impromptu speech using some props of distinction.
The blog has been dead stop for a month because Ruth and I drove to Connecticut to retrieve her house in Lake Waubeeka near Danbury, her childhood home.
Ruth had a very very bad and I mean bad tenant who not only forgot to pay the rent for several months, but managed to mangle or corrode everything touchable in the house. For instance how does one manage to put holes in two bath tubs? How about being roaring drunk while wearing stiletto heels her head caught on fire from blowing to much coke up her nose? That was the only conclusion I could deduct...
To say the least, with the help of Pony Tail Ron, Ruth flew in from Madrid, we worked 12 hour days culminating with a 22 hour stretch on the 26th day to get the house back in order.
It is a long weird story, so I will run this page into September.
In the next few days the journey pictures and the house episode will be entered for what ever curiosity and archival documentation can thread the mutual history of Ruth and Me.
1 to 16 An update of Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas.
17 to 19 One of those weird churches out near who knows where.
20 to 24 Coming into NYC via the George Washington bridge.
25 The Bronx apartment where Ruth lived in the winter months as a child and adult.
And then we arrived after driving 4 days across the country...
A few pictures of the house as we found it and the process of cleaning it up.
One must understand when Ruth left the house it was pristine, with beautiful manicured lawns and shrubbery. The house inside was immaculate. I chose not to photograph the squallier we encountered but only the aftermath of the first coats of paint.
1 Passing through Ridgefield on the way to Lake Waubeeka.
2 to 7 The exterior of the house and just a little of the decay.
8 to 10 The cleanup of the back yard and the lakefront.
11 to 12 Moving the wicked witch out which cost Ruth an arm and leg.
13 to 15 Just plain hard work of painting and sanding and cleaning and rebuilding and on...