Hi, I’m Pete Beatty. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I am working on an MFA in creative writing at the University of Alabama. I write, edit, and teach. You can hire me to write things or edit things, or just write to say hi, at ptbeatty at gmail dot com.
observed: woman on a phone call via bluetooth, whispering mostly, as follows:
no … over the winter?
hell no no uh uh
“CASH 4 SMELLS”
New Orleans May 2017 Old car in old garage worked on by old people everything is filthy except for the car which has a doubly spotless white novelty place reading ASK ME TO TELL YOU ABOUT MY GRANDCHILDREN
Haleyville, AL site of the first 911 call
1: What’s your last name
2: [says last name]
1: with a D?
2: with a P [spells last name]
1: That’s … that’s Sanskrit … that means something in Sanskrit
2: It’s a Czech name
1: [not fazed at all, keeps talking about what it means in sanskrit]
January Cleveland dunkin donuts
“Reincarnated as a parking lot”
Cleveland winter face: Looking like a pet went to the bathroom in the house and or you have bad indigestion
Nice older middle aged people having polite catchup conversation They ran out of sports to talk about and went quiet
Carrion birds adusting their feathers like poorly fitting funeral suits never much worn
calmly stepping aside to let my car through, returning to the roadkill in the mirror
How the handsome man can mislead
Lamar ave outside Memphis
Low slung pregnant pitbull chilling on the tarmac of the gas station
man in a grease stained polo buying Gatorade and condoms
stopped to use the bathroom in Clines Corners New Mexico, the grass was a pale mint
Prices on signs like holy temperatures
Stumpy red mesas squinting into the morning sun with me
Cows finding the shade cast by a casino billboard
cleveland june 2017: totally professional looking middle-aged lady wearing nice clothes and pristine air jordans fast asleep in a chair outside this coffee shop at 11 am. little kid selling candy walks past and she wakes up and produces a cigarette from somewhere in her hair
nashville may 2017: putting my bike back on my car after attending a triple-A baseball game. i had parked the accord in front of A Around The Clock Bonding (in the twilight-length shadow cast down the hill by the TN state capitol) i parked there because there was a dude from the bail bond place tailgating, or maybe just grilling, on a tiny stumpy grill in the tiny parking lot and i felt like a sort of smog of domesticity, felt the implication that the grilling bail bond guy might be hanging out all night so my car would have company. anyway i ride my bike the wrong way on some one way streets across some active train tracks past barstruants then back to the interchangeable bail bonding district dribbling out of every large legal facility. i left the game a little early because i wanted to get to this motel an hour north of nashville but i wound up stopping at the wrong motel anyway. the hassled, fried looking dudes finish parking and one of them kind of reels out of the truck and says are you from ohio where in ohio i’m from mansfield and i said yeah dude Mans Vegas I’ve been there and Cleveland I’m from Cleveland and he said the roads up there are seriously and I’ve never and They’re super fucked up Like for real and he was straightening out a bushel of five or six loose cigarettes and his eyes seemed to roll like billiard balls but he nodded soberly and went into A Around The Clock Bonding and I drove to Cave City. Omaha Storm Chasers 8, Nashville Sounds 3 (11) WP Bobby Parnell LP Simon Castro
idea: exercise to the point of spiritual exhaustion every day
to do list with one uncrossed item:
pretty detailed handwritten directions to offsite parking at ATL airport
Eric Ravilious made pottery?
some scrabble scores
some library call numbers
a bunch of to do lists with the same thing over and over again moving up and down depending on how long i have been putting it off
intermittent proof that i am working on writing and not just pretending to be in graduate school
I have got a dispatch for you Horse lathered and rider panting hard enough to bust hearts from haste
Here is the dispatch
This world has got manure for brains
Our skulls is dunged lavishly Spaded carefully all over uncleared stumps and bankrupts and exploded boats and houses what fell down before you even sat in them a single day Our Cleveland is composted more lavish than royal palaces
I wonder how much skulldung they have got up in London Paris and Philadelphia I would like to see every corner of the world weigh out the manure in our beanpots and seen who had the biggest heap
Permit me to news-paper for you scenes what convey the brawny uncouth odors smoking from our ears
As soon as we Americans had got the slipperiest of holds on the working what a steam engine could do we turned them to our two great pastimes The making of money and thickheaded behavior Steam lent herself to both eagerly Steam factories set to the making of durables And steamed boats was near to ideal suited for both moneygetting and idiocy
For a long summer season of the mind the clean brushed young swells seemed to drop from trees in Cleveland And the coem of fall knocked the idea of racing steam boats into each one of their meager brains They did not lose their purses any come in the descent from the arbor But soon enough they would dump out those pocketbooks on the fitting out of a Lake Erie steamed boat
These boats looked the same to their masters as man and wife come to share one aspect across their two persons All were tall lank Decked out in what you would call the haberdashings for a boat Decks tidier than a childs heart Timbermasts raked back swinging Inkstain flags enough to be the making of a thousand diapers Diapering for every large and small rearquarters of strangers what come off the canal Their Inkstain colors brighter than any fruit or fowl you seen in nature No red cardinalbird Blue summer sky or Whitewashed bones could beat the colors of the Inkstain flags you seen on a steamboat ripping down lake Erie
Those what rode on the steamed racers did their best to match with those colors Womenfolk armored in a wildflower garden of calicoes under great laced bonnets like the prettiest single cloud dancing The menfolk were only a step behind in costumes Great sharplined suitclothes under fresh straw with ribbons what a boss Catholic priest would have been sheepish under
Put all that in your minds eye and set the folks to chatter and gay laughter Then set it to slashing across Gods great washbasin five miles or more in an hour You had got the general sense of what a steamed boat race done to an imagination
Now of course I am speaking to you of the general s__brains of my Cleveland and you are chiding me Medium Son It is true that diapers would be more useful than a flag And yes boats have more sober uses than racing but people have got to have some type of idiocy to look on Otherwise the river of days were grim paddling How will this come to a true s___brainedness
Let me complete my thoughts about the steamed boats if you would not mind
RIP oakland-A’s colorway yankees hat, purchased at one of the ubiquitous hat and sneaker stores on 5th ave in brooklyn, oct 2015, lost at sea sept 2016 somewhere near bogart, georgia. i bought you on the weekend two good people got married, and i left you on the roof of my car while driving away from a raceway minimart. preceded in rest by size 8 1935 cleveland spiders hat, survived by many brothers and sisters. i commend you to your rest.
disclaimer: it’s 1836, big son can talk to wolves, the wolves pretty much just swear at him, the inkstain is the united states, the narrator is big son’s brother
Big Son he rode out often some like an explorer in search of navigable waters He werent canoeing after the passages to the Orient or the cities of Cibola but for something to do with himself Some significance to prop him up Big Son were not much for contemplation He did not do well in quiet reflection or solitaire On these cutting outs he were often riding out to talk with the wolfs He cared for them after a time Cared for the socials
Now one such instance Big Son come back from the wolfs smiling Even the bay were grinning He told that the time of this occurence he were faced off with a special bold and cussed wolf Not content to whisper contemnation from the safety of the shadows But to step out into Big Sons clearing and denounce him in the open Saying in his wolf way F this and F yours and G D your Inkstain America and such I never heard any wolf speak so it is down to the honor of Big Son as to whether any of this were ever said or heard or drunk up into a dream
My brother he said I seen the line of civilization marching across the land like a great leech as wide as half the world.. But more inspiring more democratic than regular leeches This were the very jaws and teeth of the inkstain and it left back a type of slime or grease after it And he told how as it come forth everything went more orderly, more likely behind the earth come greener and trees stood up military dress The leafs got themselves more orderly
My brother said then right in the mist of a terrible wolf sermon the line of the Inkstain The big long leech swept over that creature and his whole aspect temperanced The wolf seen the light of mans reason Said to Big Son Mister I must apology for my nature I am a wolf I cannot do any other wise but I do appreciate coming into your Inkstain keenly The wolfs teeth cleaned up Gone from piss yellow to hotel linen And that wolf he danced off back to his proper place in the cheek of the wood Where Big Son could hear his curses take on a more cheerful tune Still curses and scabrous but more in the type of a proud drunk boast than the Dog Dockstatter line of talk
Big Son even in the teeth of such portents he had an eye for another interview To know if the big leech of the Inkstain herself had any talking in it Now that she were burst out of inside the maps and minds of her citizens So he rode out after the sweeping line of civilization and barked Hallo.. Hallo.. How do you do.. My compliments Fine to be here in the cool of the woods and out of the sun.. and other bowing and scraping He turned the big bay up to where the Inkstain trucked westward He and the bay danced between trees along the very frontier Half in a nation and half out And he felt a worm up his backbone Like a wash of whiskey but nothing in his mind at all Although his eyes did blink some He said he called out to that Inkstain And all he heard back was his own words But scrambled some like light off broken glass
mostly putting this here as a proof of life shot for myself when i go back and ask what was august 2016 like
places i bought gas
(noteworthy MLB relief pitchers born there)
Baldwin Park, CA (mike munoz)
Brawley, CA (sergio romo, rudy seanez)
Colorado City, TX
Deming, NM (wade blasingame)
Gallup, NM (willie adams)
Memphis, TN (george sherrill)
Newberry Springs, CA
Ozark, AR (mutt williams)
Tucson, AZ (tom wilhelmsen)
Tuscaloosa, AL (brandon medders)
CLEAVE to Jehovah your God.
in the way of dramatuss persony the mainest of the players is Cleveland herself and from whence that name derived Truly it is a disappointment to myself and others that the city were only called after the boss Connecticut surveyor who up and fled east as soon as he sketched out the mere bones of a place But we might skip past old Moses Cleaveland as a dead father and a father lacking grit at that and examine his name
I looked in Websters and it tells to CLEAVE is To stick to adhere to hold to In the Psalms bones cleave to flesh Men cleave to wifes Most names come from the days of Saxons and Angles and signify the trades what men of those days held
So a Cleavelander was a man who attached himself firmly to land or maybe the land the dirt attached itself to him This Our Cleveland is the cleaving together of Cleveland and Ohio city The Cleaving together of a people into a settlement The Cleaving of an Inkstain on the map out of a million lives.
Thou didst CLEAVE the earth with rivers.
Already I am beside myself because Websters book give two meanings of Cleave and the second one misbehaves Now for a word to have two meanings that is squarely in the nature of words for example LAND could signify any number of related ways The earth itself The people or nation who work that earth Also a person could LAND on their rear end if they was to fell from a tree.
But where the confusion enters is that CLEAVE has got the second sense To part or divide to split or rive To open or sever by force Cleveland is Cleaved Cloven Cleft by a river The Cuyahoga.
I am not a scholer of tongues and I would like to speak with one Where might I write to them because these meanings seem to be entirely at war with each other What might it signify to be named Cleaveland in this other meaning of it To have as your trade the breaking up of lands and peoples I suppose The Cleaving of an country out of what come before.
A position regarding names.
At the bottom of every matter in this history I find a quarrel Even in the meaning of the name of the place Thought on the two Cleaves and tried to reason out how to break up is the same as to stick together and the only honest example I get is the BRIDGE itself That bridge meant to Cleave us one way but Cleaved us the other And then the Second Cleaving resulted in a Third which was mainly the same as the first intended
I consider that the Bridge War of 1836 as a whole was about the condition of being kin Of being together Of coming out of one womb without any politicking in the matter and the discontents dammed up behind that Do not mean to trouble this telling with poetic talk but this notion come to me That we all come out of a womb and we only move farther apart That womb is as close as kin get and you spent the rest of your days with one foot going back toward it and the other heading the opposite direction until you in the end Cleave yourself.