Author Archives: mandala56

The more it stays the same

Jack wrote this in June, 2006:

I hadn’t watched Easy Rider (Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, circa 1968) in three decades.

When I saw it again this past weekend I appreciated it again for the first time:

Nicholson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.

Hopper: Huh. Man, everybody got chicken, that’s what happened, man. Hey, we can’t even get into like, uh, second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel. You dig? They think we’re gonna cut their throat or something, man. They’re scared, man.

Nicholson: Oh, they’re not scared of you. They’re scared of what you represent to ’em.

Hopper: Hey man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody needs a haircut.

Nicholson: Oh no. What you represent to them is freedom.

Hopper: What the hell’s wrong with freedom, man? That’s what it’s all about.

Nicholson: Oh yeah, that’s right, that’s what it’s all about, all right. But talkin’ about it and bein’ it – that’s two different things.

I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace.

‘Course, don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are.

Oh yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom, but they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em.

Hopper: Mmmm, well, that don’t make ’em runnin’ scared.

Nicholson: No, it makes ’em dangerous.

Three young men searching for America who found it wasn’t what they bargained for.

Jack

 

Whitey Will Pay

Jack wrote this in April, 2006:

Hi blogsters:

Hope you’re all giving yourselves plenty of challenges, making lots of decisions that lead to growth experiences.

Things have gone quiet around here, owl-wise, though the hawks still soar overhead days.  And the coyotes still howl on the mesas.

Just finished a short trip to western New Mexico on an old-new trail of the Lost Adams Diggings.  Rough trip in some ways, because it brought to mind memories of a lot of other trips into that country with men now dead.

But it was physically a reminder of how old this vehicle’s becoming.

Climbing and unclimbing mesas, digging and scraping samples from streambeds, toting them back out to work them down into concentrates for closer examination, all just become the tap on the shoulder gravity gives a man insisting he slow down.

The trip didn’t answer a lot of questions, but it created enough to cause me to know more trips in there will be required.

Ahh.  Adventure!

Meanwhile, back here in the village, the rich old man up the hill behind me evidently has an enemy.   Someone decapitated a rabbit just before Easter and left it on his porch.

Might be because he’s rich and cantankerous, or because he’s said to be miserly and difficult to collect from if a person’s only a mere workman.  Or it might be because he’s all the above, which a number of old villagers are, but also he has the distinction of being an Anglo.

The accident of birth that gives a person ancestors who spoke English and had pinkish skin is a difficult sin for the majority of New Mexicans to forgive.

The Hispanics, who hold all the power, speak the same language as the Conquistadors, Cortez and Coronado, but see themselves as having been robbed of their conquests and rendered downtrodden by white-skinned invaders from the East.

The Native Americans generally just know someone conquered them, but because we’re all born innocent of memory,  have evidently forgotten who did the conquering.

For a while I occasionally used to drive around in a borrowed truck with “WHITEY WILL PAY” bumper-stickered on the tinted glass back window.  As a whitish sort of fellow, I found my feelers a little ruffled with all the thumbs-ups and raised-fist salutes I got from Hispanic and Native American types.

I generally don’t feel I’ve done anything negative to Hispanics, nor Native Americans.  My conscience is clear.

I had a distant kinsman mountain-man who wandered into Santa Fe around 1805, and was held captive for 20-odd years by the Spaniard government (ancestors to the folks who are here today), but I don’t hold it against them.

Let bygones be bygones, I say.

Fact is, old James Purcell’s problems ain’t mine.  I was lucky enough to be allowed to find problems of my own.

His didn’t happen to me.

Same as when Onate cut the foots off all the adult males of the tribe of rebellious Acomas in 1600 something-or-other, which makes Acomas do a lot of whining and complaining today, it wasn’t me did it, and it wasn’t people alive today it happened to.

You don’t hear me complaining about not having the same rights and advantages of Native Americans, no free health care, never having to have a steady job my entire life, being born into a wealth of land I pay no taxes on.

You won’t hear me complaining I can’t open a casino.

And you won’t hear me complain because my distant pore old mountain-man kinsman, James Purcell, got thrown in the hoosegow just because he came to town.  Didn’t do nuthun but be an English speaking man with white skin.

I was born naked.  Those aren’t my troubles.

Jack

6.5 billion reasons to live TODAY

Jack wrote this in February, 2006:

Hi blogsters:

I saw a post on the Reiki group I mentioned yesterday, someone wanting all Reiki Masters to take a specific day for a world-wide healing project.  Try to cure every ailment human beans have in one fell swoop.

Guess I’ll take a pass on that one.

Saw on one of the blogs the previous day that the world population has reached 6.5 billion.

I’m not overly fond of the human genre.  My general feeling is that 650 thousand would be a more salubrious number of souls to occupy the mudball, though I’d be pleased enough with 6.5 million if I didn’t have to live in close enough to see what they were doing.

On the other hand, 13 billion’s all right.  That would happen a decade from now if humanity prospers.  It’s okay by me because I feel 100 percent confident it won’t happen.  A long time before 13 billion human numbers will come nearer to reaching 650 thousand.

This certainty is based more on gut feel than anything else.  I suppose there’s a segment of the younger population who can fathom 26 billion souls, or 52 billion squeezed up here, elbowing one another when they’re my age, clogging the highways with quantum RVs, playing golf and watching television.

I can’t.

Everything I know about the way the life-energy-matrix on this planet works and has always worked tells me otherwise.

More likely there’s a surprise brewing out there in the life-soup somewhere between here and 13 billion humans to do a bit of culling.  I’d call it a tragedy if I weren’t certain all you humans will end up in another life afterward.  One where they don’t have television, most likely.

If some of you blogsters are accomplished remote viewers, take a peek at anything you find interesting after 2012.

Just my thought to brighten your day.

You folks who are spending your lives on autopilot figuring there’s plenty of time to get your affairs in order later might want to do some thinking about that.

The number of times you get to circle this star in a lifetime doesn’t count for much.  If you live to be 90 without doing anything besides watching television and worrying about what might kill you maybe nothing will.  You’ll just die without something killing you.  

Jack

How are we doing here? from Jeanne

Jeanne and Jack

Just wanted to check in with Jack’s readers. Here’s what’s happening on my end. I’ve been going through old files nearly every day, culling material from previous blogs, poetry, and the Q&A site that I think make good blog entries. At this time, I have posts scheduled ahead two or three times per week up through June of 2021, and I am not nearly through looking at the material I have. I have another month or so of free time available to me to keep doing this if I feel like it.  The blog will always be here, even if I stop adding more material.

Some people might wonder why I am doing this. I’ve thought about that some, and of course it’s more for myself than anyone else. I’m not willing to let his words die, and it helps me a lot to have those words in my head as I get used to not having him around the way I like. I always thought his writing and ability to think were unusual talents, and I know you regular readers feel the same.  I don’t have what it takes to put together a book about him or a book of his writing, so the blog format is easy and as permanent as I can make it. Also, it helps to have something to distract me during these terrible times we are going through.

Even though he’s not responding to comments anymore, I enjoy reading your comments and will try to respond to them or answer questions.

You readers are helping me through a difficult time, and I appreciate it.

Jeanne

The Yin Yang Conspiracy 

Jack wrote this in March, 2006:
In 1970, the University of Texas was squared off against itself.  The frats, the student government, the sororities, the administration, the ROTC department, and the cops on the one side, and us on the other.

The Vets against the Vietnam War, the Wobblies (IWW), the Panthers, the Young Socialistist Alliance (Trotskyite), the RYM2 (Revolutionary Youth Movement faction of the Students for a Democratic Society), Weathermen (the other, more interesting side of the SDS), and hundreds of other splinter groups were taking a fair beating, though we had the numbers.

I was in the middle of all that, writing for the alternative newspaper, the RAG, and trying to get an education dovetailed with sex, drugs and Rock and Roll with helping organize an occasional riot, march or rally thrown in for good measure.

That’s when we invented the Yin Yang Conspiracy.  An ad hoc political party.  We ran a longhair named Jeff Jones for student body president, and we threw the bastards out, lock stock and fraternity pin.  Lordee we thought we’d done something fierce, beating the system that way.  Hot diggedy damn.

Anyway, this blog entry is in memory of that microscopic triumph among people who had in common only that they opposed the War. 

The Yin Yang Conspiracy.  A tiny piece of winning the Vietnam War by bringing the troops home.  Winning the easy way.  Coming out in the open, looking those cops, those stay-at-home flag-waving patriots in the eye through their riot masks, and saying, “Enough is enough!”

We learned a lot.  Surveillance, provocateurs, intimidations probably weren’t so pervasive in those days.  No yes-man Congress had passed a Patriot Act, so we still had some rights and protections under the US Constitution.   It would be a tougher gig today.

But, if that was now we’d be doing it again.  We’d be working in both, subtle and overt ways to bring those boys home.

Trying to get them out of there before too many more get all shot up and crippled up and be completely forgotten by the patriots who are waving flags back home.

Jack

The Toothless Soothsayer

3.22.03 and back ups 756

The Toothless Soothsayer

I must have been four, or maybe five
When grandfather said, with a snicker,
“Where a man wouldn’t go with a Colt .45
That boy will follow his pecker.”

Half a century now mocks:
I’d surely be elated
If Papa’s eye had turned to stocks
Or land speculated

A momentary double-star and out of the frying pan:

Jack wrote this in March of 2006:

z-machine_nr

Morning blogsters:

A ray of sunshine to all of you.

That picture is where I’m sending it from.  You are looking at the home of an experiment …. a series of them performed at Sandia Laboratories.
https://share-ng.sandia.gov/news/resources/releases/2006/physics-astron/hottest-z-output.html

Without expecting to do it, nor understanding how, they’ve managed to create a reaction generating temperatures of 2 billion degrees Kelvin.

Double the heat inside a star.

By accident.  Repeated the experiment several times to make certain the accident happened on each occasion.  It did.

Accidents do happen.

Gratitude Affirmation #1, Thankee Universe, that it was a fender-bender and not a head-on collision.

Ohhhh.  Yeah.

Another gratitude affirmation challenge.  Some other laboratory somewhere else, presumably inside the US:

“Researchers have found that by putting one or two mutations into the H5N1 bird-flu virus, they were able to give it greater ability to slip into human cells. The new information will give virus-trackers something to watch for as H5N1 expands to new territory. “

How many labs in the world, we wonders, did it take to screw in that light bulb?

The challenge this morning is to find something in that italicized jewel to be grateful about.

  • Thankee, Universe, for allowing some of us humans to be smart enough to convert a virus that was killing only birds, to one that will kill humans.
  • Thankee, Universe, for giving those clever folks the wisdom to announce it to the world so nobody else figures it needs doing again.

Well, there are a couple.  Feel free to be innovative and make a few of your own.

Jack

Quote of the day:

George C. Scott playing a Major General in Doctor Strangelove:  “I wish we had US one of those Doomsday Machines”.

Ancients of the SW US

Jack posted this in February, 2006 but I think it was written much earlier.

The mountain I used to prospect for several years is covered with ruins wherever there is water.  Big ruins.   I used to sit on one near my camp and try to imagine what it must have been like.

One summer solstice afternoon I was sitting on the cliff boundary of the ruin watching the sunset.  In the basin below there’s a volcanic knob out toward the center of the plains.   I’d discovered a single kiva on top of it years before and puzzled over it vaguely.  What was that kiva doing there, miles away from the big houses?

But because that day happened to be solstice, I suddenly noticed when the sun went down, it vanished directly behind the point of that Kiva knob!  Yon damned Chacoans used it to mark summer solstice!

A place like that fires the imagination, and I spent a lot of time thinking of those people who lived in that ruin. Some of these groups had evidently been in the same locations for 300-400 years, and suddenly their government leaders decided they had to leave.  They probably watched and even hosted strings of these travellers along the trail until their own turn came.

Then one day they  just left.

What a thing it must have been to be one of them on that last day, saying good bye to the place your great-grand-dad, your granddad, your dad, and everyone else as far back as anyone could remember, including you were all born, lived, and mostly died.

Everyone voluntarily packed a few belongings, a medicine bag and blanket or two, a stone hatchet and a few scrapers, and left, leaving corn in the bin for those coming behind.  Abandoned pots lying around all over the place measured the things they couldn’t carry.

Sometimes sitting on that mountain early in the morning it sort of overwhelmed me, the pain and sorrow in those villagers.  Probably they all left in the morning one day, after a while of maybe being notified it was their turn.  A few weeks of  planning.  What to take?  What to leave behind.

Finally they probably finished the last minute packing the night before.  At dawn they made a line down the basin heading south, looking back over their shoulders as long as they could, feeling so sad.  Knowing they’d never go home again, wondering about the place they were going.

Remembering how it was playing on the mountain with their grandads when they were  kids, remembering the special, secret places kids always have.  Just looking and yearning to stay, and already missing that long home where their ancesters had roamed for 2000 years.

They’d have tried to keep it in sight as long as they could, each one stopping to wipe the trail dust off his face, pretending to catch his breaths.  But yearning back at the old home place, piercing the heat waves with their eyes, straining to see it one last time, maybe crying, certainly crying inside.  The kids probably screeching aloud enough to cover everyone elses grief.

As they trekked south they were joined by other groups from the neighboring villages.  The dust rose on the trail making a plume, a cloud around them.  They examined these strangers who were now trail mates and wondered who they were.

Some, they probably soon discovered had a mother-in-law, or uncle who came from their village.  They got to know one another better there on that hot, sad, lonesome trail away from all they they’d ever known, and they shared the hardships of the journey together for a long time.

Today, it’s just piles of rock, potsherds, holes left by scholars and other diggers for spoils.  The land still falls off across Johnson Basin, sun going down over that volcanic nub that once measured the time to plant.  Cow men ride their motorized hosses across the old trails, cows stomp around looking for grass, making the pottery fragments even smaller.

But sometimes late at night when the wind howls down the mountain a man might hear, or think he hears an echo of the chants, the drums, the night mumbles and whispers of lovers, the ghosts of lovers.  Pulls the bag tighter around his ears and wonders.

 

Orion’s Phallusy

 Orion yearned those Pleiades

Dragged

In endless stellar chaste pursuit

Loved them as no mortal man

Ever loved a woman

Who ever caught one

 

Orion never had to gnaw off that starry arm

That held the club

To let her sleep

While he got out

The morning after

 

Orion never had to say,

“I’m going out for smokes

I’ll be right back,” at 3 am

When she said,

“I think I love you.”

 

From Poems of the New Old West

Copyright©2002 Jack Purcell

I was an outlaw motorcycle mama and other historical anomalies

IMG_0002

Jack wrote this in March, 2006:

Hi blogsters:

Sometimes trying to piece together our lives can be quite a chore.  Peaceful Warrior posted something on one of the groups about the way his name has been a problem to him, got me thinking about it.

I was given a name at birth that nobody since was able to pronounce.  They followed that with another one nobody’d ever heard of.  So when I exited that berg at the age of 15 or so, I left those two names behind and became Jack for most purposes.

But as a struggling young writer in the late ’60s I found myself needing yet another handle…. I was writing for the hairy chested men magazines… Men, For Men Only, a genre of magazines that vanished by the mid-1970s.

They usually had a picture on the cover of a Marine with a machete struggling with python wrapped around a half-naked woman in some jungle.  That sort of thing.

Well, fact was, in those days I thought there was half-a-chance I’d want to be president, or try to get a decent job sometime.  Didn’t want stories like, Viet-Cong Seductress, or The Half-Million Dollar Sex Salon The Texas Rangers Can’t Find following old Jack around the remainder of his life.

Adopted the pseudonym, Frank C. Riley, which worked well enough.

Then the market collapsed for hairy chested men stories.  Best paying hack-writer market left was something called ‘Confession‘ mags, which must have been read by the mothers of Romance Novel readers of today.  I figured, what the hell.

Popped out, I Was An Outlaw Motorcycle Mama, sent it off, got a nice letter back telling me there was a middling amount of what they read they liked, but that I needed to work on my female perspective a bit.  Eventually they published it, but they never bought another, though I tried.  But unless I’m mistaken, Motorcycle Mama was the only time I ever succeeded in passing myself off as a woman.  Only time I really ever tried, during that confessions market thing.

Amazing the things a man will do for money.

Jack