A yellow light at Classen; full moon over Eufaula; Elm to pick up Robin. That friends. Corner, Elm and Boyd, flashing reds. Should come to one. Stop at Sunshine. From far away. Red letters, yellow ground: “FOOD [smiley face] BEER [smiley face] ICE [smiley face] ETC. “Is this not, after all, delightful? Down Main, yellows flashing, flashing reds at Classen. Red “McDonald’s,” yellow arches, American flag in dark.
Orange VW, open road, orange parking light on right (Robin driving). White beams on black asphalt. Yellow flashing traffic light, roadside markers black and white. Passing Franklin: broken yellow center line, roadside grass illuminated green. “Aladdin Carpet Cleaning.” “16th St.,” reflective white on green. Black cross, yellow diamond (intersection sign). “The latest thing in velvet painting” – Robin – “is laser reproductions.” Stop at red; blue shield; enter I-240. “That’s GM.” Yellow “Trucks Entering”; black trees massing (right); white of cars oncoming (left). Large “STOP,” corner station red and blue. “Kerr-McGee’s still holding on to their 127.9.” Robin slowing, turning right. “Everyone else is 115.” Veering into “Moore Industrial Catering” lot. “CHOW MOBILE,” R.’s camera set on hood. To learn at due times. “First thing in th’ mornin’.” To repeat. “Is start it up.” What one has learnt. “’Cuz if it won’t start.” Is that not after all. “You’re in trouble.” A pleasure? “KEBC goin’ strong” (radio). “Hi, Rob.”
“Hi, Wilma.” (Keep Every Body Country.)
“May I put this row of sausages in here?” “Yes, you may.” Robin loading foot-long hotdog rolls. Wilma, on to next truck, loading her own sausages, doubleknit red pants, almost matching red top. Still dark, moon through misty tree branch.
“Where’s the polka tape this morning,” Wilma?
“Well, I’ll git it!” W. in white headband, blue scarf.
“I don’t wanna get sick, Wilma” – driver, next truck over – “leave that durn thing off!” To remain unsoured though one’s merits are unrecognized by others. Robin toting milk quart crate. Is that not after all what is expected of the superior man? Wilma, sandwich in each hand, comparing them by light of single bulb. “FIRST IN QUALITY AND SERVICE.” Polka over. Sky begins to blue.
Robin fitting sandwiches into empty Babe Ruth box. Front of white truck in sad electric light, side and back pleat-patterned panels open, silvered surfaces. Radio: “Say Oklahoma.” Wilma’s polka tape, new number: piano waterfall ripples over big brass ground, accordion emergence. Gentle breeze from west waving long strands of grass. “I ain’t gonna get nobody,” says passing woman, pink, ribbed sleeveless blouse. Stars out overhead, single cloud wisp. Author seated blue plastic Gold Spot Dairy crate, concrete slab, aureate bulb above casting blue corona. New polka whistling flute gives way to real whistling, man in light-brown white-striped shirt, arm akimbo, other resting on Wilma’s truck. Office screen door screech, slam, Wilma returning: “Git that truck outta my way!”
“Hold on, Wilma” – Robin – “it’s only 5:30.” Sign in office window: “Prices subject to change according to customer’s attitude.”
Robin truck interior, top row, side panel: In acting on behalf of others. Ruffles Bar-B-Q; Munchies; Lays Potato Chips. Snack Pack Tostitos; Frito Lay Cheddar Bits. Have I been loyal to their interests? Second row: In dealings with my friends. Dolly Madison Cinnamon Rolls, Dolly Madison Zingers, Dolly Madison Koo Koos, Dolly Madison Bear Claw, Dolly Madison Artificially Flavored Peach Pie. Have I been true to my word? Third row: Have I failed to repeat the precepts handed down to me? Copenhagen snuff, Skoal two-pack. Merit carton, emptied, refilled with Winstons, Salems, Marlboro Soft Packs, Kools. Every day I examine myself on these three points. Fourth row: Lance Toastchees, Planters Peanuts, M&M’s, Snickers, Bama Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, Rolaids.
Bottom bay: sideways-stacked 16-oz. Coca-Colas, Dr. Peppers, Diet 7-Ups; upright Tropicana Lemon Limes, Apple Drinks; sidewise Sunkist Orange Drinks, Gatorades (lightning streak in orange on green). Robin: “Some guys’ll come up and say, ‘Give me a sixteen-ouncer and a foot-long.’” It is a young man’s duty to behave well to his parents at home. Gold Spot 12-oz. Vitamin D milks; little cans of V-8; Big Tex Grapefruit juices. And to his elders abroad. Robin says author can have anything he wants to eat all day. Leaned above them cellophane-covered box of Frito Lay Coco Cremes. To be cautious in giving promises. “Come back here, son” – manager’s voice from office – “whatcha got there?” And punctual in keeping them. “Where you been, out drinkin’ with Roy again?”
“Where’s coffee, Jay?” – woman in brown top, maroon slacks. To have feelings toward everyone.
“I don’t know.” But seek. “I’ll give ’em a call.” The intimacy of the Good.
“How many of ’em, twenty-four?” – Jay on phone – “They just left now?” Woman in brown top, waiting for answer.
“You don’t get any coffee.” Woman reading off what she has in plastic crate, Jay recording it. If, when all this is done, he has energy to spare. “You come on back and see us, ya hear?” Then let him study the polite arts. Dr. Pepper clock on wall, maroon numerals, 10, 2, 3 in red. Hands showing 5:29. “Good evening!” – Jay to girl in yellow shirt, freckles. “EMPTY YOUR COFFEE GROUNDS” tacked to blackboard.
“We got any Lifesavers” – long, honey-blond hair – “or only Certs?”
“I’m a life saver” – Jay.
Ice dock: fleecy clouds beginning to show; KOMA towers, red lights blinking. Woman in brown top shoveling ice onto comestibles. “I’ve got a heart murmur, scared to drive, if you know what I mean.” If a gentleman is frivolous he will lose the respect of inferiors. Robin to third driver: “What kind of Tropicana you got?” And lack firm ground upon which to build his education. Bluish light raking page, Robin taking up silver shovel to load crushed ice. First he must learn to be faithful to his superiors. Refrigerator plant hum-throb. And to keep his promises. Forgotten camera still on hood of truck. To refuse the friendship of those who are not like him. Robin, shirt off (hung over side-view mirror), working to complete his list. Co-worker to author: “You writin’ ‘bout fuzzy head over there?”
“Yeah.” Woman in brown returns, closes side panel, Robin closing his too.
Circle K Tropicana pit stop, 6:03. Moore Gold Exchange and Trading Post next door (“Anything of value”). Robin back in truck, reading aloud from text of yellow/red Domino Dots sugar package. Sun imminent on pink, grey-streaked horizon. “Yellow Horizon Homes” ad, Eastern Avenue. Moore Fire Department, Station #3. Robin turning right into S.E. 19th, spanking new water tower looming into view (“Smile America” [smiley face in star-field, pie-quartered American flag]). “Tri-State,” silver gates flung open. “This is our first stop.” “CAUTION” (yellow sign, black letters): “Do Not Enter / This Shop / Without Eye Protection.”
“David Shields, come to Area 7 please” – loudspeaker. When the Master had arrived in a fresh country. Robin visible, right side mirror, shifting ice, replanting newly-acquired fruit punch Tropicanas. He managed to find out about its policy. “CAUTION: Wear Safety Shoes in This Area.” Steady mechanical drone. Did he do this by asking questions? “Check With Guard Before You Enter Plant.” Pale pink clouds brightening, pale blue between them. Or did the people tell him of their own accord? Red-capped, pot-bellied worker, blond greasy locks, approaching. “Good Morning” – Robin.
“What’s so good about it?”
“Friday.” Worker wallet opening.
“Got any Pepsi?”
“Nope. Coke.” Second customer Tropicana Fruit Punch selection, Robin visible making change; readjusting ice; looking up as new-arrivals approach. “They got the thing disconnect, Steve said” – 30-year-old, patch-quilt hat, visor turned to back.
“Fuck, I wanted to get drunk this morning” – shirtless companion, blue bandana, gold earring. Robin in rear view mirror taking quick coffee swig. Our Master gets things by being cordial.
“Today’s a payday here, isn’t it?” – Robin, Guatemalan shirt, rimless glasses, balding pate. Frank, courteous.
“Thank God for small favors.” Temperate, deferential.
“Sounds like there was a party out here last night.” That is the Master’s way of enquiring.
“Trouble is, the beer truck didn’t get here till everyone had left.” A very different matter from the way in which enquiries are generally made.
Workers arriving now in force: cars, motorcycles, pickups, most with headlights still on. “Love to see the wives bring their husbands to work” – Robin. “Kissy-kiss, kissy-kiss.” Yellow-bearded worker in red cap, large white polka dots, khaki army pants. Black guy rolling a tire as he walks, bottle of orange juice held by neck. Crane armatures seen through gate, yellow-orange, grey corrugated shop wall background. Baby blue trashcan, stenciled global map (black continents, blue seas, white rectangular field). Worker, black lunchbox, steps over silver rail, limps towards truck. Long-haired friend, “EAT THE BEST” tee shirt, keys on chain: “God damn, get me outta this place,” front tooth missing. Together passing on through gate, white styrocups in hand.
Light crimson sun poking through hazy grey horizon, openwork elm, reading black, inhibiting heat rays. Hispanic digging roadside ditch. Top of sunball flaring orange, cresting cloudmass. Roadside Wendy’s flyby, firehouse red letters, chrome yellow burger. Sun fully up, disc riding an inch over Southwest OKC. Red “C & C” on yellow field, black “Mower Service.” Yellow depicted bell, red “Gas.” When proper respect toward the dead is shown. “Crossroads Cathedral” (largest church in the world). And continued after they are far away. “Jesus Is Lord” over portals, opaque yellow script electric sign. The moral force of a people. Yellow traffic diamond, red octagonal stop in field, black arrow pointing upward. Has reached its highest point.
7-Eleven pull-in. Cop car siren blip. “Your Change is the Key to Cure.” Black-and-white turning our direction, red/blue overhead light flash, passing on uproad. “I guess I’ll go in and see if they’ve got film” – Robin. Cop pulling over bigbed Chevy pickup.
Gas-N-Go stop, tailgate down-thud. “I’m glad you came” – dishwater blonde, tight cowboy shirt – “I near to starved yesterday.” “Redneck girl likes to stay out all night long” (radio). “Peggy” carved in leather, back of belt. “Has a kiss on her lips for her hubby and no one else.” “You might get fat, that’s true” – R. to Peggy. Sun blinding, risen to station a foot above horizon. “And don’t forget to come back tomorrow!” – Peggy. “No one else,” tailgate slam, Gas-N-Go departure. “We’re on 89th but we’re goin’ on up to 24th and around, where we spend most of the day.”
Lovely Chicano girl, overweight Okie co-worker, Will Rogers Office Park, Meridian. A gentleman. Okie: “Look at all the good stuff that’s fattening.” Who never goes on eating till he’s sated. “You don’t have to worry about that” – Robin. Who does not demand comfort in his home. “Oh yes I do!” Who is diligent in business and cautious in speech. “Only kind of what, sweet rolls?” – Robin. Svelte Chicano girl in cutoffs, platforms. Who only associates with those who possess the Way. First two joined by another office girl, “Did You Ever Get Tired of Being Wrong?” tee shirt. And thereby corrects his own faults. “Good morning,” to Robin. “Here on time for a change!” Such a one. “I made this money workin’” – Chicano girl, dropping quarters one at a time from gorgeously pale palm, nails red. “Ha ha” – Robin. Such a one may be said to have a taste for learning. Chicano girl glancing at author. Ice-melt dripping off side of truck, rivulet down parking lot asphalt. Robin rearranging Tropicana Fruit Punch. Half-circle sun blazing pre-formed concrete building corner. “We have to stay here till about 5 to anyway.” Circular silver gas cap, red circle within. “’Cuz we don’t want to get to the next stop too early.” Quilted silver panels turning parking lot into diamonded multi-image. “Say” – Robin – “that leads me to believe that existence is a subjective thing.”
“Where was you yesterday, boy?” – good old girl, Oklahoma Diagnostic Supply. “I tell you, don’t you ever leave here before you see that little yellow thing drive up.” New addition, Industrial Park. “I had to put up with him all morning.” Co-worker’s left hand balancing milk, chocolate cake, right hand extending $5 bill, right eye shut against cig smoke upward drift. Downlot truck side-door slamshut completes missing section of Lee Way stripe. “A dollar even” – Robin.
“How’s my credit?” – co-worker, worn Levis, Brylcreme slickback.
“How’s the drive shaft business?” White Toyota, wrap-around orange stripe, enters lot. Good old girl in blue slacks, red top, white piping, hesitating over choice, large diamond, gold band, silvered aviator glasses. Drive Shaft offers her a sip of milk, blushing, Robin observant, arms folded, change-maker strapped to waist. “Here comes Byron” – good old girl – “he might want something.” Byron shirtless, descending ’54 air-scooped Chevy, yellow comb obtruding from hip pocket; snakeskin boots, red moustache, silver arrowhead pendant in chesthair tangle. Tropicana Fruit Punch purchase, quick departure. “Say, before I forget it” – Robin in middle of bio-sketch – “you gotta remind me about my camera. We coulda got Byron’s picture.”
Second wave, management break, ice water steady drain from truck. Foursome fishing for Diet Dr. P.’s. “It’s a good movie though.”
“Yeah, but it’s not very typical of Richard Pryor.”
“Are you lookin’ for a milk?” – Robin.
“No, I’m lookin’ for a P.” Management scrutinizing author observation.
“You mind” – Robin – “if I take you all’s picture?”
“Like nine copies” – brush moustache, olive collar, brown tie – “8 x 12.”
“’Where you goin’?’” – colleague quoting Richard Pryor, “he goes,” visual bit imitation. Silver bouffant secretary, barely tolerant, turns toward open steel office door.
Will Rogers Parkway continuation, Robin placing camera back on dash. “Will Rogers Parkway” – author. “That’s funny.” Robin: “Ha ha.” He who rules by moral force is like the pole star. TAI stop (Texas Aluminum Industries). Which remains in its place. Black dude. While all the lesser stars. Standing in dock. Do homage to it. Arms spread: “Ain’t nobody here.” He is not an implement. 1352. Next stop: 4210, Diversco, Inc. “Here comes two real nice girls,” blue slacks, magenta slacks, second in matching striped top. “Good day.” He does not preach what he practices. Says Robin. Till he has practiced what he preaches.
“So they say” – blue slacks.
“Well, it’s Friday.”
“Yeah, I never thought of it that way.” He who learns but does not think is lost. “I thought it was Wednesday.” He who thinks but does not learn. “CAUTION.” Is in great danger. “Buried Electric Cables,” black on yellow. Yellow front-end loader, black backhoe, works on footings fifty yards distant, a field of daisies stretching between us. He who sets to work upon a different strand. Late arrival. Destroys the whole fabric. Pink knit, brown corduroys: “Nobody even told me you were out here.” Cig in hand, bare-legged, right foot balanced against left knee, studies selection. “Say, can I take your picture?” – Robin. Cig drag, smile at author. “Thank yee-you” – Robin.
NCR. “NO SOLICITING,” block printed stick-on letters. Hand-lettered “Please Close Door Completely,” feminine script. A gentleman can see a question from all sides. First sign on outside. Without bias. Second on inside of glass. Black older man selecting chocolate milk. The small man. “Who’s a redneck?” – voice from nowhere, apropos of nothing. Is biased.
“He’s with me” – Robin stepping in as author continues to write. And can see a question from only one side. “He’s gettin’ it all down for history.” Freckle/pock-head, nasty girl step up truckside; man reaches for paper towel, checks out doughnut box (sugar-oil bleeding through cardboard). Girl choosing sandwich. “Can I get you guyses’ picture?” – Robin. Look closely into his aims.
“Just don’t give one to my ex-old lady” – freckles. Observe the means by which he pursues them.
“There we were” – girlfriend. Discover what brings him content. “Here we are,” incipient varicose veins. “I sell copies” – Robin. Can the man’s real worth remain hidden?
“Best route driver we ever had in here” – pock-head to general audience.
“Beats hell outta that biker’s old lady” – nasty girlfriend – “tattoo marks all up and down her arms.” Can it remain hidden from you?
“Writin’ a diary, huh?” – pock-head to author.
“PARAGON CLEANERS LAUNDRY,” N.W. 10th and Meridian. At fifteen. “Dry Cleaning Office Has Been Moved Next Door.” I set my heart upon learning. Author in truck. “Follow the Arrows,” large red arrow above words pointing to shirts behind glass. “PARAGON” white, “CLEANERS AND LAUNDRY” yellow, red drop shades. Oriental girl exiting laundry, approaching truck, selecting muffin (rear view mirror). Row of plastic maroon chairs lining sidewalk, cleaners front, beginning to fill with Hispanic help. Girls clearly overheated, already exhausted. “Say, I wanna get somethin’ to eat. I’m hongry.” At forty. Laundry scene viewed over Robin’s dash. I no longer suffered from perplexities. Cash purse, plastic spoon, Coke tops (2). At fifty. Ceramic (brown) coffee cup; flowered (orange and yellow) paper cup; styrofoam (white) cup, dope inside. I knew. Forty-nine-cent lettuce seed pack, held down by windshield wiper arm. What the biddings of Heaven were.
Robin approaching bevy of gorgeous, lively Hispanic girls, negotiating for picture in Spanish; yellow Kodacolor II pack, red logo, black letters, silver foil, ripped open, resting on blue front seat. At sixty. Elegant spokesman for worker clique, timeworn chic, red stretch pants, Coke in hand. All the girls smiling, laughing for Robin’s photo. I heard them. Some of them giggling, holding sandwiches over their faces. With docile ear. Girl in purple skirt, yellow headband, simultaneously snapping Polaroids, instant distribution. At seventy. Green butterflies on skirt front. I could follow the dictates of my heart. Leg slit to mid thigh. For what I desired. Large curvaceous purple top. No longer overstepped. Red mouth full of teeth. The boundaries of right. White eighteen-year-old co-worker, white pants, leans arm on author’s open window, reading what he has written. Robin steps behind wheel, white coffee cup in hand. “This is right now,” he says.
Tzu-chang. OKC Optical. Asked whether the state of things. Plate glass for garage – read bedroom – door. Ten generations hence. Across street from Perkins truck lot. Could be foretold. In-lot view of gate attendant’s hut. He was speaking of ritual. “Fuel Tickets” on window, illiterate scrawl. “We know,” said the Master, “how after the Hsia the Yin modified ritual.” “You gonna take over the route?” – American-flag-armpatched guard. “We know how after the Yin the Chou modified ritual.” “Well, I’m thinkin’ about it.” “Hence can we foretell what the Chou’s successors will be like.” Mid-America Farm Lines, 5120, “Moving food … from us to you.” “Even supposing they do not appear till a hundred generations from now.” “Don’t let her on!” – guard to driver, of long-haired, lavender-smocked pregnant girl. “Vamos, vamos” – blond-haired driver opening cab door, Lavender Smock in tinted thin-rim glasses, white plastic hair band.
Wind turbine turning atop green house next to OKC Optical: American flag flipping, flapping in wind bursts. Lot exuding pungent oil-gas odor, stable of Oklahoma Peterbilt trucks, “Peterbilt, OKLAHOMA CITY,” truck side; dirty “Peterbilt” multiflap; “Pe …” (obscured by blue and red engine). Passing cattle truck draws “Pe-ewe” from passing clerk. “Oklahoma Peterbilt / [picture of truck] / Oklahoma City” tee shirt, back of exiting mechanic. Trucker leaning up to girl in rig, places boot on high first step: “You want some coffee or something?” Girl watching Robin out side window, finishes licking envelope. “He took it with that camera,“ she says, looking at author. Robin glances up. “You’re a dead sucker now,” says girl to trucker.
How, he asked, could he induce the common people. Black red-(backward)capped worker, white salmon-halter-topped secretary Chow Mobile approach. To be loyal and respectful? Black guy ketchupping something on tailgate, secretary leaning away from up-spurting Diet 7-Up, finger still in pull-ring. “Approach them with dignity,” said the Master. “Yale Industrial Service.” “Then they will respect you.” “Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, El Paso.” “Show kindness toward your children.” “You got any milk today?” – Tony, peach-fuzz moustache. “And they will be loyal to you.” Robin reaching him a half-pint.
“Well, I guess the cow unloaded” – foreman. “Show piety toward your parents.” Friend of Tony stepping up:
“He oughtta give us one free, for not havin’ one yesterday.”
“Ninety cents” – Robin. “And they will be loyal to you.”
“How’d you come out so cheap buddy?” – Tony’s friend. “Promote the worthy.” “Oh, you got a little milk!” “Train the incompetent.”
“You’re so rich you don’t know what to do with all that money” – Robin. “That’s the best form of encouragement.” Robin, in clip-on shades, collects from middle-aged Chicano mustarding a submarine. Mower noise, sun-glare (10:35 a.m.), gas fumes unbearable. Sweat-drenched worker unloading 4 x 8 plasterboard, waist-up in yellow light, waist-down in black shadow. Cord in form of noose, wind-swayed, hanging in bay of attendant hut. Blue-shirted co-worker drops from dock, perfect two-point landing, two-seated Cessna passing overhead.
Final pre-break stop, “Honeywell Oklahoma City Operations.” Robin “Honk honk!” No sign of customers; tailgate down, side panel up anyway. “Boo!” Door “thump!” Yellow “Aries” tee shirt appearance, red bandana, stringy hair. Black and white “No Parking” in background. I do not see. “STOP / THORIZED / SONNEL / OUT,” view past corner. What use. Aries tee shirt placing two hotdogs on bumper. A man can be put to. Gloves on ground. Whose word cannot be trusted. Author out of truck: “UNAUTHORIZED / PERSONNEL / KEEP OUT,” red on white, yellow traffic light now visible beyond. How a wagon. Beige VW. Can be made to go. Rear plate: “REBAR-I.” If it has no yoke-bar. Unshaven welder, surly shop assistant silent snack selection.
“How much?” Or a carriage.
“How much?” If it has no collar-bar.
“A dollar and a nickel” – Robin politely. “A dollar ten.”
“Yu,” said the Master. Chow Mobile pre-lunchtime break. “Shall I teach you what knowledge is?” Under-I-40 truck-park, skid-row detritus: “When you know a thing.” Broken sherry bottle; Thunderbird pint (“Serve Chilled”); Thunderbird quart. “To recognize that you know it.” The remainder of a snot (?) rag; an empty, clear glass bottle, no label. “And when you do not know a thing.” Industrial hum, source undiscernible. “To recognize.” Phonebook page: “Bigalow S-Birdsong.” “That you do not know it.” White semi-circle basketball backboard. “This is knowledge.” “Fa-lop, fa-lop” of overhead-passing vehicle. No basket.
Downtown lunchtime stand, facing Justice Building. Wind strengthening street dust whip-up, heat unabating. “EQUAL AND EXACT JUSTICE.” Lawyers, secretaries, workers. “TO ALL MEN.” Unequally hungry. “OF WHATEVER STATE OR PERSUSION.” OKC Police car #276 passing, two white cops. “RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL.” Judge exiting Justice, black tassel loafers. “ – THOMAS JEFFERSON.” “Govern the people by regulations,” said the Master. “Storage by the Hour.” “Keep order among them by chastisements.” Girl passing author almost says hello. “And they will flee from you.” Takes seat, park bench, glances back. “And lose all self-respect.” “Galleria Tower,” “Parkside Motor Hotel.”
Downtown departure. Willis Shaw Express, 5120 (number familiar, seen earlier?). Full-bodied Indian babe in Hawaiian oversmock, jaywalking. Hospitex white rig, blue stripe running lengthwise. Dolese cement truck, yellow letters on black rotating cylinder. “Govern them by moral force.” Author, soaked blue work shirt, Levis, approaching heat exhaustion. “Keep order among them by ritual.” Blue pants, blue shirts, BFI garbage men. “Then they will keep their self-respect.” Red “Day’s Inn,” orange super-saturated roof, yellow sunburst. “And come to you of their own accord.” Roadside pass-by images: Peterbilt white cab through windshield correction, open side window. White ground, lightning thrust in baby blue, yellow-outlined. Robin exhausted, silent.
“Timberlake Const. Co. Inc.,” bold serifs, Okla. City, Okla.,” ’50s script, side of truck, lunch-breaking heat-struck crew sitting under it. In the usages of ritual. Yale Industrial Service Chevy van on scene. It is harmony that is prized. Crewmembers speechless from exhaustion, point at snack items. Heavy cumulus mass on humid horizon, single electric tower standing against it. Worker’s Pinto, Michigan plates (Eastern Michigan University rear window decal); Ford Country Squire XE, OK plates, simulated wood paneling, whited with age. The Way of the Former Kings from this received its beauty.
Industrial park drive-by customer search, comestibles dwindling, ice long gone. Blinding mid-day light color washout. Used data processors on dock, Data Pathing Inc., 1204; NCR storage interior, pink fluorescent glow; desk fan, pink invoices stuck in it. Fat woman speaking slowly into desk-top mike: “Rich, you’re wanted on Line 3.” Pause. “Someone from St. Louis.” NCR boxes piled six tall. Matters both small and great depend upon it. 2:48 p.m., wall clock glass concentrating pink overhead fluorescent tubes into tiny bright dots. If things go amiss, he who knows the harmony will be able to attune them. Temperature fronting 104, home trip imminent. But if harmony itself. “First we have to wash the truck” – Robin. Is not modulated by ritual. “One more stop on the way.” Things will go amiss. Motel construction site.
“New Motor INN,” sign already up, carpentry roughed in, Ruffles bag, Coke can foreground discard. Roughneck in “Live to Ride” belt buckle. Fellow roughneck, 17, pointing at him: “He’s one of the world’s greatest liars.” Said the Master to Tzu-chang, who was studying the Han-lu (seeking preferment): “He must be takin’ actin’!”
“Hear much.” “It’s funny to see an old Coors drinker” – carpenter to co-worker. “But be cautious in speaking.”
“I quit drinkin’ Coors” – co-worker. “Maintain silence as regards doubtful points.” Supercruiser banking in for landing. Portly Indian mason, OU Sooners cap reversed, leads returning crew to worksite. “Then will you seldom find yourself in trouble.” Sunflowers intergrown with fence. “See much.” Pettibon E•X•Tendo forklift, backing up with measured beeps. “But ignore.” “God damn it,” says driver. “What is dangerous to have seen.” Bales of Thermafiber / Insulating Blankets / U.S. Gypsum piled at building corner. “And be cautious in acting on the rest.” Heat in shade oppressive, final customers approach. “Are you gonna take it?” Musty smell exuding from office. “You prick!”
“Is there only one?”
“Naw, there’s more than one” – Robin.
“He who seldom gets into trouble.” Truck hosedown, 240 West return (“Eastern Ave 1 Mile”). “About what he has said.” I-35 JCT, blinking dotted yellow arrow. “And seldom does anything.” Moore to Norman orange VW transfer. “That he afterward wishes he had not done.” Swerve under Shields Blvd., two-lane Interstate expansion. “East Fuji Gardens Japanese Restaurant.” “Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College.” “He will be sure.” Car pack forging ahead like motile herd. “Incidentally.” Broccoli brush tree growth. “To get his reward.” Water tower loom: “NORMAN.”
Yellow fireplug, side mirror, “No Parking” sign (reversed). Pale blue-rose glow through pink-blossom feathery-leaf-green mimosa droops. Red lights at Classen. Eufaula traffickless. Octagonal “STOP” at University, white-shirted neighbor crossing street, north to south, dog on leash following.
Deserted house, southwest corner, Eufaula-Webster, shocking pink “No Trespassing” sign on black ground, white border. Cars departing spaces, front of First Christian Church. White two-door, windows up (air-conditioning on). Red-haired girl seated in baby blue Honda, white stripe on side connecting its two black tires. Man in too-long beige jacket crossing street, gets in cream sedan, Cleta D. sticker in rear window.
Eufaula-Santa Fe Greyling Apartments, elsewhere ambiance, other times: ’20s red brick, ’30s white trim, ’40s silver painted tile; basement entrance 203, 201. “FURNISHED – BILLS PAID.” First Baptist Church, hunched bunker-like, seen through parking lot. “In the morning,” said the Master, “hear the Way.” Dark house, branching elms. “In the evening.” Both catch remnants of failing light. “Die content.”
Railroad-crossing “X” on silver pole, bulbous projection above. Silver sedan crossing tracks. Silver plane passing west to east. Sun down, northern sky pale blue, pink-gauzed. Yellow car turns into street from south, crosses track, “fa-lap, fa-lap.” Yellow Rally Sport, black top, black hood, stops, heading north. Tall grass, breeze-bent, pushes against author notebook (“Diary,” made in Shanghai).
White tiered houses (two) read as single, gabled unit, underneath subtly humming telephone lines delicately ribbing eastern sky. Creosoted black, black-brown railroad ties, bound in steel, stacked beside track, three projecting authorward, beautifully displayed, grass grown waist-high against the pile, seed-heads nodding heavily.
White car heading south, headlights on. Two birds, past-pole flyby, one northward, one southward. Deep green horizon growth encroaching upward on pale green, pinkish blue; deep aura-filled space overhead emerging. Car with yellow parking lights streaming past. Second car, east to west. Those who err on the side of strictness. Full headlight beams. Are few indeed.
“NORMAN,” white on red brick (theory), grey on shadowed brown brick (practice), ancient railway station. Red Honda (burnt-orange Honda) slows to pass behind an orange (orange-grey) VW parked in grass beside the road. Nearby grasses wave-commencement. Black car passing, past, red lights blushing, driver slowing down for second set of tracks. Southeastern sky grey-dampened pale blue, water tower faint grey-blue, red warning light atop it flash-commencement. Single-alley-lamp-in-Northwest glow dominates transformer poles. A yellow inward-illuminated sign (middle distance) glows above an orange-painted railroad “STOP” (nearby). Lights in building other side of tracks turn whole windows yellow-white. A single blinking yellow indicator, southward turning white (dark grey) sedan.
Tiny winged-bug crawl across author’s page, single head-lamped motorcycle east to west. A gently thrumming jet, still sunlit, passes overhead. Red (grey-purple) nineteenth-century bricks visible through asphalt aperture. “78° / 8:29,” white-bulbed SNB sign. Gilt Edge Dairy silver stack rises into dimming blue, over white (beige) loading dock. Cars passing both directions under (now) fiery reds at Classen. “Reynolds Ford” through-window northward-facing baby blue, southward-facing yellow Fords. “At last,” he said, “I have someone with whom I can discuss the Songs.”
Right at Classen (Porter), passing Owen (football) Field, white sign on silver pole, headlights striping street in yellow light. “OPEN” on darkened Dee’s Restaurant, semi-circular facade rimmed in pink and green neon. A black-on-white under-gable sign, “First Church of the Nazarene.” Double greens at Boyd turning to double reds. Duke Ai had asked Tsai Yu about the Holy Ground. White headlights coming on. Tsai Yu replied. Red taillights going past. “The Hsia sovereigns used the pine, the men of Yin the cypress, the men of Chou the chestnut tree.” Roadside trees now reading black. “To mark the Holy Ground.” Shield-centered “77 ”; “JCT 74-A.” “This they thought.” Boomer-Sooner Carwash. “Would cause the common people.” AA Tire Center. “To be in fear and trembling.” Route 9 overpass. “And so it was.”
“Welcome Noble City Limit.” Hearing this, the Master said: “Cain’s Grill,” black on white, deep red below. “What is over and done with.” Main Street. “One does not discuss.” Green rippled shingles, Pentecostal Church of God. “What has already taken its course.” Two kids, eight and ten, flitting past in shadows, barefoot. “One does not criticize.” A black sedan ahead of parked author taking orange of running lights. “One does not censure.” Light within the Pentecostal church. “What already belongs to the past.” Topeka, Atchison, Santa Fe, southern outskirts Noble, horn sounding. Author, train, heading south.
Our Master’s Way is simply this: Northern outskirts Lexington. Loyalty. Kerr-McGee station. Consideration. Bluish light arched out from pole, KM sign underneath in dimness. No sign of human presence. In the presence of a good man, think all the time how you may learn to equal him. Slatternly woman exits newly arrived car, enters station-store. In the presence of a bad man, turn your gaze within! Light on, VW passenger compartment, notebook out, window-down for “chirp” reception. He whose heart is set upon Goodness will dislike no one. Second car pulling in, red lights, on, off. Woman stepping to door of store in orange top, blue pants. Portable electric sign through windshield bug-spatter: flashing arrow, two of four yellow bulbs out, three reds of arrowhead on (for two counts), off (for one). Black letters beneath, corrugated inside-lighted white ground: “NIGHTCRAWLERS, $1.35.” Store grimly lit, neon in windows, “Coors,” “Lite.” Overhead “KERR-McGEE,” vertical stroke of K in blue, diagonal strokes in red, M in three vertical strokes.
Purcell, “HEART OF OKLAHOMA,” white billboard ground, red heart, highways (numbered) entering/leaving it. Without Goodness a man cannot for long endure adversity. Above [Christ on cross depiction]: “HE WAS IN THE WORLD / AND THE WORLD WAS MADE BY HIM.” Cannot for long enjoy prosperity. “AND THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT.” The Way,” said the Master, “makes no progress.” Bad muffler of car mounting hill. “I shall get upon a raft and float out to sea.” Someone opening curtain, house behind “Ann’s Place,” to observe author activity.
“Welcome to Purcell Bowl,” a foursome standing at lane, in yellow golf shirt, blue tennis shirt, blue bowling shirt (accordion arm joints), white cowboy shirt. “Men and Women Singles Alibi Tournament.” Mama with baby: “Y’all’ll have to come over.” Baby in red face, cheeks crinkly with rash.
“You bowl anymore, or quit?” – friend drinking beer from Budweiser cup. Mama, cig in mouth, turns away to keep smoke from baby’s face.
“Quit.” Three one-dollar bills on scoring table, male foursome. Accordion Arm Joints up to bowl, in blue and white “Hughes” cap, heavy leather wrist supporters. Clientele sparse.
The Master said: Author, about to depart Purcell. “I have never yet seen a man who was truly steadfast.” Still seated on still-warm concrete steps leading to deserted Main Street building entrance. Someone answered saying: Heavy locust background buzz. “Shen Ch’eng.” Tire squeal, as yellow pickup turns off Main into Canadian, heads east. “Ch’eng!” the Master said. A single, hovering mosquito casts its shadow on the page. “Ch’eng is at the mercy of his desires.” As beer bottle crashes on pavement up street, two pickups peel out in opposite directions. “How can he be called steadfast?” A yellow van, in white side panel, a red pickup, nose-to-nose, Main Street median parking, radio blare, teenie-youth drinking beer. A slowly-cruising cop car enters Main. Radio volume-decrease, two heads sinking below pickup dash.
Said Tzu-kung. Main shopping. “We are permitted to hear Our Master’s views.” OK Barber Shop, Kiddy Kloset, Hedges. “Concerning culture.” INCOME TAX. “And the outward insignia of Goodness.” LA-Z-BOY Sale: Love Seat $499, Recliner $249, both displayed on golden brown, heavily vacuumed carpet, Nearly New Furniture Shop. “But about man’s nature.” “Let Us Help You With All Your Banking Needs” – McClain County National Bank. 10:01 / 70°. “And the ways of Heaven.” Oil paintings on Masonite (twiggy trees; barn from under autumn bough; windmill). “He will not tell us anything.” White K, Kiwanis International circle, blue trash barrel.
Main Street median youth activity. “Well whadda we got?” – 20-year-old portly working girl, seated on pickup hood, to pregnant friend, standing as she drinks Sonic milk shake. Gross scream from passing car. Queen Fashions, Treasure Chest Jewelry, Mike’s Health Center. When Tzu-lu heard any precept. Two pickups, one green, one pale blue. And he was still trying to put it into practice. Drivers stopping to chat. His one fear. Black pickup. Was that he might hear some fresh precept. Heading south.
Front steps of Post Office. Their music. Purcell. Began with a strict unison. OK. Soon the musicians were given more liberty. 73080. Tire squeal; high-pitched, falling, “Hey!” – portly girl, hood of median-parked pickup. But the tone remained harmonious. Country music issuing from cab speakers. Black-pickup return, heavy manifold sputter. Brilliant. Second tire-screech. Consistent. Portly, pregnant girls in conversation responding. Right on till the close. Enormous bugs in streetlight aureole, constellations overhead in cloudless abyss.
Vainly. Hotel McClain sign, paint eroded. Have I looked for a single man. Neon tubing still in place. Capable of seeing. Windows plywood-boarded. His own short-comings. Black pickup occupant screams at author, driver peeling a U-turn. And bringing the charge home against himself. Second pickup occupants comment. B.B. Barbershop underneath hotel. In a hamlet of ten houses. Farmers Insurance Group. You may be sure of finding. Doorway filled with indoor-outdoor carpet. Someone quite as loyal. Life, Liability, Fire. And true to his word. Auto, Truck, Burglary. As I. Agent “DUB ADAMS” on door, B and A almost rubbed away by pushing hands. But I doubt if you would find. Couch in vestibule, gold velour. Anyone. Folded day’s paper on middle cushion. With such a love. “United States of America, Home of the Brave” poster (faded). Of learning. Faces of the Presidents lined up in a row. 10:37 (radio clock, edge of desk); Muriel Magnum cigar box, ceramic leaf ashtray. “Take One.” So said the Master. (Brochure rack.) “Enjoy Carefree Cruising”; “Homeowners Package”; “What to Do in Case of an Accident.”
Norman return, Route 74, 12-miles-from-Purcell drilling site. Said the Master: White tower of dark-sky back-contrasted light. Tseng Wen-chung. Enormous yellow bit assembly suspended mid-tower. Kept a Ts’ai tortoise in a hall. Pumping diesel steady hum. With the hill pattern on its pillar tops. Squeak of mewling winch. And the duckweed pattern on its king-posts. Steel wires in tower shaking from side to side. Of what sort, pray, was his knowledge? Double searchlight illumination, red dirt of road embankment, green grass. Moth, bug companions in ever steady light-source congregation. A dozen cars and pickups parked, headed in towards rig; men moving on catwalk, tower base.
Main Street Downtown I-35 Norman turnoff. Of Tzu-ch’an the Master said. Holiday Inn. That in him were to be found. Five-pointed white neon star. Four of the virtues. Spikes in pink, green, yellow, blue, all emerging out of it. Which belong to the Way. “Holiday Inn” in green-neon-outlined script. Of the true gentleman. Green on the windshields of cars parked near the sign. “Howard Johnson’s” (orange) across street, immense jungle gym of federal highway road sign spanning Main. Air cooler, locust buzz still high. Motion of passing autos heard in roadway sign-structure as sympathetic vibrations. He was, it was said, always near the Way. Knocking, steady motion.
Main Street downtown approach. In his private conduct. Parking lot of Sterrs, excavation halted. He was courteous. Yellow flashers in mysterious cat-eye rhythm. In serving his Master. The Brass Planter, single lamp backlighting plants. He was punctilious. Whine-up of accelerating autos, flip-flipping over concrete expansion divider. Blackness dominating; blurry whites of streetlamps. In providing for the needs of the people. Norman High in darkness. He gave them. Adventures in Travel Limited. Even more than their due. 11:33 / 29C, “Hardees.” “NORMAN LUMBER,” O of Norman, U of Lumber in red, remainder black. In exacting service. Black and white cop car cruising. From the people. “SAFEWA” red, yellow VW parked out front. He was just. “ONE” of “FIRESTONE” visible beyond darkened Dairy Queen sign. “Downtown Shopping Center” lights out, author turning. Two in-lot black-and-whites side-by-side conversing.
Said the Master: “Dear Sheila, Once again I find myself in The Town Tavern.” “How transcendent.” Steam in blown wisps, brown coffee, overhead light reflections in it. Stacey in khakis, concerned look. “Is the moral power.” Stacey’s Allen in brown cap, khaki shirt over white tee shirt, a dozen pens/pencils in shirt pocket. “Of the Middle Use.” Sugar dispenser on yellow-glow deep-grained pine table. “That it is but rarely found.” Light off Allen’s glasses. “Among the common people.” He suspiciously eyeing author. “Is a fact long admitted.” Barbara active, Stacey active, Mary active, dealing with influx.
“What are you all writing up so fast in here?” – white-haired woman next to author talking to youth gaggle. Allen up, silent conference with Stacey, crumpled napkin, empty water glass, Oklahoma Daily left behind. Kim at counter in Whittier tee shirt, white with blue collar. Ponytail flips as she moves behind Patrick, his back to restaurant interior. “In just 2 weeks this place has become a part of me …” Karen arrival, shades, new sandals. “… or I a part of it.” Mary, in “Los Alamos Swim Team” tee shirt, refills coffee. Alison, up from writing, scoops ice herself. Stephanie in yellow terry-cloth sleeveless shirt reaches up to hug Mary. Darrell checking out the scene, talking to John, beginning to write.
“I want to once again try to show you in a letter what this place holds for me.” “You know what they’re doin’?” – Barbara. “They’re writin’ a paper about The Town Tavern.” “Upon entering I feel some strong positive force. It is almost as if I can feel the waves of intellectual energy that are being produced.” “Some people” – Stacey, by way of explanation to new arrivals – “need inspiration.” Patrick stylishly mopping countertop. Wrings out cloth, flips excess water at Kim, who dodges it. “$2.50 SPECIAL $2.50/CABBAGE ROLLS.” “I know that I am merely romanticizing what I see but their [sic] must be some truth as most of my best papers and all of my best letters are written right here, Sheila, I wish you could be here to see this …” “My house is sold!” – Karen.
Said Jan Ch’iu: Strong woodsman-hippie in jeans, plaid shirt, leaning with both hands on Stacey, waitress Mary’s table. “It is not that your Way.” Fly on Los Alamos Mary’s letter to Sheila, author brushing it aside. “Does not commend itself.” Vicki arrival, white soft smock, shaking out water from curly locks. But rather that it demands a power.” Sky grey, rain stopped. “That I do not possess.” “There’s not much to do” – Vicki. Said the Master: Patrick whistling, eye on Barbara filling glasses with crushed ice. Cook in corduroy tam behind Heinz gallon tomato can, plastic basket with jellies for toast. “He whose strength gives out.” Appearance of Laura, pen, money envelope in hand, ready to pay Kim. “Collapses during the course of the journey (the Way).” Paula talking; looking about; wondering at author/instructor’s observation. “But you deliberately draw the line.” Leans left-handed over notebook, glances back to gather information.
“Vicki! Vicki!” someone calls, attempt to distract her from counterside conversation. Karen, now sitting next to Allen, holds forth on house sale, dark glasses mounted on head. Paula, turned about to study counter, catches look from Darrell, looking for detail no one else has seen (assignment). “Hey, that’s that famous photograph – no, that’s a painting” – new arrival, guy in black over-easy shag. “Who did that painting?” – to Stacey.
“Tony.” Darrell listening, left hand covering words just written.
“When was that, about ten years ago?” Mary returning from fridge with o.j., stands by Stephanie, both hands in cloth waitress wallet. Resumes seat, arm on hip, yellow-shirted Stephanie drinking orange juice with both hands.
Karen D. arrival. Takes seat opposite author. “Madison, my sources tell me you’re in trouble.”
“Karen, why don’t you just move along.” Karen D. departure. Juke up. Patrick leaving on break with black friend. Fat guy walks to icer, fills glass without scoop. Karen D. asks if she can sit opposite Allen. Allen agrees, eyes averted. Stacey, red-faced, takes seat beside him, eyes also averted from Karen D. Mary leans over, pad on table, takes order from Karen D. Waitress Karen: “Stephanie, don’t touch the dog, it smells.” Alison, corner booth, scratching part in hair. Laura working at Coke dispenser, leafing through, sorting, distributing slips of paper.
Stacey leaves bill at her own place amidst newspaper disorder. New song on jukebox. Allen, Stacey continue to stonewall Karen D., who carefully takes out pen, notebook, only to have Mary arrive with order. Steven appearance, 1920s golfing cap, dirty corduroys, shirt in broad green stripes, books clutched against hip. Door on Boyd opens, couple standing in air to gaze at seating prospects. “Who expects to leave a house except by the door?” Basket (three-tiered): “How then is it?” Top (empty). “That no one follows.” Middle (one banana). “This Way of ours?” Bottom (two oranges).
“I never sent that letter” – L.A. Mary, watching as author transcribes it. “Can I leave? ” – Jennifer to instructor. New song, Steven pouring coffee. Many people earnestly writing. Instrumental intro over, Eagles begin. Grey-tinged black shag leaving tip, drops coins on floor, picks them up one at a time. Steven offering instruction to L.A. Mary regarding new song choice.
Coffee cup suddenly crashes at author’s rear, epileptic seizure individual almost falling to floor from elevated booth. Waitress Mary to scene, cleaning mess with foot on towel. Victim aided to upright position, wide-eyed, stroking hair, attitude of resignation.
Two-minute-after back-to-normal look from Stacey, Vicki standing behind her, stroking her arm, white cowboy hat, serene tellus mater pose. L.A. Mary taking seat next to victim. “Schooner!” – waitress Mary. Discusses third song choice: “It was the closest thing I could follow up Devo with.” Waitress Mary returning with schooner of beer.
Karen D., ragged cutoffs, tennis shirt, drinks last of water, gathers up notebook, moves catlike past counter, out door. Stacey leans toward Allen, gasping, drawing red-faced breath. Karen waitress, elbow on table, cig burning, nail-strokes neck, smiles at author. Stacey now redder than ever. “Click, slap, cluck” – refrigerator door closing. Said the Master: Stacey in momentary relief, turns to waitress Karen who, in profile, continues rapid-fire sympa discourse. “To prefer it.” Paula putting hand on John’s shoulder. “Is better than only to know it.” Laura puts tip of pen in mouth; yawns; looks at author. “To delight in it.” Mason, opposite her, sips on straw. “Is better.” Light wind in trees through plate-glass window. “Than merely.” New counterperson. “To prefer it.” Pulling silverware from washer.
“Oh, my God, they’re clearing out!” Vicki, class departing, shoots author sideways slo-mo glance. Patrick returning, black comb in rear pocket. “You don’t look good at all” – someone to Stacey.
“You could even crawl into one of my robes” – Vicki. Stacey pouring herself another coffee. Black man, central table, stroking semi-bearded chin, awaiting menu arrival. White friend, “Success Is Anywhere” decal-pressed-on tee shirt, takes seat opposite him. Terminix man arrival, green pants, white shirt, orange logo. Talks to Mary, picks up Stephanie, keys in hand. College kid through window, east to west.
Only one who bursts with eagerness. “I like the new turf” – Jacob. Do I instruct. Owen Field. 6:30 / 87°. Receivers, white uniforms, blue dickeys; defensive backs in white; coaches in red shorts. “My brother from Carmel and his date …” – guy behind us. “It doesn’t make any difference to me, just what Susie and Danny …” – a father planning family’s Southern Cal trip. Middle-aged girl, guy ahead of us, “SHIRLEE,” “JIM” tee shirts, matching white-stitched jeans. Sky cloudless blue.
Only one who bubbles with excitement. “There’s Barry” – John.
“Down there talkin’ to that guy.” Barry blows whistle.
“There’s Mike Trepps down there – father behind us. Styled-out black chicks walking down aisle, white drink cups in red-nail hands, crisscross halter tops, white shorts. First-string defense, offense in passing drill, crowd growing restless.
Kids under scoreboard, tee shirts caught in brilliant sun. 6:38 / 86°. “TIME OUTS LEFT. QUARTER. TIME OUTS LEFT.” Late slanting light catches aisle seats in south end zone. Three flagpoles, flagless, white, Bud Wilkinson Complex behind.
“Testing.” 7:03 / 86°. “See Us. The Sooner the Better” – Oklahoma City Times ad, paper perused by businessman ahead of us, tieless, pants of plaid $400 suit. Hawk-beak red-haired 55-year-old smiles at pre-game antics. Fans descending aisle, white cups, red “OU Sooners,” cardboard containers of nachos, cheap cheese. 7:06 / 85°. Backfield continues passing drill, defensive secondary coached by grey-haired 59-year-old, dark glasses, gesturing dramatically. Crowd quiescent. Channel 4 cameraman, assistant with blue Portapak, standing between 5 and 0 of 50. “He’s runnin’ second string halfbacks” – hawk-beak to blond, bare-legged wife. Red-shirted receiver sandwiched between two defensive backs. “Don’t rack him up too bad now.”
“Pop, look at all that stuff on the field” – Jacob. Players picking up equipment, preparing for scrimmage. Barry, white coach shirt, red collar, red shorts, prowling sideline. Officials on field, ball at 50.
If I hold up one corner. “Ball now at the 42 yard line of the defense” – announcer, scrimmage underway. And a man cannot come back to me. “Stanley Wilson, blown dead at the 37 yard line. Wilson stopped by Greg Sims.” With the other three. “And his shoe taken off” – Jacob, imitating announcer’s voice. I do not continue the lesson. Stanley Wilson, electrifying run. “Stopped at the four yard line.” Baby cries behind us.
“Kelly Phelps, touchdown,” coaches in semicircle behind offensive team. I should prefer someone who approached difficulties. “The kick is no good.” With due caution. Whistles whistle together. Who succeeded by strategy. “Enough whistles!” – Jacob, whistling. Light through holes in sportswriter deck spotlighting single fan seated opposite (eastern) side. “Second down eleven.” Stadium lights on. 7:24 / 84°. Black defensive lineman swinging arms on sideline. Sudden sun downrush leaves stadium in light loss.
6:30 pre-dawn, corner-University-and-Symmes-church-parking-lot concrete-car-stop sit. Scarcely enough light to write. Double-clef train moan, north-to-south passage. Single streetlamp before dowdy-massive McFarlin Methodist. The Master did not aim at a roosting bird. Two light posts, empty parking lot. Author unable to find lines on notebook page.
6:40 pink glow emerging above electric-lamp-lit-green trees, trees interspersed with yellow, orangish lights (two), on in houses behind. Pink of sky at horizon suffused with blue. Star above/to right of tower, dark blue behind, higher-up Orion fading. Crickets thinning, harmonizing in dawn anticipation. Carefully measured pedestrian footsteps heard over solemn hum, Noble-descending train. She (pedestrian) crosses street putting distance between herself and author. High-overhead wispy clouds, detached, serene. Breeze unfurling notebook pages, light of in-lot lamp illuminating solitary pool. Train still softly audible. Quiet. Depth perception. Plenitude.
Foot-of-McFarlin-steps down-University-Boulevard curb view. Large spreading elm, beneath-its-branches green of traffic light. Light now red. Red light under spreading elm. Red (now green) seen under row of streetlights in perspective diminution. Nearby treemass, particulars still undifferentiated. Bright western star above tree, tree above house, house above faintly greening grass. Grass leading to street (asphalt); asphalt leading to sidewalk (concrete), concrete under heel of author’s boot, knee supporting notebook (lines now faintly visible). Streetlight halo, light on post, light lighting front of unfinished apartment building.
Black Chevy pickup past, red taillights. He fished with a line. East-to-west fleeting car at Boyd. But not with a net. Black pickup now at red light (stopped at Boyd), its yellow left turn-indicator blinking. Turns. How utterly have things gone to the bad with me. Gone. Eastern delicate cream-rose cloudbank emergence. It is long now indeed. Cat moving in high unmown grass. Since I dreamt. Single star still flickering. That I saw the Duke of Chou. Subtle pattern of chipped yellow (yellow-green-gray) paint on curbside. Yellow (dark ochre) fireplug, other side of street, in wistful, dignified identity.
“God Loves You” – bumper sticker – “Whether You Like It Or Not,” car parked, boarding house, corner University-White (author up and moving). Two red airplane-warning-lights – car passing – atop Physical Sciences Center. Yellowish streetlight momentarily glows bright, as car scurries beneath it. Down quiescent-White-Campus-Corner approach, past First Presbyterian Sunday School, its red brick brightening. Yellow Dorito bag, crushed Taco Tico cup in white frame (parking place), black background, notebook atop parking meter for observation. Brown bag in damp grass, discarded sign propped against long wall.
Streetlight off, bulb still glowing orange. Guy in white tee shirt, red shorts filling tank at Sunshine Store, neon white overhead, red of left-on taillights, yellow luminescent Sunshine sign, Buchanan-White. General light intensity increase. Orange wooden sun sign, down street, yellow rays outstreaming, orange car right turning under it. Glossy red VW bug parking before Sunshine Store, overlooked by yellow smiley face of O in “STORE,” red eye-dots, red moon-crescent smile. Next-door yellow Golden Cue building, green roof circled by birds in sunrise anticipation. Still-not-visible sun aglow behind Graham’s Shoe Shop’s shoe-shaped sign, silvered side of stop sign facing author. Wind whips silver-sided gum wrapper down White, through Buchanan intersection. Orange Toyota into Sunshine lot for gas, red Dodge pausing at corner, Yellow Celica parking, opening door to greet author: “I’ve been here before anybody.” Yellow VW floats stop (White Street), muffler rumbling on to Asp, where light of just-risen sun dazzles white on baby blue roof. Green Porsche up street, stopping before Toto’s, red-shirted driver, blue pants, steps out. Two girls promenading Asp, heading south.
Author across-White northside storefront investigation. The wise man delights in water. Graham’s Shoe and Boot Shop window. The good man in mountains. Tiny dusty baby cowboy boots. For the wise move. Dusty buckles (“Schlitz,” “Kawasaki,” “United States of America”). But the good stay still. Horseshoe set with Susan Anthony dollars, Indian head nickels. Sunshine Store reflection: CTE [smiley face] ECI [smiley face] REEB [smiley face] DOOF, letters reversed, smiley faces seemingly normal.
Aquarius Gift Shop. Piece of paper flipping up in breezy street. “The Urban Climber/SOLD HERE.” “Sorry, No time to talk, I’m late for work” – one climber to another, sheer wallface. Cutesy ceramics (full-cheeked Beetle-cut musicians). An orange tree set in octagonal pot. The wise are happy. Owls in plastic oval, oak leaves behind them. The good, secure. Pegasus with stars, crescent moon, rainbow. Monkey chewing bubblegum. Said the Master: Campus TV. “But give me a few more years.” “TV REPAIR,” letters in homemade silver foil, strung across window. “So that I may have spent.” TV sets awaiting repair. “A whole fifty years in study.” $5.00 rung up on register. “Then shall I be free.” Fuseable resistors, AC jacks, AC adaptors. “Of error.” Phone plugs, Battery D transistors, H.V. Putty. “I for my part.” TOTO’s Spanish stucco. “Am not one of those.” Asp view: “Who have innate knowledge.” Sha-Sha’s pink, electric ice-cream cone, seen through overhang of deserted, overpainted, boarded-up Mobil station. “I am simply one who loves the past.” Silver car Sunshine arrival. “And investigates it.” Girl in salmon short shorts out to open trunk. “With diligence.” Five-pointed stars in Deli City’s sidewalk, colored beads in pink cement spelling out “H E R O.”
Wind gusting. Custom Hi-Fi window: “SALE/SALE.” House of Travel window: “Little Red Art Club/Little Red Hot Chili Supper.” “Joe Dickens/Neil Cronk/At the Lovelight/Tonight.” University Plasma Center; Hoops; Impressions. A pool of standing water, two popcorn kernels in it. The Co-Ed Shop, The Added Touch, The Kids’ Loft. Two pigeons, mid-street, pecking at nothing. Motorcycle revs, Sunshine departure. “WHITE ST” sign pole, Little Kings bottle on its side at base, Miller’s bottle, Bud bottle, upright together. “BOOMER” letters running down, Owen Field west expansion deck above them, merging into white cloud.
Sha-Sha’s interior, Leslie, Tod, Darla pausing across-street to study Clark Cleaner’s front, window reflections. I have transmitted what was taught to me. Yellow fire truck quickly down Asp. Before they enter Sha-Sha’s. Without making up anything. Connie approaching door on crutches (torn ligament). Orange VW parked, diagonal space, this (west) side of street. Debbie, Alison, Jan arrival. Clark four-pronged TV antenna (silver), two prongs in shadowed grey, two in sunlit white. Jennifer, Darla, Adam crossing east to west. Parking meter portrait. Air-conditioned cool/cold, radio muted; stools, installed for street view, all full, late arrivals reaching for chairs, scraping on tile floor. Red Ford parks in front of window. “NOEL J” (belt embossed) puts penny in meter. Sunlight caught in amber turn signals.
“What is it they’re moving over there?” – Darla. Black sedan, yellow stripe, down Asp. Green-tennis-shirted girl, red running pants, opening metallic bronze Mercury door. Two men with dolly move mysterious object into Clark’s. I have been faithful to. Woody – Town Tavern cook – passing. And loved the ancients. Retired Greek admiral, tie, European briefcase, crosses east to west, continues southward. Bright red Izod-shirted Sam, late-hippie-attired Tod, just arriving, black Sirocco, yellow Ford, blue Chevy passing behind them. Cyclist, blue shirt, blue pants, blue backpack, silver spokes glinting.
I have listened in silence. Lovely 20-year-old, long, patterned skirt, passes, conversing with leather-faced Indian dude. And noted what was said. Gentle silly freshman patter, notebooks opening, pens out, Darla brushing her hair back in serious notation preparation. Motorist descent, blue Ninety-Eight; services meter as wind whips yellow, red, green plaid skirt, baring leg, flipping straight blond hair in face. Steeple of shop complex, white triangular cupola under wooden pyramidal spire, seated atop baby blue roof. Co-Ed Shop, Hoops, Impressions. Two guys passing, orange, green tee shirts. The Added Touch, The Kids’ Loft, Debbie recording names. I have never grown tired of learning nor wearied of teaching others. Iranian, two-day beard-growth, observing – eyebrow levitation – authorial activity. White Coors delivery truck halt, driver out, slightly pudgy Indian babe, passenger seat, hair disheveled. These at least are merits I can confidently claim.
Thirtyish woman, turquoise smock, exiting Clark’s as C (red) F (green) Consolidated Freightways pulls up, rear red lights flashing. Operator opens doors to reveal truck interior. Jennifer recording: “brown cartons with pink tape on them.” Green-capped mover leaves dolly at door, makes final entrance, voucher in hand. “ONE HOUR” (bright green) “MARTINIZING” (carmine), waffled white ground. Noel J return, gold wedding ring; takes shades off rear view mirror, puts them on; turns to back out, waiting impatiently. Pink tennis-shirted sorority girl opening Clark’s door, half visible behind CF truck. Woman in turquoise smock hands pink receipt to blue tee-shirted driver. Short-haired middle-aged blonde, white halter top, Oklahoma Daily under sunburnt arm, passes parked Ninety Eight, Sha-Sha’s interior glistening on its surface, around-corner Custom Hi Fi reflected/distorted in bumper.
“Yes, WE’RE OPEN” – window of Miller’s Bicycle Shop, reflected yellow Toyota, parked around corner, Deli City front. Guys in green, orange tee shirts returning. Bicycle shop reflections of TOTO’s red “AZZIP” (letters reversed) “NAILATI” (green). White, blue and red Pabst truck down Asp. The thought that I have left my moral power untended. The Jockey Strap Saloon. My learning unperfected. Letters incompletely overtraced in blurred black spray paint. That I have heard of righteous men. Norman Police passing. But been unable to find them. Tree in breeze over muted off-green house. Have heard of evil men. Stoner in “Jag’s Up the Alley” tee shirt. But been unable. Bleach-blond dancer. To reform them. Daisy-Mae front-tied shirt (white). It is these thoughts that disquiet me. Jan in red-based Hawaiian shirt flipping hair back with middle-finger-ringed hand.
Coffee depleted (Wilmington plastic cup insert, red holder), almost spherical drops beading deep-polyurethane-finished hardwood Sha-Sha countertop. John departing, other freshmen eager to. Ninety Eight departing, blonde with blue-clad companion. Immediate Monte Carlo replacement, two girls, driver in white hat, friend in blue shorts. Latter takes hat off driver’s head, mid street, puts it on, as both enter 753 Asp. Black-and-white repassage. Clark’s in heavily-worked 1940s architectural mode, over-door air-conditioner jutting out. “BOOMER” sign in cream letters, clear-neon outlined, deep red ground. Window (writing) ledge lined with paired salt and pepper shakers.
Sha-Sha freshman population down to six – Jennifer departure – five. Corresponding authorial-activity intensity-increase. Jan. Said the Master: Red writer’s manual face down. “Even.” Kevin. “When walking.” White (ruled) paper (folded), visible in pocket. Departing. Silver Rabbit arrival. “In a party of no more than three.” Jan, Kevin standing outdoors, deep in conversation. “I can always be certain of learning.” Connie departure. “From those I am with.” Author to outdoor station, notebook open.
“Next time around …” – Kevin.
“You gonna do that?” – Darrell, exiting-with-Darla-writing-conference. Blond Benson/Hedges filter smoker crossing street, wind whipping hair.
“I was thinking I might …” – Connie, book, crutch in same hand, smiling. “There will be good qualities.” Yellow “The Omelet Shop” awning in dark Clark’s glass reflection. “That I can select for imitation.” Connie waving goodbye to Darrell with other hand, as she talks to Kevin. “And bad ones.” Blonde with lighted cig, macramé bag, entering Clark’s. “That will teach me.” “ONE WAY” on post. “What requires correction.” Author alone. “In myself.” Connie, Kevin departed.
Nighttime Sha-Sha scene, author alone at counter. Yellow Celica, orange Superbeetle; red “Enjoy Coke” (reversed), indoor glass reflection, white swirl. Black girl crossing asphalt, hand-in-hand with black boyfriend-football player. Clark’s yellow-lit interior bleeding around orange window panel. Red taillights, rear of white Ford pickup. Headlights, southward streaming traffic, yellows of parking lights beneath. Overhead fan motion, beneath-it red-shirted counter-attendant stasis, window reflection. Popcorn display case, yellow kernel-pile pressed against glass, backlit by orange-glowing heatlamp. Just as lavishness leads easily to presumption. “Miller’s” (black) “Bicycle” (grey) “Shop” (black). So does frugality to meanness. Sign in regular rectangularity. Brown-tee-shirted passerby, steady, bearded, forward gaze. “ONE WAY” in black on white (black words on white arrow, black ground, white trim). But meanness is a far less serious fault than presumption. Disco ballad pulse, out-of-sync, eerie overhead-fan ceiling shadow.
J., John Sha-Sha entrance, J. remaining indoors, mouthing a line of melancholy baritone, John returning to street (research intention). Fiat driver emerges from black convertible, yellow Izod, blue Italian V-neck, tight short-sleeve embracers. Counter attendant’s female assistant in “IF YOU NEED A WOMAN” red, white-lettered tee shirt. Eight of four (clock), reversed (“eight-o-eight”). Yellow Corolla, black stripe, passing, behind-counter girl (reflection) moving in direction counter to it. Ice-cream-cone-eating frat emerging from Fiat backseat. Sky occlusion (white city-lit clouds overtaking black ground).
“Orin’s Fine Pizza” surrounded by counter-clockwise-flashing yellow bulbs. Lamp recession southward – three to Boyd, where green traffic light shines through two successive windshields. Plop, shuffle, slap (J.’s flaps, tile floor, research resituation). Dog in older parked sedan, muzzle projection through almost-closed window. Eighteen-year-old girl jogging south, jeans, blue sweater, white blouse collar protruding. Long-haired T. T. habitué, white sneakers, passing in opposite direction. Red plastic Indian head “RETAIL LIQUOR STORE” arrow; white, paint-peeling background on wooden diamond.
Southward-to-T. T. venue change, passing “Tennis Bums, Inc.,” “ANY CHURCH THAT MEETS IN THE BOOMER IS WORTH CHECKING OUT.” Liberty D red neon “OPEN.” Town Tavern table setting. The Divine Sage. Super Serve napkin dispenser. I can never hope. “Coors” ashtray. To meet. Nervous conversation upstart attempt. The most I can hope for. Next table. Is to meet a true gentleman. Vicki arrival, water, saucer-filled black coffee. “Are you sure that’s all you want.”
“Yeah.” A faultless man.
“Are you sure that’s all you want?” I cannot hope ever to meet. Baby gazing from booth with preternatural intelligence. Streetlight through window, stanchion in form of crucifix. The most I can hope for. Traffic light intensely saturated red. Is to meet a man of fixed principles. Two-girl, two-guy booth complement, Vicki arriving for towel work, table clearance. Red “TT” in white circle, painted on diamond-shaped mirror. Patrick behind-counter window reflections. Yet all around I hear. Voice to left: “Do me a favor.” Nothing. “Do me a favor.” Pretending to be Something.
“Finish that cigarette.” Pretending to be Fullness. Request met with silence, smoke. Penury. “PLEASE USE JUKE BOX UP FRONT.” Pretending to be Affluence. (Table-side jukebox sign.)
“Is that all you need?” Even a man of fixed principles. Vicki, serene smile, refilling cup. Will be none too easy to find. Steve, next table, at work on Plato, overhead light darkening bulbous purple elbow scar. Black shirt, hand on chin-to-ear. Solitary mulatto in green hospital smock-top; blond hippie-worker; non-descript 19-year-old in nondescript garments. L.A. Mary taking seat opposite Steve, “Dialogues of / LATO” visible on pink ground, not in fact the book he is presently reading. L.A. Mary’s hair black (wet from swimming), shining. “I’m goin’ to the doctor, now, my head hurts so” – behind-author voice of Laura. There may be those. “Madison” – L.A. Mary between tables – “I thought about you yesterday.” Who can do without knowledge. “You gotta hang out on Campus Corner.” But I for my part. “Some game day.” Am certainly not one of them. “Especially.” To pick out what is good. “With your taste for color.” And follow it. Two-couple simultaneous food preparation. To see much. Ketchupping fries, peppering meat, salad-dressing reach. And take due note of it. Steve listening, gazing warmly, as L.A. Mary goes through list of names. This is the lower of the two kinds of knowledge. Wooden bowl dropping behind counter. (The higher being – Waley – innate.) Steve sneezing.
Corner, Asp and Boyd, concrete slab-sit. He must not sit on a mat. Breeze in at-hand planter plant. Which is not straight. Black shadow over seat edge. Car screech, westbound, all-red taillight impression. Steel blue Chevy, grey Scottsdale; single small white car on-come, two students hopping to cross street before its arrival. Red over Boyd, green over Asp; red over Asp, green over Boyd. Full moon over Engineering, cloud-suffusing aura. Red Ford pickup down-Boyd bright-in-dark left-turning Botie’s exit. White Trans-Am over-street-irregularity “hump-thump.” Green pickup red-pause, three yellow bulbs atop cab. Union clock pale face-glow. Two yellow lights at Jenkins; two red dots atop Physical Sciences.
Seated. At home. Cross-Boyd semicircle. In his. Canna-ringed night park. Native village. Locust drone, car hum, moon in cloudy swirl. His manner. Flicker of distant lightning. Is simple. Two globes, nearby university building entrance. And unassuming. Sky-rayed, NW-to-SE cloud striations. As though he did not trust himself to speak. Four empty game-day beer cups, translucent, supported by recently cut grass. But in the ancestral temple. Band of light, Boyd-across, mellow-yellow softened. And at court. Cars in sweet highlight gleam. He speaks readily. Streetlight cross before Town Tavern, sound of car door closing, University-adjacent lot. Though always choosing his words with care. Grass still warm.
When the guest has gone. Seated. He reports. Granite-rimmed floral circle. The close of the visit. Flowers removed. Saying. Lightning flash. “The guest is no longer looking back.” Dim group of talking people stand before Union side entrance, single light shining on them. University water tower lit from beneath. On regaining his place. Grey above, silver below. He resumes. Blending into vagueness of cloud-washed inky blue. His attitude. Lit-from-beneath pale green deciduous tree. Of weariness. Yellow parking lights. And hesitation. Lightning flash.
“THE UNION” (bulletin board), clock through window: 1:47. “Adult and Commuter Services, Alumni Offices, Annual Giving Office, Ballroom, Book Exchange, Career Planning & Placement, Commuter Center, Development Office, Faculty Senate Office.” “Do you want to be the secretary while I get those staples?”
“Sure, I’ll be here, you just take your time.” “Mall Shops & Restaurants, Meacham Auditorium.” “Where do I go to get something to eat?”
“Downstairs and to the left.” “Media Services.” “Check out the salads and see if they’re still alive.” “Meeting Rooms 159-165.
“Where’s that Ming Gallery at?” – Jan, walking past, on through glass doors with Debbie, right direction. “Ming Gallery, Rooms 1-7.” Oklahoma Daily sitting on lobby table: “BANOWSKY LOOKS TO ACADEMIC GAINS.” Interlocked “O” and “U,” upside down, red on red-bordered grey rug, facing freshman composition students as they enter: Sam, Eileen; Alison, Darrell. “For about 50 per cent of OU students” – Oklahoma Daily – “college life is incidentally academic.” John and J. “They sign petitions to have the foreign language requirement done in …” Paula. Someone stapling at information desk. Debbie (Ming Room return). “Rooms A-C, University Affairs.” Overhead fans circulating comfortable air-conditioned breeze. “Union Offices.” Oriental girl up steps, light blue shirt, white trim, yellow backpack; Caucasian girl, brown tennis shirt, dark glasses hung in V of neck, Oklahoma Daily in hand. “I’ll be right back” – returned receptionist leaving again.
“O.K.” – stand-in. “I’m just gonna put ‘G. call C.’”
“Right. If Bill Banowsky calls, you can spell it out.” Gothic arch, silver water fountain, Renaissance niche. Receptionist departs.
“There are pay phones downstairs” – stand-in to student asking for information. Jan eavesdropping, notebook open. Looks up from page at author-instructor, smiles, laughs.
TV Room. “I said, what’s going on in here?” – TV Action alert, white-suited space men, commander in pith helmet. Debbie and Jan seated across from author. “Do not panic. Repeat. Do not panic.” Jan whispering to Debbie. “They will be caught.” Debbie in white leather running shoes, tomboy cuffed jeans, plaid western shirt, enormous glasses (slipping down her nose). Brazen co-ed, leather sandals, metallic pink toenails, changes channel without consulting anyone; resituates herself, crosses arms over books in lap (red spiral OU notebook, Oklahoma Daily, yellow Strategic Marketing Problems). “I’ve got to get out of here” – TV voice.
“Not till you’re able” – TV nurse. Vertical hold defective, no one getting up to adjust it. Soap opera patient rising from bottom to top of screen; reappearing at bottom. Two Iranian student-viewers sitting attentive, back row of expensive chairs, each with single finger on cheek. Room full, all but two single chairs taken, Debbie and Jan sitting down in last free couch. Overweight salmon top arrival, candy bar in hand. “Scorpio was able to penetrate security” (new channel). Pubic bulge in too-tight jeans. TV horizontal distortion. Debbie, Jan glance at author; get up to go; linger a moment in doorway. TV adjusts itself. Turn into hallway. “I’m The Lone Ranger.” Phone rings across hallway. “All personnel are now under my command.”
Game room. J. in front of Asteroids Deluxe, reaching in pocket for change. Darrell with clipboard observing him, Sam observing Darrell. Paula, orange backpack discarded, notebook open, sits on polished floor, writing, oblivious of J., Darrell, Sam. “Da-dee-da” electronic melody. “Dee-da-dee.” Debbie, Jan, seated on floor, opposite Paula, black wall phone over Debbie’s head. Ceiling in Sooner red (rust-maroon). Co-ed enters, yellow hair, white shirt, green shorts, struggles to get wallet loose from backpack. Smiles at author – Debbie, Jan observation, Sam notation. “Whump!!” of book-filled backpack hitting ground, single dropped quarter rolling authorward. J., Darrell, Sam observing scene. Author picks up rolling quarter, deposits it in co-ed hand. John arrival (red OU baseball cap). Asteroids Deluxe “da-dee-da.” Debbie, Jan laughing. J. in conference with John, explaining what has happened.
Tod, Mason down steps, past author-instructor, U.S. Marine Corps recruiting station goal. Learn as if you were following someone. Mason in red Izod, pleated khakis. Whom you could not catch up with. Darla watching Tod. As though it were someone you were frightened of losing. Author at Air Force recruiting station. Do not enter a State that pursues dangerous courses. “Air” white, outlined in red, “Force” white, outlined in blue. Alison, Janice down steps, laughing at author-instructor activity. Swept-wing plane, one wing red, the other blue, white nose-tip. Alison, Janice sneaking out early. Nor stay in one where the people have rebelled. “Needed: Pilots, Navigators, Engineers.” Author moving along to Marine Corps station. Joins Paula contemplating fighter-bomber wall photo.
Jennifer, Eileen, end of hall, stand in barbershop door, chatting up barber, assistant, customer. He who holds no rank in a State. “Thank you all.” Exit together, short shorts, dipping with plastic spoons into plastic dishes of ice cream. Should not discuss its policies. Tod, exiting U.S. Marine Corps recruiting station, pauses at steps to question instructor: “Is our room still open?” Two black girls, one in red-, yellow-, blue-strapped sandals, passing by. Author continues on down-mall: “Bits and Pieces” (glassworks unicorn; solar blaze; scarab designs), “The Goodie Shop” (doughnuts; chocolate éclairs; pretzels), “The Copy Shop” (“Sing the Creation” poster [picture of Michelangelo God/Adam] “with the Norman Community Choral Society”; “Our Copy Shop Now Performs Miracles” poster, monk holding copies). Said Tzu-kung: “The Jewelry Shop.” “Suppose one had a lovely jewel.” Beautiful girl behind counter. “Should one wrap it up.” Hair tied back. “Put it in a box.” Pale blue “Sooners” tee shirt. “And keep it?” Under white jacket. “Or try to get the best price one can for it?” Two black inventory notebooks open on counter. Said the Master: Red TI adding machine. “Sell it!” Girl entering, expensive yellow sweater. “I myself am one.” Linen bermudas, wine clogs. “Who is waiting for an offer.” Hair in pink ribbon.
Newsstand display case of OU stickers. In Yu I can find. “University of Oklahoma” [football player]. No semblance. White on red. Of a flaw. “OK” [state of Oklahoma inside “O,” “OU” inside state]. Abstemious. “Oklahoma Baseball” [batter inside]; “Oklahoma Football” [runner inside]. In his own food and drink. OU mugs, OU ice chest. He displayed the utmost devotion. Phone ringing behind counter. In his offerings to spirits and divinities. American flag license plate. And saw to it. Little Red. That his sacrificial apron. Decked out in feathers. And ceremonial head dress. “Oklahoma” [side view of helmet]. Were of the utmost magnificence. “We’re #1.” “Can I show you something?” – sales clerk, replacing phone.
“No thanks, I’m just looking.”
“What about these cigars?” – gesturing toward adjacent case.
“Would you mind if I just described them?” Quizzical look, clerk turning to take dollar bill from customer. “Dutch Masters, 25¢” [Rembrandt figures in white background silhouette]. His place of habitation. “Rigoletto Black Jack.” Was of the humblest. “Muriel Magnum”; “Muriel Air.” And all his energy. “Antonio y Cleopatra” [opulent Egyptian scene: Antony in red tunic, gold undergarments]. Went into draining. “El Producto Bouquets.” And ditching. “Swisher Sweets.”
“What about these inflatable footballs?” – persistent sales clerk, sale finished. In him I can find no semblance. Touting enormous imitation footballs. Of a flaw. Red “OU” on white plastic.
“No thanks, I’m just writing.”
Saturday-night Oklahoma Memorial Union re-inspection. Single glass ashtray, black stone slab, lobby table. Single yellow light of wall fixture (off-center from observation angle), center, Gothic arch. Said the Master: Beam on-wall position also off-center, symmetrically so. “First and foremost be faithful to your superiors.” Couple entrances, couple pass-bys. “Keep all promises.” Gay couple. “Refuse the friendship of all who are not like you.” Theatrical light impacting stairway landings. “I’m going upstairs to see if they’re there” – eight-year-old with mommy.
“They don’t want to be bothered, Cheyenne.” More couples. American guy mounting steps with gorgeous Hindu woman-girl, both pausing at top of stairs, he in youth disarray, she in worldly stocktaking. “The movie’s this way,” he says, spotting couples in line a moment after she has done so. Union manager out of lounge, down steps, keys at side officially swinging. Single cigarette in sand-filled quadrangular receptacle.
Meacham movie-going couples casual line-up, hirsute males, unusually attired females. Necktied manager passes, ignoring all. Guy hugs girlfriend, who looks at author pleasantly. Bronze bust of Lew Wentz, Founder, Lew Wentz Foundation, posed unpredictably by entrance. Girl, descending balcony stairs, spots boyfriend: “And if you have made a mistake.” “I was waiting for you, stupid.” “Do not be afraid of admitting the fact.” Beige hallway to University Offices, fashionable modexec academic décor. “And amending your ways.” “Vice President, 237.”
TV Room. Video vivid, voice subdued. “Hearty decaffeinated flavor.” Paramount star-circle surrounding mountain. Red-shirted, white-jumpsuited girl, up to change channels. “Love Boat” reflection in windowed false wall. Zoom to the love boat, two couples watching from love seats. Air conditioner in steady breeze-“whoosh.” “This is Mrs. Mitchell.” There are shoots whose lot it is to spring up but never to flower. “You’re in cabin Aloha, number 7 upstairs.” Others whose lot it is to flower, but never to bear fruit. Pale female Okie arrival, tennies, white socks, unwraps heavily foiled burger.
Downstairs concourse: Game Room (door shut). Barber Shop, “AIR ST” of “HAIR STYLING” visible; red-white-and-blue-striped pole. Next-door “WE STILL/MAKE ’EM LIKE/WE USED TO” sign, U.S. Marine Corps recruiting station. Four things. Light switch, mall entrance, two buttons (on, off). The Master wholly eschewed. Both pointed sideways. He took nothing for granted. Weather Information Center sign, black and white: rainfall gauge, temperature, relative humidity. Hand-printed sign, red ink: “Relative humidity does not work.” 72° (“4 AM Weds.”). Bentley Hedges Travel Service, backlit Coliseum poster – “beep-bop-beep” of bank at end of corridor – “TWA/Italy.” He was never over-positive. Author reflection top-lit. Never egotistic. Blond hair in slight disarray, glint off one of two eye-glasses, tweed jacket, blue shirt, notebook open, pen in left-handed attentiveness. Never obstinate. “New York” [pale-green Statue of Liberty holding torch up to World Trade Towers].
Union Banquette, reflection of floor continuing floor on into banquette, images reading atop floor that in fact continues on in. Laughter (muffled chuckles), two undergraduates, author observation. “REGULAR OPERATING” – “beep-beep” – “HOURS” – “bop” – “9 A.M.” – “beep” – “to 5:00 P.M.” SCS Money Center black Plexiglas sliding window sliding down, customer departure. NBC customer (Norman Bank of Commerce) stepping to window. “Beep-beep-beep.” Black student, modified fro, gold neck-chain, red shirt, opens wallet, approaches ChekOKard Bank Center. “Beep-beep; beep-beep-beep”; faster: “beep-beep-beep-beep-beep.” White girl – heavily perfumed – drops checks, she and girlfriend negotiating NBC transaction. Giggles, hoarser beeps. Black (African) student departure. Author turns notebook page, seven more students materializing, Money Center presence.
Café Nationale. The flowery branch of the wild cherry. Neon sign (out) in clear glass. How swiftly it flies back. Yellow porcelain owl gazing outward. It is not. Will Rogers cafeteria. That I do not love you. Musak whine, bop-beat, dim light from distant kitchen. But your house. More Musak inanities. Is far away. Repeated an octave above. Said the Master: Fly, uncertain, touring table. He did not really love her. Settles on middle finger, author’s writing hand. For had he done so. Dusty plastic philodendra, real rocks, light olive planter. He would not have worried. Odor of stale smoke, mixed menu. About the distance. Will Rogers life-story mural, map with route of lecture tour. (Book of Songs commentary.) Union exit approach. (Men fail to attain Goodness – Waley – because they do not care for it sufficiently.) Stay-put coat hangers, solitary high chair. (Not because Goodness is “far away.”) Final marbled alcove; odor of janitor product, coffee stain on windowsill.
“What do you mean you’re not sure?” – classroom TV voice, Alison listening intently. “All right, I am sure” – soap opera heroine, Debbie peering intently at black and white image. “And buy New Formula Eva” – commercial break. Alison in Theta pledge tee shirt, Debbie in red top under Okie blue overalls, Ross in three-color tennis shirt, heel of his Puma bouncing on floor. “Hmm, real apples.” Eileen in pink Latina blouse, one gold necklace atop it. “And it’s strong too!” Another tightly clasping silky brown neck, pink/white ribbons asway, yellow pen notation activity. “It would only be a way to get more control in the company.” Glancing at author-instructor; smiles, face full of braces, rubber bands.
Adam up to change channel. “This sounds good” – Darla. Adam resituation, foot of reptile-skin boot jiggling gently, scraps of paper – ring shred – on asphalt floor. “I have the feeling you’re missing something” – soap opera hero preparing to kiss heroine. “S-s-smack!” – Keith. “I’ve gotta censor this” – instructor, changing channel. Tod observing intently. Censorship overruled. When a bird is about to die. Return to original channel. Its song touches the heart.
Connie in gorgeous blue sundress. When a man is about to die. Blue ribbon tied about white leg cast. His words are of note. “I’m financial director of the Gilbert family.” White ribbon, bright floral designs, holding hair back. “You’ve got to know that something’s going to cause you a lot of pain.” Alison puzzling over soap opera dialogue, white leather Nikes, red side hook designs, blue middle soles. “I’m gonna cry” – John. “Jason had no idea she meant to kill you.” Ted in whisper dialogue-commentation with Keith. “Now that you brought up the subject, Floyd …” Connie glancing at author, Lao Tzu on table before him, TV in front of Lao Tzu, opening of Chapter XLI on blackboard behind. Eileen gazes out window, air-conditioned classroom, at silently waving sycamore. Ross changing channel.
“I won’t go into it now, it’s very complicated, but I know she loves you.” Alison attentive. Paula in sleepy funk. White paint drip, mid-way down cream-colored back wall, reading as though emerging from Jennifer’s pensive head. Kevin in green-soled Adidas sneakers. Darrell’s head appearing over Paula’s, OU cap, blocked now by Alison’s head, red-setter locks. Romance passionate. “I see no one’s getting bored” – John. “We’ve got a lot of holding to get caught up with” – heroine. Authorward smile from Alison. “You got a date” – John. Jennifer gazing warmly, quizzically, scratches nose. Leslie, eyes deeply glazed with romantic interest, hangs fire, studies author-instructor’s mood response, lets out laugh. In following the Way. Debbie, pigtails, changing channel. There are three things. To general moan. That a gentleman. General Hospital. Places above the rest. Hospital bell ringing.
Alison waving no, as George threatens to change channel. From every attitude. General laughter. Every gesture. “To help eliminate.” He must remove all trace of violence or arrogance. “Discomfort from constipation.” “Isn’t somebody getting bored?” – Eileen, adjusting one of her five rings. No response. “What’s this?” – Alison, puzzling over G.H. plot.
“It’s very difficult to explain” – Darla, black shorts, blue shirt, brilliant red cloth belt. Every look that he composes in his face must betoken good faith. “They’re probably debriefing Ellen” – Leslie, being helpful. From every word that he utters. Alison “Who knows?” smile. From every intonation. Paula smirks at author changing channel. He must remove. “This week, Wilson’s Jewelers …” Laughter. All traces of coarseness. Jennifer high giggle. “With the hearty flavor.” Ted smiling, feet on chair in front of him. Or impropriety. “To decaffeinate the ones you love.” Darla changing channel.
“And there was something almost childlike.” Sam dazed. “In the way Amanda forgave me.” Green alligator, yellow Izod. “I suppose you’d like me to make you some hot chocolate.” Jennifer quickly changing to soundless channel (ETV). “That’s good” – voice from back of room – “leave it there for a few minutes.” Writing activity continuing. “How are you all writing something” – Eileen – “when there’s nothing on?” Overhead gnat-filled neon bulb. Leslie, white jeans, black top, averting-gaze at-author-glance. George, rear corner, lit by bright light entering through blinds. “Get up and do your exercise!” – Eileen. J. changing channel.
“… and who sent him to Mozart on that puzzling night of 1791.” John up to change. “And my clothes smell fresh longer.” Alison holding hair back with left hand, right arm slumped to side. Sound of someone ripping several pages out of notebook. Connie, making weariness face, shakes writing hand. “… a movie star. Could she be scratching her head because she has dandruff?” “Arf! Arf!” – John. Jennifer flips hair to one side, continues notation. Sound of tiny mocs slip-sliding on gritty floor: Jamie changing channel. “I’m gonna lose weight and feel good about myself.” Eileen biting second joint, first finger (ringless), right hand. “Rachel and Rory consumed by passion.” Third finger, left hand, also ringless. Institutional lawn mower noisily idling. “Surprised to see you here at this hour!” Ted changing to Mozart channel. Mason immediately changing to ETV. John discussing with Ted another change. “Then Vermont was admitted to the Union, as our fourteenth state.” Darrell getting up to change. “This, of course, meant little to Mozart, who was primarily concerned with his health.” Eileen observing Darrell’s laughter-provoking powers. Keith in final channel change (sighs of relief). “One thing I’m glad about and that’s that Carrie’s away for a few days.”
Oklahoma State Fair. “MYTH … OR REALITY?” Helicopter at “one o’clock” circling west. Cigarette smell, heavy, humid air. “Ten thousand dollar award, if not alive!” World Attractions, cowboy in straw hat, tight Levis, hand-in-hand with tight-butted girlfriend, bra-strap visible through tight tee shirt. “Suzie Wong. Four pounds. America’s strangest girl.” “Oklahoma” tee shirt, grey word repeated in red, yellow, blue. “Headless Helga, the Living Body Beautiful” – sign – “She Has No Head.” Water stagnant at curbside, tiny straw, cigarette filter-butts, cellophane wrapper. Heat oppressive. Chicano family, nine-month-pregnant mother, blue-and-white polka dot dress, large white stuffed animal under her arm.
“Topless girl inside” – barker – “She ain’t got no head.” Pavilion painted black, red letters: “Fat Albert, a 92-in. waistline [enormous portrait].” Girl in blue, boyfriend in green, tennis shirts; he in blue, she in white, jeans. Worker with purple birthmark surrounding his left eye. 87°, sweat soaking author’s red, white and blue cowboy shirt. “Pronto Pups,” “Hot Dog on a Stick.” “She’s alive on the inside” – barker – “Just look at the pictures.” (In describing himself he was said to have said:)
A gentleman does not wear facings of purple or mauve, nor in undress wear pink or roan. If the weather be hot, he wears an unlined gown of fine thread, loosely woven, but puts on an outer garment before appearing out-of-doors. The International House of Wax. With the black robe he wears black lambskin. Chic preppy woman, fiercely tanned, white knit shirt, embroidered yellow polo player. With the robe of undyed silk, fawn. Bob Hope. With the yellow robe, fox fur. Sammy Davis, Jr., Delores Pullard (“World’s Tallest Girl”). On his undress robe the fur cuffs are long. (“The World’s Biggest Man”). But the right cuff is shorter than the left. Dark-skinned woman in lace, shin-length smock, dangling rhinestone earrings. His bedclothes must be half as long again as the height of a man. John F. Kennedy, outsize gesturing hand. The thicker kinds of fox. Robert “Bobby” Kennedy. And badger. Jackie O. Are for home wear. Orientalized portrait busts (yellowish complexion). Except when in mourning. Woman in frizz-cut, shirt open a button. He wears all his girdle ornaments. Charm drop about her neck. Apart from his Court apron. Man holding baby aloft on open palm. All his skirts. Marilyn Monroe. Are wider at the bottom. (Complexion white.) Than at the waist. Full tragic lips. When he makes a visit of condolence. Gazing across at the Kennedys. Neither the hat of dark dyed silk. Her own features obscured by porch. Nor the dyed black lambskin. Except for arched eyebrow. Must be worn. Helicopter passage toward flag-bedecked race-course grandstand. Ponytailed six-year-old in red, yellow, blue color spots, applied to cheeks, forehead, chin, nose. Mother, black-based Hawaiian shirt, wiping sweat off neck. “Unbelievable size!” – barker. At the announcement of the New Moon. Muhammad Ali, double portrait. He must go to Court. Elvis. And appear with the other courtiers. M.L. King. In full Court dress. The Boston Strangler.
Aerodrome warm-up thunder. “Save the nine-ball till last” – pool-parlor attendant. Three-year-old in beige corduroys, miniature boots, orange balloon on string; sharing large Coke with four-year-old sister. Balloon escape as Coke changes hands. Three-year-old outburst of tears. Tank-topped mommy ignoring spectacle, taking seat by open tent of pool arcade, attendant racking balls at table. “Swiss Bob” across-way Alpine toboggan train, mural of eager spectators, blue-outlined Alps behind. Mommy in white socks (no shoes), salmon top (no bra), cig hanging mid-mouth. Joined by unshaven 18-year-old dude, broken middle finger on large white splint. Pool attendant re-racking balls behind them, black flaps, blond shoulder-length greasy locks. Mommy’s teen-age boyfriend wresting her cig away to light his own.
“It’s Miller Time.” When preparing himself for sacrifice. Sun bright (hot) on “Foot Long Chili Dog” stand. He must wear the Bright Robe. “Pennzoil”-capped, fat, red jumpsuited 55-year-old. And it must be of linen. “Poncho Dog” [illustrated dog dripping with mustard]. He must change his food. “Tracey Danielson’s ONION RINGS.” And also the place where he commonly sits. Author seated on glitter-yellow-sprayed curb, no other seat available. “Cotton Candy” (blue letters, yellow outline). “GRANDSTAND” facade (letters in deep red, black-bordered, white ground), visible through haze, smoke, dust.
But there is no objection to his rice being high in quality. Goateed black man, three-piece brown suit. Nor to his viand being finely minced. Pocket foulard, gold ring. Rice that has been affected by the weather. Grey-bearded gent with walking stick, brow beaded in sweat. Or turned. Moustaches drooping. He must not eat. White terry-cloth-topped teen-aged daughter trailing behind. Nor fish that is not good. Red-haired girl, intensely freckled arms. Nor viand that is high. Accompanied by mom, sister, niece in stroller. Breeze-blown sweat beginning to cool author’s shirtfront. Brunette passing, silver turtle-shaped balloon, “LOVE” printed on floral-patterned shell. Steady disco croon issuing from restaurant interior, smell of charcoal.
He must not eat anything discolored. “Take this job and shove it” – Shooting Gallery attendant’s radio. Or that smells bad. “I ain’t workin’ here no more.” Attendant’s shirt rolled to midriff, electric fan on folding chair. “Put your money on top of the glass,” he says.
Nor must he eat what is overcooked. “Archer Industries Flame Retardant” awning, Vietnamese girl passing under it. Nor what is undercooked. Woman in red tee shirt touches author on shoulder, as husband in yellow shirt looks on. Nor anything out of season. Author turns his back on couple. “The Derby Game Rules.” Large pink pandas, Miss Piggy dolls, lining shelf behind Skee Ball game. “Jeremy, Jeremy, let’s go ride.” “All ya got’ do is have fun” – barker – “Come on, you can do it!” “Tip ‘em Over” black tee shirts: The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Judas Priest. He must not eat what is crookedly cut. Kermit the Frog game, red-haired girl at mike, hoarse, sweaty from barking, kids lined up at every gate. Nor a dish that lacks its proper seasoning. “Operator Sole Judge of Winner.” “Break Me” balloon game. “Water Race,” clown pulling donkey, monkey on back. “Basketball Throw 50 Cents.”
The meat that he eats. Girl passing in red “Denco Café, Norman OK” tee shirt. Must not make his breath smell of meat (rather than of rice). White-fronted arcade, “Coin Games,” “FUN” on each of three pillars. Framed, inscribed mirrors: “Drink Pepsi-Cola”; “Rush [naked man on white, five-pointed star, blue circle field]; “Cocaine: The Rich Man’s Aspirin.” As regards wine. Bud bottle on counter, half full. No limit is prescribed. Glass next to it, full head. “Poster Darts.” But he must not be disorderly. “You get what you stick.” He must not drink wine bought at a shot or eat dried meat from the market.
“Chinese Maze” barker: “They’re all lost now! They’re all in there now! They’re tryin’ to find a way out! You can’t get in and you can’t get out!” Indian guy, white girl, matching “I’m His,” “I’m Hers” white tee shirts, red arms. When he carries the tablet of jade. Ambulance siren “buh-woop; buh-woop,” inching way through crowd. He seems to double over. Driver pointing at yellow/white traffic horse in attempt to get someone to move it. As though borne down by the weight of it. Smoke billowing over five-story grandstand structure. He holds it above his head as though he were making a bow. Ambulance entering aerodrome precinct. At his knees. Column of smoke beginning to drift. As though proffering a gift. Spilled nacho bowl in roadway, plastic broken, nachos scattered. Skeleton-print, flesh-colored tee shirt passing. His expression changes to one of dread. Rear of sideways-rotating Ferris wheel dipping to horizontal position. And his feet. “OOOOO”; “EEEEE”; silence. Seem to recoil. Ambulance returning “buh-woop, buh-woop, boop.” As though he were avoiding something. Enormous red side lights flashing.
“Billy Reed is still alive” – barker. Rear alley, “Enterprise” sideshow. “This is what can happen to your child.” When presenting ritual presents. “A living testimony of drug abuse.” His expression is placid. “Billy Reed is alive on the inside.” At the private audience. “The World’s Largest Collection of Freak Animals.” “Billy Reed used to be normal.” His attitude is gay. “No hand stamp, no coupons.” And animated. “Twisto with Head at 45o”; “Midget Stallion”; “The Five-Headed Brahma.” Two clowns passing, each with an ERA button on costume front.
Said the Master:
Norman Club Directory
“Respect the young.”
Alpha Chi Omega Alumnae
Beta Sigma Phi
Christian Women’s Fellowship, Lydia Group
“How do you know.”
Civil Air Patrol
“That they will not one day.”
“Be all that you are now?”
Council of Norman Garden Clubs
Current Study Department, Sororis Club
Daughters of Eve Circle
Delta Delta Delta
Disabled American Veterans
Douglas Bible Club
Ex Libris Book Review Club
First Presbyterian Women’s Circle
Flora Belle Garden Club
Friday Duplicate Bridge Club
Insurance Women of Cleveland County
“But if a man.”
Norman Military Wives
Norman Music Club
“Has reached forty.”
Norman PEO Reciprocity Group
Norman Porcelain Artists
Norman Sooner Lions Club
“And nothing has been heard of him.”
Old Regime Study Club
Order of Eastern Star
Parent Support Group
“Then I grant.”
Rainbow for Girls
Redbud Garden Club
Sooner Desk and Derrick
“There is no need.”
“To respect him.”
Tulip Garden Club
Wednesday Book Club
Women of the Moose
Women’s Aglow Teach Us to Pray Study Club
Women’s Aglow Holy Spirit Workshop
White-painted goal post slightly away in wind. Styrofoam cup dancing on Astroturf, Coke cup nearby skitter. Connie seated, 50 yard line, Alison behind her, heat waves creating mirage on field. Cup “ding” against grandstand. “END ZONE” (white on Sooner red). Immensely distant airplane crossing slowly through goal posts, white vapor trail, drone decreasing to nothing. (Said Master Tseng:)
12; 13-14. The man to whom. 15. One could with equal confidence. 16. Entrust an orphan. 17-18. Not yet fully grown. 19, 20, 21. Or the sovereignty of a whole State. 22-23, 24 (north endzone portals). Whom the advent of no emergency however great could upset. Jan, back to wall, south endzone, blue tennis shirt, dark blue jeans. George sprawled on astroturf, top of pen visible, flickering over page of open notebook. Would such a one be a true gentleman? Whine, wheeze, start of motor, nearby construction site. Cup dancing from sideline to middle of football field. Turning; turns again, caught in brilliant sunlight, pools of liquid heat. He I think would be a true gentleman indeed. Ross, in sunlight, 45 yard line, leg crossed, notebook poised on knee. Ratchet sound, machine upstart.
Section 38, top of south endzone, numerals falling in automatic waterfall to stadium floor: 10 10 10 10 10 10 10; diagonally: 10 11 12 13 14 15. Wind steady in author’s hair, blown over forehead. Butterfly passing before Norman/OU skyline: Gittinger Hall; Botany-Microbiology (lab-courtyard poplar brushing inner wall); baseball bleachers; parking lot, large silver-containered truck, white cab, exiting. Boyd water tower on horizon. Yellow-shirted black athlete enters below. White-red “NORMAN” water tower just visible on NW horizon. Old gym, stadium’s massive pressbox surmounting it, windows giving back a complicated pattern. Megaphones atop it, lightning rods spiring higher. NNW: Union’s Gothic pinnacles; residential dorm tower (Whitehand Hall). Automotive sound (cars moving in all directions); machinery zzz-drone; talking tourists entering, stadium below. McFarlin Church rises to north out of foliage, decorous in scale; First Baptist red brick to east.
Yen Hui. Darla. Said with a deep sigh. Pink shirt, dark hair, white ribbons. The more I strain my gaze up towards it. Writing on seat in sun, 83 rows below. Connie, white shirt, red shorts, also in sun, 40 yard line, 100 yards distant. The higher it soars. Alison, red hair on green astroturf, blue-jeaned legs crossed, lies on her back, 20 yard line. The deeper I bore down into it. Behind up over them sun-spotted water tower. The harder it becomes. Silver bulbed underbelly, grey stem. I see it in front. Single white smokestack. But suddenly it is behind. Green-hospital-shirted overweight athlete sprints from goal line to opponent’s 40; returns to his own 40; pauses; sprints to goal, standing by first letter of upsidedown “OKLAHOMA SOONERS.”
NNE foliage: dark green, lighter green, yellow. Step by step. Tinge of autumnal change. The Master lures one on. Two water towers, unequal in size, standing on horizon. He has broadened me with culture. New apartment complex in distance. Restrained me with ritual. Parched field, football dorm, three flag poles. Even if I wanted to stop. Three flags: I couldn’t. Oklahoma, America, OU.
Side-line bench indicators (low-level view), white on green turf. Sam rubbing nose, head on arm, arm on knee, audibly sniffling. Just when I feel that I’ve exhausted every resource. Darla looks up, over author’s head, at scoreboard clock. Something seems to rise up. Loud obnoxious aircraft appearing over stadium rim. Standing out sharp and clear. Light glinting off Darla’s rings, passerby checking her out. Wind in hair, shadow alive with motion. Yet though I long to pursue it. Black girl horizontal stadium pass-through. “WARNING: KEEP OFF WALL & FIELD.” I can find no way. Words stencilled twice. Of getting to it. New over old paint, blurred effect.
Stands in shadows, single freshmen, pairs of freshmen, threesomes; writing, talking, reading. Mason perusing the Te Ching; Keith left-handed writing; Ted nervously glancing to right in observation. Green-shirted Eileen thumbing through notebook pages, J. watching her. Jennifer, pen pensively to cheek. Leslie leaving five minutes early, assured American female gait, yellow pants. 2:43: John leaps entrance gate, dances onto field, feigns pass pattern for Alison/Connie. 2:44: mass freshman departure, down aisles, up field, out runways.
Author remains, 2:45. Left-hand wind-whipped page hold-down. 86o. Southern view; sprinkler on football practice field. Dale Hall rising over horizon. Parking lot in near ground, individual sun-glint off each car. Lower freshman dorms, higher structures behind.
Fontanelli’s. Ten o’clock, Friday evening. Washed, shoulder-length, recently-cut hair against gold-threaded rose-, blue-, flesh-colored vertical striped blouse. Black cowboy hat. Said the Master: Over-bar TV image on, furniture polish commercial table shine. The common people. Muddy country slop-splash on multi-directional speakers. Can be made to follow it. “Thump” of hand on booth divider. They cannot. Overweight Indian woman, flannel shirt, faded jeans, tapping thigh. Be made to understand it. Conversing with white dude in flatly animated tones.
Hippie-worker, white headband, ordering at bar, barlight back-lighting blond locks, turning edges into frizzy, feminine curl appearance. “The chances are” – Indian woman. TV water flow (no sound). “Harris Ford” image up, blurring in author’s notebook-to-screen observation. Bearded guy standing at bar, waits for drink, chalks pool cue. “No, don’t let him have a cigarette” – last word in high intonation, nearby table secretary chick to second vocal girl, cig between her fingers, both denying forward-leaning suitor a cigarette. Indian dude, long pigtails interbraided with plastic-looking red (red-grey) ribbon.
Through-window in-lookers passing by. Pinball “whang!” Said Master Tseng: TV images: The true. Gary Essex. Knight of the Way. Action 4 Update. “Baby, baby, baby” – five-year-old stereo song. Perforce must be. (“Follow Up” – news at ten). Both broad shouldered. Car-into-river – off bridge – upside-down story. And stout of heart. Gary Essex mod-cut grey shag. His burden is heavy. Don Cory (kidnap suspect) insert screen-fill. And he must go far. White-bordered image flipping over, flipped back, receding to infinity. Single yellow bar light, single red bar light, single green bar light, centering top, sides of bar-behind window. “Let’s see” – waitress – “it’ll be 2.35” – to red/white worker’s cap – “out of five dollars. I’ll bring it back in just a minute.”
Solitary-sullen dude, Bud bottle held like crucifix, mid-chest, blue, loose-fitting jacket. For Goodness is the burden he has taken. Guy with long stringy yellow hair. Upon himself. Brown fu-manchu moustache. And must we not grant. Sudden crowd influx. It is a heavy one to bear? College-age clientele. Animated girl turning toward pool table, cue in hand. Only with death. Fifty-cents’ change. Does his journey end. Dropping on author’s table.
Liberty’s. (Liberty D. Must we not grant. Remodeled Liberty Drug store. That he has far to go?) Said the Master: Red stereo three-dot glow (three lights, three lights’ reflections); sheet beneath on clipboard (drink prices). Obeisance below the dais. Drink glass filled with matches (“Liberty Drug,” “Liberty Drug”). Is prescribed by ritual. Black ashtray, cig slits through 270o, faint red overhead light reflection, interior bottom. Nowadays people make obeisance. Single yellow-white bulb backlighting ’30s-lettered words: “TOILETRIES,” “STATIONERY.” After they have mounted the dais. ’40s advertisements in color, wall above. This is presumptuous. TV high-school football coverage, bartender watching. And though contrary. Waitress in cloth-wallet-adjustment. To general practice. Cig draw. I make a point. Newscaster visage. Of bowing. Barry visage. While still down. Interview reverse shots. 10:32. Any men. Jimmy Johnson visage, red country-boy mod cut. Save those. Silly student clientele. Who are truly good. Dollar bill stuck, neck of wine decanter. Should their suffering be great. “Side Orders” placard. Will likely rebel. TV baseball coverage.
Othello’s (defunct Iago’s). Radio sound overflow; M*A*S*H on large-screen video. “That’s incredible” (radio). Loretta Swit close-up (soundless). “Borders on the precious” (radio). When King Wen perished. Overhead stemmed glass suspension. Did that mean culture (wen) ceased to exist? Mildly decadent, blond college-girl waitress: “Well, you know what they say, Charles” – to bartender – “time moves on its heels.” “Bud” over bar. Sultry Indian babe entrance, hack-coughing. If Heaven had really intended. Hand before lips for second cough. That culture should disappear. Seated with-friend conversation posture: drugged concern. It would never have allowed some latter-day mortal. “These are my absolutely final words” (radio). To link himself to it. (Camp drama.) As I have done. Clock over bar reads 12:00; clock on register, 6:20. And if Heaven does not intend. “You ordering in Morse code, or something?” – waitress to desultory, droopy-moustached customer. To destroy such culture. Two stylish black girls entering, both unhopeful. Blond waitress approaches author, stands, arms folded, beside him. What have I to fear. Looks the other way. Digital TEC register. From the people. Registering 0.00. Of K’uang? Indian babe withdrawing cig from pack, behind-bar bottles in identical red pouring tips.
South Oval, light wind-whip through overhead oak leaves. Library jackhammer construction, scent of fresh cold-front air, white VW humming past in pursuit of dirty red utility truck. Red tip of white-based fire plug. “Stately” hackberry, students beneath. “Confucius” overheard. Freshmen dispersed into four groups of five. Blond female jogger crosses Oval, enters Kaufmann (Modern Languages). Two Indians converse outside Copeland (Journalism). Parched lawn. Student in honey-blond hair, sundress, crossing street in front of slowing motorcycle.
Professor crossing street, enters Botany-Microbiology, adjusting glasses. Light green service truck parked next to bed of impatiens, petunias, red and white chrysanthemums. Student passes, bright orange notebook held to breast. Orange mower uproar, north end of Oval. Fly settles on author’s shirt-cuff; buzzes; off. John (discussion leader): “You got any thoughts on that one?”
George: “We already did the fifth one.” Author eavesdropping groups. Darla, Debbie, Leslie on bench together, John on ground, legs outstretched, George cross-legged.
John: “What do you think about ‘at 40’?” Voice mingled with mower.
George: “Maybe at 40 he reaped his goal.” Mower drowning out other responses. Sun from behind cloud-cover, a little too warm for comfort.
“At 50” – John initiating new topic – “what are ‘the biddings of heaven’?” No response. John: “You see, he’s not talking heaven like we mean heaven.”
Darla: “I thought Buddha was their god.” Brand new corduroys, frilly shirt, daisy hairclip, penny loafers. More discussion.
Debbie: “You’re not over the hill when you’re 50!” White buttondown, maroon vest, purple hairclip. John crouching now on Nikes, cross dangling from neck, red and blue horizontal-striped polo short, white collar.
“I hear you football players are really into drugs” – Darla to John – “Would you get me some?”
“I’m not a football player” – John – “I’m a baseball player.”
Darla: “So?” Plaid-shirted Indian starts up leaf-raker. Cool breeze buffeting books open, Darla chasing her notebook.
“Ah, excellent!” – John taking Darla’s vacated seat on bench.
“I just wrote down what you were saying” – Mason, explaining to fellow group member, leaf-raker whipping up cloud of dust.
Darrell (second discussion leader): “We’re supposed to be connecting this with the South Oval.” Alison comment drowned out by passing CART shuttle (imitation trolley car).
“I just wrote down what you said” – Jamie – “because you explained it so well,” soft jeans, south Okie drawl, blue gem high school ring.
Adam: “This guy was pretty far ahead of his time.” Alison, both hands clasped under her legs, looks carefully at Darrell, who, yellow penguin shirt, black face, white cap (red “OU”), continues commentary: “… about love, about hate …” Discourse obliterated by electric hedge clippers, Buildings & Grounds girl in loose smock top, worn jeans, working them, long red cord trailing behind her. “... nearly everyone knows” – Darrell – “whether someone is right ... I’ve used analogies with school, you know, but you could carry it further.” Jennifer, seated with third group, looks at instructor, gets up, approaches, paper fluttering in hand. “You know, society, countries, us here.”
“He says about the South Oval” – J. (third discussion leader) – “how it affects it, like the atmosphere.” Two groundsmen, pickups pulled alongside one another. Connie, blue white-monogrammed sweater, seated on ground, attending patiently to J.
Jennifer to author: “You’re just going to ignore us.” Blue top, slack jeans. Connie deep in discussion with J. Tod taking notes, elbow on thigh, wallet protruding from rear pocket.
“You see, I got a car over there” – J. to Connie, rest of group silent, Jennifer’s yellow pencil, Jan’s white pen bobbing in unison. Jan finished, head back, large green hoop in right ear; leans for look in author’s book.
“One of your pledge sisters” – Jennifer, striking up conversation with Connie – “is in my class.” Ingratiating hair flip, self-deprecating look.
“In some places” – Eileen (fourth discussion leader) – “aren’t dogs holy like cows?” Pool of excess water under maple tree. “I can see you’re all bored.” (Sprinkler activity). “I think I’ll read you some Spanish.”
“I/always/prepare/the exercises” – Ted, translating Eileen’s Spanish. Sam in red Izod, sleeping dog at feet, Ross poking it with felt-tip pen, Sam’s red notebook on grass nearby.
“I have an econ. class I have to go to Friday” – Eileen, to no one in particular.
“Right out of college you make 25, 30 …” – Ted in conversation with Sam. Oriental girl, white sweater, red notebook clasped to waist, passes red and white geraniums, recently set out in front of monolithic statue of Bizzell, latter occluded by two evergreens.
“The best way to learn Spanish is to go where no one speaks anything else” – Eileen. New dog arrival.
“I think here’s mom” – Paula. Bark bark; growl. Sleeping dog awakes, arises. Barks, growls. Ted, Sam, quickly to feet.
“I guess that wasn’t mom.” Said the Master: – Paula, still sitting.
“Hui was not any help to me; he accepted everything I said.”
Kid up Asp in blue petasus, yellow wings – Sunday morning Town Tavern view. Yellow fire truck, parked corner Boyd. Red on white “Help Your Fire Fighters Fight Muscular Dystrophy.” Laura, standing next to author, flips long hair back, unconsciously brushing author’s arm. Black hands of two Ohio State defenders visible over her shoulder, reaching up in Tony’s work to block Uwe von Schamann’s 1976 last-minute field goal (31-29 OU victory). Table-top Oklahoman and Times back-page ad: “$ALE-A-BRATION.” Twenty-eight-year-old mother, “Have You Hugged Your Kid Today” tee shirt, touches author, settling in with six-year-old daughter beside him.
Library, Subject Index, 2:00:00 p.m., red second-hand touching apex, covers black minute hand. Ross, passing, glances at author. Jamie leaning over card tray, John leaning over Jamie. Keith, Darrell searching same drawer (“Baseball”). Corbett’s Little English Handbook, raindrops on slick red cover, lies on table opposite card catalogue. “Well, I got my three books” – John. Darrell copying call numbers, Keith, Jan now standing over Jamie, who licks fingers of left hand, separates cards, right hand holding green notebook to breast. Said the Master:
Paula, “South Side Girls’ P.E.” sweatshirt, thumbing through reference book. “Only common people wait.” Leslie, gold locket, gold cross on breast of red-, yellow- and blue-striped sweater. “Till they are advanced in ritual and music.” Jamie wandering past, notecards in hand. (Before taking office.) Keith, seated, looks into tray at “Hunting,” Jennifer struggling past, heavy tray held by facing. “A gentleman.” Kevin, notebook atop case, moves further down row, searching. “Can afford to get up his ritual and music later on.” Sound of drawers opening, clicking, shutting. Voices in discussion.
Jan, pained expression, looks up something under “Ambition.” Paula: “We’re in the wrong “Hunting” tray. Eileen reflectively scanning row of trays, “Author Title Catalogue” (sign suspended above her, white letters on mocha plastic ground). Debbie researching “Romances,” jean overalls, yellow tee shirt, blue and white Nikes.
“Even if I accepted this saying.” Eileen talking to Darla, Jennifer. “I’d still be on the side of those.” Darla, yellow barrette in hair, white pen, giving Eileen advice. “Who get on with their studies first.” “See ya later” – Paula to Debbie. Leslie still looking. J. flipping through “Real Estate Business”; Darrell writing atop five-foot case; Jan studying “Location Chart”; Jennifer copying information onto white 3 x 5 card atop Oklahoma Daily.
Between-classes card catalogue influx: 2:17:25, red second hand jerking at one-second intervals. Nan Jung. “Interlibrary Loan Policy Statement.” In reciting the I Song. “Please Take One.” Repeated the verse. White slips in cut-away cardboard box. About the sceptre of white jade. Metal file cabinet headings: Three times. “Books and Newspapers,” “Magazines and Journals,” “Disser- / tations.” (In consequence of which). OCLC Search Manual, black plastic, back separating from use. Master K’ung. Terminal Computer. Gave him. Side keys in red, white and baby blue. His elder brother’s daughter. Grey typewriter keyboard in middle. To marry. “NOTICE: WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS.” George, seated next to author, accesses computer, gets “Hello Guest,” Tod walking past.
Library basement vending machines, construction workers (Dunlop Tower addition) passing through on break. Hefty girl in Jackson Browne tee shirt, tennis shoes with bunion-holes. Sound of coin insertions. “Hm-bzzz”; stop; machine drop; plastic lid up-”clack”; Pay Day bar removal. New insert: “hm-bzzz …” Worker, plaster-bespattered brown corduroys, twisting tight front pocket to get fingers in, coin out. Student seated next to author smoking cig, text open to “Chapter 10, Material Balances.” Orange-hard-hatted worker to white-hard-hatted buddy: “You got a soda pop?” White hard-hatted buddy nods. “Hm-bzzz”; drop. Cheese Nips pack extraction. Sorority girl with sister: “Now this picture’s haunting us,” pointing to Harold’s ad, back page, Oklahoma Daily. “Timeless, traditional fashion.” Maroon sweater, maroon bow tie, gold chain.
Second Floor. That his conversation is sound. “Social Sciences.” One may grant. New Book jackets on bulletin board. “I got my books!” – Paula, passing, stops for instructor’s inspection: Applications of Chemical Engineering, The Future Supply of Oil & Gas, The Petroleum Industry. But whether. “Can I have three books on the same subject?” – Jennifer appearance. He is indeed. Author, seated, nods. A true gentleman. Eileen, black jeans, yellow shirt, silver braces, leaning over him: “I’m having problems – I can’t find my books, and I can’t find my group!” Or merely one. J., passing in Harvard tee shirt: Who adopts. “I can’t find my books.” Outward airs of solemnity. Eve’s Rib; Super Steelers (bulletin board). Connie: “I’m lost.”
John: “So’m I.” It is not easy to say. The Cambridge Book of Walking. Oriental bursar’s student pushing book dolly past. “Rum-rumr,” Xerox machine, end of hallway. Oriental woman by-passage, red jacket, yellow top, white designer jeans; high black calf-skin boots; carpet of black hair.
Dorms. Tien, what about you? Walker Tower. The notes of the zither he was softly fingering. Darla. Died down. Pearl necklace on blue sweater. He laid it aside. Alison, robin’s-egg blue blazer. Rose. Connie, dark blue running suit, white stripes. And replied, saying: George, beige jacket, dark brown stripes. “I fear my words will not be so well chosen as those of the other three.” Elevator hall wait, yellow tile, dirty grey carpet. Said the Master: Group joined by Darrell, John. Darla: “Where’s Keith?” “What harm is there in that?”
John: “He had to go to Oklahoma City to see a sick friend.” “All that matters.”
“Let’s take the stairs” – George. “Is that each.”
“Stinker!” – Darla. “Should name his desire.”
George’s room. “This is better than our room” – John. George seated on lower bunk, Darla standing, pen bobbing. “Who doesn’t get a desk?” – Alison. “Who doesn’t get a closet?” – John. “Good day, it’s hot in here!” – Connie. Darrell standing in front of Patti Hansen poster, Patti’s thin hand hiding crotch. John whispering something to George. “What was that?” – Darla – “My ears are virgins.” Bed shelf: Calculus (“Used” sticker, red on yellow); Colgate Instant Shave; 3-in-1 oil. TV set on dresser, turquoise brush atop it. Darrell unfolding pin-up, centerfold of George’s Playboy. Alison stops writing, stands, threatens to leave. John: “Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”
“Bye” – Connie, to George’s roomate – “Thanks for letting us invade your room.”
Walker Tower elevator descent, Alison to author: “You’re writing down how I get sick on elevators.” Lawson (Alison’s dorm) visible through breezeway. “It’s raining” – Darla. “So what?” – Alison. “Welcome to Lawson.” Collect Those Cans / $$$ / Lawson Loves Loot.” “It’s the last door” – Alison. Classmates one-by-one entrance; commencement, note-taking activity. John Travolta poster, “Shawnee Mission East,” “Date a Theta” card, stuck to bulletin board with jade-green pin. “My mother always taught me to be independent” – Darla.
“I’m goin’ home tonight” – Alison. “That’s my best friend, Jennifer” – gesturing at party-pics, Date-a-Theta bulletin board. Alison’s Jennifer standing with Alison’s arm around her, red rose in luminous hair.
“What are these called?” – Darla. No one helping her. Alison pic on bulletin board, KAϴ cap. “Diet is Die with a T” card, cross-eyed cat poster.
“Do you have an Endless Love book?” – Connie, seated on bed, rain drenching window. Rainbow (cardboard) mobile floating gently before it. Roommate Cindy’s blue book on desk corner.
“Don’t you have a picture of your boyfriend?” – John, examining bulletin board.
“I don’t have a boyfriend” – Alison.
“Can’t we go?” – Darla – “This room’s hot.” Yellow Kleenex box.
Herrick. “Let’s watch General Hospital” – Connie. Alison: “Where’d you get that Theta thing?” Connie’s room. “Gosh!” – Alison, settling back on soft bed. Said Tseng Hsi: “O.K., here!” – Connie, reaching to turn on fan. Laughter. Connie talking to roommate, poster between them reading: At the end of spring. “You and Me Against the World:” When the making of the Spring Clothes has been completed. “Personally, I think we’re gonna get creamed.” [Two white fluffy puppies, wood-burning fire in fireplace behind them.] Connie taking off her running-suit top, Alison in red white and blue suit. “NO PARKING ANY TIME” sign; “C-A-T” house” (Kappa Alpha Theta) – John.
“That’s pretty dirty” – Darla. [Heart in calico heart, cat inside.] Connie radiant in grey sweater.
“There’s no music” – Alison. Connie seated on bed, writing, legs crossed, bad leg out of cast, bandaged. Darla: “Don’t you ever get tired of writing like that?”
John: “You gotta play hurt.” General laughter at Darla’s expense. “We try to be fair” – John – “but it’s hard with Darla.”
Darla’s room. Go with five times six newly-capped youths. “This is my boyfriend” – Darla, commentating bulletin board – “I’m going to marry him.” And six times seven uncapped boys. “This is my English professor” – introducing instructor to roommate Kristen. Kristen dazzling, green sweater, red (translucent) ball hair catch. Perform the lustration in the River I. “Jerry Jeff?” – Darla. “All right” – Alison. Take the air at the Rain Dance altars. White pile carpet, strawberry shortcake tray. And then go home singing. “You touched my life and made my world beautiful” card. Darla, fluffy bear in lap, holding its legs apart by ankles.
Nighttime Sunshine Store parking lot. Yen Hui. Reverse shot: Fashions by Sacha. Asked about Goodness. Inside-out light splash, catching passing co-eds. Said the Master: Headlight ballet. “He who can himself submit to ritual is good.” “LI CITY” of “DELI CITY,” agleam with double bulb arrangement. Toto’s Italian Pizza, enormous T’s in white. “If a ruler could for one day.” Pickup, oncoming beams. “Himself submit to ritual.” Cautiously parallel parking. “Everyone under heaven.” Single stagy bulb, shade over rainbow-bordered Aquarius Gift Shop sign. “Would respond to his Goodness.” Volvo (Texas plates) shining its headlights at author; (Cleveland County) Pinto, yellow running-lights. “For Goodness.” Horn honk. “Is something.” Responsive second honk. “That must have its source.” Long horn honk. “In the ruler himself.” Parallel-parked pickup now departing, red taillights picked up in author’s glance. Dog in-car bark. “It cannot be gotten from others.” Cause apparent: white passing hound straining at leash.
Said Yen Hui: Campus TV window: “I beg to inquire about the detailed items (of submission to ritual).” “ELECTRONIC PARTS” in assertively depressing red neon (high chroma, low value). Said the Master: Oncoming blue Pinto. “To look at nothing.” Full of sorority sisses. “In defiance of ritual.” Single cyclist, blue tee shirt, blond hair, trimmed beard. Backs of passing pedestrians. “To listen to nothing.” Coin deposit. “In defiance of ritual.” Phone outside Sunshine Store. “To speak of nothing.” Libertarian Party canvasser to passerby: “In defiance of ritual.” “What county is this?” “Never to stir hand or foot.” Passerby to canvasser: “Cleveland?” “In defiance of ritual.” (Question-answer/answer-question.) And Yen Hui responded: Followed by quiet discussion. “I know that I’m not clever.” Yellow Chevy pickup driver to girl beside him: “Madison Morrison.” “But this is merely a saying.” Tires peeling. “Which with your permission.” Girl looks at author, points index finger heavenward. “I shall try.” Says: “Don’t look at me!” “To put into practice.”
More oncoming headlights, interested continuation look from female passenger. Purple-topped female pedestrian, Campus TV entrance, six-pack asway in hand behind her. Stacey’s Allen up street, Stacey-less. Bronze Honda Civic passage, “CVCC” tail-detail one screw loose, slanting. Vicki leg over ex-Mobil station rail, on into Sunshine. Pastel green Reynolds Ford, dew forming on hood, “Q 102 Best Texas Rock” bumper sticker. Three-quarter moon disappearing behind cloud drift.
“I thought I’d come up and start a bunch of shit” – passing girl boasting to colleagues. “WALTER” (horizontal) “MITTY” (vertical) red neon glow. Sha-Sha surreal strawberry cone float/projection. Bright red trapezoidal taillights (parking pickup), blond girl emergence, tight pants/sweater. Boomer sign, “B ME” illumination. Water dripping, House of Travel overhang, aftermath of cloudburst. Drip-drips catching streetlight radiation in synchronous/asynchronous elongation-fall-”splop.” Car “screech,” co-ed head out window: “One way!”
“Which-way-you-wanna-go?” male retort. Black on yellow arrow pointing at one-way street says “TWO WAY TRAFFIC.” Moon holding steady.
“Sunday Oct 25 Rat Party” – Union exterior forecourt, chalked sidewalk notice. Sun warm, mild breeze, sound of freshman chatting. Squeaking Union door, spray of sprinkler, scent of evergreen. “I’m not going to call Adam!” – Alison to Connie.
“Professor Morrison” – J. – “What do you mean ‘the story of your life’?”
“Yeah” – Darla – “Quit writing and explain!” Goofy look at classmate audience. “Now he’s writing down the dumb question I asked!” Peering into notebook.
“That’s what you said, isn’t it, Darla?” – author-instructor.
“Real short and fat, and we used to hide under her desk” – Jan, circulating author eavesdropping twosome interviews. “That was sort of ornery, but …” Wind flapping pages.
“We just weren’t exciting in the eighth grade” – Jennifer. “This” – exasperated – “is really boring. Sorry.” Light filtering through leaves onto Jamie, patiently attending. “Then when I was a junior and a senior” – Jennifer, confidence returning – “I worked as a secretary for the superintendent of schools!”
“How’d you get that job?” – Jamie. Union door squeak, co-ed exiting on racing bike, garb also incongruous: gray shako, blue satin shorts, cowboy boots.
“And last night” – new interview – “I got picked to be Miss Knock-Out!” Iranian student entering Union, leather jacket thrown over shoulder.
Paula to Ross: “Are you going to the party Friday night?” Union patio.
Connie undergoing interview by John: “What did he think of the airline pilot controller’s strike” (her father)?
“And what was he like” (her first horse)?
“He was neat-o” – Connie caught off guard. “But when we sold the farm, we had to sell him.”
“Is he glue?” – John.
“No, he’s not glue!” Connie regaining balance: “Let’s see, my favorite holidays? Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday! … And my favorite color’s blue … I love Texas, especially Dallas.” Sun caressing her head. “And I love boys.” John hanging fire, sun drenching Connie’s shoulders, arms, lap. “I can go in a card shop and spend hours looking at cards.”
“Keep talkin’” – John, head down, writing.
Darla looking over author-instructor’s shoulder: “What do you do with these?” Sun brilliant on her notebook page, “high” written in margin. “I can’t read your writing” – Darla, sun glancing off red barrette. “B-a-r-r-e-t-t-e, two r’s” – Darla – “you look like you’re having trouble spelling, and you’re an English teacher!”
Darla back at work, Sam interview, writing: “Valedictorian,” “Beta club,” in uneven hand. “Get your own notes,” she says, sequestering notebook from author’s view.
Inform them loyally and guide them discreetly. Papers. If that fails. “What’s in a Room?”: Then desist. “Dreary skies, blustering winds and annoying rain greeted us as we set out to discover our classmates.”
“Biography of the Unknown”: “Picture in your mind The All-American Boy Goes to The University of Oklahoma. In this picture the star’s name is Kevin.” “Jamie, the all-American girl, marches in the OU band as a flag girl. Her rifle and flag stand solemnly in the corner of her room.” “Now you can forget the image of ‘all-American’ because I am writing about Tod. Long, uncontrollable hair, ragged jeans, and weathered tennis shoes describes his hippie-like appearance.”
“Jan, Jennifer and Ted”: “What is our destiny? Where is life leading us? Why life? These are questions which came to mind as I skimmed through the book that Jan gave me (There Is a Way). Jan appears to be hungry for the knowledge of life.” “Jennifer is a very agreeable person liking most everything with the exception of her hair, which she complains about often.”
“John, Keith and Darrell”: “John is a freshman baseball player from Crete-Monu High School in Chicago. He is 5 foot 9 inches and a former all-stater in football and was all-district in baseball.” “Keith is the next guy I am writing about. Keith is a 6 foot 3 inch pitcher. He throws very hard and has a chance to be in the starting rotation this spring. One of Keith’s favorite hobbies besides baseball is hunting. Another one of Keith’s hobbies is girls. On weekends he loves to go to all the hot spots around town and talk to all the good-looking girls.” “My last portrait is of Darrell. Darrell was all-state in basketball and baseball at Lawton Eisenhower and was voted Athlete of the Year in Oklahoma.”
“Besides travel, Eileen’s other interests include concerts and Winnie the Pooh. She absolutely loves Heart, her favorite rock group, and listens to their albums every chance she gets.”
“Who’s Afraid of Debbie, Paula and Ross?”: “‘I am the Sunshine of My Life,’ read Debbie’s Snoopy poster.” “Neatness occupied a very small space in the mind of Paula.” “Ross lived inside of himself and through his eyes could be seen a deep understanding of who he was and where he was going.”
“‘Typical boy,’ I thought to myself as I stood in George’s room and looked at the two Patti Hansen posters hanging on the walls. I was bothered by her poses, which I found to be quite exploiting. On the desk a calculator, textbooks and a travel alarm sat. Travel alarms seem so temporary to me. Perhaps George hasn’t admitted to himself that he is stuck here.” (“Room Search.”)
“Our Gang”: “Being confined in the small cage-like room drives John into madness, such as dancing and singing along with his favorite songs at late hours of the night while being clothed in his underwear only.” “Studying is not Darrell’s only hobby. This engineering major has accomplished the greatest feat my eyes have yet seen: three girlfriends who attend the same high school!” “Keith is the best roommate anyone could have. He makes the boring nights enjoyable by speaking in different voices like Andy Kaufmann and a little baby.”
“I met three unique individuals this week while I completed my English assignment, George, Alison and Darla. Each of these three persons presented me with a book of his/her interest and gave me a tour of his/her room, and with this information I was supposed to figure out their personalities?!? Talk about judging a book by its cover!” “The book that Alison gave me was a love story called The Promise. Alison loves boys; she would like to major in them in college.” “Jennifer’s book, Marriage and the Family, showed her feeling of love towards her family and friends.”
“One girl was so interested in helping handicapped children by physical therapy that she is planning a career in it. All her books dealt with that subject.” “Another girl in our group is interested in make-up. This surprised me because she didn’t seem to have much make-up on herself. She seemed to be striving for a career in the make-up field.” “Paula enjoys partying. Her book is Applications of Chemical Engineering, another exciting title.” Said the Master: “Do not court humiliation.”
Tzu-lu inquired about government. Kung-tzu answered: “Lead them; encourage them!”
Tzu-lu asked for yet another maxim.
“Untiringly,” he said.
OU Memorial Union. Jan. Reverse interviews. Jung. Will Rogers Cafeteria. Asked about Goodness. “Along with stealing a high chair” – Alison – “I had two Moose Heads.” Said the Master: “Then we went to Legends.” “Behave away from home.” “Half a gin and tonic.” “As though in the presence of.” Bogart’s. “An important guest.” The guy said ‘No way!’ So my big sis took me home.”
Sam interviewing Darla; Debbie with a case of giggles; Jan, white sweater, heavily made-up. “Deal with the people.” Pool of secretaries. “As though you were officiating.” Central table. “At an important sacrifice.” Breaking up. Author visiting interviewers. Tod friendly “Hello,” bent over notebook, recording Mason data; Mason’s Tod notes on table before him. Darrell: “My interpretation of Billy Sims …” (tone polite, thoughtful). “We’re discussing how we like All My Children” – Jennifer, obviously getting nowhere with Jamie’s life. “What about her father?” “Have you ever been in the hospital?” – Jennifer. “No” – Jamie. “Ask Darla how she got to be so well adjusted.” “Because I’m just such a good girl and my parents are so nice to me.”
“I need to get A’s” – Connie to instructor – “from here on,” B+ in hand. “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself.” “I’m going to leave now.” “I’m sorry, Connie.” “Then there will be no feeling of opposition.” Will Rogers seated (mural), director’s chair, reading the paper. “Whether in affairs of State.” Black woman employee: “Or affairs of Family.” “I just broke up with my boyfriend.” Last paper taken. “Now that we’re apart.” Freshmen gone. “I can take an objective look.”
Fan Ch’ih. More papers. Asked about the Good (ruler). “Debbie has an early background of confusion and pain to account for the trust and faith that she now holds of people.” Said the Master: “The first trauma was the separation of her parents.” “He loves men.” “Before she reached the age of six they received a divorce.” He asked about the wise (ruler). “Debbie went on to live with her mother. Little time had passed before her mother married the man who later adopted Debbie as his own child. However, to further worsen the matter, her mother, after ten years of marriage, packed up her belongings and left her husband and Debbie without a word of explanation.” Said the Master: “Or where she could be reached.” “He knows men.”
“Jan likes athletic activities and six-foot athletes. She is also a bright and beautiful girl, which is strange because her favorite color is black. She is especially noticeable in black, it brings out something in her. Another favorite of Jan’s is food. She also likes sports, so she could like the violence that goes with it. This side of Jan came out when she was in third grade. Two girls in her class were fighting. Jan kept telling each of the girls to hit the other one. I believe there is a little villain every once in a while in her. I also think Jan wears black because it makes her look taller and slimmer. The color black tells me that she’s efficient for some reason.”
“In the Distance”: “A mischievous smile crossed the face of the half-woman, half-girl sitting in front of me as she told me the deep dark secrets of her life. Behind that cute smile and those intriguing eyes resided a Darla that no one knew. Darla’s body sat in front of me, but her mind soared elsewhere and I could not reach it.”
“Love Makes Leslie’s World Go Around”
“When he got to sixth grade George dated one girl for the first time. They went steady for two years and they used to talk on the phone all the time. After this hot little romance George said he kind of played the field until the beginning of his sophomore year in high school.”
“John is an extremely cute boy in my English class whom I was just dying to get to know better.”
“Sam’s childhood was accented by the usual first childhood stolen kiss while he was in the cloak room and even to his first crush while he was a freshman, on a Senior girl.”
“As a lifetime resident of Norman, Ted has traveled a rough path through life but has set his standards of living through his own experiences. With a 3.83 grade point average he completed his ninth and tenth grade years. Then tragedy struck. Ted began using drugs and was arrested a couple of times. In the summer before his senior year he quite drugs and tied down a good job. He improved his G.P.A. to 3.0 and really got things back into order. As for his social life, he is an easy-going guy who likes to go out, have a few beers, and chase women. In high school Ted dated many girls and never got serious with any of them.”
“‘Competition’ isn’t a new word for Connie. It seems all her life she has been competing for something. She started swimming at the age of 8. My father was a swimmer, so I know what kind of dedication it takes to become a state champ. Connie accomplished this feat at the age of 10, becoming the Texas state champ in freestyle and butterfly.”
“Jamie’s polite and kind nature is due to her religious upbringing. In contrast, I find it hard to believe that such a quiet young lady is an avid sports fan. When she began her senior year in high school her professional football interests started narrowing and the Houston Oilers earned the #1 position on the Jamie Poll. Realizing how sincere her interest is in the Oilers, her parents gave her a trip to Houston to see them play. Personally, I feel sorry for whoever Jamie marries, because he’ll certainly be a ‘football widower’ when the Houston Oilers are playing!” Fan Ch’ih did not quite understand.
Said the Master: Notes passed during someone else’s class: “By raising the straight.” “Listen Ray called today and wanted to tell you and I about what exactly has happened since everything is so hush hush.” “And putting them on top of the crooked.” “Then he asked us if we wanted to go out tonite so he could explain. I told him that we were going to OKC. Well, then he sounded like he was going to cry and said he was sort of being left out of things at the house. So he asked if he could come and I told him I’d ask you.” “He can make the crooked straight.” “Do you mean come to the City with us? I’ve got to wash my clothes too! If he doesn’t mind, I’d love to have him come.” “Tonight we have to 1. Do homework 2. Get costumes 3. Wash clothes 4. Buy Bib something.” “Christy” – third hand – ”did you ever take notes on them plants in Botany?”
Game Day. Helicopter overhead “thuh-thuh-thutter.” University Boulevard progress: “Park $2.00 / McFarlin Church Chapel Choir.” Choir teenies seated in folding chairs, driveway entrance; heavy grey sky, warm rain threat. The gentleman. “Park $3.00” (First Presbyterian). “We won’t get blocked in, will we?” – entering fan. Uses only such language. First touches of red. As is proper for speech. Man descending sedan, carmine cap, crimson shirt, vermillion OU windbreaker; wife in ruby pants, alizarin sweater, rouge carry-all. Red VW parked on Sigma Chi grass, maroon Mustang beside it. Author in rust-colored corduroys, Oklahoma dirt-red boots. And only speaks of what. Red plastic pen. It would be proper. Red ink. To carry into effect. Red words.
Ratcliffe’s interior: red-clad customers, red and white purchases, check-out girl in red pants, white sweater. The gentleman. Boydward progress. In what he says. Harold’s parking lot arm, electric red “Automatic Gate – Drive to Here” sticker, attendant in magenta Izod. Leaves nothing to chance. Burnt sienna Subaru parked, lawn of old white President’s House, helicopter broadly circling above. Red-brick Gothic U. of Oklahoma rear window decal. Across-Boyd red-brick buildings of North Oval, white sandstone trim, semicircle of red cannas before them.
Outside-Town-Tavern sit-down, sports page perusal: Once a man. “Today’s Football.” Has contrived. “Colorado at OU.” To put himself aright. “1:30 p.m.” He will find. “Attendance:” No difficulty. “74,807.” In filling. “Sellout.” Any government post. “(Dad’s Day.)” But if he cannot put himself aright. “Series standing:” How can he hope to succeed. “OU leads 26-8-1.” In putting others aright? “Possibly wet.” Girl. “Possibly wild.” In black corduroy jacket. “Particularly on a day like today where you have the slippery football.” Kid in red-white OU Sooners cap, white- on-red Adidas shirt. T.T. window through-view, Uwe von Schamann’s historic kick, number 10 from number 33’s hold.
Boyd-Asp curb-sit. When the near approve. “Whatcha doin’, keepin’ a diary on this?” And the distant approach. “That’s his thesis.” Heavy air, char-smoke-filled; hand-held tickets overhead (“Who needs two good seats on the thirty yard line?”). Red light turns to green; author up, crossing Boyd. Passing “Chemical Engineering,” “Industrial Engineering.” Procession of semi-silent fans: scarlet tam, cardinal sweater, fiery pants, blood-red shirt. Stadium sign looming overhead: “The University of Oklahoma,” red on cream. Man with red thermos, red hat, red cheeks. Kid in purple football jersey, yellow “44,” mom in yellow sweater, glancing into open van, wall-to-wall-to-wall carpet, cloudy maroon-grey-black together-scumble. Someone said, What about the saying, “Meet resentment with inner power?” Owen Field approach. Said the Master: Burgeoning white chrysanthemums. In that case. Red beercup (white interior) discarded in their midst. How is one to meet inner power? Water. Rather. (Pool on sidewalk.) Meet resentment with upright dealing. Tree-branch reflection. Inner power. “Where’s your seat at?” With inner power. “The end zone?”
“Mind over Matter” (Alison). Meditation papers. “Welcome to my mind. (At least welcome to a portion of it.) Being such a complex thing, it would be impossible to expose it in whole. How disrespectful of me to call my mind a ‘thing!’ And to refer to it as ‘it!’” Said the Master: “I regard it more as a god.” Best of all. “A god with extraordinary power.” To withdraw from one’s generation. “On that Thursday afternoon the South Oval was filled with students walking to and from their classes. The sun grew hot atop my scalp, as I sat on the bug-infested grass. Closing my eyes to get in touch with my mind I found great difficulty in ignoring the sounds of the world around me.” Next. “Surprisingly I found more ease in meditating with my eyes open.” To withdraw to another land. “Imagining my mind was a movie projector, my inner vision filled with blue and red twining together, soft white feathers falling down into a meadow of beautiful flowers, musical notes floating in air. Overhead, a rainbow, above that a bright radiant yellow sun. Below: a large, crisp-looking red apple. It made me believe this consciousness knows our fate.”
Next. “English or Hinduism?” (Darla). To leave because of a look. “Greeted at the door of class by the unusual quietness surprised me. But most of all I was struck by the absence of John’s never-ending voice. Soon our attention had turned to an unusual drawing on the chalkboard, which we proceeded to copy. Its meaning in relation to English seemed to pass over me. It looked like an unfinished picture of a snake ready to strike at the object above.”
“I could see a heart shape” – Alison – “and was suddenly reminded of a strange piece of jewelry I tried to make once in eleventh grade.”
“I tried to let my mind wander” – Darla – “and eventually it did, to such things as: people walking by us, staring, some laughing, all the different kinds of people, to the party this weekend, and what I was going to wear.”
“I’m sorry about his paper being a little late” – Jan – “plus the fact that it’s not typed but I’ve been sick all weekend and that kind of threw me off schedule. Thanks for understanding!”
Next best. “On Tuesday afternoon I sat in my English class.” To leave. “And wondered what the Isa Upanishad meant.” Because of a word. “After Alison and Ted presented their encyclopedia [sic] run down of the subject, I still felt bewildered.
“Previously I had known very little about meditation and had thought that only weird people engaged in such activities, but after I experienced the relaxation that accompanied the deep breathing and concentration on the OM symbol, I began to appreciate it more.
“As I closed my eyes and began to soak in the warm sunshine, memories of my past that mean a lot to me drowned out the warmth that I had just felt. These recollections brought tears and depression to my young teenage life. I concluded that it evolved [sic] around being happy, which in turn evolved around being loved, but when the peak of these climaxes were nearly reached something would step in and tear down the walls.”
“Meditation and Hindu Thought” (Paula). “When I walked into class on Thursday I was almost shocked out of my socks. The whole class had fallen silent, so I took my seat. I didn’t know how long this was going to last that was the frightening part. Then Professor Morrison picked me to do some sort of meditation, later I found out it was pranayam. I really could not do it properly in the classroom, because I was concentrating too much. When I went back to my dorm I tried it again. The results were that my mind cleared of a lot of the problems I thought I had – things seemed more in perspective. I was staring straight at my bulletin board and images of home started coming to my mind. My house was full of everybody, Birdie, Linda and Camille. Then my high school came into view, the football field, the bleachers, and the outside of the gym. Then a picture of Birdie and me standing out on the field practicing for soccer. Then the door knocked, so I answered it.”
“The Survival of Hinduism” (Kevin). “Great civilizations are measured by their contributions.” Among those that “ruled by inactivity” surely Shun must be counted. “In art, literature, architecture.” For what action did he take? “And religion.” He merely placed himself. “During the fourth century B.C.” Gravely and reverently. “The Hindus of present-day India.” With his face due south. “Were by far the most advanced culture.” That was all. “Of their time. And though little of their art, literature or other contributions remain significant to us, their religion survives.”
Said the Master: (Keith.) “The selection of the Isa Upanishad.” Straight indeed was the recorder Yu. “That we received.” When the Way prevailed in the land. “Is an example of Hindu beliefs.” He was straight as an arrow. “For becoming a complete person.” A gentleman indeed was Yu. “It explains the blending of knowledge and not-knowledge to achieve your Self.” When the Way prevailed. “The Self is your ruler.” In his land. “Your God.” He served the State. “Or what controls you.” But when the Way ceased to prevail. “The selections seem to be related to Christianity.” He knew how to hide it. “And are somewhat of a ‘Hindu Ten Commandments.’” In the folds of his dress.
“This is the Sanskrit symbol of OM [transcription]. It means breath control, or the breathing in of Brahman (everything) to become Atman (Self). The curved lip-like formation seems to be exhaling breath, as a watchful eye (the Self) looks on.
“Walking to the Oval I got in a better mood.” Said the Master: “I love the outdoors” (still Keith). “The makers were seven.” “And meditation is easy for me when I’m outside.” (By which he had reference to the originators of.) “The clean and bright sunshine, the beauty of reality.” (Fire, agriculture.) “Seemed to cleanse my body and mind of impurities.” (Metallurgy.) “I had no bad thoughts and remembered only my favorite times.” (Carriages, boats.) “I could almost feel the cool breeze bounding off the lake, as my girlfriend and I lay on the shore after a refreshing swim.” (The potter’s wheel, the loom.) “Other memories of Judy – walking through the woods on a cold December day – struck my mind. I could smell the scent of pine as the wind wisped in the branches. I could feel the excitement of finding that perfect Christmas tree. The love and fun we had together was flowing through my veins, and my heart was longing for home. I tried hard to make mental contact with Judy, but there was no answer. I wondered what the future would bring: hopefully good! Will it ever let me return? Then Professor Morrison said, ‘Class is over. You can leave when you want to.’ At this I released my dream world and came back to reality. Or, did I release reality and come back to my dream world?”
Said the Master: (Ross.) “Next we tried open-eyed meditation.” He who will not worry about what is far off. “It was much harder than closed-eye meditation.” Will soon find something worse than worry. “It was harder to concentrate because you could see what was going on around you.” Close at hand. “The insects were also distracting. My thoughts were very short and jumped around.”
“OM” (Sam). “The breath of God – breathing in and circulating back out into the outside world. The breath of knowledge taking on a shape in our mind’s eye, becoming a part of the self. Breathe in Brahman, breathe out Atman. Breathing gives us the gift of life which nurtures the ever-changing self.
“Then my body began rapidly gaining speed, as I traveled down the aisle of a passenger bus with very dark shadows on either side of me. I am shot out of the bus. Kaleidoscopic images whirl about me: the colorful symmetrical images a child sees when looking into his tube play toy: yellows, oranges, reds. No conflicting thoughts need enter upon the scene. Slowly I opened my eyes and realized I had done what I had not expected was possible. I had entered the world of meditation and come out unscarred.
“My back was hurting, so I entered it again. I saw many boxcars rapidly passing by over the tracks. I could almost hear and feel their clickety-clack as I stood silently in my hometown cemetery, surrounded by familiar tombstones.
“A clown, with a bright crimson nose and orange hair, smiled at me from somewhere in the depths of my imagination. Lying in a meadow, green grass blown by the wind about me, I envisioned a small farm house, white with red trim.
“Then it was no more. A giant cobra hissed before my face. It struck at me repeatedly. A big red apple hung precariously from a tree. As I rose to leave, it fell and hit the ground.
“Cleansed of thoughts I’m as free and light as the wind that blows the colorful fall leaves about my feet.”
Said the Master, Those who are capable of spending a whole day together without ever once discussing questions of right and wrong, but who content themselves with performing petty acts of clemency, they are indeed difficult!
And again, A gentleman does not accept men because of what they say, nor reject sayings because the speaker is what he is.
Sudden late-fall temperature drop, clear skies, bracing ether. “School of Art / Graduate Studios” (white letters, blue ground, silver trim). Joe Andoe studio, freshmen entering. Life cover pasted on cabinet door. Mason, single bulb over his head, light streaming in through window, studies black and white landscape. White bucket, studio floor, red, blue and yellow label. Red brush can, white floor glob. Joe seated, freshman reception, zombie posture, arms on nubby arms, ancient silver armchair.
“Hello Walls!” painted on pillar; two-finger red-orange smear. Artist in Levis, Levi jacket, pale green shirt. Battleship-grey-painted floor, Rustoleum drip down white wall. “If you can’t take me with you” (mo-town radio sound). “Strong men and women” (Norman Transcript, open on bench). John back from tour of distant studios. “Came upon a raw land.” Blue silk jacket. “With vision …” (OKC ’89er statue inscription). Enormous “U S A” on back. “They spanned rivers and prairies.” In red and white. “And mountains.” Jan, flashed-out, furious (overdressed), off to visit other studios.
Cal Tints on table: Darla in grey sweater, tight jeans. “Ultra Blue.” Alison, seated on couch, feet spread, knees together. “Hansa Yellow.” Yellow drawing, ribbed window shadow overlay, door to adjoining studio. “They created schools.” Jamie, head framed by bench backdrop, chevron of jacket pointing to page, pen bobbing. “Titanium White.” Reddy Kilowatt standing (cut-out) over bench. Open book in hand. “They created churches, farms, factories.” Kevin back from distant studios, “awesome” smile. “They lifted great buildings to the skies.” Darrell, all-state jacket, pale blue, fuzzy-fabric red baseball, red basketball, white sleeves. Leslie, purple skirt, matching purple high heels (also dressed for impending show instead of visit to studio). “They drilled deep wells into oil-rich earth.”
Connie, Alison, heads dipping in unison, both intent on paintings (Alison up-look at author, blue pen still going). Jan return: black sweater, inner turquoise turtleneck, gold medallion. George, black jacket, joins Jamie, white jacket, white jeans, white Nikes. “With thankfulness to their God …” Both balancing notebooks on thigh, pens poised. “They are still pioneering.” Crosslegged Debbie, coat on floor, nudges oversize glasses back up nose. “Still achieving.” Tod on stool, inadvertently sitting on pair of pliers. Overhead heater. “Still exploring future frontiers.” J. in chair, pink pen moving, holding notebook from behind in tense, expectant posture.
Author to distant studios, monstrosity observation (pastel nude, arms akimbo, enormous carmine pancake nipples, multicolored face). Sound of Joe conversing with freshmen. “Passerby.” John having broken the silence. “Look about and ask this question.” Leslie, standing next to author, dubs lyrics of radio song. Four punkers in photo pose, second studio door. Interior bench: “Mars Black,” “Green 4,” “Cerulean Blue.” Farm Fresh opaque white milk container, name in red, yellow cap. Author returning to Andoe studio.
Darrell transporting, with artist’s permission, “Mom’s House,” leans it against wall for better freshman view. “That’s the ground, there” – pointing – “what’s that?”
“Driveway” – Joe.
“Yes.” Explanation follows.
“Why did you paint it black?” – John.
“’Cuz I’m only using two colors.” Keith, black jacket, white tennis shirt, yellow collar, studying artist’s expression. Debbie comparing notes with Jamie, latter in purple nail polish. Jan’s gold chain grazes artist’s shoulder, she leaning over back of his chair. “It’s about being homesick.” Debbie, black and white snowman, collar of pink shirt. “When you leave, like, you can’t really go back.” Throaty ballad ending (radio). Wall inscription: “JOE ANDOE Sp / Summer / Fall 81,” black paint, white wall.
“How long does it take you to do one?” – Keith.
“It varies.” Joe’s white bike propped against pillar. “Sometimes three hours, sometimes three weeks.” Black seat, orange reflector.
“Do you talk to these other artists” – Joe, leg crossed, shoe on knee – “to get ideas?” – Darrell. Mexico City Blues atop Oklahoma Daily.
“Look for America” (radio). Black and white skeleton dangling over Joe’s head. “Where else in a single lifespan.” Black barbells, mirror above them. “Has he built so mightily?” Infinity sign fingered in dust. Alison laughing, skipping about. Darla, pink shirt, pink barrettes.
Said the Master: Dunlop Tower Dedication. A gentleman is proud. Light on red brick pillar, author shadow against it. But not quarrelsome. 47°. Wind hair-whip, OU Sooner band blare. Allies himself with individuals. Applause from patron stands, politely chatting millionaires. But not with parties. Solitary snare snap. “CLEAN THEIR COB,” anti-Nebraska float; yellow balloons atop red CART bus; blue pickup pulling “Sooners” float. When it comes to Goodness. Author’s fingers stiffening under chill. One need not avoid competing. Black speaker atop new cornice. With one’s teacher. Proliferation of beige camel’s hair top coats, coffee-colored blazers. From a gentleman. Cableknit white turtlenecks, gold jewelry. One expects loyalty. Band upstart, daffy showtune arrangement, members in satiny carmine, white trim, gold braid. But not blind fidelity. “Ladies and gentlemen” – President Banowsky – “Welcome to this invigorating occasion.”
Joe Andoe Lightwell Show. There are three sorts of profitable pleasure. Donna Artist, red top, blue jeans, black slipperettes; George B., studious, hound’s tooth jacket hiding handles; 12-year-old Eric, red running suit, blue cap, white-lined pant leg. And three sorts of harmful pleasure. Punker, white boots, black smock, savaged hair; boyfriend, pink-stained tennies; redhead emptying wine jug. The pleasure got from the ordering of ritual and music. Stephanie Artist and mom in viewing postures. The pleasure got from discussing good points in the conduct of others. Cindy Artist commentating Joe’s work. The pleasure in having many wise friends. John Son, red/blue-striped fire-breathing dragon shirt; Jacob Son, white sneakers. Is profitable. “I wonder where everybody is?” – John Student. But pleasure got from profligate enjoyments. Jan, “Shakespearean” top. Pleasure got from idle gadding about. “I’m running around with your sons!” Pleasure got from comfort and ease. “Color is so important. It’s a part of life.” Is harmful. “This is brutal” – John Student. Darrell, Debbie, Jennifer, annotation activity. Single Magritte dark wine bottle, wine-cheese table.
From whom did Chung-ni derive his learning? Exams. Final papers. Said Tzu-kung, by way of answer: “Joe Andoe’s Studio.” American Literature. Modern American Poetry. The Way of the kings Wen and Wu has never yet utterly fallen to the ground. “The subjects of innocence and fate play a central theme in many works by American authors.” Among men. “Place the poet you’ve chosen to study in detail – the poet born since 1900.” Those of great understanding have recorded. “– in relation to the Modernist generation.” The major principles of this Way. “What is the response you’d expect if you were to ask your poet.” (Those of less understanding have recorded the minor principles.) “What the work of Frost, Stevens, Pound, Williams and Eliot had meant to him? Finally, tell me what the work of these poets has meant to you.” So that there is no one who has not access to. “If possible pointing out.” The Way of Wen and Wu. “Aspects of their work not touched upon in class.”
From whom indeed did our Master not learn? “We were getting away from the Virgin Mary and going toward the Dynamo.” But at the same time. “I think he’s saying.” What need had he of any fixed and regular teacher? “The black man is as good as the white.” Said Master K’ung: “In Ezra Pound’s poem, ‘A Letter from Home: a Translation,’ the male and female characters are engaged in traditional sex-role activities.” The gentleman has nine cares. “Faulkner’s convict was innocence because he wanted to go back to prison.” In seeing. “Both William Carlos Williams and Gary Snyder.” He is careful. “Enjoy writing about reality.” To see clearly. “It does not necessarily stand for something.” “In one of his poems Williams.” In hearing. “Says that ‘there is so much to this wheelbarrow.’” He is careful to hear distinctly. “The lever principle by which it works (enabling us to lift great masses) is amazing enough.” In his looks. “But combine this.” He is careful. “With a wheel (marvelous invention!).” To be kindly. “And you get a moving lever!” In his manner to be respectful, in his words to be loyal, in his work to be diligent. “In many of the writers’ stories that we studied their feelings about marriage as an institution are not very promising.” “In what way is the passage you have chosen characteristic of the poet’s (a) diction, (b) rhetoric, (c) prosody, (d) tone, (e) selection of subject matter?”
When in doubt he is careful to ask for information. “On Thursday, November 19, 1981 we met west of the South Oval at 1:30 p.m.” “Twain is suggesting that if marriage is attainable.” “I jumped into Keith’s truck along with Alison, John and Jan.” “It cannot be easily attained.” “And off we went.” “Moreover, when it is attained.” “Holding as our destination.” “It doesn’t work out.” “Joe Andoe’s studio.” When angry. “I’m not really sure how Henry James feels about marriage itself.” He has a care for the consequences. “But he seems to feel that it’s unattainable.” “Jan said, ‘This is so stupid.’” When he sees a chance of gain. “‘I don’t know where Morrison comes up with these ideas.’” He thinks carefully. “John added:” Whether the pursuit of it. “‘I think he’s on drugs.’” Would be consonant with the Right. “Albee suggests that marriages are ‘on the rocks.’”
“This made us all laugh, and soon we were pulling into the parking lot of Joe’s studio.” The State itself is divided and tottering. “Saul Bellow goes one step further by saying.” “At first all I could see were black and white canvasses.” “That marriages are better.” Disrupted and cleft. “When the husband and wife are no longer living together.” And he can do nothing to save it. “Later I began to see places, objects and ideas, for example.” Now he is planning. “Clouds and fields.” To wield buckler and axe. “Depression, death and loneliness.” Within the borders of his own land. “Without an inherited set of values or solutions.” I am afraid. “America is struggling to find.” That the troubles of the Family. “The answers to the problem.” Are due not to what is happening in Chuan-yu. “Which we have now had the time to create.” But to what is going on. “Wilke and George and Martha.” Behind the screen-wall. “Reflect this struggle.” Of his own gate. “They live in the emotional squalor they themselves have created.”
Such is the world. “Someone pointed out a painting of Joe’s.” And who can change it? “With ‘Bless and Protect’ written across the lower portion of the canvas.” As for you. “He told us he felt homesick for his past.” Instead of following one. “‘Bless and Protect.’” Who flees from this man and that. “Would represent the idea.” You would do better. “Of keeping and enjoying memories.” To follow one. “America had a fresh beginning to write her own history.” Who shuns this whole generation of men. “Avoiding the mistakes of Europe.”
“Bless and Protect” (Jennifer): “‘We are now beginning our descent into the Maracaibo International Airport. Please notice the seatbelt and no smoking signs. The time in Caracas is 9:48, the temperature 86°. We hope you have enjoyed your flight with Delta Airlines.’” And with that he went on covering the seed. “As the plane made its approach I could see the black asphalt runway, trimmed in small lights. The other airplanes shined brightly against the darkness.” “The 19th century writers abandon the romantic modes of writing inherited from European novels and adopt a realistic mode more appropriate to American values.” “This image is what my mind conjured up when I observed one of the paintings at Joe Andoe’s personal art exhibit last Sunday.
“One painting, which was actually a sequence of eleven canvasses.” Love of Goodness. “Depicted the countryside.” Without love of learning. “Of a small town.” Degenerates into silliness. “It was as if I was on the Santa Fe Railway viewing all the surroundings passing by.” “‘Good Country People’ is about people that are suppose [sic] to be good people.” Love of Wisdom. “There were cows grazing on the tall grass.” “Who turn out not to be so good.” Without love of learning. “Choose five of the following quotations.” Degenerates into utter lack of principle. “And for each quotation that you choose.” “There were five birds flying in a group.” “Give (a) its author.” “I could also see five telephone poles.” “And (b) the title of the poem from which it has been taken.” “With their wires extending parallel to the horizon.” Love of keeping promises. “John Marcher lost the love.” Degenerates. “He has been so afraid he’d find.” Into villainy. “When May Bartram died.”
“Both Frost and Sandburg have realistic views.” Love of uprightness. “Splashing the fields were small bushes and trees.” “Both deal with tragic of something in an effect.” Degenerates. “When I finally got off the train.” Into harshness. “Or rather went into another painting.” “Not bad” – instructor.” “I realized.” “Though not enough.” “That I was what I actually never saw.” “On fate.” “When I dreamt.” “B - = 82.5 x .4.” Love of courage. “= 33.00.” Without love of learning. “The technique of Citizen Kane.” Degenerates into turbulence. “In other words, I would never remember the airport scene.” Love of courage without love of learning. “Was divided into many scenes.” Degenerates into mere recklessness. “Instead, I would remember the personal aspects of my dream.” “In order to portray his feelings for others.” “And what had happened.”