was a truly amazing man
he pretended to be
even though we lived on beans and mush and weenies
when we sat down to eat, he said,
“not everybody can eat like this.”
and because he wanted to be rich or because he actually
thought he was rich
he always voted Republican
and he voted for Hoover against Roosevelt
and he lost
and then he voted for Alf Landon against Roosevelt
and he lost again
saying, “I don’t know what this world is coming to,
now we’ve got that god damned Red in there again
and the Russians will be in our backyard next!”
I think it was my father who made me decide to
become a bum.
I decided that if a man like that wants to be rich
then I want to be poor.
and I became a bum.
I lived on nickles and dimes and in cheap rooms and
on park benches.
I thought maybe the bums knew something.
but I found out that most of the bums wanted to be
they had just failed at that.
so caught between my father and the bums
I had no place to go
and I went there fast and slow.
never voted Republican
like an oddity of the earth
like a hundred thousand oddities
like millions of other oddities,
He came back, but he came like a stranger.
He came back, looked about and did not
Recall, for to him, all appeared estranged:
The house, the yard, the narrow lane.
Their memory sliced through his heart,
Cut, and he who survived and was favoured
Came back; and he who had sworn back there
That nothing would be forget, estranged though it be:
A dirt path, and the barren field and the ditch
At the edge, and the lemon tree with its bitter fruit.
He felt that his absence was almost ordained:
To come back at last, to come like a stranger
With a shadowy memory that was not estranged,
And an unravelled thread of burning desire
That will never more be made whole.
This creek painting was painted from a photograph of Passenger Creek in 1989. There was a tree in the photo which was not falling but certainly about to fall. It makes me think of the “tree falling in the forest” statement we all know. Maybe it was caught up in that branch. It adds an element of anticipation on the creek. Here is our earlier post of this creek painting
All paintings have a story and even maybe a byline. This one has a byline. I painted it the day my brother died. I’d cut it into a thousand pieces if I could get him back. The last strokes went on when the phone rang. I was painting it for Wayne Jackson.
Creek paintings are plentiful. Famous creek paintings I cannot seem to reference. Maybe this should be one. Things don’t turn out that way though.
My first effort with this photo was this smaller creek painting . This painting was owned by Wayne and is now in my possession. I had just started painting and he put it on his wall and bought a light for it. This sparked my painting efforts. The creek, in particular passenger creek has always been special for me. The creek represents a small out of the way unnoticed peace and tranquility. A place of small sounds, insects and birds. I grew up on a farm on a creek. My earliest memories are walking the trails beside this little creek, fishing and swimming with my brothers.
These creek paintings were my earliest efforts and maybe my best. They were impressions of peaceful times, of good times as a child. Oil paint has a way of becoming more translucent over the years. These creek paintings were painted in 1989. A few years later I began painting on paper and painted this last painting of the creek. This one is dated 1992. It is the last of the series.
Here is a pic of my brother, Wayne Jackson.
Here is a link to his poems. He was, and is, my brother and friend. These paintings and my art are dedicated to him. He encouraged me. That is the greatest gift.