Page 1



Introducing the Region’s only Fashion Art & Literature periodical. Imagine this: You have in your hands the future.

We are a creative community with many notable artists,

Flipping to the first page you see an image you

designers, creative photographers, writers and we desire a

haven’t seen before, a photograph. The location is fa-

voice - one place to come together and evolve.

miliar, it could be your favorite bistro, or someplace you’ve seen on a morning jog or walking the dog. It

Recently, Arts without Walls director Angela Leet said that,

could be your backyard. The house in Old Louisville

“for the arts community in Kentucky to go forward, we have

that you went to a party once. Your doctor’s office.

to be made to feel uncomfortable.” Get ready to be, feel, and

The Brown Hotel, Aegon Building, Churchill Downs,

expect to be uncomfortable Kentucky. Kentucky, you are

Cherokee Park. But something is different. Some-

entering the world stage. Bravo! You’ve arrived in Black &

thing is definitely different. The clothes are clearly


recognizable as something someone would wear, but maybe not of this time, this place, maybe not even of

Founded by poet and photographer Bil Brown in 2010, Black

this world. You hold in your hand something worth

& Grey magazine fills a void. Creative talent in the regional

collecting, keeping, sharing, talking about. You flip

community needs a showcase. Writers need a place to write

the page, a few pages. A full page image of a piece of

freely, photographers and models needed a place to express

art you may have seen at a Trolley Hop on Market

creativity outside of the commercial evolution of the vari-

Street or Frankfort Ave. Maybe Mellwood Arts, or

ous “society papers”. The Courier Journal, owned by Gan-

even The Speed. But it is not on the walls, it is out -

nett, mass layoffs. Louisville’s highest glossies run by two

like the models in the locations you call home. Out in

or three photographers and a hand full of editors, most of

the world. Oh, and what a world it is.

which were not primarily fashion or artistic but journalists. Black & Grey magazine fills an inspired need. Is it for eve-

You have picked up Black & Grey magazine, a maga-

ryone? No, should it be? Ah, but the trendsetters, forward

zine of fashion, visual art, literature, performance

thinking movers and doers. They will make it “known and

and desire. You have picked up, perused the future

seen and talked about”, and not just in this Commonwealth.

of our community, the decidedly creative and definitive guide to the inner worlds of our artistic heritage

With the publication of Black & Grey magazine, each

and our future offerings. Oh, not just regionally, not

issue redefined, Kentucky enters the world stage of Fash-

just Louisville or Frankfort, Lexington.. The world.

ion, art and literature.

Black & Grey magazine works on the premise

As it always should have been.

brought to life over 50 years ago by a man named Leo Welmer Zimmerman, “That art should be seen August 13, 2011 Bil Brown. Creative Director/Editor-At-Large

and known and talked about, and that is the premise I am working on.” You will not find anything “keeping Louisville weird” here, we take this as a given.


Publisher Ninesixtynine Creative Director/Editor in Chief Bil Brown Cover Muse Rebecca Strother, Deatherage Designs Contributing Photographers Bil Brown, Matt Mayes, Fox Harvard, Jason Zook, Claudia Susana Featured Models Rebecca Strother Ashley Heishman Mika Kron Hannah Kellogg Ashley Brock Ashley Smith Simone Adams Courtney Blanton Amanda Kaye Limer Briquelle Hoppes Defense Mechanizm Lovely Agony Jessica Nalley Contributing Writers John Branscum, Fox Harvard, Bruce Burrows, Tamara Ikenberg Fashion Features Deatherage Designs, The Dandy Lion, Dot Fox Contributing Artists Leo Wrye Zimmerman (posthumously) Steven Anne Irwin (posthumously) Art Direction & Design Aesthetica Advertising and content inquiries should be addressed to : NINESIXTYNINE, LLC 6501 SIX MILE LN LOUISVILLE, KY 40218 (502) 509-2451























Gardend Hannah photographed by Bil Brown Styled by Courtney Blanton Jumpsuit by Ani at The Dandy Lion


dwella 25










Cl audia Susana MODEL SIMONE


l Ma derfu

Won @ a n sa dia Su u a l C e r: ment aphe Conver s e r g g a o n t Pho : Jeanette ĂŤla Olea odel Ma h t M Stylis & Hair : C irect D @ A MU l: Simone Mode


Sweater - Vintage Frame Pants - Love Brigade Necklace - AK Treasures Ruffle Socks - Strawberry Shoes - Shoe Dazzle Hat - Vintage 35

Coat - Ksubi Culottes - Love Brigade Tights - American Apparel Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell Belt - The 10 Spot


Dress - Carolina Herrera Gloves - Vintage Boots - Steven by Steve Madden Armband - Jeanette Converse 37



Bustier - Donna L’oren Shorts - MadRag Vest - Manslaughter Ring - Stylist’s own 40

Bustier - Donna L’oren Ring: Stylist’s own Shorts - MadRag Vest - Manslaughter Striped socks - Vintage Ruffle socks - Strawberry Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell 41











hey sailor! Fashions and Styling by Gunnar Deatherage Model Courtney Blanton Photography Bil Brown





A WRYE LIFE Remembering Leo Zimmerman by Bil Brown

I knew Leo Welmer Zimmerman as an artist first and foremost. Second as a friend, and mentor. Third as a community leader. Leo was a friend these last 10 or so years of his life. We met somewhere around 1995-96 while he still lived in his Ormsby studio across from the main house where his wife Marie resided. In the late nineties, he was still vibrant and intense. The old race car driver switched from one of his souped-up Ford Lotus cars and was consigned to driving his old black caddy “around the neighborhood”, he met me trying to print his massive memoir and inadvertently found a like mind. He graciously invited me to see what he was up to. His studio was filled with tinkers from his years as not only an artist, but an inventor. I, along with others over the years, tried to help Leo collect and distribute his mass prolific amount of work. In the nineties, I helped him print his 3,100 page memoir that he designed and layed out after teaching himself Freehand 3.1 on a Mac that his tenant and friend the graphic designer John Paul recommended. A few years after we met, I moved off to Prague, Czech Republic and various things happened to “Leo Wrye” (his moniker, named after the rye whiskey he so enjoyed. I moved back in 2003, to The Mayflower, and again found Leo across from my apartment - in his and Marie’s home of 50 years - this time I was just back from working in the film industry and starting a school in Prague, and I had a new family. An auspicious re-meeting of friends and fellow artists. From there, we picked up where we left off. At this point, he

had finished the memoir and was essentially done with it - it gave him no more joy. His new focus was these abstract vector illustrations he had created, “paintings” “murals”, wild abstract creations - to the tune of thousands of these scalable resources and pieces. He enjoyed the way the program and lack of memory redrew the art - animating it into vibrant colors - and amazing points of digital, generative work. I knew it was his master work. So did he. Now how to give this to the world. I set out to help him, I was technically savvy in the programs - having worked as a graphic designer for years pervious - and I also understood his vision, and attention to the process of the creation. I became his assistant in collecting these “paintings” and the intention was to make them available on the web. The work was laborious for two people. We would spend out long days sorting, developing ideas for distribution, and talking. Stories. Leo had them. Stories of WWII and the time thereafter - he had been left over seas because there wasn’t enough boats to take the GIs back, according to Leo, the GI Bill left him and others in Paris. Not a bad deal. Leo was proficient in French. Leo went to art school, but wasn’t hip to the figure drawing classes and underdeveloped sense of contemporary style that the official art school offered. He proposed an art academy to the then head of the Parisian Marshal Plan, notable Louisvillian newspaper mogul Barry Bingham, and he got what he wanted. Leo had inadvertently started the first abstract art school in English. Leo also recounted how walking across the Pier Lachasse (sp) he found an American screen printing kit, and got the idea that this


was a way for his french and American compatriots to reproduce their work. Even the entrepenuer in the young Zimmerman came out during this time, he tried to create a market for popcorn as a gourmet dish, but Bingham shot this down - saying that, “Popcorn was not needed for the reformation of France.” He may have been right, but Jean Paul Sarte and others Parisians were some of his customers and loved it all the same.

uted to his later Sluballs and other optical illusions. Leo was an artist-inventor. The Silicoil was a simple achievement, one that paid his bills for years and turned the artist into a businessman. One that could spend the majority of his days exploring art instead of commerce. Leo would rarely spend a penny, saving it for his retiring years, that of course never truly happened.

Leo also recalled his accidental trip to the Lascaux caves before the French government closed down the original location. This is where he decided that an artist isn’t so bad of a profession after all - these utiliitarian artists had lasted thousands of years, not bad. He and his new wife Marie would be a few of the last people to see the caves unencumbered by the pomp and circumstance of gallery artisans. Something else Leo would express a particular loathing for. He didn’t want his work shown in a gallery to people with bad wine and blue haired “art enthusiasts,” something he would carry with him. When the Speed Museum wanted to do a retrospective, he quietly avoided it, not returning calls or convienently forgetting that someone wanted his work shown. If it was something he had already done, he was finished with it, and he assumed anyone else would be too. Always looking for the next epiphamy. Leo was not a gallery artist. His one man show at his alma mater UK was a particular anommoly. The only other shows he had were in France with some of his Parisian contemporaries and early in his career as an artist. Although, he had run a gallery in both his carriage house and the Zane Street Arts in Louisville location. His art was, in his opinion, not to be consumed by only gallery goers but by everyone everywhere. He wanted to somehow raise the consciousness of art. Even his social and business endeavors reflected this perspective.

In these last few years, Leo would work late into the night on the second floor of his Ormsby house. The grand studio was now in disrepair, the roof had expensive repairs that were ignored mostly, he didn’t need it anymore. Our relationship became almost symbiotic. He would call me sometimes every hour. Fascinated by his own work, telling me of new discoveries, new epiphamies, new confusions. His work had become overwhelming to catalog, I tried to guide and soothe him through his own process. He was determined, but some things I could not do - and it was becoming difficult for him to do it himself. This was his work, not my own. We had never really settled on what it was that he was going to distribute, and he would change his mind constantly. He wanted me to be a partner and made me promise that his work would be available for all if anything happened to him. He wanted to sell it, 99¢ a version - a number he had gotten from Apple and iTunes maybe, read in his daily NY Times. No one else seemed interested in helping and for the most part left us alone, maybe simply because he pushed them hard away. His hermitage was of his own creation. I felt privileged to have been let in. Leo would help me now and again with money for helping him, but mostly, it was a labor of love and a shared vision. Art, his art, should be seen by all. Not everyone would love it, like it, or even care to understand the time and energy it took to create it - but it should be seen and Leo wanted this to be his legacy.

Leo’s most widespread artistic and inventive contribution to date is the Silicoil Brush Cleaning System, distributed by his Lion Company across America and Canada. The Lion Company logo was designed after German humanist, printmaker, engraver and theorist Albrecht Durer. The 16th century artist also created the very popular praying hands image that proliferates Christian culture. Odd assimilation for Leo Zimmerman, who was as “devout” an atheist as anyone I have ever met. In fact, the image of “Leo Wrye Hisself” that would adorn many pages of Leo’s massive memoir - which includes schematics for multiple inventions as well as art and layout plans of the many residences and studios he had over his lifetime - was also after a Durer illustration. The only thing I can think is the erudite thinker in Leo found solace in the mind of another multi-talented artist, and as a painter, I am sure he studied the perspective literature that was contrib-

It is not hard to imagine what happened to make Leo practically a hermit. The same Leo Zimmerman that founded The Society for the Arts in Louisville with a magazine he hand typeset himself with typeboxes from a middle school’s old letterpress. The vibrant artist that wanted the city to not be bound into an arts program funded by the elite Binghams and Browns. The jazz club in the basement of the Zane Street Arts in Louisville facility was the first place in Louisville that co-mingled black and white patrons - much to the chagrin of the Restaurant Association and other not-so-like-minded city dwellers. Leo would recant that his patrons would be ticketed by the police for being three inches from the curb, and that he himself was threatened many times for catering to those “darkies.” He would retort that The Society for the Arts in Louisville was a “private club”, that anyone could attend with subscription to the magazine and later newslet-


ter and did not hold the same rules as other local establishments. This worked to the advantage of the community. A young Cassius Clay would have his first taste of Jazz at AIL. Leo didn’t intend to be a source of controversy, he just knew that art in any form should be shared by all - no matter your color, creed or social status. At one point, he and his editors even wanted to take the publication to the rest of the country, “Arts in America” - a name which was later taken by another fine publication. One of his many stories included recanting a plan he unveiled at an “arts meeting” at The Filson Club where when it was his turn to speak he suggested that Louisville adopt a system much like Lenin’s USSR, where there would be pockets of artist education in every neighborhood throughout Louisville. In Cold War 50’s America, Leo’s seemingly communist comment caused and audible hush in the audience. He was never asked back. He for the most part never looked back. It was during this period that Leo found a crutch in rye whiskey, a silent battle that he would fight until his final years. Although, frankly, he didn’t fight that hard. The Society for The Arts in Louisville disbanded in 1963 because of “cultural exhastion.” Leo picked up street racing in it’s stead. Designing his own car. The Chimera, and later souping up two Ford Lotus coups, he was out to beat the muscle cars. With the Mustang engine in the light body of the Lotus, he often did. It was as if he were racing away from anything having to do with the arts. During this time, Marie and the Zimmerman’s only daughter, Zaurie, were doing the domestic thing. Leo admitted he was never really involved so much. Leo would say, “Art isn’t a commodity. It’s non-utilitarian, but it’s useful because it makes everybody grow. … Art should be seen and known and talked about. I’m operating on that basis.” Many times we spoke of commercial applications of art, sculptures as doorways as in his and Barney Bright’s collaboration for the Louisville Public Library - a massive sculpture now in the basement of the facility, murals in odd places - he and Marie in fact returned from France to do a series of his murals on the side of barns across American roadways for a particular pouch tobacco. Of course, when they returned, they were met with an initiative set forth by one particular first lady that made those roadside “advertisements” illegal. Leo was an entrepenuer after all, he saw opportunity. However, he did not feel that an artist should be confined in commercial endeavors. That wasn’t art, that had no value to Leo whatsoever. He of course felt that it shouldn’t have value to anyone else. Commercial artists and artisans were quaint, but lesser than what it was he and other artistes were doing. Of course, he also had his opinions about his contemporaries as well. He thought Jackson Pollack was a “hack.”

Leo came from elite stock himself. His father was a known local gynecologist and obsetrican. Leo, born in Pensylvania, grew up understanding social responsability from a gentleman doctors perspective. Privilege had it’s perks, when his father was in school in Europe Leo’s kindergarten in Vienna, was the original kindergarten. He said it was here he first came to understand art. When the Zimmermans moved to Louisville, they settled on Napoleon Blvd in the Deer Park neighborhood of the Highlands. He was a graduate of Male High School. With a brief stint at Centre College and then UK, he was an intelligent pupil and student. His brother was similarly an overachiever , and went on to work for Westinghouse as and executive officer. There was nothing in his family that would prepare him to be an artist. Leo’s father, from his Mayflower penthouse apartment, imparted this advice to his wife Marie, Leo was stubborn, and would never do anything he didn’t want to do. Privilege didn’t mean Leo wasn’t street smart, literally. After high school he worked as a delivery boy and raced his car around the Highlands. It was only when he came into a bit of trouble with the number of speeding tickets he had acquired that he decided to follow his doctor father into the military. The recruiter said the young Zimmerman should be put in the medical corps. Leo didn’t care to be a doctor like his father. Leo also didn’t want to fight or be fought, shot at or anything close to it. He took the job in the Army Medical Corps and was dropped off at Normandy after everyone else had fallen. He would never forget that day. The only television channel worth watching would be the History Channel, especially during heavy rotation on the European campaign. Private Zimmerman was eventually shot at. He and a few buddies volunteered to stay behind at Normandy while the rest of the troops made their way through the French countryside to Paris. They got drunk. A gun went off and lodged in Leo’s helmet. Leo was quick to realize his own work was overwhelming to most - even himself. Embarassment du choix he would say, too many choices. At the end of his life his reckless drinking and carefree attitude toward his body left him with little left but his sharp wit and heightened visual intellegence. He had had a colonectomy in his 70s that would keep him unable to leave his home, if nothing else, out of pride. Leo wouldn’t change his adult jumper, a painters smock and railroad train hat that was left over from a stint working on the L&N line. Leo would sit in front of his dual CRT monitors and wonder at his own genius, while Marie and housekeepers would try to keep the old Ormbsy residence in as best shape as it could be. He didn’t care. Prosterity was at stake.


I was unable to visit Leo the last year of his life. My own life took priority. I ran into Marie at a coffeehouse during a particularly sticky period of my life, and she said I should call Leo. I did. He sounded the same, except he couldn’t place who I was. His mind had dropped the ball. There wasn’t much I could have done to help him anymore. I guess it was just waiting this one out. Leo Wrye left us on April Fool’s day. It still seems like a joke. I wasn’t in the loop. I found out late. I didn’t get to say my goodbyes in person. He may not have recognized me, and it may have been for the best. As it was with us, I visited his

Cave Hill grave site alone. Just me and the old man, standing together one last time. No grave marker or headstone yet, just a map and a number and a new grave to let me know where he was. I sat with it, speaking to him audibly, to where the groundskeepers who passed by would have thought I was with someone. I promised him that I would do what I could to keep what he started alive. That his art would be seen, known and talked about. I am driven under the assumption that if the tome Lives of the Artists were written today, Leo Welmer Zimmerman would be a chapter all to himself.


photo by Michael Brohm November 4, 2003






SWEET IN COLOR prose & photography by FOX HARVARD

e-G-r-s-t-u. Gesture in goddess form. I begin an attempt to start my life anew; at least in gesture. My last crack in the glass of simply being interesting and clever has been left half empty, and needless to say, I shall avoid returning to the same mistake twice. My name is irrelevant, aged to 35 years and vitality is quickly becoming just a noun—not wholly true, but truer than most things I can say. Awoke at 11:03—eleven hundred in the AM—to a last-May missionary-girl dream, a burning day, and sweata-plenty. Molly was simply the most pleasant girl to sleep with (not to mention fuck), but that too is a glass half empty and for the sake of not varnishing sorrow, we shall not talk of such things. So says she. Yesterday I had a nourishing Chinese lunch—with noodles—smoked only a couple of cigarettes—with wild abandon—and then returned “home” for the first time in a long time where I gathered vast amounts of books and videos and kissed my good-byes. The weather lately feels more like Icarus than Mercury, and being such, has put some inspiration back into these bones. Yet I hate the heat, I hate the heart, and I hate this city. I say that I am serious about a trip to my Germany homeland, but we will see. Summer is positively radiant and hopefully, once again, I am Europebound. I do appreciate my friends though, what few true ones still orbit around here, and our foundations are strong but it is the cracks that bother me…ultimately it comes down to hatred of loneliness, says she, and I desire a couple while the world breeds only in division. So she says. Scenarios are exhausting as is the comment, and so it ended. a-c-e-i-n-o-r-S. Scenario in gesture. It seems quiet types have all the passion as I wait alone at night for someone’s god to talk to me.

Does she see me? Can she see me, and yet I can sense her honey arms and doll-hair all around me, all warm and flocculent. Halleluiah, I love you!, invisible as film when she knew we said goodbyes during the spark, but does she know ignition survives? (what we left on the waves has surely now been found by God). Sometimes, I really don’t care. It doesn’t mean that much to me anymore, as nothing is truly important…anymore. I am driving alone and I feel rabid valediction as I leave my hands for the angels to have. e-L-o-v. Love in gesture. 1975. 1976. 1977. 1978. 1979. 1980. 1981. 1982. 1983. 1984. 1985. 1986. 1987. 1988. 1989. 1990. 1991. 1992. 1993. 1994. 1995. 1996. 1997. 1998. 1999. 2000. 2001. 2002. 2003. 2004. 2005. 2006. 2007. 2008. 2009. 2010. 2011. The Messiah was such a decent person before I met her; back then we called her “Drandy”, for simplicity. Simplifying the gridlock gauge in her eyes, our world could probably find a wizened old man in her, though she was no more than twentysomething. And I can remember—to avoid alliteration, lucid as crystal—our last evening together. After all, it was only across from the bottlebrush tree patch near the shore, as we lay relaxed, like paradise sugar, beaming in each other’s adoration, glowing like holy kaffirs. I cannot help myself nor can I keep myself from her adulation. She is honey and kulfi. She is the girl behind the glass, above everything. She is her ever-presence and still intoxicating… I remember that evening of moral subjection and had no choice but to move back to the house, where we worked at fun and acceptance, since we were such special little cherubs with a blessed knack for fondness and fucking. What could possibly become of my love now? Maybe I’ll just ignore it. Be color my sweet. Be sweet in color.


















Bambi Deerhunter fondled the diamond choker around her beloved neck. So long and graceful. So swan-like. So about to be severed. The revolutionary rabble in Times Square crowd spat and cat-called. “Die celebrity scum! Eat it little rich girl!” It was like the nastiest blog comment board come to savage, snarling life. “Bambi Deerhunter, step forward,” growled the black-hooded executioner, emotionlessly. The slutty socialite gulped. She cried. Her long spindly legs buckled beneath her and she was on her knees. Her face filled the JumboTron screen, and her running mascara looked like two upsidedown oil slicks. “You’re in the right position to suck my dick!” a man in the front row yelled. Deafening, demonic laughter ensued. “I’m sorry. I still don’t even know what I did!” Bambi cried, her upper body crumbling forward. “Why do you all hate me? Why do you want to cut my head off?” Then she straightened up, wrung her hands dramatically and shrilly queried: “What did I do?”

Her whining was so ear-splitting, the crowd unanimously yelled “Shut up, bitch!” “You have done nothing! Less than nothing,” the executioner roared in reply.. And that’s why you’re here. And that’s why we are going to cut your head off.” The executioner pulled the heavy black velvet cover off the towering structure behind him. The crowd shielded their eyes in unison, then donned sunglasses and gasped; not a forced “ooohaah” like when the tacky bedroom set or cheap trip to Mexico are revealed to the finalists on “Wheel of Fortune,” but totally authentic awe. With the help of French Revolution re-enactors, the New Order had commissioned the construction of an authentic guillotine embellished with signs of the decadent times they were trying to eradicate. The guillotine was not only head-taking, it was also breathtaking; a great, gleaming, grandiose genocidal gem . The treasures of the soon-to-beheaded had been confiscated and then melted and sculpted into the type of death device Marie Antoinette truly deserved. Those scheduled to succumb to the sparkling slanted blade today, were more or less guilty 80

of the hapless Habsburg’s sins. Thorny vines of onyx and ruby were engraved into the solid-gold structure. The assassination art was made of many an outrageously-priced piece of jewelry ostentatiously displayed by starlets on the Oscars or one of the many celebrity-deifying entertainments that were now illegal under the New Order. The craft of acting wasn’t discouraged, but ridiculous awards shows were. It just wasn’t socially fair. And now, the victims’ bling would stab them in the back. Among the biggest, richest stars in line were Academy Award-winning super couple Jake and Figara Guerra. They were shackled and clad in rough potato sacks that hid their gorgeous, professionally trained physiques. Their three-year-old daughter Zinder was locked in a veal cage just like all the other of the doomed’s offspring that were eighteen or younger. Following the mass murder, The New Order would attempt to reprogram them, and if it didn’t work, they were slated to become slaves.

“Mommy! Help me! Fucking call someone!” Bambi screamed at Zelda Deerhunter, who was next in line. Zelda attempted to lunge forward, but was stopped and slapped by a guard. The JumboTron screens circling the spectacle made the image clearer to the crowds, which stretched all the way down to Chelsea. All cars except for buses, cabs and emergency vehicles were absolutely banned today. It was also a holiday and no one had to be at work. Some people chose to stay in their apartments to watch the executions or kick back with friends at a bar and take in this historical happening on television. BOXZ had bought the exclusive television rights. And there were no commercials. By now, every type of demeaning detritus, from soiled underwear to steaming toaster pastries were being flung at Bambi’s feet.

Through the glare, Jake, sweating and shaking, spied the emeralds from Figara’s favorite pair of earrings partially forming the leaves of one of the vines running up the side of the guillotine.

She couldn’t shield her face because her hands were cuffed behind her back, so quite a few squishy, used condoms smacked her in the face. Her eyes, though spattered with scum, sharpened their focus and her senses heightened as she took Following the mass execution, the New Order a careful glance at the executioner. Fur. That was planned to let the guillotine remain in the mid- white fur she saw peeking out from behind the exdle of the square as a monument to what happens ecutioner’s hood. She was sure she was losing her when excess goes over the top, and a threat that mind. they could hold another slaying ceremony if the rich and useless dared to step out of line again. “Consider yourself lucky,” the executioner hissed. “There’s no blood on the guillotine yet.” Jake’s attention turned back to the Bambi Deerhunter drama. When Bambi’s head was laid in place, she was suddenly calm. After all, she was the inaugural beEven though the executioner’s face was concealed, head-ee. That made her kind of special. Just a few it was obvious that when he looked Bambi up and feet behind, a line spreading half a mile of handdown, it was with disgust, not lust. cuffed, shackled celebrities stood glumly while heavily armed police made sure they kept silent. The 20-foot-tall death-dealer continued the con- An uprising was not an option. demnation. The executioner tore Bambi’s diamond choker “Bambi Zelda Deerhunter, you are a completely from her neck and hurled it into the bloodthirsty useless individual with undeserved fortune. We audience. They clamored for it like wild beasts.. have seized all your family’s possessions and it has been decided by the New Order that you will be The blade was released. Bambi’s head fell into the executed by beheading on this day. audience with a generous spurting of blood. You have thirty seconds to say your last words. “ 81




















As far back as I can remember, my family has been a family of walkers. There is a restlessness which haunts us, a restlessness which calls us from our beds, our lovers, our neighbors, our halfhearted attempts at stability and stillness. It has the shape of the dream of a foreign country, the shape of a war, the shape of the ocean, the shape of a deer waiting to be shot.

---an old man on his back porch feeding a stray cat a plate of leftover scrambled eggs; ---a woman throwing out her boyfriends’ clothes and, while he stands there half-naked, threatening to douse the whole world with gasoline and set it on fire. *******

It’s not just the men of my family who are walkers. The women are too. They walk their softness and their sorrows. They walk their shadows like dogs and sometimes, after there are harsh words or too much drinking, they walk their hearts like Zip locked bags of murder. They walk despite the inhospitableness of a world riddled with men with white teeth flashing in their eyes So we walk and it is only then we find that . . . because there must be better worlds, because those shapes weren’t what we were looking for they refuse to be cowed into stillness. They walk after all. What we were looking for was the walk in the damp mushroomy woods to pick wild itself, our feet clicking on pavement, snapshots ginseng and through the lumpy cow fields to wash flaring in the negative space of our eyes: the day off with sun. Walk to the clothesline to 100

hang damp shirts like freshly peeled skins, to the orchard where they weigh the small heavy bodies of oranges in their hands. The linguistic similarity between motion and emotion strikes me as more than an accident. ******* A walker. My mother. She is not a woman given to wild tales. She proudly declares herself to be “a simple country girl.” By this, she means someone who likes to grow okra and squash and do her own canning, someone who pencils in her eyebrows and isn’t afraid to plot vengeful murders as a form of therapy. As a girl, she lived in White Chapel, a small northern Kentucky town with as many gravel roads as paved ones. There, she had five younger siblings and because the tasks of parenting --burping, spanking, feeding, loving, hurting --- fell most times on her shoulders, she acquired the habit of walking. “I saw a house once when I was walking,” she told me near my tenth birthday. We were on our way back home in my mom’s primered 1973 Nova after having spent most of the afternoon picking through the aisles of Wal-Mart where we’d gone to buy school supplies. “It was winter, a few days past Christmas, and though it was only around seven already it was growing dark.” “It was over the hill,” she said, not glancing at me but instead staring steadily ahead at the road’s yellow line which was, Pacman-like, being eaten by the car. “It was there. I know it was. But when I tried to get close to it, it would disappear.” My mom paused, glanced at me to see if I, her usual confidante, was taking any of this in. She smiled when she saw that I was. “But you gotta understand . . . I wanted to go to the house anyway . . . just to see what was inside.”

After she married my father, my mother continued her walks. Neither of them could afford a car though they did have a large ungainly Schwinn they shared. Shortly after marrying, they moved to California where my father worked the irrigation system at one of the many fruit ranches that fill that part of the country. A devout member of the Worldwide Church of God, my mother would often combine walking with hitchhiking to get to church in Pasadena. It was on one of these walks that she was picked up by two men in the desert. They raped her. Shortly afterwards, she left my father and took Shirley Jean and I back to Kentucky with her. There, she bought a car with some money borrowed from her father. ******* In my sister Shirley Jean’s case, restlessness, the urge to walk, translated itself into a property of the mind --- schizophrenia. Her schizophrenia in turn translated itself back into numerous and fleetingly successful attempts to run away. Sometimes, she ran away to the woods where she set up eccentric camps of hotdogs, saltines, cans of tea, and her dolls. Once, she hitchhiked all the way to Arkansas and we received a call from a Primitive Baptist minister who said she’d burst into his church during services and announced that she had a devil in her. Before he could attempt to expel it, she was gone like a shot. Near the time when we would have to send her away to an institution for good, she began to brazenly stroll into neighbor’s homes and snatch loose purses and wallets from beneath their wide, unbelieving eyes, all for the purpose of financing trips to undisclosed destinations. What place was she trying to reach? Were there many places? Was there any place? Maybe she just wanted to feel the freedom that only lies between places for awhile,


where the Gulliver ropes of social ties are shucked to the sides and no one can call you sick. Maybe walking to places offers reinvention because when everyone “knows” you it is hard to remember who in fact you are.

night. According to him, there are crackheads walking around with coke cans fixed up as rock smokers. “Sonsabitches, their eyes reflect the flames. It looks like they got glowing eyes. You don’t want to mess with them. I see those glowing eyes and I turn around and walk the other ******* direction.” The only way I can reach him is to leave My father could never accept the immobility messages at his friends’ lodgings or the string of of modern life. His side of the family --- mountain Salvation Armies in which he periodically lives, or people and dirt farmers for generations back --- track his passage through the states via an eclectic was always between places: Arkansas, California, collection of messages from relatives. It’s as if he’s Illinois, Kentucky, and so on. As a boy, he’d spend a submarine on a radar. Father sighted: longitude days out hunting and camping, tracking for the 36, latitude 40. sheer joy of tracking, not caring whether or not he discovered a body at the end of his searches. ******* The stillest period in his life was in fact when he married my mother but even then he would go on The walking gene was strong in me from the his hunting trips. beginning. As soon as I was old enough, I took my After my mother left him, my father became dogs and headed for the woods and the railroad a drifter like his brother, Darryl. While he would tracks, dragging sticks I found on the ground, stop for the winter in cities that stay warm year- while the dogs snuffled and scratched at this and round like Corpus Christi or Sarasota, he would that, compartmentalizing the world into a periodic never stop for long. He’s spent time living for table of smells. short stints in most of the cities in the U.S., hopped I loved to walk away from everything I knew, trains and slept in hobo camps, spent the night in from everybody who knew me. With each step, Greyhound station restrooms, his head resting on I felt selves falling from me like sheaves of skin, a toilet paper dispenser. He told me all of this one leaving behind only spirit. With enough walking, night in his characteristic excited, rambling way with enough of the silence that accompanied over the telephone, when he was drunk and his my walks, I felt I became something primal or pockets were heavy with payphone quarters. archetypal --- far from that frail body who was “Hell, son, the other night I went to sleep continually getting into fights with stepfathers or in a field with a bottle of wine and when I woke up embarrassing himself in physical education class. there were these motherfuckers surrounding me Rooted in the very idea of walking is the idea with guns. I asked myself, ‘Johnny, what the hell of faith, that something lies beyond yourself that is did you do?’ But you know what?” He laughed. worth the trouble of moving toward. I knew that “Like a stupid sonsabitch, I fell asleep in one of one day, with enough zealousness and fortitude them paintball fields.” on my part, I would come upon a scene --- oh, it A beat later, he launched into another story might be in the middle of a cornfield or occupy about how spooky it is walking near the tracks at the turn of a creek or a stretch of railroad tracks 102

but regardless I was sure I would find it and this scene, this conglomeration of angles and colors, this thing built or not built, this thing lost or never even owned, this thing ancient or just being born would explain everything that went before. ******* I am walking. Other walkers pass me going in different directions. A long-haired man who looks like Charles Manson gives me a crayon picture of Jesus scribbled on the back of a McDonald’s bag

and asks for money. A woman at the bus stop with an extraordinarily sunburned face tells me that I remind her of her son, Jimmy, a longshoreman in Texas. I pass people walking dogs, dogs walking people. I pass joggers and bikers and tricyclists. I pass lurching drunks and stumbling lovers, I pass pilgrims in San Jose on the way to glimpse the Black Virgin, pass an Indian man who has been walking for eight years with his mother strapped to his back as a sign of spiritual and filial devotion. Right now, you and I are passing each other.











He believes he loves a kaleidoscope; the turn of her neck brings replacement, a new stranger to discover. Seven unopened bottles of French drinking water sit on the cement next to her. Two empties rock slightly in the breeze. Another, half empty in her hand, becomes lighter as she pours along the lines of her body, nowhere near her mouth. This is more than hedging against heat. Each bottle is a speech. Extravagance, decadence. Greed. He downs the last of his lemonade and crouches at the edge of the pool, watching the movement of her arm in the shadow stretched across the water. “Can I have one of those?” “No.” He nods. This voice he knows, no matter the face. The voice that makes him invent chants or quote Russian authors in his head. He turns his eyes from the scene and looks down the lip of the pool. That amazing sun is making jewels dance in the concrete. What are those? Like small pieces of broken glass, always afraid they would cut the bottom of his feet. What do they do for the concrete? He starts at the sound of the empty bottle on the patio and his head snaps up to watch the shadow. Dropping back on rigid arms, he turns his head so the sun will throw his profile to her. “You know, when I was little, my older sister took these classes after school. Which fork to use, books on her head, that kind of stuff. You know?” “Yeah.” Her fingers open the next bottle. “So?” “I was just thinking about it for some reason. Going to pick her up. My Mom came for me and then we drove over together and got her.” She smiles and her eyes dance under the sunglasses as she watches the sweat diminish on his back, as if the drops are moving away from her. “In the station wagon? Oh yeah,” she says, “that helped.” 112


She takes the needles out of her arm one by one. She sees no process, only events. You walk slowly, cover the edges of the room. The needles fall to the floor like straw. Tiny points of blood, constellations outside the vein and she says, “Inside me this is blue. Outside, light controls this, but inside me this is blue.” The humidity sticks to the walls and part of your mind strays long enough to wonder if maybe she is a mermaid. “I thought it was oxygen.” “No. Light. I am sure.” “How do you know? Like electricity?” “No. That is Science. I’m talking about Faith. You’ve heard about that, Faith?” “Sure.” You stop walking and she drifts cross-legged to the floor, beautiful little anorexic Buddha with river running to her wrist. “But still, I’m thinking oxygen.” “I don’t think so.” She smiles. The needles drop to the floor like straw and for a moment you think hay in a needlestack but know better than to say so in such company. “No,” she says. “I don’t think so.”





Je ph ssic ot a Nm Bi og a od l B r lle e roaph y l w y n










STATUS BIL BROWN There are other parts of Louisville besides Old Louisville, The Highlands and Crescent Hill. There are people living there and that is where they live their whole lives and you need a car to get around and your feet never touch the ground and you never talk to anyone unless they are working, and everyone is working all the time or not working and staying inside and not seeing anyone. And there are billboards everywhere and they all say that the unborn are alive and that hearts beat when there is no heart present and people see these and churches are run by relators that own everything out here. They hold prayer meetings to pray for you and talk about Obama. There is good in this, there are hearts in this, and there is a soul and it is not what you think because thinking makes you think politics are real and that hurts people, not what you think it is. The bible says not to sue your brother, but the preacher says, “she ain’t your brother.” So you guess it’s okay. And people eat in solid boxes called Italian and Mexican and Seafood fish, and at KFC and Yum! and never speak as in a coffeehouse never talk as if Starbucks was a crutch only to get to work not to get to working. No one is working and everyone is eating at and at and at

toward the common goal of uh. So the youth have an open mind and no matter how refreshing when the mind is open and the heart is open there is always Helter Skelter habberdashery and even in the name of Jesus or Ayn Rand. So when the flies come out and the birds come out and the ducks come up into your driveway and the cars all have motor oil and the lawns have to be mowed and the stores have to be convienent, which way does the sun rise which way does the moon spin which way does the bookstore close it’s doors. It is 10 minutes by car and an hour by foot and there are no sidewalks to speak of. Closed in metal and country music or Bon Jovi’s “Steel Horse”. I ride, cause I never once learned to drive. Funny as that is. No more goth than the next guy no more odd than anyone no more hippie nor hardcore no more tats than your dad and I still get the looks, the jeers, the oddly impotent stares when out here there are Klansmen burning cross-flamed porches in Fairdale. Do you really want do you really want do you really want? what? IF I close my eyes and dream of cutlery my fingers scrape across it without a trace of love or anything but it. Go to smoke outside and the sky is filled with stars and clouds and the moon is bright as any city light and every walk is an adventure and nothing is open past 10PM and there is a park and there is a house and another house and all the lights are on 57” TVs, WiFi locked down and an abundance of shhhh.


The little white house behind all of these houses has a cross on it and there are people there every Tuesday in that one room room and Mom calls and asks them to remember all the people that call her to ask her to pray. Some speak in tongues and others interpret, he says, and the lady that’s husband speaks like a preacher is a prophet because she dreams and interprets that as the voice of god.

Although the money isn’t there like the relators at Evangel and Bob Roberts and Carl Brown and other names of people rolling in it, they still want me to come and play sax, or my daughter to sing and they haven’t met anyone quite like this and the town is Elizabeth where they hail from. She was as Victorian but not quite as Victorian as that. It’s decided. Dreams talk.



vol. 1 number 2




Profile for Ninesixtynine

Black & Grey magazine Vol. 1 Number 1  

Black & Grey magazine is a fashion art an literature glossy.

Black & Grey magazine Vol. 1 Number 1  

Black & Grey magazine is a fashion art an literature glossy.