Archive for March, 2008

humbled…

March 29, 2008


wierd crucifiction drawing

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

A very good friend who has known my circumstances for a while took her time to telephone around the area to locate a source for ‘meals on wheels’…for me.
She apparently called several churches in the area-one such church,she said,was ready and waiting for me…all I had to do was go in and show them my drivers license.

I was not too sure I was going to. My last experience (and I mean-my LAST experience) ended almost four years ago. I was ‘shunned’ because of my beliefs-and because I did not and will not vote.
The men of the church all sought to get George W. elected-something about he was going to stamp out abortion…instead he sends grown people to be aborted by bullets,but that’s another story!

My friend explained this church would help me with most anything-bills,or what ever may be binding me down.

I am a person of faith. I trust it and know when each time comes which faith works its thing that I am well with God. It always works.
But this friend went to a lot of effort to telephone around…and,I was hungry- so,I went.
The church was huge (actually,once upon a time-I helped build one of the buildings there-the main sanctuary) and it took me a few minutes to walk around it and do my regular hypnotic conditioning so I could get the personality needed to enter.
The door was locked-but they buzzed me in…one of those New York City style door buzzers that unlock the door from a remote spot.
I entered and was greeted and explained my self….that right after I answered the question…”how are you today”?
I replied-“I am humbled”.
“What can we do for you”?
…..”Wellll,a friend has told me that you are expecting me to pick up some food”!
Heads scratched….looks of confusion-and question.
“Maybe I’m in the wrong church”!! I was not sure.
“No no….we have food-we are a church”! “We just need you to fill out this application and give us a copy of your drivers license”.

I sat down and had the clip board and pen filling out the form. The form had a spot which said-needs other than food (or some such) and I thought about my water well-the pump is now going 24/7 and has raised my electric from the usual; 35 bills a month up to 175 or 185…and its killing me-and I can’t even afford the 21 dollar part to fix that. You see-once my ‘social security’ check comes and I pay these bills….zip to zero dollars to carry on the rest of the month. Living check to check….well,these being monthly checks-it makes for a long month.

It is humbling to have had once upon a time bring to the bank a 700 dollar to a 1000 dollar a week pay check. Now it’s not quite that-after bills I am left with about 20 dollars for the month….and then-faith!
I felt humbled standing there-begging.
Of course…there was an interview-and the question about my church attendance,do I go to church somewhere? Nope…notta chance any more-not when I was once there to learn about God and get shunned because that particular church had a facsimile of ‘religion’….and yet could merely only trust a man….George W.Bush.
I expressed this to the pastor that was interviewing me…told hm some things how the former church had said that God ordained the US Constitution. My argument was-if God wrote the Constitution then why does he teach in the Bible about being a drunk-and how sinful it is….and then go on ahead and place in the Constitution a protection of liquor sales from state to state??
I could never get an answer…the former pastor had none-ehh,well…he had some comment that the Constitution I was reading was written by a liberal magazine (duh???) because the copy I used to show him that was in a ‘Readers Digest’….so I told him to go home and read his own copy-that never happened,he said he knew what the Constitution said.
Then I asked the former preacher to prove to me God ordained the United States Constitution.
Romans 13:1 was his sole answer-over and over. Nothing else.

I do admit-I felt comfortable with the man who interviewed me…but the thought of entering a building each Sunday with a troop of persons….well,it scares me! To get caught back up in it-scares me. To trust a church-and then have it disillusioned by the things of the world-politics,for example….scares me.
But there I was-swallowing spit to pretend I was not hungry. Humbled.

I walked away with two bags of grocery stuff-two packs of burger meat ,and a variety of canned goods and soups and cereals and some soaps and deodorant…I felt,well-humbled,and thankful.

I got them home and divided the packages into a new separate package and took half the groceries to an elderly man I know. His social security check is much smaller than mine.
I love the little old man. He is simple-and poor…and if any one in life is my brother with God,it is him.
Luke 4:18

male support group for sexual assualt

March 27, 2008

article in the Gainesville Sun
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I am elated that the Advisory Council that I am a member of-The Alachua County Rape and Sexual Assault Advisory Council has forwarded the conclusion of a sub-committee that discussed the need for a support group for men who have experienced sexual assault.
From these conclusions-I understand that yesterday the very first group of five men began.
I was told the men promised to return-that they felt they had bonded in this initial meeting.
You could have offered me anything yesterday…it wouldn’t have come close to how great this was for me to hear.

There is no way that I can express how difficult it is to come from being a victim and learning to become a survivor.
I hope that this is a beginning of healing for these five men-and also the birth of a future of others to come ahead and learn to heal…and learn you are not alone.

If you are interested and need help-you can contact Alachua County (Florida) Victims Services and Rape Crisis Center.
352.264.6760 or toll free 866.252.5439

it’s better than you think!

March 26, 2008

the only traffic light in town
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I spoke to the funeral director last night-his last words to me as we began to hang up were “…I’m so sorry !!”-which immediately prompted me to return with “….don’t be sorry for me-I’m one of the luckiest people there is because I know!” “Great Glory…I know!!”
Of course,officially-medically,I do not know…not officially,but-the signs are popping up.
And by ‘knowing’?
I know this is not my home and proper territory. And I know there is a God.

I am a suicidal person. I could own the Brooklyn Bridge by now if the thousands of times I wanted to end my life were worth money. But , because of my belief in God , it also my belief that taking my life is not my property-after all,to trust there’s peace after death is to trust there is something better. In my impression-it is a life with God.
I do believe that in final days if one is able one can,but only then.

I can start in a million places to say why I hate this life,most all of them return to barracks D and my life’s abrupt change there,yet I can also see my baby brother Carl bleeding in our fathers arms,only a few weeks short of being six years old.

I haven’t written much that I dealt with these experiences of death in my life by becoming a mortician,once upon a time. I remembered as a boy seeing Mr.Hoke shoot himself-the wound in his head was huge,and yet at the funeral home he was as perfect as ever,except dead.
Like with my sister-they had to bring a stool over casket side so I could see him. So I was pretty close. Just like with my sister. She had only died a year or so before. I wasn’t much more than six. Mr.Hoke and Jo Eileen were laid in repose in the same funeral parlor in the same spot. My sister was only 11 when she died.
Most kids in school day dreamed about lives as firemen or cops-I always thought of how they did that to ‘Hoke’,how they fixed him like that? (It was my real wish to be an architect-but my curiosity was towards mortuary science).
It was the same with Carl. Yet,it was also the men at Huntemann’s who were so attentive to all of us. It couldn’t help but have a lasting impression.

To go through from being a boy who sees his sister in a casket-young enough not to really understand,but old enough when seeing Hoke shoot himself and laid out in the same place I last saw my sister…and then see Carl dying in our fathers arms-only to have it waxed off with barracks D. Its no wonder I’m fucked up…and want out of here.

Well,why should believe in God then? Why would God do these things-to children…and awful things?
Hey-look…I don’t know. Good grief-if it was a God that put the stars in place and made the heavens tempting….then how am I,a guy who can hardly bend a nail straight know the answers to that.
I don’t even know the answers to why some people are effected by certain tragic parts of their lives and go on as if nothing ever happened. And yet-others,some worse than me,can’t get through the day. I don’t know these things.
I do know there was once an experience that I went through which made it solid as a rock in my heart-there is a God…and a real life.

I sat in a church for almost six years-faithfully attending-full of wanting to learn about God.
They kept talking more about Paul…and soon it became obvious the only way to find for real what the truth was I began to read the Bible. And I read it and read it again. I read it parallel to the Quran…and darned if there ain’t comparisons…the Torah,there too.
I think about the whole concept of the Garden…and Adam and Eve.And trust.
The story can work and has some bearing on how I believe it’s going to work!
What a beautiful wondrous thing it must have been to be a garden with the perfect mate-naked…no kids,no cell phones…no nothing but one and the other-alone,and forever.
And then add love to that. Two alone,naked…and in love-great great love. Love in a garden-a garden so large you can never go from it.
Do I believe when I go to this garden my Dad and my sister and my brother or my grandparents or the neighbors-like Hoke…are all going to be there to greet me?
No!
If it is such-then why?
Why would we want to spoil the one assortment of things we all so desire in all of our lives? Love…
So no-there’s no more of them,our family and relatives and those that came forward in the church all those Sundays to give it up for the Lord.
Just you and this one you’ve wanted all through this life-God aka Love.

I’ve heard it taught about the bride of Christ-the new Adam and the new Eve.
Like I said-there is no way I can ever properly explain that which God has done.
In Revelations-one of the first few verses of chapter 21…it talks about the city coming out of the sky adorned as a bride.
Could it be we find this true love with God-and Gods immensity and power and light is too far greater to comprehend and allows us to never remember this pathetic sorry place we call life.

It’s like a TV set in my head. The channels are few-I can click them with ease. Its like waking up each morning and the first moment my mind takes in the daylight it begins the inventory-always starting with barracks D and working backwards. I can rewind as on a VCR and replay the ugly moments with out the strength to turn them off forever.
It is countless simple things during each day that automatically switch on the events-things others might take for granted like entering a store….with me it revives the need to protect myself and gear my mind to grab the things I need and go. I never feel comfortable just standing there and looking at the items. I grab and go.
Its worse if I’m in a place where I have to pee.
Simple little ‘nothings’ that make my life miserable-because of life’s trials and having to live in places like barracks D.

No Mr. Funeral Director-you need to smile!
This cool cat is happy as if he’s packing for a trip to some great land. I will get to return to that beautiful sound of the voices singing and that beautiful light that I got a short peek at some years back…whatever the answer is will soon be mine to cherish-gladly I’m not trying to second guess God,but I greatly believe the idea being the ‘bride’ might be conceivable.
On my tombstone it says ‘hast thou not known,hast thou not heard-that the everlasting God,the Lord,the Creator of the ends of the earth,fainteth not,neither is weary?
There is no searching Gods understanding.
God gives power to the faint;and to them that have no might God increases strength.
Youth shall faint and the young shall utterly fall.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary,and they shall walk and not be faint.

I really believe this.

4,000

March 24, 2008

a view at Dover AFB Delaware
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This morning I saw on my news page that yesterday-Easter Sunday,saw the four thousandth troop killed in Iraq.

Recently I read the book ‘Flags of our Fathers’ [Heroes of Iwo Jima] written by James Bradley.
I was stunned to be reminded that in a period of 36 days 7,000 United States troops were killed trying to take the island-there were 28,851 wounded. (most of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers defending the island were killed also)
In 36 days.

Last week I was at the Orlando Airport. The place is so huge that there two terminals. It was something to see all of the numbers of people lined up to have themselves searched. I was also amazed at the lack of uniforms-if there were any military personnel in the mass of people,we wouldn’t have known.

Yesterday I was reading the Washington Post and there I found they were publishing the photographs of the lost…those killed in battle. I wrote the Washington Post and thanked them for their respect in honoring these men and woman and I reminded them of how when I was a teen living in the Washington area during the Viet Nam war that every night on the evening news there was a moment of silence on the screen. The photographs of the flag draped caskets on the tarmac at Dover AFB was shown-taps was played. Sometimes there was brief statement-but always at the end of the tribute was the individual photographs of the dead.
That isn’t done any more. Why?

I know that the photograph I have used was forbidden-the one who took this had to have snuck it out to put in print-I am grateful that no one has been offended by me using this…it is not mine,but yet-it is something we all should have to keep us fully aware of what is taking place.
These caskets contain some of the four thousand.

The way the book read-Flags of our Fathers, it gave an account of the six men that raised the American Flag on the top of the mountain of this island and how they were brought out of combat to tour the USA to sell war bonds. These young men kept pointing out that the real heroes were still on the island…actually it appears the first flag raisers were killed in a attack and these men were sent to put a second flag up ( but only because a politician wanted the first one)

A few weeks ago I was returning from the city and coming up a lessor traveled back road. There were four young men walking in the road. I suppose they were having a laugh blocking the road way-but I blew my horn and the four young men abused my truck,they kicked in the fender. They were only able to use their feet-each one of them had to hold their short pants up with one hand-the other in use to keep balance while they kicked.
The next few days a deputy came to see the damage-and then I realized how big these fellows were.
It’s sad to me. We have no real heroes. They call these that have returned from Iraq heroes.
You look at these four young men-there is no motivation for them to do any thing else-what ever they were doing out in the country like that,walking-perhaps wanting a ride…the deputy pointed the brand of shoe one of them was wearing,she said they were expensive shoes (all that derived from the foot print on my door).

You see-to them a hero is someone who who puffs and blows into a microphone and calls his own people by a name that if others used it they’d be called a racist. Somehow these ‘heroes’ have convinced the youth and young adults of the culture that wearing clothes that couldn’t even be held up with a belt-instead must be held up with the hand-must be cool….and that’s all they have to look up to?

It’s really sad. We have war going on and the vice-president is interviewed by ABC and when he is told told the opinion of our country’s citizens is that the war is not a great idea…the vice-president answered with one word. “So”???
What more can you expect out of a country who takes and makes up heroes and forgets about the real heroes?

It is an incredible thought to ponder-what it must have been like to be those men on Iwo Jima. The way the facts are-the masses of Marines were in the worst of places and each seemed to replace a soldier fallen in front of him. The sights described are horrible and unbelievable-but you know them to be true.
My era I am told had a similar battle-the one for ‘Hamburger Hill’ in Viet Nam.

During those wars it was expected of any military personnel to be in uniform-during World War Two it was not even a question-it was proudly done. During Viet Nam it was mandatory -and practically an order if you were traveling. The airports and bus stations were loaded with men and woman in uniform. There was no mistaking there was a war in progress.
Those returning from World War Two were treated like heroes,those from Viet Nam were not…but still,they earned our respect each evening when they returned dead.
Now? Well…what do we expect from a nation who has a half leader that responds to a major statement about the war with…”So”? We aren’t even permitted to know how many-I applaud the Washington Post for publishing the individual photographs of the 4000 fallen.

I find it an interesting number-especially for it to fall on the weekend of Easter Sunday.

grumbles about the VA…

March 20, 2008

drawing by-jay herron
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The thing is….my mind is going in overdrive-and I’m finding it difficult to keep it on one track at a time. I’ve always had this eccentric sense of order. That most likely comes from my life as a trucker and having everything in the tractor cab packed into an order-organized for easy reach and for space.
I’m completely distracted with other things in life and have lost track with writing and the concentration…and I have been crazy busy trying to keep afloat until the next check comes on the 3rd. That’s the day us Social Security recipients get to come up for a breath of air and then start to sink again later that same day.
That’s usually distracting enough-but now I find myself needing to put things in order,an odd sort of task some get and some don’t.

From my Social Security check they take a deduction of about 98 dollars each month for ‘Medicare’. I understand it’s a bit less now because Florida has picked up half the tag. Never the less…for the past three or so years I’ve tried to use this Medicare card at the Shands Hospital in Gainesville-across the street from the Veterans Administration Hospital…and was told I couldn’t unless the VA referred me,which they had not.
I had been trying to explain for almost eight years about this pain in my gut-the VA put me through every test a man could know of and began to reach the point where I sensed the doctors there were not giving me the full answer. One test they actually stopped the test and brought in another doctor and resumed the test and conferred out of my hearing range then said my primary doctor would be talking with me. I had to wait two months for that appointment,and then I think he got it wrong,or wasn’t telling me something.
In my life I never felt it was fair for me to seen at the VA. I never felt that I deserved any treatment there…yet after my stroke in ’98 I had no other choice because I had no insurance and still needed care. I have an ‘honorable’ discharge,so they say I do. But I do believe there are levels of treatment provided by the degree of service….I think I am in the lessor degree.
I finally found somebody that helped me get to see a doctor outside of the system-he listened to me and with a short quick blood test found what he says the VA should have noticed a long time ago.

A lot of people wouldn’t believe me about this Medicare card and how I kept being rejected because I didn’t have a referral. Someone finally called Social Security and from there got in touch with Medicare-this while I was sitting in their living room and waiting to hear the conversation. Even the lady we were talking to professed doubt at what I said so she took the phone number of the part of Shands I had once called-and the Medicare tech returned our call with extreme surprise. “That’s the first I ever heard that” she said. And then she gets the idea to tell me I could go to Tampa ( 125 miles south) and I had to tell her that most of the hospitals in the region are owned by or are Shands. I was even rejected from the clinic they run in our small community….all because of the VA.

The other day on our local news there was celebration for the new VA sub-clinic in Gainesville-one geared for the numbers of post traumatic stress cases result of the Iraq war. Every one is all excited because of the appearance of growth in the health-care-more space and more better you will feel,I guess.
It is more that the expansion of the hospital and renovation is requiring out sourcing office space for various clinics and departments. I have a friend that works for the VA and her office has been relocated to another part of the city….but there was no thrill of excitement nor a news parley in celebration.

So it’s like this-when you cannot tell the entire truth you mix it up with false smiles and handshakes. It’s kind of like wagging the dog when it make it look like something good is happening-something great! It’s due to the return of many injured from the war in Iraq (and just because they are opening more buildings to build onto the one they already have-does’nt mean things are getting better, it means they are getting bigger)

I don’t understand why I couldn’t be given the approval to leave the system when I asked. It is one thing to be ashamed that you are using something that rightfully should be for those who saw combat-but to be caught up in something you can’t get away from because you realize you are being treated like an underdog ( and already feel like one anyway)…is it alike the false pride in something that looks great and sounds great but is only a disguise?

well….???

March 18, 2008

my kind of design
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Wanting to stay on the course why I began writing on the internet like this ( excuse me….Internet)…
I am finding myself distracted from the actual point why I have started writing as I have.
I’m not your typical person-I haven’t watched commercial television in over 10 years ( yes…I suck it right in when ever I’m in front of one) and don’t care for what it is I’ve might of missed. So far as I can tell-I’m not missing much.
For me to have a computer….well,lets just put it this way-if you were to say two years ago I would have a computer here in this ‘camp’ of mine any one would have said you were crazy.
Here it is. And due to lightning,this one is number two.

Up to lately I have found the computer a means to speak up. All of a sudden I find myself distracted by whats to come and by what has been.
It seems now it was about five years ago on a visit to the VA hospital I was asked if I ever felt depressed.
You can see that because of my having a stroke and the Americas Most Wanted person ‘Rose’ and my ‘rattlesnake bride’ and coming to grips that she left me hanging high and dry and with no wheels (it’s nearly 7 miles to the nearest town) and the fact that I was broke as one could be….I answered yes.
I was given some pills and sent on my way.

The pills were smile makers-they made me feel good-actually as if I was on mescaline…and after a few days I dumped them in the toilet and that was that.
Shortly after a notice came from the VA to meet in a group to discuss this medicine…and I told them the stuff made me feel that way. The social worker who was convening this group sent me to the phsycyatrist and he asked me the classic questions….are you going to hurt somebody? No,I am not…..are you going to hurt yourself? No,I am not….Then you need to give these pills a try-you didn’t give them a chance.

So I took the pills and drove home and dumped them in the toilet and then I wrote a letter to the VA saying how stupid it seemed that I went through the things I did and tried my damnedest to drink them and drug them out of my life-and then went through the battles to quit the drugs and the drinking…and then here’s the answer? More pills?

Why I trusted it once again is uncertain. I guess it just comes from wanting to.
I guess about four months went by when I wrote the letter-that’s when an appointment was made and I met Charlotte.
I learn to trust the system again after meeting her-and after about a year she suggests I file for a claim…to validate that this happened to me. The rapes in barracks D.

I find I’m supposed to report to a local veterans advocate-in my county. I don’t live in a county where most men appear to be sensitive about males being assaulted by other men…I did find this veterans advocate to be no different. His remarks were rude,vulgar-and bigoted .
Soon after I quit seeing that person as an advocate I read where he had retired-the story I read in the newspaper about his replacement told me she had no education-worked previously in a fish market and at nights as a janitor. The article said nothing about her being trained in sensitivity to a sexual assault report. Her former boss surely had none.

I figured it out after searching the Internet that through out Florida the requirements for the veterans advocates is slim in professional training-and more towards the veteran who has been injured during duty-perhaps even in battle,but not those who have been sexually attacked-and also injured during duty.
I got this computer to write about that-the  unjustness of the system that doesn’t give proper support for all veterans-and is biased to those who are injured in more understandable ways-in battle,but please…there needs to be attention given to those injured in sexual assault incidents. They know they happen.
It is almost as if our civil rights are taken from us.
My story-what happened to me,it stayed inside of me for years…until I trusted.
All of that has been let down. After three years of steady therapy with Charlotte-it has stopped,she stepped out of the system programs loop and the clients she had are no longer able to see her. I don’t know about the rest of them-but I surely can’t go through that again. Because of the therapist being a human and helping one of her other ‘vets’ we all see punishment.

So I’m rambling-I guess I can do that! I kind of feel like some cartoon character that walks out into the highway and a big Mack truck comes and blams right over him…and then he gets up and ‘beep beep’,another Mack truck blams over him again.

I am unable to stay amused by the events-the broken trust…we did try. Why didn’t I leave it alone?
I am amazed at how quickly I have begun to feel bad. I guess I can claim I socked it in the face for nearly eight years…this pain in my gut-maybe perhaps the thought of being validated by the ‘system’ has helped keep me going,but now that appears mute.
Some one needs to keep saying these things I’ve been trying to say…to announce to any one possible that sexual assault exists in the military-men are assaulted too….and the Veterans Administration needs to clean up its advocacy program and put people in there who are sensitive to this fact-sexual assault is an injury as much as it is a crime. Maybe then there will be validation.

once upon a over size load…

March 16, 2008

wide load in mirror
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I was going through my box of photographs yesterday-marking them for others to understand why I took the shot , or where. It always amazes me how a photograph can take you right back to that moment.
Like in this photograph-it was taken out the window of my truck of the desert ahead of me. We were in Nevada-my dachsund Joe and I,in the desert…and it was freezing cold.
I’ll never forget-on the way to this drop point it was total desolation and then all of a sudden in the middle of no where was this small prison.
Now where this photograph was taken we had to be about 20 miles off of any paved road. It would’nt have mattered if this two track we were on had been paved…the scenery all around for the past two hundred miles had been pretty much the same.
I remember passing that prison once before. Trucking is like that-you may only go through a state twice in your life but damned if you don’t usually see the same thing and it being so notible…as this prison was.
Like all prisons-it was surrounded by a fence,and about five feet in there was a second perimeter fence. Those fences were only about four feet tall-and not covered by any threatening wire….nor were there guard towers.
The buildings were small too-painted white and obviously meant for locking men up and for a prison it looked like any-but its size and location made it stand out.
Hauling this concrete building is a slow haul. It takes a while for the truck to get up momentum on the flat highways-but once you’re going you can float along at a good speed and make some time.
In the hills the thing becomes an anchor and drags you up each one. In a place like Nevada the hills and the chill and the same view for over hundreds of miles going really slow can make one appreciate a convicts willingness to stay put and not dive over the fence.
We had to tow this thing along a rail road line. We now being two semi trucks-mine and the crane support truck (which carrys the extra boom and counter weights and cables) and the crane and a four door pick up truck with some of the crane crew-and a huge boom truck which was driven by the rail road guy…he was to guide us down the line.
You could tell when all of us arrived to meet the rail road guy that todays going on was a fully rare occasion for this man. His boom truck and he went each day 100 miles down this track-his track…to remove ‘the deads’. Cows who happened along the same time the train did-or just happened along and died on the tracks…no wonder Nevada is a state of odds.
The rail road guy most likely had never had to instruct another human being in his life. This days was his proud day as he explained when a train apprached we all had to pull as far to the left as possible to keep from getting hit from pieces of stone. And…we had to stop if there were ‘deads’.
He stayed and smoked a cigerette with me when we reached the point to where this building was going to set. My job was over as the crane crew set up-that would take about an hour and then I’d get in position.
What a job this guy had. His whole day was to drive this two track-you could’nt go any faster than 20-maybe 25 miles an hour. He said it took him nearly the day-some days easy,some actually got busy. He had to swing out a boom and drag a cable up the berm the rail line sits up on and clamp the cable to the cows leg and climb back the berm and winch the carcass off the track.
At the end of his day is a small-very small travel trailer-his truck carried a tank with the only water. A small genterator ran a light and radio and a VCR player…the next day he made his turn around trip. According to him,he had it made.
I was amazed at the fact this guy actually had to stop along the way to the drop site-we stopped twice along the route. To save time-we all dove out of our trucks gloves on hands and climb the berm and hauled the thing down ourselves. The old rail road guy told me it was his best day ever.
Once the concrete building was off the trailer I was off on my way out of there-this time alone…thinking about that old guys job. Granted-it is very beautiful out there in the open desert,but so monotonous. Doing that day after day…after day. And my mind got to thinking about that prison-what industry does it preform out there if pulling ‘deads’ off the rail road line was about the only job around?
Crazy life.

‘the black hand’

March 14, 2008


‘the black hand’

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I can promise you that my art is not pre-planned. I don’t sit down and think about anything in particular-I just blindly make a swipe of the brush here and there (a house paint brush) and let it set for a few days-and study the swipes which have no direction or fore thought and then I see something and make a mark-and go away for a few days…and then I see something else-and then something else,and then the story unfolds in front of me and I see what it is. It has taken me a year to see this one…I could not believe what I saw when I saw the black hand,from there the whole thing opened up.
The image tells the story from left towards the right-the eyes in the center are mine,and these are the things I have seen since I was a boy.
The man and the gun are Mr.Hoke,the man my boy hood pal and I saw commit suicide when when we were just lads. His house was just next door.
The boy with the black hand over his face is my baby brother Carl-I remember looking down at Carl as our father held him….Carl had just been run over by a car. His lips curled up over his gums and his teeth were exposed in a strange grin.
In my eyes are the funerals-to the right is barracks D and the way my head is blocked.
Up above my eyes is the Spirit of God.

the view

March 13, 2008

the view
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I have to figure out how to say this.
Yesterday in a small country clinic about 10 miles out of the city a small old retired doctor told me what I needed to know all along.
I’ve been feeling a pain in my abdomen for almost eight years-yesterday I was told the pain is my liver-I believe I was told that I am probably in the advanced stages of liver disease. My blood said so. My pee said so. What I told the doctor I felt like said so…and when he did that routine push around my gut area,that said so. He left me with “an ultra sound will show us for sure”.
About two months ago-the pain in my gut was so bad I took my former therapists offer to stay with me as I entered the VA ER. My blood pressure was souring sky high and my gut in pain-it has been in pain for a long time now. The doctor came to say “there is nothing wrong” and I was excused…more like pushed like a wad of dirt out the door.
I told this old country clinic doctor this…his comments are in my confidence-but amounted to the VA should have known this if they had drawn blood. They had-you have no idea how long I’ve been asking the VA for an answer.
I’ll be honest-I began to cry from gratitude for this old doctor-a volunteer at this country clinic…he was recently retired from being one of the top ‘gastro’ men in the area. This old doctor listened…he truly heard what I was telling him. He wrote everything down in pen and ink.

My mind has a million things it wants to say. Perhaps about how I know there is a God and that is whom I trust.
I remember shortly after Rose was taken to her prison (Rose-the Americas Most Wanted convict my life paralleled with in 1998)
I sought answers about my part in her life-why I was the one who had to become her friend only to become her Judas? At that time I turned my face up to God and asked why?
At that time I was doing some cleaning on a lot that had an entire lawn of ‘cats claw’-a Florida plant that grows into a thorny vine. The thorns kept grabbing my shoe laces and untied them about once every minute. I kept bending down to tie them tightly,they kept coming loose from getting caught in the thorns.
After about a hundred times of that my heart said I needed to pray…that’s why I was being made to bend down so much. I did pray-I fell to the ground and wept over the whole year that had just passed-my stroke and my rattlesnake bride and Rose….it had finally caught up with me.
I don’t know how long I was down on my face. I know to purge myself of the hurt and guilt that I had been containing inside felt good.
I had this old bible I kept in my pick up truck. I bought the book when I went into the Navy-its now held together with tape and marked so much inside from study and notes that its worn. Back then I used to just aim the bible up to the sky like in some ritual-and spin it around and then poke my finger in one of the pages to find something to read,so I did that that day…but was drawn instead to actually read something from the beginning of one of the books.
I chose Joshua-because it was short enough to read in one sitting.
Tears flooded my eyes when I read Joshua 5;15

In 1993 I found myself hauling cattle. It was one of those periods in my life where nothing was worth giving a damned about…my electric had been cut off for over a year (soon its getting cut again-ahhh,that’s for another day!) and life hauling livestock looked better then sitting around my campfire cooking coffee. Livestock hauling is a crazy life-foremost,it is dangerous…and to sum it all up-it is dangerous.
Into a couple of months of it I had what I know now was a heart attack-mostly caused by staying awake for days on end-part of the trick to cattle hauling is amphetamines to keep you awake. My body finally said-enough.
I went in the truck-I was helped in by the other drivers…and I fell into the bunk. I believe I was on the very path towards God.
I saw this light and it was more beautiful than any sunset I have ever seen-I heard these voices….singing,and they were beautiful. It was all beautiful. I believe I was on the brink of dying from this world-and believe I was nearly inside of a real life in eternity.

Mixed with that memory my reading Joshua 5;15 pretty much settled my feelings about living and knowing there is a God.

I bought this grave in an old cemetery-my favorite cemetery anywhere, in Micanopy Florida. It is considered a historic cemetery due to that there are graves there that date back to the 1700’s….and because I requested burial in the historic part I had to be considered by the association in charge of the grave yard. They voted me in and I met a few of the old ladies in charge of the maps and plot dispersal’s and they laughed like crazy when I asked if I could lay down on a few to see how I like the view.

So about the best I can say is my old carcass is going to be hanging around here one of these days. I think its a great place-although I’m only going to be a dead body in a box…my spirit is going to get to go home. I think I picked out one of the nicest views in the grave yard-right across the way is a giant dogwood-just past the azaleas,all under the towering live oaks.
Bring yourself a blanket-maybe twist yourself up a spliff….come on down sometime and lay back on top of where they one day will lay me down-and enjoy the view!

it’s a long long road…

March 6, 2008


019

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I was coerced this past weekend to visit Main Street ,Daytona Beach-the event was extremely out of the ordinary for me…I was a first time visitor to the 67th year of bike week. I confess-there was some of it I liked….there was some that pressed against me after it got dark and the crowds really seemed to build.

I was so impressed by the motorcycles-by the thousands,there were so many various styles and shines and chrome and sounds. The people were unique as well.
I began to think it would have been fun. I had only a brief experience with a motorcycle when I was still a teen…it tossed me into a clump of ‘spanish bayonet’ (a horrid plant here in Florida) and my life as a biker ended. Of course-it hardly had begun,my final ride was very close to my initial ride about a week before.

I guess my interest in the machines are a spin off from my love of the big truck-keeping my rig washed and shined is in comparison to the many motorcycles I saw that had such originality and effort-and polish. I think if I had another chance-I would find being a biker a choice I would have made. It just looked that fun.

There are things we come to know about ourselves-things which are of instinct and that good old gut feeling. Speaking of ‘gut feelings’….I am having one that began about seven years ago-and is now in a place where it talks to me every moment.
I believe changes are going on inside of me. Actually-I wish I could find a doctor that would just be plain and open with me…honest,if they can-and tell me! I’m fairly certain…that gut feeling-the answer is something I’m beginning to figure out myself (doctor or not) that I’m not well.

The parade of motorcycles going steady down Main Street Daytona carried riders of such assortment of faces and dress and costume-the leather which is prominant,all seemed more like a uniform. Some of the leathers adorned with patches and badges-which all seemed close to military to me…..and the different faces of each man and woman that rode by had an expression of freedom and peace which seemed seperate from all those on foot.
I thought of it as I looked at them and listened to the fantastic roar of these fine machines….I thought if I was given advance notice to get my ‘paperwork ready’ I’d buy a carton of cigerettes (I’ve been wanting a cigerette ever since I quit ten years ago) and a full leather jacket…and good highway machine,and hit that long long road.

I don’t want much out of anything. There is’nt very much anyway….except for those things that old wise monk told me once upon a time ago-those stars and sky belong to you! Those have always been my jewels-as they are yours as well….those are the things we can never lose.

I can vision myself leaning back on a Harley-that grand noise they make as the fire of exhaust powers out the tail end…one of those cool moustaches and a patch over my blind eye and a grin with a Winston clamped in it,riding along and looking at all that is mine to see. One final glance…if I could be so rich.

The focus of my previous writings are on a topic of taboo in many minds. I’ve made people mad with me-my family is upset at my openess…in some ways they have not seen what it is I’m trying to say….or why.
The events in barracks D killed the real Jay Herron,so coming to a place of death from this land and life are going to be a peice of cake-the one I want to eat (that old saying-you have your cake and eat it too)…I was there once-so close-back in the days when I was hauling cattle. It was beautiful and such peace…why I turned around is a question I often ask.

It’s been a long long road-with many a winding turn. And while I steal a section of and old old song I think of Joe Cocker singing ‘Living in the Promised Land’…and hope to have his song be the eulogy in place of a preacher at my grave in Micanopy.

I’m going to continue what I am trying to do here-there is an awareness that needs to be nutured and raised up to say to the many…rape is a violent violent infliction on a persons spirit. There is so much afterward to try to live with-in secret-as if we did something wrong….and with men who have lived this way as I have lived-it is worse,almost,because we have been kept hidden and have kept hidden that we have been victims too. Society has done that to us.
I would have kept on living it by myself…but then the VA became aware…stupidly I wrote a letter saying their drugs were an insult-and as I had tried to hide and mask my life with drugs,this was the course of action the Veterans Administration Hospital took for me….here is some medicine that’ll make you feel better.???
That letter opened up the past four or five years of case study and also exposed me to the veterans advocate that said it seemed so hard to believe homosexuals needed to rape each other…what a ding dong thing to say!
It also introduced me to Charlotte,my thherapist at the VA-who is the only living person who knows the fullest account of the life I have walked on this long long road. I have long ago asked Charlotte to close this journal for me…I hope that will be someday soon.
I guess the letter did some good…but then,it has done nothing as well.

It is these writings that has done something for me-they give me another place with out faces to purge myself of the garbage that remained….left over from…the things I had no one else to say them to-to tell the truth.
Men are victims too…..and life on earth eats shit!

“Living in the Promised Land our dreams are made of steel…It is the prayer of every man just to know how Freedom feels…”   Joe Cocker