Thursday, January 27, 2005

A Strange Travelogue, Part One.

This will be, due to space considerations, about conditions and results in a general way; more about giving an example rather than a gratuitous chronologue of events.

I lived in Kyoto Japan for my first five years of life and the Orient has been a major factor in my development throughout life. I remember at around the age of two or three that I was laying in my bed one afternoon; no doubt it was nap time and I came awake to a droning chant. My eyes eventually focused on the beams that supported the ceiling. I saw the small figures of monks in robes. There were a dozen or two dozen, I don’t remember exactly; two lines of them facing each other across the beams and they were chanting and looking down at me. I had no idea of what I was seeing but it was a powerful event that I have always remembered but never attached any importance to since I still don’t know what it means. Other things happened as well but they don’t come to memory except as vague images. There were two Japanese maids that took care of me during that period and sometimes they would take me with them when they shopped. I remember a very old Japanese man whom they would bring me to and he spoke to me but I can’t recall about what.

My fathers brutality surfaced in my mind during that time; the stern sound of his voice and the early beatings. I remember being willful even then, despite the punishments. I remember thinking he won’t win.

Then I was at Georgia Military Academy for several years. My father was an instructor there. I was a very good student and consistently got A’s but I was picked on by other students and humiliated in front of them by my father in a consistent fashion. I did not understand any of this. I did not fit in or know how to adapt and that never changed. I began to wet the bed and of course I was brutally punished for this but that didn’t help any. I began to have terrifying dreams of werewolves and vampires. I could hear things howling in the night outside the house and on the farm. I had friendships with spiders and would let them crawl on me. I talked to them. Something happened that I don’t remember and I was terribly frightened of them afterwards. That’s over now. I used to have conversations with people I couldn’t see all the time. I used to hang out with an old black man called Rainey. I was always aware of Nature as a living thing. Rats scared me.

We went to France and lived in Paris and that was wonderful except for the continued punishment from my father. I had less trouble with other kids for awhile but I was still picked on. Sometimes kids would sit on my chest and slap me around for long periods of time. Other times I would lose my temper and waste them, so that I was an unpredictable element. I used to run around the streets of Paris and went to the Louvre often and the various churches. Books became a major interest and I read constantly when I wasn’t exploring in the woods or the sewers or wherever.

I remember at around 11 years old I was sitting in class one day and an overwhelming Love swept through me. The classroom was filled with light and I felt completely transformed. I cannot give words to this. Everyone I looked at I could see light in their skin and a vibrating energy that surrounded them.

I went to Ft. Niagara, New York. Sports, principally baseball, became my whole focus; of course books were a mainstay, even as they are today. I still got picked on, until I lost my temper and then I always won. It was at this point that I took the Iowa State tests and scored in the 95% to 99% percentile in all subjects. The teachers called a meeting with my family because of the disparity between my scores and my grades. Well, my home life was a nightmare so go figure. Around this time I started to develop crippling pains in my stomach. The doctors could not find a problem. I got a lot of painful tests. Finally they found an adult ulcer. This was unheard of and probably what took them so long. I went into the hospital and the doctors told my father I had to have a special diet thereafter. My father said I was in collusion with the doctors and my mother and that there was nothing wrong with me. On the night of my return my mother made me hotdogs and something bland. My father kept going on and on about me being a special privileged character. The rest of the family was having chili. Finally I said, “Mommy, can I have some chili?” The predicted results followed.

My father would read about things that happened in the papers and sometimes punish me for them because he was sure I had done them. I should say something about the nature of the beatings. They might involve fists, pieces of wood, extension cords and on one occasion sections of a rose bush with the thorns on. One time it was the back of a shovel. The ulcer finally went away but plagued me intermittently until I left home. Sometimes I would climb under my bed and tear my arms bloody with my nails.

I wanted to be a baseball player or an archaeologist. I was fascinated with Richard Halliburton and Harry Schliemann (sp?) He discovered Troy. I started reading the classic writers. I read some or all of most of them. This was my escape. Aldous Huxley really helped. He was the first person I thought had left footprints for me.

I moved to Ft. Ritchie at Cascade Maryland, near Camp David and Blue Ridge Summit PA. I got very good at baseball. I was a pitcher and used to strike out about 2 batters an inning and I could hit. This got me some relief from the bullying. The brutality continued with my father. I was getting on the 16 now and resentment was getting strong. I didn’t go through puberty until about this time and never had any pubic hair until I left the Air Force at 17. This was not conducive to taking public showers; after sporting events. I got good at hiding.

Some soldiers got me drunk and a whole new world emerged. A couple of alcohol fueled rampages got me into trouble with the law and my father was forced to put me into the military the week after I turned 17. I couldn’t do anything right there. I still wasn’t more than 12 years old in many ways. I was sent for mental tests and the doctors said I was a chronic schizophrenic. I was discharged but managed to fight it all the way to a PEB Board of full Colonels. They actually flew me from Chanute IL. to Andrews Air Force Base for this, thus ensuing at least that I got some part of the GI Bill. I had just finished the 10th grade when I went in. I was still 17 when I came out. I rode down to Oklahoma with a ner do well who got a bad conduct discharge. His family didn’t want me. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I was crazy so I signed myself into the Oklahoma Mental Institution in Norman. This is where I first had sex with a girl on the grounds. Six months later I got out and I hitchhiked with some guy to Washington D.C. because I heard there were 8 girls for every one man. While in the institution I was reading a psychology journal about this Timothy Leary and his experiments with LSD. I felt this incredible draw to what he was saying and thought how I would like to try this.

I got to D.C. and worked in Gospel Missions for awhile, working with the refuse of humanity. I’d forgotten about Leary and was just trying to get a life. I got a job at The Library of Congress in The Division for the Blind. I started reading Freud and Nietzsche; I thought maybe I could solve my problem. I gravitated toward DuPont Circle and the beatnik culture. I began writing poetry in earnest, though I had always done this (I’m leaving many things out but this skeleton is just about setting the stage for a point. ‘The’ point I intend to make.) and began to read my work at a coffee house called The Crow’s Toe and then later The Lute and the Lyre. It was run by a black man named Teddy Portochinko. Mostly blacks came there and it was an incredible scene. A whole lot of things happened which led to my meeting some early hippies and taking some Sandoz acid in the liquid vials. The whole world changed. I instantly knew I wasn’t crazy. It was the world that was crazy and I wasn’t schizoid, I just had wider margins. It would take a book to reveal what all I went through during this initial period. Large areas of knowledge and information opened up inside of me. Who knows where it came from? Very rapidly I became some sort of font or teacher and people would gather round me in the park. Quite a few of them were young women and so then there were the guys who came around me to pick them up. I remember shaking my head and thinking that they were missing the point. However, on one level they certainly weren’t. I had a girlfriend, one or two, but I was caught up in the things I was learning and didn’t really avail myself of all the free sex.

I met John Hall who later went on to found the group Orleans. John Reed was a dark man who would come around when I spoke. He figures into what happened. Hall and I were inseparable. Due to my visibility there the police took an interest in me. This was intensified due to my ability to spot them and my stupidity in pointing them out. I was a reckless boy. I ran afoul of Scientology. Scientology went to the cops and told them I was dealing drugs, not true. The police arranged a sting through John Reed whom they had already compromised and he sent up a ride across the river to Virginia to get some pot. John Hall was with us. There were two cars. Undercover officers came along and kept trying to get me to handle the money. I refused. But when we got out of the car Reed went running into the building and I was left standing when one of the cops extended some money through the window and said, “Here, get us another ounce.” I said I’d give the money to John. Well, you can imagine how that worked. Nothing happened then.

John Hall and I went to Greenwich Village. A warrant was out on me. When we got back to D.C. we were staying at John’s parent’s house in Maryland. His father was an executive with Westinghouse. They were very well off. They were very uptight about my influence on their son. They even paid for a private investigator to research my test results from the mental institution to prove I was not a genius as was being bandied about. They waved the scores in my face; only in the low 130’s, so there. Heh... Heh... John, under pressure, let them know the police were after me. So his parents arranged for me to be arrested at their house and he went along with it. John probably still doesn’t know that I know this, I never told him. So a huge dramatic scene took place with a bullhorn, spotlights and drawn guns. You would have thought I was Dillinger. This was due, I think, to Scientology painting me as a Rasputin sort of a figure and what the police had observed about my behavior. Away I went into the system for a bit.

I’ll pick this up again tomorrow. I apologize for many things I have had to and will have to leave out. Brevity requires it and, I have to reiterate, this is about a point to be made, not about my amusing and oft tragic journey to where I sit writing this. Everything I do mention here later comes up elsewhere or relates to my point. I’ll use flashbacks as I go because there are things I left out that are more relevant seen in hindsight.

Please be patient with me on this, it may run to three posts or more before I can do the intended post; the summing up. I realize things that I am going to say, some of them are going to be fantastic- they're all true. In nearly every case there are cooroborating witnesses easily reached. Whether they want to grant the time for extensive detail is up to them; should such requests be made. And for every event I give there will be a hundred left out. Some of it will give fuel to my critics but I'm not concerned with that. They've go their job to do just like me.

I may err sometimes in being comprehensive and this won't have the impact of a thoughtfully composed itinerary, that's for another time, if ever.


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The 3rd Elf