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Fiction Editor Non*Fiction Editor Charles Wm. Logsdon Gary Kaufman Poetry Editor Tina inge

Art Editor Randy Phillips

Photography Editor Don Dudenbostei Editorial Assistants Sandra Woods, RyqueTate Dave Lauver, Suzi Nelson Harlan Hambright, Christine GIftner Mike Gilligan Advisory Committee Dr. Richard Kelly, Mr. Richard LeFevre Layout and Production Jim Shaver Managing Editor - Bruce Colbert

Proofreader - Staff

In This Issue Volume 11

No. 3

SPRING 1970 Non-Fiction John Henry ;,a black man, by Jon Pedersen .............. page 3 Mark Twain in Tennessee, by Jim Shaver ................ page 12 In defense of theatre, by Bruce 18 "Tally ho! ’ (and the foxhunt is on.. .), by Ray Gill .page 22 Presentation of a note of indebtedness to James Dickey for ten dollars and an unscholarly C+, by Charles Wm. 29 Fiction I just relax on Sunday afternoons, by Robert Dominic......................................................... page 8 The night train, by Joseph DeVald ............................ page 19 A corn-fed gal, by Tom Pilant..................................... page 24 And then black, by Debby 28 Pictorial Southern architecture; a historic past ....................... page 30

Webster’s dictionary defines the word equality as “the quality or state of being equal.” In modern America the word and its definition have been tossed around quite freely. As a matter of fact, throughout the history of the United States the word has been misused and abused. Each time there is a political campaign, we hear the old word over and over again. In the newspapers, when we’re searching for a job, on the bottom of the classified ad we see “An Equal Opportunity Employer.” When we are looking for an apartment or a home, the sales agent usually teUs us, “We don’t discriminate in our operation.” In all earnestness, the word “equality” must have a sweet-smelling sound; and to many people, that’s all it is and has. If we are attempting to find a truth, then we already know that there is no such thing as political, social or economic freedom in America. Of course, the men high up on the political, social or economic scales will tell you that equality does exist in America. But how can they know what equality is??? The people-the common people—these are the people who truly believe in equality, and these are the people who can find it. Why? Because these people have imbedded deeply in their souls a vague and obscure concept: the philosophy of equality in man. Does all this sound like commun­ ism? I don’t know; read the Constitu­ tion of the United States.

Have a safe and sane summer.

Poems Pages ........................................5, 6, 7,11,14, 21, 26, and 27 'i'

Contributors - Chris Griftrer, A. Steve Hotard, Mary Sanders, Steven Dale Leonard, Michael D. Galligan, Anne Roney, Dr. Richard Marius, Tina Inge, Marilyn Eichstadt, and R. Parrott. Cover and Centerfold: Randy Phillips



Copyright 1970, all rights reserved. The. PHOENIX is published three times a: year during the Fall, Winter, and Spring, quarters by The University of Tennes-. iiisee Publishing Association, Inc. Submit: A::!editorial contributions to PHOENIX,: ::::;The University of Tennessee, Knox-: vine, Tenn., 37916.

T he John Henry of whom Americans sing was no black Paul Bunyan but a real man who drove steel a century ago to build what was then the longest turmel in North America. He was one of a thousand men and boys who worked like dogs and died like dogs driving the Big Bend Tunnel through more than a mile of treacherous red shale in Talcott, W. Va., as the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad pushed west through the mountains to link the shipping lanes of the Chesapeake Bay with the Ohio-Mississippi. All the hundreds of his fellow workers who were killed by fever, falling rock and bungled blasting, died unsung, but John Henry was raised to immortality by the baUadeers who preserved the oral traditions of the Appalachians. In the fifty years since the ballad made it’s way out of the mountains and into the rest of the country, ignorance of the story it tells and the hacks of Tin Pan-Alley have combined to distort John Henry into a tall tale and to unman him. Contrary to most of the versions of the John Henry ballad, he never had a wife named Polly and she didn’t drive steel like a man when he took sick! Women didn’t go into the tunnel, and if they did they would have been too busy to have driven any steel. The women of the wilderness work camps usually lived down the road a piece, resting up during the days against the return of the men who sweated, and bled and cursed and tore at the mountain from dawn to dark and took their pleasure in women and whiskey, with the ferocity of those who are likely to die tomorrow. There were some broads that followed the railroad through the mountains, but they weren’t swinging hammers.

John Henry drove steel in the Big Bend Tunnel in the early 1970’s. He was a Virginian, only a few years out of slavery who met on less than equal terms but still mastered both his fellow white laboring men and the clever technicians who were inventing machines which would put skilled workers out of work. And,as some of the more ribald renditions af the ballad hint, he is a potent Freudian symooi, hammering away in the tunnel, making Mother Earth yield. In early versions of the ballad,and according to local tradition, he kept a blue eyed woman. The later, scrubbed versions, either turned him white or made her dress blue and skipped the eyes. The story of John Henry is much like a Greek tragedy. The hero foretells his fate, then acts it out without flinching; a man must do what he can, and must try what he knows he cannot. The setting was even dramatic, the last wolf having been killed on nearby Kennedy’s Knob only five years before. The first explorer to tranverse what is now known as Summers County was Selim, and AUgerian, who struggled through the Allegheney Mountain spurs in the mid 1700’s losing his clothing and most of his equipment. He became a Christian later and eventually went crazy. A century later it took surveying parties years to map out the line of the railroad which grew out of George Washington’s Canal Boat line. By the time the surveyors reached the Big Bend of the Greenbrier River, where the stream dashes against Big Bend Mountain and turns sharply aside to meander around the ridge for ten mile before returning to within a mile of the starting point, they were probably willing to try anything to shorten

John Henry: a black man

by Jon Pedersen

Phoenix Feature

Phoenix: Spring 1970


the trackage, even a tunnel project more bold than any ever attempted by Americans. Nineteenth Century builders had boundless faith in the ability of science to overcome obstacles. Better they should have gone around. Big Bend Mountain is composed of hardfaulted shale which resists drilling and blasting but cracks and crumbles quickly on exposure to air. The technology of 1870 wasn’t able to cope with the tricky rock which from time to time thundered down on the workmen and killed at least one in five. One fall listed on the records of the railroad company state that on April 28,1870, 22 mUhon pounds of earth caved in near the East portal!! A tunnel worker who escaped serious injury was lucky indeed, and the toll included death by disease and asphyxiation of men working by the orange light of the smoke lamps, charged with thick, heavy blackstrag oil. Many of those who died, including, some say John Henry-were dumped into the huge fill at the East Portal, along with the mules that succumbed from polling heavy cars loaded with the rubble mucked out after each round of black powder or dualin, an early form of dynamite that was only a little less “tetchy” than pure nitroglycerine. John Henry’s job was to drill holes for the blasting, which required from one dozen to four dozen holes, sometimes as deep as twelve feet for each round. Since the drills of the time would only sink a fraction of an inch into the rock with each blow, it would take half a dozen steel drivers as much as half a day to drill the holes for one blast, which would advance the

Phoenix: Spring 1970


turmel heading perhaps 10 feet. After each blast or “shot” the rock wo&ld ‘ be mutke’d out ‘ by hand and loaded in small hopper cars to be hauled away. The steel-drivers were the princes of the working crews, and John Henry was King of them all. Most accounts describe him as six feet tMl arid 200 pounds, a big man in those days. He is said variously to have been as black as coal, copper-colored, or almost white, but aU agree that he was superblymusculerand an artist with his hammers. It is no mean feat to slam one hammer at the end of a 154-inch diameter drill, hour after hour and day after day, without missing. John Henry’s ability to swing one in each hand is doubted by many, yet was supported by men who had worked on the project with him. One of these was Banks Terry, a lifeJong resident of Talcott, who died some years ago on his 100th birthday. Terry as a young boy was employed in many odd jobs in the tunnel, and often told of watching John Henry. Terry said that John Henry could drive steel straight ahead, or down into the “bench” or core of the tunnel, or straight into the roof while standing on a powder keg, never tiring, never missing a stroke, singing all the while and wearing out drills just as fast as they were brought to him for $1.70 a day. After five centuries of mechanized labor it is impossible for a contemporary American to conceive of such brutal man-killing work. If John Henry really did work himself to death against the steam drill it was a merciful release. As to whether or not John Henry died of overexertion in his famed race against the steam drilling machine or the fact that such a man really even existed is hard to find out for sure. The company records of the CNO’s Big Bend Tunnel project, including paycheck vouchers and engineer’s reports, were lost in a fire at the Richmond Office of records at the turn of the century. A recent author of the book. Tunnels, Gosta E. Sandstrom, interviewed a former tunnel workman from the Big Bend Tunnel project, that accurately described the Burleigh Steam Drill after more than 50 years of seclusion in the Allegheny Mountains. This led to the belief that the Burleigh Steam Drill was the type against which John Henry drove spikes in the memorable race between man and machine. The question remains, if the steam drill was used at Big Bend, could flesh and bone have beaten it? Could John Henry have driven fourteen feet while the steam drill only drove nine? Sandstorm says yes, but not with two ten pound hammers, “which is beyond mortal man.” At this point Henry S. Drinker, the original pubhsher of the book. Tunnels, comes to John Henry’s rescue. In his original book, published in 1887, a little after the John Henry “experience,” it is stated that “one-hand hammers were ‘standard’ on the C&O projects. A good man could then swing two one-hand hammers simultaneously, if he had a fast and trusting ‘shaker.’ ” A shaker, also called a turner, was a “nervy navvy” who held the drill and turned it slightly after each blow, giving it a little shake to flip the rock dust out of the hole. The heat tempered steel of those days dulled after a few minutes at most, and the shaker had to snatch it out of the hole and replace it

with another in between hammer strokes. The steel driver could not break his rhythm for the same reason that a distance runner most hold his stride; once the body is tuned to a certain pace it cannot be varied. In rock drilling contests in the early part of this century, the drivers maintained a rate of 90 blows a minute, and a dozen times in a 15 minute match the shaker would replace the drills, with mangled flesh and pulverized bones the penalty for a miscue. Then imagine how trusting Phil Henderson, or “Little Bill” as John Henry’s shaker has been variously called, who turned John Henry’s steel while lying on his back holding it between his legs, or by standing against the rock face holding it crooked in his arm, or holding close beside his body (depending on whether the spike was being drilled up, down or sideways), with the hammer flashing by his gorin or ribcage or face. As a drill dulled, the shaker would blindly hold out his hands for new ones passed to him by a member of a group who carried blunt drills to the reforged and “new” drills to be used. These men, called “walkers” made up most of the employment body of the project. On big drill operations thousands of drills could be used up in a single day. In some cases the drUls were weighed and the amount of weight missing was taken off his pay check. But could John Henry have beaten a steam drill? The most common version of the story is that it lasted 35 minutes. Now the all-time record for hand drilling was set at Butte, Montanna, in 1912. When the Tarr brothers, a two-man team, drove 5914 inches through Gunnison granite in 15 minutes. If they had kept the same pace for 20 minutes they would have driven 1114 feet. John Henry went a Uttle farther than that -14 feet-in rock

that is much less resistant to drilling than granite. The rate at which a drill sinks into rock is determined by how much force is applied and how fast. A hatful of steam can dehver more power than the strongest man, but the Burleigh drill had a particular problem in cerain kinds of rock. It tended to clog on rock dust and hang up in cracks. The hermit who talked to Sandstrom said that the steam drill hung in a crack. The ballad says, “Your hole’s done choke and your drills done broke,” both of which are consistent with the drill’s known weaknesses. This is not the kind of detail that some baUadeer would “Pull out of the sweet mountain air.” If John Henry was there and he beat the drill, what became of him? The baUad says that he “felt a roaring in his head, staggered home and died in bed.” This is a pretty graphic description of a stroke. Testimony gathered by Sandstrom indicates that he more hkely died in a rock fall or other accident or from a fever. The odds were one in five that he wouldn’t come out alive anyway as he worked in the most dangerous section, the working face, or “head end.” Local Negroes still are virtually unanimous in their belief that the ghost of John Henry still remains in the tunnel. This belief sprang up within days of his death, causing a work shortage on the site. Many laborers, black and white said that one could still hear the hammers of John Henry pounding away at the rock deep inside the tunnel. The captain demonstrated that it was only water falling from the roof. “Sure boss.” Work finishing the tunnel covered over the holes driven in the rock in front of the tunnel by the man and the machine. Only an iron plaque today marks the only tie that John Henry may have had with reaUty.

No more to build on there

A woman's wet yellow hair Can straggle across her steamy face As she rests against the stairs Leading to the kitchen inside, and says: How time lies heavy With today and yesterday Wearing me the same. And tomorrow carrying no change. A man in workpants and shirt Can leave to work With solid face and eyes firmly set On time at hand, an hour ahead, no more: We have the home, and yard fenced; I've no time for time to lay heavy. With work and garage I commenced To build today.

And firmly set off to work. A woman's moist face can grow firm On the day a fence is built And without a tear can learn Of a garage and slowly accept: There's not much love in a fence That I can find And hope in a garage Is as lost As my child's last dance Down the kitchen steps. And slowly step inside and close The kitchen door.

Michael D. Galligan

Phoenix; Spring 1970


It was a factory


The machine-people and people machines were heading toward maximum production rate and people suddenly ran. looked about something stirring up—delay production is not halted mention of blood but I can only hear the belching of machinery needing attention and oil and we work suddenly there descends chaos the machines are not stopped not even the conveyor belt that's caught the thin ankle the men who wear suits are running but we in uniforms of white have no time to stop & wonder the production is running smoothly Finally the quiet ambulance blinking its weary colored eyes seems to have come; not to question, but to take away in pitiless silence the boy who has no sole he has no bottom foot at least not now He was the commotion it was his blood I saw returning with the cycle of the belt and boxes They were his bones that creaked and his mouth that muffled help and waited for a ride on a conveyor belt before he got off. Onto the shoulders of the big black man who carried him, quietly away from work. And pay. And the maximum production quota was filled within the hour.

Chris Criffner

No, I will not ask you to come or tell you how my body aches. . .all left for me to bear when you are away. No, I will not make you come or stay, or say a word that you yourself have not felt the need to tell. For you and I are different and we must not be chained to anything or anyone. . . I know this— yet you will never fully know how hard it is for me to be unselfish. I am human— and God gave me feelings to be used for a man like you.

Mary Sanders

Osteo Hail, all hail, to the conquering kind. Destroying some, leaving other blind. Waft of land, and the petal falls, to a barren ground with sterile sound like emptied halls. Conquering on, and ever the more. Some believe it, grow to be sure. Between the teeth, a daggar is sheathed full sharpened to out clean, and smoothly slice the flesh.

The new-born day Vertiboete rise, renew your kind. Gather against the man, un-spined. Pull out his wegoon and break the blade. Scrape off the ride Peel off the skins. Where naked and knifeless, there is no defense.

The sound of laughter drifted over the clouds. As roses danced in the halls of heaven. Celebrating the coming of a saint.

Phoenix: Spring 1970


A. Steve Hotard

Steven Dale Leonard

Visions of canned ice

Tourquoise stares bounce through a crowd of light pale faced, tender, impassive under the glare of cracked sidewalks. Tinted visions of crystal glass shatter on the clear pavement, while those shuffle by, avoiding the broken images. A hungry cat crawls through the blackened streets, while the mouth of fear gapes, from shattered lamp posts. Crows caw from gaping holes in tombstone buildings. As children scamper through broken bottles.

The empty streets cry for mercy, as a fallen figure cringes for warmth by an open vent.

Steve Hotard

I just relax on Sunday afternoons by Robert Dominic

TPhe old lady was getting ready to die and they called me and the wife to come to her side. You know, you’ve got to be there when an old or distinguished member of the family or the community dies. It’s just natural, like eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. I know that this may sound a bit cruel, but on Sunday I like to sit home and read the newspaper or watch a little television. Old Aunt Jennifer lived way the hell out in the woods, and it was a two hour’s drive to her place. Besides it being Sunday, I never really liked the old girl, and the only reason that I felt obligated to be at her death-bed was because of my wife. “We have to go, George,” she had told me ever since the telephone had rung with Uncle BiU shouting at the top of his of his lungs, “Come over! Come over quick! She looks real bad this time.” Hell, she always looked bad. I can understand an old person becoming senile, but I can’t accept the fact that many old people allow themselves to become filthy and smeUy and do

Phoenix; Spring 1970


nothing about keeping clean. Aunt Jennifer sure as hell needed a bath every time I was next to her. “Leave her be,” the wife used to tell me. “You’re going to get old yourself someday, George.” Well anyway, we got into the car and left Nashville about mid-day, that Sunday. The old lady lived way up by the Kentucky border. Come to think of it, she was a regular hick. When I first married Jezzi and we used to visit the old lady, I kind of got a kick out of the old girl. She would always call me a “damn yankee” or “thieving Northerner.” Eventually, I would get tired of her joking. “Who won the damn war?” I’d ask her and she would get furious and threaten to throw me out of the run- down house. We got to her house a little after two o’clock and were greeted by her two sons: Big Clem and Little Jebb. “Ma don’t look too well this time, George,” the three-hundred pound Clem muttered. “She been chokin’ and coughin’ and gaggin’—she looks real bad.”

“Did you call the doctor yet?” I asked him. “You know that Aunt Jennifer doesn’t like doctors,” my wife cut in. She always cut in; she had a big Southern mouth. “Part of my culture,” she used to tell me. “Well, what can we do for her?” I questioned. Clem was nervous. He ran his long fingers through his dirty brown hair and answered, “I guess that all we can do now is pray—pray that the Lord pulls her through.” Pray? That 11 be the day I pray for that old hypocrite. She used to sit and tell me and the wife about the second coming of Christ, and then she would turn around and kill a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. She was a drunken old lady, dedicated to the “cause.” Holding my nose, I entered the old lady’s crummy house. It appeared to me as it always had in the past: dirty plates on the table, a drawing of Gen. Robert E. Lee over the fireplace, the mangey old alley (or was it country?) cat next to the coal burner. “Where is she?” I asked Little Jebb, who weighed about one hundred pounds with his clothes on, soaking wet. “She settin’ out on the back porch gettin’ a Uttle sun to help her condition.” It’s funny how little old ladies always sit on back porches when they’re getting ready to die. The back porch of Aunt Jennifer’s house was like an old rabbit coop. As a matter of fact, she had a few rabbits running around the house all the time, except when her flea-ridden cat got mad. “Come on, George. Let’s go see Aunt Jeimie, and you be nice,” the wife cautioned me. “Honey,” I said, “I’ve got some chewing-tobacco in my back pocket. Do you think that Auntie will Uke some?” “You’re a regular animal. Aunt Jetmifer was right when she said that all Yankees are no good,” the wife answered me. Ah yes, I could see it again. The War Between the States was beginning all over again. Why couldn’t I have married a nice Italian girl from Rhode Island? No, I had to be an idiot and marry this charming Southern belle, who couldn’t even speak English correctly. Well, it’s too late now. So, I followed my lady out to the back porch.

“0-o-h Jezzi! My little JezzilYou done come to see your old Aunt Jetmifer, your poor old sick aunt. How sweet of you.” The old lady was gasping as she spoke. And she never even mentioned me, the old bitch. She never did, until I said something about Rhode Island. Then she would get up and start preaching to me about the evils of the North. How she used to bug me! Dumb old lady, I used to think to myself. “Hi, Aunt Jetmifer !”i exclaimed to the poor product of the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, and the two World Wars. The ancient wretch, there she was, just showering herself in buckets and buckets of self-pity. “0-o-h George. I feel like this is it. I can’t go on much longer. My arms are killing me, I get headaches aU the time, my back hurts me when I walk, and I’m always constipated.” Boy, was she having a good time! I thought about telling her to take a whole box of Ex-lax to help her feel better, but I didn’t dare because the wife would have surely placed me before a Southern firing squad. “Aunt Jennie,” I spoke up. “Don’t worry' about anything. Jezzi and I will take good care of you, and soon you 11 be all right.” The old hag glanced up at me for one minute and then finally said, “I always knew you were a good man, even though you come fromthe North.” Her and her God damn baloney! She really bothered me! North and South, North and South—the dumb old bitch! I went over to her and placed my hand on her cold forehead. “Don’t worry. Auntie; you’ll be all right.” “Maybe the Good Lord wiU save a spot for me in the Promised Land,” she mumbled, softly enough to arouse the sympathies of her audience. I always thought that she would have made a good sales-girl in a Providence department store. Hell, she wouldhave made a Jew look bad with her line. “George,” my wife called to me. “Come, let’s go to the kitchen and fix Aunt Jetmifer a cup of hot broth.” When we got to the dusty old kitchen, my wife pulled me to the corner and emphatically said, “Listen to me! My Aunt Jennifer is about to die and you sit there not doing anything.


Spring 1970


Is your heart made of steel?” noontime, one of the men told me that there was a telephone Hey! What the hell is this? Miss South 1902 was yelling call for me. You’ll never guess who it was-the wife. about my cold-bloodedness. “George, you left me all alone with my dying Aunt and “What am 1 supposed to do? Run my hand over her head never said a word.” and tell her she’s cured?” 1 shouted. “Yes, 1 did,” 1 corrected her. “1 told you to go to hell.” “George,” she began again, “my only aunt is dying and “How could 1 have married such a rotten excuse of a man!” you’re not doing a damn thing. Nothing! Nothing!” she shouted back over the wire. Then suddenly, “George, Aunt “Do you want me to help her drop dead?” 1 jokingly asked Jennifer is dead.” the wife. I couldn’t believe it. “How-when did it happen? How?” I I guess that 1 shouldn’t have said that because the wife was excited, to think that the old wretch could really die. really exploded. “It happened after you left,” the wife began, her voice in “You louse! You no good animal, I hate you. Go on, get tears. “After Jebb, Clem, and I had gone to bed. Aunt Jennifer out of this house! I’ll take care of Auntie,” she yelled. “Your must have gotten up to feed the cat. I heard a scream, so I got tongue should fall off,” she added. up and ran to the kitchen, and there she was on the floor.” What the hell was I doing wrong? Tell me, what the hell in “Where? Where?” I anxiously asked her. this confused, abused, misused, and evil-oh, the evils of “On the floor next to the stove. She hit her head on the hell!—world was I doing wrong? How could I help the old iron stove when she fell over the cat’s dish. O George, I tried lady? to help her, but it was too late. She never regained—George, I “Honey,” I said softly to my lovely wife. “Go to hell, you have to go. Please come up as soon as you can.” and your smelly aunt. ” While she was ranting and raving, I slipped out of the house, So, that’s how it happened. The old lady flipped her lid, I got into the car, and drove back to Nashville. When I got guess you could say. I finished work that Monday and drove home, the telephone was already ringing, but I ignored it. I back up to Podunk Heights. When I got there, the wife was knew it was the wife. crying. Big Clem was crying, Little Jebb was crying, and even It was now too late to watch television or read the paper; so the dirty old cat was whimpering. After I patted all the criers 1 took a warm bath and climbed into bed. Ah, yes; rest, the on their backs, 1 went back to the car and pulled the sweet salt of labor. newspaper that I had failed to read the day before. 1 found a The next morning I got up, had breakfast, and went to nice shade tree in the backyard and sat down under it. I turned work. It was so beautiful: the only time 1 could get away from to page 7 and began to read the obituaries, and thought of that nagging, yet cultured, wife of mine. However, at Aunt Jennifer resting peacefully in the county morgue. Phoenix:

Spring 1970



Spring last year was a region not a season I had to leave the county to find it

AndBrson County .

Lanes of pinkbud Drifts of dogwood And the hillsides unable to remain yellow chartreuse lime apple In their previous commitment to Green Even then it seemed I only passed thru it Encased in speed and grief

Anne Roney

Here my eyes were filled By the absence of you From all the places Spring should have been And I had to leave the county to find it

Phoenix: Spring 1970


Mark Twain in Tenn

“I came South for my health, I will go back on the same errand, and suddenly. Tennessean journalism is too stirring for me.”

(Editor’s note: The Phoenix wishes to extend grateful acknowledgement to Dr. Allison R. Ensor, UT English Professor, for the information he has furnished for this article. Dr. Ensor is a scholar in the studies of Mark Twain. He has authored one book about the humorist entitled Mark Twain and the Bible and has published some five articles dealing with Twain. The latest article concerns Twain and Tennessee. A second article on this subject is to be published in the fall.)


Spring 1970


]\Iost of US remember Mark Twain as the inventor of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. As children we luxuriously bathed ourselves in daydreams, longing to be like Tom and to share the adventuresome hfe of Huck. These two young men have become part of American folklore. Mark Twain wrote extensively of the Mississippi River area. He also published works that had their settings out west (Roughing It) and overseas (Innocents Abroad and others). But the sometimes poison pen of Twain did not overlook the state of Tennessee. Through extensive research Dr. AUison Ensor has uncovered some interesting information concerning Twain and Tennessee. Writing in Tennessee Studies In Literature, in an article entitled “The Birthplace of Samuel Clemens: A New Mark Twain Letter,” Dr. Ensor disspells the belief held by some Tennesseans that Twain was acutaUy born in the Volunteer state. Dr. Ensor cites Twain’s reply to a letter from George H. Morgan, a distinguished Tennesseean of the nineteenth cen­ tury, as proof that Twain was not born in Tennessee. In replying to the letter Twain enclosed a biographical sketch that had appeared in a British publication. The Men of The Time. The sketch gave Twain’s true birthplace as Florida, a small community in Moruoe County, Missouri. Dr. Ensor beheves that many Tennesseans had the misconception about Twain being born in Tennessee because his parents lived for a while in Gainesboro, the county seat of Jackson County, and later in Jamestown, county seat of Fentress County. Twain’s brother Orion’ was born in Gaines­ boro. In ?8>69 Twain dealt with Tennessee in a sketch entitled “Journalism in Tennessee.’’Twain wrote in the fictitious sketch

I '



by Jim Shaver

that he came to Tennessee on the orders of his doctor, who felt a Southern climate would help him physically. Twain writes that he went to work as associate editor on the Morning Glory and Johnson County War-Whoop. In the sketch Twain puts the Volunteer State in a somewhat bad light with his exaggerated satire on the editor and the enemies of the editor. Twain describes the editor as dressed in outmoded clothing and working in the shoddiest of offices. In typical Twain style the sketch relates various shootouts and acts of violencei(“a hand grenade came down the stovepipe ”) between the editor and his adversaries. The action takes place in the office of the editor, but Twain, who was an onlooker, received most of th wounds (“bullet ended its career in the fleshy part of my thigh”). Twain wrote further in the sketch that “the Southern heart is too impulsive; Southern hospitality is too lavish with the stranger.” “1 came South for my health, 1 will go back on the same errand, and suddenly. Tennessean journalism is too stirring for me.” Twain makes another reference to Tennessee in a sketch entitled “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” a narrative about a fellow that has died and gone to heaven. Twain writes; “The greatest poet of all time was Edward J. Billings, a common tailor from Tennessee.” Billings, we learn, “wrote poetry that Homer and Shake­ speare couldn’t begin to come up to ; but nobody would print it, nobody read it but his neighbors, an ignorant lot, and they laughed at it.” Dr. Ensor says the implication in the sketch seems to be that Tennessee is one of the few places where such a genius could go unrecognized.

Twain writes of Eastern Tennessee in The Gilded Age. Twain’s first chapter description; The locality was Obedstown, East Tennessee. You would not know that Obedstown stood on the top of a mountain, for there was nothing about the landscape to indicate it—but it did; a mountain that stretched abroad over whole countries and rose very gradually. The district was called the Knobs of East Tennessee and had a reputation like Nazareth, as far as turning out any good thing was concerned. Obedstown in The Gilded Age was actually Jamestown. Si Hawkings, a leading character in the book,was based on John Marshall Clemens, Twain’s father. A land transaction that takes place in the book was based on some land that Twain’s father bought in Tennessee. Twain mentions Knoxville in a footnote inChapter40 in Life on the Mississippi. The footnote is in reference to a prospectus issued by a girl’s college in Kentucky (Twain called it a she-coUege.) A sentence in the prospectus reads “ ‘ Believing the Southern to be the highest type of civilization this continent has seen...’ ” The footnote quotes an Associated Press telegram dated from Knoxville October 19, 1882. The telegram described a shootout that had taken place on Gay Street. “ ‘General Mabry and an other gentleman walked down Gay Street on the opposite side of the bank. O’Connor stepped into the bank, got a shotgun, took deliberate aim at General Mabry and fired. Mabry fell dead, being shot in the left side.’ ” Though the Mississippi River and his European travels may have been Twain’s main themes, he did take enough time out from these subjects to bite into Tennessee with the sarcasm so typical of this great American humorist.


Spring 1970


Vacca, Vaccae, Vaccarum •••

Phoenix: Spring 1970


Editor’s Note: Dr. Marius is author of The Coming of Rain, which was reviewed in the Fall 1969 issue of the Phoenix.

Richard Marius

We sold the cows last week. The farmer and his little boy came up the driveway In their old pick-up truck, the father sun-wrinkled And chewing tobacco. Both of them looking like people Who hauled off cows every day. Calm and sure and superior to all of us. They worked fast. The witless creatures could not climb a ramp. So the farmer backed up against a bank at the edge Of the pasture. And the cows walked innocently into the truckbed As if they had walked into a barn. Switching their tails and looking eternally bored. Cows are placid and dull. They would be good on the Playboy gatefold. So the field is empty. The old, unpainted barn is silent. And even the ripe, warm smell of cow manure is fading As spring comes on. The fenceposts stand ranked up the hill against the sky Like lonely sentinels guarding a frontier against The barbarians. Only the barbarians never come. And the population the sentinels protect has gone away. My aged father walks out to the fence with his coffee cup At breakfast, as in days of old. And surveys his domain— King of an empty land.

He pauses for a moment beside the raspberry bushes And the tiger lilies. He sips his coffee and looks up at the damp grass Waving gently in the morning air. Then he remembers and looks vacantly Around at the way Time has gone through the field like a wind. He was too old to take care of them any more. He said. His sons don't care for cows. (And his sons don't run to meet him the way the cows d id.) For them a cow is medium rare garnished with parsley And served with a baked potato and sour cream. On a platter. For him, throwing hay down from the barn loft on a Wintry morning. Cows were different. So he turns, holding the coffee cup On his white saucer. And goes slowly back to the house. "Good riddance!" he mutters bravely to himself. Thinking of all the trouble the cows caused him. And the sun brings on the heat That burns the dew away. And calls up another day. He might go to town to get the mail. Funny how you miss cows!


Spring 1970


Phoenix: Spring 1970



Phoenix: Spring 1970


In defense of theatre by Bruce Colbert

American theatre has changed little in popularity during the last few decades. Theatre crowds have always been small but in the last few years the art has been gasping for life. Its form has been modified, and its dramatic hterature remains copious, while its audience is still relatively small. The American theatre could easily be characterized by saying it occupies a few streets in upper and lower Manhattan. For what is new and viable or staid and distinquished is produced in a frightfully small number of theatres. The total has dwindled


Spring 1970


steadily since its peak during the vaudeville era of the 1920’s. The American theatre had its metamorphosis in the great city, and here it essentially lives and dies with Uttle more than token influence upon the great expanse of the continent. Legitimate theatre is supported in virtually every city in Europe by popular or municipal/state subsidies. Why many Europeans value live theatre equally as much as the cinema is an enigma to many Americans. Film is very much related to our pace of Ufe. It can be as passionate as the most perfectly staged Shakespearean love scene but yet embody a detachment coming from a completely alien situation. The cinema has become the expression of our technological age with its crushing of the elusive aesthetic involvement that has enabled theatre to last for thousands of years. The play, created by man’s first intelligible dialogue, was dramatic poetry for both the caveman and the verbose Aristophanes. This human communication enabled the Greeks to produce tragedy so moving that man has for centuries used this device to fathom and cleanse his soul. The drama has given him a communication that is whoUy personal, one which affects his very physical awareness. One can hardly describe what takes place between the actor and spectator, but it is different from being hypnotized by the glare of the movie screen. The feehng is ever so strange when we observe a living, breathing human being on a stage and the effect is penetrating. You may think explanations on theatre to be rather esoteric or simply o,btuse but theatre defies concrete definition. What does live theatre mean to us? Not very much, in far too many American towns. The word “theatre” meant a motion picture in my local theatre throughout most of my childhood. A live production on television meant static scenery, no panorama landscapes, and a modicum of action. I was hypnotized by the physical motions of the players while his words did little but punctuate his bodily movements. Only later when I first understood live theatre did I realize that on stage the process was reversed. The body was a device to enhance and illustrate the deUvery of the spoken word. A wave of the hand or a grimace was used to portray the physoiological aspect of emotion while being transcribed into spoken lines. This reahzation made the live performance as sumptuous as a gourmet dinner. I’ve often wondered why we in America are allowing theatre to be superseded by film. A standard answer is the hallowed name of progress. Perhaps, the American is just too lazy and wishes to bring none of himself to an art. For this, the cinema provides an escape from any commitment of the spectator. He simply watches the simulated situation with its programmed sound and smiles smugly. The film’s effect on the viewer is no more than the vicarious pleasure of a close-up on any interesting object. Here, the human stimulus becomes the balance between sight and sound mechanically perfected, thought foreign to actual human communication no matter how effective the technology. If we kill the legitimate theatre by apathy in America our technology will surely swallow up what remaining performing arts we possess.

^he train roared down the rails. A twisting pencil-light swept the darkness ahead and pointed out the empty tracks to the engineer. The tracks curved around the coves and hollows of the dark hills, and often ran parallel to the river. The train coughed steadily along the rails and belched spreading mushrooms of smoke into the night. The iron tires clacked across the rail joints and an occasional wheel squealed with the friction of speed. The train sped around the coves and into the narrow straight stretches beside the river, and past the dull flickering lights of houses set back in the tiny mountain hollows, and the light flashed into the darkness ahead and the engineer peered out the window, and the fireman stoked coal into the burners, and the tires clacked on the steel rails, and the long line of coal gondolas rumbled along behind the engine, and the lonesome whistle blew at the small mountain road crossings. The train came down out of the dark mountains and flat-licked into the lowlands, and thundered on into the night. The woman lay in the darkness of her bedroom and listened to the train pass on the tracks across the river. The train was a long one and the woman tried to count the noise the wheels made on a particularly wide joint in the rads. She stared at the thin light square the wondow made on the dark wall and counted the clacks slowly in her mind. The window square brightened with a brief redness and the women knew that the caboose had passed with its red lantern. She listened as the noise of the train faded, faded, faded into the night, and the still, ringing, mountain silence returned. The woman’s husband lay beside her breathing with deep breaths of sleep. She turned on her side away from her husband and listened to the distant whistle come echoing up the valley as the train passed the crossing at Wall’s End. Her husband had told her that you could almost set your clock by the train whistles from Wall’s End. She stared into the darkness and wondered what time it was; after midnight she supposed. Her husband groaned in his sleep, and the woman put her hand out behind her and softly stroked his hip. She almost held her breath until her husband’s regular breathing began once more. She stared into the darkness and tried to induce sleep to come by thinking aoout it. “Hey Pete, hey Joe, hey Henry,” the voice called. It was far away, and low, and pleading. The woman stiffened and reached behind her again to touch her husband. He was still asleep, snoring now with deep exhausted breaths. “Hey Frank, hey Bill, hey Jim,” the voice said. “Hey Bob...” The woman turned onto her back and raised her head up to stare at the window. She felt her baby kick inside her, short stacato bumps of movement against the swollen walls of her abdomen. The baby was restless and couldn’t sleep, like her, she thought, or was frightened by her notice of the voice outside in the night. “Hey Leon, hey David,” the voice pleaded, drawing out the “hey” with long intonations of breath. “What?” the woman said aloud. She grunted into a sitting position in the bed, holding her stomach with one hand as if

she would protect the child inside from her sudden movements. What is it, she thought? Who is it? The voice called again, a long pleading wail echoing up the river valley. The woman listened, biting her lower lip, and holding her stomach with a twisting nervous hand. It’s a drunk, she thought suddenly. It’s a drunk come up from Pineville, walking along the tracks, and has staggered down the bank into the weeds. Serves him right, she sniffed. Drunk! “Hey Charles,” the voice pleaded. “Hey Robert, hey Bud, hey Ralph.” The woman lay back, settling her heavy body slowly onto the bed. She thought about waking her husband. He would know who it was she thought. He would know and would probably laugh at her for waking him, and for being frightened. Drunks walked up the tracks from town all the time, he would say, and he would pat her pregnancy, and laugh at her for being afraid, and would tell her not to worry about it, and he would go back to sleep. She listened to the voice call out into the night. A drunk, she thought, a drunk. She closed her eyes and felt her baby kick inside her body, and she listened to the steady snores of her husband, and her mind shut out the voice calling from across the river. “Hey George.. .hey.. .John.. .Mike.. ..” What if it’s not a drunk, the woman suddenly thought. What if it’s somebody needing help. She put her arms flat on the bed beside her and pushed herself slowly into a sitting position again. “Chester,” she whispered to her husband. “Chester, there’s somebody over on the railroad.” Her husband groaned and turned away from her. She put her hand on her stomach and sat in the bed hstening and staring into the darkness. “Chester, I swear there’s somebody over there. I heard ’em,” she whispered. “Chester, are you awake?” Her husband slept. He inhaled and exhaled deeply. The woman listened intently but the voice was silent. She heard a car pass on the highway below the house. Her husband snored in his sleep. The baby struggled in her womb, and she sat

The night train by Joseph DeVald


Spring 1970


breathing softly and looking into the dark room. Chester, she pleaded in her mind, there’s somebody calling, and I don’t know what to do. Should I do anything, she thought. Should I wake up Chester and tell him that I heard a voice? He’d just laugh at me and tell me to stop worrying the baby, and to go on back to sleep. He’d just tell me that it’s a drunk walking home up the railroad. He’d just laugh. Okay Chester, if you don’t care, then I won’t care either, she thought, I won’t worry about it, not a bit. She lowered herself back onto the bed, punched her pillow, sniffed, listened for the distant call of the voice, and closed her eyes. The woman came awake with a start. She felt the bed heave as her husband got up. Someone was pounding on the screen door. “What is it, Chester?’’ the woman asked. “Hush. Go back to sleep,’’ her husband said. She raised up on her elbows and watched the dark figure of her husband walk across the bedroom, open the door, and go out into the living room. The door was filled with light as her husband switched on the lamp. The pounding ceased when her husband unlocked the front room door. She heard the low sounds of male voices, her husband’s voice asking “where? where?’’ the other voices urgent and low. The baby kicked again and she lay back onto her pillow. The voices stopped and


Spring 1970


she heard her husband close the door and walk back towards the bedroom. “What’s wrong, Chester?” she asked as the shadow of her husband blocked the light in the door. He began dressing in the dark bedroom. ‘There’s a dead man over on the railroad. Somebody heard him hollering around midnight. Figured he must have fell off a train and got his legs cut off,” her husband said wearily. The woman lay looking at the shadowed room. Her husband breathed heavily through his nostrils as he dressed. She felt the baby kick and struggle in her womb, the tiny twitchings making her grimace. She heard her husband leave the bedroom and turn off the light in the front room. He opened the outside door, closed it behind him, and clumped down the steps to meet the men outside. She lay in the darkness, her hand on her swollen stomach, and looked up at the dark ceiling. It wasn’t my fault, the woman thought. Nobody else cared either. I’m not to blame. Chester didn’t care so why should I care. I got my baby to care about, not some old hobo, probably drunk. I’m not in any condition to get up in the middle of the night for some old drunk. It wasn’t my fault. A train coming up through Wall’s End blew its whistle and the woman lay still, feeling the small insistent struggle of life in her body. The train whistle blew again.

A memorv of the Blue Ridqe Long green tourmaline emerald-flecks and columns of beryl crumbling mica-cliffs winking in sunlight garnet-stuffed pebbles by the roadside ruby and sapphire gravel in streambeds crystal-crammed rockshops where tourists can buy a chip of Carolina

How sharper than a serpent's tooth

The father Lamented: This life is beyond the pale Of crying, "poor love," And, "how lacking in touch We've been," Like two thoughts passing so close The feathers ruffle But fail to disturb. The son commented; A thankless old man Plays at thoughts of remorse And sees in the shining past A brightful son he never met.

Tina Inge


The father insisted: A loss there was, should I say, "the object lost the loser?" The con commented; Like a dying bird, like Broken wings crying.. .For time That was ours, is lost Like the imprint on a broken bone After the bone is dust. How like a father to place Blame, unloved and crying— Despising the breeze That never ruffled His son. And in the cold November mist Of a son's unfeeling Their shadows can never cross On streets that do not exist.

Michael D. Galligan


Spring 1970


‘Tally ho!’ and the foxhunt is on...

by Ray Gill ^J_^he jet-stream society of the 1970’s possibly has found a more efficient mode of transport than the “speedy”horse of yesteryear, but in the lives of a smaller portion of the society the faithful steed still plays an important role. The horse now offers sport and recreation in areas that range from physically punishing .polo and steeplechasing to the most artful form of riding, dressage. Between these two extremes lies an area available to all. This sport is foxhunting. Riding to the hounds is not the most publicized sport in America or elsewhere in the world, but it still retains much of the excitement and thrill it had several hundred years ago. Yes, foxhunting is still going on in the countryside of America and its ranks are growing by leaps and bounds. Before one is to ride to the hounds, a bit of background is essential. Foxhunting was developed in Europe in the early 1500’s and has continued in its basic form ever since. The government of the hunt is headed by the reigning Master of the Foxhounds (MFH) whose word is law in the hunt country. He has complete control of the hunt and the success or failure of the chase rests upon his shoulders and the ability of his aides on his staff. A Huntsman, the caretaker and trainer of the foxhounds, works closest with the MFH as he knows the voices and actions of his hounds. He and the Master are further aided by several whippers, commonly called whips. These individuals inform the Master of the hounds, aid in operating the hunt, and generally see that the hunt runs smoothly.They also work in coordination with the Field Master, who leads the field. The Field Master must keep the field as close as possible to the working of the hounds without interference with the staff and hound’s work. He has complete responsibility for the safety and enjoyment of the hunt by the field. The members of the hunt who ride to the hounds for pleasure and comprise the hunt are also his responsibility. But the most essential portion of the hunt come with the foxhounds. These are hounds, not dogs, that are specially bred to hunt the fox over all types of terrain. He must be able to


Spring 1970


run for miles as the hunt horse also must. The mount must have the ability to take any panel or covered wire fence in full stride, be capable of galloping for miles, and stop and stand quietly. This horse, appropriately called a hunter, usually is a thoroughbred. Much more is necessary but the basics are essential. Fox hunting retains much of the pomp and circumstance it held in the past. On the morning of the hunt it is customary for each member and guest to speak to the Master and the staff. A typical meet commences at first light of dawn with horses, hounds, and riders congregating at the appointed country, to be hunted that particular day. Weather conditions are important factors to be considered by the Master in planning his course of action. Wind conditions rate near the top of the list along with dew-point, humidity, temperature and the landscape of the country itself. After the riders are mounted the necessary staff decisions are made. The traditional stirrup cup is occasionally given from which all of the members drink. On the opening of the meet the hounds are blessed and and then moved off to the appointed casting area in couples. The number of hounds is governed by the Huntsman and his evaluation of the area. A recent hunt which took place in Illinois proceeded as follows: After the blessing of the hounds, the hounds moved off across a large open field and through a large herd of cattle. There were numerous panels along the way and most of the field was together by the time the hounds reached the large stand of pines. Immediately a young hound gave voice, but his cry betrayed him. He had jumped a deer and the closest Whip soon reminded him of his appointed mission. With the sound of his horn, we moved on into an open field, the lead or strike hounds gave voice in the woods by the river. As we raced wildly to a cry of “Hark to ‘em” one rider went down into the deep mud. Two panels came up quickly as we entered the woods only to end up at a deep gorge. Well, the hunt made it across and the Master realized that it must be a red fox as he was running along the river bank and fencelines. A grey leaps to run in large circles and eventually goes to the ground. We knew we had a hard running fox as he soon picked out a herd of cattle to run through. Foxes will do this to disperse his line and confuse the hounds. Soon they drew a blank. With a moment to catch our breaths, the staff gathered the

remaining houds to lead them; instead the fox doubled back to the river. Before long, a cry of “Hark” arose and the Master told the Field master to stay back while the staff went ahead to try and pick up the line again. The fox had run directly behind us and had headed for the river bottoms. After much confusion in a stand of trees plus fighting the bog, we made it to high ground. The fox was lost. The staff collected the hounds and went across a field to recast. The sight of several hundred hounds working well is very rewarding. We sat and waited three to four minutes, and the hounds picked up the scent. The hounds soon forced the fox out of the woods into an open field directly before us. A cry of “Tally Ho!” shook us to our senses, and a waving hunt cap pointed our eyes to a big, flashy fox heading across the field. The pack virtually flew as the fox headed to the river. The scene reminded one of a hunt in print which is so filled with action: grey skies; a brilliant green field; white, tri-color and red hounds flattened out with speed of running; riders in their pink and black coats coming fast on horses extending themselves to the utmost. The hounds were in full cry and we ran across fields and ditches for another three miles. As we were trying to turn the fox to prevent his crossing a road, one Whip attempted to jump a creek that was about twleve feet wide and approximately waist deep. The horse plunged into the cold, muddy water, only his head emerging. He came up afterward, inhaling quite a bit of slimy, freezing mud and water. After struggling out, his nose bled profusely, and the whip used his authority to get another horse from a field member. The fox turned but it was quite evident that he meant to go no farther. He had a den in the area and cunningly went to ground. After four hard hours and a good hunt, the Master blew several times to say “Come on home” on his hunting horn, and it was time to ride again. After the hunt a breakfast was served with a generous portion of brandy, and everyone began to reminisce about the morning’s experiences. Only a handful of the starting field members (numbering about forty) finished the hunt. To clear up a popular misunderstanding, not all the fox hunts end with the death of the fox. The number of kills varies with the hunt club, but two or three kills a year is a good season. The object of the fox hunt is the chase itself.


Spring 1970


Xt was the war what ruined Leroy. Leroy had been a fine, upstanding Christian boy before he went off overseas to all them foreign places to serve his country. There weren’t a finer boy to be found in Sorghum Holler than Leroy Mushrush before the army took him away to all them foreign dens of iniquity. Leroy left here with a halo over his head and returned with horns in his eyes. He left here filled with what’s right and came back itching for everything wrong. It used to be that Leroy would look away when a pretty gal would pass by—it wasn’t that way when he got back from the army. It’s enough to make a person wonder just what in the world Uncle Sam teaches them boys once he gets hold of them. Except for a certain peculiar look in his eyes there weren’t nothing noticably different about Leroy when he first got back. In fact, Leroy might have settled down and come round if it hadn’t of been for that job he took. Leroy hadn’t been home two days when he up and announced that he was going to make something out of hisself. He absolutely refused to do any of the chores, swearing that he was cut out for something better. The morning of his third day back, Leroy set out in his old ’39 Ford to seek his fortune. He was back in time for dinner and all excited, news fairly spouting from his lips. Leroy had found him a job. He was to start the next day as a management trainee at the Three Dollar Shoe Store over on the highway. All through dinner, Leroy couldn’t hardly chew for talking. He stated how Mr. Hatcher, the owner, was thinking about opening another store and how he needed a young man with a head on his shoulders what he could trust to run things for him. Mr Hatcher had even given Leroy a choice as to how he was to be paid—Leroy was to either have a dollar an hour or twenty-five cents for every pair of shoes he sold. Then, Mr. Hatcher had told Leroy that he liked fellows what had spunk and daring. Pausing to let some wind hiss by his teeth, Leroy gulped a breath of air and concluded that he had decided then and there to show Mr. Hatcher that he was the man for the job—Leroy would take the quarter for each pair of shoes he sold. He said that Mr. Hatcher had looked real pleased. Leroy talked on and off about his new job the rest of the afternoon, through supper, and up till bedtime. He was up and gone before I got dressed in the morning, and that’s the last I saw or heard of him until the deputy came out to the house your honor.” “Thank you. Granny Mushrush. Next witness, please.” “Hatcher. Claude Hatcher, your honor. I’m the owner of the Three Dollar Shoe Store. Well, Leroy showed up an hour before opening time just like I had told him to, and in thirty minutes time he had soaked up everything I said. I never seen anybody so quick to catch on. I told him to sit back though and watch me for a while just before I opened up. So he watched me up until ten o’clock. Then I told him I was going out for awhile and for him to mind the store. Well, your honor, 1 made as if I was leaving as soon as Leroy got tied up with another customer. I went out the front door, sidled around the parking lot, and entered real quiet through

Phoenix: Spring 1970


"It's enough to make a person wonder just what in the world Uncle Sam teaches them boys...."


by Tom Pilant (or Nurdville Tom)

the back door. Now, one thing that Leroy didn’t know was that the big mirror on the rear wall over by the ladies shoes was one of them special ones, shipped aU the way from Hoboken. So I slipped into my office what was behind the mirror and locked my door. I was determined to see Leroy in action when the cat was away. And, Lordy, your honor did I ever see some action. I hadn’t been sitting back there twenty minutes when that sweet young Widow Shipes came into the store. There ain’t a sweeter nor more charitable woman in all the Holler than her. Well, sir, Leroy looked at her as if she was made out of gold-^which ain’t far wrong,what with the estate she inherited. Anyways, Leroy couldn’t wait to get her set down. And then that’s when I began to suspect something out of the ordinary was going on. He didn’t crouch down in front of her the way I had showed him. No sir. Leroy knelt! Well sir, Leroy took off both her shoes, not just one like he’d been shown—he took both her shoes off. Then he placed her feet on his legs, kneeling all the time like a shoe-stool. Then he started pawing her feet and ankles. I never in my whole career in shoes saw a shoe-clerk act like that. Then he had his hands on her knees. And. . .and.,.” “Yes, Mr. Hatcher, go on!’’ “I was planning to your honor. Well, sir, my mirror fogged up and I couldn’t see what was going on any more. I ran over to my office door but it was stuck—I couldn’t get out. Then, I heard the good Widow Shipes a moaning for help. That’s when 1 called the Sheriff, and that’s all I know about it so help me God!” “Thank you Mr. Hatcher. Will the Widow Shipes please take the witness stand. Thank you Widow Shipes, now will you please tell me what Leroy Mushmsh did to you in the ladies department of the Three Dollar Shoe Store this morning?” “He made a new woman out of me, your honor. And now, I wish you’d end all of this embarassing silliness. I’m not going to charge the man you’re going to be pronouncing as my husband in a few minutes with anything. But just to clear the air and to put an end to all the suspicious, nasty minded thoughts that have been expressed in this court this afternoon, this is what happened. Leroy and I looked into one another’s eyes and knew it right then and there. He proposed and I cried with happiness. He placed his hands on my knees and lifted himself up off the floor and we hugged one another. The next thing we knew the Sheriff was a beating Leroy over the head with his club. The Sheriff has called on me a few times. And then we wound up in this stupid place. Now, damn it your honor, I want you to make these people leave Leroy and me alone.” “Thank you Widow Shipes, and thank you one and all for causing me to miss out on a fine afternoon’s fishing. Sheriff clear the court, there’s not even a case to dismiss here. And Leroy Mushmsh, you and the Widow Shipes get your selves into my chambers so I can put this court and state’s approval on whatever you folks were so rudely interrupted at. Maybe I’ll still have time to fish.”

Photo by Harlan Hambright

Phoenix: Spring 1970


On Mounte Leconte Helicopter drops its last load in the clearing on the mountaintop then sinks from sight, returning to the lowlands where already it is night. At noon the whine of flies was all that stood between us and the accumulated silence of the ridges.

Dancing shadows Did you ever notice how light— a ray shining through transparent drapes or coverings— dances on any object that it touches? Weird movements, sometimes magical meaningful moments, that only occur as sleep approaches. Street lights— how strange their shadows dance. A nice thought to sleep by. At least a different avenue to follow for a change. Funny how these dancing shadows seem to block out old problems. Do you hear the tapping of footsteps? Dancing lively. Carefree. How nice to feel gay, secure and free from problems. Come the dance has begun. Shed your troubles, at least for a moment, and enjoy the fun. It always helps— for awhile anyway.

Marilyn Eichstadt

Phoenix: Spring 1970


The chop of the ax the stumble of the mule the sound of stone on stone and voices quickly swallowed up by those great airy distances which only the hawk knows and where many springs still trickle in secret.

Tina Inge H,.

The autumn leaf A leaf slowly shivers across an open field. Drifting from a dying tree. Standing nearby in a fenced pasture.

A. Steve Hotard

Generation Gap They won't come up, I said. But he kept on Making holes in the flower bed And poking acorns in. Many acorns do not grow, I said. Thinking he had taken The nursery books too literally And would be disappointed. The soil and water have to be just right, I said. But he was planting acorns. Seeing in the cool October air The seedling oaks that came up in the spring.

Anne Roney

Have we forgotten anything? Two handsome and earnest young men Turned the corner. Each one wore a neat dark suit A neat white shirt and a neat dark tie. Each one wore clean white underwear And a folded white handkerchief in his right hip pocket. Each one wore a fresh close shave An unobtrusive deodorant and no cologne. Each one wore a Book of Mormon A pad of survey forms and three good ball-point pens. (Also; a judicious amount of cash For sleeping quarters and well-balanced meals) Two handsome and earnest young men Asked "Do you believe in God?" Check one: Yes ( ) No ( Asked "Do you believe in Jesus?" Check one: Yes { ) No I Asked "Are you a Christian?" Check one: Yes () , No { ) Two handsome and earnest young men. How can I indicate Other ( )?

Anne Roney

Poem The shadows cast by the evening sun shining through the trees on Clinch Street, soft golded warm like you aren't the same any more. I can remember the time the shadows of those trees made me want to sing and laugh and say hello to strangers, but instead I grinned at the cat who slept on the wall there outside my room, and held the happiness inside for you. And sometimes, walking down Market Street, forgetting a class, looking for the old woman who sold flowers for a quarter a bunch. I'd pass the bakery that place of warmth and spices and cookies and cream puffs filled with real whipped cream, and I'd think of your hair soft, golden brown, the fragrance of that field of new mown clover. The shadows, the trees, the flower lady all simple—uncomplicated Led me to a joy I really never knew Beacuse now you are gone, (a shadowed memory of sadness light joy,) I still smile at the cat I still enjoy fresh bread and flowers but now I hold my joy for someone else someone I don't know. The girl across the isle smiles. Does she want to share my joy?

R. Parrott

Phoenix: Spring 1970


. .29,000 feet high, unhke anything you’ve ever seen.” But, my god, the highest becomes low, and you can see for miles by being blind and up up and away. “Monsoon situations...” but then again it rains everywhere, doesn’t it? ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. White ceiling and tile walls, stainless steel, cold like death. And he felt a faint pain, far away and only slightly warm, but he knew it would come burning through the drug-fog in his head, searing, but as for •^ow he was halfway comfortable. He smiled slightly, and the nurse looked puzzled, but nurses always do. He was smiling at how it had happened; it was all so odd, so improbable. It seemed only a small time before that he had been sitting at a desk, in a school (pictures flipping through his mind, shadow glimpses of things forgotten with the word school written on them). And then oh so quickly he had been something else, become something else. Pain pounding now, and he was drawn back to himself, even though he would much rather have been free of the bother of body. The pain drew him back from the blackness. Open eyes—blurriness, everything feeling not there and far away—binoculars through the wrong end, and a blurry

the rest, all the rest, coming after, following. Stopping in shade, and sitting smoking talking, carrying a gun, but not needing it, (I’ve never shot anyone, have you?) and wondering how it would be or wouldn’t be. And once again. Harry leading? No me. It was me that time, seeing the trail, winding greenly dark in the sun, back around where you couldn’t see; it was all shown on the map, every detail, every plant; those boys did a pretty good job on those maps, but it was always the things that weren’t on the maps that mattered most. You remember Johnson, new kid, blue eyes, walking. He was good with maps and watching the map he walked into that patrol (by mistake, of course, and boy was HE surprised) and then he was dead with lead, Bonnie and Clyde with real blood warm and sticky meat at your feet and the blue eyes were gone because the face was gone but he had no pain, clutching the map, big help now. And Billingsly and Sorenson, Jerensky and Richardson (so damn young) and always with maps, big help, but no pain, shipped home in plastic bags and thinking not me, and it wasn’t. I’ve got pain, and I’ve got Ufe. Life is pain, pain, pain. Back to grey and once again the day that was really night

And then black something grinning with shiny-white teeth and then once more the dark-swoosh flow sickness in surrealism and.. .. But then again you can see by not seeing—but oh it was all so laughable. He was walking, tired in dusty-sweat green, on and on, ohlordwithoutend, and again on and on. The men playing at being, but no, not playing; it seemed so real at the time and so small now. Life and death were really very small after all, mole on an orange skin, and then gone. He led. He didn’t especially want to, but then again it wasn’t his choice. It never is; life is a bunch of choices that you can never make. Quiz program, remember and pick the right box, with a ribbon, but ohmygod, I can’t remember ever having seen you or them or a box, but still make a choice. Officer’s club, smelling tarpaper and new, and the television in the hot dark corner (funny I always remembered dark being cold, or at least cool, hot dark) that was the last quiz show, the last and foremost, people looking like people and actually smiling, but he couldn’t watch for long. Hands of pain, pushing into his brain and the eyes open and seeing through the redorange of pain, and he could feel sweat on his face, but he couldn’t move to wipe it off; he could hardly feel all of himself, left leg gone, but stiU there and right leg still there but gone, and pain does strange things. Cool hands and wipe and a glass of water and the sheets feeling electric in their warmth, and he wanted to turn over, but before he could get to it, the black.. .. And the day, so bright and steamy, sweat and wanting winter but knowing that you wouldn’t he happy with it if it came. Walking, green, and Harry led and he followed and then


Spring 1970


by Debby Moberly

with bright lights, a nice bottle hanging upside down and swinging back and forth (he’d seen those on television) but no one there, only him, alone and the pain curling beside him in the bed, how long, how long, how long and once again suddenly gone, gone back to the black, forgotten, remember, throb... . And after lunch in cans walking again and leading and whistling something forgotten under your breath and just walking. And he tripped, he felt it, and he threw his hands forward to break the fall, but he didn’t need to, the warm licking up his legs and gone, no feeling and black.Later waking, swinging on a green slab, two guys sweating and walking, he could see the sweat dark green on the back before him, and feeling warm and sticky down below and the pain felt, but not really as it did later and crying out because he was alive, the sun in his eyes and the wind warm and dry on his face and screaming to be alive, with a map, like birth and then black again. And now unending time, on and on, but he had pain, subtly caressing and then savagely devouring and on and on. He woke again, the pain subsided, almost comfortable and it was dark (finally) coldly. And he lay on the bed and felt his body and mind to be one agfllh, existing together, not feeling outside of it anymore, feeling deeply inside, almost cold, and the pain was less, “remember the girl waiting for me. I’ll see her soon, I feel better, ohlord, I feel better,” and feeling her in his arms once more, ohmygod, seeing and breathing without pain, the sigh, the warmly cold blackness, without breath, the slip and gone, over and over again and a sliding swoosh and then black....

Presentation of a note of indebtedness to Janies Dickey for ten dollars

and an unscholarly C+

by Charles Wm. Logsdon

Note: In the beginning was the word. It was a southern word, and came rumbling up out of magnolia-land and piney-wood. It dusted up the hinterland dirt roads, skipped across the railroad tracks outside of town, and bellowed its way into the homes and schools of the nation. It came floating out of Dixie on the jasmine-scented breezes of agrarianism and tradition. It lingered on the still fringes of literary stagnation until it finally permeated the darkest corner of thought. After a while, everyone who heard the word believed that it was so. They all assumed that it would last forever. Unfortunately, it has. On the front porch of a “Gilmer County Baptist Church” as the hot Georgia sun lazes its braggart way across the humid summer sky. A conversation overheard between two so-called southern gentlemen; one, young and nervous, the other older and confidently secure in his maturity: Blast it, Mr. Dickey, I’m making you rich. You’ve enticed me with “May Day Sermon to the Women of Gilmer County, Georgia, by a Woman Preacher Leaving the Baptist Church,” and since I read that poem. I’ve donated ten dollars to your materialistic welfare. Maybe ten dollars doesn’t seem like much to you “Gilmer Countians,” but we poor hill boys have gotta spread our “coppers” thin in life. It took me some time to scrape up the necessary $1.95, plus tax, for Poems:

1957-1967, and the only thing I got out of the volume was an admiration for the tenacious Orientalness of “Kudzu ” and an unscholarly C+ for an English paper (written, no doubt, while I was under the influence of your rural-conscious style). If the University sold C+’s cheaper than $1.95, plus tax, maybe I’d have enjoyed the sunhte buzzing humidity of your “Cherrylog Road” a lot more. 1 mean smooching up with lil ole “.. .Dorris Holbrook...” on the musty old back seat of a hot rusted junk car is fine and all, but damn it, Mr. Dickey, it wasn’t worth all them missed beers, and non-existent meals, and empty cigarette packages. Even your tiny old word “crickets” meeting me at “Cherrylog Road” didn’t seem to be vigorous and alive in your country poem; in fact, Mr. Dickey, sir, weren’t they a little bit too strained for a literary simile? Huh? Well, Mr. Logsdon, so you’ve done given me your pitiful $ 1.95, plus tax, and now your’re crying about it. No sir, Mr. Dickey, I’m not crying about that. What I’m crying about is that I didn’t remember the lesson your poetry taught me, and I spent another $2.00, plus tax, for your volume. Helmets. I should have known that you’d take my money and give me something like “Fence Wire.” It makes a body wonder whether or not there’s anything left in the world of southern poetry besides “cows, horses, machinery trying to

Phoenix: Spring 1970


turn to rust.” What’s that old saying about “the fool and his money,” Mr. Dickey? You’ve done found your fool here in East Tennessee; somebody who will buy your books in the hope that James Dickey is not really that involved with rural tradition. Near the hallowed halls of Vanderbilt Univ'ersity while crowds of scurrying scholars race frantically across the campus on their way to the classrooms and droning incantations of bored, traditionalist-minded professors. A conversation over­ heard between two so-called southern gentlemen; one, young and calm, the other older and nervously watching the clock hands turn slowly towards the eleventh hour: Blast it, Mr. Logsdon, do you seriously beUeve that anyone can write without the influence of their own particular culture? 1 mean look, if you weren’t born in the hazy swath of delta earth that sweeps around the Gulf, or aren’t from the Piedmont river bottoms or the dark valleys of the Cumberland Plateau, or the tidewater flats, how can you possibly have had any experiences to write about? Nothing suitable ever happened north of the Mason-Dixion line, except perhaps, that someone created Myra Breckinridge and forgot to stop the process of metamorphism. If you think there’s any traditional literary relevance in the Western praries, or in the forests of the Northwest, or in the smoke-belching cities of Middle America, then all of those troubles that our ancestors experienced at Manassas and Fredericksburg, and Chancelorsville, and Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh, and on that sad, wistful, April day near Appomattox, have all been in vain. Why, there’s no other part of the country where the allusive

ghosts of ChristJike heroes march inevitably down from the dim corridors of the past to prod incessantly at the mind of the young southern writer. There’s no other land where man and nature live so close together and in such complete harmony. Now, you’re gonna tell me that all man has gotten from living close to nature is a pair of dirty feet, but dirty feet are traditional, boy, especially when you walk up them dusty back roads and pick the blackberries out of roadside fence weeds on your way to town. TeU me, now, where else are you gonna find a tradition already made for you to follow? Where else can you ignore that bothersome insight of your own mind and fall back upon the cultural heritage that some ancient lineage of writers has left for you? Man, nowhere but here, in this moss-draped, honeysuckle-growing place, are you gonna find anything to write about. Nowhere! In the meadow-grass of a large open field,where oak trees rustle in a summer wind and grasshoppers soar from weed stalk to weed stalk in the sun. An encounter observed between two so-called southern gentlemen; one, young and confidently secure in his youth, the other older and resigned to his age: Here, Mr. Logsdon, sir; here’s $6.05, no tax, change from the ten dollars that you paid me for $3.95 worth of my poetry. Now, if I can only get the C-t changed, well be able to communicate! Note: The Georgia-Tennessee-Alabama-Florida-MississippiLouisana -Arkansas -Virginia -Kentucky -Maryland -North and South Carolina sun sets on the silent land. At the end a new word is being formed, unfortunately.

Southern architecture: a historic past These white columned mansions outside the parish of New Orleans reflect the graceful heritage of a long-dead past. The minions of the armies of the Confederacy marched off to fading glory past such plantations as these. The planter aristocracy of the 1840's and 1850’s were so impressed by the Georgian columns that they spared no expense in reproducing them. Each of these great houses contained a ballroom which was the social center of the few great families of the area. Many of these great houses were abandoned or burned during the fury of the War of Brothers. In contrast to the wealthy delta planters were the primitive mountaineers of East Tennessee. Using the materials most readily available, these hardy mountain folk constructed warm, substantial dwellings. These dwellings represented their simple way of life, and were so well-made that some can still be found today far back in the shadowed mountain coves.

Phoenix: Spring 1970


Which came first???

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Phoenix - Spring 1970  
Phoenix - Spring 1970