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TUESDAY, MARCH 5. Wakened about 4 am by boy-girl conversation across air shaft, then fall asleep. Awake about 8 and the process is repeated when I say, "Do you mind if I join you?" and he says no. After sex I call the Bayou tour and find out it leaves St. Charles Hotel at 10:15. It's 10 am. I say I'm going. Get dressed as does he, and at one point he remarks, "Oh, you're dressed already," and catches up. "Say, could you lend me ten until tonight?" "Gosh, all I have is a $20, and I'll need that for the tour." "Couldn't you let me have the fin?" "No." Then he grabs my wallet, twisting it, saying "Gimme that." "What?" and I get pushed back on to the bed. "I'm a hustler, man," and all I can say is, regretfully, "Aw, nuts. Here, take the money. Thanks for the tour." "Yeah," he says and slams out the door. I'm left with 50, and still I decide to take the tour. Get lost in a crazy cul-de-sac in the hotel and worry about the final bill. I check out, tell about phone call, and lady says, "Well, it's not recorded here, so you don't have to pay for it." Odd touches of kindness. 10:10 and I'm in street. Grab cab, tell him to go to Y, wait till I get money. I run to room, grab $40 in 2 bills, back down to get to St. Charles only to see Bayou bus pulling away from curb. Follow it. It passes Roosevelt Hotel, and I jump OUT of cab: he doesn't have change for $20. Run to bus at red light and ask where next stop is. "Right here." HE doesn't have change for a 20. Fuss for a minute and finally beg man in front seat for a dollar. He gives it to me, I dash out (light has turned green, horns are honking, and a cop is beginning to look suspicious), pay cabby ($1.25, as I recall, for all that chase), and collapse into seat. Fellow boards next stop and he MIGHT have been odd, balding fellow I'd seen in bar last night, talking to cute collegiate number. He's talkative and the conversation turns toward the handsome young men he's met in the NO bars. I sit quietly and take it all in. As we talk of the amount of money needed for a trip and how he'd run short one trip when he'd been fleeced (by a hustler?) on his way to Florida. He talked of two fellows who gave him a hard-luck story in bus: came down looking for a job, they're down to last 12, and fellow feels sorry and helps them out, until the THIRD one does this. "I got the idea everyone in town was out to get money out of me." I laughed politely and said nothing. "It's amazing how some good-looking young men never have to work. Met a fellow, 35, still looked young, still had a good figure. He'd never worked at all, gone to Europe when he was 18, bummed around, and later was kept by the ------ family in Columbia. They're the richest people in Columbia, you might even say THEY OWN the place. So this fellow had nothing to do except keep himself looking young. I guess one or the other of them got too old, and that was the end of the relationship. Don't these people think about the future, when they'll lose their young good looks?" I didn't know, but some people never thought about DEATH, and that was even more inevitable and unpredictable than loss of looks. "He either had lots of money, or none, his clothes came from the best shops. He stayed with me for awhile, and he got trunks from three or four hotels. Amazing." He shook his head enviously. I said nothing. I'd gotten "him" from him, and didn't want more to do with him. Sky was cloudy as fellow shouted his way across the bridge, and the wind was blowing as we got to the bayou. Boat started and for awhile one bank (convenient to NO) was industrial --- loading platforms, barges, building materials, heaps of raw goods, sunken ships, rusting offshore oil rigs, while the other was monotonously wooded. Then both sides got uncultivated. Here the Cajun huts came down to the shore, and the boat slowed so it wouldn't knock the boats too hard against their moorings. Skiffs (Lafitte skiffs, low, shallow draft boats capable of great speeds) and pirogues were drawn up on the shore. Nutria hunters were skinning their catches, and red objects could be seen lying at their feet. Hunters roamed further bayous and their dogs could be seen jumping from hillock to hillock in the marshes, where they'd built up hard enough to walk on only at the water's edge. The swamps were semitransparent, showing the waters behind them, since the spring greenery wasn't out yet. Hazes of green showed that soon the verge of the swamp would be a green mask, shadowing all within. A sole heron lifted and sailed away, and other than that, there was no wildlife except for the torpid four-year-old alligator kept by one of the ship owners. When repeatedly tapped on the snout he would open a dry-tongued, white-pink mouth, and when petted, his eyes could close from the top and from the front. When held under running water from the rain on the return trip, his eyes remained open though he squirmed to be free. "Look at him twist?" and his lower torso and tail would jerk alternately from side to side. When put on the ground he would stand solidly, then jerk off two or three quick steps before being pulled back by the owner before it hit a squealing passenger. The skin was dry, except for a moldy looking patch where its crotch would be. He was kept in a small cage, and this, his owner said, (like fish) controlled his size. All the way up I sat in front, buffeted by the winds and thankful for glasses. We stopped at Barataria and had a lousy dinner in a huge cold barn of a place hung with half-hearted specimens of the catch. Mr. Gay struck up conversations about Europe and California and Florida and Indiana with the people next to him, and my lunch was solitary. Back to the boat and the wind rather slackened and changed direction slightly. It was still toward New Orleans, but now it hit from the side. Noted that they had banked up earth to cut off many of the bayous from the main canal; the canal, the stump of a bayou, a mound of earth, and a dimly seen extension of water was seen numerous times. A few were open, some were blocked only by wooden stakes, some, for pipelines underwater, were marked by "Forbidden" signs. A very few natural bayous remained open, and these curved off into the brown trees. The ship moved into shore at one place to let the passengers rape a red-winged swamp oak, and the ruined wings were blown about the deck. Many ladies debarked holding full-blown twigs with their purses and rain hats. A movie on the swamps of Louisiana broke up the return trip, and the rain coming almost in horizontal sheets made the landing interesting. A pusher tug, pushing three huge barges, shouted at us to keep our radio on, and surprised me by deftly nudging the barges unscathed through one of the two turntable bridges. Boys flexed for us as the movie cameraman swept the shore much too quickly and shortly from the upper rail. Regained the same seats for the bus ride back, but the rain and humidity clouded the windows and there was nothing to watch, so I lay my head back and dozed. No conversation. Caught a tram back on St. Charles with the front window broken just as I got on, and back to Y around 4:30. Showered and shaved the hustler away and went out in miserable rain, luckily getting cab, to Playboy Club. The ceilings were high and the rooms empty. A fountain with kicky sculpture was surrounded by men whom the bunnies served by plunking their nude tails down on the cold marble benches. Got the dinner, but without beans; so it was rather meaty with lush ribs and shish kebab. Some drunk sat red-faced and howled out songs that the pianist, never looking at his keyboard, was playing. The cartoon corner lurked emptily on the left, beyond the store and coat check, and later I climbed the stairs to the same-floor penthouse and playroom, similar and plush, and down the luxury stairway through the bar to the street. Rain had stopped as I walked to City Auditorium, getting lousy seat, center, next-last row. I befriended a girl with jangly bracelets and after the Seraglio Overture I told her I was moving down front. Tallchief was good, but hardly brilliant. Distance looks good on her, and my sixth-row-center, ankle-level view was not flattering, except to Oleg Tupine, her partner. The Beethoven Fifth was properly rousing and a cute blond trombonist grinned with joy at the parts that made me grin with delight. He had good taste. Left, debating a return to the Playboy Club, but fatigue was on and I stopped by a Bickford's-like place for bacon and egg sandwich and strawberry shortcake, looking at men posing on the street. Remembered the shoeshine boy: "Hey, mister, if I tell you where you got those shoes, will you let me shine them?" "Yes." "Mister, you got those shoes on your feet, and you got those shoes on the street." Laughed and let them do a real old fashioned (good) spit shine, and gave them 30 after they trusted me to leave and change a $20. I didn't hear their pat answer to: "Hey, mister, if I can tell you where you're from, can I shine your shoes?" Someone gave him a dime and took no shine for the answer.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6. I woke, to get to Natchez for whatever it was that happened there on Wednesday. Learned from posters seen from bus about Natchez Pilgrimage with something on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Bus left at 12:30, so I went out and checked mail, read letter from Bill, got to closed Jazz Museum and had breakfast between that and the Pontalba apartments. They were spacious, but not decorated to my taste, though the slave quarters in the inner court were cute. Stopped by way of the Louisiana State Museum in Madame John's Legacy, a crumbling brick place where I got souvenir red dust under my fingernails, and back to Jazz Museum, where I regretted I could not listen to the recordings they had (always rushing) and laughed at the sign of the kids of the "Sperm Band." Walked quickly back to Y, time closing in, threw things into case, rushed to check out and heard fellow call for Yellow Cab. "You going to Greyhound, by any chance?" "Yeah." "Mind if I share it with you?" "Sure, the treat's on me." We sat waiting for cab, and in cab he told his story: "One day in New Orleans, seeing my girl, I parked my car in an insured lot. Clothes in it and everything. It was stolen. I'll get everything back, but it's just the convenience of having a car. Think I'll get a new Corvair; had a 59 Chevy and got tired of it. I'll pay for cab, will get reimbursed for it by insurance--" the tip was big. "Well, that thief made everyone happy, didn't he?" He didn't smile back. Thanked him and went to catch bus to Natchez. [Standing in the New Orleans terminal, waiting for a bus to Natchez, and being asked by little old lady if bus goes to Baton Rouge, the feeling of WHAT I'M DOING hits me strongly. I shiver in the cool morning air (and put my coat on), and visualize the immense United States with me standing at the southern tail of it, waiting to creep in a metal conveyance up north a couple hundred miles. I've quit my job and am now completely self-determined. Nothing is set except the ant-trail of cities I've listed for myself, but from which I may still deviate with ease, as proven when I get on bus to Natchez. Driver looks at ticket and says, "You're going to Memphis?" "Yes." "This is going to Natchez." "But Natchez is on the way to Memphis." "Let me see when the bus leaves to Memphis." He starts to move away. "But I WANT to go to Natchez." "Oh," and he punches the ticket and lets me on. The windows are so cruddy we may just as well be riding in the Mississippi rather than along it. The front of his hair was like a furling wave. All strands from ear over broad square forehead to the other ear were swept back from the face. The hair at the sides continued back and up, but the hair on the front rose straight up then fell forward under its own weight. The effect was almost that of ringletted bangs, except that the hair was crisp and black, and the face regular-featured and masculine, fleshed out in flawless skin. The ride started out boding poorly. Every seat was taken, the windows were muddy, the fellow next to me lit a cigarette which he either kept in his mouth or held in a hand holding his chin. The smoke, scientifically, came toward me. Then a baby started up a few seats back, and a very young one from the sound of it, and it squealed like an unrosined violin bow, or grunted like muffled hammer blows. And then the bus, scheduled to leave at 11:59 am, was still sitting, driverless and ruminating to itself, at 12:05 pm. And then a woman went to the driver and wanted out for water: "I gotta take my medicine at 1:10" "We'll stop at 1; you can get it then" and we were off.] [Immense Esso plants north of Baton Rouge.] [String of Negro children along highway, going home from school, passed by busload of white kids on a school bus. Driver smiled, honked and waved at white bus driver. Later on, we passed a colored bus, colored bus driver, as if it didn't exist.] Looked like a good trip until gal with baby got on packed bus and fellow next to me had to give her his seat. Baby kicked and "Made noise, he don't talk yet, he's 13 months." Changed seats in Baton Rouge, and was glad to get out of the level swampy part of Louisiana. As soon as hills, trees, and solid ground appeared, we were in Mississippi. Stopped in Natchez and went for Eola Hotel, only one I could see, up the street. She tsked my coming without reservations at Pilgrimage time, and said she had a room for $6. I said I'd planned for $4, asked for another hotel (ain't got any other), and got a room with shower (all our rooms got baths) for $4.50. Found the Elks Club by walking the two main streets of town, and bought a ticket for the Red House tour the next AM and for the Confederate Pageant this PM. Back to change and eat in the hotel, 3 courses for $1.85 and decent chicken, served by cute girls in long poplin dresses with flowers and little white aprons. Out at 7 pm and decided to look at the other houses on the map, but found the river, with few lights gleaming on other side. Quiet except for Negro waiting beside tracks. Wandered along fence and heard movement down in bushes. Stood a while, silently, then moved away. Negro was stopped by a police car and I could hear snatches of conversation. "Just waiting for a train, live out there." "What's your name? What're you doing here?" Harsh loud police voices, quavering high stuttering Negro voice. "A preacher, what you doing with books like that? What should I do with them??" Chatter. "Burn them?" Pause. "You want us to burn them?" Chatter. "OK, I'll burn them. You should be ashamed of yourself." Chatter. He came up behind me and said he had "fuck book." He had paid 90 for. "Hey, mister, lemme feel your dick. Just lemme feel your dick. You ever been sucked? Oh, it feels good. Oh, I like that. You like that too? Hey, let's go down here a bit. Wanna go to my room, it's just on Pine Street. Lemme feel your dick, oh, that feels good to me." I put him off. He comes up again just before Rosalie and again is warded off. I don't need it THAT badly, but from what he says, there are no bars in town. Back to the auditorium and the town is out in force for the Pageant, and Pageant it is. Little girls hold signs for the acts, small orchestra plays behind bank of flowers. The balustrades are flower-decked and some few men have tuxedoes on. The spotlights glow and the children elicit gurgles of delight from the crowd. The costumes are good, and the ballet is bad, since they have only girls dressed in green satin trousers for men. Everything is very small-town dancing-school enthusiasm, except possibly for a sprightly polka with the local college boys, and a fetching sequence where men get bouquets and girls get single posy and step into audience to gain a partner for the next dance. Nice. The dresses are bouffant, and it's neat to see real dancing in lace and hoops and crinoline and satin and bows, with cadets in tunics and white trousers. The violinist is good, and the audience almost applauds every time it should, and stands when they play "Dixie," and cheers for the Confederate flag run in with rebel yells. I smile through it and applaud, and return to the hotel for bed after getting blown about a bit by turning heavy ceiling fan on for a test. Come before mirror and fall into bed.

THURSDAY, MARCH 7. Breakfast in the hotel and tour the houses. Staunton Hall is huge with marvelously proportioned rooms. What a treat it would be to stay in one of the six rented rooms on the second floor --- canopied beds, heavily draped windows, thick carpets, glowing wood, and shining silver door fixtures. [Ah, to have lived "ante-bellum," but is that true? Old houses were built for hospitality because travel was slow. If travel was slow, would I make this US tour? Would I have gone to Europe? How would business trips be? Nonexistent!] Arlington is a collectors paradise with syllabub cups and satinware and Tiffany cups and terra cotta and bronze statuettes and hundreds of dolls and thousands of knickknacks in glass domes and/or extravaganzas, and seven wine glasses at each place on the table and gold napkin holders, and the raucous owner talking of her trip to England. The two ladies rush through and we're (Yvonne Mortvedt and I) dropped at Holly Hedges, and Mrs. Bingham takes them back to their hotel. Last three houses are little and cloying, and Yvonne and I chat only when necessary, and she is THE fat librarian type, though from Minneapolis. I get back to hotel to write letters and cards, and to bus station to finish them. Have to have ticket reissued, but it's easy and I sit next to her on bus. We chat on way up, and the woman across the way joins in and shows us the "Golden Hand pointing to heaven," and we see the Natchez trace and talk of Rock Hudson's wife and my record company and I'll meet her in Minneapolis. The woman looks at my ticket and recommends, and the man says "I was born in Natchez in 1881, so I guess I beat you to Natchez. Like the place?" Oh, yes. Changed bus stations by turning corner and walking four blocks in Jackson. Eat lousy dinner in Post House, and take off for Memphis at 7:30. Very pleasant Lutheran pre-theological student from Fort Wayne makes trip go quickly, and we chat pleasantly while bus barrels along hilly, empty, Mississippi [Mississippi highways above Jackson tended to be flat, but curved. The poverty of the state eliminated billboards, what ones appeared were read on both sides, so you got ads for cities PAST on the LEFT of the road. There was very little traffic, and I wonder if the two young tattered hitchhikers EVER got picked up. The curves in the highway and the fast bus, known to be defective, make the ride electrifying.] countryside, no signs, no traffic. Memphis at 12:45, and the Y is only around the corner. No soap in the room and I wished I'd taken it from the Eola (I had soap with me ever after, and hardly ever used it), but take sponge shower and get to bed at 1:30 after fussing with Venetian blinds.

FRIDAY, MARCH 8. Memphis is big, even bigger than it appears on maps, as became obvious when I head toward Poplar and walk out Poplar to Overton Park. The area is rundown, and there seems to be no place to stop for breakfast, so I wander on. Both sides seem the same sort of slum area, and things look hopeful as I pass a huge new hospital for psychiatry. Just as I pass this, fellow in Chevrolet passes and asks where Macon Street is. I say I don't know --- stranger here myself. He asks if I'm going that way, I say yes, get in, and pull out map to help him to Macon. I'm in it for quite awhile before I find I'm using GHIJKLM on wrong map. By this time slums have cleared and the residential areas are green and spacious. He says he's never seen any of the parks or museums, maybe he'd come along with me. [Don (or Ron?) Reynolds, salesman for Eli Lilly out of New Jersey (Trenton?) lives in Detroit.] By this time the situation is clear, and I figure to use him for transportation and possibly other activities later, if he proves pleasant --- his face isn't bad, like fellow at SRI (Varbel --- which I know is wrong, because that was cute football player in Salinas). We hit Overton and follow signs to the zoo. He does in fact get out and we enter empty gate and past rows and rows of cages of monkeys. This must have been the first warm day of the year, since all the gibbons and spiders and rhesus and black-faced monkeys were out in the sun, looking freshly scrubbed, especially the mandrills, every hair untangled and shining, looking very clean and not smelling, and even the obscene red patches were not so jarring. They swung five-armed through the air, looping gracefully about, clutching unconcernedly with hand or foot or tail tip. They made water with great unconcern, and on monkey island they were spinning their top, and jumping into the moat to pick up peanuts, swimming with a baby-crawl motion. The lions and panthers were out, and the hippo was a black truffle curled against the side of his building. Bears wrestled or sat placidly back and gazed at the world, needing only arms folded across the chest and a pipe to complete the picture of the retired executive at his club. Don glanced patiently at all these, yet continued to walk with his head down between the exhibits. Even the snakes were moderately active, and glided uncannily over tree branches. The birdhouse was brilliant, humid, and smelly, and cries echoed tinnily back and forth. Owl-eyed lemurs scratched eagerly at their food, and flamingoes elegantly dipped their necks to get their clumsy beaks around lettuce. Orange birds flashed across the green haze, and budgerigars nuzzled each other. We finally found the aquarium, and looked over the Mississippi River Panorama, appropriately muddy colored in places, with the biggest catfish I've ever seen, and a dozen everlasting carp floated with what looked like indestructible coatings. They were not scales, nor armor, nor flesh, yet taking from each. The gibbon was still hooting, its indrawn breath making the sound urgent and panic-filled. We left, and I smugly indicated that there was a museum in the park, too. That was hardly worth it, and we raced through the halls. The modern art (Southern artists) was just bad, and the classical art was undistinguished, though they had some decent ceramics of birds and flowers. Into car again. "Well, I'll tell you what I would have looked for next, the Pink Palace." He leaned over map and his soft hand touched mine. It held for a moment, and then it was away to shift into reverse to get there. That section of town was pleasant and park-like, but the Pink Palace was a bit stark, standing on its huge naked plot of ground. "You can never tell what these museums will have," and particularly here. Stylized mural of Spanish fighting Indians, model of railroad train, stuffed animals, a beautiful collection of African trophies from Mr. Berry, a Peek-a-Boo tree, a "Feel and Guess" (nothing phallic) log (containing an upper thigh bone of a cow), Indian exhibits, a Florentine chest, a marble fireplace, old manuscripts, dishes and glassware, rocks, biology exhibits, rooms, space exhibits, a bit of everything. It was now close to 1, and since he had rubbed hands with me several times and not gotten ANY reaction except movement away when convenient, he said "Can you make it back from here OK? I've got to get along." I said OK, then immediately regretted it, since I'd left the map in the car. I left by way of the parking lot, and saw it lying where the car had been, and I was pleased at his considerateness, considering. Then I smiled at his possible anger, since he had DRIVEN over the map. I wandered down to the main street, where the Coach Stop sign was, and hitchhiked. In 10 minutes two teenagers stopped. They mostly chattered between themselves, but the few things I said, they seemed greatly amused. They thought it was a nice-enough town, but "there isn't much to do." "You mean after you've seen the Pink Palace, that's it?" And they laughed long again. They seemed interested and the driver asked, "Going to be in town on Sunday?" "No, I'll have to be moving along." "That's too bad, I was going to offer to drive you around, show you some of the things you might not have seen." His friend looked over for a second, then faced back front. They let me off almost where I'd been picked up, and after a phone call showed that Justine's wasn't open until 5, I walked back to the bus station, feeling rather weary. Stopped in Pancake House for buckwheats and six types of syrup, then over to bus station for 3:15 bus to Little Rock. [Immediately, in Tennessee, things were much better than they were in Mississippi. There was one waiting room and one set of restrooms in the station, and Negroes and whites sat and stood in the same area, though not mixing socially, of course, and a man in the basement started making a diffuse fuss; what the fellow unzipping himself at the next stall said was attributable to the colored people in the waiting room.] Little girl with big black eyes and short red dress held forth: "I been on the train, and now I'm going on the BUS. I rode on the escalator and the elevator and the CARS." [Sign on back of bus "Nelly Bell #1" for Negro Sunday school, under picture of crowds around Christ: "He who follows Me shall be saved."] The land was flat [In Arkansas the farms stretched straight back from the roads, and the houses looked tethered to the telephone poles, connected by the umbilical cords which gave them heat and light. Each was alike, each had a miniature of itself in the backyard [doghouse]. Exasperating to work up to a cloudy wispy sunset, but get stuck behind the Greyhound terminal at Stuttgart (just this side of England), and I visualized the sun descending into the earth with momentary transitions from glory to glory, each of which I was missing. The land was flat, though in some places there were little valleys, close together, holding rivers. These rivers were full to the top, and in one case two rivers came together in a swamp out of which dry tree stumps stuck, and the sun shone off the water.] and poor, and when I got to Little Rock I simply didn't feel like staying. "How do I get to Hot Springs?" "That's the other bus line. Five blocks down, three over." Pass the old capitol on the way, and since I saw the new one lit from a distance, and passed the latest tallest building (18 floors), and saw the booming business in drive-ins and movies (all attended by fellows in slim trousers and white tieless shirts with sweaters, and girls in neat suits), I felt I had seen the city. The Continental fellow was helpful, but said I had to get the ticket reissued. Back to Greyhound, going 3 blocks beyond it, get ticket from them from Texarkana (wasn't thinking) to San Antonio, and they assured me I didn't need Dallas and Houston stamped on. Back to Continental and get ticket from THEM from Little Rock to Hot Springs, and from Hot Springs to Texarkana. Watch rolling-eyed blind fellow come in, get ticket, and sit to wait, getting thumped by laughing girl behind him, and he buries his head in his hands and GRIPS. Get truly awful club steak at the Olympia from an idiot waitress. "I'd like a glass of milk please, and some butter.' "Be right with you." Brings butter. "And what would you like to drink, please?" A bespectacled, far-away father ignores the clamors of his little daughter. Where is mother? From the father's woebegone look, it might be bad. Bus goes out ten minutes late and there's little room and I sit next to a well-rounded woman. Talk goes from Little Rock to Hot Springs to my bad luck at coming during the time of the races, to the fact that she's cheerful, a grandmother, born in Arkansas, "even though people consider it backwards, it's very beautiful," and determined "We'll see Hot Springs together, darlin', providing you don't mind being seen with an old woman like me." "You didn't get to the My-Oh-My Club in New Orleans? The men dressed like women and the women dressed like men. I never SEEN anything like that. They don't have anything like that in Arkansas. We're divorced, but I don't blame him completely. One night I got drunk (I drink a little, does that put you off, honey? Had a few beers before I got on the bus), and called my husband (works in the copper mines at Bisbee), wanted him to come back. $18 that call cost me. He called me last week, but I said "You wife just kicked you out, and you're feeling sorry for yourself. It must have been true, he hasn't called back yet. Got a boy friend in Little Rock. He called and said, "Let's go to the races." I said OK, but then he called this morning and said he couldn't go. But I'm going anyway. You can call my daughter and her husband in Houston, tell them I was going to see my mother. My sixteen-year-old son lives with her. I'm happy in Little Rock. Gee, you're cute. You don't mind my holding your hand? Maybe I'll fall asleep, can I use your shoulder? You're cute." Pause. "No, I don't feel like sleeping, I want to talk. Tell me about yourself." Etc. The road went fast into Hot Springs, and she left for ladies room and when she got out said, "I took awhile, thought you'd be gone when I came out." Got into cab and stopped at closed Y, and went to Romers, where they had rooms for $7.50. Back to cab to be convinced that that was pretty good for a race weekend, so I checked in and was told to call Edith in the morning. The bill was $7.50, the heat a gas furnace, and the lights buzzing fluorescent. Got into bed and wrote a bit, then fell asleep.

SATURDAY, MARCH 9. Found the 10 am Gray Line tour not running, showered and asked way to Bathhouse Row. First building is the National Parks office and I get idea of prices and hours of baths and a map. Take out along the Promenade, see the Display Springs (they ARE hot, and algae IS strange, greening the water), then go straight uphill to the Observation Tower, panting. Ride elevator to top, and view is dominated by woods and the huge Rehabilitation Clinic. Top is windy and tower shakes, but not so much as when elevator rushed up past open framework. Why have I such a FEAR of elevators? Because of my recurring dreams about elevators? WHY do I dream about elevators? Sexual? Probably. Down and follow path this time. Feeling hungry at 10:30, decide I have time for quick breakfast before taking a bath. Breakfast is exasperatingly slow, and lasts till 11, but I cross street to Quopan Baths and ask if there's still time. He says yes, and before I know it, I've checked my valuables in a box, including this book, and have been shown to a stall where I remove clothes and wrap sheet around me, fitting rubber-banded key around my wrist. He takes me to line of bathrooms, and young-faced Negro says, "Hi, my name's Sam; you just came, I hear. Give me your sheet, and climb in there." Water is pleasantly hot, 125, and I sit down. "The drinks are on me," and Sam dips a cup under faucet as water thunders into tub. I drink it down and he says, "Just relax" and I slip down into a very relaxed position as he grins. He leaves and I soak for 20 minutes by clock above bath. Water and tub are clean and clear, and I gulp occasional mouthfuls simply by opening my mouth. Cross legs at ankles and exert tiny pressure against tub bottom. Neck resting on back of tub, and I find that breathing deeply will make me float; exhaling, I sink back to bottom of the tub. Submerge my ears and mouth and watch the waves caused by my beating heart. Would have relaxed better had I not been fully conscious of the fact I wanted to catch the 12:30 bus to Dallas. Soaked and tinkled the key against the bottom of the tub and breathed and drank and began to sweat. Bath was quite hot enough. Sam came back and asked if it was my first time, then he launched into his "first time story." How he came here 31 years ago, wife could have no children. She had ten baths, doctors said she was better, had ten more, now they have three kids, one a doctor and two others in training. All this while he was scruffing me with soap and this fiber hand-cloth. I'd needed my head washed and here it was. He scrubbed my back as the water gurgled out, then I lay back and he did my front. Sat up and he sprayed water from hose to rinse, then out into the sheet and to steam cabinet --- my first. I stared at odd aluminum chair in the closet as he arranged a towel on the seat. Stepped inside and expected another shower. Then the sputtering and fizzing started all around me, and the soles of my feet started to burn. Clouds rose up around me, and I glanced around in half-alarm, raising my feet from the too-hot floor. I had a vision of being forgotten in here and collapsing in the hiss and fuss of steam. Was in possibly a minute and Sam was back to wrap me up and send me to the first cooling room. A gnarled Negro was wrapping a leg in hot towels, and he said "I'll be with you in a moment." I stood beside the red plastic couch with a little pillow and watched him wrap my diagonal neighbor. He spread the sheet out, I lay down, and he doubled it over me, laying a towel across my chest. It was 11:45 and I wished I had the chance to relax. My roommate inquired about my trip, and my stay in Hot Springs, and told me I had two more rooms to go to. I was sweating, but in a moment got up to go to the first room. Here the masseurs again asked me if I wanted a massage. No. I dried myself as well as I could and wondered about the 11:45 deadline (law to get out of the baths). Five minutes there, and then to the next room. Noon. Out and dressed and checked out valuables. Noted that one of the bathhouses was for sale --- the beginning of the end of bathhouse row in this era of more concern about the races than about the baths? Found Romers and called desk for cab. "You'll never find one in zis town. Leave you'are key, pleeze." Packed (left the Holiday book under the chair, so I thought until I found it quite a bit later), and walked quickly to bus station, damp from the bath still. Passed a gem of a blond in white sneakers, green pants and pink shirt. Good resort town. [Arkansas is full of fine-shaped, fine-panted men, all seeming without a brain in their heads.] To bus station at 12:20 and bus left at 12:40. Could have waited in cooling room, but who's to know. Rode down through pleasant countryside, and past beautiful Lake Hamilton, after getting unsnarled from the traffic at the racetrack [Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas, Tennessee, New York, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, ALL came to the Hot Springs Races.] [Arkansas blue jeans: worn, tight, and beautiful.] [Have gone through England, Paris, Stuttgart, Scotland, etc, on this US tour] and passing the "Original Smorgasbord" of a kind I doubt the authenticity. Through hill and dale, still under the brown fields, and stop in Texarkana at 3:20. I've decided to stay ON bus to Dallas --- no use getting out, waiting maybe four hours at Greyhound. Hope the driver doesn't count people, but the drivers change, and the new driver asks to punch the tickets. My story (false) of how a driver told me I should sneak through vanishes and I shift from outright lying (bad), to feigned innocence (good). I blithely hand him Greyhound ticket for Texarkana to San Antonio. He hustles me into bus terminal and they say they can't do it --- BOTH lines service Texarkana-Dallas. I here lie --- say I must be in Dallas at 8. Greyhound doesn't get there till 10. OK. Clerk calls Greyhound but they're busy, busy, busy. Finally gets their OK and reissues to Dallas. It only took 20 minutes and bus takes off 35 minutes late. Well, it worked, though passengers are probably peeved. Into Texas with a cute sailor behind me and a wide-eyed Air Force chap diagonally behind. [Rather nasty tale-telling in Paris, Texas, john: "Jim Porter sucked my dick." Be funny if Jim Porter wrote it hisself.] The sun sets nicely behind Texas's gentle slopes, and I watch forests and trees and barns and houses silhouetted against its cherry orb. The sky is colored, though not so thoroughly as in Louisiana, but the sun itself is fun to watch as its brilliance is lost through the atmosphere and it becomes a simple setting disk. I search baggage for what restaurant I'll eat at in Dallas, but can't find the book, nor my cash wallet. I decide not to change clothes, then, in the bus, and sit into Dallas. This city of tower spires finally lights up the horizon and we get in at 8:15. I check directions on Dallas map and find Y and get room, which is blisteringly hot. Good excuse for leaving door open! I open window and open door and open suitcase and hear someone in the hall. Look out and fellow in shorts and t-shirt is walking hall. Good body, good legs, good face, good. Back to suitcase and again door opens to john; same fellow. He comes out holding himself through his shorts. I walk to doorway and he goes down hall to water fountain. I stand in doorway, breathing, and he still plays with himself. I nod head and think, "Come here, big boy." He saunters down hall, hand on cock. As he gets in door, I say, "Don't do things like that, you could make someone hot." "You want it?" he asks gruffly. "Yeah." Down come shorts and he holds it out to me. I fondle and ask "What do you want me to do with it?" "Suck it." Damn, another of these butch trade types. Oh well, down on the knees, and suck twice, and pull shorts down further to get perspective of thighs and hips. He pulls me to feet and takes me by shoulders and kisses me. Good! We hug and hands roam up and down, and he's a great kisser. He pulls out my shirt and says, "Take them clothes off." Sure will. He leaves to get key from roommate and comes back as I'm in shorts and shirt. We kiss again and rest of clothes come off and we're in bed. He has nice body, only SLIGHTLY beginning to go off top form, and we grope and suck and toss around, but mostly kiss and we meet matches in our lips. He sucks me and I get unforgettable sight of him sucking me, only the head in his mouth, while his forehead is furrowed and I can see his eyes straining, looking up at me. I restrain laughter, but begin to go down. Pull him up and we kiss and man-handle. I start breathing heavily and he says, "Tell me when, I don't want you to come on my leg, I want you to come in my MOUTH." I grunt assent, but he goes down too quick. Squirm around for 69 and he pumps away. I lick him all around and come furiously, my whole crotch wet with him and me. His cock is sticky, and I try to pump him, but he stops me. He came? We kiss again, and I sigh and sit up and say "Welcome to Dallas." He's from Fort Worth, dance teacher with Arthur Murray. He's the perfect person to have met. Kissing, sex, then he tells me THE restaurants to go to, AND will I do the bars with him? FINE. He starts off in praise of my ass, and fondles and kisses it, then says he has to leave, before we start again. I wash and thank goodness I had the BATH. Dress and follow his instructions to the Cattleman's where I have one itty-bitty, but tasty, calf-fry, and filet mignon and salad and potato. Good food, for the price, and the Mystery Pie (walnuts and cream topping and graham crust) is great. Bill is about $4.50, and I get to Genes, where Brice meets me in a "different" outfit. Boots, high wide tan hat, a black, white and green short-sleeved, form-fitting shirt (nice form), and TIGHT wheat chinos. [Texans wear blue jeans as if they were born in them, and some look as if they might be wearing that same pair. It does something to see a long lean hard fellow in boots, wide hat, trim jeans and colored shirt leaning up against a worn door post in front of a 40-140-year-old general store, one leg crossed over t'other.] [Provocative broken sign in Texas: "Try the world's largest..."] [The brown and stubble gives way to the green and black of the plowed and planted fields of Texas.] ["They were havin' an orgy; but my back don't feel quite right --- fer the whips, y'know."] [Fields so big that cattle are mere dots speckled over them; and hawks swoop, spread-pinioned, toward the bus.] [Italy, Texas.] But, oh, unfortunately he is nothing but a 6'2" 190 lb woman in the bar, sexy crotch and all. His friends are all S&M types and they do nothing but extol the graces of a fine ass. ["Man, there ain't no mouth-kissin' with an ass like that!"] What a paradox of Texas. Wander around bar and say "Did you used to live in New York?" and BJ says, "Well, Bob Zolnerzak," and we talk. Brice flits around and says when I'm finished he has friends he wants me to meet. Get BJ's number and laugh at Brice's story of the fellow with two six-guns and the moving ass. It turns out that Brice wants someone else and I'm to "Get with it" and get someone. I refuse awful one, and cute ones leave, and I swoon over Edith Piaf and "No Regrets." I leave and Brice says, "Made contact, huh?" I lie, "Yes." Out to the Y, getting to bed about 12:30, pleased as can be with my luck in Dallas. Check schedules and it appears I'll take the 12:15 out on Sunday and get to Houston to get to Tucson on Friday. Have to get moving on my trip or I'll never finish on time. Should have MORE time rather than LESS at end of trip.

SUNDAY, MARCH 10. The washateria is handy for underwear, but there's no soap, and the backlog on the drier gives me a chance to write some. Finish at 11 and call Jean Peak [Nice to be wanted: Jean Peak: "Come see us"; BJ: "I tried to call you, come for breakfast"; Brice: "Leavin' already?" NICE!] Landi and BJ and say I'm leaving, and Brice meets me in the hall. As I check out he gives me a list of things to see in Houston. Cordially invited me back, and is sorry I have to go. Good fellow! I walk to bus station and catch cereal and donuts before another hassle with driver: have to get a re-re-reissue to go to Houston. Get on bus with little delinquents bound to military school, and the trip is miserable, made more so by lowering clouds and flat countryside. [Suddenly, along the highway, between Hamben and Bremond --- cactus. Platelike gray-green petals, stamped into brown.] [One thing Texas for sure has big: curbs. Necessary for two, sometimes three, once even four (Texarkana?) steps from street up to sidewalk.] [Could the time zone change be the reason I wake up so early these past mornings?] [Drag shows at Club My-Oh-My in New Orleans?] [Do bulls always raise their tails when they urinate?] [What IS the bush that looks like a white forsythia?] [Last Monday night, found six or seven blood specks on shorts. Searched crotch and found one crawling and two eggs. Search and found no more.] [Strange, but each morning I seem to wake up with a sore throat; and my HANDS smell strangely by the end of a day.] [Passing Bryan and Hearne --- Ballad of Baby Doe?] [Sign on Prophylactic dispenser: Don't buy this brand of gum --- it tastes like rubber." Where WAS it when he chewed on it?] [The "Magic Fingers" (hopefully the bed vibrator), had worked their way into Texas.] [Busses are decently good for tours; leaving Dallas it passed the fair grounds and Oak Cliff Park, and passing through Texas, passed Texas A&M with large greensward and building patterned on Lincoln Memorial, just as insurance building inside the city had arched arcades patterned on the Seattle U.S. Science exhibit.] [Two little girls get on bus and have to separate --- one gets me, one gets old fellow behind me. I say no words, and we just sit --- the old fellow, evidently wound up, talks on and on and on, asking no questions, needing no comments, simply prattles away, on and on. Feel sorry for the both of them --- but catch me and HIM getting together.] Houston's huge, and we drive twenty minutes to get to the station at 7:35. The outskirts of Houston were barren out near City Limits, which makes a good chance that Houston may well grow into the second or third city in the country. Only after driving for fifteen minutes were the towers of the city even VISIBLE. Since everyone had said the Y was far from the station, I grabbed a cab and got there --- far, indeed. Check in and the halls are not nearly so nice as those of Dallas. I unpack and puzzle over more tour changes --- decide to cancel San Antonio and stay two days in Houston in order to see San Jacinto Monument. A tall scary-looking fellow cruised past and said he had to go downstairs, but would be back in a few minutes. "He wanted to talk with me." OK. I unpacked and sorted things out, but by 10:30 enough was enough and I washed (left washrag in shower, loss number two, next to "Dead Souls.") and left for Simpson's Diner. Failed to see the off-Main, and stopped into the diner for dinner, a decent club sandwich, and walked around corner, where it was obvious the bar was. It was. Quiet and dark, and poorly populated. Sat next to a fellow with beautiful arms, but he was probably being kept by older fellow. I drank one beer and warded off the pats of a deaf-mute who'd wandered in, then left just before midnight. Art Wren's place was too far, so I just went back and got to bed.

MONDAY, MARCH 11. Up to the sound of rain. Took clothes to be laundered, ate breakfast, bought postcards and back up to the room to write about two hours in notebook. When 11:30 comes, I've finished book, so I'm out (rain has stopped and air is wonderfully fresh) to buy more books and post packet off to Bill (they'd cancelled the tour for that day, so I was idle.) Wandered around the main business district and decided to go to the museum, which my guidebook said was open. By the merest chance the South Main bus, on way to museum, passed IBM-SBC. Museum was closed so I simply caught bus back to SBC office, which turned out to be commercial only. Bill Sledge got me, informed me they used 650 here, 1620 in Scientific, business was poor, jobs off, and he was driving out by way of Scientific. [Houston SBC: Russ Sledge, salesman; Manzanara --- seismograph cams; Goodner, outer office; Scoma, short, stocky.] [Might the reason for "socializing, not cruising" in certain bars be that the people who go are proud and deluded enough to think that their group (whom they know too well to have sex with) are the BEST in the place, and that there's no one else there worth talking to or cruising? That the good bars, like Lenny's, were catering to intelligent people, who knew they could do better than themselves, so were willing to laugh and attract and cruise and talk to strangers.] We drove for about half an hour and he talked of how he and his friends had traveled. Talk of being around --- two years in Europe, nine months around US, summer camping out, weeks in Mexico and Acapulco and the Rockies and Canada. GREAT. He dropped me off and I found that Art Mintz had just gone to where I'd left. Spoke with programmers for a bit, then out to bus again, which again ended on South Main. Compared movie starting times and ended up in "Days of Wine and Roses," [Movies, the universal darkness, the same wherever it is --- a theater in Houston may as well be in New York as in Teheran or Antarctica.] another case, like "Hot Sun in August," of someone else's morbid perversity being completely unbelievable. DOWAR was not believable to me, a comparative nondrinker, because I've never seen anyone clawing at a wall in a straitjacket for want of alcohol, but then I suppose it does happen. Out of the movie (after mentally cursing obese woman with a ton of particulate silver on her wrist), pass Maxim's and get to Y to ask if shirts are back and find that they blithely assumed I knew it was 24-hour service. This is absurd because when I asked fellow when shirts were due, and he said 7:30, I asked for one night, and he didn't tell me I couldn't get them till the next AM. Fumed through a solitary shower and got back to experiment with scarves and T-shirts and finally ended up putting cruddy sport shirt on under blue suit. Looked awful, but I told myself that all I had to do was CARRY IT off, and everything would be OK. I was dressed like a hick, but a hick couldn't carry it off, just as he couldn't carry off wearing shorts and short socks to a Broadway evening performance. Pre-think of many excuses for getting to the restaurant when they don't allow me, and even carry a tie in my pocket, but they let me into the almost empty restaurant without question, and even go so far as to seat me in a small enclosed dais, one step above the level, surrounded by light and curtains. I feel of regal quality, seated on a throne. Order from the a la carte side before waitress points out dinner, and I have pea soup and chicken squab Camille, boned, mushroomed, well-cooked, and delicious over wild rice with potato and hard asparagus. The one difficulty of the dais is that the waitress stood back to me, and must continually swivel to see if I need service. But the meal is good, and the dais gives me the opportunity to see that most of the parties are stag men, many single men, and groups of women. I, naturally, outlast the other diners, and the multiflavor parfait brings the check, and I end up spending about $5. Walk over to Music Hall past many new buildings, each with its associated parking building. Fog rolls in over city again, and I get decent seat in 10th row off center for the Houston Symphony, [I know when you hear anything modern, anything queer, you squirm just as I do.] Sir John Barbirolli conducting. The audience is warm toward him, and the acoustically shaped auditorium made the orchestra (only slightly larger) sound fuller, closer and warmer than the New Orleans Symphony. [The Houston Music Hall was Wintergarden shaped, and this fan was used to advantage in the lower front, where large glass windows stretched the entire frontage, and on top, where an abbreviated lounge permitted an outside patio, giving off onto the fog-covered skyscrapers. Over the stage area a contiguous set of dismal louvres. Typically, the tour guide said they were to build a bigger Music Hall. Schoenberg appears to desire to appeal to the intellect in Transfigured Night, since the music is atonal and non-melodic. Yet he seems bent on firing the emotions by means of heavy ponderous tones and wispy filaments of "romantic" music. Since the intellect is divorced from the realm of emotions, the mind looks at these romantic-dramatic chords and sobbing violins as "sound and fury signifying nothing" since they contain nothing to appeal to the sensuous, but only to the analyticity of the brain, not the tactility of the touch, the tear, the thrill of emotion --- this merely the shell, the chaff of emotion. And thus it seems to fall short, attempting to live in two worlds, yet surviving in neither. A brain introduced to polyphony can only be analytic --- but romance refuses to be analyzed --- it evaporates and thus is only sound, and the sound seems over-dramatic. In a sense, the audience cannot "empathize" with the sounds, even though essentially "pretty," because it has its analytical scalpel sharpened, and refuses to be deadened by the ether-perfume of romanticism. It would take, essentially, an "alien," at least to western culture, to compose and appreciate a love song in twelve-tone. People's feelings aren't attuned in that way. And the applause of the intellect can rarely equal the impassioned appreciation of the emotions. Is it my imagination or is the world getting two ways: more thin-skinned and less discriminating. People seldom boo now. Maybe because they feel they're not experts, yet the concert is for them. And if anyone does boo, not only the performer is hurt, but the audience, though they may agree, is hurt for the performer. "He tried hard, it was the composer who loused him up" --- yes, but HE chose to play it. Verklaerte Nacht is like a Lumia --- it produced instantaneous pleasant blending of sense stimuli, but the blending seems so at random, and discords so often appear, that the mind tends not to appreciate the good moments because of their randomness. If only, you hope, he had connected those notes with a heart-moving motif, and not with a mind-moving one. The sounds are nice, but the juxtapositions are "absurd" in the matter of the modern "theater of the absurd." They reflect too much of contemporary life, and not enough of the inner, unchanging man, as, say, Bach does. The audience, literally, feels too tired to applaud, and seems to do so only because it had civic pride in its orchestra, or personal pride in its conductor --- How much is impressionistic as in Debussy's La Mer? Are today's triangles too big and loud, witness the overpowering by them in Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" overture?] Unfortunately the program emphasized the moderns, and Verklaerte Nacht drew my wrath during the playing of the music. Moved to the center after the first number (bravo for subscription performances) and had perfect seat. Crowd was classic (older than NO), but there were still many college students (and numbers of exchange students from England and India) looking at the portraits in the otherwise undistinguished art exhibit. The portraits are good mainly because the subjects are bright blond young students in the bloom of attractive faces and sexy looks. La Mer is good for the finish, giving crashing chords I hardly remember from the recording I have. Out and simply feel tired, so it's back to the room, excrete and pick up some toilet tissue, which I come into with gusto and go to bed.

TUESDAY, MARCH 12. The AM dawns sunny and I loaf and pack until I must rush downstairs and break ahead of people to grab dime to verify my trip with Gray Line. In a few minutes the driver comes to pick me up, and we're off on the morning tour, highlighted by the Millionaires row and the dozens of gardeners and the tons of earth moved and hear which houses are open for the Azalea Trail, which I'd just come between. The houses are sumptuous, as they should be for $50,000 and up, but even these were surpassed by Rice Institute. The small number of students per building and per instructor, added to the completely free tuition if the grades are A or B, and the 600 in, 200 out ratio of students, even such quality students, was greatly impressive. Houston, the city built by millionaires [Jesse Jones, Herman Brothers, Cullen family --- Houston is built on its millionaires.] [The people in Texas are rich, and more to discouragement, they seem to be young. Even worse, they're tanned and healthy and always smiling and laughing --- the unkindest cut. But how PRODUCTIVE are they? Drive-in with wall-to-wall car-petting.] who donated all their money back to the city, has millions in buildings waiting to go up, and a wide horizon toward which to expand. I can see why Lloyds of London predicted that Houston, which will have 2 million by 1970, will eventually be first in the US. I can see it SECOND. We come back by way of Main and I shout "You coming back this way on the afternoon tour?" and he says yes, so I get out, marveling at the trust he has for me, and enter side of museum. It has prints mainly, and find it's an art school with a snack bar. Chat with doorman and get around to modern art on ground floor and notes taken elsewhere, [Amazing how something built out of wire and canvas to resemble monstrous filters can be pleasant, like Lee Bontecou's "Untitled: 1962." Has a whole room of Frederic Remington --- too bad. Houston has one of EACH --- Vuillard, Derain, Roualt, Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Cezanne, Canelleto, Roselli, Rembrandt, Goya, Van Dyke, Hals, in almost that order, in that awful conglomerate. Picasso, Bonnard, Maillol, Rousseau, Vlaminck. etc.] and upstairs to a bit of the ubiquitous Kress collection and Japanese painting and children's rooms. Get giant sandwich from friendly counter operator and eat quickly to get out to curb at 1:25, since auto is due along 1:30. Praise myself for great schedule, but when 1:45 arrives and I begin worrying when I see bus driver wave at me --- here he is! He apologizes and we start long trek out to San Jacinto, by way of the Houston Ship Canal, which is small, yet impressive through reputation. The monument rock is interesting because of the shells and skeletons in it, but the monument is poor because there is no good view to be had, and only through one window is it possible to look directly down. [Texas limestone --- a crustacean picture gallery.] With no other buildings around, it's difficult to get an idea of its size. Down in rapid elevator and onto battleship Texas. We crawl through hatches, preceded and followed by creaky complaining old women. Everything is spray-coated white, even to the drinking fountains, though the tools in the craft shop are still operable. Half to three-quarters of the bunks are gone, but the four-deep sets in the halls give evidence of the crowding in the ship of the 2500 men. I get thrill crawling over the grill work over three levels of the engines, ducking and stretching and crawling through passageways --- what it must have been in operation: roaring, steaming and moving in their beds. What a place (as has so often been done) for a movie climax. Make circuit and admire catwalks, then up to dentist's office and soda fountain and the minute lounge with two sofas and the dining rooms made into museums and the admiral's quarters, where the captain (who sells tickets) lives. The tour gets back on deck and the driver says "I'll be back in a minute," and that's my clue to go ranging high and far over the stairs and braces above the deck, looking at the rusted rivets and looking at the tar they've spread over the rotting boards. Smell the stinking waters in which the ship is sunk, and since the ship has been almost twenty years in that tide swamp inlet, I wonder how much longer it'll stay, how many more coats of paint they'll spray over the water fountains, how many items will rot or rust or break or be broken away, and still the battleship Texas will be inhabited by a captain who lives in the admiral's quarters and sells tickets to board his hulk. Wave down to the people far below, and am barricaded from climbing further by the "No Entry" sign on the catwalks. Run down, grab a Coke, and suck the cold cubes alternately with the fizzy pop. The ride back is pretty much like the ride in, and the trip turns out to be too long for too little seen, mainly industrial areas being struck against by tanned muscular arms along the Ship Channel. [Clearlake City, 160,000 space center; Humble will build 375,000 city AROUND it.] [I forgot the fellow driving a truck outside Mobile --- load of iron pipes, and stopped too quickly --- and load shifted ---] [Bar BQ Bar?] [The headlights drilled out of the night into the retina.] [The pavement held a half creature in the middle; it appeared that the other half, in agony, had dragged itself almost off the road.] [Colorado River in Texas?] [This trip will give me enough to mentally regurgitate for years afterward.] Get off at Y and ask for laundry, and astonished to find it not there. 24-hour service, the fact that I'm leaving: no matter. They call the Miami (?) Hotel laundry, and they say it IS done, but I must come get it. Off on the road, still in my smelly shirt which became almost odorless with a shot of spray deodorant, and ask at desk. They send me back to the trucking area, where sheets are fed into huge machines which press and fold them longitudinally, and the girls know no one to accept my money. I wait, then grab the package and stalk into the office, slamming box on desk. "I suppose I have to PAY for it now?" I shout, but they say pay back at the Y. I stomp back, mollified by the idea that I won't pay at all. Into the meeting room to stuff new things into suitcase, and have rough time closing it. Catch cab to bus station and catch 7:40 to El Paso. Ride through San Antonio, which looks undistinguished. Ground is still flat. Fall asleep about midnight.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13. Find myself tossing from side to side like a pendulum with a one-hour period. I wake each hour, tired, my legs sore, my butt numb, swing pillow to the other side of the seat, glance burning-eyed out the window, then flop down, pushing my butt against one arm rest, and curving my neck to fit onto the pillow jammed against the other arm rest. Finally, at one toss, it's pink in the sky, and the flat ground has given way to hills and valleys and dry streambeds, and low shiny creosote bushes. Stop for breakfast, where the counter tender lights a cigarette and lays it down to burn until I put it out. He somehow manages to serve 40 people, and out I go to smell fresh air, only slightly tainted by shithouse smells, and back into the bus to see reverse sunset as sky blues, then pinks, then blues, then yellows as sun rises and casts shadows. My worry about missing the 9:15 bus is relieved as we're early. Catch bus to Carlsbad and relieved to find lousy tourists gone, and only Canadian woman, well tailored and spoken, left on bus. We get to Carlsbad and find that the New Mexican time change means a 90-minute layover for us to 11:45 when bus leaves to caverns. I take suitcase into washroom, delightfully clean, and dump, shave, wash, clean teeth, spray, change shirts and end up looking and feeling clean and fit. Out to catch dinner from a girl too young and innocent looking for her wedding band (preventive medicine?), and a beautiful-skinned Mexican helper. [Song to tune of "Nature Boy" "He is a doll, a very strange exciting doll, and since his thumbs are very large, very large, he appeals, to me. And when this boy, this sexy boy he smiled my way, I felt my cock grow very hard, very hard, on me."] [Strange, ominous dreams. One, on Monday night in Houston: I'm the young son in a family of four, the parents are performers, or dancers of some sort; they move with elegant, willowy gracefulness. But there's something wrong --- they have to keep on dancing or they cannot dance, or there is some odd problem connected with mirrors, and we two children are frightened, but in a slight-amused way. But we must go to bed, and bed is in a strange, wire-arranged hammock, suspended under a sort of looping stairway, but there are loops under loops, and stairs under stairs, and we search and search, but gently playing games we crawl in clean mazes, with gleaming black-painted wires and polished wooden surfaces and milk-white walls, starkly dressed, laughing faintly. Second, Monday evening, before San Antonio, a greenish, flashing dream. My father (real father) and I are walking, partly down Dietz, and it's prematurely dark, with that dark clarity before a storm, Then there are flashes, and the horizon lights up, and a strange breeze blows, and Dad is anxious to get home, but I say, "No nothing to worry about." A band starts playing, faintly, and I'm curious because there's no school athletic event scheduled at Garfield, and the lights are oddly like reflectors from a stadium lit for sport. We race faster and arrive at 1221 which is strangely bare, open, and windy. Things are flying in the wind, and there is an urgency to turn the radio on. Dad fumbles desperately with the radio while I laughingly close windows, but the green lights get brighter, and the wind grows to gale force, and papers fly about in the air as the feeling of oppression and tension grows.] [Up to 2 weeks out and I feel I've met no "travelers." The woman on way to Waco was some sort of speaker, with a definite day-by-day itinerary and a list of officers of her club in each town. Then in San Antonio the world seemed full of tourists, changing their minds about destinations, going long arduous distances, and seeming to have the flexibility of a circle tour. Particularly awful are "tourist-types," loud complaining husband-wife teams with too much luggage, too little time, no patience, and a Brooklyn nasal bite. Horrible.] [Funny how terrain changes with the city. EAST of Pecos it's hilly, with buttes and scattered plants, all gray and scrubby, with stretches of sand. WEST of Pecos it's perfectly flat, with thick growths of green plants. Then into New Mexico where the ground proclaims its readiness for spectacle by carving tiny canyons for tiny streams.] [Dave Crockett, Contractor, built sidewalks in El Paso.] Begin to talk with Vancouver BC lady at lunch, and when bus leaves we talk all the way to caves. Buy tickets and stroll museum, and down path to black-topped path winding, rock-bordered, into the depths of the cave. Many people waiting, and when the guide requests pairs, I make my way to BC and we're pleased with our own company. Wind way down much too civilized walk and sit in amphitheater in entrance, bat cave stretching off darkly under the table-flat roof, the depths of the walk curve out of sight to the right. Fairly faggoty Park Ranger ("Why don't Carlsbad Cavemen get their cocks sucked, instead of just jerking off") introduces us to cave, and down we go. As a matter of course the lead ranger plays his weak beam (or is the distance SO great) over the walls and ceiling, and we descent quickly, ohing and ahing where required. The "no touch" policy leaves us strangely isolated, as if we were watching slides, and the lack of physical discomfort (the cave is cool, but shirt and jacket are adequate) strengthens it. We speak banalities, and ignore the staggers of the old ladies and the loud brags of the two-day-stubbled man who "have been here four times and see something different every time." The cave is rough hewn and huge, particularly the iceberg. But then as we descend to the four scenic rooms, the sumptuous splendor of the candle-dripping limestone shocks and amazes. A huge ballroom, festooned for the richest Mardi Gras, is the King's Palace. Clean white chandeliers hang in inextricable profusion, a branch of one becoming the branch of the next, like strawberry runners, covering the ceiling with pebbly light and contrast-emphasizing shadow. The lights are well placed, some behind translucent drapery, some in front of stalagmite lacework, some behind stalactite pendantry. We're whisked at breath-speed through these rooms, which dispirits us. We descend and climb, only once the grade being so steep as to require stairs. As in Mammoth Cave, most of the cave is simply a CAVE without finishing work. But Mammoth has the extent that Carlsbad did not (enough for 7 and a half fast hours) and the underground lakes, plus the lack of blacktop paths (nearly always pressed places) and the plus of mostly WET formations. In Carlsbad 90% were dry, and they looked it. Gone was the impression, even if no change could be seen in 300 years, that there was something LIVING. The one wet rock in Carlsbad looked far more vital than mere slick wetness could have given. Through the 5 rooms were only another room and the lunchroom, roofed by what looked like time-blackened salt. I wasn't hungry, simply ate the cheese crackers in my pocket, so I had time to look at the cards and the rocks and the dining area. Cute kids wandering tight-hipped helped pass the time. Then we were off for the Big Room and I rejoined BC. The Big Room was unimaginably immense. Much of the time, due to huge monoliths rising from the center, and the unlit darkness beyond, it looked like we were going through separate corridors. Then second views of the same stone from the side or rear convinced me of the unity of the chamber. Here the individual hugeness dwarfed all other things, except where tiny grottos, colorfully lit, produced doll's theaters and fantasy fairylands on a minute scale. The cave was impressive in immensity and delicacy, but again the deadness, the lack of water gave the air of "done already" which stole some of the romance. Even the crystal pools were stolid, and, though clear, looked old. Immensities of ceiling height or hole depth were not appreciated --- people were 100 feet away on our trail and looked small, but no one was 500 feet away, to give the impression of gigantism. As surfeit set in (after only 2 and a half hours), we reached the elevators, pushed in to capacity, dropped at first, then rose to the surface. Back to the waiting bus and off to White City, through the beautiful mountain roads between there and the entrance, previewing the wonders within. A few minutes later the Greyhound to El Paso came along, and I climbed into the bus for a ride about which nothing was distinguished, since I remember nothing. Into El Paso at 7;30, and walk across the street to find that the Armed Services Y is, indeed, only for the Armed Services. Catch cab, with people to Cortez (one keeping the other, I'm bound) and to Y. Get in to be told there's no room, but wait a half hour, maybe a chance. I find by calling Greyhound that the next bus to Tucson is 12:30 (of such swiftness are decisions made), wait until too late to get into bag for El Paso map and Gray Line folder and phone just minutes too late for tour of Juarez. Look at map again and decide to take my OWN tour. Thank (ha) fellow at Y desk and walk luggage to bus station, getting weary doing it. Lock bag up and walk down Santa Fe Street, looking at slum squalor and carless, but child-filled, streets. Then dozens of parking lots proclaim the border. Cross the bridge by dropping the absurd two cents into the till, fret only a second about the thought of getting back, and into the sin town of Juarez. It must be a sin town because everyone must have had his car on that Cuidad Juarez street, calling out in softly confidential tones, "Hey, Joe, want a taxi? I know where to go." And in quick measure was offered my heart's desire --- and maybe they even knew what it was. I ignored them like a seasoned trooper, and also ignored the boys wanting to shine shoes, the sidewalk stall volumes, the hookers for the trinkety shops (though some chess sets looked good --- but for what do I want a chess set?), and a series of "Show's just starting" men, and one, clearly in English, "Want to buy some good pictures?" Some spoke and stood, others followed a few steps, raising their voices. The silent treatment was given by the dusty, coated dark creatures kneeling at the building side, holding hands cupped, or a hat, blindly out to any and all passersby. Pass what I assume to be government buildings, and the sin street is finished. I find myself wandering along a lousy wall, with drunks and kids wandering aimlessly. Turn two corners and figure to be going toward US, but wander a great while down crumbly mud sidewalks until I find that the blue placards on the buildings are street signs. Can find none until I see I'm on the Avenida 15 Novembre and discover I'm going east, not south. Cross street and retrack, but the street is still squalid and quiet; must be lousy living there. Back to center of town and pass the old mission, looking newly plastered, the old fence, then cross through the cheerfully tiled park, with central bandstand, and around to walk below the bull ring, which has small shops clustered around the bottom, making the whole appear commercial and nonethnic. Even the bullfight paintings were not particularly well done. Back to sin street and down to the bridge, seeing even plush tourists being entreated into cabs. Few tourists were on the street (imagine weekends), and the hawking was listless, the goods looked as if they never, not one item, moved. Miles of scraps, tons of figurines, pounds of silver, hunks of rock and bushels of combing equipment and scores of awful religious items, all being hawked with equal lack of enthusiasm. Decided I'd had enough and crossed bridge, upstairs, down ramps, up escalators, through corridors, past doorways stated "Declare liquor" and to fellow at ticket stand. Heard couple in front of me say "US" and when he said "Place of Birth?" I said "US" and I passed by, regretting slightly I didn't have the map in my pocket stuffed with jolting pornography. Past children and young adults running in and out of shops and saying goodbye -- could there be a 10 pm curfew? Looked like it might be necessary. Here, as in many large towns, cats roamed, howled, and chased tail in the streets. Back to station and to lamentable comments written elsewhere [After the fatigue I felt at sleeping on the bus between Houston and Pecos, then climbing through Carlsbad Caverns, then after reading the horrible Look article on the pathetic state of New York City's welfare spendings, the El Paso waiting room was not the place to sit. The older, still handsome, but gnarled-handed and worn-shoe Mexican with the pile of shiny black hair sat on the bench across from me, mashing his lips, and every so often leaning forward and spitting a yellow-green stream onto the mottled floor. His eyes were blood from lack of sleep, and his crotch was huge if he spread his knees out without putting his hammy hands in front of himself. Next to him, and giving him gap-tooth smiles, was a long-faced honey-blond woman who could have been very pretty had she combed her hair, cared for her complexion, or done something about her eye. She walked and sat with her left eye closed, and I thought possibly it was blackened. However, when she looked at me, both eyes wide, I saw that her left blue eye had been literally eaten away. What looked like white scallops crept into her iris. It was fishy and there was no black of pupil there at all, just the pallid, scalloped blue. She wore a thick wedding band and had a wrinkled, positively dirty maternity dress on, which crept far above her red knees without her showing concern. With her was an under-nourished blond boy with a scratch over his eye, who desperately wanted to sleep, yet his mother wouldn't let him. She kept telling him to stay awake as he lay his head in her lap, and finally when he literally snored in his sleep, she sat him up (knocking his senseless head so hard against the wooden bench that a woman across the way gasped, yet his eyes remained closed and his face stayed slack), and finally walked him off down the aisle. He staggered and coasted forward until she grabbed him by the hood of his jacket and stopped his forward motion. El Paso was definitely NOT a cheerful city --- but then possibly any border town would not be --- cross a simple bridge and men line the streets, offering taxis to take you to girls, boys, or small sensuous animals. This, still, coupled with fatigue, and discouragement at the Y being filled, and having to continue on to Tucson and another night on the bus, which was bound to be crowded, since these people must be waiting for something --- this will probably be a hellish night --- now 11:50 pm Wednesday. And of course I can look forward to Dave being OUT on Thursday, or not ready to receive me, etc. Cheerful evening.] and lousy wait for bus. I should have had dinner, since I believe I was hungry --- OH, yes, THAT was the time I went across the street to a Copper Kettle type place (after seeing memories to kill two hours) for dinner and watched lovely trio, girl who owned place, with charming accent and good plain face, commiserating alternately with pimpled pre-med who worked for an ambulance squad and needed money, who "brings out the mother" in the owner. On her other side was an old friend, young and plainly attractive, who stretched and laughed and talked and looked over at me, as if wanting an introduction to the possibly dark world that I possibly represented. A delightful dinner, served up by a fat lummox who had nothing to do with humanity. Bus finally came a half hour late, while I listened to young bride worry about the multitudinous trunks to which she had consigned her trousseau (not helped by women on bus who had to wait through day for three busses which carried her four trunks). Bus took off, and I slept straight up, pillow under head, all the way to Tucson, getting in at about 7.

THURSDAY, MARCH 14. Had a quick breakfast in Post House, cereal and rolls and milk, then called Dave and told him I'd take tour for day. Checked tour booklet and found tour that left Thursdays only, and called for confirmation. Locked trunk and got to Pioneer Hotel where I washed and fretted the fifteen-minute-late bus. Tours these days seem full of foreign ladies traveling alone --- BC, here was a little active, spry one from Belgium with close-cropped hair, and later the fat yellow-bangle-hatted woman from Birmingham, England. Probably all recently widowed, or retired, and seeing the world. Took off first to Saguaro Forest, and drove through, gawking at towering plants (50 ft) and learning later (true?) that arms are put out as a matter of balance. Ranger station has rabbits and squirrels feeding outside, and I draw sketches of desert flora to keep them straight. Am amazed that there's a decision about whether we stop at Colossal Cave (if it's only 45 minutes, we MIGHT as well stop there) and drive through more Saguaro than exists in the Park to get there. The cave is small, perfectly dry, of temperature 72. Is THAT why Carlsbad is 56 and Mammoth is, I think, even lower? The difference in amount of water? Colossal is strictly commercial, even to phony displays of robbers storing loot, ("I don't usually show this, but HERE is where the $50,000 in gold was dug from") but I could touch and tap and thunk and ring and chime to my heart's content --- feeling and rubbing and pushing and testing --- it was great after the austerity of Carlsbad, AND the rather rougher trail (put in by CCC) was much more natural, and the three levels were fun. Back to the surface to the complaints of the fellow dripping at the mouth, who wanted to hurry back to Tucson, then sat writing postcards and had to be led to the bus, twenty minutes after schedule. Long boring drive to Tombstone over highways (watched two California plates get nabbed for speeding) and saw a really, truly, DEAD town. Old men lounged on benches beside the hitching posts, and all the stores were perfectly empty. Heard the driver praise "Hungry Cuss" and knew everyone would be there, so stalled by going to the Wells Fargo Museum (more than 50,000 items, including 11 rooms of everything, models, clothes, arrowheads, keys, horseshoe tools, a wigwam, a burial chamber, stable, old cartoons, paper dolls, dresses, comb, coins, money, stuffed bags, birds and beards, bugs and rocks, trinkets, souvenirs, etc. etc. etc. Wander down streets on which all buildings have been torn down and get into Hungry Cuss after tourists left and listen to two authentic fellows at counter talking of guns and horses and weapons and their relatives as I eat the tasty ribs they wisely advertise. Finish, admiring the long-frocked beauty who served me, and out, desperate to do something. Avoid the "Biggest rosebush" and go to Court House, where three long-limbed jeans lead me around by the nose. Exhibits are still lousy, and I leave to get back to bus early. We drive past hanging posts so everyone can see them and pass in back of house where I can see huge trellised sea of green: the biggest rosebush. Doze off on the bus back to Tucson, as much as possible despite the loud old ladies goading their husbands. Back at 5 and call Dave Somers to pick me up at 6:15, and loaf around station till then. "I'm dirtier than I'm hungry," so we drive past his store and to his place, nice, and we talk and talk and finally I shower and get a shave and change shirt I've worn for 4 days (though the shirt I put on the next AM, Friday, I'm still wearing as I write this the following Thursday AM, 6 lousy days). As usual, he's oversolicitous, and we drive out to Merry-Go-Round (?) restaurant, a great idea with a dozen or so small ones surrounding a large dining area, but it's closing, so we have snack. It's 9:30 by this time, so it's back to apartment, where Dave keeps plying me with sex books, and finally even some juicy nude photos that start me off. We talk, then to bed, I get hard on and can't sleep --- hear him snore and toy with idea, then finally do it: reach over, slowly, and start playing with him. As in seesaw, when he wakes, breathing changes, he gets hard, I go down. He reaches over and I'm not there. He gets two towels and he comes easily. I'm determined, and lay about five minutes, pumping away, then come weakly. "What will my psychiatrist say about THAT?" "Who was I, Dick Stark?" Relieved, both of us to sleep by 12:30. (end book 4).

FRIDAY, MARCH 15. Up without word of previous night, and to his store by 8:15. I'm determined to loaf. Glance through a lot of sculpture books, and look at "How to Paint in Oil" and talk with his goofy female help and ogle his cute male help (from Astoria) and at 10 walk down to PO to check for mail, then follow poor map to the Tourist Information Office to get good map, and walk out to see hideous Garden of Gethsemane, a collection of melting plaster of Paris statues with lumpy noses. Walk back along warm uninteresting streets past high schools, get a haircut, see the Arizona Anthropology Museum on campus, then across to the Arizona Historical Society, a bore, but it had a clean john (in Arizona there's not much doubt what state you're in), then to Dave's about 1. We go out for lunch, and he has to get back, so I'm out to see the Art Gallery on campus, and the Reyes Catolicos Retable, rather good, and certainly encyclopedic. Out to wander the campus. The green-shaded walks, the smell of cut grass and the gentle sprinkle and pass of the watering spray hoses, the cheerful "Hello's" of students to students, the adorable males, perfectly straight, in the gayest trousers, the feeling of a pleasant, unstudied bustle with few books and much athletic equipment and party conversations. The large campus sprawls out and the fountains play over the dust paths produced by short-cutting students. Stop in for a Coke at the fountain, and the social life swirls around, marred only by the student help behind the bar --- some of the students have to work some of the time. But mostly it's cars and good clothes and clean lean faces. Back to the shop and we drive up Mt. Lemmon. The road is pleasant and already wind-blown sand-sculpture stands silhouetted against the sky. It's cool and windy and Dave forgot his jacket, so he bundles an old Army blanket around him and we wander through snow around picnic area and slop through mud. Further up, the wires have been down, and the lodge is darkly lit by a fire in the stone fireplace. Candles lit the tables and we nosed around, drove up further to the ski lodge, which was closed, then quickly down, debating when the snowball packed onto the antenna would fall. It lasted surprisingly long. Drive back to Café Molinas for Mexican food, and though the cheese and avocado tostados were tasty, the beef taco and the enchiladas were tasteless corn. The Molinas special, with rum, grenadine, crème de cacao, and cream was tasty as a soda fountain, and we left very full, since Dave did the ordering. Back to apartment to wash and change, then to the lousy little hotel bar where we meet Jim Weston and to the Corner, which had a nice crowd, and a crazy dumpy woman who accosted the policemen both times they came in to check goings on. Left about 12 and to bed.