Apocalypse Now Photograph © Zoetrope Corporation

I watched the hard rain in puddles. I collected bugs in the mornings by picking up leaves and putting them in a fruit jar with nail holes in the top. I lay in the ditch and watched the combines come along the dirt road. They were from Oklahoma. I wondered where the trains went. I shot a BB gun at the black crows. I fought the cows with a wooden sword. I hung ropes in the trees and played Tarzan. I listened to Joe Louis fight on the radio. I fed the chickens, pigs, cows. I swam in the swimming pool my mother waged in Dodge. I got a telescope and looked at the sun and went blind for five days. I caught lightening bugs, lightning shows, sunsets, and followed animal tracks in the snow. I had a kite. I used the telescope to burn holes in newspapers. The sun was brighter than I was. God was everywhere, and I was desperate. I sniffed gasoline and saw clowns and goblins in the clouds. I was Errol Flynn and Abbott and Costello.

I ODed on the gasoline and attacked my grandfather’s truck with a baseball bat, breaking the windshield and headlights. I ate raw onion sandwiches in the Victory Garden. My father went to war. I drove a combine and one wayed. On my broom horse I announced the beginning of the war to the crows. I was William Tell and Paul Revere. I dug fox holes in the field and played war. I racked balls in the pool hall, smoked cigarettes, drank beer, and ate more onions. My grandfather and grandmother Davis were my best friends. I walked on the rails on the train tracks. I shot marbles with an agate shooter. I caught catfish and carp in the river. I wondered what mountains looked like, and skyscrapers. I imagined them on the Kansas horizon. At thirteen I saw my first ones. They were smaller than I had imagined. So was the ocean. It was just like the horizon line on my wheat field. I was disappointed. I had a newspaper route. I delivered the newspaper from my bicycle. I collected paper to sell. I sold empty Coke bottles for money.

-Dennis Hopper

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