I am going to get these videos made into a short film. The day before I met Belle Burch, I wrote this:
I had gone to Brownsville to talk to the Librarian about some very important family history. Finding out there was no sheriff, I bought a badge and declared my self the Protectorate of Our Forsaken Past. I had just found out Eliza Hart was the first white woman to come into Oregon. She is kin to the Hart family who bonded with Commodore Isaac Hull of the U.S.S. Constitution. My grandfather wrote in one of his books we descend from Isaac.
With the destruction of so many beautiful artifacts by ISIS, I felt an urgency to sound an alarm.
“The Hater’s of Art are coming!”
I had so much on my plate, and even more now! Prostate Cancer had taken away my maleness, and it looked like it was going to take my life. My best friend has just died. My daughter could care less about history, and me. I went looking for someone I could give hand over this blog to, so he or she, could carry on. I have a nine year old grandson they won’t let me see. They could care less about magic.
I found the Lost Mural and one of the artists that rendered it. This is very important to me. Belle, is, The One, the Star of this movie. That’s just the way it is. This is how the dice role, the cookie crumbles, and milk jugs run away with the moon. It’s how my movie ends. If only if I was a young man again!
I found my homeless friend, dead in his bed, this community had just gotten him. Hollis Williams and I competed for the young ladies. He told me his uncle was Errol Flynn. When we went to the baseball game we got Venus to pose with us. She had sung the National Anthem, and was a celebrity unto us. I compared H and I to the Miller brothers. Hollis thought I looked just like Robert E. Lee. When I saw Belle at home amongst the homeless, going from one to another, as if she was ministering to them……………..
If you do not want to hear my BS, turn the sound down and listen to this.
Somewhere, the music stops, and an old man off camera reads my poem I wrote about Belle, two days, if not a day, after we first met. The biography I am authoring about my later sister and I is called ‘Capturing Beauty’. When Belle told me her name means “beauty” I wanted to cry. Here was the end of the road, the end of the search, the Vision Quest.
Here is Joaquin with one of the Japanese poets who came across the Pacific Ocean to study under a master poet. He opened his door, and they bowed to him. Miller let them build little paper homes on his land. I wanted to turn Ken Kesey’s cottage into a retreat for Japanese poets up in Hendrix Park.
We tried to hold a memorial in a house slated for demolition, but the owner threw us out in the street.
“My friend was a homeless Veteran!
“I don’t care!”
Belle sent me a poem about sleeping in a tent in the plaza in front of City Hall.
If you must know, as death approaches, some of us realize, the thing we will miss the most, is……..falling in love. I fell in love with Belle within three seconds of beholding her. When she told me her name was Belle, I thought I was going to die, there and then. Look at the expression on my face! The movie screen goes black and doesn’t show the credits. The curtains close. I die again!
At the Wandering Goat she spoke beautiful French. She would not let me photograph her beautiful hands.
I fell in love. You can’t take this away from me. I will never fall in love again.
Yesterday I received in the mail a book I ordered on E-Bay. I quickly scanned it to see if their were any illustrations or photographs. Then, I found it, what amounts to my personal Holy Grail. Joaquin Miller dedicated his book of poems ‘Songs of The Sun-Land’ to the Rossetti family that includes Gariel, Michael, and, Christine. Gabriel was a artist and poet, Michael, a publisher, and Christine, a poet.
“TO THE ROSSETTIS”
There is controversy over this dedication. Michael is against it. He is critical of Miller’s poems that takes the reader to the Holy Land. Joaquin is describing a personal relationship with the Savior that reminds me of how Bohemians and Hippies would view Jesus, he a Nature Boy of sorts.
Gabriel, who had Joaquin over to his house for dinner, where he met several members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood seems to address his brother’s objections in a letter, and gives a tentative go ahead. He talks about Miller sending him a photograph of himself and bids him to say a word or two at the bottom of it, that does not exist. This photo may be the famous one taken by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who is better known as Lewis Carrol the author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. If Joaquin had glued this portrait to a piece of paper, then we might have seen it on the dedication page.
What is going on here is extremely profound. Miller has exported his vision and lifestyle to the England, where he wrote Song of the Sierras, and now he is importing to America a cultural brand that contains Grail and Arthurian subject matter that was at the epicenter of the work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
The Rossettis may not have been too happy with Miller attaching himself to their star because the British are very protective of their culture. I wish I could say the same thing about the University of Oregon that is about to tear down homes that were once in the city limits of Fairmount, the city founded by Joaquin’s brother, George Miller.
The homes the Miller brothers lived in are registered and protected as Monuments. There is a Joaquin Miller State Park near Florence that was founded by George who also promoted the Winnemucca to the Sea Highway. There needs to be a Monument for George. I suggest the homes on Columbia Terrace be spared, and this city block declared a National Monument. I have suggested these homes be used to house homeless Vets going to college, but now I see a Free College on this site due to the student loan crisis.
This college will teach alternatives to prospective students of the UofO, such as having parents of students purchase a home in Eugene. In many cases a mortgage is cheaper than rent. Teaching your children how to get a job rather then attend college, will produce more home ownership that the UofO who promises jobs – that don’t exist!
The Miller Brothers were born on a farm near Coburg. They went into the world and achieved much. They are a cultural icon too Oregon and California. On page ten of the prelude, we read;
“By unnamed rivers of the Oregon north’
That roll dark-heaved into turbulent hills,
I have made my home….The Wild heart thrills
With memories fierce, and world storms forth.”
I once read that many college students didn’t know there was a Oregon, and if they did, they didn’t know where it is. The Rossettis more than likely read these words. Did they go to a globe to see where Joaquin and George live?
How many students at the UofO know who the Miller brothers were, and the Brotherhood.
Christine Rosamond Benton and I were drawn into Tolkien’s Trilogy. The artist known as ‘Rosamond’ could not put these books down, nr could I. This caused our mutual friend, Keith Purvis, a British subject, to comment;
“She doesn’t know these books are real.”
We three were original hippies who took the Lord of the Rings to heart as we modified the modern world, made it over more to our liking, we oblivious to what normal folk were about. This is exactly what William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite Brother and Sisterhood did. They – returned!
I discovered the Pre-Raphaelites in 1969 and let my hair grow long for the first time. I gave up drugs in 1967 and was looking for a spiritual format. I came under the spell of the Rossetti family who were friendly with Joaquin Miller. We Presco children knew Miller’s daughter as ‘The White Witch’ and we would call her for advice. Miller’s home ‘The Abbye’ was above our home in the Oakland Hills. Our kindred were friends of Miller, who was also a friend of Swineburn, who wrote ‘The Queen-Mother and Rosamund’ and ‘Rosamund Queen of Lombards. Tolkien was inspired by the Lombards.
Filed away in Rosamond’s probate is my plea to the executor to allow me to be my sister’s historian. I mention Miller and Rossetti. I saw myself in the role of Michael Rossetti who had his own publishing company. He published Miller and other famous poets. When I was twelve, my mother read evidence I might become a famous poet.
All my imput has been ruthlessly ignored, because petty un-creative minds have forced our families creative legacy down the tiny holes of their hidden agendas, into the mouths of worms and parasites, because these ignorant people sensed I and the real Art World, did not let them in the door – would never admit them into our circle, our ring of genius!
La Belle Rose
Jon Gregory Presco
Dedicated to my Muse, Belle Burch
Poetry is the Truth
When I was a gifted youth
I do not recall if I studied the artist Sandro Botticelli.
When a man
I wrote my version of ‘The Birth of Venus’
and did a painting of my muse
coming out of the sea.
I must have neglected this great Renaissance Artist,
and his beloved Muse – until now!
But, Since I beheld her, my Belle
and compared her to Simonetta Cattaneo de Candia Vespucci,
do I now behold all the clues of the petals
and the thread
that have brought me through the labyrinth of time,
to adore her once again.
And she recognizes me!
Centuries ago I was buried at her feet
in order to continue my long vigilance,
for she was only asleep.
One day she will awaken, and the City of Flowers
will again bask in her unparelled beauty.
Bella! Mon Belle!
Following the Renaissance of the Miller Brothers
to the top of the hill in the lost city of Fairmount,
I came to the crossroads of time.
When I saw the intersection of Flora and Fairmount,
I knew it would be a matter of days
before I was with my Sleeping Belle, once again,
once upon a time
She is the one I came here for.
After finding the lost tombstone of George Melvin Miller,
the founder of Florence,
I began to see the grand design.
When she came across the piazza de Keasy
while the minstrel sang a song by the Grateful Dead
I had my rose at ready.
When I handed it to her
I heard the lovers complain
Where is my Belle Rose!
This is the Renaissance Rose
that my ancestor employed to write his name,
When I told Belle what kind of work I do,
I described my painting of a woman coming out of the sea.
Many have asked me who she is. Now, I can say;
“She is Belle, the most beautiful woman in Florence.”
We will go there, soon,
to behold the sea, a shell, and the foam
at La Giostra
a jousting tournament was held at the Piazza Santa Croce.
The gallant knight, Giuliano
entered the field bearing a banner
on which was a picture of Simonetta as a helmeted Pallas Athene
Her image was painted by Botticelli himself.
Underneath was the French inscription
La Sans Pareille, meaning “The unparalleled one”.
From then on Simonetta became known
as the most beautiful woman in Florence,
the most beautiful woman of the Renaissance.
I salute thee!