Posts Tagged ‘surveyor’

Back When Gas Was Fifty Cents A Gallon And I Was 22...


11 Aug

camaro

In Houston, TX, 1978

samplex

Thirty-one years ago, on this date, August 11, I financed my first brand fucking new car. This was about the time the Boss was racing in the dark, but long before, or so it seemed in those days, that the Dead Milkmen busted out their song which burns rubber to say it all about this slamming automobile. My 305 sported a virgin five point one miles on the odometer when I drove it off the lot. A drag city stripper, a beautiful consumer chick cage. A bitchin' Camaro. The Milkmen nailed that much.

This 1976 Chevrolet Camaro was the nothing less than the magic bullet for a non-gearhead like myself. For I would go on to put 96K miles on that metallic blue automobile in the thirty-six months I owned it, traveling back and forth to Texas several times, and winding among the backwaters of the five southeastern states of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee in which I worked as a surveyor for a prestigious civil engineering firm headquartered in Atlanta, flummoxing mayors, city managers, and county engineers with the well-packed trunk and backseat full of bush axes, machetes, hubs, stakes, chains, range poles, level rods, magic markers, flagging, tripod, transit, level, and a truckload of other tools of the trade, all ingeniously organized and functionally accessible when needed. I shall return to this topic. Right here, in this space.

There's so much to tell, not the least is generating an explanation for those fag shorts...

My Short Life As A Process Server On The Way To The Photo Lab


28 Sep

process-server

The Process Server

samplex

Date: 1:00 AM -0400 9/28/02

Well, not much of a protest in DC today. I followed the DC IMC Breaking News like a combination of a rip-and-read newswire and a soap opera where no one's getting any. Other than my bountiful garden, not too much else to report up here. No more bites in the job hunt ... though I have scheduled an appointment with a career counselor. Dealing with combinations of regret, despair, and shame while going through some painful soul digging this week. Came out better at the end with some more hope and ... well, at the very least, a better appetite. What's news with you? —SET

Just working hard, and digging it, down at the upscale Chevy Chase Moto Photo Lab, and having finished up my first case as a process server, waiting with snot up my nostrils to get that first check from the District payola system for that godawful experience.

A couple hours later, he'd need to reassure himself again with another call that I was going to actually do whatever it was I'd said repeatedly that I'd do, and so forth. Needless to say, his micro-management style quickly became tedious.
I don't believe I've mentioned this latter gig to you, but I landed it by way of Len Bracken the same weekend that I was hired at the photo shop to start the first week after Labor Day. Fortunately the three subpoenas were being served to so-called co-operative witnesses—an attorney, a detective, and a court clerk; and though the two of the three who weren't exactly "cooperative" each was effectively served through certain and uncertain channels, and each showed up for court. While my boss, John Moran, the investigative attorney hired by the Court, assured me that my imposing presence on the senses in the more sticky of the cases helped get across the message, I somehow feel that I did not really execute the plays as they were called, and those failed efforts didn't amount to much more than wasting gasoline, my preferred off time from the photo lab, and a snarling chunk of the taxpayers money.

The attorney who'd hired me is a somewhat likeable chap in short doses, but he also quibbled and quaffed to such a degree as to make him the worst experience in the whole affair, heavy-handed and wishy washy, always changing his rather relentless mind, requiring constant confirmation of the simplest matters. Hmm, sort of reminds me of..

We'd talk things out rather thoroughly over the phone, hang up, then five minutes later he'd call back to shift directions, or perhaps instruct me on exactly which route to drive out there to save myself aggravation, even though I had tried to convince him that I was quite handy with a map, the Internet, and was primed with a first hand knowledge of the city from my surveying years. A couple hours later, he'd need to reassure himself again with another call that I was going to actually do whatever it was I'd said repeatedly that I'd do, and so forth. Needless to say, his micro-management style quickly became tedious.

After all, I just turned 47. Feeling like 67 is a god-damned sin, a floundering fillibuster, and from where I hang my cap, absolutely no fun.
I may very well complete an online private investigation correspondence course I'm considering, just to get the groove down pat, but frankly I don't figure I'm much longer for this rather rank shark-infested pool...

The photo lab, meanwhile, according to the Maps On Us folks is 1.2 miles, or nine blocks, straight up Connecticut Avenue from my cockpit. I almost always hike the distance both ways, and since our lovely but smiting weather has only receded from the daily nineties to the daily mid-eighties, I have shed a few unworthy pounds in the process. To boot I have just joined Gold's Gym which is three blocks blind in the other direction, open from 5 AM to 11 PM on weekdays with only slightly slimmer hours on the weekend. I have yet to make my first appearance on the money so to speak, after locking in a special price of forty dollars per month for life, rather than the nearly sixty they wanted a year ago (also losing the usually hefty sign-up fee), yet I am slowly but diligently stalking the proverbial track upon which I will zestfully reorder my senses, distill a few angry molecules, and in some sort of coup de grace, hopefully rebuff the usual critics, to paraphrase an often-paraphrased young Rimbaud. After all, I just turned 47. Feeling like 67 is a god-damned sin, a floundering fillibuster, and from where I hang my cap, absolutely no fun.

Get dizzy in the dirt, though, you deserve it. Gardening was such a pleasure for me as well...

GT

Spring Sprung, So I'll Write To Ravi


24 Apr

ravi

This Is Not Ravi

samplex

Date: Fri Apr 24, 1998 5:25:31 PM

Hey Ravi, been extremely busy this spring with painting and cleaning, essays and professional responsibilities. Just wanted to zip off a short note to let you know I still count you among those two dozen or so in my E-mail loop.

How is the climate there right now? Do you live in a beautiful part of your city, or quite near the slums? The latter is truest in my case. Drug dealers hang around the alleys and gunshots are occasionally heard. Litter, paper, broken glass, ugly grafitti is everywhere, but I do my best to carve a bit of paradise out for myself here in DC with our own home, a two story brick rowhouse with basement. We are not minimalists in terms of materialism, but we do pick and choose our delights.

We drive an old 1989 Dodge Caravan. As you know, in America, the car is the soul of the personality, but we dare not invest in expensive automoblies in our neighborhood. Car theft is big business in urban areas. My personal library is rather extensive for poor white trash like myself, but aspirations to write that definitive novel of our times still urges me forward, even as I continue to procrastinate.

With a mechanical engineering degree, Ravi, what area of business do you intend to exploit? I spent ten years in the civil engineering field, have I told you this already? I forget. I worked for several different firms, ranging in specialities from sewerage & water disposal systems, and new home construction from the ground up, meaning clearing, grading for roads and layout, pipelines, and property corners. I retired from that particular endeavor in 1990 with the advent of the Macintosh computer. I wanted to write, and now here I am, a web designer, an unpublished novelist and poet, but plunging right ahead day by day.

So...

Gabriel

Two Kinds Of People


05 Nov

cz5samplex

Originally published on November 5, 1996, as one of the first, if not the very first missives contributed to the post-situationist listserv arm of the fledgling Nothingness entity. First I struck a nerve. Then I struck oil. The oil that would lubricate finally, a conversation that was about to take place. Or at the very least, I expected something resembling a conversation.

I write:
Just wanted to go on record that of all those waking up from last night's America TODAY, there are only two kinds of people. People who vote, and those who don't.

Sam then wrote:
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who divide everything into simple dichotomies and those who do not.

This Sam, turned out to be Sam Hutchison, from Atlanta, who later became a strong ally in the Bully Marxist wars that followed on that particular list against NYC rivals Bill Brown and Curtis Leung. But with this early exchange, I was immediately incensed by what I had to consider the familiar ring of snobbishness, and the fact that Sam had signed off his one liner with a kicker and a nickname that summed up my original assessment, sent me to the mattresses looking for my poison pen. His kicker, "Oh yeah, down here I'm considered the apotheosis of cool." signing off as "the sewer urchin." Needless to say, I found my metaphorical pen, and as to whether it was filled with poison or healing medicinal concoction, the distinction is all in the dosage. You be the judge.

Sam, have you ever crawled inside a wet sewer pipe down upon your hands and knees through a stinky brick and mortared shit-infested rat-renewal art-survival sewer "MANHOLE", a hole in hell clopped up with soggy kotex and johnny paper, root infiltration and a world of nasty whiff? Ever sat in a row boat hand-dipping test tubes into a lake of shit sludge testing the toxicity of said sludge as it's filtered and treated with chemical du jour before the big drip drip drip back through the lay of the land via some "no swimming allowed" river or some off-kilter stream of consciousness?

Go swallow an apple, or chop down a cherry tree with the excuse that it was on line (old surveyor’s joke), and then step into the shallow pond to pontificate on the differences between good and evil, dead or alive, one and zero, win or lose, voting and non-voting.
Well, my friend, you are currently communicating with one who has not only proposed the question, but I HAVE PERFORMED these awesome uninviting tasks many times in that petty proletarian life of my younger days before I took up dividing the world into simple dichotomies. Beyond this brief but colorful description of a few of my duties as a low totem, then ranking crew chief member of a survey party hired to a civil engineering firm in Atlanta serving five SE USA states specializing in waste management systems, I dare say I have also been known to chant around certain quarters that I am indeed the anithesis of cool.

My pose as THE ANTI-COOL is not a transparent facade I must mainatain in order to spew forth the vomit I have reserved for the lukewarm chic trendy jabberwockies of the café chit chat set. No, I am not chic. I sweat. I sweat, and foam, and seethe. And more than a bit overweight, one might add. But I was not always this way. I was once a child of simple intelligence and structure. Despite the William S. Burroughs role as the Commissioner of Sewers I would point out that WSB has declared the Evil One as a freckled face kid sitting in a boat out in the middle of some woe-begotten lake. Damn. How did he manage to describe ME in one my my strongest childhood memories to a freckle? Sitting in a row boat with my Navy dad in the middle of some large body of water completely flummoxed as to what was required of me. This was no dream. I was about four. We did it. I remembered it.

So I ask you Sam, is it not the very root of situationist thought (this swindle) that simple dichotomies are the backbone of the revolution: He be rich. I be poor. Therefore he da master. I da slave. Are we not swapping verbs and nouns on a situationist listserv? Viva la revolution! Sure. But how is the business of this post-revolution world to be conducted? Magick? Hmmm...

And so I reveal my true stripes: there are no simple dichotomies outside of SELF and THE OTHER (Derruda, Pynchon...)! Go swallow an apple, or chop down a cherry tree with the excuse that it was on line (old surveyor’s joke), and then step into the shallow pond to pontificate on the differences between good and evil, dead or alive, one and zero, win or lose, voting and non-voting.

And Sam, whomever you are and wherever you ponder, thanks for contributing to the iMote way...

GT

"I fought with my twin, that enemy within, 'til both of us fell by the side..."
—Bob Dylan

Mom Said I Was No Henry Miller


19 Jul

henry-miller

Henry Miller Serenity

samplex

Date: Fri Jul 19, 1996 5:00:12 PM

À ma coquine jeune vixen Je...Je...Je..Jennifer,

The following is a note I just sent to my German penpal, Ben Voos. I have never met him personally, nor even seen a picture but our correspondence has been quite interesting over the past six months. We actually first became acquainted after I emailed him pontificating contrarily to something rather cynically rah rah he had to say about information and the Internet he'd published on a Geocities page. Actually it was a very short interrogatory he had posed. Not that I disagreed with him at face value. I merely suggested that the Internet, and more specifically the Web was NOT so much about the dissemination of information since so much of which passes for information is bogus anyway, but about the opportunity for the many to finally have a canvas upon which to dynamically create a presence herefor unavailable by force of numbers and positions and glory reserved for the Hollywood & New York sensationalist top-and-bottomfeeder types. Of course I was speaking specifically from my own perspective, although at the time, I had barely had my Internet account a few weeks—if I recall, my surfboard barely broken in. Since then, it has become painfully obvious that the corporate giants have rushed in and helped dwarf the "garage" artist once again, but I still maintain my original vision, where the idealistic individual is granted a greater control over artistic presentation via the web despite its flaws than ever before, and that's all the plumbing I need to appeal to me.

Yes, amazing! I was just thinking about you this morning, feeling guilty that I had not moved on some of the things I have promised you, like getting a German translator so that you could "go native" once in a while. Dumb American, that's me. I know I've not been sensitive to your translation struggles, raging on about this and that as if I were writing to myself, which of course I am, but you know what I mean. I had even lost track of who dashed off the last note, me or you? In good humor, it shouldn't matter. Your writing always intrigues me, and I simply love to find it in my mailbox, even under all these aliases, or rather friends, you steal in from nowhere every few months. Everytime I see that odd name in my box, I suspect, and am usually right that it is you, Ben, my friend across time and language. I feel that I haven't measured up to your expectations. I am always surprised when you seem to suggest otherwise.

I have been busy as God-on-uppers. I am currently writing what is turning into quite a long treatise on censorship and artistic integrity. As I said in my last note I am NOT a minimalist, although I often long for that rest, perhaps minimalism would bring to my increasingly stormy mind. I feel I have tumors, my head hurts in exactly the same spots as a few bumps I have sustained over the rough and tumble years on the back of my skull. Maybe I am simply inventing my illnesses, and just need more exercise, but I fear the worst nevertheless.

Speaking of God-on-uppers, I am not, not have I ever been a druggie by any means, occasionally diving into a month or so's worth of marijuana, a eight months to a year go by, and I smoke nothing until the next small amount of weed falls into my lap, but that's about it. Guzzle booze heavily one night a week or so, then nothing until the next one night stand seven to ten days down the road, although that ratio used to be every three days when I worked outdoors as a land surveyor in the war against the elements and caliber of crew when what I really wanted to do was create pages, mapping my thoughts, my crimes against self, and the renegotiating the penalties for making those choices and reducing those I never were even offered. What I once thought was a ball of twine I later lamented was instead a bowl of spaghetti. Never smoked cigarettes. Compulsive bad food addict and too much beer keeps me in gut and hell for nerves, but I never understood the angle in hard drugs.

Saw this 1979 Russian film with English subtitles the other day on cable called The Stalker. Have you seen it? I didn't see the very beginning but it was a most intriguing flick. I'll save any descriptions other than it centered around a mythical, mystical place called the Zone and three men including the guide, or stalker, who stumble around in this strange place seeking bestowal of its powers.

One of these days I suppose I will have enough of my WWW stuff in place to insist you to take a major browse, but I am still light years it seems from the body of work my own sensibilities require of me. Interesting how Geocities is coming along isn't it? Although my pages are still relatively primitive. Quite primitive. I have yet to compose my first image map.

Here's a ethical challenge you may find worth your while, or you may find it morally repugnant, politically exploitive, simply gross, but I would be interested in your opinions. I am considering hiring a prostitute in the near future for experimental video and clothing fetish purposes. And perhaps some light bondage. She will more than likely be a poor drug-infested African whore. I will pay here more in one session than she has probably seen from a single client in some time, according to my informer. I still have to formulate my full ideas, and am depending on this acquaintance of mine who is well-entrenched in this sort of streetwalker liaison to ease my initial mistrust in this sort of arrangement. I am doing this strictly from the video and photography perspective. This rather risky (in his own right) acquaintance wants the sex. I am not inclined. So, Ben, how do you interpret my motives? I may already have accomplished this transaction (but maybe not) by the time you are able to respond, but I am certainly interested in what you may have to say about this rather apprehensive affair.

miller

The writer as man

Mother was right, as only she could be. I was not Henry Miller, but there were many others who were not Henry Miller either, and since I never said I was Henry Miller, after doing the math necessary to free myself from yet another curse she uttered upon me and my future, I reckoned I was standing on the simple side of common sense, and Mother, well, she was just a Mother doing what Mothers do, at least some of them, enough of them to have become a literary caricature. And it is a well-known fact that Henry Miller had one of those Mothers, himself. Many of us do. Some more so than others.

Perhaps I write like a boy. Not a man. Is that so wrong when I live in an eight minute song, when my topographies grant no sea level, when I stand alone against the skyline and the mountain range with nary a falsifying woman to tell me who I am, what to do, and why I should do it, when I face the darkness with the unquenchable thirst for life, more life, and none comes but the same old pastures of many colors I left to those who promised they would tend them, so that they may prosper, yet I saw them not, but when I was a boy I had all these things, and among them was a sense of beauty for its own sake, investigation for its own sake, a unified field theory single file motive without fear or courage for marching to the cafeteria for the greater good, for getting along with everyone, not cheating anyone, exchanging whimsical tongues for logical ones, swapping those later for dangerous ones for the greater good...

Feminization? Militarism? Do you know the difference? Chauvinism? Barbarism? Do you take offense? Just bring me my meals, and take strong care of my feet. The rest will follow.

GT

Flagging Line Of Sight Between Each P.I. Like Any Surveyor


21 Apr

lofton-creek

At Lofton Creek, August 1979

samplex

In June, 1979, a few months before landing the chicken farm post I sopped up my best spiritual pride with the breads of change and proceeded to pry into affairs of the heart and its seating arrangements. I tried unsuccessfully to merge the two longstanding Episcopal church congregations in my historical hometown of Darien, Georgia, population 1600, county seat, but neither faction was ready to give up what they considered their own exclusive holy sanctuary. The Negroes wanted to remain segregated, didn't want to give up their smaller, less ornate, but exquisitely located St. Cyprian's—the little church on the lookout bluff high above the Darien River marsh. The Crackers (for lack of a better word, although Scottish aristocracy might fit), my own blood relatives, proud, high church office, the same. The unpleasantly conspicuous fact that a single priest, a white man, a robust dignified septagenarian, the Reverend Chambliss, whose wife had taught me sixth grade, presided in both houses staggered an hour of time each Sunday seemed only to concern me, a naîve do-gooder who'd merely been christened and confirmed in this very church built in the eighteenth century, the White Church, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.

As an young adolescent I’d served God and Darien in royal acolyte robes in awe of this beautiful ornate high-ceilinged building knuckled with long corridors of dark mahogany pews and grand stained glass windows, blood red carpets and a crimson front door of knightly proportions. My great-grandfather Joseph Woodward, the local parish priest there some fifty years earlier had murdered the diocese bishop sitting sixty miles north in Savannah, before turning the gun on himself after the bishop refused to promote him after Grandfather had sold all his equitable land holdings in Atlanta and given the money to the poor blacks of the county, leaving his own family near penniless, or so the legend goes. Later I heard it was because Joseph suspected the Bishop of an affair with my great-grandmother. George—I only learned the gruesome details of the tragedy a couple of years ago. As a child, of this event, I had only snatched mere whisperings of sandgnat-infested air breezing along the salt marshes of McIntosh County, or any facts of Joseph Woodward's suicide, even the idea of suicide was shrouded in mystery. In fact, all discussion of Granddaddy's father had been expressly forbidden by family elders, but I chanced to see his name was still engraved on the tasteful brass plaque tacked near the entrance to the church—listing the long succession of parish priests who had served the whites and presumably, the colored folks, of our county in what were basically the rites inherited from the Episcopalean Church of England from the 1700s forward.

Nevertheless, the deacons of St. Andrew's, relations of mine all, were adamantly against merging with St. Cyprian's. The pearl oyster tabbied cinderblock church overlooking the marshes of the muddy Darien River where the colored folks, now African Americans I suppose, met in peaceful droves on Sunday an hour later than the white folks two blocks away, would remain strictly as it was before I had returned to reinvent the wheel. I was not overly dismayed, accepted it as a lesson in humility and false modesty of ordinary human spirituality. Turns out that Negro segregationism is on the rise again everywhere, from churches to college campuses, just as radicalism in all forms is growing in vigor and violence.

Still I sample the turbulences but never feel quite properly configured to glide easily upon the winds of these questions without registering some sort of personal expression on this mess, and yet I shuffle my energies back and forth in fruitless activities, self-restrained, psychologically drained, hesitant, unimpressed, unsure of myself, but busy flagging the line Of sight between each P.I. like any surveyor worth a brass plumb bob would…
As I recall it, you weren’t much of a filmgoer back in the Seventies but another hushed fact of hometown intrigue was only exposed to me while my wife and I were watching a 1990 film on cable, a film called Glory. Nominated for a host of Academy Awards, and starring Denzel Washington, Glory is an historical account of the first black Civil War regiment commanded by a young Lt. Colonel Robert Shaw from Massachusetts. I’d known since old enough to read the patina and gold historical landmark signs sprinkled around town that it was almost completely burned down during the Civil War, but it seems that Darien was the very first attack mission of the war for this Negro regiment. All this time I had wrongly assumed Sherman had personally led the raid on quaint mossy-eyed Darien near the end of the war. The key point I believe I’m trying to make here is that I had never been raised by my parents to blame black people collectively for anything or everything under the sun, and I am proud of that fact. But now my intelligence is daily teased and taunted. I live chastised in a hard-edged city and country energized by a mythology of past and ongoing white oppression on the one extreme and a sinister mythology of racial superiority whether that be black or white, on the other. Criticism of these spectacular myths or witnessing for a more honest awareness borne out of the mouth of babes is not tolerated these days. Scuttlings of the fire and brimstone sort rag the peaceful just as banality and gangsterism—intent to prove its own resurgent bigotry as gospel—seep into every utterance placed in the service of honesty, duty, and liberty.

Semantics of inverse proportion to truth rule the roost as twisted histories are written into reality by mass appeal. No more is an eye an eye, or a tooth a tooth. No longer are we all guilty of original sin, but it appears that only selected race offerings must bear that cross, alone, without justification, without counsel, without judicial restraint.

This retrofixation on transitory blame is America's greatest test to date. But who is being groomed to rebuke the grabbers and the agitators with the truth of God’s finger on the pulse of man? Who is left who can respect the message of Job or the eternal symmetry of God’s stratagem with his own prized possession? Am I tricking myself into a dullard's ache when I feign hopelessness but listen to the scores of sentiment muscled by greed with ears sharpened for durable goods in an age where nothing will last longer than the fickle roar of the crowds? Am I digging my own ditch when I read with confederate eyes bloodshot and pickled to resemble the incandescent sky cracked open by the splendor of dawn’s earliest light the words of the filthy but well-fitted over the ages to include my own generation? Perhaps. Still I sample the turbulences but never feel quite properly configured to glide easily upon the winds of these questions without registering some sort of personal expression on this mess, and yet I shuffle my energies back and forth in fruitless activities, self-restrained, psychologically drained, hesitant, unimpressed, unsure of myself, but busy flagging the line Of sight between each P.I. like any surveyor worth a brass plumb bob would...

Thursday, April 21

True, like blood, I've got time on my hands, but as the saying goes, I know I must wash myself clean of this time, not because I have accused Lucifer of being the author of time, but because legend says that time leaves terrible stains on the skin. Do you remember? You suggested that if I wanted to be a writer, I should write to the op-ed pages in the local newspapers. I have done just that many times, and have yet to be published there, but that’s far ahead of the story.
I'm telling you all this, George, not to dodder precipitously or to solicit stale emotional feedback, nor to spoon you through the wretched tautologies of my own mental soup, but merely to mark the peculiar emphasis my own spiritual journey has lead me to place on things seemingly coded within or onto the strands of my own life, strands of overlapping discordant meaning, juggling some manifest pecking order of questions suggested by feverish explorations of my own near and distant histories, amalgamated in such a way as to somehow force myself to accept the discipline I have been asking for all along. I write because I need to write. I'm no Hemingway. That's for sure. Nothing mat ever get read, and I suppose, as a man who values communication, I want those readers to explore my thoughts to help excavate their own. I don't necessarily consider this a healing project, but an entertainment, a joyous exposure of the hidden, a walk in the park among friends not addled by the latest, but the earliest, not the surface outline of the sculpture but original rock that was willing to be shaped by the hands of destiny, asking little from this destiny, demanding it all, standing by idly as the flood sweeps through the camp, picking through every pile of junk after the flood has receded to recover a single lost treasure.

Saint Paul’s admonition to disregard genealogies aside, it seems to me that I am being ordered through this gateway of presence in order to help resolve some of these issues on a larger social scale than my meager credentials might imply. The crux of my dilemma however, is not an urge to write, which I’ve always possessed, but rather, the freedom to write. I tend to allow everything else associated with my life to interfere with this calling to write the damned equations in a fashionable way. I am not alone, but I have a self I did not know at birth. By this I mean to say that I have insisted on unambiguous mental signs to guide every endeavor with a keen emphasis on a pre-determined consciousness, ultimately feeling compelled by "obedience to spirit" to give credence to the ragged details of life, to believe with all my energies that these details are important symbolic syzygy set in motion and remembrance by God’s own purposes for global regeneration, and are not mere byproducts of a solo life lived without focus. Ulterior latencies ripen, motives are granted, and details made ready for a seasonal harvesting.

I've always felt this way, a small child, lost baseball, praying behind a large oak, instant recovery, and the longer I live and the stronger I appeal against this sort of self-important interpretation of a petty life, the more I am exploited by configurations of faith which ultimately force me to see myself as a writer of purpose organized by the very hand of Christ, if by Christ, we mean destiny, while my good sense is forced to wait in line, on point, until its elevation. Your own curt dismissal of my earliest intimations at literary ambition have infiltrated and stymied the necessary confidence to brave the stroke of God's name just in the nick of time, time after time, which is to argue that the mathematics of success may actually be beyond my reach. True, like blood, I've got time on my hands, but as the saying goes, I know I must wash myself clean of this time, not because I have accused Lucifer of being the author of time, but because legend says that time leaves terrible stains on the skin. Do you remember? You suggested that if I wanted to be a writer, I should write to the op-ed pages in the local newspapers. I have done just that many times, and have yet to be published there, but that’s far ahead of the story.

No—I am not blaming you for any particular frailty of my own nature to cut the pattern of my own cloth with a firm resolve. But I hope that having digested this somewhat stilted effort due to the silent passage of years between us, you might yet discover a mutual benefit in blessing this lifelong urge of mine to make manifest the word God has given me to reveal to a generation of readers perhaps less prepared and no longer believing in His Living Breath—the space constrictions of this letter obviously will not allow me explore every theological nook and cranny I can advance otherwise in more appropriate forums, but I do wish to impact the doubt which had fogged our last meeting late in 1981 when I visited your home near Sugarland for several days after hitchhiking from Corpus Christi.

For change outwardly has stripped away our ability to remember without nostalgia, fable, and yearning on the one hand, and forgetfulness, dogma, and disgust on the other. When I last shook your bold hand and waved goodbye in departure, the highway was my future, and you knew me as Richard Spalding Nix, the name I'd inherited from my parents. But even that simple factor of human tradition has been altered.
There is so much I remember about our times together, sharing a six pack after work, an occasional dinner and good cheer received with your family on perhaps a crisp autumn evening, the hallelujah trek to ORU, sponging our shared observations and queries with the fresh air of another turn of the page, or the virtual nebulae of speculation and mystery with yet another. But the fact remains...

It was never easy communicating with you George.

We were both strong, opinionated thinkers sometimes crippled by a foreboding sense of failure, our greatest fear being a cowering dread of obscurity. I sense you recognize this now in ways you could never understand then. Or perhaps you knew, but shared notions of leadership similar to my own, and that could never have worked in the long term. My own earnest intellectual and spiritual respect for you, however, was never and will never be in doubt. You once noted that I reminded you of yourself when you were young; I now believe that we were and remain more alike than either of us will ever fathom due to discretion and compartmentalization, and although our paths once and now again have crossed, our struggle to find the light that never darkens has taken us to nearly opposite poles striking the tent where the cult of perfection gathers by grace.

Barbed wire negligence separated us then, and none of it was merely "generational." The terms of our faith in God and each other were far more precious than teleology or theology by force of argument. I was young and had hardly begun my education. You were a mature family man who had traveled globally and had studied the classics to your own satisfaction. But rather than warp further an already compressed friendship with blustery platitudes, rationalizations, and laws of thermodynamics, we were content to play out our nearly forgotten roles to the best of our respective visions.

I'd admit I didn’t know why I was saying something as odd as that, the extra words about some future name change and all, and that I really had no clue as to what it all really meant, but after the first couple of times, it became my standard overture.
And now I come before you, hiding behind the mask of chlorinated time and closed door circumstances, neither of us quite sure we are truly observing the other. For change outwardly has stripped away our ability to remember without nostalgia, fable, and yearning on the one hand, and forgetfulness, dogma, and disgust on the other. When I last shook your bold hand and waved goodbye in departure, the highway was my future, and you knew me as Richard Spalding Nix, the name I'd inherited from my parents. But even that simple factor of human tradition has been altered. Sometime toward the beginning of my twenty month hitch in Corpus Christi, I suddenly and without forethought took it into my head to introduce myself in those situations which called for an introduction in what can only be described as a quite strange manner. I would thrust out my handshake and state in all seriousness—

"My name is Richard Spalding Nix, but I’m in the process of a name-change operation." There would be no rise and fall in audible pitch, but the tone of my voice would evince emphatic if somewhat flat notes, each word in the sentence as evasive and as crucial as the next. No attempts at irony or wit were made. It was up to the stranger to hear what had been said and react according to his or her own impressions. That became my test. I’d admit I didn’t know why I was saying something as odd as that, the extra words about some future name change and all, and that I really had no clue as to what it all really meant, but after the first couple of times, it became my standard overture.

I was corruptible not by passing events but by my own flaming desires to transcend humanity and its unsolvable matrices of pettiness, when the check came due one iconoclasm at a time.
In Corpus Christi, I lived in what was a quaint and as it turned out, a quite homosexual neighborhood, including my landlord, Don Allard Gottselig, who was to become my third and final mentor. It was my contention then, after prayer and contemplation of this somewhat dubious reference to a name change operation that I was feigning innuendo off the sex-change operation language then making news in the story of a high profile male to female tennis player, whose name I now forget—nope—just remembered, Renée Richards, or something like that. Anyhow, I kept repeating that phrase to strangers, unsure of its implications or its abrupt fruition, for over a year until November 13, 1982, several months after I had returned to Atlanta.

There was nothing facetious or mocking about my declaration. After leaving my brother’s roofing company after four months, I drove a taxicab, the only Anglo in an all-hispanic company for four months, was unemployed for four, and worked at a sign shop for four, and finished off my stint with four more months with my brother again. I was studying the bible and reading classical literature. I had begun writing poetry back in 1980 at the chicken farm. I was lonely. I was corruptible not by passing events but by my own flaming desires to transcend humanity and its unsolvable matrices of pettiness, when the check came due one iconoclasm at a time. A natural skill. Meanwhile I was doing nothing but turning the other cheek, nested in my hermitage, a tiny garage apartment, unable to drag myself outside to daylight in order to confront the spasms of the happy or the maxims of the healthy. I was poor in pocket and in spirit. Yet I liked it that way and resisted efforts to mainstream my life with money, cars, or women. And I was still going through a name-change operation, whatever that was.

GT

Whatever's Left Of Rounthwaite Gnaws At This Map Of Houston


20 Apr

surveyors

You Said I Was Born To Be A Surveyor

samplex

Thirteen years! In and of itself thirteen years even to my 38 year old mind does not seem like such a long time, but when I am reminded of the numerous changes I have spent on the road a whole lot louder than I was then, and now that some of your own changes have been plugged into the equation, I am smacked with emotion. After several eager dialings over the course of these years to metropolitan Houston directory assistance to confirm that you still maintained a telephone in the area, I finally found the courage to ring you up, facing whatever destiny our two paths had reckoned. Certainly delighted I did, reassured by your innate friendliness, although I must admit. I never expected news of a debilitating cerebral stroke nor the loss of your Christian wife to another man. Unsure of your own willingness to presently discuss with someone of my distance these two very personal issues, I will not press for details, but whatever strikes your fancy within your own comfort levels and timing.

Even as I hastily type out this preamble to what shall certainly evolve into a lengthy dispatch, because my own natural stimulus leaves no stone unturned, no ambiguity unanalyzed, no shadow unembraced, once I discover them hiding under a rock, a leaf, a building, a field of arguments no man has ever built and they came running, particularly after all these years of silence and personal migrations, reconfigurations, makeovers, retooling—I feel my language in this letter will never wholly match in faithfulness my spirit to explain those matters of choice which simply cannot be explained with tiring the reader. Some say I never get to the point. As an old journeyman land surveyor I celebrate the line—the line made of up infinite points, intersecting points, points of curvature, end points, beginning points, random points, topological points, non-existent points, hidden points, blocked points, coordinate points, and error, accumulative error. I take advantage of this knowledge.

Beyond outward appearances, inward cesspools, or the algebra of faith, it is easy to admit that my flesh has never been able to trigger its own comfortable purposes; my pawning gnawing spirit—yearning forcefully toward some sort of systematic success never quite available however carefully transcribed to me in secret languages beyond the scope of others, even my devoted wife’s stunted curiosity—still rages against my body proving an easily recognizable quantum that the body has spent a lifetime stifling the spirit and the spirit a lifetime of trying to void the body.

That is to say, the cult of love, as it instructs and subsequently withers (or puddles) the individual psyche into parasitic perversions symptomatic of or fluid to a basic yet unraveling (diluted) meaning of life, is the story of the self-replicating worm colony feeding upon the cold marbleizing carcass representing the association between love and death gone untold. Mostly.
But this isn’t news in any language. Thousands of years and millions of minds have conspired to convert the eternal rites of passage into a mere truism dried of all meaning. My life I’m afraid has been a testament to the inflexible conflict between passion and indifference, the conflict of the lion and the lamb residing within the same skeletal savannah, of the need to know versus the need to forgive and forget, escaping numbers only to falter along ruinous paths maximizing the storms of an irregular personality marking the forehead with faith while resisting the queues of metaphorical Babylonia which seem to know only what molten men of the hour can teach and respect solely on a statistical curve.

Trajectory failure, one chapter at a time, as only a man of unquenchable thirst can survive is not only an interesting sentence, it does not erect imaginary fences either. The apparent loss of God the Waterbearer is rank speculation and dog tired dogma, the two strong vices which still snarl my flesh, and its façade like immeasurable strands of thread wrapped around a burning man, yet they still engage and tempt me into feeling justified in rejecting what’s leftover of love's devices, the word itself having degenerated into merely another cultural pathos. That is to say, the cult of love, as it instructs and subsequently withers (or puddles) the individual psyche into parasitic perversions symptomatic of or fluid to a basic yet unraveling (diluted) meaning of life, is the story of the self-replicating worm colony feeding upon the cold marbleizing carcass representing the association between love and death gone untold. Mostly.

Leaving on March 11, 1979, the day after my brother’s wedding, I set out to explore the nature of God, myself, and the way, only a few days after you baptized me at my request in that sad moonlit apartment pool in the southwest sector of the city in which we were then living.
These past weeks since hearing your proud cheerful voice exactly as I remember it have been pocked with recurrent memories of our regular theological exchanges. For sixteen years that voice and those words have echoed through my mental and spiritual chambers. It is no exaggeration to say that probably not a month has passed in all those many that you, your family, and the boast of our fellowship did not enter my social milieu like rainclouds over parched clay both to inspire and to challenge my efforts to attain God’s Tender Will. Indeed you have exerted a major influence over my life. I have dozens, perhaps tens of dozens of times, employed the title—My First Post-Parental Mentor—when referring to you in recollection among contemporaries. This admission is not meant to flatter or embarrass you, merely state a relationship.

While appropriate honor is certainly intended, I mention this only to emphasize your timely importance in my life. I was a fledgling 23 in the Texan autumn of 1978, still perky from the jarring experience of marrying and separating from a Jehovah Witness twice my age heavy with three kids, when we first surveyed together under the tricky financial wings of lovable diamond-mouthed Larry Godfrey, two extraordinary surveyors charged with the task of laying out the figure eight track at the City of Houston Police Academy and other site preparation tasks at the airport next property line over.

I lived and worked in Houston precisely three days plus one year. I gave away most of my possessions. Everything in my apartment in fact, save my books, music, and the short change of clothes I could fit into my car. Leaving on March 11, 1979, the day after my brother’s wedding, I set out to explore the nature of God, myself, and the way, only a few days after you baptized me at my request in that sad moonlit apartment pool in the southwest sector of the city in which we were then living—a wide open city still growing by a thousand people a week, a high stakes city still burbling in a the last big Texas oil boom, a sprawling segregated city that claimed to be the nation's fifth largest at that time, a wildcat city of mighty skyscrapers, whipping freeways and mile after mile, neighborhood after neighborhood of busy, treeless parallel and perpendicular lines paved in spectacular unwavering concrete grids, nostalgic signage, barrios, gringos pushing & shoving a 40/40 population wheelhouse, a city which I would only return once more after I left this time in my Blue Devil 305.

Regrettably, little has changed in that regard even now. Studies among the exegeses of Tolstoy, Schweitzer, Pascal, St. Augustine, Van Gogh, Cayce, Goethe, Tillich, Gibran, Pascal, Rousseau, Paine, Durant, and other biblical and ethical commentators filled my head with all too many strange transfixing questions and all too few answers, presaging an addiction to the printed word which still haunts me.
Within three months of packing myself into my car I landed a job as a caretaker on a chicken farm in Nassau County, Florida, just north of Jacksonville. Forty thousand fluttering birds my equal needed to be fed, quenched, and culled, water and feed troughs cleaned, manure and fresh wood chips shoveled, dead birds buried. This period proved to be a sharp lesson in the intentional devaluation of the self. Farming a half acre assortment of vegetables and fruits, I ate sparingly, becoming emaciatingly thin on a diet of little meat, mainly an occasional roasted fowl or catfish caught in the lagoon off Lofton Creek at the back of the cabin where I lived alone and satisfied that I walked with a living savior. Those days were delightful, pure, serene, purposeful, quixotic, flowing, and the night air was lucid for bookworming and practicing in earnest what I had hoped would one day manage to keep me in cottage and applied theory—the writing craft.

Bare minimums were code. A secluded sandbottomed lagoon wrestling with beauty offered itself for skinny dipping and the daily summer bath. Loneliness was sometimes a factor at Lofton Creek, alone as I was, caring for the unflappable birds and tending the fields of manure-fertile raw vegetable goodness I planted. Youthful polarity provided the future with great purpose as I craved to learn the ways of the intellectual, the saint, the poet, the madman whom the world, Jew or Gentile, could not force its indistinguishable patterns onto without the consent of the governed, daring to transcend each and every stone cast upon the pond, walking the walk, talking the talk, bending and bowing to the rays of the constant light within. Ah, such is the reverie of an uncouth youth seeking to belong to himself.

Landlord and his wife, the Earl Wilson's, who lived in their National Register Tabby home ten miles away in town, would occasionally bring out a mess of rockshrimp and a feast of the few would be promptly called. Fellowship, tangency, and the delicate prospering of a solitary man’s vital era ranked among the finest times I have ever achieved and was common to each visit and each conversation we shared, a genteel but unaffected mutual regard very much like our own. Earl Wilson, who later passed away of a heart attack at the tragic age of 55, had in truth and in spirit, become my second personal mentor. The second elder in whom I would be able to listen to or confide in without some sort of spiritual grudge match fostering my intelligence. Of course this is aside from what I would continue to scan heavily from books and other media accounts. My fifteen months at Lofton Creek were a gentle canvas of leisure, painted with a measuring schtick spoiled only by a natural intolerance to any perceived decline or stagnation. Was I not being groomed by the All-Purposeful Lord for great things, greater things than this? Like Elisha, I wanted more.

Soon enough though, an unchecked overwhelming sense of urgency pervaded my serenity. I spent afternoon and evening reading book after book checked out from the library in the town from which I had graduated highschool, six years earlier, the town where the landlord and his wife lived. The urgency of succeeding somewhere somehow sometime soon in a way that matched what I believed where my strong points, kept me at odds with the seclusion of my near perfect pastoral lifestyle. Regrettably, little has changed in that regard even now. Studies among the exegeses of Tolstoy, Schweitzer, Pascal, St. Augustine, Van Gogh, Cayce, Goethe, Tillich, Gibran, Pascal, Rousseau, Paine, Durant, and other biblical and ethical commentators filled my head with all too many strange transfixing questions and all too few answers, presaging an addiction to the printed word which still haunts me.

In short, I feel I am a healthy neurotic, now as I was as a child, a struggling, inept, argumentative teenager, a terrible twentysomething, and so now as a twisting thirtysomething, a solitary seeker of unbiased unprotracted truth and justice of what's happening, righteousness and compassion among those I intersect, guided not by my own sense of self-worth but by a hovering sense of duty, not quite positive everything I effect is going to put a smile on God’s face, but secure in the knowledge that without that healthy dose of doubt, purpose would then be defined as beginning and ending with myself, an absurdly brutal concept to which I’ve never long subscribed.
As a precocious child I devoured books with the vigor other kids ran through mud puddles and sticker bushes, and after surging past the glib yet stagnant years brought on by my earlier experience with a much more constrained thinking—thanks to that sorry excuse of a first marriage, but when I knew you for that year, I had already walked away from all that history, grown past the years of stain in a sense.

I'm not what one might call a naturally happy person, George; not terribly unhappy, but not particularly happy, not in the same way that I would describe you&$151;you George Rounthwaite—that wonderful impish but manly grin, a grin I could hear and could almost see over the telephone that morning you returned my call, a grin that is shaped by the ever resourceful spirit which lives within you. And yet in defense of my own robust spirit, I can never concede that I am unduly deprived of God’s intent in when weathering whatever shades of depression and simple joy I experience. I accept my local joys and those spells of dark seclusion which work to direct my life in ways most citizens, believers and pagan alike, in our culture find less than ambitious to say the least, and dare assert I, speak more to their own faulty judgment than to my own sense of frailty.

In short, I feel I am a healthy neurotic, now as I was as a child, a struggling, inept, argumentative teenager, a terrible twentysomething, and so now as a twisting thirtysomething, a solitary seeker of unbiased unprotracted truth and justice of what's happening, righteousness and compassion among those I intersect, guided not by my own sense of self-worth but by a hovering sense of duty, not quite positive everything I effect is going to put a smile on God’s face, but secure in the knowledge that without that healthy dose of doubt, purpose would then be defined as beginning and ending with myself, an absurdly brutal concept to which I’ve never long subscribed.

Why then all the straining psychobabble first before I begin detailing the struggles, the contours of my individual path? Because unappended details unfortunately are easily cut and quartered into categories of right and wrong out of context without supportive evidence. Because I have no wish to parade facts in front of someone who historically may not approve. And because I am neither here on this earth nor this page to shame anyone who is genuinely unprepared to understand the ways I feel called to manifest—that God in his own good sense may fulfill all the promises to those who have prayed for understanding and ultimate peace according to His previous messengers.

Giving way to nothingness, and following conscience, what could be more feckless and puerile for a "transit & hub" man walking away from a thriving dialed up world where the dollar is king...
Like a grapecoloured sky’s lively first pelt onto a rolling semi’s sideview mirror as load and driver barrel down the highway, I intend to reflect off these words into the surgical eye of the quick and the dead extending the free trade of ideas among other fine washables of life as keen as my powers allow. I am here to push further the envelope of comprehension, emphasize the degrees of perfection and sample the varieties of fruitbearing trees rooted in the heart of this age.

Selling the car was a major decision I actually made rather easily once I decided it was time, that my reasoning was solid. Mr. Rounthwaite, I loved that car, it was my pride. Therefore it had to go. Remember when we drove up to Tulsa from Houston to visit Oral Roberts University a few years earlier? Blew a flat as we were pulling into campus. Act of God, you said. I eventually left the serenity of Lofton Creek and Florida in September, 1980, for hurricane-tattered Corpus Christi to help my brother Clyde—at his request—bolster his fledgling roofing company, and return me to respectability from slacker life I suppose he and his wife might have discussed. My Blue Devil 305 ride rolled on tiger-grip Hercules Honcho tires, Gabriel shocks. Gabriel riser shocks to tell the truth. Took pride in it. Put 96K miles of artery on odometer in thirty-six months that I owned it. Had but five when I picked it off the lot.

It still frequently pops into my dreamlife now, some fourteen years after I sold it to a Jacksonville dealer for next to peanuts. In my dream it’s invariably parked in a public lot somewhere when I discover it, and usually in the perfect shiny blue state it was in when I sold it. But I do recall a recent dream when in route to nowhere in particular I casually stumble upon a burned out shell of blackened steel and crisp memories, and I knew it was my old car, ready for the resurrection and a pure nature. In this dreamlife, I always manage to steal it back successfully, without incident, and drive off into the sunset, so to speak, with no remorse, no concern for its current owner, simply radiant that my inner self has renewed the fecund energy this dazzling dance of road machine represents to my subconscious mind. Obviosuly this dreaming of one’s earliest prized and therefore most pleasureable possessions is not rare. Yet no other figurative symbols of my life except maybe the house I grew up in from the age of six to thirteen recur as often as does that car.

But I had become uncomfortable with financial success at the expense of others even to the point of resisting due payment for my own labors. My common refrain for a period was, “Just pay me what you think it is worth.” Obviously I was opening myself to exploitation, for I was never the slacker, but I could not excuse myself in this war of wages. Finally, after a decade of fighting a losing battle against my own nature to appease the temperament of business, its capitalistic pressures urging my own strong will to succeed (paralleling family and peer considerations)—only recently has it became crystal clear to me that I simply have not been called to embrace the American business routine.
Abandoned to a state of self-denial and chicken farmer ethics however, I felt compelled to junk it off to a dealer as contraband, a shiny nuts and bolts conspiracy illuminating my spiritual depravity, just as I had given away most of my household possessions except for my books and albums, including my finer threads and shoes, when I had left Houston. Giving way to nothingness, and following conscience, what could be more feckless and puerile for a "transit & hub" man walking away from a thriving dialed up world where the dollar is king...

Turning away desirable girlfriends, worldly possessions, and normal occupational ambitions came unnaturally easy to me, but in the spirit of diminishing returns, I carefully worked to steer as best I could from perverting the paradox of faith along the lines of what one might call humble arrogance back over to its converse form—arrogant humility—a decidedly common open trench planted with razorsharpened spikes and mirrors many pretenders seem incapable of dodging in their eagerness to appear to self and others as profiling God’s Own Image of Himself. And so Corpus Christi on the bay would become the next corporeal stage upon which my lifelong collusion with the spirit of man versus beast would manifest its theatre deep into my being.

Fifteen months as a hermit in the backwoods of my beginnings had taken their toll. I was no longer fit to be a businessman. Lasting only four months with my brother, I finally quit his company because of what I considered unsportsmanlike price-gouging practices. Although his rates were very competitive, it just seemed to me that hard times justified hard times for all, not accelerated pricing schedules when business was booming due to a recent storm. We parted friends and have become even closer as the years tear back the youthful packaging to reveal two pensive beings bartering the spectrum of ideas with earnest achievement at opposite poles of brotherly nature. But I had become uncomfortable with financial success at the expense of others even to the point of resisting due payment for my own labors. My common refrain for a period was, “Just pay me what you think it is worth.” Obviously I was opening myself to exploitation, for I was never the slacker, but I could not excuse myself in this war of wages. Finally, after a decade of fighting a losing battle against my own nature to appease the temperament of business, its capitalistic pressures urging my own strong will to succeed (paralleling family and peer considerations)—only recently has it became crystal clear to me that I simply have not been called to embrace the American business routine. That this anticommercial strain of business acumen is not by any means unique to religious zealots, I was aware, and careful to acknowledge prevalent economic bidding as worthy of men’s attention and God’s grace, quite unlike some in the political arena who have always seemed a bit revolting to me.

My brother has since returned to Atlanta, divorced, gone bankrupt, started another company, and remarried. His high profile roofing and remodeling company will gross over $3 million this year. Eighteen or so of his company’s advertising billboards grace Metro Atlanta’s highways. The high ornamental fabric of his lifestyle is in good taste and worthy of a poor man’s envy. My brother Clyde never graduated from junior high.

At sixteen he made a remarkable breakthrough in his life via a popular rehabilitation program, learning to read and speak there, although he still does not read much outside the Wall Street Journal and roofing or contractual specs. He does not truck with religion or the standardized version of God, although he is quite an introspective, let us say, spiritual man. After years of juvenile delinquency he saw the proverbial light, although it certainly took years for the complete transformation, in both the social grooming and personal hygienic senses, as well as for the full juices of his mental capacities to kick into overdrive.

The ensuing fact that he is quite the classical handsome man, while certainly adding to his notorious vanity, does most assuredly favor his strong faculty for self-confidence and secular direction as he makes his way among worldly affairs. Everyone pegged me for the smart brother, the rich brother, the glorious brother, of us six. Christ, said I, was not the one.

GT

Tangent


11 Jun

Sitting around on high
discussing bankruptcy plans, we are paralyzed
by high-priced beauty battering us in piles of magazines.
Loosely kept secrets and cleavages strike the pose
just like the cowboy song says—there's no other way. Our kingdom
crumbles the same way burnt toast, virtual memory,
and a livid lion's den melting with envy
struggles to remain in vogue,
new foci vain and too hip but in a well-measured pain,
the American struggles of hard work and meritocracy
(resonating in quicksand of the celebrity crush)
shortcircuiting the way we're taught to reign.

And as the familiar bell of gasoline slips into the morning
welcoming me skewed and priceless, no longer the surveyor
with chains and maps and plans and rods,
or fine instruments bound to the circle,
straight lines, or schools of sweat,

I dig into the vision light scatters across the wallpaper,
a pastel Monet, and irises rising into profile
like soldiers guarding the soul, where the only death
here is imaginary and immune to the newspaper
or the streets where yet another rape is spun
(where details are withheld as purposes)
of business because I don't own a gun
and this ain't no comic caper
of the shapes we're in.

Victims are a dollar a dozen. Inflation stealthly bites
into our proverbs, but have you noticed how well dressed
the common poor are these days? Fine cars, fine threads,
fine guns, fine beds, fat to the gills, but still no ease comes
to our revoltutionary heads still hung in dry nooses
conjured up by witch doctors of the dead,
mouthing words no longer built
but retrogressed.

The spies are elder foils for demons of hatred and pith,
luring a whole generation, maybe more, ever down
the path thermotaxis where juice scales weighted
(baby don't wanna be no social experiment)
are meant for no one, not even these
heavy-laden with rubbery myth
of the thirteenth generation—

Fall out! Fall in! The message the same,
eating into the muscle life buried within our name
under cheap shelter shaping the unknown,
until we give the victorious word, undressing
with dowried care of an innocent Brahmin calf
the issues done especially for us, inspecting, undressing
the fevers, draining off the pus infecting, suspecting
keen the trajectory our souls must make
without claim

and finding the circle of fate is God cubed,
we erase mere tangency with yet another claim
of superiority complexes, the tangent, and the fake
inferior rugs our interior has scrubbed.

[ 1993, Washington, DC ]

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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