Sunday, June 18, 2017

when I was born there were two of me


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Ray Hinman (June 20, 1956-Jan 24, 2014.) in honor of the birthday I shared with him.


My brother Ray wrote those words at one time, "when I was born there were two of me.". We did come into the world together. He was always there, I never knew a time when he was not there. As kids we were rambunctious, obnoxious, noisy, hyperactive, sarcastic. We were always there for each other. When we walked home from kindergarten bigger boys would pick on us because when they grabbed Ray I would cry, and shout "leave him alone!" When they grabbed me he would cry and shout. We always knew what each other meant by cryptic comments when  no one else did. We always looked out for each other's feelings. Always knew what the other felt.

In sixth grade the teacher read to the class an unpublished story by Mark Twain, from life magazine. That's when he set his sites on being a writer, He taught himself all about literature. It came from out of nowhere, he began spending all of his time reading, He would get home from school and go right to the books instead of football as had been his passion. In eight grade he gave an oral book report to a speech class on Goethe's Faust part I. It as brilliant the class as thunder struck. I was amazed at his erudition and his poise and his eloquence. People were coming up to me  all day and saying "I didn't know your brother was a genius."

That was crucial because we had dyslexia and early schooling was marked by failure and being treated like dunces (until they tested our IQs!). Spanked with boards for being lazy (by the principle--Texas schools of mid 60s). We could barely read, we hated ourselves and we shored each other up by mutual support. Then this literature thing turned Ray on to using his mind. He just got the idea he could teach himself and he began doing it. This was really in opposition to the teachers. He actually knew more at the end of high school than many of his teachers and I know that's true.

He was also brash and rebellious, sharp and critical of authority. We were both attracted to the "movement" of the 60s. Anti-war, we went to protests (this was 7-10 grade1971-72). An example of how Ray was in eight or ninth grade. We went to a  little private school ran by church of Christ. They had a big Dress code and we hated it. We wanted long hair they would not let us have it. One day we missed some school for snow (rare in Dallas). The school administration declared that we had to go for a make-up Saturday but to make it less odious we could dress any way we wanted to (except no short skirts on the girls). Everyone wore ragged blue genes and t shirts except Ray. He wore a suit and tie.

In the period that followed (72-77) he really was my hero. I resented him but also admired him. He was much more socially able and more successful in dealing with the opposite sex. Sex being the operative word there. Dressed like a hippie but not in a pretensions way. Ran around all over town with all kinds of women, getting drunk and smoking dope and going to parties, making his own -parties by the turtle creek or Bachman lake or some place. He dropped out of high school and moved down town. Took GED and scored one of the highest scores in the City.

In the high school years, 16, 17 he went on several hitchhiking trips. My parents were terrified but he was nota run away, He got them to sign a letter saying he had their permission because the deal was, he was going anyway. He did have stories from the road. He hide in the dark in the Rockies and watched a coven of some kind do something with torches and someone (he really didn't know what they were doing he just didn't want to be seen). He was shot at in West Texas and attacked by a ghost in Denver. He stood on a dark rainy highway in Oregon and did not see Bigfoot (said he never thought about it), He first went to Colorado, the up the West Coast to Vancouver, Then up the east coast to Toronto. That picture at the top on a park bench was taken in Boston on that trip, he was 17.

He was lean and strong and full of life and what the Bible calls "The pride of life." He was brilliant, he read a lot  of Nietzsche and decided he would become an ubermench. He told me once he knew he wasn't one but he wanted to force himself to be one anyway. He wrote prodigiously. After growing apart in high school--I had debate and he had hitchhiking-- we got back together in college. He started to community college took philosophy was on the honor Roll and my parents were elated. He was also at odds with them about being a writer. They wanted him to be able to support himself.  He just wanted to write. We developed a world around ourselves and our books. It centered on the coffee shop. Discussions were to us what water is to a duck. We discussed everything fueled by books and our own writings.

Everything changed in 77. That's when Ray had his break down. He saw the goddess Dianna fly past the moon while smoking dope on the roof at our parents home. He was never again free of delusions. Gradually over time he became like my child. By the time he died I had almost forgotten the strong rash independent young genius he was in his youth. He was lucid but developed a lot of delusional fears. We struggled through the maze of the mental health care industry for two decades before I realized they were nuttier than he was. In the end we wound up wild catting with nutrition and forgot the shrinks., He tried hard to make it as a writer. Every passing year grew that much more desperate; He finally quite trying the last eight years of his life. He was always going to get back to it.

I think the two great defining moments for him were the Central America movement and taking care of our parents. We worked as organizers in the central America movement from about the dawning of Iran=contra (85?) to the anti-climatic end of the Sandinista government in '90. Ray poured his heart and soul into it, s=he shown as an activist. Quoted in the Newspaper for some protest we organized (Dallas Morning News) "Ray Hinman, 31 year old Poet.." I said "hey you are officially a poet, says so in the paper." He said, "I am also officially 31, says so in the news paper." He saved a woman's life. Jenifer Casolo was charged by the Salvadoran government and her lawyer too. Both arrested a d tortured. Ray threw himself into calling all over the country to get urge t action alerts generated. When Casolo came to Dallas Ray was introduced to her as "The person primarily responsible for getting you out." The Lawyer was saved too.The other great moment was in caring for our parents. We basically ran our own private nursing home 2/7 for three years. Our mother had Alzheimer's our father had a big heart attack and then some kind of dementia.  He was invaluable in care for  them. I could not have done it without him. I could really see what he was made of then in his unselfish caring for our parents.

There were more struggles involved in fights criminals disguised a mortgage company who stole our house and living in our car for a short time. This all took it's toll on Ray, his fragile mental condition. The last few years we found a cozy rent house, parents gone, just Ray and I and our little dog Arnie (black and tan coon hound but the tan parts were white).  He loved drinking coffee in the kitchen or on the back Patio and reminiscing. We lost the fire for the great intellectual discussions we had thrived on. He lost the fire for writing he was no longer building for a career as a writer, he was feeling like a a failure and reminiscing about what he loved in the act of trying to be a writer. Nursing his delusions. If only he had written those into novels. He did get the one collection of poems published I think he really just rested in that one accomplishment.

The last Day he was upset because I kept trying to convince him to go to the hospital. He wanted to be at home. He thought I wanted to get rid of him. I told him I wanted to stick together and be old men together, He seemed happy and was perked up. I made him a cup of coffee he drank it and smoked and said it was the best coffee and smoke he ever had, He wanted me to help him to the bathroom and on the  way he had to sit down, He began roaring like a lion, spewed stuff out his mouth and I saw his eyes roll up in his head. I ran for the phone and called 911. By the time I got back he was gone. I was shouting "come back!" After the coroner left I spend hours alone shouting  "Ray! Ray!" I sat out on the patio for days just reliving our times there and try8mng to find peace about it. I eventually realized he was just tired of conflict he made the choices he did for that reason. He was tried of being mentally ill and tired of struggling to make it as a writer in an illiterate society that no longer understands literature.


see a more detailed bio

I am sending this to everyone I know

 
Sunday two years since my twin brother and best friend died. I am asking everyone I kno to do a couple of things in his honor.

Read some of his poems, you can see them on his blog

http://citiesvanish.blogspot.com/

Buy his book on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Our-Cities-Vanish-Ray-Hinman/dp/0982408706/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240581323&sr=8-1


Buy my brother's Poetry: Ray Hinman, Our Cities Vanish
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"Like" facebook page https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=435341879999817&id=435328036667868
any or all, thank you

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