phoenix fall 1 9 6 9 universi ty of tennessee Knoxville
Fiction E ditor Charles Wm. Logsdon
N on-Fictlon E ditor Gary Kaufm an
FA LL 1969
Poetry E ditor Tina Inge
A rt E ditor Randy Phillips
E D IT O R IA L COM M ENT
Review E ditor Chris Hurwitz
Everyone appears to be condemning everyone else lately for one thing or another. I think it would be appro priate here to do some condemning myself. I would like to condemn those who “speak with forked tongue.’’ This age should not be named the “Age of Aquarius” or the “Age of Love,” it should be named the “Age of the Big Bull Artist.” There are so many of them aroimd, at UT as well in Washington. Listen-don’t you hear them? “We want p e a c e . . .We want equality . . .We want more active par ticipation .. .We want a more demo cratic process . . .We care . . . . ” Sin cerity is so beautiful. Sure, they want everything; they want the whole world to be bom anew, to be “cleansed.” Sure, and they’re doing a good job at it. Just take a look at the good old U.S.A.— wars, bloodshed in the streets, dope on the rise, indifference towards the arts, climbing mental illness rate, climbing cancer rate: A nice job, fellows!
Photography E ditor Don Dudenbostel
E ditorial Assistants Ava W ilhite, R yque T ate Alice Furlong, Suzl Nelson Harlan Ham bright, Christine GIftner R obert Nelson, Ann Scandlyn Advisory Com m ittee Dr. Richard Kelly, Mr. Richard LeFevre E ditor - Bob MIgllara Managing E ditor • Bruce Colbert General E d ito r - Mary-Kelly
L ayout and Production Rock Rockenfleld Sally Blanchard Proofreader
Ju d y Eastman
In This Issue Vol. 11
Non-Fiction Marius’ Paradox of History: The Coming of Rain By Tom Conway................................................................... page 1. Let’s Bring Back Public Hangings . . . By Tom P ilan t...............page 4. Essence of a P o et. . . By Kenneth S. K allin.............................. page 6. Country Music . . . By Bruce C olbert.......................................page 14. John Crowe Ransom’s Beautiful Dead People By Charles Wm. Logsdon ..................................................page 16. Fiction Faust Revisited . . . By Gary Kaufm an.......................................page 9. The Frog . ; . By Tom R i a n t .................................................... page 19. Reviews Through a Glass Darkly.. . By Gayle McLain ....................... page 20. Easy Rider. . . By Rock RockenTield ........................................... page21. Easy Rider. . . By Patricia Hitchcock ........................................... page21. Fantasticks . . . By Judy Eastman ........................................... page 22. Abbey Road . . . By William Frohlick .....................................page 22. California Bloodlines and Signals Through Glass By Larry Dearing ............................................................... page 23. Poems Pages .................................................. 2, 3, 5 ,7 ,1 2 ,1 3 ,1 5 ,1 7 ,1 8 , 23 Contributors—-Ava Wilhite, David Jones, K.C. Spengeman, Chaides W. Logsdon, Douglas Gordon, Brooke Dilly, Christine Griftner, Anne Roney, Jean Paul Ghislain Tippit, Ryque Tate, Darrell E. Anderson, Rago, Patricia Ellis, and Susanna Cantor.
Cover: Randy Phillips
Centerfold: Beverly Moon
Y ou-you who are guilty of infect ing this nation and this world with the most hideous of sicknesses, untruths, I condemn. When I and millions of others begin to see some drastic improvements, that is when I will retract my condemnation, not until then. People are human beings. They have feelings and wants and needs. They need to be treated with kindness, understanding and consideration. People are not machines, to be classified in numerical groups and repaired every so often when they break down. They need faith, hope, and love. They don’t need untruths. :B! C opyright 1969, all rights rasorved. T ha B! f:¥ PHOENIX It publlthad thraa tlm as a yaar during th a Fall, WIntar, and Spring q u a rta n by T ha U nIvanIty of Tannassaa Publishing A ssociation, Inc. Subm it VA aditorlal co n trib u tio n s to PHOENIX, BB ,,T h a University of T annattaa, Knox-6S; |:B villa, T ann., 37916.
Marius’ Paradox of History: The Coming of Rain by Tom Conway A man is being hanged. He has killed his wife for no apparent reason. Now he is to pay. Bourbonville is to be vindicated. The people of the valley are gathered to witness justice. However, something beisdes BourbonviUe is to be vindicated. The Coming o f Rain by Dr. Richard C. Marius rises out of the dust of a drought-ridden Bourbonville, Teimessee, to lay bare the defects of memory— the memory of the people. The novel is set twenty years after the Civil War. Reconstruction is over. Bourbonville has been fairly prosperous in the past, but this year an oppressive drought is broadcasting economical ruin. The society is wearing thin; the binding force of the past seems to be cracking. But perhaps the drought and the time are not the causative factors of the strain distorting the society. The personahties of Bourbonville ride through the novel as if they were still coughing from the dust kicked up by J.E.B. Stuart’s horse. John Wesley Campbell, attorney at law, had been in the Mexican War and afterwards stayed on in the West awhile. But an irresistible force eventually drew him back to Bourbonville. There, to study his law and stand in awe at his son after his wife died. There, to be transported into the Civil War and lose a son. And back to Bourbonville to live out a meaningless present and an illusive past to become bitter. “You go to hell, Bazely.” The Reverend Thomas Bazely has no pubUc past. The town idiot claims he saw him in the Civil War with the
infamous Quantrill’s Raiders. But people like to hear Preacher Bazely describe week after weekthe horrors of hell. “Then damn you to hell!” Samuel Beckwith, Jr., was a legacy of Samuel Beckwith, Sr., and Sarah Crittendon Beckwith. Sam Beckwith was haunted by a nameless entity which determined his every thought and action. It was prophesied that he would go West one day. But the prophecy was not the nameless entity. “I think he’s just bad. He’s the most evil man I ever knew!” Sarah Crittendon Beckwith was the living remnant of the time when the South was a fine upstanding aristocracy, days when life was sumptuous. The madness of life was to be cauterized by preserving the sanctity of the memory of those who were good while annointing their whips with illusion. The seeds no longer existed, but Sarah Crittedon Beckwith had stored the chaff. “The boy still thinks of his father,” she cried. “You see, he still loves his dear father!” Emily was a foreigner. Bourbonville was too old to remember that once everyone was an intruder. But it was Sarah Beckwith who opposed Emily’s relationship to Sam Beckwith. After all, the South had fought for a certain “purity” in the War. A Prussian blonde with a decidedly different countenance was, of course, unacceptable. It was a matter of principle. “When I leave I want it all to be a part of me because the more you have in your heart, the bigger your life is.” The characters continue to ride through the valley of P h o m ix : F all 1 9 6 9
Bourbonville. There is to be no cessation. They are to ride until their cough ejects a sputum of perpetual regret. A N A L Y S IS IV Iem ory is choking this country to death. Memory is a rag in our throats. And we hand it on when we die. Memory is the principal possession of our estate. That, my young friend, is the supreme injustice. We grub around in garbage and unroll memory, and we choke on it, but the instant we expire we manage to jerk the damned thing out of our own mouths and stuff it down the throats of our children, and we die secure in the knowledge that they will choke on the same crazy thing that killed us. The Coming o f Rain is concerned with a paradox. Memory is accused of being the poison that inflamed Southern society in the post-Reconstruction era to the point of suppuration. This seems to be a paradoxical stand for a historian to take. But perhaps it is a proclamation on the “estate” of history. Dr. Marius’ novel can be analyzed in two manners: sociologically and historically. The sociological aspects are but a base for what Dr. Marius has to say abo.ut history. This base consists of many observations about smaU-town life. The religion, politics, social Ufe, economy, and ideology of a small Southern town are related to the theme. ReUgion is seen to glaze the life in Bourbonville. There is barely any distinction between what is “secular” and what is in ‘God’s’ world. Bible readings, revivals, and wakes determine the social life. But something seems to be missing from the earlier reUgious practices of the small town. That is the practice of confession. Pubhc confession had been a common practice in small towns in the first half of the nineteenth century. It had served the purpose of a safety valve for the members of the community. It was a catharsis. But in Bourbonville, confession is forfeited for the sake o f perpetuating a period of history in the South. If the people of Bourbonville were to confess their individual unjust acts, then the past would seem no better than the present. This apparently would have been too traumatic so soon after the Great Defeat for Bourbonville to withstand. The effect on individual expression is also depicted by Dr. Marius. Every thought or opinion must be kept to oneself. The myth of the small town which says that an individual is able to have his political views heard because he is not one of thousands is simply not true. Conformity of thought is demanded for two reasons. First of all, the economy o f a small town is not too stable, so any political action has to be basically conservative in order to maintain the status gap. Secondly, people in a small town are in fairly close contact with each other. Too many dissenting views on political ideas would be detrimental to the community because of the extreme strife which was likely to result. Bourbonville seems to simply drift. There appears to be no concrete ideology. Here is the subliminal infection of the valley. There is no ideology or philosophy about an)rthing. There is nothing but the endless progression of 2
P h o en ix : Fall 1969
days that are predetermined by an effort to cling to the past. There is this great illusion which permeates Bourbonville. It can only be described as the illusion of history. The fact that one soon forgets the fetor of the battlefield. The fact that one forgets the immorahty caused by having slaves. The fact that one forgets everything worth learning from. The people of Bourbonville appear basically masochistic. They want to suffer in the present in order to vindicate the the past. Reconstruction has not destroyed the South. Besides, it was now twenty years later. Slavery had been proven to be uneconomical. The “one-crop” system was known to be harmful to the soil. But the people of Bourbonville persisted in laboring under a pernicious illusion. This illusion is what Dr. Marius describes as “folk history.” It is not scholarly history, but the history that the general population believes in. It is derived from the newspapers, the older generation, and from accepting an almost mythological explanation of the past. So here we have the paradox: the study of history may be shackling to those with estates, but historians have always cautioned the public to study history in order to prevent recurrences of past horrors. What Dr. Marius makes evident in The Coming o f the Rain is that the study of history can also cause the perpetuation of the past to the present.
Myth Jason, w h o h eld th e G olden F leece, F o u n d his hands to o m o rta l— F e lt it c ru m b le fr o m him . S iftin g in stream s o f p a le sa w d u st T h ro u g h his clu tch in g fingers T o lie sca ttered o n th e flo o r A n d be s w e p t to th e w inds B y th e over-zealous cleaning O f s w e e t sorceress M edea, she W hose laughter so u n d s like sobbing.
A v a W ilhite
FOR JACKSON POLLACK
Fall is the coUness in the air That tightens yom skin And makes your face feel dean— When Trees blush as they Slowly reveal their nudity Laughing with the wind At the joy of it aD. David Jones
Love has stung As a bee woidd sting a Less capable man Running through a lonely clearing Forcing him to submit to the pain And suppress his anger Until the poison slackens in his veins. K. C. Spengeman
BLACK UMBRELLAS Black umbrellas held close sign of rain of mist and sadness passing Bgiu-es sheltered by portable awnings sad inside the circle dryness of black umbrellas. Charles Wm. Logsdon
No one chopped Up Jack Son’s and Putitinabox For three Fifty (plus tax). Anyone bought Puzzles for Fun or leisure Or just the Hellofit Picked up a Chopped Up Pol Lock For three Fifty (plus tax) Took it home Emptied it on a Caidtable (In good light) Tried toput the Pieces to Gether in an hour Or so and Gave up. Puzzle pieces Broken before Stampedon and separated Took someone For ever and Nooneasecond and Anyone tried for an hour Or so and Gave up. Pieces inabox and Only a picture of Acompletedpuzzle and Anyone’s or no one’s Heap of broken Broken images.
D ouglas G ordon
P b o a n ix : F all 1 9 6 9
Let's Bring Back Public Hangings !!! b y T o m P ilant
“ From Baltimore to Bean Station, Burbank to Bull’s Gap, every chamber of commerce would fight to be the first community in their area to have one.”
As long as there are some states that insist upon hanging on to captial punishment, the least these states could do is to be American about it; indeed, they ought to Americanize capital punishment by making it profitable. Why not? The law enforcement agencies are paid to apprehend the vUlain; the courts—and even some witnesses—are paid to process him; the prison officials are paid; even the good, dependable executioner gets paid. Probably even the minister gets something out of a villain’s death. And that’s not even to mention all of the community merchants that derive one profit or another from the fattening-up and killing of a poor wretch. Still, though, there’s a lot of profit to be extracted from human life. We must end this tragic waste. Let’s bring back pubfic hangings! The idea has the simplicity of genius. It is precisely what would appeal to the average American mentality. Polonius politicians would jump to endorse such a plan; indeed, as they walked through their respective campaigns they would use the idea as a plank. Ambitious politicians would use this proposal as a spring-board to greater heights. It would be so easy to bring back public hangings. Consider all ofthe poor wretches just sitting aroimd in prison with aU of that empty non-productive time on their hands. Many of these men have loved ones out in society Who suffer because their bread-steaker is not allowed to provide for them. Think of what it would mean to the imprisoned and their families if they were but allowed to end it aU with a profit. To explain: We ought to give the condemned a choice of a public or private hanging. If the hanging were properly managed, the remaining loved ones would receive a percentage of whatever profit realized. As things are now, executions are rather private affairs. The state invites a few witnesses and proceeds unprofitably with its business. This is reprehensible! The state should seD tickets to the condemned’s in-laws and enemies. Private 4
P h o e n ix : F all 1969
hangings could be made most profitable. Of course, some ministers might object to the state’s -e r, rather to the vengeance of God being prostituted. They would be easily brought over to the avant it boutez point of view once it was mentioned that gallows have always existed in C hristian lands. Private hangings would provide but small profit to the condemned’s loved ones-and to the state-however. Public hangings would be the big thing. Our banks would bulge
with the money that flowed in from public hangings. There are still those that would probably find some reason to prevent making profit in this manner: nevertheless, public hangings would be better for everyone all around. Why, it would even be better for the condemned. Instead of being timid about his fate the villain would step forth and state, “I’ll be hanged!” The villain wouldn’t have to worry aboutthe care and upkeep of his family once his fate was sealed. There would be legal and financial knots to be dealt with but pubUc hangings could be managed so that the state could split monies received from the gate, souvenir programs, and concession stands with the mournful loved ones. Additional monies could be gained from selling television rights to the event; and profits wouldn’t end there. Hollywood would frantically try to obtain movie rights to such an event. Why they’d probably pay a million dollars for a real-hve hanging scene. Realism would flourish. And at a million dollars, Hollywood would be getting a bargain. As soon as they had their film developed, they could put out a road show, perhaps titled “ For A Lot of Dollars More.” And still the profits would flow in. Owners of ghost-town tourist attractions would out-do one another throwing money at the states’ scaffold. Advertising agencies would work creatively coming up with clever new ideas on how to sell death. Some industrious toy manufacturer would come out with a new game called “Hang-Um” and many parents would be relieved of Christmas worries. A cereal concern would produce a new breakfast treat, “Twist.” PubUc hangings would be held on special days, high days, and holy days. New Year’s Day would especially fit the national mood. Zionists might prefer Easter. The more provincial might hold out for Ground Hog Day. Las Vegas would easily be able to afford one every day. Rain or bad weather would not discourage attendance; and the hangings could be held indoors or out. Places for these high events would not be hard to come by. From Saratoga to Hialeah, from the Astrodome to Candlestick Park, and back again, many sites would be available. Impoverished states wouldn’t be handicapped. The poor soverigns could hold the event out in a pasture somewhere ; hire a couple of gospel quartets; and bill their attraction as an “All Day Singing and Hanging On the Grounds.” As time passed, pubUc hangings would prove to be this nation’s number one spectator sport. From Baltimore to Bean Station, Burbank to Bull’s Gap, every chamber of commerce would fight to be the first community in their area to have one. AU kinds of service organizations would vie with one another to assist their local chamber of commerce. The 4-H Club would become 5-H; and the Boy Scouts would institute yet another merit badge. Every community would drag up its contenders for fame. A National Hanging League would probably be estabUshed. Then, as the profits reaUy started stacking up, a Federal
Hanging Commission would be developed, with Congress approving an excise tax on hemp. There would be other benefits from pubUc hangings. Law and order advocates would take new faith in the American system of justice; and although poUce departments would be overworked, for the first time they would be able to pay salary plus commission. The FBI would take coUar sizes along with fingerprints; and department store shirt-clerks would pick up pin-money from the CIA. The Department of Defense would arrange secret rope research with the nation’s colleges; graduate students would work on projects an inch at a time so that they wouldn’t know what they were doing. Alumni associations would sigh a prayer of thanks for the additional funds. Campus pubUc relations officials would bite their coUective nails worrying about what would happen to their schools’ image once the radical students caught on to the rope bit. EventuaUy, the student radicals would catch on. But it would be easy to deal with any threat they might represent. The trustees or regents would consult the personnel com.puter; and the computer would spit out the name of some professor with kami-kaze experience, the man would then be instaUed as ChanceUor or President. The Man, shouting “Hard-line,” would straighten out the radicals in a hurry. He would string them along with rhetoric until that failed; then, he would ask the governor for help. The governor would ask the legislature for emergency legislation, which—after the Uberals had been allowed to save face—would be supplied. With this legislation. The Man would take care of the student hang-ups. Then, after student protest had died down, the air would be cleared for more progress. The socially involved would be upset for awhile; but even they would come to see the benefits of pubhc hangings. New doors would be opened to the lower class. There would be no discrimination red,yellow, black, even white-, every American’s potential would be anticipated. Ghettos and reservations would disappear over a stretch of time. The poor would be liberated, free at last to hold their heads up high. Middle and upper classes would no longer look down on people. The hopes of this nation would be lifted. The sky would be the limit to the peace and prosperity of all. Let’s bring back pubhc hangings. Let this be everyone’s common goal. Let our motto henceforth be “America, Be Hanged!”
Room 119 One day the janitor pushed back the chairs and made physical the gulf between the teachii^ and the taught. B r o o k e D illy P h o an ix : Fall 1 9 6 9
Essence Of A Poet b y K e n n e th S. K allin Poetry is the aesthetic, all-encomposing view o f man and his environment.
T h e word poet is derived from a Greek word meaning “maker,” and it is this notion that dominated the Augustain idea of the poet; he is not a prophet, a visionary, a seer, but a maker of an object, a poem. He must have “invention,” the gift of finding materials for his poems—fictional, but representative, images of human actions and of the world in which those actions take place; and he must also verify, heighten, and order those materials that they seem true pictures of what is, or might or ought to be, or of the evil and folly that we should avoid. For the poet makes this image of life in order to teach, not so much by precept and moral sentences as by examples that move our love and admiration or evoke our fear and detestation. And to teach effectively he must please by his fictions and by all the ornaments of language, metrics, and rhetoric that belong to his craft. The materials of peotry must derive from, conform to, and recognizably represent “Nature,” a word o f many meanings to be interpreted and expounded upon by each individual poet in his own individualistic, intuitive style. Nature can be felt to be the universal, permanent, and representative element in the moral and intellectual experience of man. External nature—the landscape—can be used as a source of aesthetic pleasure, as an object of scientific inquiry or religious contemplation, or as an image or reality. Human nature can be used as human experience in view, and as insight into the permanent, enduring general truths of mankind which are universal for all times and places. The poet exists not to take the reader on long voyages to discover the new and unique but to reveal the permanent and the representative in human experience through what becomes for us an act of recognition. True poetry gives the poet back an image of his mind. Emphasis on the general and the representative excluding theparticular andreducdng ideas to merely obvious, typical and familiar things should be closely scrutinized to avoid trampling the essential qualitites of a poet—originiahty, novelty, and accuracy of observation. If human nature is uniform, men are known to be infinitely varied, and the task of the artist is to treat the particular as to render it representative. How does the poet come to know Nature? Not, certainly, by a life of solitude or rural retirement, or by the intermittent light of visionary gleams. The poet has to be a man living among men and speaking to men, a member of society, an important and functional part of a civilized conununity that would not be civilized without his P h o e n ix : F all 1 9 6 9
presence. Only by living among men and by ceaseless and sympathetic observation of them could he gain the knowledge of Nature required of him as a poet. However, periodically the artist should relieve himself of the burdens of society and seclude himself within his thoughts to conjugate and assemble the knowledge he has gained through his ceaseless and sympathetic observation of man and his environment. One form of seclusion, whereby true aesthetic, artistic contemplation can be gained, is by making the depth of night your home. Night is a genuine attitude A sort o f peace and solitude A time to gain and undertake To ask if I am real or fake To sit and ponder what's out yonder To analyze what's in the skies To diarize our daily lives To eat some left over mince meat or apple pie Here in his own little world he can conglomerate all that he has seen, heard, and learned while observing the reality of time. A true artist’s duty to himself as well as to liis readers is to supplement his own inevitably limited experience by the wisdom and talent of the past and present through contemplative reading and analization of works by other talented artists—living or dead, major or minor. He may and must learn from many minds the essences of style, form, tone, inventiveness, abstraction, truth, correlation, diversifi cation, wit, imagery, analysis, examination, focus, and ability; and bring all o f this cumulative knowledge together to form his own particular, individualized work of art. A true literary artist must be diverse in his endeavors; diverse within a single realm o f literature, using variation of style, technique, etc. while remaining individually categor ized; and diversely attempting aU aspects of creative art-prose, poetry, short-story, novel (fiction or non fiction), plays, essays, etc.—and doing whatever he is stimulated to do. Within his own realm of literary talent, diversification should most assuredly be successful, however, by venturing into new Uterary fields success is less assured but the chaUenge is ever increased. One important thing should be noted that even though the field, of endeavor is changed the ingredients for success, mentioned previously, remain unchanged.
FROM ONE THOUGHT TO ANOTHER
POEM Henry was standing there, among a few friends (who I knew better than Henry). They were standing in front of a place, that was mine or so I felt, (yet I’ve never been there before) And he walked toward me and stared at me and I stared at him We began to walk out into the open land lavished with a thousand greens, a bit of blue and trees like in a water color (his friends all smiled and watched) Henry and I never said a word but I felt a conversation We walked along the greens and it seemed to me that Henry had a gun shot in his side and blood on his shirt, but he kept his arm over it We came to little hills and dips and noticed a little island, just past a few more hills Try as we may, to reach this envisioned utopia we couldn’t. After each hill, the mossy dip would seem soaked with treacherous water we dare not touch I almost laughed at the “tag” game with water Henry’s face only reflected mine. I can’t remember what happened; seems like we kept going then everything faded, and blurred, and quit. Christine Griftner
1. Rooms through from gold to blue as bodies turn to one from two. 2. Worry is a blank stare. And there are so many blanks to stare at. 3. Love is a restoration of faith in fragile things. 4. Hunger is a candy wrapper in the gutter and wishing you’d had a bite. 5. There are so many people wandering around lost, and trying to look intelligent about it Brooke Dilly
POEM Love makes the world go ’roimd So would it be profound To say that gravity Makes love concavity? K. C. Spengeman
I FOUND A BOOK.... I found a book my son had read. The selections marked yes, no, okay, and love: Terse communications from his other world Offering me shadowy reflections To help me know a boy, my chUd Now, reading a favorite book, I find No scribbled comments from my heart. Overtaught in false respect for margins: What win he read and ponder In distant days, to understand his mother? —Anne Roney
SOONLY SUMMER These summer days are so soon in my left-over ^ring timeness I’ve not prepared for the solstice and find myself untanned in a swim-tan world.
Charles Wm. Logsdon
P h o e n ix : F all 1969
Phoenix Bestseller List I
Fiction 1. Hailey: Airport 2. Marius: Coming o f Rain 3. Green: I Never Promised You A Rose Garden 4. To]kien: The Lord o f the Rings 5. Hellei: Catch 22 6. Anonymous: Pearl 7. Vidal: Myra B reck inridge 8. Goldman: Boys and G tls Together 9. Hailey:/7ofe/ 10. Southern: Candy
Non-Fiction Cleaver: Soul on Ice McKuen: Listen to the Warm Morris: Naked Ape Smith: Money Game Ginnott: Between Parent and Child Wolf: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Peter and Hull: The Peter Principle Malcolm X: Autobiography o f Malcolm X Ferlinghetti: Coney Island o f the Mind 10. Grier: Black Rage
This is the top-ten bestseller list in the Knoxville area for the month of October, according to surveys taken at the Campus, Gateway, and University Bookstores.
P h o en ix : F all 1 9 6 9
Faust Revisited b y Gary K a u fm a n
PRO LO G U E IN H ELL T h e head of the immensely powerful and complex Hell Incorporated, one rather stout, ruddy-complexioned fallen angel by the name of Satan, was pacing back and forth across the smooth, red coals on the floor o f his underground office. He crushed the stub of a black, pungent cigar with one thump from his powerful tail. “Meph,” Satan shouted as he banged his desk buzzer repeatedly. Satan was calling for Mephistopheles, his number one salesman and ambassador. “Dammit Meph, where are you?” Satan lit another cigar just as the door of his office opened and in stepped a taU, middle-aged devil carrying his tail suavely in the crook of his arm. Satan greeted the thin figure with an impatient snort and growled for him to sit down. “ Look Meph, I’ve got a job for you, and it is not going to be easy.” Mephistopheles smiled with confidence. Satan looked Mephistopheles in the eyes and settled back in his desk chair. “Okay, the situation is this. The stronghold o f aU good, devil-fearing Christians in North America and Western Europe is becoming indifferent to our organization. Our latest survey indicates that only a minority of the Western world now believes in Hell or myself. In fact, my image is slipping faster than God’s and that is something I will not tolerate. Mephistopheles placed the tips of his fingers together and raised his left eyebrow. “So my job is what. Boss?” “You, my number one son and right hand man, are going to reverse the trend and put Hell back into the mind and eye of the public.” P A R T ONE: O N E A R T H F arn sw o rth Augustus Underwood Sartorius Timpani II, son of wealthy industrialist and political buffoon. Papa Timpani, mixed his first drink of the morning. Farnsworth carefully measured four and one quarter ounces of gin and three quarters ounce of fresh lime juice. Meanwhile, Mephistopheles perched delicately on the ledge of a high window that opened into Farnsworth’s private lounge and waited patiently for just the right moment. Farnsworth poured the gin and lime juice into a shaker of crushed ice and began to carefully blend the two together with a long, silver stirring rod. He then removed a tall, frosted glass from
the bar freezer and strained the mixture as he poured it into the glass. Farnsworth picked up his drink and carried it to a black leather and stainless steel easy chair. He set the drink in a coaster and collapsed his long, indolent body down on the cool leather. Mephistopheles waited like a hungry, red cat, not moving a muscle. Farnsworth was in a good mood. He reflected on the past weekend. He had accomplished a brilliant and daring cuckold of a French count who was renounced for his violent jealousy and murderous temper. Farnsworth smiled as he thought of his split second escape from the arms of the countess just as the Count’s battle ax splintered the locked door of her bedroom. “Ah, what a life! I should like to indidge in many more of these escapades if they were not quite so risky.” Mephistopheles’ ears became more pointed than they usually were as he waited alertly on the ledge. “Yes,” thought Farnsworth, “there are millions of really fun things left to be done in this world, if there was just some way one could avoid dying while doing them.” Farnsworth stood up and picked up his empty glass. He walked over to the car and chose three bright green limes from a bowl behind the counter. There was a knock on the door, and Farnsworth walked across the room and pulled open the heavy oak door. There stood a tall, thin gentleman in a charcoal grey three-piece suit and hat. Farnsworth thought he looked distinguished and invited him to come in. Mephistopheles smiled and stepped inside the lounge. “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Mephistopheles. Here is my card.” And he handed Farnsworth a white business card with “Hell Incorporated” printed on it in small red letters. Farnsworth first looked at Mephistopheles, then at the card, and back at Mephistopheles. “You’re kidding, of course.” But Mephistopheles just bowed and took off his hat, revealing a fine set of pearly white horns. Although it was touch and go for a few moments, Farnsworth’s “ cool” managed to limit the expression of his surprise to several rapid blinks of his small brown eyes. “Well, I’ve heard a lot about you; but one really doesn’t believe all he hears these days. Won’t you have a drink?” “Why yes, thank you.” Farnsworth returned to the bar and mixed and poured two fresh drinks. He handed one to Mephistopheles and took a long swallow of the other, while motioning Mephistopheles to a black leather chair opposite his. P h o en ix ; FaH 1 9 6 9
“I suppose you are wonaering about the purpose of my visit.” Mephistopheles spoke with a smooth, gliding tone and Farnsworth thought him to be a very congenial person even though he was a devil. “Well, Mr. Timpani, the purpose of my visit is to make a deal with you. But this is not an ordinary deal, for I know you have nearly everything you want. I am here to offer you one thing that no amount of money can buy. I’m going to permit you to purchase immortality.” Farnsworth’s “cool” took another heavy shot to the chin, but he recovered and managed to ask how much was the going price of immortality. Mephistopheles’ voice became very confidential. “The price is usually very steep, Mr. Timpani. Namely, you have to die first. However, I have made some special arrangements.” “You have?” “Yes, indeed I have.” Mephistopheles molded the bait on the end of his hook. “My Boss and I were reading a certain magazine the other day, and we saw an ad that said there were openings for college students who would be the magazine’s representative on a particular campus. My Boss thought that the idea was basically sound, and proposed that we establish a sort of Hell’s-man-on-Earth promotion campaign. And, Mr. Timpani, I am pleased to inform you that from literally thousands o f prospective clients, we have chosen you to be our representative on Earth.” Farnsworth felt considerably honored and asked what the duties of such a position were. “They are fairly simple. You will go on enjoying hfe as you have been. The only difference will be that your adventures will naturally be more risky than usual; but you, being immortal, will always escape certain death unharmed. Then all you have to do is to teU people, when they ask you how you accomplished a particular feat, that you have Satan on your side.” Farnsworth’s eyes lit up, the bait was swallowed, and the hook imbedded itself in the wall o f his stomach. “So you see, Mr. Timpani, aU you have to do is have the time of your life and give a little credit where credit is due.” “ Hm-m-m,” said Farnsworth, “what does it cost? You mentioned a special price.” “Ah yes, I did. Okay, the price is your soul-but wait, before you make a decision, listen to the terms of the contract. You do pay us your soul in return for immortality; but, get this, you don’t have to pay us until you want to.” “You mean,” said Farnsworth, “that I can have immortality as long as I want and don’t have to give up my soul until I’m ready?” “That is exactly right. All you do is sign the contract, and you are in business.” Mephistopheles reached out with a dip net. Farnsworth Timpani signed the contract in blood and became Hell’s first man on Earth.
P A R T TW O : I N H E L L “What the Hell!” shouted Satan. “Does this contract say what I think it says?” Satan pounded his desk buzzer, and Mephistopheles came silently in. “What’s the deal, Meph? You can’t just go around giving away immortality like any old trinket that we happen to have hanging aroimd. We have got to show a profit.” Mephistopheles smiled. “Okay, Boss, I’ll explain it to you. You wanted to improve the image of Hell. You figured we were going to fade into obscurity faster than God and His crew. So what do we do? Well, I’ll tell you what I did. I have us a representative on the Earth. You know, sort of an upside-down Jesus Christ. This guy Farnsworth is a walking testimonial to the existence of Hell.” “Okay, Meph, I see your point; but what if this guy doesn’t ever want to give up his soul?” “Oh, I think he will come around sooner than you expect. Mortal men are a funny lot. They don’t consider life worth living unless there is death involved to spice things up. In fact, they can’t even enjoy success without the possibility of failure.” Satan’s eyes gUttered, and he came close to a smile. “Meph, you’ve done it again. I think old Farnsworth is in for more than one surprise.” P A R T TH REE: O N E A R T H S a t a n was right, of course. Farnsworth started with a bang. The very next weekend after signing the contract, he flew to a small South American country and seduced the wife of a fierce dictator. And to top it all off, he calmly dove twelve stories from the lovely lady’s bedroom to the cobblestone courtyard and sauntered away under a barrage of small arms fire. Farnsworth was elated. He quickly pulled off a string of fantastic escapades that would make one shudder just to think about them. But at the end of the week, he felt as though he hadn’t really done anything. The next week Farnsworth tried even harder to have the good time he knew he should be having. On Monday, he bought a powerful motorcycle and attempted to jump the Grand Canyon by driving the cycle at 200 miles an hour up an inclined ramp on one edge of the canyon. He made it but the cycle did not. On Wednesday, Farnsworth startled and amazed several honeymooning couples and a crowd of reporters by going over Horseshoe Falls in an old wooden beer barrel. On Thursday, he stunned a somewhat larger crowd by going over American Falls on one of Wednesday’s barrel staves, which had been picked up by the Maid o f the Mist. On Friday, Farnsworth made love to four publicity seeking starlets on a public beach, drank a quart of whiskey, and cried himself to sleep. He awoke Saturday noon, drank another quart of whiskey, and mumbled something about the world being screwed up. He passed out fully clothed in his custom made, sunken bathtub.
So as to not prolong Farnsworth’s agony, it wiU suffice to say that after another four days and as many quarts of whiskey, he managed to drag himself from his alcoholic stupor long enough to call for Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles, dressed in somber black, arrived the next morning at the great oak door. It was raining outside and a red-eyed, very haggard Farnsworth opened the door with a nervous jerk. Seeing who had come, Farnsworth shouted, “You bastard!” Mephistopheles just smiled and said, “Probably.” And then asked if he could come in. Farnsworth swung the heavy door wide open and returned to his chair. Mephistopheles stepped in and closed the door behind him. “I could not come last night. I had something important to do.” Farnsworth screamed with almost infinite frustration. “You knew this would happen. You knew it all along, and yet you tricked me. You tricked me so bad, but I want you to know I’m not done for yet. I’m getting out. I’m not going to play your patsy anymore. Take my God damned soul and leave.” Mephistopheles just kept smihng and reached into Farnsworth’s chest and extracted a frail, flattering soul and left through the oak door. Farnsworth stood in the middle of the room and stared at the door for a long time. Then he took a large, very deadly looking revolver from his coat pocket and placing the barrel inside his mouth, pulled the trigger several times. But of course he could not die; he was immortal. P A R T FO U R: IN H E LL S a ta n was laughing. He was laughing so hard that his usually red face was dark purple. “Ha ha, oh Hell, did you see his face when he pulled the trigger? Ha ha, ha ha.” Mephistopheles was griiming with pride. He knew that he had succeeded in a really big way. He had actually transplanted a piece of HeU on to the Earth. E P IL O G U E T h e moral of this story is quite simple. Don’t worry if you are a failure. The time to worry is when you can’t fail.
WRITER: SURPRISE Listen to the crickets calling for me: wonder what they’d do if I stole the night by surprise and left them in the morning. Christopher Hurwitz
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A N OPUS
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L IF E I S A gift—open it. A pleasure—have some. A game—play it. A joy—share it. A dream—make it come true. A n offei^-accept it. A ball—catch it. A n experience—live it. A victory—gain it. Jean Paul Ghislain T ip p it
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Country Music: The Early Years b y B ru ce C olbert
Editor's Note: This is part one o f a two part series. Part two will appear in the winter Phoenix.
There is hidden among the mountains of Kentucky, Teimessee and the Carolinas, a people of whose inner nature and musical expression very little has been said. The music of the Southern mountaineer is not only peculiar, but like himself it is peculiarly American. Nearly all mountaineers are singers of one sort or other. Their untrained voices are of a powerful timbre, their women’s voices are sweet, high and tremulous-their sense of pitch, tone and harmony is also remarkably true. In this society the fiddler or banjo player is beloved and sought after as was the minstrel of feudal days. It seems that country music has always expressed those truths to which sharecroppers, village storekeepers and truck-stop waitresses chng. Born in the early 1920’s from a mixture of gospel airs, folk airs, and blues, their music runs deep. This so-called “Hillbilly” music is the direct descendant of the Scottish, Irish and English ballads that were brought to the Southern region by the earhest white settlers. The melody of these songs is usually quite simple and many are repeated with only a change of lyrics. The songs reaUy derive their quality from the words-long narrative poems evolved by generations of backwoodsmen. “You ask what makes our kind of music successful, “said country great Hank Williams. “I’ll teU you: ‘It can be explained in just one word: sincerity. When a hillbilly sings a crazy song, he feels crazy. When he sings, I laid my Mother Away;’ he sees her lying right there in the coffin. He sings more sincere than most entertainers because the hillbilly was raised rougher than most entertainers. You got to know a lot about hard work. You got to have smelt a lot of mule manure before you can sing like a hillbilly. The people who have been raised something like the way the hUlbilly has, knows what he is singing about and appreciates it. For what he is singing is the hopes and prayers and dreams and experiences of what some call the common people.” I think Hank Williams gives us a perspectus of the country sound as he felt it and perhaps as many others do. But let us start at the beginning of modern country music as we know it today. 14
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Singing and playing for handouts of food, gas, and lodging, a tubercular ex-brakeman drove with his family and “hillbilly ork,” as he called it, to the town of Bristol, on the border of Tennessee and Virginia. Here, a field scout for the Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey, was auditioning country talent. Several days after the audition and after he had separated the yodeling singers from his three-piece band, the Victor scout cut two sides with Jimmie Rodgers: “Sleep, Baby, Sleep,” a traditional mountain lullaby, and “Soldier’s Sweetheart.” In six short years Rodgers recorded 111 sides, including 13 of his “Blue Yodels,” and attained a degree of popularity so great that general stores throughout the South became accustomed to hearing farmers order, “ A pound of butter, a keg of nails and the latest Jimmie Rodgers record.” By May, 1933, Rodgers was dead of the disease that drove him out of raUroading. He had been outselling every other artist on the Victor label. Displaying a feeling for Negro music his yodels were blue and he introduced a crooning style of delivery dominated by a nasal twang. Jimmie Rodger’s influence was so great that radio stations all over the country were flooded with requests for auditions by aspiring youngsters who claimed to be just like the old master. One such aspirant who made good was an Ozark mountain boy named Elton Britt, who left a farm in Arkansas to land a broadcasting berth in Oklahoma where his enchantment of the airwaves soon became the talk of the Southwest. Jimmie heard Elton and told him to audition. Within a year Elton Britt was a sensation. At the same time Jimmie Rodgers was first recording, the Victor scout , Ralph Peer, also recorded the famous Carter family—old AJ*., Sara and Maybelle. The Carter family featured A.P. as bass; he also did much of the writing and arranging of songs. His wife Sara played rhythm on the autoharp and sang alto while her first cousin Maybelle played lead in a clear-toned style on the guitar. One of the first songs the Carters recorded became an immediate hit.
“Meet Me by Moonlight, Alone,” a lonesome song of a forsaken girl being driven from home by cruel parents. This type of love song became very populars, though it manifested a mournful melancholy tone. These songs attained popularity not only because the Carter family skillfully played and snag them but because they were the experiences of many love affairs. The Carter tradition is carried on today by Maybelle, called Mother Maybelle now because the rest of the family consists of her daughters, June, Anita, and Irene. Daughter June is also a member of another top country act, she’s the wife of singer Johnny Cash, winner of five awards for excellance in the field of country music. Performing with a multitude of string instrument players (including Bashful Brother Oswald), Roy Acuff, the senior member of the Grand Ole Opry has reached the point where he merely rules from his throne in the Ryman auditorium each weekend. Crowds love Roy his vans include people of aU ages from Teenagers to aging grandfathers. His songs were inspirational, they helped another day in the fields more quickly, and gave a bit more assurance for folks to keep on plugging. In 1944, a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean informed Acuff one night at the Opry that the Governor had refused to sit on the stage of Ryman Auditiorium because he thought Opry M.C. Roy Acuff was disgracing the state by making Nashville the hillbilly capital of the country. It took no more than a nod of the head for Acuff to be entered in the Democratic primaries. Four years later Acuff, who could weld a yo-yo and twirl a fiddle bow as expertly as he sang, ran unsuccessfully for the governorship. But W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel did ride into the Texas Governor’s mansion and later the Senate to the hvely strains of western swing. In two successful bids for the governorship of Louisiana, Jimmie Davis used “You are My Sunshine and Nobody’s Darling but Mine,” two song hits he wrote. Davis’ opponents reportedly said, “How in the devil can you fight a song?” You just can’t beat Davis.” Jimmie recently appeared as a guest on the Tonite show, a little bit older but still singing right on key. Never underestimate the poUtical power of country music in the South. When singer-writer Merle Travis wrote “Sixteen Tons,” he hardly thought o f himself as a protest writer, or of his song as any type of social commentary. Travis just related much o f what he saw and felt. His father was a Kentucky coal miner and Travis had grown up on a more subsistance level. He had vivid recolections of the hardships endured by the family-of how the miner’s low pay was reduced further by exhorbitant prices charged at the company store. Travis’ recording released on Capitol in 1947, caused no great stir. Eight years later when another country singer cut “Sixteen Tons,” it became one of the big songs o f 1955-56. like Travis, Tennessee Ernie Ford approached the song simply as a tough, earthy tale of mountain life.
Workers of the World, their hobo songs were nomadic expressions of love for the great outdoors and drifter freedom. Country music embraces a larger complement of protest material than one would surmise. This really shouldn’t occasion surprise since most country singers came from poverty backgrounds. As Jimmie Rodgers sang “Brakeman’s Blues,” and Ted Doffan described “Truck Driver Blues,” both songs embodied the potential of meaningful social commentary. In the depression years, simply reporting events became a tragic panorama. Songs of this era illustrated the life of the displaced Dust Bowl farmer in Woddy ‘Guthrie’s works; the life of the textile worker with songs of Dorsey Dixon and Dave McCarn; and of the coal miner in eastern Kentucky in the songsof Aunt Molly Jackson and Merle Travis. The depression also moved Roy Acuff and Uncle Dave Macon to record “Old Age Pension Check and “All I’ve Got’s Gone.” Young Hank Williams won an amateur contest with an oiginal he wrote about the WPA. These songs were typical of the late 1920’s and 30’s when young men were leaving the country homesteads, the farms, the mountain valleys in the Appalachian areas to find employment and to seek a better way of life. On the eve of World War II, country music stiU covered a multitude of variants, from dulcet singing o f western movie stars to lone performers who wandered among rural radio stations, or performed in the seedy bars of the little Kentuckys and Tennessees in northern industrial cities. Gradually the older musicians and the older styles were being pushed out by new singers and new techmques. The jukebox and radio show were beginning to threaten the Uve local performer. The electric guitar was altering the sound of country music and bringing it closer to the mainstream of American popular music, little by httle the music appealed less to the the old folk values and became a bridge between rural folk culture and urban mass culture. The war made the bridge a solid structure, and country music never really returned to rural America.
J. A. YEAR GONE Thoughts like echos in small places caught, as words to ten of them are sought, rebound with in this anti cline. Bombardment till they reach a fault, through which they thrust, new chambers find. Eros ions expand to cayes of mind.
— Brooke Daily
Although! both the “Texas Drifter,” (Goebel Reeves, and Harry McClintock were both active in the Industrial P h o e n ix : F all 1 9 6 9
B y Charles W m . L o g sd o n
Hauntingly beautiful and desperately dead, John Crowe Ransom’s people move in spectre splendor among his image poems. Have you met them? Have you met the dead people? Have you met the “dynastic bough” wrenched from its family tree in Ransom’s “Dead Boy?” Have you bumped into “ . . John Whiteside’s Daughter,” she in her “brown study” of so much speculation and controversy? Have you been introduced to the beau of the waiting death of “ Emily Hardcastle, Spinster?” Or have you encountered the “burning lady” of “ chills and fire,” and the living doom of death? Have you met the dead people, the beautiful dead, the image dead and the spectre dead, and the living dead of John Crowe Ransom’s poems? The dead are not so really dead, after all. Ah, grand image death, so tender, so sweetly enhahced by the grace and poise of dying, so final. Ransom, in his rejection of the stock response of the universal experience (i.e., religion, romanticism, perfection), has taken yet another common experience, death, and has made it live (if that be possible), and beguile, and entice, “Here Lies a Lady” praises the “luck” o f graceful dying. The poem does not praise perfect dying, for the irony within prevents an admission of perfection. Ransom calls attention to that lady in “flowers and lace,” slipping into infinity admits “love and great honor.” The lady does not die perfectly (although we might say she is perfectly dead), and Ransom teUs us that “she lay discouraged and cold,” until finally “the cold settled down.” The image “cold” complements the reality “death,” and if perfection is possible, I suppose this is as close as Ransom would have us go. The dead people are, gracious and poised, honored, but irrevocably dead. Death awaits life, just as life awaits death. “Emily Hardcastle, Spinster,” has crossed that neutral point and has caught up with oblivion. Ransom’s symbolic use of “waiting” brings a quality of marking time to this poem. The feehng of stopped time, the feeling of grey hairs on the temples o f those masculine admirers of Miss Hardcastle, the feeling of something hanging back (not death), the feeling of marching in place, and of waiting, and of the humid ringing of stillness; these combine in Ransom’s lines and cause us to read, then re-read the poem. It is the same. It is pure, subtle, imagery. It waits. What was the “brown study” o f Whiteside’s daughter? So many have speculated and argued, and decided, and yet the opinions hold about as much wind as a net. Here, I attempt to enter, perhaps rashly, into the storm of controversy. First, excluding Ransom’s death image in the whole poem, we must observe the daughter’s “tireless” energy. IS
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John Crowe Ransom’s Beautiful Dead People and her unfeminine chasing of geese, she, in her exuberance of living (youth untried by tenacious competition for husband, love, happiness, and children) possesses aU of the attributes of a Tom-boy. Her femininity is hidden by a Freudian latent stage (that stage characterized by the Oedipus and Electra concepts of psychology; (girls prefer fathers, boys mothers), and she subconsciously desires the masculine privileges of boys (i.e. “speed,” “taking arms against her shadow,” and taking a “rod” against the geese). It seems possible that all of her relatives and acquaintances have always associated her with the, rough-and-tumble lawn play of boys; suddenly, upon her death, her relatives are surprised at the laced and frilly “primly propped” dresser (study?) in her room. Dead: mother-wife; spinster-vh^n; girl-youth. Ransom’s hand kills them off; destroys them in “one fell swoop.” Death is supreme, final, but not perfect. Even as death is not perfect, neither are the dead. The “dynastic” death of the “little causin’’ in the “Dead Boy” is a brief look into the aristocratic life that Ransom, and the New Critics (Alan Tate, Robert Perm Warren, Donald Davidson, Yvor Winters, and Cleanth Brooks), admired so much. Herein death is final, not only in its “foul subtraction” of one life, but also in the “old tree’s late branch wrenched away;” perhaps the last “branch.” Is death the more sorrowful for this one dying? Ransom tells us harshly, defiantly, somewhat gleefully, that the “Dead Boy” is “not beautiful, nor good nor clever,” and that he is “a pig with a pasty face . . . squealing for cookies.” But, as we have asked,is the death, the imperfection o f dying the more sorrowful for this one loss? Yes, the sorrow of this ungracious death is the more poignant because of its resulting finality. Ransom’s dead people; gracious and virgin, youthful and ugly, imagery and reality. People with one thing in common. All o f them dead. Have you met John Crowe Ransom’s dead people? So beautifully poetic and dead.
FROM THE WINDOW Stained glass is so impractical. Windows are, after all, made to see through Not to marvel at. I stand at this casement Trying to watch the people who walk below. But my vision is distorted By having to look through A Savior and his Virgin mother. The light shines so peculiarly Through their faces. I wonder, Kysha, what you would look like Through the stained glass. Rygue Tate
TURNABOUT I went down a stairway At the workshop for the blind And found the basement Much too dark to see. Funny! I thought. It wouldnâ€™t bother them. You usually donâ€™t think of Sight as a handicap. Anne Roney
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The scotch an finger their cloth of black An nibble their concrete apples an listen To me on the flowered rug on painted floor An closed blinds an as I finger my robe Of yellow they marvel an laugh an sing,
FLYING THEONE, G. L. E.
The great Legions of Eagles soared above the clouds An even further above the Earth an sought The lonely mountaintops to rest their cares An touched each island in the clouds To stay only till they could drink a cup Or eat one local unfortunate an then Moved on to their journey’s end, which at This time was a kingly aerie inhabited for Eons and forever as long as time was recorded In the scholarly pages of the ancients of All eagles, by the greatest and loftiest Eagle-Lord . Who inhabited the aerie an remained untouched. The Great Legions, an one named Theone soared above The sea of clouds an stopped to rest As always on some unfamiliar mountaintop An discussed the teachings of the Eagle-Lord An tried to show Theone that the wisdom Taught by the grand Eagle-Lord was forever An the legions and Theone skipped from apex to apex Staying only to record the places they had been Always remembering the direction they were to go. That being always back to the Kingly aerie. The solitary figure perched on the lonely peak An viewed the clouds an other islands An a thiret grew in the depth o f his throat An he skipped an tripped over many nameless peaks T il he found a mysterious satisfaction An Theone ventured an lingered around An over the peaks and down down down Through the clouds an saw lower peaks An ventured further down an further down T il he walked naked into a virgin ocean An emerged clothed in a robe o f yellow. On an older day I am lying still Upon my flowered rug an naked no longer An tell of the aeries an the Eagle-Lord An about how Theone in his Younger days did venture alone an naked An thirsty an seeking into the Virginal ocean an emerged in the robe o f yellow An as they sit an hear the tale Of the eagle’s aerie an as they sit An listen an smoke the cigarette and drink
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“Are not the eagles a backward lot, to Never venture into the valley?” an 1 Take up my rug from under their feet An smile......... An shake my head......... An return to my lofty aerie. Darrell E. Anderson
IN MY OLD BROWN BUREAU In my old brown bureau I keep God Heaven ia the last drawer, under the underwear He ia safe there Because no one can find Him So when someone says God is dead I know better He’s hidden in my drawer Waiting Rago
COMING OF SENSATION I hadn’t noticed how whiskers scratch your shoulder. The sharp, bristle sting I knew before; But not the warm edge of comfort that surrounds it And makes you want to fill your lungs with air. And concrete blocks, funny things. Rough in a wall painted white. Before I liked their whiteness, now my eyes Like the way they would feel against my touch. Patricia Ellis
b y T o m P ilant O n c e upon a time there was a frog that couldn’t hop. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t; it was simply that he couldn’t. As a tadpole, he had been fairly normal, except for a rather pronounced tendency to swim vertically. All o f the other little tadpoles thought o f him as uppity, or straight. Other than that, he had a happy tadpolehood, and nothing especially worthy of mention came o f it. When puberty was reached, he became w orried,for-try as he m ight- he could not hop. In fact, he had to crawl everywhere he went. Puberty passed and the poor wretched frog despaired o f ever hopping. He almost became neurotic. Then, one day he heard o f a frog o f a different pond that sat differently. He decided that he would sit differently, too. So, he sat and he sat—and don’t ask why, for who knows what goes on in the mind of a hopless frog? And so he sat. Summer faded to rust, and rust froze—still yet, he sat. All of the other frogs had thought him insane; they had had the good sense to s n i ^ e down beneath the mud when the sun became indifferent. Ah, but not poor hopless. He sat when others had the proper sense to hide, and experienced things not intended for insignificant creatures. He saw new colors, smelled new odors, heard deeper sounds. Then, he became torpid and dreamed o f crystal things unknowi.
The sun became civil again; flowers gave botanical musk; and, the buried arose. The hopless one had eagerly awaited his friend’s return. My, the things he would reveal to the tinud! He called them to his stance, inviting them to partake of revelation. Slowly, they came forth. Some stiU clotted with mud, some still dripping, some on first legs, some beaten and aged: All came to hear what the hopless one would say. As he opened his mouth to speak, a cry of alarm was given: “The Bird! The Bird!” The hopless one looked above and saw death hunting his kindred. And then a miraculous thing happened! Just as the bird swooped, the hopless one stood. For the first time in his life, he stood! The bird was so alarmed that it missed its prey, and flapped frantically away from the monstrous beast that had faced it. A larm must have been sounded th ro u ^ o u t the flock o f death, as none returned that season. All of the pond-folk breathed a sigh of thankfulness. Then, they remembered what had saved them. Spontane ously, all turned and started to voice their blessful croaks to the hopless one. Ah, how their hearts dropped. The hopless one had died from the strain o f standing alone. As the seasons passed, the birds returned. Phoanix: Fall 1989
REVIEWS F IL M S , T H E A T E R , A L B U M S
‘Through A Glass Darkly’ Bergm an challenges film view ers' m in d s w ith th e first o f a fa m o u s trilogy. by Gayle McLain The American movie industry is notorious for selling sex and glamor per se in order to draw the millions of theatre-goers that retreat to their neighborhood cinemas every week. Anxious to add a dash of savory spice to their habitual routine, flick fans eagerly scan the assortment of lewd advertisements, pick the one that promises thrills every moment, and rush down to the local Bijou to plunk down their coins. In return they witness animated versions of cheap paperback novels. It is unfortunate that most film pro ducers, directors, and writers continue to turn out more of these mediocre films, and it is encouraging to find an artist who does not surrender his artistic aims to commercial interests. In an age in which visual media exert such profound influence on the human mind, it is encouraging to witness the work of Ingemar Bergman, the Swedish playwrightdirector. UT audiences sampled a piece of this man’s creativity when “Through A Glass Darkly,” the first of a three-film trilogy, was shown at the University Center Auditorium in Octo ber. His devotion to exploring the deeper aspects and possibiUties of cinema art is probably why he suffered a long period of unprofitable apprenticeship (his first commendable success did not happen until his sixteenth film, “Smiles of a Summer Night”). With his characteristically Swedish emphasis on black and white photo graphy, Bergman revels in the creative freedom of directors. This freedom is 20
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considerably more important to him than conforming to conventional suc cess-patterns. Undoubtedly, much of what the viewer perceives on the screen is the man’s own philosophy and experience, expressed in his attempt to delve deep into the unexplored regions of the human mind. He has said, “1 only want to make film s. . .films about conditions, ten sions, pictures, rhjdhms, and char acters which are in one way or another important to me.” For this sensitive, conscientious artist, the motion picture media is his way of saying what he wants to his fellow men. And before conveying that message, he prepares himself and his co-workers, for an emotional and intellectual experience. When the crew is ready to shoot a scene, he is no longer exclusively himself, but part of the camera. Bergman has such an intense degree of involvement that he cannot help but transmit part of himself onto the screen. In many of his films, he is involved in youth’s “coming to terms” with the imperfect life. Realizing the evident gap between reality and fantasy and learning to live with this knowledge is the primary theme of Bergman’s “Through a Glass Darkly.” Using black and white photography portraying relatively bleak scenery, Bergman transmitted a chilly mood to the audience. The lonesome cries o f birds, the violent roar o f the sea, and the suspenseful silence of the beach house all blended to convey a gray atmos phere. As the plot unfolds. Papa has just returned from Switzerland where he has been working on his novel. He escapes sad circumstances at home by traveling to other countries. Re sponding as he did when his wife was wasting away from her fatal illness, he has sought refuge from the unbearable
reality of his daughter Karin’s identical illness. Papa is told by Karin’s husband that he is perverted in his lack of feeling. There is only one phenomenon that he has not an inkHng of—like itself. He is interested only in estab lishing a name for himself as an author, his first success meaning more to him than his wife’s death. He would rather sacrifice his family’s lives than his art. Papa writes in his diary that, to his horror, he finds himself actually “interested” in Karin’s illness, obses sed with a desire to watch the horrible course of the disease as it eats her away. Karin secretly reads the entry in her father’s diary. Eventually, he admits to her that he has drawn a circle around himself, shutting out everything that has no place in his own private little game. He admits, “Every time life smashes the circle, the game turns into something gray, tiny, ridiculous. So one draws a new circle, builds up new barriers.” The father’s observation is reflected in Bergman’s own philosophy: “We walk in circles so limited by our own anxieties that we can no longer distinguish between true and false, between the gangster’s whim and the purest ideal.” After an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. Papa reconciles himself to reality. He no longer has a facade to keep up. “Truth requires no catastrophes,” he admits. “1 can see myself. Out of my emptiness, something was born which 1 hardly dare touch or give a name to. A love—for Karin and Minus (his son) and you (Martin, his son-in-law). However his final acceptance of the cold facts of life and his resulting love are of no help to his daughter, Karin. Besides inheriting her mother’s incur able illness, the young woman is a schizophrenic. Only when she reaches the final extremities of her illness does he show her compassion, an open need for her love. Karin teUs him that she wants to go
to the hospital to live since she cannot endure living in the two worlds of her present existence, going from one to the other. Her illusions tell her that God will come through a door in their own house and that there will be love. But when her God finally reveals himself to her, she sees Him as a cold, calm spider. Neither can Minus, her brother, live with the reality that has thrust itself so harshly upon his addescent world. Confused by his awakening awareness. Minus ponders, “1 wonder if everyone is shut up in him self.. .each of us in his own box. All of us.” Minus feels an emptiness because Papa is constantly absorbed in his own affairs. Reality, as Minus has known it until now, has been shattered. Grap pling with the cold barrenness of truth, his senses begin to change and harden while his receptivity sharpens as he moves from the make-believe world of innocence to the torment of insight. Minus is driven to confide to his father that he caiuiot live with reality. Reassuring him that he can. Papa advises him that he must have something to hold onto; for example, God. Asked to prove the existence of God, Papa answers that his own personal hope lies in the knowledge that love as God exists as something real in a world of men. He says that his hope turns emptiness into wealth and hopelessness into life. “It’s like a pardon . . .from a sen tence of death,” he describes. Minus’s evident relief appears to stem from the fact that his father actually communicates with him, for as the movie ends. Minus whispers in amazement, “Papa spoke to me.” Innumerable observations and valu able truths are related in “Through a Glass Darkly.” Consequently, film viewers feel that their sensibilities are newly awakened regarding insight into human experience. Bergman challenges men to think, to grow more aware of the vast regions and possiblities of the mind which man has not yet con quered. The film master does not offer the “ cheap thrills of quick-scale” type of
entertainment to the public. On the contrary, those who witness his quality work leave the theater with the suspicion that they have been chal lenged, for a change, instead of underestimated. In short Bergman, the creator-artist, produced “Through a Glass Darkly” in an effort to give men better insight into themselves by observing other men through the eyes of one sensitive artist. Two interpretations o f a powerful contemporary motion-picture and win ner o f the Cannes Film Festival.
“Easy Rider,” has been billed as “A man that went searching for America, and couldn’t find it anywhere.” The billing is wrong. “ A man who went looking for America and Found it,” is the proper billing. You want to leave the theatre and prove to yourself that America isn’t what Billy and Wyatt found in the movie, but you wonder if you can. You wonder if it’s really there. While searching yourself, think about the story. In some form you’ve seen something like it before: The adventurous , dissenting ‘ American youth who travels across America seeking his own “Holy Grail.” There was always the kindly old timer (very wise) who straightened him out and sent him home to momma and the girl next-door. “ Easy Rider” shows what it’s like today: prejudice and fear combined with two freaks on big choppers. When fear (in the guise of a pick-up truck) meets the freaks, you receive an overdose of hatred and rejection. As Billy (Dennis Hopper) says, “They’re afraid of us. They resent our free dom.” It bugs you off, but it’s good for you. The best performance is given by Jack Nicholson, playing the alcoholic lawyer the two meet in a small town jail. Nicholson’s first taste o f moving
panacea is probably the most humor ous scene in “Easy Rider.” Good oT George Hanson (Nicholson) makes the going much sweeter for a while. Dennis Hopper’s direction of the film is fine. Hopper didn’t follow a preplanned script; he took the entire cast and crew for a trip, and when they found an appropriate setting, the scene was shot. If local residents gathered to watch the screening of the film, in many cases they were used as “extras.” Hopper also did a good job of portraying the outgoing, impetuous partner. The man who went searching in his red, white, and blue Harley is Peter Fonda. He is the “Easy Rider,” and his search carries him throughout the Southwest and Southeast. Some of the most popular recording artists and groups provide backround music for the film. The call of the wide-country is strong when you see the two nomads toss off their watches and head out on their bikes to the open road to Steppenw dfs “Bom to be Wild.” Other well-known artists employed in the film are the Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, and Roger McGuinn. Every song is weD suited to accent the scene in which it is heard, and it brings out much emotion with little pain. “Easy Rider” is one for the road: a trip through the America of truth, beauty, and hatred.
Cannes Film Festival winner “Easy Rider” is exactly as the marquee bills it—a trip in reality. Bigotry narrow mindedness, ignorance, prostitution (in more than one sense) and phoni ness abound in this film which portrays, very basically, America. Peter Fonda, as Captain America, and his rather insensitive sidekick Billy, played by Dennis Hopper, trip across the country finding some real and some very unreal people. In their quest for the ultimate New Orleans Mardi Gras, they “blow it,” as Captain P h o sn ix ; F all 1 9 6 9
America so aptly puts it. Good things were there for them if they had only recognized them. The truly beautiful scenery and top photography shines throi^h to point up even more the great irony of America the “Beautiful Country “versus America the “ Ugly People.” In a commune in the southwestern desert, the two cyclers meet some people trying to exist in what is advertised as the “traditional Ameri can way.” But instead of remaining there, they continue ahead in their search for the big-time. Sadly maybe that this had been their place. Perhaps the best acting came from Jack Nicholson, as George, a tied-tothe-old-man’s-image drunk who might have made to someday to find peace of mind. But good ole U.S.A. type fear destroys him before he could break away. In his explanation to Billy about freedom, he gives perhaps the ultimate reason for the bigotry that exists in our society. “Easy Rider” contains all of the elements necessary for a successful current-day “surface” film: sex, vio lence, drags, freaks, booze and red necks. Yet, each element comes together for those who are intimate enough to realize that this is Hfe, this is reahty, and this is a part of America today. It is quite easy to understand why “Easy Rider” is a Cannes Film Festival winner. Dennis Hopper, the director of the film, does an excellent job by bringing all the basic elements together and in harmony with each other. He appears to be experiencing the story while he is acting it out, and his directing o f Fonda and the rest of the cast is also done with extreme talent. “ Easy Rider” truly earned the Carmes’ award, and the fine work done by Nicholson, Hopper, and Fonda on the film is to be greatly appreciated.
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Clay Coury. The Narrator, El Gallo, is Michael G. Rysell. The Fantastics is one of the few plays to be released for production outside of the professional theatre while still being played there. On a side street in New York, a play called The Fantastics has been packing the house for almost a decade. The Fantasticks, currently in pro duction at Carousel Theatre, is a hilarious musical comedy with a moral. Two romantic, poetry-creating young people are in love with each other, but are separated by two fathers and a wall. The story is about Luisa, who turned into a rose, instead of a dependable vegetable (according to her father), and Matt, who learned to dissect violets in college when he should have been learning to dig cesspools (accor ding to his father). Other important characters in the play are Bellamy and Hucklebee, the fathers, and the Nar rator, El Gallo, who was once a bandit but gave it up because of saddle sores. Much of the excitement of the play can be found in the many understate ments in the conversations of the characters, especially the lovers. This is one play in which the hero is a loser. This play, which has been described as fresh, highly imaginative, entirely new, and completely charming, was written by Tom Jones and Harvey & Schmidt while both were under graduates at a college in Dallas. Originally, it was a successful skit which was . made into a full length musical comedy. The Fantasticks was first presented “off-Broadway” on May 3, 1960, at the SuUivan Street Playhouse in New York, where it is still running. “Try to Remember” is a popular hit song from this play, as are “Soon It’s Goima Rain” and “Much More” . In the Carousel Theatre production, Fred Fields is director; Anne-Dale Guiim, choreography; and James Brimer, musical director. Ambrose Holford is the vocal consultant. Luisa is played by Becky Ownes, and Matt by John M. Keenan. The fathers are George R. Roberts and
It has been almost a full year since the Beatles released their twin album. The Beatles, which drew record sales in the United States. Abbey Road (Apple records, London,)their latest release, has been reaching for the top of sales-charts in America after only a month and a half in the country. Sales soared with the recent rumor of Paul McCartney’s death. This was hotly denied by McCartney to a reporter in Glasgow with the words, “If I was dead I’d be the last to know.” The recording as a whole is a return to simplicity. As in The Beatles, there is no use of the London Symphony Orchestra for background substance. Abbey Road contains their current single “Come Together” by Lennon and McCartney. The song is a change o f pace and is probably the happiest tune since “Honkie Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones. “You never give me Your Money” in conjunction with “Carry that Weight” create a complete song, although they appear in different places on the album. Both songs (by Lennon and McCartney) promote concepts of freedom, but in the end one still has to “Carry that Weight.” “Ho! Darling” is a romance with the early sixties, and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” reveal the writing team’s extreme versatility “I Want You” lines up with the Butterfield Blues Band, and “Come Together” is getting together with Lennon and McCart ney’s personal flavor. The most beautiful song on tne album is attributed to George Harrison. “Here Comes the Sun” combines an acoustical guitar with such techniques as clapping and
syncopation +o create the rock ballad. It stands alone better than any other cut on the album. Richard (Ringo) Starkey, who in frequently writes songs himself, claims “Octopus’s Garden.” It is very much like “Yellow Submarine” in that it hints at the proverbial “utopian” life. Abbey Road contains sixteen songs which are bound to develop a trend toward simplicity and meaningfulness in contemporary rock music.
J & I \
‘California Bloodlines’ and ‘Signals Through Glass’
J f |
by Larry Bearing \
California Bloodlines (Capitol ST203), John Stewart’s first album as a soloist, I would not use as a text. There is much more emphasis on sound and a little less on lyrics. The poetry ranges from the sensitivity of “Missouri Birds” (the conflict of wandering and settling down) to the
triviahty of “ She Believes in Me,” which can be losely interpreted as “tongue-in-cheek” humor. The lyrics are stiU far above the established norm of nonsense. The sound ranges from and soft country-rock in “Shackles and Chains” and “Omaha Rainbow” to neo-folk in “The Pirates of Stone County Road,” a reflection of imagi native childhood games, sHghtly marred by a too-folksy voice of the boy’s mother. “ Razorback Woman” is a good lyric song about the hardiness of a modern pioneer family, but it is damaged by over-orchestration. From the brief liner notes: “It’s all in Nashville roots and California Blood lines. Oh, Mother Country, I do love you.” This album is not as good as “Signals T h ro u g h th e G la ss,"b u t it certairJy is different. Stewart is one of the few song writer poets who can give his songs good tunes and sing them well. He narrowly missed Top 40 success with “Armstrong,” a comment on re actions, pro and con, to the moonwalk. It was misinterpreted by many emptyminded program managers as an anti-moonshot song and was baimed on many radio stations. If Capitol
stands by him, John Stewart may soon be heard from. Although Signals Through the Glass (Capitol ST-2975) by John Stewart and Buffy Ford is classified as folk, all the songs are originals by Stewart, a first-rate poetic writer-singer. The accompaniment by John Andrew Tartaglia is subtle and highly pro fessional, emphasizing the lyrics instead of obscuring them. Stewart’s voice is honest, strong, deep, and on key. Buffy adds a delicate, wistful harmony and, in “Nebraska Widow,” a powerful solo. The album is a musical portrait of America. “Signals to lAidi” tells of a young girl who is sensitive to the death of anyone or anything-a man, a woodpecker, even a black widow. “Cody” is a vintage man of the Old West, “the forgotten son o f some old yesterday.” “Muckee Truckee River” is a pollution protest-against pol lution of all kinds. The last song on the album is an expression o f a fear shared by most American men be tween the ages of 18 and 26. This record is my favorite; if I were teaching modern American poetry, I would use it as a text.
D E S E R T T H E SH IP
TWINKLES While flurries of leaves flew. Some thought o f iced snow Tingling the skin of unwarned faces. But some had mirages Of underwater Meccas—stiU Others worked, hesitantly raking The others’ dreams into baskets. K.C. Spengeman
d esert th e ship w h en it sails fo r h o stile w aters— i t ca n t h u rt to leave w h en y o u figure how m uch m ore can he gained b y w aiting to catch th e n e x t ship th a t c o m es y o u r w ay.
THE ALCHEMIST WeD, hell. 111 write poetry; Unrequited love is good for poets. So I’ve written and written And submitted and submitted And haven’t sold a damn thing. Fat lot of good it did me to lose you. Anne Roney
Susanna C antor
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An American Parody
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