Available Works in Progress
|Hope Bold||The Wiz Pit||The Bronze Casting Process|
|Paintings By R||Gurkha Cigar Ashtray for 10 Cigars|
|Two Brothers||Missy Flies|
|Night Rider Ralph||Confederate Flag|
|American Flag||Emily, a Study in Clay|
|Prostitution Bronze||God Bless the House of Cicero|
|Single Rose Vase||Study in Clay|
|Bail Money||Early Riser|
|Miniature Bail Money - Doorknocker||Compilation|
|Texas Flag||Bad Package Delivery Service|
|Full Throttle Hangover|
|Brother T-Max -- Always Packing|
|Arizona Night Riders|
|House of Ganem|
|Work in Progress: The Wiz Pit|
The Wiz Pit will be cast and made into a fire pit immortalized in bronze as it should be.
The most sacred place out in the Arizona Desert, probably a 100 year old plus tannery long abandoned. One of the many all-night rides the Club would roll to. This poem sums up its meaning.
At The Wiz Pit
Rest in Peace I strive to do
The oath performed, the sleeves are cut;
Then once more it’s time to roll,
Riders come by night.
Memoirs of a Wiz Pit
These types of phenomenon have evolved into today’s clubs and organizations such as Yale’s secret men’s organization Skull & Bones, early YPO & WPO organizations and the all women Junior Leagues. Even Mormon women have the Relief Society organized in the mid-1800’s now the largest all female organization in the U.S. and probably the world.
All very well, however some 1% of souls will not be defined by civil society or their day job. Rather, they seek ever more excitement even devious adventure or as the biggest asshole of the universe, Alan Greenspan would put it, “irrational exuberance.” Looking back over my generation, I can easily now see that Disney was the grand enabler of the 1950’s young male generation. Back then there were only two reasons any red blooded American boy would ever like Peter Pan. First, we all had a serious crush on his side-kick Tinker Bell with her pixie body poured into that tighty tight mini. Second, we literally wanted to be one of those Lost Boys.
Fast forward 30 years or so to 1987 and we have a gaggle of lost boy-men. Picture Kiefer Sutherland in the movie, Lost Boys. It was this type that became My Brothers, only a little more overtly psychotic sans fangs.
Delusional yes, but before you start to judge, listen up on one particular wild all night ride, in the early hours of the morning. A good brother was killed, he was a physician and at the funeral with over 1,000 people in attendance. His wife stated publically she did not blame the club for his death and warmly stated that for many years prior to her husband’s membership in the club he had been clinically depressed and because of the new friendships and brutal all night rides once a week she graciously thanked the club for giving her more great years with him then she ever had counted on.
The Wiz Pit for us was the C-pa-poo, a Navajo word for earth’s navel, the source of life. This concrete pit on the desert floor was our crucible, our Lascaux. An insightful person once said, “All men die but some men never live.” A person cannot feel more alive than on a bike at 125 miles per hour late at night/early morning, rolling down a 17 mile straight as an arrow stretch of blacktop out in the desert trying to beat an oncoming lightning storm on the way to or coming from a sacred site somewhere between Phoenix and the Mexico border. Three of those sacred sites you will learn about now.
The Wiz Pit, Ralph’s and Feces Mountain. The Wiz Pit is really nothing more than an old 1930’s era three-story rusted out metal factory with some roofing and corrugated metal siding still loosely clinging to the building’s steel skeleton. Ralph’s… well Ralph’s is just one hauntingly spiritual place. And, Feces Mountain is an impressive 1 ½ mile long x 90 ft. tall mound of the most finely ground cow shit baking out in the Arizona sun just sitting there waiting to be packaged into bags of fertilizer destined for some Home Depot. Giant bucket loaders work 24/7 shuttling this fine shit from the base of the mountain to big hoppers that sift the greenish brown (gold dust) for final bagging.
By fire’s light, all members standing in the circle around the pit’s edge would slowly pull from their jackets, one dirty medical examination glove and proceed to slowly stretch the glove over their right hand with the index finger pointing upwards and with the other hand bring forth a small tube of petroleum jelly. The Sargent at Arms (SA) with sympathetic expression would look the new prospective member right in the eyes, firmly hold his shoulders and shout right face then all but the prospective member would right face forming a single file circular line facing the prospective’ s back side and then just for a split moment, a horrid thought of personal violation would run through his mind. Then all would roar with laughter. The next ritual was to now perform the circumcision, i.e. the removal of the prospective member’s jacket sleeves. One whack at a time from each member, rubber gloves and lubricant put away by now, big wicked looking knives appear followed by whacks at the sleeves, congratulations and special club hugs.
The pit itself was probably designed to soak cow hides. It was approximately 18ft. in diameter and 15 ft. deep with a large pipe drain in its side wall at the bottom. The pit was home to at least five large Diamondbacks as well as other critters that would fall from the pits edges. The pit contained old tires, barbed wire, whiskey bottles and timber. The snakes would always quickly retreat into the drain pipe when the ceremonial fire was lit. The only real losers were the pigeons in the rafters that would eventually lose consciousness because of the heat and smoke from the fire. On occasion it would literally rain 2 pound birds.
The next ritual of the patch-in ceremony is for all to exit the structure and walk 50 yards or so into the desert. Destination- a lone grave with a very old cross. Any letters on the cross, long ago blasted away by wind and desert sands. So, we named this sacred place, Ralph’s. Once all club members have regrouped at Ralph’s, the newest brother was expected to stand at Ralph’s feet facing the cross. As the members took a seat in a circle on the ground surrounding Ralph’s grave, the new member was encouraged by the clubs Pres. and V.P. to spew forth all the wisdom that he could muster---this wild pontification soon usually turned into his deepest sardonic views on life and of course was immediately rejoined by various demented opinions in support of such views always supportive and funny as hell. Lots of jokes and gut-wrenching laughter.
Then all hyperbole comes to a halt and for the next 3 minutes we all listen for what Ralph might have to say. Years ago I distinctly remember getting an impression just seconds after one of the more narcissistic new brothers had spewed some woe-is-me crap over Ralph’s grave. A distant gravelly voice came into my mind, “Hell kid, having it tough is having to learn how to roll your own cigarettes with only one hand, pulling the little strings closed on the tobacco bag and not dropping it from the jumpy horse you are sitting on. Now, that’s tough! So stop your whining.” For me, at least proof positive that Ralph was listening and has a cool sense of humor.
To close this hysterical session, the S.A. now standing would command all to bring forth their weapons mostly Kimber 45’s and then with a hearty “Uno, Dos, Tres” all would fire three rounds into the night sky one second apart in show of our respect for Ralph who is now on permanent duty at the pit. After all, what does it really matter anyway if 60 or so hot little meteorites fall to earth in this vast desert place.
So, for the last two (2) hours since arriving at the pit and Ralph’s, the new brother has been keenly aware of a monster storm-front creeping ever closer to us as we stand unprotected, just loitering at Ralph’s grave-side. The S.A. will normally wait until the first volley of the storm hits us. In Arizona, the first volley of a monsoon always means a bitch of a sandstorm stinging face and all exposed skin (imagine crushed sea salt) projectiles moving at 60+ mph. Then, only when visibility was down to about 15 yards, the S.A. would give the command, “Men, back to the safety of the pit.” Safety! Hell, what safety?? 50 mph sustained winds, dust and loose rusty, sharp edged tin siding slapping like crazy against the buildings structure. Oh, and as if lightening would never strike a 30 ft. tall all metal structure situated 20 miles from the nearest other high-point. Now back into the “safety” of the structure, the S.A. would wait until at least the 3rd close pop of the lightening then order all to roll-out to the Feces Mountain and through the gauntlet.
All would head back through the maze of twisted metal and dead pigeons to the bikes. Almost without exception, the new brother would yell to us wait! What? Roll out? S.A. would yell back over the deafening noise of slapping metal siding, “You did not think it would be easy did ya?”
Gearing up the old timers are pulling out old crappy rain gear from stinky garbage bags down right unsanitary rain coats that an old tuna fisherman would refuse to wear. At the same time, the new brother is all suited up dawning his rather new Harley Davidson pearlescent rain suit with reflective silver trim and bright orange HD cuffs and collar.
We all roll out; cross winds are gusting at 50 to 60 mph now sandblasting both chrome and paint. Lightening flashing and popping at 4 second intervals. Time and motion become one as we approach Feces Mountain and the entrance to the gauntlet. That mile plus stretch of wickedly narrow 1950’s vintage blacktop that will tonight only give up its secrets for each rider as he rolls through dip after dip after dip, ravines really because back in the day the state of Arizona could not afford culverts for 3rd tier county roads so they would just pave through the bottoms of the dry washes, most of them were 5 ft. to 20 ft. deep by 40 to 80 yards across.
Of course, on every patch-in run we are all thinking this is flash-flood season. I hope to hell we beat the heavy rain that is rolling in from the south as we just hauled ass north. Even 12 inches of debris laden flood water is death to a bike. This particular stretch of road was made even worse because of the potholes caused by annual flooding. These low places would never get patched, just graded over a day or two after a flash flood.
Now inside the gauntlet, visibility is about 20 yards so think of a shit storm in a 20 mph school zone one half mile long and you will have it. Fast rider or slow all who enter instantly start to gag on that special formula of cow urine and powdered dung. Eyes burning and starting to itch like crazy, running nose, khaki green grit sticks to teeth and nose hair. Throttle now slippery and so is the road. However, the one positive is you are fully alert; sinuses are wide open due to just having the equivalent to (10) ammonia capsules cracked open right under your dirty nose.
A gauntlet experience is surreal, the loom of stadium sized lights from the shit factory fill the whole environment with refracted green-gray light. Turner’s oil painting titled “Snow Storm Hannibal and his Army crossing the Alps” comes to mind. The brothers riding ridgeds (a bike without rear suspension) will have back pain for the next 2 months beginning when their bike drops to the bottom of one of those bottomless potholes no one else except the rider will ever hear that spontaneous profanity reserved only for that special unexpected lower back pain, “Fuck….A…Duck!” Bikes now are completely encrusted on one side by crap laden winds barreling down through the washes, while over-heated Harley engines bake the stuff into a mold of your motor.
Standard operating procedure is that the pack stops within ½ mile past the Feces Mountain to collect members and do a head count. On more than one occasion, the Road Master and V.P. have headed back into the breach to assist a member who for any number of reasons did not make it through.
All re-group at the old Circle K in Maricopa, Arizona. The time is now around 1:00 am and the day is young. When, after an hour of drinking huge amounts of whatever it is that quenches scorched throats, eating powdered doughnuts and in between hearty laughs and if you can believe even more bull shit, the newest brother again utters, Wait! What? A second after the S.A. says “Ok boys, let’s roll to Scorpion Dam and stomp the wholly hell out of some arachnids!” But that’s another story for another time. You might see now why I had to immortalize Ralph and the Wiz Pit in a work of bronze.
P.S. The Wiz Pit was dis-assembled by some salvage company who shipped the steel to China. The pit is covered over but Ralph’s grave still abides.
Be well and rail against the greedy bastards on Wall Street!
|Work in Progress: Gurkha Cigar Ashtray for 10 Cigars|
|Work in Progress: Emily, a Study in Clay|
Client: Joseph Cicero
|Father and son deep relief imbedded in flag||Joseph Cicero and son|
|Work in Progress: Study in Clay|
|Work in Progress: Early Riser|
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