When I was sixteen I had no money to buy a canvas so I could paint upon it. So, I took Col. Frederick Broderick’s old army sleeping bag, and cut it up. His name was stamped on it. I did a portrait of Jesus. I framed it in weathered two by fours. And, here he come, walking, out of the wilderness, a yellow ocre sky behind him. He was my ‘Dusty Ragged Jesus’. His clothes were ragged. You could barely make out his face. He is walking towards you, forever towards you. He is coming, out of the wilderness. This canvas was about 36 X 48 inches. I placed Dusty Jesus at the foot of my bed, and lay the needle down upon Bolero. I went into a trance, and walked with him. There was a town in the distance. I wondered how we would be received. The year is 1962. A few years later it was announced “God is Dead”
Before Rena came out of that darkened doorway at 3:00 A.M. in the morning, she watched me as I stood on the Venice Pier looking down at the waves asking; “Where is she?”
Then I came walking all alone towards her, with resolve, that soon I would find her, because my Sea Angel told me so.
I had not walked a hundred feet, when she came out of the darkness. I gasped. I had to turn away and catch my breath. I felt faint, for here she is, right in my face, and what a face. I had never seen such a beautiful, symmetric, features. She looked like the daughter of my Dusty Jesus. She looked like Jesus, himself. This was my first thought, because this never happens to anyone. One is not approached by the most beautiful woman in the world unless – it is a miracle! Then the miracle asks me;
“Can I walk with you?”
A year ago Marilyn reminded me I danced the Bolero for her. She had turned sixteen and I had no money to buy her a present. For a week I practiced my moves I choreographed. When I danced, I was not wearing a shirt because this music goes on for about eighteen minutes, and I would get hot and sweaty. I was such a different young man. It never occurred to me what affect my dance would have on a beautiful and sexy sixteen year old. There is something wondrous about being a poor artist. I had taught myself how to dance, meditate, write poetry, and paint, but it was Marilyn and Rena, who taught me how to love.
On January 9th. I received a letter. After reading it for the third time, I am saying this, out loud, with joy;
“You lucky, lucky, man! You lucky, lucky man!”
“Here I am!”
“Please forgive me.”