The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Two: The Intruder

30 12 2009

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Two: The Intruder

The stranger sits on a log. Eating. Rabbit on a spit over the fire.  The dog is curled up next to the stranger. The stranger offers more meat to the dog. The dog declines.

The stranger laughs. “Eaten enough, General?”

The sad sleepy eyes. Look up at the stranger.

“Hell of a country we’ve found ourselves in. Ain’t nothing like Virginia.”

The stranger ruffles the dogs ears. Picks up a metal cup. Sitting by the fire. The stranger pulls his fingers away. The cup is too hot. He grabs a rag nearby and picks up the cup. He sips on his coffee.

“Sure wouldn’t mind a biscuit, General. Nothing like home cooked food.”

The dog raises her head and bares her teeth. There is some noise from a nearby woods. The stranger grabs his musket. The dog rises up. The horses, tied up nearby winnie. They pull on their reigns. Out of the darkness of the woods a large black bear appears. Fearless, it walks towards the camp fire. The stranger stands up and lines up his sights on the bear. He pulls the trigger. Nothing happens.


The stranger reaches for his knife. The dog tears off towards the bear. The bear rises up on his hind legs. General circles the bear several times. Finally the bear falls back on all fours and retreats back into the woods. The dog returns to the stranger. The stranger kneels down and hugs the dog. The fire spits out sparks. That sizzle in the snow.

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter One: White

30 12 2009

I”m beginning a new project. I’m not sure how this is going to work. I have this idea to mix visual and the written word. Well, thats nothing new. But I want the piece to be rather small. No War and Peace. And yet I would like it to be somewhat ‘novelistic’. Not the graphic fiction I have seen. I want the images to be more removed. Not shadowing the fiction. Like a visual image of the words. But rather like the stage where the action appears. Like the mind where the imagination plays.

This particular story begins at a time before the American civil war. Slavery is still legal in the southern states and it is legal for owners to pursue their runaway  slaves into the northern states and take them back south. The only safe refuge is in Canada. Men who pursued this property were called bounty hunters.


The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters
Chapter One: White

The page is empty. The mind is lost. The snow is falling hard. Lightning strikes through the haze. White in white. Early in the morning. A horseman appears on the ledge of a hill. Pulling a second horse behind him. A dog. Lab. Bounds through the snow behind him. Winter. A cloud rolls out of the animals’ mouths. The rider’s hat is tied on his head. A scarf is wrapped around his mouth. Close up of the rider’s face. Chiseled masculine features. Eyebrows are dark. Eyes deep blue. Handsome. The dog barks.

“You smell dinner, General?”

The dog runs, leaping through the snow. The lone stranger takes out his musket. Puts in powder and a ball. The general disappears in snow. Then appears. Disappears. A rabbit leaps out of the snow.
The lone stranger smiles. His teeth are white. Places his musket up to his shoulder.

He pulls the trigger.

A crack opens up the quiet of the day. Red spits out into the white.


24 12 2009

Its Christmas eve and I’m not sure that I exist. When you die is that the revelation. I was here. Or… So much noise around me. I can’t hear. Sometimes it feels as if I’m in a packed elevator and I’ve forgotten to choose my floor. And sometimes I have this awful craving to be 23 again. Make the same mistakes. Be just as miserable. But have that lovely feeling that its okay to put things off. I’m not sure what I’m working on next. I have what I call a jazz novel. But I wanted to illustrate it. And then I have a few story sketches that I outlined for a possible comic strip with my brother-in-law. That’s looking very dubious. He’s just too busy with other projects. I would like to illustrate these pieces as well but try a different style. Like Julien Picaud. All of this requires a commitment of time. And I love doing the work. But it all seems so self-satisfying. I’ve always believed that if you were going to write or paint or do anything creative, you should have an audience. Otherwise it was just masturbation. But my head is exploding. And if I don’t work I get depressed. Its like an addiction. Something my brain has gotten to enjoy. Is it really a good idea to keep feeding the bastard? Sometimes Bob Dylan pops into my dreams. He doesn’t have much to say. And he’s always dressed shabbily. Other times (not so frequently since  he died) Pierre Eliot Trudeau appears. He’s always disappearing into a snow storm. I’ve never been visited by any religious figures. (God never makes an appearance. Not even a trailer.) Nor old girl friends. And I have to decide what to do. Maybe I’ll go see a movie with my wife. Or my girl friend. Or my girl friend’s mother-in-law. Too many choices.

The Saints of Jazz – a cover

18 12 2009

Well this is it. My cover for the book The Saints of Jazz. It is the layering of three faces, Dinah Shore, Nina Simone, Anita O’Day and Ivie Anderson. I think it turned out rather well. Now I have to find a publisher or some way to wave the flag in public. Maybe I’ll send it to Bob Dylan. (A remark right off the top of my head. Probably because I’ve been listening so much to his last 2 CDs which are wonderful.)

Ella Fitzgerald

12 12 2009

Ella Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996)

A brown eyed girl. Unkept and notoriously shy. Sitting on a lonely window sill. Her knees under her chin. Poison heartache. Strumming the pain with her nails. The heat pipes are growling. Her stomach. Harmonizing. Outside the drunken sun has stumbled. Into an alley. Looking for someone to blame.

Night juiced up. Dressed up like a paramour. Wooing the ladies. Who have their hands in his pocket. And their knees on the floor. Little Ella worked the horror show. Ran numbers for her uncles. Rumble in the alley. She could hardly breathe. Ella was kidnapped by the Sisters of Mercy. And placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum. No one knew Ella’s name. But they beat her just the same.

Ella’s mother died of a heart attack. After a car accident. Ella’s life was charmed. Her living room was the street. Her bedroom. Was her lover’s arms.

One day she stumbled into the Apollo Theatre. Sang two songs. A gawk. She had eyes for a bigger prize. The belle of the ball. How that lady could scat. I don’t know if she was happy or sad. Someone said if she knew. She kept it to herself. All she heard were Gabriel’s golden horns. The rush of the percussion. That low road that simple strife. Where she stole notes from the birds. And sang for her life.

There are days. When it seems that darkness. Keeps you sane. Keeps you from seeing the thief. That steals your time. But when Ella hits a note. Opens up her soul. It seems. The sun has been laughing. All afternoon. And you discover. Everything is light.

Billie Holiday

4 12 2009

Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959)

He keeps hitting me. What can I do? Keep waiting for something to fall. Something to stop. Always another blow. Apologies and knocks. Thank the dear Lord. When he’s had enough.

Floor boards creaking. With wind and with wear. Trousers slung over an easy chair. That old man wore his Sunday shirt. And that awful curse. Spread those legs, girl! Was all that I heard. Didn’t care that I was ten years old. Someone should have been there. Someone should have heard. That wretched curse and those ugly words. Baths in cold water. And hot mustard.

Given a pillow. In The House of the Good Shepherd. Where Jesus kissed the dust off her face. Didn’t stop that tear in her eyes. That itch. That lament. That cry. Because no one knows. What the night had hidden. In her thighs.

With a knife. At your throat. Grinning while you’re scrubbing. And the soot would pour down her throat. From the bastards in brown trousers. Around their ankles. Down on her luck. Penniless. She sang one night in a barge. Brought the house down. Surprisingly, Billie wasn’t charged.

There was a trombonist. A pusher. A hit man for the mafia. All of them loving. All of them angry. Get on your back! Spread those legs! When they weren’t beating her, they were leaving her. Love will make you do things. You can’t sing about. (In a song.)

American pianist Alexander Kelberine. Programmed his last recital with pieces. In minor keys and melodic funereal lines. He then went home. And took. An overdose of sleeping pills. Made Billie laugh. Put the bottle of wine back on the shelf. And wondered if he had worn. His best suit. Then wrote a song. On some postcards. Of southern trees. And strange exotic fruit.

When Billie died she owned 70 cents. The crowds in the street. Read her name. On the Times Square ticker tape. The church bells vent. And the bums in the alley explained what they meant. To hear her sing was to see what monsters and what fools we could be. Made you want to laugh and cry at the same time. A last breath. Like a southern breeze.