Tuesday, January 28, 2014


What remains of a January voyage--- 2014--- about in the West of the United States.  I had meant to insert some photographs but lethargy and the possible call of one's bleeding wrists/  Please silently fix my harried errors of grammar and all the rest

This afternoon between two and three o'clock between Olancha and Panamint Springs on route 190 which is a long descending approach to Death Valley I was aware of something along the lines of the constant possibility of self-extinction with the mistaken slight movement of the steering wheel, while at the same time I felt all of my lifelong fascination with Europe and things European disappearing...

And on re-reading in the morning after the careful composition of this paragraph…  I had repeated the word between.      


Edward Dahlberg had pointed out this flaw of repeating a word  to me once before back in 1970 when I had dared to show him a page of my prose and he discovered I had repeated a word.  Why do you reveal your impoverished vocabulary?  There is never a reason to repeat a word and you do so within a sentence.  Go back to your desk and read decent books.


The trip is to the west since it is January. 
I am not an adventurer.

Life as an oasis---
death as the desert all around---
What makes me think that?
   (from DRAFTS FOR A THIRD SKETCHBOOK by Max Frisch written in the early 80s when he lived in New York and I knew him ever so briefly.  His remaining 10 years would be consumed by cancer)

The nature does not disappoint
I do not have sentences or vocabulary for what I see.
It is entering a wordless state where no words come to mind, not even cliches.  
Thornton Wilder might be perfectly right:  “grandeur of the ride an hour into the Book of Genesis…”
Though there is plant life...  but my ignorance:  I can identify a maple tree, a pine tree, a tulip, Lily of the Valley, a bleeding heart bush, a weeping willow and now I am reaching…
Near Death Valley there is more stone so much less vegetation but around here along the border in southern New Mexico and Arizona…

From  SPEAKING TO CLIO by Alberto Savinio:
History collects our actions and gradually deposits them in the past.  History gradually frees us from the past.  A perfect organization of life would ensure all our actions, even the least and most insignificant, become history so as to relieve us of them.

As to washing our face in the morning, we do it to cleanse it of our dreams, those “actions” of sleep, those nocturnal “sins.”

The ills of the world, its slowness, its obstacles, its stupidity, can be attributed to this incomplete functioning of history.  The past festers on some men and rots. 

This constant throwing of the past over one’s shoulder, this constant “self-purification.”

So does life have an end?  In the last gaze coming from our eyes, the last light from our intelligence, that gaze, that light, will not be directed to the past, placed for good behind the closed door, but to the future.  And the future, as you will have understood, ladies and gentlemen, is dark, inaction par excellence and supreme purity.

Works that enter into history--- works that enter into the ghost of history.

Memories, too, slowly but inexorably fade.


Yesterday coming over from Columbus, New Mexico two freshly squashed animals... The brightness, near glistening, of the redness of the blood in contrast to black pavement and tan tall grass along both sides of road


“Selling books doesn’t pay the bills,” owner of TOMBSTONE OLD WEST BOOKS.  When I was first going to Tombstone this was a shop packed with books.  Over these last years the titles have diminished, the real estate ads got bigger and now the making of holsters and belts have come to be the businesses around three bookcases of books and most of them second-third-fourth hand.

Worn out, aching, mostly impotent,  I HE found my/himself in a bookshop in Deming N.M… and after buying two post cards of the Bataan Corregidor monument that was out side next to the museum and after looking at a locally published history relying on memories of the survivors of that terrible time at the beginning for the Americans in  World War Two:  many of the men at Corregidor had been from the nationalized New Mexico National Guard---I saw another book… 
And this is where as I picked  it up I felt  heckled by the book that this was not going to be ...and thinking though it is hard to credit so much was going on… I also thought of being now married for twenty years for the third time and she more than 20 years younger and deeply distressed as to what she is going to do with her life and being away from her back there in New Jersey as she was not living in our room on East First Street in Manhattan during the weeks of my being away but out in her child home commuting into the city and having to deal with a mother going on 93 still living independent but increasingly frail and with a husband who lusted after her yet she felt awful about her physical shape and craved for some sort of deliverance or possibility of change and here I was picking up a book that was either reduced in price or who knows but it cost $5.00 and had the title:
The VilIista Prisoners of 1916-1917 by James W. Hurst...
But I was so caught and knowing:  I was nobody, no agent, having two published books--- both well reviewed in the NY Times though my third was now postponed by the publisher.
Do I even start to read this book... The picture on cover of seven men without hats and two guys with hats…
The book was published in 2000
So, of course only if you have been to Columbus, New Mexico do you remember that Pancho Villa and a group of his men attacked Columbus on March 9,1916 and the men on the cover are the guys subsequently captured by the Pershing Punitive Expedition into Mexico and everyone always mentioned two things:  George S. Patton got his so-called baptism of fire in this mission and it was all a dress rehearsal for the sending of the American Expeditionary Force to Europe in 1917...
One word Guantanamo should bring into focus...
So of course this is a cliché and I had at first thought I was writing a short proposal of a movie of novel about these captives and the how to find out about them and of course  the buying of  the book.. does it even have to be shown.. just the title really or maybe it could start with the man looking at the two cells from the Deming jail  that are on display in the history museum.. and then the book and realizing that it is possible that these men were held in these cells before they were lead out to be hanged and there is a photograph of Deming citizen posing about the gallows wearing hats and staring into the camera with that pride of conviction and knowing what is right.
7 Mexicans from Villa’s raid were tried and hanged. 
16 Mexicans from Villa’s raid were sentenced to life in prison in New Mexico after being brought back from Mexico and put on trial.
Other Mexicans were captured during this punitive expedition but were freed after a period of time without trial.
Who are we to trust?
How does one show research?
Does that make a movie?
A raid happens.  People are killed.  The raiders retreat and the chase is on…
Shock.  Funerals.  A demand for action.
Mexicans are not supposed to attack the United States.
Why did Villa attack the US?.
Was it an arms deal gone bad?  He got the guns but not the ammunition.
When I was at the Slaughter Ranch outside Douglas a story on display about how the Villa soldiers were stealing and killing Slaughter cattle.  Slaughter protested to Villa and was given a saddlebag of gold coins.
A civil war going on in Mexico.
WWI going on in Europe.
The idea that the Germans were cultivating the Mexicans. 
Now why would Mexicans think kindly of the Germans?
Why would American be worried about these Mexicans?
In almost all of the westerns and film noirs set in the west there is always talk of running away to Mexico. 
Even in Ray Wylie Hubbard’s song Dallas After Midnight
“we had such plans after we got to Mexico”, as the guy who got caught for robbing a liquor store sings.


I drove 2476 miles according to the receipt from Alamo Car Rental.   It is hard to list what I have become detached from but I am aware of becoming detached.  For the moment, maybe, before the city closes in upon me and I am once again in the forest.  That is what New York City is: the forest.  And nothing good lurks in the forest.  Out of the forests came the barbarians who sacked Rome. Or rather, the barbarians sacked a city already mentally sacked.

I put the following found obituary from the local Deming newspaper.  A life, like so many and if read here on East First Street in Manhattan in the year 2014 as if from another planet.

William Homer Young Jr., 85, Silver City resident passed to his eternal home Sunday Dec. 22, 2013 at Anna Kassman Hospice Center in Albuquerque. 
The Memorial Service will be held Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 11 o'clock in the morning at the Special Events Center in Deming at the corner of Country Club Road and Pine Street. 
Homer was the fifth of six sons born to William Homer and Beulah Jane Horn Young in Phoenix, AZ on the 16th of June 1928 and in the early 1930's moved with his family to New Mexico where he grew up on the family farm in the Sunshine District south of Deming. He married his high school sweetheart, Joann Munson, at the First Christian Church in Deming on the 16 of July 1948. Four children were born to this union: James Munson (1949), Ida Belle (1952), Susan Gale (1957) and Patricia Jane (1958). They continued in the family farming business in Wilcox, AZ until 1950 when he went to work for the Phelps Dodge Copper Corporation in Morenci, AZ. In 1959 the family moved to Toquepala, Peru, S.A. where Homer was mill repair foreman for Southern Peru Copper Corporation. They resided in Peru until 1967 when they returned to the States to manage a farm for his mother in Eastland, Texas. When the farm sold they were able to return to New Mexico and became employed at the newly opened Phelps Dodge Copper Mine at Tyrone. He retired in 1992 and became an avid golfer and world traveler, but, dancing to the Forrest Delk Bank was his favorite pastime and his three girls will always recall learning to dance while standing on their daddy's boot toes! 
He was raised a Master Mason in Coronado Lodge #8 F&AM Clifton, AZ in 1954 and joined, along with wife Joann, Clifton's Century Chapter #10 in 1955 where he is a Past Patron and Past Rainbow Dad of The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. Homer was a charter member and past master of Toquepala Lodge #60 AF&AM Toquepala, Peru. When they returned to New Mexico he affiliated with Georgetown Chapter #4 OES and Mimbres Lodge #10 AF&AM at Mimbres where is a past patron and past master. He served New Mexico Grand Chapter as Worthy Grand Patron with sister Adele Durnell in 1978-79. He was named ambassador to Peru 2000-2003, Jurisprudence Committee 1989-1991 and Ambassador to Mexico 2011-2013 for General Grand Chapter OES. He is Past Grand Chaplain and Past District Deputy Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of New Mexico AF&AM. In 2004 New Mexico Grand Lodge named him "Mason of the Year" and accorded him the prestigious "Kit Carson Award". Homer was raised a 33 degree Scottish Rite Mason in 2005 and served on the advisory board for the Silver City Order of DeMolay, was Rainbow Dad for the Tyrone Assembly Organization and Rainbow Dad for the newly instituted Rainbow Assembly in Silver City. 
Homer is survived by his wife, Joann; 3 daughters and their families, Ida Belle and John Walsh, Susan and Don Wallin, Patricia Young and dear friend Linda Miller; 5 grandchildren and their families, Jennifer Mary (Walsh) and husband David James Hare, Elizabeth Ann (Walsh) and husband David James Gilroy, William Trevor and wife Amber Wallin, Steven Shane and wife Jenae Wallin, Lisa Jean (Wallin) and husband William Curtis Lents,; 5 great-grandchildren, Maya Sophia and Dylan James Hare, Jonah Finn and Nina Magdalena Gilroy, and William Augustus Wallin; 
2 brothers, J. W. and Marvin and wife Wilma Young; 2 very dear sisters-n-law, Catherine Munson Smith and Sabra Munson Humphrey and husband Robert and their families,; numerous nieces and nephews and a very special nephews, Roy Young and wife Mildred; many cousins and a host of loving world-wide friends. 
He was preceded in death by his parents, 3 brothers, Jim, Oral and Buford and his only son, James who died in 1970. 
He felt very privileged and very blest to have had the opportunity to play golf at the "Old Course" in Scotland and to have walked the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, but, most of all to have shared 65 years of love with his wife and children, to have developed very special ties with each of his 5 grandchildren and to have held the small hands of each of his 5 great-grandchildren. 
He was a good husband, a good father, a good grandfather and great-grandfather, a good friend to all... He was a good man. 
Homer will be remembered for his pride in, and love for , his family, his kind and generous ways, his love and appreciation for our beautiful earth and his favorite figure of speech, "Oh How Nice!" 
Memorial donations may be made to: Rite Care Childhood Language Program, New Mexico Scottish Rite Foundation, P. O. Box 2024, Santa Fe, N. M. 87504-2024 or a Charity of Choice. 

Entrusted to the care of Baca’s Funeral Chapels.Exclusive provider for “Veterans &Family Memorial Care”.


Thomas McGonigle said...

Tossed into the something or other... always without consequence while even more fiercely segregated the places of literature remain closed off from each other more firmly than in the past... Never has any of these thousand upon thousands of words been remarked upon or disseminated into other languages or places

Dragan said...

I really enjoyed these pieces, in my ear they are like a subdued, faint breathing that resembles the tone in Cavafy's poetry. Neither humble resignation nor loudmouth proclamation. How the madding voices somehow become signs that dispell the surrounding barbarism. How to find shelter in the incessant storms of collective memory and the individual's oblivion.
-- C.F.Gildea

Scott Abbott said...

Though there is plant life. . . But my ignorance

Took my breath away, those two connected desert thoughts.

And the obituary, foreign to the forest, so commonplace in our high and distant deserts.