"With Walt in Mind" - © Brad Michael Moore 2007
"A Door Left Slightly Opened”
By Brad Michael Moore
It’s a biting cold Sunday, but the sun is brightly shining. Its late afternoon, and I am working in my worn solitude. I see the side porch door is slightly open — just as I had left it. (It allows the outdoors to visit... unless I get annoyed). My cats follow the music of nature’s call, and go outside to explore. A mouse will likely be captured, taken (alive) and brought back home, inside, to be released beneath my bed — for later consideration...
I spend peaceful moments in my chair - observing the surrounding environment with my eyes closed, and ears open. I consider my expectations of a tea bag slowly steeping - I await its aroma to suddenly fill the restless room’s air.
I am writing, again. It’s been too long a time that I have not been writing. Landscapes forever are changing. My heart has fallen into its ways of musing upon the observance of existence, and its passing...
Just as dusk’s final purple-blue light filters through the southwest windows, I carefully reminisce over love’s fleeting way, and think of lost hearts passed on.
Times like this are good for reflection. It is here where I examine my library of memories. This evening I measure the memories of my childhood... Being the youngest of three brothers had me always trying to catch up, and always falling behind... Still knowing – my elder brothers would always come back for me, when I’d near give up.
Relationships don’t change so greatly with the years as much they become distanced by them. It’s so much more difficult to gather needed support - when friends now are in other states, or even countries away...
Still, I leave my door open a crack. I allow memories of opportunities missed, to play out in my mind, and allow them to fall before my imaginary, “Fourth Wall,” into the structure of a play, or song poem.
My phone suddenly rings, and rings out again – left unanswered. It brings interruptions to this prose, and usually, only for bad news, that so often comes through a sudden ring startling me in my natured place...
Finally, a wind comes to visit – brushing up against my northeast walls. It brings me its dancing leaves - slipping through my doorway. I exhale as I bend over and pick them up. I place the whole leaves in an old basket to study later – both, by lamplight, and magnifying glass... I call the cats in for the night.
The time now comes to close that half-windowed porch door. First, I stand, and listen to the outside orchrastrated sounds for a short spell, and then - I turn the door latch one-quarter counter-clock-wise, and seize myself once more – as I close my eyes to listen to other more acutely distinctive indoor sounds. Soon, sleep, and dreams, will come for me - while my cats ponder their own expectations.
"Night Walks" by Brad Michael Moore - Thanksgiving November 24th, 2016
I am thankful for my health, at 64! I walk my dog [Louisa] through my native grassland pasture, via small trails I keep up. We always walk at least twice a day, and when it can only be once - it is always a night walk. I live in a rural area with many natural features, & hardly no light pollution! Having near-to-full moonlight is a glorious event - where we walk without need of flashlights. On moonless, or cloudy nights - when pitch-black is really what you must call it - I only use ambient light from an empty .doc page opened on my iPhone - I can see my feet on the trail. Of course, I live in the country - it has it's particular dangers [Rattlesnakes, Feral Hogs, Pumas], so I carry a licensed handgun, a real flashlight, and I've already mentioned my mobile phone. My cat, at the farmhouse, taught Louisa to be a mouser - so, they will hunt together - close to my house. However, on night walks - my cat stays at home. In these last several months, from out of my woods, come one, & sometimes as many as three female barreded Owls [or Immature Barn Owls]- who follow my dog [in front of me], trying to catch the mice she stirs up - that run the opposite direction she goes! These owls are so docile, and curious, that they sometimes fly up as close as several feet from my face - just to get a better look at me. I live alone in this world, but I am never really alone. For me, this is the closest experience to feeling, 'at one,' with Nature that I have ever had. Thing is, my life has been filled with many other special moments - just as spectacular as this one I have described here. I may live alone, but I never feel loneliness - for I have found - I too have a place in this existence - made from the stardust of our Universe. I am a visual artist, and so, I have an outlet to channel these many special experiences. I spent my whole life training myself to be silent and listening - to be aware of life's omni presence all around us. So much to be thankful for... BMM
Comedy Sketch # 7 - “Life’s Humorous Moments” By Brad Michael Moore
All guys have boner stories - most just won’t retell them - but they follow you through all the rest of your life - so I have decided to share mine...
In 7th grade, I was kind of the awkward kid in class. I dressed too flashy [trying to get girl’s attention], and that was all I could think about - girls. I was a big daydreamer! - If I was a topic, at all, to the girls in my grade, in Junior High school - it was likely - Brad tries too hard, or Brad’s kind’a goofy, or, Brad’s just not smooth like Steve Emory!
I was always trying to get the attention of the girls I liked, and, if they did offer me an opening - to say something/anything - then I would suddenly be speechless! This was really depressing to me - not being taken seriously by my classmates. I was in no way the, "Cool Guy…”
Then, one day, in Science Class, with Mr. Chamber’s [I didn’t care for this guy - he had the humor and warmth of a muddy shoe]. Anyway, I was sitting near the back of Mr. Chamber's Class, and daydreaming over this girl named Ann Meader - who sat right next to me in the next row of seats. I never had any luck getting Ann to talk to me, and this particular day - I forgot to bring my science book to class - a real no-no for Mr. Chambers.
So, since I couldn’t even follow along with the teacher’s outlining, I was fixated on Ann - I noticed her skirt had scooted up as she sat in her desk - trying to follow the class lesson. On this day - from my position, I was seeing a part of Ann Meader’s leg I had only imagined about before. I was daydreaming over this circumstance when, out of the blue, Mr. Chambers - who was writing on the chalkboard, finally noticed I was paying him no attention, and, he spotted that my science book not only was ‘not' opened - it appeared to be nonexistent!!!
Suddenly, my daydreaming over Ann’s leg was shattered - when Mr. Chambers called me out, and asked me to stand up, and read [to the class] the next paragraph. He could see I had no book to read from - so this was purely a call-out - meant to make an example of me! I began to tell him [admit] I’d left my science book at home - when he commanded that I stand up and explain myself to both him, and the class - as to why I didn’t have my required science book with me in his class…!
It was at this horrifying moment I realized, shaken clear of my daydreaming, I had a raging Hard-on from musing over Ann’s highly exposed right leg… Well, I was not known as the rebel-type, and I didn’t have a reputation of standing up to authority - but this was not a typical moment. The thought of the embarrassment of being called out in front of the class was not my concern… I knew if I stood up - as Mr. Chambers had commanded, Ann, and everyone nearby would immediately see my boner, and I would never be able to go to school again - I would be sooo humiliated… So, I refused to stand up! Really, I was trying to buy time - so, maybe my hardened penis would shrink!!! When a boy is in 7th grade - knowing when you might get a hard-on, in a public place, is a really difficult task to access. If I had brought my book to class, maybe I would have been following Mr. Chamber’s instructions, and maybe I would not have noticed Ann’s skirt riding up on her leg - but these were both moot points now - I was in as serious a situation as I had ever socially been caught up in - that day in Mr. Chamber’s afternoon Science Class...
I can not really explain how, but I had to quickly make a most serious decision - either stand up, and forever face the ridicule and smirking of all the kids in my grade - or not... I knew this kind of comedic horror would spread all over the school - just as soon as the 'Passing Period’ bell rang - at the end of class. So, I made a fateful decision. My reputation was more important to me than Mr. Chamber’s ire! He asked me repeatedly to stand up, and I repeatedly refused. Then, he finally told me to either stand up to his instructions, or else... I refused to stand up... Mr. Chamber’s was not often a man to become emotional, but I had just pushed his all of his buttons, and had embarrassed him in front of his other students, and he was losing control of the situation!!! Suddenly, both of our reputations were at stake…
Mr Chamber’s was not a, "Lead a Student by his Ear," type of guy - his white hair was suddenly even more snow-white against his flushing face - that turned a real deep red - in his anger over me. Then Mr. Chambers told me, in front of all the class, “Young man - you are never to step one foot into my class again - EVER! Then he wrote a note on a piece of paper, and walked up to me, at my desk, and dropped the note on my desktop - ordering me to leave his class immediately, and go straight to Mrs. Poindexter’s office! Mr. Chambers was really steaming as he ordered me to leave. There was a deafening silence in the classroom. Everybody in my science class had their speechless mouthes just hanging open - watching this spectacle... I now realized my boner was gone - so it was safe to stand up - so I grabbed what school materials I had, and skedaddled...
Mrs. Poindexter was my 7th grade School Counselor, and lucky for me - I had a small, 'Teacher Crush' on her - so, I wasn’t terrified to be sent to her office. She asked me what happened, and, I have no idea what I told her - since there was no way could I tell her my sophomoric truth. Anyways, she seemed to have some insight into Mr. Chambers temper, and allowed me to spend my, "Science Class Hour," with her in her office - sorting student files, and other small tasks - for the rest of the school-year! I would get an, “Incomplete Grade,” on my semester’s report card…
That day ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me in 7th grade. Of all of my classmates - not a single one knew the truth about my boner, and instead - they all thought I was cool as shit - the first 7th grader [in our class] ever to stand up to authority - at Highland Park Junior High School!!! Later, I even had 8th and 9th graders, who I didn’t even know, pat me on the shoulder between classes saying - “You are cool, dude!” I could live with that!
"This is What I Feel When I See Touch" © 2012 Brad Michael Moore
"MyStringTheroy-BigZee3," [C] 2016 Brad Michael Moore
"Endings Are Always Beginnings!"
In near silence, I muse. A wall clock tick-tocks, a small fan softly whirls, and I hear my cat preening himself - pretty much a full wash cycle…
I have become use to the silence of not only living in solitude, but also in near isolation. I have pond frogs within hearing range where never - but seldom, can I hear a clip of someone’s distant voice - or, more likely some hunter in the hillsides firing a gun at some feral pigs, or other wild creatures in the night. Yes, I live that far away from human life’s hustle and bussel.
In 1993 - I moved from the thriving metropolitan city life that is Dallas, Texas USA - my hometown - where I am Third-generation-born in my family. It was becoming pretty apparent, by 1990 - when I was 38, that likely - I wouldn’t be siring a fourth-generation Dallasite to be proud of. One of my brothers married and had 2 girls - in Colorado - breaking his carrying on the tradition. My other brother had one son - my nephew, Hollen - a true Fourth Generation Dallasite - but, Hollen died on his 18th Birthday in his first car - just purchased, and within which he was hastenly heading back to his school’s graduation party - that was combined with his Birthday party as well…. They still can do that sort of thing in small-town west Texas. Hollen’s loss forever dented me, and devastated his parents - and our whole family.
So, living in the peace, and the relative quiet of a rural Texas countryside, seemed a good idea for me. I guess I was right - now that I find myself still here - 23 years later. Early on, old friends from Dallas would come out to visit, and almost always found it somewhat uncomfortable - to be somewhere without people & noises of commerce. Really, it can be scary to someone - who is use to a city or town-like soundscape. I suppose it takes a certain type of person to hole-up and live this kind of existence. I know it has been good for me personally - as an artist - with a reflective personality. Without the common distractions most people must deal with - I grew on, as an artist, in ways that moved leaps and bounds - compared to the pace of personal growth I experienced in the big city life. There, I was always so distracted - being social, being single, trying to take part in the circles that painted the artist community - in such a large place as Dallas has become. I served on boards at the city fine arts museum, and several visual arts Not-For-Profit organizations - either as a Board Member, sometime President, and sometimes Archivalist [my favorite responsibility]. These were positions that took large charges of my time, and were a direct determent to my personal growth as an artist. However, It didn’t hurt my social growth, or reputation, in the communities where I served. Eventually, I had to decide which would make me more whole, as a human, and as an artist - either serving others, or carving out more time to dedicate to my own personal growth.
Finally, I decided my time, serving in my community, had diminishing returns to the heart of my identity. So I left. It became painfully apparent, not too much time after moving on that - my importance as a instrument of my artistic community - was more like the, "Cliche’," Out of Sight - Out of Mind… So, it became more and more apparent to me - I had gifted myself, and my art, with it’s best chance of not just surviving - but growing as well. I only needed some peace, and quiet, to allow myself an opportunity to find a more pure truth in my seeking - to be closer to the expressions and directions my art, my life, might lean into. Unique experiences… I have no regrets. - Brad Michael Moore
[On the 13th Anniversary of a Best Friend’s Death, Sgt. Brent Caughron]
"Redefining" © 2015 Brad Michael Moore
Barren is the Wasteland of the Broken-hearted.
"Another Fentanyl Friday," ©2016 Brad Michael Moore
Life. Concept of life - a way to translate the concept of a life I have always found discontentment with. My creative life began as analog, seeking and faux-emulating the growth towards my future-found digital perceptions - brazing on an ascending scale... Always growing, expanding, renewing. Seeking to become Alpha-Digital - an impossible dream.
Life in this Alpha-profile is a construct - an assortment of components always remodulating, and redefining 'consensus of outcome' based upon new arguments - arrangements of newer, and older, components - always based upon the original construct - the outlay for a potential purpose. An original caste with a sideways, an uptrend, and so many descending scales - all influenced by singular elemental components. Time is the non-rereversable integral to an otherwise movable component's game-board. My meaning is - that newer components are constantly added to the construct. And while the newer pieces may be more digital than analog - they can only expand upon their original limitations set forth at the creation inception. Components that were well-engineered at their conception inspire great remunerations. Average components have less opportunity to grow into later lateral digital constructs. Components that were misconfigured, or created with unsound materials, poor craftsmanship, or inflicted with only feral nurture during their creation - they will never come to seed - produced by the precious flower of natural order influences. Concept of an ongoing life...
An old vinyl record woes it’s first scratch - for it may never purely define it’s fullest clarity again - as a purveyor of something once most perfected.
by Brad Michael Moore
"Certainty is an imposing offer that, eventually, becomes a reality you cannot refuse-for time is no person's friend, & truth becomes us all!"
"If You Don’t Practice” © 1999 Brad Michael Moore
I remember when the only tablet I ever put in my mouth was a, 'Sweet Tart,' of varying flavors. It was, in essence, a pill that, when taken, gave me a sudden sugar high. Baby-Boomers were brought up early on the idea that any capsule, or tablet mispleasant, could resolve any ill-of-easiness. We became a, 'Medicated Society.'
Today, we are killing cancer tumors by injecting them with the virus of Polio - a disease that plagued my parent's generation, and all of those generations before them. How, does it work? First, they take a genetic genome of the Polio Virus, and replace one end of the string with the genetic code of our Common Cold - and that twist of modern magic keeps the Polio Virus from spreading to otherwise healthy tissue. However, the anti-bodies, coursing through our veins, detect the Polio signature of the amended genetic string, injected into the cancerous tumor, and begin attacking the tumor - killing it - sometimes in a matter of months, for even the worst type of brain cancer, Glioblastoma - which, itself, is known to double in size every month - which doesn't give one much time to plan.
I hope that such new ideas, including bio-logics, will save our children's children from ever dying of cancer, and other destructive maladies. Meanwhile, Sweet Tarts rotted my baby teeth as a kid, and children today - even as they begin to teethe, are consistently fed cherry-flavored Tyenol. Medicine can perform miracles, science can be noble. Unfortunately, between every patient and their doctor is some huge Pharmaceutical Corporation - part of the Wall Street of Medicine. So, what I'm saying is - the jungle is very, very deep...
"Ascending Perceptions Are Only Perceptions" © 2015 Brad Michael Moore
"What I take from it (Scientology) is we, we lock up a portion of our own mind, and we willingly put cuffs on - we willingly avoid things that will, or could cause us pain - if we looked. If we can just believe in something - then we don't have to think for ourselves, do we? So I can't damn these people who are coming out, or hiding once they come out, for they are ashamed... I feel the same shame..." - Paul Haggis
"Power of One" © 2015 Brad Michael Moore
"Ascending Perceptions Are Only Perceptions" © 2015 Brad Michael Moore
I thought I was a Christian after I was indoctrinated in a Summer Church Camp - when I was 9 years-old. I accepted Christ into my life and everything was grand. After I finished Arts & Craft hour - I'd pray to Jesus that to let me go to swimming pool for the next period. Then the camp's loud Speaker would blare out each cabin's next hour's activity for that day, and lordy, I got to swim the next hour. This Christian thing was turning out to be pretty cool. Soon I got tired of praying constantly, and finished out that summer's experience. I got baptized when I was 12. In high school, for a good period, all my friends started doing drugs - mostly staying away from needles. Eventually, a number of my friends got caught in some deal at the school that was spread out big in the local neighborhood newpapers. Suddenly, to re-polish their reputations - a lot of my friends became, "Born-Again Christians," and they wanted me to become one too! But I, I thought, I was already a Christian - how could I be reborn into something I thought I already was? I seemed to remember it was, "Open you heart, allow the Lord Jesus in, and you are good from there on." Then I went through another dozen years joining one church or another, going to bible studies. When something didn't make sense, or contradicted another teaching in another verse, or chapter, in the good book, I'd raise my hand to question. Usually I had it straight, and my questions couldn't be answered. All Beliefs contradict themselves because, all major religions came out of the invention of the, "Religious Leader's Period,' a bit over 2000 years ago in Human History. Some religions came more recently, Mormonism in the 1800's, and in my lifetime - Scientology. All are fallible because all were created by the hand of man - imperfect man - man not equal, but above woman. Man who sells Fate of Faith as the answer with which to rule yourself in all matters. It sure takes a load of one's shoulder knowing they can going through all their life, with family, and fellow believers, and never be burdened into making tough decisions - based on their truest knowledge of self. Instead, they pray, study scripture, interpret meaning that best fits their need, confer with congregational friends, and bible study members they are in, listen to Televangelists, and then all pray for that perfect answer. Believe me, they find it most of the time, and it's not always the best answer - because no one knows what will be best suited for themselves - outside themselves, period. Show me your burning bush - have you god give me a call (or visit) - many swear to visit with their God's on a regular basis - you just can't be with them for that glorious moment. I finally came to decide, in the mid-1980's, I trusted the path I chose for myself, because no one knows what I have experienced through the every-days of my life as well as I do. No one knows what I am best capable of doing, or possibly what levels of achievement I might reach better than me. I realized no faith will bring you true success if you do not believe in yourself. Most other folk will not bet their future on your insight, but are fast to argue that you had best take their advice! In the end, I believe we are all just Star-stuff, energy... The more good deeds we can accomplish in our lives - the bigger our personal ball of energy. And when we die, each our own balls of energy transcends back into the Cosmos - to absorbed by other life forces both living, and preparing to come into a new form, or a new period on this planet we all share with all other living things - many of which, even the best of us, do not respect. Anyone who can say they respect all living things is the closest hypocrite facing you - besides yourself. Still, that does not depress me - that is just the reality of this life I was born to observe and tinker around with - and be tinkered by. I do feel blessed to be alive, but I know my life is just a consequence of other living events involving other living organisms. We are all equal, when born healthy, to hopefully thrive in our given environment - or, with lots of luck, and really good timing, move out beyond the station we come from, and move towards destinies we can imagine, or believe we can reach, and with perseverance, and the kindness of strangers, and good luck - we may get to live a truly fulfilled life. If things don't turn out as well as you had hoped – still, try living a kind person's life, and the energy, and star-stuff you leave behind -it may become something even greater than you could have ever dreamed... – BMM
"Winter Trees" - © Brad Michael Moore 1971
The Night before Christmas
By Brad Michael Moore
I slowly opened up my eyes and slowly closed them again. I was feeling extremely comfortable... Then my eyes reopened with an excited anticipation - as a rush of peaceful air filled my lungs! It was the night before Christmas, and all was quiet in the house.
Each of my two brothers was sleeping, and my parent’s bedroom door was closed. I had heard peculiar sounds on the roof while dreaming in my bed of the presents Santa might bring me - if I had been a really good kid that year. Had I been a really good kid that year? In my own opinion, I believed so!
There I was, looking down the long and darkened hallway that led onward through the entryway towards the living room. In the living room, there was a spring-door to the kitchen, and another door to the den. It was in the den where the Christmas Tree stood gloriously lit across the room from the fireplace.
Time was now long past Christmas Eve, and I felt certain Santa had been to visit. "Maybe he's here right now," I thought! As I tip-toed into the living room - my courage began to fail me. Out of a last second thought, I said to myself, “Santa might be hungry!”
So, I slipped through the kitchen door and found some butter cookies in a tin and put them on a small tea saucer. Then, from the icebox I grabbed the milk and poured some into my favorite green orange juice glass. “Santa would certainly like this,” I thought.
Properly prepared, I pushed my way back, with my goodies, through the spring-door and on into the living room - heading to the den doorway, where I hesitated and listened… It was colder than usual this Christmas season’s evening and sounds of a restless wind outside made me shiver.
With hands full, I needed to put something down - to turn the door knob to enter the den room. Again, I became a bit nervous. The year before, I had promised mom and dad I was gonna sleep in the den and greet Santa when he came. They reluctantly agreed, allowing me to sleep in my bedroll away from the fireplace. Not long after everyone had said good night, and disappeared into their rooms, I got scared, and sneaked back to my own bedroom bed, thus missing Santa’s visit.
I had convinced myself I was braver now - I was nearly four and a half years old... Still, I had this sinking feeling that brought me down to my knees. I listened really closely for sounds coming from the den. Trying to look through the crack under the door, I could smell the wonderful fragrance of our Christmas tree, and the scent of cinnamon, bayberry, and vanilla candles. I could also smell the smokened scent of mesquite, and oak, that had earlier burned in our fireplace.
As much as I wanted to go on into the den and see Santa when he came, or to find out if he had already been there, I just couldn’t convince my hand to turn that doorknob. While trying to build up my courage, sitting there on the floor, I ended up eating the cookies and drinking the milk. I thought about my brothers, one, and two years older than me. They didn’t seem to believe in Santa the same way as I did - but they always encouraged me over the subject of trying to see him.
I finally convinced myself Santa would be more proud of me if I were sleeping in my bed, like all other good children, when he came to visit. Having settled my thoughts, I went back to my bed. Once warmly snuggled, I continued to listen to the night sounds outside my window, and think about Santa on his sleigh with all those presents left to deliver before morning. The Sandman came upon me quickly and I slept soundly the rest of the night…
My brothers awakened me early the next morning, and we all went rushing into our parent’s bedroom to wake them. Once having aroused them out of their bed - into that bright Christmas morn, we hurried down the hallway to the den. Santa had visited! It was a very Merry Christmas... The merriest!
"Joshua" © BMM 2011
"Big Red's Vigil"
By Brad Michael Moore
Clara Hughes was in her mid-eighties when I moved to Jack County in 1993. I lived on the land next to hers. I often saw Clara working in her yard, or walking the near half-mile to the rural post box on the Farm to Market Road that meets the both of us.
Clara's husband, Cecil, has passed away some five years earlier, and Clara insisted on remaining at the farm as long as she could. "I don't want to be a burden on anyone," Clara would sometimes say to me.
Big Red was Clara's cat. He didn't really have a name, but since he was big, with a lot of red fur, I called him Big Red. Big Red liked to hang out with Clara whenever she did her yard work. He would always beg Clara to let him into her house when she went in. Clara often relented at one point or another. She wouldn't let him sleep on the bed - because of the long hair he shed so much of.
"Dogs always get under my feet - my cat knows better," Clara once said to me. Big Red knew Clara watched out for him, and he wasn't overly friendly with other folk - he tolerated us mostly.
Clara loved to talk about the old days. She told me how she and Cecil never really got to date, even once, and then eloped in a 'horse-driven wagon' to get married! Clara grew up, and lived her entire life within 18 miles of her birthplace near Sparks Springs, Texas. She helped Cecil build their final home. "Our first house had a dirt floor... The spaces in the walls pretty much let know you see everything that was going on outside too big to get inside," Clara said.
Recalling her early days, Clara told me about a panther that use to hunt the Keechi Creek behind my house. One day she was riding her mare - with its colt tagging alongside. "That big old Mountain Lion came out of a tree, or somewhere, and just took that colt - oh, that gave me such a true scare!" said Clara. A cat, still roams the ancient Keechi Creek, on the east side of our farms - to this day.
In the February, of 1997, Clara began having fainting spells, and subsequently had to be hospitalized in Wichita Falls. She never regained her health well enough to go home again... One of her granddaughters lived in Wichita Falls and visited her daily. Her two surviving sons visited weekly from Jack County, and extended family went by to visit as often as possible.
Back on the farm, Big Red waited on the back porch for Clara to come home. I began feeding him four days a week while Clara's children took the other days. Big Red knew where I lived, and came by on the rare occasion I wasn't prompt in his feeding schedule.
Animals share unique relationships with their owners... I remember, as a child, a German Shepard named Gretchen. She was my favorite - of my grandfather's many farm dogs. Granddad gave Gretchen away - to some folks, passing through, who were moving to North Carolina. We heard Gretchen ran away from them just as soon as they got to their destination. Three months later, Gretchen showed back up at the farm – then grandfather gave her away again…
Big Red, he just didn't want to leave Clara's back porch - even after a year had passed. So, I took notice when Big Red suddenly showed up around the farmhouse one Sunday early evening, and he didn't seem to want to go home. On Monday, and Tuesday, I tried getting in touch with Clara's son, but he and his wife were not at home. I began to worry...
I left my pet door open Tuesday evening - in case Big Red decided to come in and hang with my cats.
Early Wednesday morning, I was awakened by the telephone - it was Clara's son Earl Gene. Clara had passed away at 9:15pm the previous evening. After speaking with Gene for a few minutes I agreed to meet him, and his brother, Calvin, over at Clara's house.
I hung up the phone. Then my foot bumped into something... It was Big Red, sleeping on the end of my bed - his 14 month vigil had ended…
See “The Distant Thunder” elsewhere on this site for more perspective on my grandfather…
"Yellow Heron" © 1983 Brad Michael Moore
As Time Is My Companion – by Brad Michael Moore
Realizing you’re lost, and alone, paints a perspective no one envies, or wishes themselves party to. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, in 1983 - I was both lost, and alone, in the depths of the Amazon Jungle. Only time was my true companion.
I had just returned from a photographic expedition in the Galapagos Islands - to Quito, Ecuador’s capital. I was prepared to fly on to Easter Island - via Santiago, Chile. My plans were dashed by the declaration of martial law in Chile! With no alternative way to reach such a secluded place as Easter Island is (from my side of this world) - I opted to head into Ecuador’s part of the Amazon Jungle...
* * * * *
My cook, guide, and I, had beached our canoe on the southeastern shore of Lake Taracoa. This was an out of the way place you could hike to from the Rio Napo - where our river boat was anchored.1 A mile or so from the lake’s northwestern shore were some grass huts we were camping at. This particular afternoon, the plan had been to go to the center of the lake - to swim! You couldn’t swim near the shore because of Cayman alligators, and a fresh water species of electric eel. I was assured by my guide that the center, 'was safe.' While there were also piranhas, which occasionally bumped into my legs, there’s little danger of attack in a lake - unless you’re badly bleeding.
After an exhilarating dip, we cruised along the shoreline - until we found a trail my guide was familiar with. He, and the cook, were looking for food to take back to camp for evening’s supper. Initially, I was reluctant to make this unplanned excursion. I had left my camera, and tape recorder, back at the grass huts - for I was only expecting to go for a swim. Finally, I relented, and we set off into the jungle.
The trail seemed well established - enough so that after trekking a good while, I told my companions I was returning to the canoe, and would meet them there. I wanted some solitude, I told them I felt certain I could follow the trail back... I didn’t find my way back.
It seemed every hundred yards or so, there would be a fork in the trail - a path invisible, when coming from the direction of the lake. It wasn’t long before I knew I was lost... I yelled for my companions, but my calls were only answered by gangs of Woolly Monkeys. They raised such a ruckus at my hail - I couldn’t hear if I had been answered. Because of the high-canopy forest, and a cloudy afternoon - without my compass, I had no means to estimate my direction.
Going nowhere fast, I came across, and followed, a forest floor highway that was surging with a brigade of leaf-cutter ants. It was comforting to me - that at least they knew where they were heading. I figured eventually, they’d led me to their home mound, or the host tree they were harvesting from.
Before I found either, I caught the scent of fresh water. I then realized how acutely tuned my senses had become - as a result of my foreboding circumstances... I began jogging into a light breeze, through the foliage and trees -feeling my nose to be the bow of a ship, splitting waters and harbor bound! Instead of finding Lake Taracoa - I came to a river, and it wasn’t el Rio Napo!
Knowing a return into the forest would put me into more ponderous circumstances, I elected to stay where I was. I surveyed the river bank and noticed a fallen Kapok Tree a short distance away, downstream. This tree was protruding a good ways into the water. I chose this jungle-mark as my stage and sanctuary - to inhabit, until a relief for my situation was remedied.
Slowly, I edged myself out on the fallen tree. I sat about a leg’s length from where the trunk submerged under the water’s surface approximately - 3 meters from the shoreline. There, I had maximum visibility over the domain - both to see, and to be seen...
I was keeping faith I had found a tributary of the Rio Napo. Indians live along all waterways in the region - with any luck, some, who were friendly, would find me. I mused over the thought of our previous night around the campfire near our grass huts. There had been discussion, after that evening's fish dinner, of five Catholic Missionaries - all murdered by cannibalistic Auccas residing deep, deep within this forest. I was now hoping the Aucca Tribesmen were very, very deep in this forest.
Upon settling down, and becoming virtually a knot on the log, I soon began witnessing one of the most memorable milestones of my life! I felt integrated, and accepted, on my little place upon this fallen tree. Elements of the surrounding jungle and river environment suddenly started to amplify. Within moments, I began observing a spectrum of activity on every side of me! It was the essence of life, and the instinct to survive, both performing in this natural arena.
Just below the water’s surface, a good-sized alligator captured a large fish several feet from where I sat. I felt the Cayman was well aware of my presence and let me be. I did move back up the log a little bit though.
The life of the river was so phenomenal to watch - multitudes of creatures exercising the cycles of their existence. Among the many fish were a few snakes that kept my attention to the clear, slow moving water.
In the air, and trees, were assorted species of birds singing a euphoric variety of melodies. Groups of parrots, and other Song Birds, seemed to be alternating with one another in a chorus of Messiah proportions! This reminded me of the fact I was without my tape recorder... I berated myself solemnly - for this natural soundtrack was so overwhelming, and simply indescribable! Finally, I just praised the fact that, in my life, I had been in such a place - at such a time...
After the passing of several hours, I felt the presence of evening approaching. I quickly realized, I needed to find a tree to sleep in - for I wasn’t so sure how trustworthy the forest floor might be. I bowed my head, and mustered a small prayer. I asked for strength, for luck, and an uneventful night - without rain, if possible. When I opened my eyes - I was unbelieving of what was coming before me...
An Indian man, and his young son, were floating up to my log - in a hand-dugout canoe! They seemed very surprised and excited to find me. We did a lot of hand gesturing - while verbalizing in our different languages. Finally, I felt they wished for me to go along with them. Considering my alternative, I was pleased to accept their invitation.
We floated for some time while the man, and his son, sang a sort of melodic chant. I felt strangely comfortable with trusting this path my life was moving along. Comparing my adventure with my life at home, in Texas, I realized there are always alternatives to the humdrum we sometimes find ourselves in.
Startling me out of my thoughts, the young boy broke the chant of song and pointed along the shoreline. Smiling, his father steered us to what appeared to be a trail - leading back into the forest. After beaching the canoe, we stepped upon the shore as the man aimed his gaze up the trail beckoning me - that I should be going.
I had hoped to see their village, but this man seemed to know where I needed to be, and this trail was going to take me there. I felt trusting of this man, and his son - they held a gulf of tranquility in their eyes - trustful simplicity, and sincerity. I believed they had my best interests at heart!
As a memento of my appreciation, I removed my wristwatch, and gave it to the man. He hooted and hollered, and danced in place as I showed him how to strap it on his wrist! The watch has a five-year battery, and was waterproof. The Indian, and his son, again pointed up the trail - as they jumped back into their boat - using their paddle-poles to push off, and move along. I waved as they floated away - the man nodding, and the boy - awkwardly waving in return. As they disappeared, they returned to their melodic chant...
Quickly on the trail, my confidence grew with each step. Just as darkness was enveloping, I saw a campfire - it was my camp’s fire! There, my cook and guide were preparing a search party, with some local natives, to go searching for me. Everyone was greatly relieved at my arrival, and that night - we partied hard around the campsite.
Several days later, as we were leaving the area, my guide told me word had come from a nearby village - of a man, and his grandson, who, apparently, were the ones who had found me. Because of the man’s act of goodwill, and the fact he had been gifted with a timepiece - the only timepiece in his village, his stature in the settlement had been elevated! My guide said this meant better fortune for the man’s family in their community. His fortune was truly my fortune, and as time had been my companion - now it would be his...
1 This area was popular for the fledgling Eco-Tour industry in the early 1980's. The region was later compromised by Ecuador's ravaging oil & gas exploration industry.
Flight III - © 1968 Ben James
"FINDING THE COST OF FREEDOM" by Brad Michael Moore
Freedom never comes without a cost. When you have it - oh how freedom sings... But, as it says in a CS&N song, you’ll find the 'cost' of freedom, buried in the ground. In 1982, I traveled a perilous journey through Czechoslovakia - while it was still shrouded by the Iron Curtain of Communism.
I was trying to reach Czechoslovakia's border with Poland. Poland was besieged with martial law, and tyranny. I had no chance in hell getting myself within its borders. The fact was, I was having a difficult time maneuvering through Czechoslovakia.
My West German friends, from Hamburg, tried persuading me not travel to Czechoslovakia. They gave me articles from their papers to read, and asked me why go - "where things are so poor?" The best I could say, to explain my purpose was simply - it is there, and I can reach it, and I have the freedom to see it for myself...
Traveling was dangerous. In my 48 hours in the country, I was followed constantly, and detained eight times. Each interception played out in the same routine. A military road block would be set up, along a roadway ahead of me. Traffic was allowed to pass - while officers, with spy glasses, peered up the highway - untill I came into view!
I was an easy target. I drove a red and white Volkswagen Camper Bus (only in Prague did I ever see another recreational vehicle). Upon reaching the traffic stop, I was directed to pull over. Young men, armed with rifles, whose stocks were bent steel rod - instead of wood, ordered me out of my vehicle.
I was spoken to in Czech - "Vodka," would be the only word I’d understand spoken to me. I was pushed around a good bit, and made to empty all of my possessions, from the vehicle, and onto the often rainy roadside - for the officers to inspect.
It was difficult for these young soldiers to figure me out... Before them was a Westerner, with a valid state issued visa I obtained six months earlier. In my van, I carried three cameras, field glasses, and a tape recorder - all in plain view - on the front seat next to me.
Nothing was ever taken. I managed to hide all of my previously exposed film in the mattress cushions of my bus - which they never found. When the soldiers were finished, they’d drive away suddenly, leaving me alone on the roadside - with all my belongings to put back into the bus.
I made my trek to the Czech and Poland border as quickly as I could. A strip of no-man’s land with reams of barbed wire on either side - along with barricades. The Czech and East German border was not near so intimidating as this was. The environment was dreary and a fog, or rather a smoggy haze filled the air.
When I found a suitable site of visibility, I stopped, and got out of my vehicle (without my camera - pictures were not allowed in many areas of the country). There I stood, ignoring the crossing guards down the road - watching me through their field glasses.
I stood, for the longest time, gazing into the near countryside of Poland. Her history, of what I knew of it, and the visions of her people - of what I could imagine of them, filled my head and heart. I could have been looking into Hungary, Romania, or anywhere else (at that time) where humans were repressed. I was in a country whose people were stifled, looking into another country - where conditions were even much worse.
I couldn’t walk upon Poland, but my eyes could steal its landscape into my memory - a treasure chest of emotion that could never be confiscated from me.
There were only two campgrounds in the whole country where I was allowed to sleep in my vehicle. Sleeping in your vehicle anywhere else was against the laws of the land. I made it to one these “sanctuaries,” that night.
Once in the campground, I stayed to myself, inventoried my possessions - and my wits. After darkness fell, I noticed a group of younger people, in their late teens, sitting around a campfire singing songs. As I listened to the campers through my opened windows, I wrote poetry of my experiences.
I was about ready to turn in for the night when the music truly began to capture my attention. It was very familiar - yet not so. I listened more acutely, and opened my sliding side door, on the bus. Suddenly, I knew what they were singing!
In my excitement, I decided to approach them. The song they were singing was, “Them Old Cotton Fields Back Home," (Originally called Dixie’s Land) presented in Czech! As I came to the circle, I too, was singing... "When I was just a little bitty baby my mama use to rock me in the cradle - in them old cotton fields back home..."
Everyone was incredibly startled to find an American in their midst - singing the American version of the folk song they were singing in Czech! Ironically, it was, in truth, a slave song - being sung by children of an enslaved people.
Two young folk in the group spoke broken English and interceded for others in the group - who all had many questions for me about America. Music, clothes, sports (tennis), food, cars, money, and the Grand Canyon were topics they were most curious about.
After 15 to 20 minutes - we all became aware of Secret Police agents, standing behind trees, smoking cigarettes (which gave them away) and listening to us. I decided to leave - not wishing to create trouble for my newfound friends. They understood the gravity of our situation all too well. It was visible in their eyes, voices, and expressions.
I returned to my bus and replayed the event in my mind, while occasionally, looking out my window - for signs of danger. I tried to sleep that night, but I felt anger over my experience. Finally I got up and left.
Back on the road, I searched my maps for the closest Western European country - it was Austria. I arrived at the border checkpoint about 2:00 a.m. I was retained for an hour, while my visa, and passport, were deeply scrutinized by the guards, and some character - apparently highest in rank at the station. This officer, spoke for a long time on his telephone - only twenty feet away from me, behind a large, tall, pane of glass - slowly, he was going through each page of my American passport, and discussing it.
Finally, he came to me, handed me my passport - as he torn my visa from its pages (thus not allowing me back into the country)! He told me to “GO!GO!” I left without argument over my confiscated visa, and carefully drove to the first large city I found. It was near the break of day. I pulled over and went to sleep. At mid-morning I awoke to find myself in Vienna!
I so truly appreciate my freedom - and those Americans who have paid the price of preserving it. Still, after soon watching the PBS special, called, "The West," upon my return home, I am reminded of the other costs of my freedom - the broken spirits of the many native peoples of this land who were displaced before me. I cherish my freedom as an American with a heavy heart, and sometimes, with an old slave song of another displaced people spinning in my head.
"Big Sky - Distant Thunder" © 1972 Brad Michael Moore
Distant Thunder - 1958
By Brad Michael Moore
Sitting on my porch, one late afternoon last week, I heard a distant thunder - from a nearby summer storm. As the mammoth rumbling rolled across the landscape, it sparked a memory from my childhood.
My paternal grandfather, Zedrick, had a farm in southern Dallas County, Texas, when I was growing up. My brothers and I lived for the days we could visit the farm. It was rather large, 650 or so acres, and it had an assortment of animals. There were horses, goats, sheep, cattle, chickens, peacocks, hogs, and all kinds of wild creatures! My brothers and I liked to catch snakes, and horned toads, and pick up as many peacock feathers as we could find. There were, at times, 20 or more male peacocks - which produced a whole lotta feathers. There were lots of hogs too - often more than 2000 - after a good round of piglets were born.
With so many pigs around, they had to be separated into different areas of the farm. There was the birthing barn - where sows nursed piglets untill they were old enough to weaned. There was also another barn, specially designed for the hogs to mate in, and then, there were different pastures as well - for different aged pigs to hang out. When pigs got really big is when I'd call 'em hogs. While we kids pretty much had the run of the place, Grandpa didn't allow us in one pasture. This was the pasture where he kept the old males (bull hogs) who were too ornery to be anywhere else.
On the backside of the farm, were some sand pits that had been quarried as deep as the water table - down around 30 feet. At night the pits would fill with water - near 20 feet deep, and then the level would drop back down a good ways in every morning (local folk using their farm wells, I reckoned). There were lots of snakes, frogs, and fish in the pits - a natural place for young boys to want to explore.
One summer day, in 1958, a week after my sixth birthday, I was at the farm - without my brothers. I had already been down to the river (Clear Fork of the Trinity) in what we called, "The Bottom," and had then decided to visit the sand pits next. As I approached the high ground - I figured I could save some time - if I cut through the bull hog pasture... This pasture was about 25 acres square, and had some dead tree stumps in it - along with goat weed, and lots of bull nettle. In the middle, was a great big tin feed trough made of rippled metal with a two-planed roof. It held dry pig feed.
I figured Zedrick couldn't see me from the farmhouse, so, I jumped the Bull Hog Fence, and hooked it for the pits. Along the way, I got straddled with a mess of Stinging Nettle, and I had to stop - to pull the stuff from my shoes, and then, retie my laces. Bent over, with my head between my knees, I gazed behind me to see - a very large hog, about 30 yards away - the sight immediately brought a deep concern upon me…
The 300 pound animal appeared to be foaming at the mouth. And, as if this discovery wasn't disturbing enough, the bull hog was also wildly swinging his head from side to side, and making a frightenful, grunting noise... I quickly stood up, and turned around to face this hog - who almost as quickly, began charging towards me! I made off in the opposite direction, and quickly looked everywhere for cover. My legs were already tired from my earlier hike. I knew the delirious animal would catch me before I could make the fence line. So, I headed for the only other place I had a chance to reach - the feed trough.
There are other troughs on the farm, and my brothers and I had tried to climb them before but, I was too short to get on top. I knew my only chance was to try running in circles around the feeder. I hoped the hog would lose interest... This beast wasn't about to lose his interest though - he wanted to do something bad to me! As I realized the seriousness of my predicament, I began screaming, as I scurried in circles around the trough. The hog kept getting closer, grunting and furiously snapping his teeth as he gained on me.
Being busy as I was, trying to preserve my rear end, and all, I didn't noticed the activity towards the farmhouse. Old Grandpa had stepped out on the back porch, with his coffee, and heard my screams. Zedrick dropped his cup to the porch steps - breaking it into many small pieces as he quickly ran to his pickup. He didn't even bother to open the pasture gate - he just drove plum through it! I would learn later in life what adrenaline is, and how it did two great things that day. It kept me one step ahead of the hog, for one.
Grandpa Zed, seeing the situation, and not having his shotgun, jumped from the truck, cussing that hog with words I'd never heard before... The hog didn't seem to notice Grandpa though - because I was his primary target! Then Zedrick ran over to a dead tree trunk - standing a good 5 feet out of the ground, and somehow pulled the whole thing from the earth. Ready for battle, he came between me and the hog shouting, "Get in the truck!" I did. Then, he began fighting the crazed creature with the tree stump... Twice he put the bull hog down, and twice it just shook the blows off, and then came back up at him.
A third time, the hog raised up in a maddening convulsion - when grandpa was able to sledge the stump squarely over the animal's skull, crushing it and the stump! The dust began to slowly settle - as Zedrick stood over the dead animal... He cursed under his breath, at the same time, he was trying to catch his breath... I thought the beast had rabies. Grandpa said, "It was screw worms - entered through the animal's ears, and then worked themselves into it's brain."
The encounter was like a close lightening strike... It was a fateful experience branded forever upon my childhood memories. Later, that summer afternoon, while Grandpa and I mended the gate, I expected to get chewed out. Instead, after a few perplexing stares, he only told me not to worry my mom with what happened, and to go in the house - where he'd fix me some lunch.
The distant thunder dissipated.
"FREEDOM'S FARE" © 1972 BMM
NOVEMBER 22, 1963 DALLAS
We all have moments frozen into our lives, moments merged into indelible memories. Memories that are so ingrained in the fabric of our being - when we recall the moment, it replays in our minds - as if it were yesterday! Sounds, feelings, circumstances, the song on the radio, or the program on TV - all fall immediately into focus.
On Nov. 22, 1963, I lived in Dallas, Texas USA. My elementary school was located on President John F. Kennedy’s Original Motorcade Route - for his visit to my hometown that day.
Kennedy’s presidential race against Nixon, in 1960, was the first election I was old enough to follow and remember. I was very excited he would be coming by our school, and that we would get out of class for the opportunity to wave at the motorcade, as the president passed by.
Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed to find out, at the last moment, that the President's Motorcade Route had been changed, to an alternate route from Love Field, to Downtown Dallas. We would not be let out of class after all, and we wouldn’t be seeing the President either.
Even though radios were strictly forbidden in my elementary school, I had decided to secretly smuggle mine in that day. I left it in my locker, and only listened to it during passing periods. One friend, who lockered close to me, knew about it.
We had been listening to events as broadcasted on, KLIF AM, the radio station where I would, in the next year or so, hear a Beatles Record played for the first time (I Wanna Hold Your Hand). But, I never could have imagined what I was about to discover during my passing period after lunch on that day.
My friend and I had our heads stuffed in my locker. The radio announcer’s voice became very excited as he said there was trouble with the president’s motorcade, and reports of shots fired... My friend and I just looked at each other, and I said something like, “geewiz.” The radio reporter continued in a frantic tone speaking of more reports, one said that, "The President’s Car was speeding off with a secret service agent sprawled across it’s back, and that they were possibly heading to Parkland Hospital."
“No, no, this can’t be happening,” I said to myself. Suddenly, my friend skipped out on me, having noticed an approaching teacher in the hallway. Before I could wince, she collared me with my radio saying, “Young man, you’re going to the principal’s office!” I was caught, red-handed!
As we headed down the hallway, I keep telling her, “Something’s happened to the president - Kennedy may have been be shot!” Finally, with my constant pleading, she stopped by the stairwell, and told me to turn the radio on, but, that I was in still trouble, and we were still going to the Principal’s office.
The radio began transmitting an ominous disclosure, something had happened on the motorcade route... Reports were coming from Parkland Hospital indicating both the President, and Governor John Connally, had been shot... The radio message conveyed more than either of us wanted to hear. We moved on...
When we reached the principal’s office, we went in immediately. The grownups were talking in low tones to each other, and several more school staff came in, and went out. As I quietly sat in a wooded chair, I noticed everyone’s eyes who passed me were moist, and solemn.
Finally, the principal (Mr. Nutley) opened his door, and asked me if he could keep my radio - "Of course," I said, yes. I was then sent back to homeroom with instructions - not to talk about this event, and that there would soon be an announcement on the school’s public address system.
When I got to class I was becoming very worried. What would our country do if President Kennedy died? Would the Russians attack us? Who would do this terrible thing to such a great man anyway, and why?
It wasn’t long before the announcement was made to the school - that President Kennedy had died, and that Governor Connally was seriously injured, but, that the First Lady was OK. It had been decided to let school out at 2:00 that day.
I lived less than two blocks from school, and raced home to meet my mom, who was with some of her friends watching TV as events unfolded.
When it truly became obvious this was not a nightmare, and that such an incident had indeed come to pass - in my own hometown, I went to my bedroom and cried.
I didn’t eat too much dinner that evening. The TV stayed on as developments about a slain police officer, in Oak Cliff, were reported - along with the capture of a suspect named, Lee Harvey Oswald... I thought he looked untrustworthy - in the picture shown on television. He seemed like the type of person I had always been scared of - unpredictable, and cruel.
I excused myself from the table, and went outside. The night was cool and damp. There was a low cloud ceiling - whose bottom reflected city lights - emanating from the homes, streets, and buildings. Hardly any cars were out. Everyone had gone home.
I laid myself down, near a Live Oak tree in our front yard. For the longest time I prayed to God. Why did people do things like this? “Am I safe,” I asked? What about my mother and brothers? What will John-John and Caroline do?
Finally, I began feeling fatalistic. I began patiently awaiting the arrival of the Angel, Gabriel - to blow his horn, for the world must certainly be coming to an end...
After a while it became apparent - this would not happen...
I lost my a good piece of innocence that day, in the eleventh year, and fourth month, of my life. My father had already abandoned our family and home, and I wasn’t sure how much I could trust adults anymore. It was a hard world out there, I thought, and if you aren’t careful - someone might get you when you’re not looking...
In the years since, I’ve learned there are good people in this world doing the best they can. JFK said, “In your hand, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success, or failure, of our course... Together, let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.”
I have learned that I too can do my part to make things a little more worthwhile in this world. I have tried to use my creative talents to better things I can affect in my environment in at least some small way.
These words, spoken by John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Amherst College, a few weeks before his passing, hold his gift for my life. “When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses, for art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”
be aware, be creative, and become a benefit from your existence. - bmm
From the Crib, 1953 - By Brad Michael Moore
An artist’s work, most sincere, is created upon all the knowledge accumulated in a life’s worth of time, and reflects the benefits of relating to a unique collection of memories. An artist’s memories are so tied to the core of their work – for whatever other reasons they have to create – the essence of their memories will certainly fingerprint their art.
Who can say, exactly, how, or why, our earliest childhood memories may be carried along with us. So many inevitably fall to the wayside of time, or the lack of exercising contemplation. Others, remain as consequences of vivid, traumatic events, that brew up the chemistry of our recollections consciously, and sometimes subconsciously. Primary ingredients of reminiscences must be emotions - especially those wrapped around the warmth of a parent’s loving embrace, or debilitating neglect... Such brandishing likely marks deeply upon our cultivating persona, declared invariably thru the summoning of hidden, and recallable memories.
I keep in mind the first time I was resourceful enough to reach the light switch in my brother’s bedroom, flipping it off, and on, while he laughed at my prank - sitting on his bedside. I muse over my fifth birthday party (at Titsey Park) - as if it were yesterday - even though it came about 56 years ago. That was also the year (1957) that my brothers and I, six weeks earlier, looked up the open funnel of a meandering tornado, dancing across the sky above our backyard, and just touching down, moments later, just blocks away from our home, in Dallas, Texas. From that period forward, my mind is filled with memorable events that highlighted my upbringing. My recollections before that hallmark year - are much more evading, a pain to my brain-strains that beckon upon them like the pleading walls of an empty gallery. There must be so many forgotten events, before that period, important as they may be, I still haven’t recovered a conscious inkling of. Maybe, I never will…
Even more intriguing to me, are two memories I do retain - the two earliest memories of my life - memories from the crib. While one is only a short vignette, they are both, nevertheless, remarkable accountings. These organic recordings are branded as indelible inscriptions upon the foundation of my being. They have absorbed into my character, and are emblazoned upon the cornerstone of my nature. The first episode sparked a curiosity within me that would some day lead towards the path of artistic expression. It marked a path to awareness that acknowledged a larger world outside my own diminutive realm. It was a simple occurrence of something I had to envision - as my synapses built their bridges into the hollows of my imagination. The other memory blossomed a cognitive delineation between the essence of life, and the emotional haunting of death. The second remembrance also evoked the significance of nurturing.
Infants are sensory sponges, and tactile response is of paramount importance in their earliest days of life. A child touches not only with it’s hands, but with it’s tongue as well, grabbing anything shiny, noisy, or just clearly within reach. Children put objects in their mouth, not only to taste, but also to feel and identify. Even in the dark, a toddler’s tongue easily recognizes the nippled relief of its mother’s breast. As time passes by, the babe’s eyes and ears become more acute as receptors for disseminating information. The main ingredient missing in the tot’s early times is a cognitive process of learning to command for itself. The lack of plain language veils communicative and reverberating efforts to the world at large, defining it’s specific needs. A baby can cue, giggle in appreciation, and cry in fear, hunger, pain, and frustration – but they can’t say, “I’ve got an itch I can’t scratch…” My crib memories are from that realm of existence where objects, care givers, and resonance are magnificent wonders.
"Infinite Dream" © 2009 BMM
‘Crib Memory Number One’
Simple pleasures, soothing sounds, soft textures – baby stuff. An infant has several points of view it can’t escape in a crib. Bars, walls, and ceilings. Left on its back, and within the confines of its crib, an infant has oodles of time to muse. Just after I was born, my family moved into a new home on Fairfax Avenue. There were three bedrooms – one for my parents, and one for each of my older brothers. My place was left to a crib - situated in the living room. There were four windows there, an open entry hallway, and two other doors – one to the den, and another, with a springed hinge, leading into the kitchen. My crib was situated against the wall - away from the windows, and facing the den doorway. When left alone, life was mostly quiet. One day, as I was just being and breathing in a baby’s daydream place, something captured my attention, marking the beginning of my first forever memory.
The experience started as a undertone and became a cadence. There was something moving behind the closed curtains and brown wooden slated blinds. It was reminiscent of my breathing; it was akin to my heart beating, and finally, it was like my mother’s singing, smooth, textured, and lovable. It was nature’s musical lullaby – a rain shower. So delicate, restrained, fragile, but spirited. It carried on beyond my sight; still, I knew where it was. It was not dwelling behind the drawn curtains, but beyond the blinds. It was outside, and it was calling to me so melodiously. I yearned to see it. I was captivated. I was charmed and spellbound… There was color in the resonance, there was peacefulness. It was another life beyond my own, but it was different from my family’s. It was god looking over me… I felt wonder, and bliss, pleasure, and harmony. Filled with such contentment and gratification, and with my first forever memory in hand, I slowly yielded to the pitter patter rhythm of that soul of verve and fell into slumber…
‘Crib Memory Number Two’
My second memory, from the crib, was nothing like my first. It was full of upheaval, disturbance, and unnatural alliances that taunted my perceptions. I have no recollection of how my day had started, but I remember my mother settling me into my crib, after a feeding in the kitchen highchair. As she left me alone, and passed through the swinging kitchen door, I was happy, and full of baby food. Life was good. But suddenly there was something new, something different. The door from the living room to the den had been left open… As I gazed into that far away place, from my crib, there was something astray, disparate, unusual…
My father was an avid sportsman and hunter. He, later in life, would be the among the first men to hunt down, and kill, the “Big Five” trophy animals of the world (Elephant, African Lion, Indian Leopard, Cape Buffalo and Black Rhinoceros) - using only a hand pistol. As for myself, I grew up to hunt with a camera. The differences between my dad and I, most certainly, developed from a seed buried in the incident of that day of my second crib memory. As it came to be, Dad had recently brought home his first trophy taxidermied animal head - something like a ten point White Tailed buck deer. He had proudly left it hung it on our den wall. It hung directly upon that wall opposing the den doorway - the doorway facing my crib, in the livingroom...
On this day, I was alone in my crib, and the den door was open so that I faced a dead beast (without legs). There it hung, staring at me. Unmoving, without breath, and unanimated. It just gaped at me. I imagine what set me off was the fact this new presence, this staring creature, had such large darken eyes – eyes that didn’t blink. My mother’s eye’s blinked, my brother’s – their eyes blinked. This towering mammal was, at first, beautiful, and curious looking. Still, it continued to gaze at me with those lingering, unblinking eyes. My curiosity suddenly turned to fear. The buck wouldn’t quit staring, so I began crying. At first, quietly, and then with a greater bravado. Soon my mother came into the room, from the kitchen, and tried to settle me. She held me in her loving arms so I could look into her eyes, they blinked, and all was well. Then, she laid me back in the crib and returned to the kitchen. As soon as she had gone, I saw the partial life form again, staring, unflappable. I began to cry again. This time I wailed and wrestled about in my inescapable domain. My mother came back to the crib, with a bottle, and encouraged me with her sweet words. I calmed down again, and again, she returned to the kitchen.
It was only a matter of moments before I realized my tormentor was still in the same place it had been before. I began to weep and moan once more with an ever increasing crescendo. This time, instead of my mother returning to my side, it was my grandmother, Mimi, who came to me in my crib. This is my first memory of my grandmother, but I know, I knew her well. She was a different soul, with a more textured voice, and a delicate sense of love that made me feel comforted again. Mimi looked at my still-filled bottle and reoffered it to me. I was not interested. Then, she also cradled me in her arms for a while. As with my mother’s visits before, I quickly settled. After a few minutes, she placed me back into the cradle and took the bottle with her, disappearing through the kitchen door. At this point, I wasted little time in rediscovering my nemesis. It was no longer just a baby’s uncertainty, I was scared, completely frightened, and disturbed to my core… I began to shriek, scream, and bawl. I must have been turning red and blue with fluster.
Finally, another figure came through the kitchen door. Large, slow, certain, and wise – it was my Great-Grandmother, Little Mama. Little Mama had lived so many of my little lives, raised five children of her own. One, died as a child with a burst appendix, back in the day when a doctor’s call was by horse and buggy. Time was swift, and the child passed away before anything could be done. As I grew older, and could ask Little Mama all the questions children love to ask, she, like any loving Great-Grandmother, always obligingly, lovingly, and patiently answered my queries – no matter how much they may have hurt, or stirred her within the deepest regions of her own weary heart. She would tell me, years later, “The hospital was too far, too far away.”
Little Mama was the softest, the lowest toned, and slowest speaking of these three most wonderful women. Donna (her real name) picked me up and snuggled me into her bosom – a crib unto itself. She held me, kissed me on my ears, spoke to me in words I couldn’t understand, but knew were special sounds she only shared with me. Little Mama walked with me around and around the room for so long a time. Suddenly we stopped and she kicked the den door with her foot, closing it resoundingly. After some extra hugging and snuggling, she settled me back into my crib while rearranged my blankets and speaking to me in velvet, reassuring tones. My dear Little Mama. As Donna was returning to the kitchen, she continued speaking in soft tones as she moved away and finally, out of sight. I was happy again. Then I looked to the foot of my small domain, towards the den – there was only a closed door, and the coordination of my room was back to normal. No longer was there a beast about to frighten me again. Finally, my ordeal was over.
Little Mama passed away, an invalid, in a rented hospital bed, set by a window in this same house, 14 years later, in 1967. I was fifteen. I will always carry her remembrance in my heart. And, for as long as I live, I’ll pass this story along to others – from friends, and surely, on to my nieces, to pass on to their children, for the memories of life are meant to shared, and shared again, and again…
"Feathered Flower [Stolen Art]" © 2007 BMM
Life’s Little Bleedings – by Brad Michael Moore - 11/12/2006
Melodies, sweet melodies, springing from my fingers, trailing along the strings of my wooden instrument - making me weep... Upon the bridge, in a river of musical course, until a bump upon a river rock, and a string pops and pierces my thumb. Not only a stream of my blood runs between my fingers, but a dull, yet throbbing, pain urges me to bury my thumb within both of my hands, and squeeze the life away from its pain. My feet straddle the ground as if I was circling an invisible barrel – a waltz of grief becomes finally becomes a waltz again. I refocus my eyes, reset my demeanor, and bearing, and then go to my guitar case to find a new string to be set, and stretched into it’s fresh tinseled tone - to be picked out with a neighboring quintet of other strings - where all shall strive towards the notions of harmony.
My mother’s rose bush, I pick from it often, to garish her breakfast table. It is an uneasy relationship, both with my mother and her rose bush. Her expectations of me, I can hardly ever fathom – for it is a Mother’s way to expect gifts, and efforts through expectations unspoken for. It is a son’s way, or husband’s way, to lack in the perceptions of a woman’s thoughts and wishes as we take steps too heavy as we bumble along.
But, getting back to the rose bush. I approach it cautiously, carefully, as if it were some kind of mad dog. I study it warily. Each of its blooms are at a different juncture in their existence. I seek the ones just past their pre-pubescence for they have learned their song of fragrance, and have suddenly come out and exposed themselves for all to see – a resemblance of their first debutante’s ball. "It is you, I choose," I say, and then I reach, so carefully, respectfully, to snip your lifeline – I do so with profound sadness, and apologies. I know your life would be nearly as short on your vine – but it would also be one that passes unnoticed in summer evening’s air. At the table, before the window, my family will nourish ourselves during the spending of this young rose’s life, so blossomed, and radiant, but silently depleting – still, you will never to be lost to the ground. For when the final time in our vase comes, my fair rose, and you are graceful no more, my mother will pick your pedals, and place them in a basket, or a jar. Then you will be anointed, perfumed, and placed near a sitting place, to grace her home, and make its air more pleasant.
As I take my leave, and begin my walk home, I stretch my arms out and touch my toes, then in quick motion, raising them back up with my hands flailing – one to be caught by that Rose Bush who pierces my thumb! I let out a mighty roar… Not only a stream of my blood runs between my fingers, but a dull, yet throbbing, pain urges me to bury my thumb within both of my hands and squeeze the life away from its pain. My feet straddle the ground as if I was circling an invisible barrel – a waltz of grief finally becomes a waltz again. I refocus my eyes, reset my demeanor, and bearing, and then carry on along the path to my home.
"As An Ode for Lisa Anne" C Brad Michael Moore 1968-2010,
A Digital Artifact based upon an analog negative.
I grew up without the wisdom of others, for the most part. My Grandmother allowed me to use her Argus Twin-lens 6X6 CM Twin Lens from about the age of five - but she never instructed me - or really knew to pass her photo skills to me - as a youngster... I had to fend for myself, and learn on my own. Just a few years too old for Elvis and, and a few years too young to grow into a true Hippie - I still clung to the ideas of, "Flower Power," and most all things Natural. Later, into my early adulthood, I met my first True-Blue Mentor, an environmentalist, named Edward "Ned" Fritz. Ned had made his way in his first 56 years as a lawyer, and found his talent could also be focused on, "Change." So Ned became a crusader for his second love - the wilderness. I was not shy for a strapping 21-year-old - I looked Ned up for a Cold-call one morning - wanting to know if he had any advice for a photographer interested in Nature. Ned invited me inside - as if I had been left at his door in a wet blanket. I wanted to concentrate on improving my photographic skills by learning to, 'see' things better, and I hoped Ned would have some suggestions. Ned told me he could not offer much over the art in photography, but he could show me a lot about nature - and in that knowledge, I would benefit. In the years to come, I followed Ned near over the entire Eastern half of America, as we studied timber management practices in the American National Park System. What I learned from Ned's vast knowledge of natural species of flora and fauna, taught me what I needed to know about Nature - to capture it, you must first learn to recognize - even it's smallest of qualities. Also, in seeing Ned's unending energy for fighting the establishment gracing his cause - stopping the practice of timber Clear-cutting on Publicly-Owned US Lands - I also learned the importance of, 'perseverance!' Some years later, my grandmother, Erline, did sit down and teach me the strongest skill set she held - how to do ledgering - the basic, 'Thor's Hammer,' of being an Independent Businessman. In later years, I picked up art bits and pieces - through work-shopping, and Photo-retreats - with artists much better known than myself. But, I owe whatever I truly have to offer - because of two unselfish people, who stopped what they were doing, and took the time to light my way...
Brad Michael Moore
"Galactical Tsunami" © 2007 BMM
I was born in 1952. One summer - while at summer camp, my brother and I, and several other very young friends, sneaked out from a creek campsite heading for the camp where boys were not supposed to be! We were suppose to be camping out at a creek – several miles away. We had to wait for our counselors (there) to fall asleep, and we knew we were taking a serious risk if we were found missing - by a counselor... I had to be 13 to 15 years - the late summer of 1966, or 67 – definitely - it was before the US reached to moon. As we got back to the camp (still creeping outside), to raid the kitchen - the entire sky suddenly grew brighter than day! I could see details of the baseball diamond and field, trees, and cabins! It was an awesome blue white light. Near as soon as the light had come - it dwindled - so I could then, look up into the sky - which was, first, all at once, white, turning to a course of blues, back to a black starry night sky - with a haloed, and narrow ring of light, that just shrunk into a point of light that disappeared. Only the four of us witnessed this event that night in the place we were [in North Central Texas] - and we couldn't truthfully tell anyone about it - since we did a bad thing - sneaking several miles back to camp without supervision... It was just a remarkable experience, I could never forget it the rest of my life. Did I see a Supernova? Or something similar to the, “Tunguska Event, of 1908?” Does this phenomenon have a name for the experience of seeing the light of it at night? History says - there was no Supernova witnessed on Earth during that period – although my mom mentioned something she read in the newspaper – she didn’t cut it out and keep it. All in all, the event lasted only 4 to 7 seconds. Recently I read about a solar particle event back in July 16–19, 1966, but I can't determine if it was only a visible event, or only one recorded by astrological instruments. Maybe what I experienced was a, "Super Bolide," [A meteor that hits the atmosphere at near 90 degrees on a point near directly above one's head - that disintegrates into the atmosphere. Well, the last supernova recorded was in 1604, the Kepler's Supernova, which was just 6 parsecs away from us - there was no Supernova was recorded in the 1960s. Me, Having had such an enormous, “Galactical Experience,” at such a tender age – there is no doubt to me the experience changed my imagination, perceptions towards the supernatural, and unknown phenomenal about my world. – Brad Michael Moore
“Brazened” / Late Winter 2004 © BMM 2006
It is always an interesting dilemma for me, as a photographer, when considering the options of imaging death and suffering. Even with all of today’s images of war, in the media, we never can completely look away from the subject. Perhaps, it enraptures the relevance of perseverance in our humanity. Maybe, it represents a curiosity that only our faith alone can spell to us.
I live close to a relatively rugged terrain known as the Big Rock Area, in Jack County, Texas. In the area of this place, in the dimness of a crescent moonlit night, coyotes attacked an eight point White Tail buck deer. Both my neighbor and I spoke the next morning - about hearing the canids howling on the evening of the incident so close by... It happened up on the rocky, tree covered hillside - behind us, and our Keechi Creek - down at the bottom. Perhaps, the buck fended off the pack - so his doe mate could escape their attack. He too escaped - but later, he bled to death from his flank injuries. Before meeting his fate, he crossed a pond on my property to a small Willow-covered island. Near to the water’s edge, on the island’s south side. He was protected there from the biting winds a Blue Norther sharply passing through. In this place he lay down & passed away... It was for me, being on my own path, to watch this whole process run its final course. Later, I too, crossed that pond. Wearing my waders, I transversed the shallow point of my pond. I went to be, and sit with this Cervidae for a little while - after I had determined he was no longer breathing. At his side, I inspected the animal’s wounds, and marveled at how he could have effectively survived the recent hunting season, only to fall to a predator of a, "Truer Natural Instinct," than that of man. I knew this buck, for he had often rubbed his horns on many of my Cedar trees. Each of the next three nights, I observed a doe staying close to the outer south banks of the pond... Several times, a Great Blue Heron stood by this Buck's side - for hours at a stretch. I’ve now renamed my isle to, "Antler Island," and I will pass on this experience as part of the lore of this land I presently live upon. The image attached to this blog is 100% reflection from a still water surrounding the island. I waited 3 days for the wind to settle, and provide me a reflection of quiet essence - appropriate to the subject matter. It took these coyotes 7 days to find and collect their quarry - I thought, maybe, they maybe, they'd forgot. No, never, not the call of nature.
In recent days, in the same place - another buck has came to pass away. Maybe, the spot is some knid of premortal zone - something beyond my understanding - but maybe also observed by those native Americans who watched this land long before my times. I do believe in a magic of sorts - I can feel it, protective in some ways I just cannot image. - bmm