Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee

Staff Writer

BRANDON LEE

Straight From Hell Into The Kentucky Derby

cover illustration by William Pollard

Part I

Trial by Fire – Handling Snakes in Kentucky, Marijuana & The Inbred Court System

I was down from the mountains of Colorado, driving through my old home state of Kentucky with mild sounds of Bob Dylan playing the radio and the goal to cover a few stories for The Stoners Cookbook and one on the 142nd Kentucky Derby, all to make a bit of extra cash I planned on using to take a trip out of the country. But here I was, back to see that old ugly evil that existed here on the dark and bloody grounds. I was sure that I needed to lay low after all I had learned about true freedom in the mountain, otherwise some of these heady Kentucky bastards were bound to do me in. I feared some bad shit might happen.

There is something confusing about the political shift between Colorado and Kentucky, that rural stretch of 5 and 600 miles of Kansas Jesus Freaks just giving it away. Yes, the old bible belt madness, the untrustable law enforcement that had doomed me to jail on several occasions for light tokes on a joint, and a time or two having one or too many beers, among the other fucking greedheads who were sucking the life out of this country. . .

art courtesy Ralph Steadman

art courtesy Ralph Steadman

 I’d decided to go out for breakfast. It was about 7:30 a.m. in the small town where I grew up, when suddenly I was pulled over by the police and cited for not wearing a seat belt. He had me made. It was the damn custom designed sunglasses with round frames in a wild hippy, fire-orange color that had tipped him off that I smoked the reefer. Godddamnit. These fucking commonwealth flagsuckers- I knew this pig was eating the same sloppy shit they fed him years ago!!. It was the top of the month: Quota Time, High Ranks among the Boys on the Dispatch, smashing the hands of a southern writer-poet-artist and claiming it bold. . I was truly fucked. My hands were shaking. I knew right away this wouldn’t be pretty.

“Colorado, huh?” he said when I handed him the license.

“What are you doing with a Colorado license and a Kentucky plate? Don’t you know you have 10 days to change your address?? Is there dope in that car???”

“Yes. I’m simply visiting for a month. I’m here to cover the Cosmopolitan Decadence of the Kentucky Derby,” I said.

He assumed I was high on something. . .but it was too early, I’d just woken up to get some cheap breakfast sandwiches and write a clean and sober piece for the weed magazine about how to go into a comatose state on dabs for a straight 48 hours. No need in mentioning that to this fucker.

“Your pupils are as small as tiny pinholes!” he said.

“When and What have you Taken??”

“I…uh…smoked a joint in the mountain 3 weeks ago.” was not what I should have told him, but it was honest, and the only thing I’d done since before arriving. But it didn’t matter, I was baited because pot doesn’t clear the system for up to a month, so he had me. The info of the past was deadwood — lost time, memory, mood, highs — however, the drug test pitted me against the state and Kentucky’s court of law, and they would presume I was high anyway. Continue reading

Black Spirit of Youth ’96 – BAT Church, Kentucky

 

by Brandon Lee

“There we are … Bats — in that church,” my friend pointed from the tracks. We were going down there to smoke pot and catch crook-backed leopard frogs, their skin so green gleaming slime wetness and transparent film glossed upper lids of their eyes as light wind whistles a sound, our ears referencing their evening’s chatter.

When we are coming the frogs sit tightly into edgeways at the guttural spring running under the track. When Charles drops his shoe down they jump “Erp”– skid across water frogplume of mud-mixed rocks like mortar shells hitting in Nam. The water FLOOM!! With murky musk shadow of dirt spring-bombed green into cool mud earth hidden behind their watery froglids and the water settles but we couldn’t catch a one. Charles got angry until I told him to pretend he was a great outlaw, John Wilkes Booth, placing Abraham Lincoln’s head on the tracks for the oncoming train.  Continue reading

A MAJOR FOUL UP ON HIGHWAY 70

By Brandon Lee

The car was going 107 miles an hour on the way to Los Angeles.  I had just got off the phone with a photographer about a cut-up work of about 600 pages I’d been doing on the L.A. scenes people.  Everything would be pure satire, ugly as a good drunk stews…and the flamboyancy of the filthy rich, the photographer’s Hollywood connections…it all made hysterical sense…burning right through the Continental Divide…First Las Vegas…Then L.A…adding momentum to the customs of the American Dream and nailing them down for the twisted. . .  “Addicts are a 10-1 ratio in L.A.” . . .What? I thought “For every white person…there are 10 addicts in L.A.” said the photographer— and to be careful, “it was easy to get away with murder down here.”  “You could have the gun disappear in an alley trash can and be up the coast in an hour. I know. I’ve seen it happen…” he said. . . Continue reading

Neal Cassady – Letter from Jail

NEAL CASSADY LETTER gonzo 2 larger scan (06-09-15-05-55-49)A Letter from Neal Cassady, written October 23, 1944, to his friend Justin W. Brierly requests that his tabs be covered while he is in jail.  This letter hangs in downtown Denver’s oldest bar.

Neal Cassady – fervent and wild for adventure – had always been a heady inspiration among the beat writers of the 1960’s.  Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road were both inspired by Cassady’s character and movements during the beat era.  He lived with fierce speed and taught those around him to love life.  He was also the “Further” Bus Driver for Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters’ LSD experiments  during the 60’s countercultural turn.

He frequented the downtown locale in Colorado then known as Paul’s Place.  The bar is now known as My Brothers Bar and was first named Highland House.  It has been in operation since 1873.

TREE BIRDS by Brandon Lee

artwork copyright© 2015 joeyfeldman, all rights reserved; www.joeyfeldman.com

By: Brandon Lee

Six Colorado Sheriffs sued the governor Thursday stating that the sale of recreational marijuana is unconstitutional and violates federal law.  They seek to shut down all recreational dispensaries in the area. . .

The tricky part is, among many presidents (and many who would never have said so for sake of fear and condemnation) James Madison, “Father of the Constitution,” claimed that hemp gave him the insight to create a new democratic nation. So what the fuck are these people talking about? Now I’m thinking about police wages, over aggressive authority – independent freedoms and a distrust for gun-toting lawmen who think they live the western frontier like heroes when the concern should be more on recent police brutality and unjust killings.

*  *  * 

It is a glorious day in Colorado, flying down Highway 36 past northern Boulder. Behind us the sun rises over the ridge of the Flat Iron mountains, heading towards Niwot, then onto Lyons at top speeds in the Audi TT at 7 a.m. where we stop for a pitcher of beer and some boneless wings at Oscar Blue’s bar and grill.  The town is quiet,, no townspeople rustling about in the cold windy street.  Even the waitress doesn’t want to work today.

“Two Knob Creek,” says my friend.  A troublesome youth diagnosed schizo-affective.  His name is Leroy.  “ I like a lime in mine,” he says.

The waitress scoffs at my friend.  We are the only ones in the diner eating when he opens up the small black zipper bag with the big white letters displaying the name Gonzo Today. From inside he raises three bags of the most pungent Marijuana wrapped in red bows… one called the Durban Poison, then a sweeter orange-haired phenotype known as the Tangerine Dream, and another… New York City Diesel # 22 crossbred with a Blue Trainwreck. Continue reading

Outlaw

by Brandon Lee

“I’m an instigator — I like to bother people, that’s what I do — I’m a writer.” -Gabby M. Reamer

When I think of lineage I think of the violence of my youth. A busted glass I stepped on as a child thrown at my father’s head by my mother and then her screaming on the railroad tracks with a pistol in her mouth.  When I think of lineage I think of my father’s violence and drunkenness that was the teeming madness of his mind after 15 years working in a factory.  When I think of lineage I think of never being close to my family, the way it pushes a man into books of those he relates to, those who saw the same problems first hand, those that understand brokenness and like to disrupt the main American channel of views with a challenging, fun, well-witted nature, tough and ready for anything, because there was never anything to lose.  It is what drove me to being a writer, the oppression of my mother through her fears, and the rot of American society to tell me what I should exist as in the world, “some middle class diddy to never make me happy” which I saw as broken through my lost family history in trying.  It was all an observation now, a wandering in a collage of events, a spectacle of satire, and the desire to find a free expression from it, through controversial subcultures, and the tattered people like myself who would take me up over the years—drug addicts, criminals, views from the underground, views from the runaway self-destructives, views from the outlaw heart against the status quo of an unfair society. Continue reading

Black Spirit of Youth ’96 – BAT Church, Kentucky

By Brandon Lee

“There we are…Bats—-in that church,” my friend pointed from the tracks. We were going down there to smoke pot and catch crook-backed leopard frogs; their skin so green gleaming slime wetness and transparent film glossed upper lids of their eyes as light wind whistles a sound, our ears referencing their evening’s chatter.

When we are coming the frogs sit tightly into edgeways at the guttural spring running under the tracks—When Charles drops his shoe down they jump “Erp”- skid across water frogplume of mud-mixed rocks like mortar shells hitting in Nam. The water FLOOM!! with murky musk shadow of dirt spring-bombed green into cool mud earth hidden behind their watery frog lids and the water settles but we couldn’t catch a one. Charles got angry until I told him to pretend he was a great outlaw, John Wilkes Booth, placing Abraham Lincoln’s head on the tracks for the oncoming train.  Continue reading