Well, as could be predicted I am watching “Four Weddings and a Funeral” as I write this. I'm always watching something, unless I close my eyes and then I am also watching something. It is hard to be aware all the time. I would say that was the greatest torment of my life that I am far too aware of everything. I am living on the beach. Teenage girls go by on their bicycles, thumbhumping their cellphones as they go. It cracks me up. The age of digital masturbation is at hand. I suspect they should have four arms, like those gods and goddesses that appear in my mind every time I close my eyes. I close my eyes.
Lately I have had the feeling that Van Morrison is about to give up the ghost. I must be fairly convinced of it to write about it. I want to share with you a concert given by John Fogarty;
I never got to get my music out this way but I am a huge fan of some of those who did.
During the Vietnam War, John Fogarty was one of the most played in that conflict, along with The Temptations and Jimi Hendrix. I had this friend who was the girlfriend of Jackie Lomax and who was a temporary friend of mine, who was the first artist done on Apple Records by The Beatles. We used to hang out together. She was a good friend of Jimi Hendrix and she told me that he used to ask her to sit on his chest because demons were stealing his breath. He later died in such a manner. His manager lived right up the street from me and he had these two huge wolfhounds that used to get loose now and again. I had a dog named 'Pig' who was a large and brawny dog and very combative. He wound up with me because no one else could control him. I had to get violent with him a couple of times and there he was... sorted. He was cock of the walk among dogs in Woodstock but... when Michael Jefferies dogs got loose, Pig would see them way before I did and run like the hounds of Hell were after him, which I think was the case. They never got him. For some reason, when you are running from certain doom, sometimes you are faster than what is chasing you.
I remember these massive wolfhounds blowing by me after Pig. The wind of their passage near knocked me over. Ah... those were the days. I never thought I would get old and I think no one does. It sneaks up on you. I am more limber than most and mostly pain free. When I hear about people that are of my age they have many complaints. All I have is gratitude.
That friend of mine, whose name I won't mention, got into a terrible accident outside Chico California. She was in a Volkswagen and got hit by a tractor trailer. She recovered. We didn't stay in touch; such is life.
I am reminded of Liz from LA who used to come around here for years. She is dying of cancer. She may be gone as I write this and maybe not. I tried to communicate with her but I always felt like, “why am I doing this?” I didn't really know her and in trying to get to know someone in extremity is not easy. Nothing I could say was going to make any difference and she was surrounded by people who loved her, so I just drifted away. I did pray for her a great deal. Sometimes you have to simply release people to whatever it is they have to deal with. I always loved her and she was one of the people I hoped I would meet one day. Well, I'm going to meet a lot of you soon. Some of you have been in my thoughts for a long time like Mr. Zephyr Machine and Jabar with all those big cats. He had this young lady that he took in and looked after and she died. You see the memorial in the left sidebar of all my blogs. Apparently she was a big fan of my work and that led to Jabar and I meeting. I have always wanted to play with the big cats (grin). I'm going to get to do that. I LOVE animals, this is going to be a treat for me.
I don't fear animals and I am no threat to them. As I have mentioned here several times, when you are afraid of an animal they see it as a threat because fear and anger smell the same. I am also not recklessly over confident. I let the animal come to me. I remain still. They'll let you know if and when they want to play and I know they sense in me that I want to play. Some of my martial arts games with dogs are well known. A fellow I knew had two big dobermans and I used to slap box with them and the owner would scream at me about how I was going to get hurt. I never got bit once. I'm kind of proud of that. Could the dogs have had my ass if they wanted? I don't know. I had incredibly fast hands. Many a raging Hawaiian mad man will attest to that. Point I am making is that none of the things in my life have anything to do with me. It has either been god in residence or god concealed. Once the almighty entered into the equation, I was gone. I've never seen myself again since. I pretty much mirror whatever is in front of me and since I am a man of peace, others, more or less, are compliant.
I didn't go to Vietnam, although given my military training I am guessing I might have. I went to prison instead and believe me, Vietnam is definitely not more dangerous than prison. I think I spent something like four years inside and in some of the worst hellholes. Twenty two months I was in the John Howard Pavilion for The Criminally Insane at St. Elizabeth's (it is now the central nexus for Homeland Insecurity). This, along with Springfield MO, are the two places where the really sick, dangerous and psychotic are held and no one touched me, except for a couple of dustups that you shrug off, given that you got to walk away. God was doing his purpose of demonstration thing. I saw people reduced to things you don't want to know about and though I did what I could, you can't protect people from their own vulnerabilities.
One day these two hippies came in, long hair and all and one of them was pretty- insofar as that is some kind of currency inside. I told them to cut their hair and watch their asses (unfunny pun intended).They didn't listen to me. In fact they were arrogant about their dismissal of my cautions. About a week later I am coming up the stairs to my ward and I hear this commotion. I come around the corner and there is the cute one, bruised and bleeding. I picked him up and carried him down the long reach of the ward I was walking through in order to get to my ward. For whatever reason I was extremely pissed, so I started screaming something like, “I don't know what cowardly motherfucker beat this boy but here I am you punk! Come on! Where are you you piece of shit!” The hallway had to be about 100 yards long; first through the dormitory and then all the private rooms and nurses station. I kept yelling and as I left that ward and was about to turn the corner to my ward, King Kong comes out into the hallway and starts screaming at me about this and that. It's called selling Wolf Tickets. I went to go back after him and the guard at the turning grabbed me. It's probably a good thing because this guy was large but... he could have had me way earlier. He didn't.
The next morning at breakfast I got to see what was what. Our two wards were served by a common kitchen, so you could see the other prisoners on the other side of the kitchen. They were all howling at me and threatening retribution. I am in line with Waverly Holden, who was a little shorter than me but as wide as a door. To put Waverly in perspective, he was a supreme bad ass and a good friend. He was locked up because he used to stick up liquor stores. One night he was coming home and a couple of guys were waiting in the stairwell of his apartment building. He had two bags of groceries and he managed to blow both of those guys away with his 1911 45 caliber gun. Then he burned down the apartment building to get rid of the evidence; true story. There in the line with me was Feets Robinson; 6'8” and around three hundred pounds of muscle. He was one of the greatest athletes I have ever seen. If not for his peculiar problem he could have been the equal of Lawrence Taylor. He liked to rape and strangle nurses. He got 6 of them before they got him and when Doctor Kunev refused to release me because I was too dangerous, he let Feets go and Feets promptly raped and strangled a nurse on the grounds of the institution. This is how crazy things can be sometimes.
Waverly turned to me and asked, “Gypsy, what did you do?” I told him. We shared a table, Feets, Waverly and Alan Smith. Alan was a bank robber; very educated and very cool. I used to sing Beatles songs and Alan would open the door to his room, directly across from mine to listen. We were all friends as much as one can be in such circumstances. Waverly said to me, “You don't do things like that in a place like this. You want to save a drowning person and they will pull you down with them. Don't worry, I'll take care of it” and... he did, I never heard a word about it again. Waverly had clout.
Early on one morning I was taking a shower and Feets walked in and said, “You got a pretty cock white boy, why don't you come by my room and let me suck it?” If I had six other guys with me I don't think I could handle Feets. I didn't say anything. He walked away and I just hoped it would go away. Months later I am playing poker with Feets, Waverly, Alan and another guy when Feets says, “You know, Gypsy is pretty cool.” He then related the story of the shower event, chuckling and so... then he says, “You know, a couple of white boys took me up on that offer and I beat the living shit out of them.” He had those psychopathic eyes and as he said it and was looking at me I shivered... heh heh. Water under the bridge or... bodies even.
I've had a pretty eventful life, although I am sure, most people would not want to live what I have been through. All the heavy shit and chaos has done no more than to increase my love of God. I think that has been the point of it. Sometimes I am reduced to tears about this. There is a yearning in me that cannot be described by mere words. I love God, so much that it drives me to distraction on occasion. I look back at my life and ask myself, “Who did this happen to?” I have no idea who I am anymore. I have no idea what each day will bring. I just try to manage until I realize that I am not the one managing. As I have said before, I am one of the luckiest men alive, as punishing as my existence has been, it has all led to the almighty and I assure you... being in a position to love the ineffable, being motivated to do so, waking in the morning with, “I love you.” on my breath is comparable to nothing else. I do not know where my destiny will take me or what my crimes (picayune as they are) cost me but I figure if you love God that must amount to something. What was that about the greatest commandment???