Archive for the ‘a story’ Category

Meet Ruthie Hillard

Posted: July 18, 2017 in a story, art

Meet Ruthie Hillard was first published on Queerartist blog. Queerartist knew Ruthie Hillard growing up in Goon City.  Ruthie would always show with the young artists in town whenever there was a art exhibition. We asked Queerartist if we could re-publish this piece as Ruthie has a lot to say not only about art but about politics too.

Scrap Work, 2002

by Ruthie Hillard

Ruthie Hillard always had scraps lying around. Scraps of this and scraps of that. In Ruthie’s house there was a large room. On one end of the room was a large bay area with many windows. It was there that she had set up 3 old dining room tables. Ruthie never told us where she ever got so many dining room tables as in her dining room she had a nice oak one that matched her china closet and sideboard. Ruthie liked to walk and in her walks she picked up scraps. A scrap of paper, a piece of string, a piece of metal that had fallen off a car. She pulled a shopping cart with a few boxes in it. One for paper, one for metal, one for odd bits of this and that. Of course everyone thought her to be a bit off and according to Ruthie she was of course. Not like them at all. Won’t want to be. So sterile, so fit in the box,  so wonder bread. Little Boxes, Little Boxes the song was written for them. Straight out of the boob tube.

When Ruthie got home after a day of collecting supplies, she would wash her hands, make herself a nice cup of tea, and get to work.  Scrap work is a piece that she gave to my cousin with the instructions to give it to me. She was always working at making her art. I went down to Goon City and asked her, “Ruthie, can I give you a show on my blog?” Well at 88 she really didn’t know what a blog was confusing it with a bog as she was a bit hard of hearing. After explaining to her what a blog was she consented. I went out for a walk around Goon City with Ruthie and she showed me some areas that she thought highly of. “By all means take a picture and put it on your bog.” (she never got it) “These things are as much my art as the things I make in my sun room.” See that window there? If nothing else put that on your bog. So we did put a few of these things on this “bog.” Things that Ruthie pointed out and that I must admit were quite interesting.

A Window That I Admire.

We clapped for this art. It is called Bird King.

 

 

Ruthie and I have no idea what this picture was. But both thought it to be very beautiful and well worth it to include it in this posting. I told Ruthie that I think the photograph was taken when the camera was in the pocket of my coat, I slipped my hand in and my hand hit the picture button. We both loved that idea and I promised I would take some more pictures of inside my pocket for a later posting.

Got Something In My Pocket, art.

Last but not least this is a photo from our walk. It is of Jake’s Corner Store. You see posted on the door Jake is holding a sale of big hair. Come on in. Get your big hair. Soon Halloween will be here and big hair is nice to wear. Stick some birds in it. Maybe some flowers. Add some rubber snakes. Just wear some big hair and everyone will think that you are a star of something.

Ruthie wanted some of her out door work to be shown in this exhibition. She choose one that was done near the pond. At one time Boyce Hubbard had a cabin in the area. He worked for Ruthie’s father doing all sorts of work. The cabin burned down years ago but in digging around one could find broken dishes bottles, glass and all sorts of other things.  Ruthie mapped out the area and said, “anything that I find in this area will be my art supplies for the day.” Ruthie worked for a short time on Monday morning and then took a break and ate her tuna fish sandwich, and drank her bottle of apple juice. She always drank apple juice when out and about as she was afraid if she started on a bottle of wine that she wouldn’t make it home. That happened more than once and many times she woke up under the trees. Ruthie didn’t recall the date that she made these pieces but thinks it might have been sometime in the early 1970s.

Art out doors from Ruthie’s photo album

I asked Ruthie how could she just make some art and leave it out near the pond where probably the kids would wreck it if they came around. Ruthie didn’t seem at all concerned about that. “Well I do hope that they for a few seconds can stop and say, “what the hell is this stuff, and how did it get out here by the pond?” She only worked an area once and that was it. Didn’t even stop to take a look when she passed by the pond, on her way through the pine tree forest to the other side of town or on her way to visit Bessy Bates. One day in the Pine Tree Forest she found a dead black bird, dug a hole, buried it and sang a little song. Ruthie is like that, always mindful of other beings. You know I like the idea of bringing the “whats underground out and into the open, like some dig in ancient lands. My grandfather use to dig down by the river and had an amazing collection of arrow heads, stone tools and other artifacts. When Great Grandfather Bates was alive he could identify each and every thing that my grandfather found. The decision was made to give the whole collection to the historical society and the Bates wrote information about the Wongunks the tribe they belonged to for that section of Goon City history.

This is one of Ruthie’s String Works. She didn’t want any other pictures taken of the other string works in her studio as in her words, “there’s not one in the bunch that I give one rats ass for.” I am not very good at working in string but you can include one just so the viewers will know what I have tried string and couldn’t make a go of it. You know I use to take a good hard look at the cord attached to the vacuum cleaner and I tossed it from here and there. I liked the lines on the floor. I also liked the idea of what the vacuum was picking up as the whole part of this cord art. I tried this art years ago gee maybe around 1969 or so. Gave it up and hope someone else takes it up. I figure its drawing, sound art and disappearance art all in one. Sort of the opposite of painting, where one takes a nice fresh white canvass and mucks it up with paint. Here we take a dirty area and clean it up with the vacuum. Here today gone tomorrow. That’s a good motto.

The first collage is an untitled piece or just say “I have forgotten what it is called.” The collage on the bottom is of the famous accordion player Pauline Oliveros when she was in concert in Hartford Connecticut. Ms. Oliveros was on her back with a leg up playing the accordion. Pauline Oliveros was one of my favorite composers and I was delighted to have met her. In 1984 I went up to Hartford with Janet Owens and stayed for a week to attend the NEW Music America Festival. Pauline played there along with some of the greats in new music. What a week that was.  I will never forget at Center Church, Glenn Branca was playing.  The audience members were offered ear plugs as Glenn’s music was LOUD!! Well I said to the women passing out the plugs how in the world can I hear the music with these in my ears. “Oh, she said, just a warning you may need to tone it down.”  “Well,” said Ruthie, “I got eight fingers and two thumbs if I need to do that.” Sort of defeats the purpose of Glenn’s work. Its a wonder the alter didn’t fall down. Maybe we should move to the back, near the door just in case the rafters start creaking and the whole damn place comes down.  You know what, get a copy of some of his music and take a listen. Well I took Ruthie’s advise and decided that we should post a you tube video of Glenn’s work.

One of my all time favorites has always been Skip La Plante with his music for Homemade Instruments. Musical instruments made from trash. Skip said to the crowd that gathered and I remember his words well when I think about art, “Every object in the world is a potential musical instrument. Every sound in the world is one you can choose to use however you want to.”

Pauline Oliveros New Music America Collage, 1984

2 Tapings

Ruthie used a lot of tape. So much at one time in her collage making that Mr. Sweeny at Sweeny’s Hardware Store asked her if she had stock in any tape companies.

Collage works

The next work is called Landscape, Stripes falling in from the right. Ruthie says these were done when she was much younger probably around age 77. She keeps them wrapped up in the hall closet some of the few pictures that she has bothered keeping. Why keep them? All of them. My god I would have to move out of here and live out the a tent if I keep all of the art I make.  Throw it away, I can always make more. That’s the beauty of it. There is always more to come out. I don’t know why I kept these two all these years.

Untitled , Forsythia branches in a tub.  2009

It doesn’t matter if the branches are the type that will flower after being brought in the house or if they do not. I like to put water in the tub and float anything. Branches are the best. With 3 bathrooms in this house I have my pick. You know here is a funny story. My mother, god rest her soul had her bathroom done over, maybe around 1962 or so. She had all pink fixtures put in. A pink toilet, pink sink, (like the rhyme), and pink bath tub. It was her pink room. My aunt when she came to visit saw the bathroom and loudly exclaimed, “Pink, pink, you stink,” upon entering the room. That was her take on the pink bathroom room.  The photo below is a good take on the pink bathroom. You know one idea pushes another, maybe I will find some of those pink flowering branches and stick them in the pink tub and after the flower decorate that bathroom with them. Maybe.

Anyway this photo was taken in the downstairs bathroom where everything is white. I never use the pink bathroom but if you like you can take a look. Up the stairs to the left and down the hall, third door on the right. If you have to let one go do it in there in honor of my aunt.

Sticks in tub.

How about a little story with this art? (more…)

Image result for love

Everyone is talking about love, love will bring this monster down. Love will shake all foundations and a wide awaking will take the place of this regime’s hateful rehotric. Love, love, love through in a bit of music and maybe we can get the monster to twirl around and around and around and around and dance, dance, dance then fall to the ground just like that foul smelling monster Abbie Yo Yo and plunk, plink wave you love, love wand and he will disappear. Really, but what would be our luck if the monster put a ban on our music? I keep hearing and reading over and over about love conquering all, love will trump hate, like everyone is just going to give up their hate and dislike just like that and become loving beings. Those who hate will still hate and there is not one thing we can do about it. You know we tried all you need is love way back in the day. It got us someplace but not to the place where we should be. How much time do we have in order to get the monster to love? How much education will it take? How long, how long, do we have the time? His works are wicked each and every hour with no let up. He thinks love is for hippies, dirty, smelly with flowers in their hair.

Maybe those who cry love are a privileged comfortable lot never going too far, the beating stick isn’t at this time hitting them upside of their head. Not all of us can just sit there and take it. A hit, a hit, a hit, hit hit, hit, hit, hit, hits. Once we heard again from back in the day that the definition of a Yippie was a hippie that got hit by the cops one too many times. We are going to keep watch and each time a group tells us that love will win in the end, we will post about it. We will post about who they are and what they are up too. We will post if they are beholden to the other evil monster, you know the one the one that is nicer and this one but still bombs the hell out of folks and deports. We want to see just who is promoting this idea and why they are. We suppose that we must try it one more time. Take the high road as they say. Take a beating, take a bullet all will be well bye and bye. Don’t expect any pie as they are not serving today. No one is serving pie get over it. No pie in the sky, you wanted it here but no one really knew how to bake it. Where and what is the reward for being love. We pander then to the tools of the ruling class that has convinced the mainstream that anything other than a lovable struggle against them is forbidden. We must stop worrying about what society, the news media or anyone will think. Smash the window, how bad, bad, bad, but realize that those on the other side of the window are committing a bigger crime. A few broken windows here and there are nothing compare to what some of he corporations are doing in their raping and plundering, their murder and genocide, their destruction of our air and water and their all around greed. Say a big fuck you to the cops, awful, thy are nice fellows and ladies who help to escort the children across the street when there are no old ladies to do it. Privileged folks forgetting that those cops kill, nice one second and all off and in your face the next. Folks who wish to cuddle with them had better get the hell out of the way while the wheel in this time and in this age is in spin. (more…)

Sitting around one Saturday after last Bessy Marie said to Olga, “You know we haven’t gone out to lunch for awhile, can’t even remember when we last did as we are always eating at home on a Saturday and then take a nice little nap get up and start again at what seems like another day.” Olga had to agree we need a little break. Let’s go to the art show a town away and then have a nice lunch at that hamburger place that is all the rave. Nice that would be and we would get in not only a bit of lunch but a spiritual uplift from seeing some art. Olga added that one of the top artists in the area curated and some artists we have heard mentioned are showing in. Let’s see what is out there as one of our favorite artists is showing in that show. Off we went and two buses later arrived for lunch in a busy little café that was quickly filling up a half hour before noon.

Lunch in the freezer. Or we might have well be dining outside in Alaska.

We should have gotten up and left but where else was there to go when one has their heart set on a good hamburger. Nowhere around here in this town. Man is it cold in here, don’t they have any heat? The older lady sitting next to us gals said, “I have to eat with my coat on its so cold.” It feels like a terrible breeze coming from the kitchen door every time it opens. I’m glad I have some soup, which is okay to eat first, hopefully it will warm me up and I can get down to eating my traditional burger with Swiss Cheese and onions.” Damn thought Olga I gotta sit here and just about rub elbows with this couple at the next table. What a crowded place this is. Maybe that is where we will get the heat from each other.

Bessy looked around the dining room and notice that over near the corner no one had their coats on but every table was full. Folks must know get here early as soon as a table was empty someone came and sat down. This certainly  popular place let’s hope the food is as good as the crowds are predicting. We must have gotten there at the right time as the place was filling up rather quickly.

Well finally the waitress came, all bubbly and apologizing for the wait. “Okay, we see you are busy as a bubbling bee and cute as a button to boot,” said Bessy we had fun complaining about the cold weather in here and rubbing our toes together to keep warm. Should have worn my fur lined socks and should have brought a blanket for over my lap and a good wrap. Man eating with my coat on is not my idea of a great time.  Bessy Marie remarked, “I bet there is more heat in a Puritan Meeting House. Foot warmer rocks needed here.”

Scanning the menu Bessy Marie decided on a lunch called, I luv Pastrami, “Wow said Bessy what a great sandwich.” It was a delicious burger with nicely cooked pastrami on top ($11.00). A well grilled hard roll with creamy horseradish, lettuce tomato, raw onion and Swiss cheese. Yum, Yum what a tasty sandwich.  Olga being the traditional one in the bunch ordered a Traditional Burger ($9.00). Honey please the lettuce is limper than a old man’s dick. Nice cheese and a well cooked burger. Its funny Olga said that with all the trouble in the food industry that restaurants would still ask people is they want meat rare, medium rare or well done?  What comes with the burger? Just some coleslaw UGH a slimy mystery pile of wilted cabbage with a weak pickle juice sauce. Strangest coleslaw we had ever tried along with a run of the mill limp Dill pickle. No bite no crunch no dill in that pickle causing Olga to wonder, “Is that pickle real?” French fries were an extra charge, only $3.25 and large enough and tasty enough and we shared a basket. Cute little basket it was modeled after a fryer basket. Better than other places were we have tried the French Fries, not greasy and done just right but what a surprise that a lunch didn’t come with the fries. Now what some would call the piece de resistance was the peanut butter pie, more like a brownie. served on a blanket of confectionary sugar a few squirts of chocolate, a nice dollop of whipped cream.  If this has any peanut butter in it I am a monkey’s uncle. Where is the peanut flavor? Maybe if we sing that song, Found a Peanut some flavor will appear?  Now I’m no pie maker but I bet I could make a better pie 10 miles from the kitchen on a rainy day with only a campfire. “Oh your such an exaggerating old coot you don’t even know how to boil water,” Bessy Marie the baker, the cook, the bottle washer and all around Kitchen Queen exclaimed, setting Olga in her place with that one. “Now hold on here that is just the point I am trying to make.”

We never care for a waiter or waitress who every time he or she passes our table says, “How is everything, are you enjoying your meal?” Well snorted Olga as long as I can keep defrosting the icicles that are forming at my nose so they don’t cut into my lip with each bite I will be okay.  Why do they always ask when you have just taken a bite of lunch and are chewing. Not talking with ones mouth full is a rule that one learns way back, most likely in dining at the table 101 for very young people, along with not spitting out your food, talking with your mouth full, farting, eating with your fingers, wiping your mouth with your sleeve and proper cutting into manageable size bites meat. But we loved her anyway. We always take kindly to our working class comrades and always  make sure to give them a great tip. Our little bubbly bee received $15.00 dollars from us and she thought we had made a mistake. Just take the money and run before we change our minds due to you questioning our judgement. Buy your self something nice and we hope you don’t declare the tip, just put it in your pocket and say, “those old gals, didn’t even leave me a penny.”

We are sure that you don’t make all that much due to the crummy laws in this state concerning what a place of business may pay a waiter or waitress. (1) Now if we ruled the place we would make it a law that all workers must start at a wage of $20.00 per hour. Any tips given for a job well done is for just that and one should not need to declare them.  You know honey a waiter or waitress works hard, always running on their feet all the time, serving all types of people, keeping orders straight, smiling, being nice and taking whatever shit a customer gives out. (2)

One thing this place has going for it is the restroom. They didn’t smell which is such a drawback in any restaurant and bar. These were clean. One was not afraid to park there naked butt on the toilet seat with no worry that a bit later, a itch would start and then another or a pimple would break out or a rash on the ass is no joy of living just because one had to pee using a strange toilet.

All in all we will give this restaurant 4.5 stars outta 10.

Overall this isn’t a place we would come back to. (more…)

“When did you become so defiant?”

Posted: January 12, 2017 in a story

I had a good laugh today. I was in conversation with a much respected person on the left and he said, “Tell me when did you become so defiant? Well now what a great question. I suppose if I thought about it I was always a defiant child. I defied the play norms of what a boy should play with and who he should play with. I defied how a boy should act, loving to get all dolled up in satin and silk gowns that were hanging in the attic and creating wigs with piles of curtains that would put the wigs of Marie Antoinette to shame. I defied the poor vrs rich norms and stole old man Bevin’s apples and then let his cows out of their pasture. I defied the sexual norms and would rather look at naked boys and play around with them than with naked girls and on and on I could probably think of more but you get the story.

But my real turning point came one day in the late 50ties or early 60ties. Now I don’t have time to try to figure out just what year it was. But it was one of those years when the air raid drill would sound and we were all suppose to stop what we were doing, duck and cover and if home go down into the basement and hide from the Russian bombs. I often wondered what the people way on the other side of town, way out there up near the lake or in the backwoods near the mud hole would do as they certainly could not hear the air raid whistle. So the bomb would drop and poof they would be gone with out any warning. Suppose its better that way. Take a listen to this song that terrified so many kids.

I can’t for the life of me remember what day of the week it was but know we were all home from school and my mother was home from work. My father who knows where he was most likely hanging off a bar stool, maybe at work, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that is where he was at work hiding under his machine. But on that day it was announced that there was to be an air raid drill and if you heard the air raid whistle everyone should duck and cover or in our case at home go into the basement and hide in a corner.  Well whatever time the fire chief, the police and the air raid specialists deemed to be the time the Russians would drop their bombs the whistle wailed and wailed. My sisters ran to the basement door, along with my mother taking with them whatever they could carry to sit out the bombing of Goon City. “Come on,” they said to me and our grandmother. “Shouldn’t we go hide too as I have heard those Russians are such nasty people and they have bombs as big as our bombs if not even bigger and if we don’t hide we will all get blown up.” “Well,” my grandmother said, “if the bombs are dropped it won’t matter if I am here in the kitchen making my apple pies or down in the basement under the stairs.” “We’ll all be dead no matter what.” Being a follower of my grandmother I stayed upstairs and made apple pies. My sisters told me that they use to knock on the basement wall to my cousins hiding under their basement stairs as she said, “just to make sure they were still alive.” But I made pies and defied such nonsense and my grandmother gave the basement crew the, “you fools” look when they emerged to a world just the same as it was before they went to hide in the basement. I stayed and made apple pie and defied something bigger than my own little world. I defied the US government and the Russian bombs.

Here is some propaganda that was floating around during those days.

Here is a good one:

When you see a flash of light brighter than the sun—
Don’t run; there isn’t time.
Fall flat on your face.
Get Down Fast!

The recommendation in most of the literature at that time was to stay down for “at least a minute.”

Kathy remembers it well: “A warning siren would sound, and you were to immediately, in an organized fashion, take cover “Duck and cover” as it were. If you were outdoors on the playground (and this is where I remember having to do these drills), you were to line up in an orderly line and shuffle single file into the fallout (bomb) shelter. By the time we’d get everyone in, we would have all been “glowing in the dark”. But I guess it lulled people into thinking that they were being proactive and doing something.’

File this under the government knew what would happen if the big flash came to town;

Shadows of humans after the bomb blast in Hiroshima 1945.

 

50 Years Out of High School (you know the rest)

Part 4–  By Benny Bean

I looked back over Part 1, 2, 3 and say, Hey you only told a very small part of the story. You’ve said nothing about your art, what you did and where you did it, you know you did it all those years, you only seemed to concentrate on the men you fooled around with. Oh well somethings just turn out that way.  I am not sure where this piece will lead as I have written so much about my times in Woodstock and about some of the happenings in Hartford I will just leave links in the notes, so anyone who may be interested can fill in the blanks.  Or go to anywhere in Pages and take a read. I am sure you will find something that is of interest about these times.

I wondered while I read the blurbs from former classmates why any of them or anyone really needed two homes? Let’s let  the facts speak here. In January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States. Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, and. 358,422 were individuals. About 15 percent of the homeless population – 83,170 – are considered “chronically homeless” individuals. In LA area alone there are over 47,000 homeless people. No it isn’t against the law to have more than one home but it is not and never will be justified. But how does one argue with the “fruits of our labors?” I worked hard all my life for what I got? No one is gonna take it from me.”

Ah some would respond, “education. It’s a matter of educating people. Yes that is a nice thing for those among us who have the time, are privileged enough to take the time to be educated on such matters as to what is enough for each of us. Education yes, some have the time but other spend their day on the end of the society’s beating stick. I met a young woman at the Peace and Justice Center who responded when I asked about a movement in town, No we don’t really have a movement here we just try to educate folks about the follies of war and the war machine.”  “Oh,” said I “nice to have the time and the luxury to do that but I wonder about the folks all around the world who are the brunt of Amerikkka’s strikes, who live where the bombs drop all the time, who suffer while you guys sit around here getting educated?” Oh that old divide again rears its head. Of the have and have nots. Of those who get it and those who do not. Well needless to say I was asked to leave the Peace and Justice Center. Guess I wasn’t their brand of Peace and Justice at all.

New York New York-The City So Nice They Named It Twice.

I got off the bus and said, damn back in New York. I took the subway down to 14th and Union Square to meet the artist who I was going to work for. We hit it off quite well, Her studio was 2 doors down from 6th Ave on 14th street. My dream corner as there was a great material store with bolts of fabric out on the street. I checked it out and bought some. Never know when it will come in useful. She gave me the keys to the cabin I was to stay in and a surprise bus ticket. The driver will let you off at the Maverick Road if you ask and I will call ahead for Joe the neighbor down the street to meet you there. I won’t be up this year till mid-June so you can concentrate on some yard work and getting the place spruced up for the summer.  She told me where the key for her house was and that if I wanted to go in and dust around the place and air it out it would be appreciated. Yeah in between getting my cabin in tip top shape as it was only used when some of her family came to visit. I hadn’t realized when she told me it was rustic what exactly she meant. Well here is rustic, no running water, no heat, no bathroom, the only modern convenience was electricity. Jeepers I said, lets hope that there isn’t any wind storm that knocks down some trees and then there goes my power. I spent one and a half years living there. Roughing it as a young man of the mountains.

I met Kenneth one day when I was hitchhiking from Kingston back home. Cute straight looking little guy with a bald head and I fell in love when he rubbed my leg. Tuesday was our day to meet as he was married lived in the big white house right inside of town. He was a graphic artist, not much work up here but I make it and loved to play with men’s asses. Brought me exotic fruit, collage sex art and I always knew he was coming when he came over on another night as I consulted the cards and signs. Taught myself to read them and got my other senses working in his directions a witch perhaps but something other than that. “How did you know I was coming today?” Oh I said I heard it through my mind. Stood outside under the moon naked kissing him goodbye talking of when we would meet again one memory that will forever be with me. Only a small part of me, here is all of the rest kissing hot again wanting to start it up right there. Start it up again go another round, hey we got all night. “Come to Middletown to the baths with me, I want you to meet some other guys.” What dumping me already. Nah, I wasn’t too interested in group sex. He came around every Tuesday and whenever else he could get away. Sometimes he just showed up but I knew took the time to do a catnip enema, bath and wait. Car coming up the hill, yes the signs were right on the money again this time. Kenneth always said, “How did you know I was coming?” “Oh,” I would answer it was in the stars.” It was around this time when we began to hear, Young men missing? One found dead in Kingston. Vigil Held in Middletown for Transvestite Hooker. Who was doing these killings? Folks began to get scared. A guy down the hill warned me, “That guy you are seeing, be careful. I think he was involved with one of the young men that went missing.”

To Hartford—Selections and part of my stories.

I heard at some of the new music concerts that there was a art gallery in Hartford that sponsored quite a lot of new music concerts and  was showing some really interesting contemporary art. Well I said I am sort of sick of living out here in the woods in these rough conditions and maybe it is time to go and live in the city. A friend of mine (he was still a friend then) was already living here and said, Yes come on to Hartford, a lot of art is happening here and you would love it. I have a rather large apartment and the rent is only $97.00 dollars a month, right downtown and Real Art Ways is right outside my window. In fact I can look out the dining room window and see a naked man and woman sleeping on a mattress right now. I went there on Halloween and won a prize. Of course you can use the photo of me dressed as that famous artist and stripper, Pierre. I would love to be in the story.

10-24-2010-044403pm

Pierre, famous artist stripper back in the day.

Hop skip and a jump next door where at the door I was greeted with, Man you look good said with hetro reservations. Any queer reading this knows that sound full of meaning. That nervous straight man doesn’t just really know what to do when confronted with a half nude male except of course when he is in the shower at the gym or taking a piss at the urinal. Eyes straight ahead don look don’t talk just piss, in the shower no looking no staring even if you want that dick and ass just wash yours and get the hell out before you get hard and discover that you really like men and want men and desire men and oh shit next time I will have to shower when no one else is around. I almost got hard the last time. Oh men, straight men, got so much trouble in this world. (more…)

remember

50 Years Out of High School and What Have I Done? (you know the rest)

By

Benny Bean

Part 3.

You know I gotta admit it. I really didn’t do anything since the days I left the halls of high school. No I didn’t sing for nickels and dimes on the street corners but shook my ass an made a few bucks from fucks with men who liked hot young things. I stuck out my tongue as much as I suck out my thumb going from place to place hanging out moving along with the times. No I never became a famous artist or a leader of the pack. I was terrible at singing, finances, sports or sitting in a cubicle at a machine all day, having to get along with people who had nothing in common with me or me with them. As I said old men and their memories are a strange thing. I always asked myself was it really as good or as bad as you remember it? Or could it be that I am only remembering the good parts but not all of the bad? Or does the bad come to the forefront and stand alive as can be, with a big fuck you and then I let out a sigh of relieve that the bad old days are gone?  How can I write such a long day by days, of what I did over the years reports when all I did was try to live. Each day was each day nothing more. My life up to now was most likely not even as interesting as those who boxed themselves in. They probably had a good time and still did what was expected of them and today on the path of leaving this planet have something to show for it. Some several houses, kids, gran kids and great grans, degrees from universities, large bank rolls, living on islands where the prosperous vacation, condo here and there, helping to save people one by one in the Emergency Room.  Settling in with just what they wanted to do from way back then, deciding early on and sticking to the plan. Here just old man memories and a apartment full of art, some close comrades and some not so close anymore. Sometimes I really believe I can go back but come to my senses and realize no I can’t, back is not in the cards. I get confused with the past and the present. Sitting in my chair, back then is alive, its safe I can manipulate all or none of it to my liking.  Remembering men like I do makes me horny. I jerked off last night thinking of all the men I could remember from my past, Bobby, Frankie, Ethan, Guy, Kenneth, Moons, Harry, Mr. Barley, Out Door Billy, Jeff and a hand full of others that came across my mind and became my evenings one night stand.

Image result for petal

But  you know the one who I really still love is Petal. The one man who I never really had any hot sex with. The one man who was more of a sister to me than a lover. The one I hope is still alive today. The one who I screamed in the movie theater with when Carrie’s hand came up out of the grave, grabbing a hold of him we kept the screaming going. Yeah we could fly and fly we did. Silly girls near the back. So silly that Jeff finally walked out on us. Girls that made curtains together and sewed outfits for the Halloween parade came up with some outrageous designs for display windows (thinking back so many of the designs were rejected as being just too “modern” for the people of Davenport and of course offensive to the owners of the store. Its a wonder they allowed us to keep our jobs. I think the boss and the other workers vouched for us, yes we can do what we are told when we are told, yes we know their windows border on the outrageous, (give it a chance folks might be drawn in to the store), yes I will tell them they have to behave and if they don’t we will split them up.

Our biggest challenge once was a window Coming Soon–Getting Ready for Fall. I remember it like I know my hand. We explained our idea to the woman who ran the better dress department and she said, I love it! If anyone complains tell them I am behind you 100%. Petal and I constructed dresses, wigs, hats, shoes and whatever else out of brown paper. Instead of covering the windows like so many stores use to when changing from one window to another we dressed up the manikins in the change over. We hauled in some branches and hinted each with the colors of fall. We folded up several beach umbrellas and stuck them in the corner. Connie painted a back drop of  two people walking on a deserted beach, helped make the leaves as she thought the window to be very artistic and wanted to be part of the art. Now that window was the talk of the store. Even old man Petersen came down from his office to see it, proclaimed it to be wonderful and said “I want to see more  interesting things like this. Send the display people up to me, I want to talk about future windows.” Well we thought there is our in. The boss just shook his head and said, “You must have caught him on a good day.” But sometimes good doesn’t last that long and good can’t be pushed further to good, good as the things of life get in the way.

Petal was offered a job in Chicago by our boss doing window displays in some high end  department store. The boss was leaving to go back to Chicago and I think he was so in love with Petal that he wanted to take him with him. Its a great opportunity for a career was all that I could say. I’ve been down the road of goodbyes before and this was just another one. But not just another one just like the other ones I went home and cried and cried. The boss and Petal left in late September. “Yeah just think of the store decorations we can do for Christmas. My head is spinning with new ideas,” Petal told the boss and me when we went out for a goodbye dinner. “Petal,” I said, “not to burst your Merry Christmas bubble but I am sure that by now most of the designs have been submitted for the holidays.” “I really thought you would stay here and together we can do many more windows, build our portfolio and then go on from there.” Nope he was going, “I have never been away from Davenport so now is my chance.”
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Where have I been? Part 2.

by Benny Bean

So here we are Part 2 getting this stuff out of me after being set off by a invite to my 50th class reunion. A news letter came out with classmates bringing us all up to speed on what they have done since we graduated from high school in 1966. Bringing us up to speed on all that they haven’t changed since patriarchy ruled the roost, most stood in line and didn’t mind the man’s thumb holding them down. Thanks my lucky stars that back in Goon City there was a group of let us say enlightened folks, the pharmacist who fought for Social Security when he was a representative at the state Capitol, called a Commie by the god-fearing righteous folks who when they retired said, “I don’t know what I would do if it wasn’t for Social Security,” the art teacher in high school who had worked at the Masses Magazine back in the 30ties, a beat poet who was our high school English teacher, a man and his wife who had been in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany, a couple of ministers who were in the civil rights movement, Anne who was a member of the War Resisters League, and my close friend Eddie whose ancestors came to Goon City as free blacks when the town was founded. Eddies grandmother was a Wangunk Indian who was an herbalist, Eddie’s older brother Peter was the person that got me interested in going to NYC as he was back and forth hoping that someday he would be a famous folk singer instead of just playing Washington Square Park with a bunch of other hopefuls as they said singing for nickels and dimes. He learned all the songs of the day came home and sang them to us kids. One song that sticks in my mind and I just listened to it again was Woody Guthrie’s I ain’t got no home in this world anymore. It says a lot in a few lines.

I want to go back a bit to the period right after I fled Goon City for the streets of NYC turning tricks out of the Times Square area, hanging out on the Lower East Side and meeting the first man that I was thought of as more than just quick sex. Ethan was his name came up to me when I was out sitting on a bench in Tompkins Square Park. working on my drawings. Fall was falling and I was getting scared. What will I do when winter comes? Freeze out here on the street. Go down to 1st street and stay in the city shelter? Chance getting bugs all over my body. What a fucked up state that would be. Crabs are not a thing that one would want to catch if ones main job was turning tricks. Get religion and join the Catholic Worker movement, I am sure that they would have a bed for a willing worker.  I knew about them from some of the folks who had sat out during the air raids when everyone else was suppose to hide from the Russian bombs, my grandmother once said, bull on that it won’t matter if I am in under the stairs in the cellar or upstairs in the kitchen, if I duck and cover or stay put in my chair, as when the bomb drops it will be all over no matter if you are upstairs or downstairs. What we have to do is stop the bombs from dropping.” That was my introduction to why must we be anti-war. It wouldn’t matter where we where, or what we were, how much we had or how much we didn’t have it wouldn’t matter if we were a man women or child, cat or dog, pig or cow it would be all over. Everything that is blameless would cease to exist. We all know that those who are to blame for war always seem to escape. I have always agreed with Frank Little, IWW organizer who said, “Either we are for their capitalist slaughter fest or we are against it.” Why would any working class person want to fight for those pigs is beyond me. Willie’s older sister Anne had been on the Ban the Bomb march and had sat out with Dorthy Day and members of the War Resisters League during the air raid drills in NYC, came back to Goon City one summer and told us all about it. How inspiring it was to hear about people taking a stand and fully understanding that war wasn’t any good for anything.

Writing the above reminded me of when as school kids we had to hid under our desks. As if that would save us.

Ethan began by admiring my drawings. I told him I am working on some musical compositions. He said, they look more like art than music, I said well I suppose can they be both? Why not I guess. Want to come to my place I really would like to make love to you. Sure I would love to. Easy as that. Ethan was going to Columbia with plans on being a doctor. His parents were flipping the bill but didn’t know that he was living on the Lower East Side among the hippies and poor people. Nah, they don’t have the time to come to the city for a visit, just want me to call home every so often, and then check in with them for at least a weekend a month. Do they know you like men? No and I wouldn’t dare tell them. I told Ethan my story and how I came to NYC and soon had to find a place to live and a job. Don’t you think you should be going to school? Going to school. Christ I was living from one dick to the next, out on the street, and you ask me if I should be going to school. Right there I knew of the divide, the divide that separated people. Yeah I know all about “someday” but I had to just get past the today. I hadn’t really thought about school one way or another but would consider ruling it out as I really hated high school. I hated having anyone lord over me with any control. I just wanted to do what I had to do and then forget it until the next day. Like just a job or you know I wonder how easy it is to collect unemployment from the job I had in Goon City before coming here? I should check it out. Ethan had a contact at the employment office and he said that maybe she could help me. It was pretty easy to collect back in those days. At the very least it would be something coming in and you could spend your days drawing and maybe consider going to art school. You want to stay with me until you can get on your feet it will be okay. So that was settled. Now I didn’t have to worry about freezing on the streets.

Mary a girl I had met back in Times Square told me the 42nd street Automat was hiring. Some of the boys were drafted and they needed a dishwasher, a couple of people to restock the compartments and if the boss liked you there was room to advance. Added bonus any left over food was given to the employees to take home. The pay was $1.05 per hour, the hours 10-6 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Maybe I thought I should try for it. The only thing I knew about the Automat was making soup out of hot water and ketchup when a person had no money, yes, friends it was true. and when they did the food was cheap and good.  I met with Mr. Barley the next day, was hired and began working on Friday. I got a job stocking the compartments with pies. Yum, Yum how I liked pies. Give me any kind of pie and I would eat it. One rule was no eating on the job unless you were on break. Mr. Barley said I don’t care if it looks good enough to eat right then and there and your stomach is growling wait until you are on break.  I didn’t mind work even if it did get in the way of living. Mr. Barley smoked cigars and liked to talk dirty. Didn’t care if it was a boy or girl, hey look at him, nice ass, she got big tits get between them you may not wake up, Man I would love to hump that. Today those words in the work place could get a person fired. I liked Mr. Barley and he liked me and more than once I ended up in his apartment after my shift was over. Ethan didn’t expect monogamy and I didn’t either, but as the days went by we began to see that we really were in love. Hard for me to comprehend as I had never been in love with a real man before. Sure I had told man after man how much I loved him during hot sex but after the sex was over we both went our merry ways sometimes hoping to see each other again and more times then not wishing never to. I can’t count the number of men I had sex with but I can count the ones I remember on two hands. (more…)