Friday, July 05, 2013


TO ME!!  ( after many years absence I returned to my hometown---a sentimental journey to let it speak to me---stir whatever memories.  Here's more of them:)

     I was a boy of about 12---walking down the road.  He was a well dressed colored man walking in the opposite direction.  As we were passing, he made a small bow-- tipped his hat to me and said "mister".  I puzzled over this. Then one day many years later -I  understood:   THIS WAS A SERVANTS GESTURE----a residue of slavery days--a status acknowledgement----BUT THERE WAS MORE---HE ENJOYED DOING IT.  He got a spasm of SURRENDER HAPPINESS. I have felt it myself when I declared my love to a lady.  I saw it on a massive scale in Antelope, Oregon when the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh drove through town in his Rolls Royce past unctuous bowing crowds of his red-shirted followers.

     I saw it happen----a black lady---annoyed by a drunk---pulled a knife---he turned to run---but in a flashing instant--she stabbed him anyway--in the upper shoulder. And there the knife stayed--protruding from his back.  He couldn't reach it and began to ask bystanders to pull it out.  None would do it.  He walked outside the bar and several more refused to pull it out. My courage failed me too.   My brother stepped forward and pulled it out---slowly. (I can still see it coming out---not much blood) He gave it to the guy who folded it and put it in his pocket----said "thank you Mr. Charles"---and walked away.  It was a living moment of deadly anger  and failed courage--I've not forgotten.

     I was exploring a remote old barn----heard voices---went out back and there were 3 men--I knew them all---skinning a black bear hanging on a rope.  They told me not to tell anyone---and I didn't---until now.  I believe it was the final black bear in our region.  Never heard of another---to this day.

     He was just passing through town----a very scary man to look at---more than heavily bearded---the hair was all over his face.  He sorely needed rest because he climbed into an abandoned school bus and lay down on the back seat.  Friends came and I told the story.  They needed proof so I threw a stone against the bus and the creature reared his head----sure enough---a wolf man--my friends agreed.  Word spread--more stones against the bus--he raised up twice more--then gave up an went on his way.  But oooohh sweet people----heed my sad tale----the wheel of consequence rolls round.  Here:  I've put the message in rhyme.

Karmic Precision

A hobo passing through our town

Took refuge in an old bus.

He needed rest and would have got it,

Were it not for us.

Bobby said he looked like a werewolf,

And we all wanted to see.

So I threw a stone against the bus.

He rose to look at me.

Sure enough, it seemed a savage,

Who gazed a weary stare.

Above his brow, a matted mane,

His face a mask of hair.

Again and again, we banged the bus.

The hobo, increasingly distraught,

Finally gave up and shuffled away;

We gave him no more thought.

Forty years pass and now I wander

Deep in rural Mexico,

Traveling and sleeping in my car

Near the village of Cerrito.

In the night an alarming thump

Batters against my car.

Dazed and shocked, I rise to see

Who my attackers are.

They are children of the village,

Who laugh, reach down and throw

Clods of dirt to rouse me up

To look at the strange gringo.

Instantly flashing in my mind,

From forty years ago,

As clear as if I saw it now,

The face of that weary hobo.

Oh, my chickens come home to roost–

For sins, I pay the price.

I take my whipping and marvel that

My Karma’s so precise.


Sondra said...

Very good tales Randy...Of course the paramedic in me says NEVER pull out an impaled object...bleeding follows so it should only be withdrawn in a hosptial! Of course Im talking of a life threatening impalement!
Life is very different in the south...those old lines are still there much faded but still there.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Neat posts. Lots of food for thought.

Anonymous said...

#19: The polite "submission" gesture interests me. There's no submission w/o transgression...agreed?
so there enters an ambivalence, which shall I do?
It is a choice. Take my word this relates to an ambivalence toward authority where one hates/loves authority...the so called "authoritarian character"...where
one loves those powerful authority figures and despises weakness, people unable to fend for themselves.
What is surprising to me is how deeply this attitude goes, and how antithetical to justice it is. The just system would be to neither to submit, nor be submitted to. To neither transgress, nor be transgressed. But this might not be a lot of fun, or even humanly possible.
The current spying scandal is all about transgressing, isn't it? Not voting 3rd party is also an authority thing.
It deserves some reflection, your old time deference for the servant class.

Anonymous said...

Your brother is a moron, you never pull a knife out- everybody knows that. It only makes the bleeding worse.