joe Linus aka One-Legged Heart

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joe Linus

751 East Blithedale Ave

#2515

Mill Valley CA 94942

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We live in a strange world and so i must include this infra writing so that some stupid robot will  report that my website has "value." Very strange indeed-- So absolutely no need to read these various posted wordy content ramblings-- i would suggest instead you focus on the songs/ art/ lyrics videos/ news letters and updates i've provided  which are the raison d'etre for the site. Peace

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Narratives  81816 Random Narratives of One-Legged Heart are © all rights reserved.                                                  No part may be reproduced without written permission.  You may link to the article if of interest.

 

Ghost ship—some of us live our lives like  ghost ships now. We had a crew. We had a destination. Something happened, now we drift unmanned with the currents. We are forgotten in time. We are  unaware of what has happened.  Indeed, we’ve never been heard from again. Thousands of ghost ships drifting,  thousands upon thousands.

once an army of conquerors, we were called to battle from our fields of wheat and cotton . A great call went out and no man was exempted. It was a fundamental truth that roused us to take arms. The obligation that came with the freedom that we’d been given by our ancestor warriors and  egalitarian thinkers beyond our infancy. The moral precept was our call to arms. Not out of fear did we act but  justice, liberty and justice, for all, as it was written.

The terrible war was finally won.  The many casualties  interred with honor. and those survivors returned , but not to their fields.  Their fields were gone. Replaced by  endless tracts of well built homes.  Replaced by paved roads and highways running all this way and that. And what was once regarded as a hamlet, had become a village, and a village had become a town, and a town transformed into a city, a sprawling endless city that became a nation. And that is where were that day. That day that  I was born.

Born into a narrative  already under sail returning home, as a small child I  climbed a tree in my own backyard  to get a better view,  and  also to hide. To hide out  from this burgeoning drama  I’d  been born into which I clearly did not understand.   My father had brought a toolbox home one Saturday and broke the lock off. We looked inside  and I examined the contents in awe. Tools too big and heavy for me to lift. My father called one tool a monkey wrench. I ‘d seen monkeys in books and I concluded that was a tool used by monkeys.  My father explained it was used to put pipes in for the kitchen and the bath.  I then assumed our house had been built by these monkeys.  I wondered where  they’d gone. It never occurred to me that I was one of them, and that my father and mother and sister, even my grandmother and cousins  were all monkeys.  They kept that fact from me, no doubt thinking I’d be too young to understand.

Years later I read a book called monkey. It was about a monkey who had magical powers. I was told it was an allegory. That the monkey was a symbol used to convey secret messages to the reader. Messages that were too dangerous to say right out loud, presumably for fear that some monkey might object and take punitive actions. That was a Chinese book, which increased my standing fascination for things Chinese.

  My father had found me one day when he came home from work, I was playing in the back yard where a dead fruit tree had been removed. There was  a hole left behind where the tree  roots had been dug out, which I had filled with water from the garden hose. This was great fun for me to be working in the elements. I had deepened the hole with a shovel  and  was imagining that I was at the beach Though we did not live near the beach , I’d been there once and had a great time, digging in the sand and pouring water in the hole .

 This was not at all like taking a bath in a tub in our bathroom  inside.  I always felt claustrophobic in that tiled bath environment, and  always wanted to open a window for air. Too stuffy, cloying, too many little squares and heavy plastic shower curtain. Shiny tile squares of black and pink  and black and pink, for no good reason other than prevent a splash  from staining the wall, as I was told to avoid doing if I could.

And my father said, if you dig deep enough,  you will dig all the way to china. This possibility excited me at first and made me look for china on the globe that my sister had. She was already  in school, she was older than me. She pretty much got everything first. I got what she was finished with or grew out of , like her bicycle, ice skates,  paint sets.   I couldn’t use the  ice skates because they were white, and I needed black  ones as a boy, but my pleas landed on deaf ears and my father simply said “you got white ones.”  the bicycle I was ok with. It was a girls bicycle, but I figured out how to hook a piece of wood and wire across the girl’s part to make it act like a boy’s bike. Nobody ever teased me about that. None of the other monkey playmates I had  objected to my  modifications.  I painted it completely  black. So I was good to go. But digging to china proved futile,  far too slow  for a young boy like myself, even with those huge tools from the monkeys. I had to find another way out.

I started getting up very early, especially on Saturdays, and with my visiting cousin and the next door neighbor kid I began a club called the Buccaneers.  I’d seen a drawing of a moustached pirate with a knife in his teeth and an eyepatch  and I painstakingly rendered this likeness on pieces of white cardboard I’d gotten from my father’s laundered shirts.  His shirts were sent out and delivered back wrapped in  a paper sash with cardboard inserted to keep them looking fresh and stiff.  Every day  I got a new piece of fresh white cardboard to work with, except weekends.  Each of the Buccaneers  got a piece of paper with this image on it, outlining the morning’s secret adventure. The adventure always began the same way , climbing over the now useless fence that separated my own backyard from the rest of the known world. As far as we went, we were always back in time for breakfast.

Breakfast on Sunday was punctuated with a lot of activity, with my grandmother’s house just down the street and my cousin’s family coming over , there were lots of bacon and eggs and oatmeal and tea and  toast orange juice and coffee for my father and grandfather. Also on the menu was a sticky sugary bun with raisins from the bakery, as there was always a stop to pick up something at the bakery after church.

Church was a huge cavernous building with colorful stained glass windows. Jesus and Joseph and Mary dominated  the scene in many formats that  included painted life size sculptures. My grandmother had these same statues in her dining room in miniature size in prominent places on the wall.  A  close up picture of Jesus  with a halo  hung over the front door.  I’d never actually seen jesus, but I could recognize him from the many photographs, I thought.  As they said he was coming back but couldn’t say  just when.  The idea was to be ready because he would take you to heaven only if you tried to be good.  I did not try to be good or bad at that point.  i had no real sense of what was going on, except that my grandfather made root beer and tended a rose garden in his backyard.  And he sometimes made cakes with delicious icing and let me lick the bowl.  He was the first to actually help with my escape, as he bought me a book on the stars and planets and pointed my attention to the night sky, the big dipper and the north star as it was called.

I thought life would be better if I had a horse.  I enjoyed playing with the plastic horses I’d collected. They were so beautiful. They came with riding figures I’d seen on  tv shows: roy rogers and dale evans, the lone ranger and tonto, but I pretty much  ditched those  characters and just  played with the horses. My cousin and I took the horses out for a long ride all the way around the block one day, crawling along beside them , we were dog tired  when we got back to the ranch.  Fortunately we had our canteens with us or we likely would have died of thirst.

I saw the contest in the back of the funnies pages one Sunday. Win this horse  by giving it a name. I tried hard to think of what I would name my horse. I was sure I had a good name  for this golden palomino . with a little help from my mom I entered my proposal with the reason as required.  “Pal o’Mine”  because he sure would be a pal of mine.  Now isn’t that clever for a five year old? Wouldn’t that be the winning name? Any judge could surely see that is the best name ever.  But it did not win. I did not get the horse. That’s when I experienced the first disconnect that I recall.  What is going on  is not so transparent, not what it seems?  It never even occurred to me that my mom might have ditched the entry herself , so blissfully trusting and naïve I was.  But my mom was no stranger to subterfuge,  she was a player herself, maybe even a gang leader of some sort, I would never know the whole story on that.  When you’re a jet , you’re a jet all the way….Eventually I would be thrown from a horse, and decide to never ride again.

My grandma we called her “Bam”. This was apparently how my older sister had named her before I was around. Short for “bamother” this was a cute utterance from the first born that delighted the crowd and stuck.  I called my mother “mudder” but that was not the source of joy and much time was spent  correcting my pronunciation to get the “th” sound  up and running as a two year old.  I was not an articulating toddler, I preferred my thumb to conversation with adults.  But by the time I hit grammar school I  was doing ok and glibly pointed out the nun who taught  first grade  as “the one with the moustache!”  The very first assessment was an exercise with the English alphabet in which I offered up an example  of a word that starts with “B”  and was laughed at heartily by my ignorant classmates as the one with the moustache assured me there was no such word.  Here I began to see my worldview start to crumble, mixed up with the fact that I could easily get a laugh from a larger audience than  I’d ever imagined.

Despite my independent research, we did not “recognize” china at my grammar school.  I was so informed when I tried to redeem myself  by offering an example for the letter “C” . Now I was seen as  an outlaw, a dangerously disruptive monkey.  And it was just the first day of school.  I went home and took my plastic horses out for a mournful  ride around the now muddy hole I’d dug for myself in the backyard.  When it came time to go to school the next morning,  my father had to climb into the tree to fetch me down.  He deposit me in the backseat of his  car as the monkey gang leader looked sternly on.

Random Narrative of OLH are © all rights reserved.