Yesterday was Martin Luther King’s birthday. My friend, Kenny Reed, read his poem about forgiving. It was about a black man forgiving his abusers. He called those who do not attempt to forgive cowards.
When we took down our tent in a backward in Oakland, we put it atop Mount Tamalpais, a Native American name that means ‘Sleeping Maiden’. This is because this mountain that looms in the background of the City of Saint Francis looks like a beautiful maiden asleep on her back, her long hair flowing down one side of the mount. Here is Sleeping Beauty, who Grimm named ‘Rosamond’.
Bill and I would camp here for a week during our summer vacation. My dear friend at twelve was six foot three. He had blonde hair, and robin egg blue eyes. I believe I fell in love with Bill the moment I saw him. I had heard of this Nordic boy a week earlier. He was playing football with his shirt off, he seemingly oblivious to the angry welts that criss-crossed his back. I understood these blows were his banner, and he wanted to show us that he was brave. Bill was showing off his father’s handy-work.
On Tamalpais with my Muse, I superimposed my friend who died on my eighteenth birthday over my new Nordic friend. Several times I put them side by side. They were so beautiful to behold. I played on the edge of my jealousy and my Survivor’s Guilt that had hounded me for five years. I reasoned that God in his mercy had given me a replacement, someone I could adore, worship, and love the rest of my days. Bill and I made great plans, drew mighty maps of our Destiny. We took a vow to get each others poems, plays, and paintings out in the world – if one of us should die.
As I watched Rena merge from our tent each morning, it was a dawn of a new day. Like Bill, Rena had this gate, this walk, that said she, and he, owned the world. Their magnificent beauty was the only title they needed.
One day Bill and I were hitchhiking down to Stinson Beach. For a half hour we were stuck at the intersection where the civilized campground was. It was getting hot, and we were thirsty. There was a cheap portable radio blaring inside the camp. Suddenly, Bill stood up, and did The Walk towards the sound. I saw him disappear, and, all was quiet.
Bill came back with a big can of grape juice. When I read this in Rena’s letter, I wept again.
“I grew up in an alcoholic, troubled and violent home. I still struggle with the severe psychological consequences of repeated episodes of violence and emotional cruelty from childhood.”
After reading this I had a vision of Rena’s father grabbing his daughter’s seven year old arm and dragging her in the house while her playmates laughed.
After my mother died in 1997, I heard her asking for forgiveness beyond the grave. I refused to do this. Rosemary beat up my first girlfriend, Marilyn, whose daughter read Rena’s poem. After stopping our mother from pulling more handfuls of hair out of Christine’s head, I was forced out of my home. At seventeen I hitchhiked to New York in the dead of winter.
Above is me with my siblings sitting on a table. Rosemary is posing us next to my painting on the wall that was chosen to tour the world in a Red Cross show. I had fallen in love with the work of Winslow Homer, and rendered my Homer employing the best of this master of the seascape.
Childhood Brutality knows no color or race. It is universal and out of control. Capturing Beauty is about how the abuse of children captures the soul of children, and never lets them go. The cost of rendering healthy children into perpetual victims, is enormous, a true parasite on society. I dedicate our story to the Abused Children of the World.
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Bill Arnold was my childhood friend. We were famous best friends. We met when we were twelve in Mr. Kouches art class at McKenzie Junior High. I was working on a watercolor that would be chosen to tour the world in a Red Cross Art Show, I one of a hundred students chosen from across this nation.
“That’s a very fine work of art!” I heard Bill say as he stood behind me. When I turned to see who was giving me a compliment I was gazing into the eyes of a very tall blue-eyed, bond haired Nordic boy. I knew right away this was the new boy my friends had recently told me about, who played on the field with his shirt off exposing large welts on his back. When our peers asked him how he got these wounds, he told them from his father.
Bill’s father had a been a career officer in the Army who was trying to break his rebellious sons will so he would be just like him. He would wake his son at six in the morning and make him lie in a ice cold bath with the window wide open, before he went to school.
In 1986 Bill’s sister told me her father would beat her brother most every day, while she lie trembling under the covers. Vicky told me she slept with her deceased father revolver under her pillow because she suffered from PTSD, and, she needed to know she could end it in an instance if it became unbearable. This was her sleep aid. Victoria make six figures as a dog therapist to the stars.
After we concluded Bill had committed suicide twenty minutes past my eighteenth birthday, Vicky begged me to get sober and stop killing myself with alcohol so she would not be all alone with the things we now knew to be the truth. I got sober in 1987. My daughter believes I got sober so I could look down my nose at people who socially drink so I can feel important. Heather bonds with people who love to drink.
Two months before Christine drowned, I called up our mother and said;
“You seduced my friend Bill and that’s why he killed himself!”
There was a long silence, Rosemary amazed that I finally figured it out, followed by this;
“What do you want me to do – cut my throat?”
“That would be a good start!”
What has put me in a rage about all the parasites that swooped down upon the remains of my sister’s creative legacy, is that Bill and I were incredibly gifted artist and poets. We knew we owned a rare gift in our bond, it something very special in the true world of art. We had achieved the dream of many artists since the dawn of time, being, bonding with someone you can share the creative process with, in depth. In each we found a loyal devotee and honest critic of each others work. We competed with each other in the most honorable and loving way. We bid each other to become masters of our craft. We brought genius out of one another.
My mother destroyed this bond when he met her in Oakland to borrow for hundred dollars to buy a car for work. He was desperate. He had just got out of Junvile Hall where his father kept him for a year and half, and if he did not get a job, his parole officer would have to recommend he be drafted. Bill drove his car Rosemary bought him, after she fucked him, on to a railroad track in Ogden Utah at 12:20 A.M. October 9, 1965. Bill turned off the lights, and waited for the train he knew was coming.
After the funeral, my mother said this, with her fake tears meant for her ugly pile of tragedies’
“Oh my son! I don’t know how you can going on living without your dear friend.”
On February 11, 1967, just after sunset, I died on McClures Beach due to a fall I took while on a massive dose of LSD.
In 1987 A Seer told me I died because I was carrying all this guilt that was not mine to own.
“You were in much pain. You had to let that pain go!”
Betrayals by the people we most love in this world, are extremely painful. There are millions of young people being injured and raped in their own homes, not by intruders, but by their own parents. Many of these parents abuse drug and alcohol. In Rosemarys case, she was in a jealous rage. She couldnt tolerate the truth her life had came to not because she married the wrong man, and I had the brightest future one can imagine. When Christine said in her autobiography, that everyone thought I would become a world famous artist one day, you could add;
“Along with his friend Bill!”
When Christine drowned on March 26, 1994, in theory the three gifted artists that were very close to Rosemary – had died! Only I came back from the dead, to accuse our abuser and look for a motive as to why parents would destroy their gifted children. Vic and Rosemary Presco, and Brian Arnold, Bill’s father, suffered from narcissistic Personality Disorder. If the spotlight fell on anyone but them, they would go into a murderous rage. Only when Bill became the mirror image of his father, would he be safe. Bill, who had an I.Q. of 180, understood this. Bill at thirteen years of age knew exactly why he was being crucified, why his father lay huge welts across his back, like the one Jesus recieved in just one day. Consider the Stan Your Ground Law.
One day when I came to Bill’s house I saw evidence of a brutal beating. Things were broken. A heavy duty army bed frame was bent.
“Why don’t you fight back? You’re as big as your father! Defend yourself!”
“I love my father. Stay out of this!”
because these criminal events, I became disabled and got on SSI in 1969 because I could no longer work. I had extreme difficulty staying on the planet. I had seen heaven, and wanted to go back. I had seen God’s most beautiful creation, and believed no one would believe me. Who would believe the hell I was born into?
Bill tried to tell me what happened. He tried, and failed. We had taken a vow on a mountain top that we would keep no secrets from each other, and share everything this world had to offer. We silently shared the abuse – until this day!
No more! Not one minute more! For a little while, Bill and I shared heaven!