Archive

Tag Archives: Gary Bowers

20180923_155029

Sam Rockwell is an Academy-Award winning actor. Norman Rockwell was an illustrator who championed civil rights, most famously in a portrait of grade-schooler Ruby Bridges being escorted to a sanctioned-by-law non-segregated class by four hefty enforcers from the U. S. government. In contrast to these two gentlemen, George Lincoln Rockwell was the hate-mongering head of the American Nazi Party in the 1970s. On the laptop screen behind my drawing is a scene from the ROOTS saga featuring Marlon Brando as the Nazi Rockwell, who would have fit right in at that infamous rally in Charlttesville.

Here are the words to the quadruple acrostic:

See, some surnames make it rain and snow

And two fellows with a row to hoe

Make Art crafty on a carousel

And for our emotion’s sake excel

I drew Sam Rockwell from a freeze-frame from WOMAN WALKS AHEAD, starring Jessica Chastain and Michael Greyeyes. I drew Norman Rockwell from the canvas-sketch detail of his “Triple Self-Portrait.” I wouldn’t waste a gram of graphite drawing George Lincoln Rockwell, unless it was absolutely essential to do so for an image’s sake. Turns out it wasn’t in this case, so I cheerfully excluded him.

Advertisements

20180918_203939

Title: “chanteuse.” Medium: Papermate Flair pen on 4 x 6 index card. Background: Samsung laptop playing DVD of SIBERIA starring Keanu Reeves, about 20 minutes in.

20180915_185249

My name is Gary, and I have a problem with gambling.

My problem cost me a lot of money, a lot of energy, and time that would have been vastly better spent doing something else, and very likely the relationship I had with the love of my life.

Late in 2010 my inner voice told me I would survive 2011 if I did not set foot in a casino, but if I did, I would “not be OK.” So I didn’t set foot in a casino; in fact, I didn’t gamble for more than six years. Good things and bad happened during those six years, but I guarantee you they would have been far worse had I indulged my addiction.

Around February of 2017 I fell off the gambling-sobriety wagon. The rationalizer in me says it was OK to do so, since I was not in a romantic relationship with anyone, and I didn’t let it interfere with my job performance, and I was lonely and getting strong intimations of mortality.

I know better, of course. As for not being in a romantic relationship, gambling addiction is a preventative. As for interference with job performance, that is true of my day job, but not of my REAL job, that of poet and artist. Gambling thieves time, energy and mojo. I have left numberless paintings, drawings and poems on the gaming table.

And as for intimations of mortality–the clock is ticking. What is the best use of the time I have left?

Odds are slightly better than even money, Friends, that I will be in a casino, pissing away a little more vitality, as you are reading this. I hope not. In fact, I’m writing this as a preventative. But I am a weak man.

The title of this post, “Getting a Little Bit Dirty,” is a riff on an old joke whose concept is “Getting a little bit pregnant.” You’re either pregnant or you’re not, and, in terms of addiction, you’re either dirty or you’re not. It’s been eight days since I’ve been in a casino. I am not dirty. That can change in a heartbeat, and that is 100% up to me. I cannot be rescued by anyone but myself.

Friends, it’s the Third of September, and a long time since my last post. Before the end of the month I hope to get back up to daily posts. Meanwhile, must start somewhere, so here’s an ink sketch, just a little inspired by local hero Alice Cooper.

20180903_064649.jpg

brian and his dog

My brother Brian Clemens Bowers, seen here with his dog Fluster, died peacefully of natural causes last Monday. Here is the obituary I wrote for him, with help from my family:

Brian Bowers, 61, crossed the finish line of his life’s journey peacefully in his home in Phoenix, Arizona on August 6, 2018.

Brian gave of himself generously, with no thought of reward, throughout his life. Street people were his sisters and brothers. And he was a vagabond Santa Claus to his many nieces and nephews, despite being dirt-poor, because he tirelessly searched in thrift stores, swap meets and yard sales for the perfect gift for each individual.

He was also an outstanding caregiver, first for his grandfather “Papa” during the last four months of Papa’s life in 1987, and more recently for his mother Jane Bowers Stoneman, from the time of her husband Marty’s death in 2014 up to the very week that Brian died. He performed numberless household and yard chores, and 24/7 caregiving, for Jane, despite his own medical issues, which included severe back trouble, liver problems, and two major cancer surgeries.

Brian loved music, and in his handwritten Last Will and Testament directed his mother to take her pick of his many CDs and concert DVDs and then offer them to his nieces and nephews. He also expressed hope that none of his other possessions, including the food on his shelves and in his refrigerator, would go to waste.

Brian’s life’s journey led him to a stint at UPS; a glorious championship season as a Little League coach; an all-too-brief yet joyous marriage to Lira, the love of his life, who died tragically young; at least two years of homelessness due to hard drug use; a stay at Joe Arpaio’s Tent City; and then the triumph of becoming clean and sober with the great and gracious help of faith-based Streets of Joy and Victory Outreach. In Brian’s final years he became a committed member of Faith Assembly of God. Christianity became his salvation.

Brian met the enormous challenges of his circumstances with great courage, immense love in his heart, and an unquenchable sense of fun. Those who survive him include his mother, Jane Bowers Stoneman; brothers Harold and Gary; stepbrothers Cary, Dan, Tod, and Glenn Stoneman; his beloved Aunt Diane; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He leaves these loved ones with a fine set of remembrances of his love.

Here is Brian’s handwritten Last Will and Testament:

brian last will

Here is the transcript, mildly edited by his loving and grieving brother:

Last Will and Testament, November 24, 2012

I, Brian Bowers, being of sound mind, body, and spirit, do hereby appoint my mother Jane Bowers Stoneman to receive everything I own. One 1979 Datsun 260Z; one 1987 Nissan Pulsar NX SE; everything in the back house at [address] as well as everything I may own in the storage sheds and cabinets.

My wish is that she would direct the distribution of my assets; allow each of my nieces and nephew, one at a time, to choose any of my CDs and concert DVDs that they may want (of course, that’s after Mom takes what she wants); then allow blood kin to choose anything as remembrance or enjoyment. My Mother is in charge of any distribution of anything. I would hope that any of my food not go to waste.

My computer and TVs may be given or kept by my mother.

I would hope my brothers would get something as well.

Thanks

signed Brian C. Bowers
November 24, 2012

Here is an array of medications Brian kept at his bedside:

brian pills

Finally, here is a poem I wrote this morning, meant to go with the above image:

no refills

1

let’s check you out

your lumbar grinds
you tend to seize
your bp is up there

you had this operation
so you need this this and this
and that procedure
so here is that and that

and now you have side effects
so here’s this for logy
that for grouchy
and the other just because you hurt

take them once and twice and thrice a day
with and without food

diet? exercise?
not our department

2

let’s check you out

you are calm–good
zero chance of seizure–excellent
no pain whatsoever–truly fine

and non-instruments detect
waves and waves of love
washing over you and through you

your reward awaits

you won’t be needing these any more

20180801_222150

This post comes to you from the Greyhound bus station in Flagstaff, Arizona. The index card in the image above includes a quick sketch of my phone being charged, my backpack, the man sleeping on the floor next to the chair the backpack is on, and his walker. It’s not a good sketch but I am beat. Tomorrow is another day.

I am on vacation. Three weeks off. Tomorrow through Sunday I’ll visit my friends Steve and Chris Boyle in Henderson, Nevada. During those days I’ll figure out where to go next, hoping eventually to end up in Richland, Washington state, visiting my friend Tom Byrne.

It is interesting going Greyhound again after more than 30 years. In the past there was a sign by the driver endorsing him (it was always a “him” then) as SAFE‚óŹRELIABLE‚óŹCOURTEOUS. Now there’s a sign saying WATCH YOUR STEP and, judging from the discourtesy our driver handed the passenger behind her, who was arguing that we should take a break in Camp Verde, it is meant figuratively as well as literally. (In the driver’s defense, the passenger was even ruder than she was.)

I like being on the road, but the miles wear harder on me than they did last century. That’s Life!

America’s President and Commander In Chief of its armed forces is now in Helsinki, misrepresenting his country with abandon. My deeply spiritual friend Suzy Jacobson Cherry is viewing this latest development with such alarm that she posted on Facebook this message: “Everybody. Start writing down your memories of the America that has been. Just in case it isn’t again.”

Suzy’s message reminds me of the end of the play CAMELOT, and Arthur’s admonitory instruction to a stripling in hopes of somehow keeping the memory of Camelot alive.

I love Suzy, and though I think our beloved country will be reunited and healed, I thought it would be valuable to do as she says, as thoroughly as I could.

20180716_164207

And here is the transcript:

****

America: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. The Melting Pot. “I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door.” Leader-by- example via the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine. “One giant leap for mankind.” Civil Rights Act. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall.” The Miracle On Ice of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Rosie the Riveter. Norman Rockwell. The Summer of Love. Ray Charles singing “O Beautiful For heroes proved…” at the 2001 World Series. The freedom that allows Billie Joe Armstrong to sing “American Idiot.” The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson–Johnny’s guest host George Carlin. Eleanor Roosevelt. Harper Lee. Spike Lee and his magnificent collaborator Denzel Washington. Angels In America on Broadway, featuring Tony-Award-winning Stephen Spinella.

And George Washington, who refused to be King. And my family and friends.

****

America has survived many crises. We can survive this one as well, if we get back on the track of E Pluribus Unum, and Liberty and Justice for All.