Archive for the ‘Ethos magazine’ Tag

Excerpts from “The Poor in Ames”   3 comments

Iowa State University

By Bethany Kohoutek

Homelessness in Ames

Lurking underneath the seemingly affluent, professional surface of Ames [Iowa], there is a subculture of people whose problems are life and death and stories are rarely heard. While the ranks of homeless are spiraling out of control, mercilessly leaving less fortunate people behind, the same economic forces are propelling other Ames residents to wealth and prosperity. This is a story about those who aren’t making the cut or don’t want to in the first place, a story of the ups and downs of life on the road-or the street.

Homelessness is a word that the average Iowa State college student probably doesn’t think twice about. But even as students gripe about waiting for CyRide buses in the cold, someone is sleeping under a bridge only blocks away using a plastic sheet to keep warm. As students complain about small dorm rooms and shared bathrooms, one family per day is evicted in Ames because it can’t make rent.

Students from larger cities may scoff at the notion that homelessness and poverty are major issues in Ames. Although there is no one begging for spare change on Lincoln Way, homelessness does exist in Ames. The fact that it is less of a problem than in other, larger cities just makes it worse. Because it isn’t thrown in your face every day, it’s easy to forget about these people.

“If a tornado came through Ames and blew away a dozen homes, it would be front-page news,” Moss [Vic Moss, executive director of the Emergency Residence Project] says. “And yet when we have this kind of devastation happening on a daily basis where families are being broken apart by this, it’s not covered at all.”

Moss estimates that there are around 50 homeless people each night in Ames. There is no one way to stereotype this population. Each situation is different, and Moss says the shelter sees everyone from “saints to sinners.”

Life on the Road

Some people living in Ames without a home do have options. But according to them, street life is the best option.

At 4:15 on a Saturday afternoon, there are seven men congregated in the living room of the Emergency Adult Project adult shelter. They have just come back from work, and the atmosphere is laid back and comfortable as the men chat amiably with each other.

This population of single, transient men (and the occasional woman) makes up the majority of the shelter’s clientele. These men come and go, with no intention of staying in Ames for any substantial amount of time. However, they make up a large percentage of Ames’ homeless statistics. The difference between this population and other homeless children and families in Ames is that most of the men in the living room do not want to get into permanent housing, even if it was provided for them. They insist they’re homeless by personal choice, not because of any particular hardship. The self-bestowed title of ‘hobo’ is a term of endearment to them. Some have road names like Duke and Bullet, and speak of fellow travelers with names like Little Lizzie, the Road King, and Dakota Butch.

These men usually come to shelters to take a temporary rest from their travels to “bathe, eat, sleep, be at peace, and still make a little money,” says Bullet.

“There’s a difference between ‘without a home’ and ‘homeless,'” Bullet explains. “Most people don’t even know what a real hobo is. A hobo is without a home because he chooses to be. He is a man who is a traveler at heart. He works. He has clothes. He has money in his pocket. If he wants prime rib for dinner, he can reach into his pocket and pay for it.”

The men have various reasons for being on the road. Some have been on the road since their early teens, and it is all they know. Others may have gone through a divorce or lost a job. Still others may have had a steady job and a family, and simply “burned out” on the routine of day-to-day life.

“We don’t want to settle down and accept the political society,” says Bullet. “No president, no government is gonna tell us what we’re gonna do. We will not be told ‘You will get up at 6:00. You will get to work by 7:00. You will punch the clock by 7:01. Then you will punch out at 3:30.’ It’s monotony. With us, that just doesn’t work. Everyday is a new adventure. We are one of the last signs of real, true freedom.”

Duke, who is 57 years old, “rides the rails” to get from place to place.

He left home at 14 because he wanted to travel–to see the country, meet new people, and because “it’s a lot easier and a lot more mellow this way.” He has four children and seven grandchildren who live in various places around the country. He occasionally sees them when he is in the neighborhood. If he gets bored staying in one place too long, it doesn’t take much for him to “kick mud”, to move on. He says he has been to every state in the contiguous United States as well as Mexico and Canada. He likes Iowa because people seem outgoing and friendly to him.

Shelter stays are fairly uncommon for him; he would rather sleep outside in his tent, even in the winter.

“I’ve been out here so long, I know how to live out in this. It’s all just experience,” he says.

Wherever he goes, he carries a 65-pound pack on his back that holds his tent, a change of clothes, campfire-making materials, a flashlight, string, a bedroll, a tarp, and a folded up sign that says “Will Work For Food. Thanks. God Bless.” Most of his money is spent on groceries and tobacco, and besides his smokers’ cough, he says he rarely gets sick.

Others have entirely different reasons for traveling.

Tim, who is one of the younger men in the shelter’s living room, graduated from Iowa State with a degree in English. He actually had two religious poems and a short story published in Ethos. He said that in the future he plans to settle down, get married and have a family.

“I’m a Christian; I hitchhike by faith,” he says. “I am being led by the Holy Spirit wherever I go. I share my faith with other people. I’ve met a lot of great people, and I’ve learned a lot from them. In fact, these pants were given to me by a family in Texas. My coat was given to me by a guy in Wyoming. Things like that. You meet so many neat people. I can’t complain.”

Hearing Tim talk, Bullet is quick to interject that things aren’t always so easy going on the road.

“Everybody always tries to glorify it. You don’t hear about the nights under the bridge, or sleeping alongside the interstate in the rain and cold. You don’t hear about standing out there on a ramp when it is 35 below zero wind chill, and you got frost formed to your mustache and your hair. It can be real tough, lonely, scary. That’s the downside.”

“I think Bob Seger said it best,” says Bullet, “‘Turn the page.’ Life’s a book. Each day you turn the page to something different. It could be great, or it could be a real sh*thole.”

Moss says that usually during summer months, there are some people who live under bridges, along the railroad, and in the wooded areas of Ames.

There is one such place under a bridge not far from campus. Plywood and plastic sheeting have been set up to make a little lean-to against the girders of the underside of the bridge. Bags of collected cans and bottles surround a green sleeping bag that is neatly laid out on the dirt. Nearby is a blackened spot in the dirt, which still smells of charcoal and lighter fluid, and various food cans are scattered around the fire pit.

There is a greening picture of Jesus looking heavenward duck-taped to the cement that forms the back wall of the makeshift dwelling. A six-inch angel statue, in perfect condition, is standing upright on the ground nearby, surrounded by other miscellaneous items–Hy-Vee Charcoal Starters, an empty pack of Camel lights, a few bottles of Hawkeye vodka, an old pair of jeans, and a few T-shirts.

Ethos
Issue 3, Volume 52
February 2001
Iowa State University

[Originally published by Digihitch.com]

Iowa Corn–Golden Treasure
Hobo Shoestring–King of the Rails
A Prophetess from Minnesota
Ethos/Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
The life of a hobo

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Ames, Iowa

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High Plains Drifter (short story)   7 comments

high-plains-drifter-blu-ray-movie-title-large

High Plains Drifter
By Timothy Michael Shey

The big Kenworth roared west through Wyoming.

“So how long’ve ya been on the road?” the truck driver asked.

“A day or two,” the young man replied.

“Where’d ya start out?”

“Western Nebraska. I was working on a ranch for a couple of days and got sick of it. I have a friend in California I want to see.”

“California?”

“Yeah.”

The truck driver was heavy-set and wore a short-cropped beard and baseball cap. The young man was slender and wore glasses. His only possessions: a backpack and sleeping bag.

“Ya got a long ways to go,” the truck driver said. “I’ll get ya to Salt Lake. Then I’m headin’ north.”

“Thanks for picking me up. It was cold standing out there.”

“No problem.”

The rugged, rolling terrain of Wyoming. The sagebrush. The dry air.

“So what’d ya do before the ranch?” the truck driver asked.

“I was in school in Manhattan.”

“New York?”

“No. Kansas.”

“Where ya from?”

“Garden City.”

“I see.”

The young man looked over the horizon to his right. There was silence for ten minutes except for the noise of the engine and the bounce of the tractor-trailer.

“So who’s this friend of yours in California?” the truck driver asked.

“She’s a poet.”

“She?” The truck driver smiled and looked at the young man.

“I’ve never met her before. I’ve read a couple of her books and we’ve exchanged a few letters, that’s all.”

“I see.”

“She has a daughter going to school in Santa Cruz that I thought I might like to visit, also.”

“I don’t know much about poetry. Is it like drivin’ a truck?” the truck driver asked jokingly.

“Exactly.” Exactly. Poetry is breath and fire and pain. Poetry is getting drunk or stacking hay on a ranch in western Nebraska. It is holding a beautiful woman in your arms; it is holding a baby in your lap. It is dropping out of high school because of the shallowness and stupidity. Exactly. Poetry is hitchhiking all the way to California to see a brilliant woman who loves the letters you write.

“So where’d ya stay last night? It got pretty cold out there.”

“A rancher picked me outside of Laramie. He drove me to Rock Springs where his parents live. They let me stay overnight. Wonderful people. Gave me supper and breakfast.”

“No kiddin’?”

“It was pretty incredible.”

“I’ll say. All a person hears about are people gettin’ robbed or killed on the road.”

“Yeah. Really.”

The big Kenworth was going 80 miles per hour, passing cars and trucks. The speed and the power, the stress of steel and bolt, piston and axle and 18 wheels. Going west. Going west.

“So where you going after Salt Lake City?” the young man asked.

“Headin’ north of Pocatello. Then I’ll head back to Denver with another load.”

Fire and breath and pain and heading north to Pocatello. Pocatello of your dreams. Pocatello of your nightmares. Six men die in gun battle with federal marshals at the Pocatello Corral. Southern Idaho desert. Dry heat, dry grass, dry blood on dry earth. Exactly. The breath of the moment, the heat of the battle—firefight in the Pocatello Corral. One federal marshal wounded. Dry sun on another horizon. This is not Kansas. This is not Nebraska. This is Pocatello. Pocatello of your nightmares.

“This sure is wide open country,” the young man said.

“It’s a wasteland. Desert.”

“I like wide open spaces.”

“Then ya won’t like California. Ever been to L.A. or Frisco?” the truck driver asked.

“No.”

“Where does your poet friend live?”

“Big Sur.”

“Never been there.”

California of your nightmares. Big Sur of your dreams. Fire out of Kansas. Wheatfields and golden landscapes and dry air and blue sky and. Words, ink on paper, meter and fire. The anvil and the hammer and the fireblood of a wounded heart. Laceration and pain. Fire. The wordsmith labors and sweats and bleeds and brings forth new life. Anvil and hammer. The hot steel is shaped. Blow after blow. Sparks fly in the hot and dry air of Kansas.

“So how old are ya?” the truck driver asked.

“Twenty-three.”

“So what do ya want to do with your life?”

“I want to be a bounty hunter or President of the United States.”

The truck driver smiled and chuckled. “Sounds good to me. Ever see High Plains Drifter with Clint Eastwood?”

“I am the High Plains Drifter.”

Flame out of Kansas. Riding west to the gold rush of your dreams. Desperate, unshaven, sunburned and hungry. Big Sur on your mind. Leather boots, leather skin, the stink of horse sweat. Shot six men in Pocatello just to watch them die. The bullet wounds of your heart, the anguish of the moment. Six men in Pocatello. Just to watch them die. You cinch the saddle down tight and ride west with the hot wind of Idaho at your back. You will ride west where the Pacific meets the edge of the Universe. There you will grow new muscle and ride a horse of a different color.

West. Flame out of Kansas. Exactly.

The big Kenworth rolled west through Wyoming and eternity.

Ethos
May 1995
Iowa State University

[Republished by Digihitch.com]

HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER/Written in Blood
Clint Eastwood’s film High Plains Drifter (1973)
Meeting a Former Editor from Warner Brothers
New Camaldoli
Excerpts from “The Poor in Ames”, Ethos Magazine

A Prophet’s Eyes   25 comments

A Prophet’s Eyes
By Tim Shey

I piped to you
But you did not dance;
I mourned to you,
But you did not weep.

I abide
In the furnace of God.
My breath
Is the fire of Heaven.

A writer once said,
You look
Like Leo Tolstoy.
It’s your eyes,
He said.
Your eyes . . .
. . . like Leo Tolstoy.

A circle of fire
Surrounds me
Protecting me
From Satan’s arm,
Warning me
Of Satan’s charm,
Keeping me
From Satan’s harm.

An intense burning
Within me
Is stoked by
The Word of God.
A deeply felt yearning
Within me
To warn them
Of the wrath of God.

Isaiah, Jeremiah and Elijah,
I know you well,
Because I am baptized
With the same
Holy Ghost Fire
That empowered you
And kept you from Hell.

Jesus died
So that
I can see
Events
Before they are born.
I was birthed—
Not of flesh
Nor of the will of man—
I was birthed
In violence
By the Precious Blood of God.

His body was pierced
So that my eyes
Could pierce
The dark night of Adam
And help unblind the blind.
The white-hot heat of Heaven
Is the color
Of my sight
That leads us upward and onward,
Spirit-filled warriors of mankind.

Ethos
February/March 1997
Iowa State University

Amos 3: 7: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing but, he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

Shiloh
The Prophet by A.S. Pushkin
Locusts and Wild Honey
The Life of the Prophet IS the Warning
The trial of a prophet
Wearing a Rough Garment
Vintage Footage of Leo Tolstoy
Obedience:  The Bondage Breaker
A Biblical Definition of a Prophet
The Spirit of a Prophet
Not Diplomats But Prophets
True Prophets
Prophets, prophecy and fruit trees
Prophetic eagles are gathering

Shiloh   18 comments

Shiloh
By Tim Shey

Brutal deathdance;
My eyes weep blood.
Pharisees smile like vipers,
They laugh and mock their venom:
Blind snakes leading
The deaf and dumb multitude.

Where are my friends?
The landscape is dry and desolate.
They have stretched my shredded body
On this humiliating tree.

The hands that healed
And the feet that brought good news
They have pierced
With their fierce hatred.

The man-made whip
That opened up my back
Preaches from a proper pulpit.
They sit in comfort:
That vacant-eyed congregation.
The respected, demon-possessed reverend
Forks his tongue
Scratching itchy ears
While Cain bludgeons
Abel into silence.

My flesh in tattered pieces
Clots red and cold and sticks
To the rough-hewn timber
That props up my limp, vertical carcase
Between heaven and earth.
My life drips and puddles
Below my feet,
As I gaze down dizzily
On merciless eyes and dagger teeth.

The chapter-and-versed wolves
Jeer and taunt me.
Their sheepwool clothing
Is stained black with the furious violence
Of their heart of stone.
They worship me in lip service,
But I confess,
I never knew them
(Though they are my creation).

My tongue tastes like ashes:
It sticks to the roof of my mouth.
I am so thirsty.
This famine is too much for me.
The bulls of Bashan have bled me white.
Papa, into your hands
I commend my Spirit.

Ethos
February/March 1997
Iowa State University

Genesis 49: 10: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

A Prophet’s Eyes
The Passion of the Christ
Standing at the Altar
A Prophetess from Minnesota
New Jerusalem and New Shiloh
Obedience:  The Bondage Breaker
Pilate’s Report on the Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus
Warning to American Pastors
Broken Bread, Poured Out Wine
EXPOSING THE POSERS
Ye Shepherds
To the True and Everlasting Shiloh
Hymne to God the Father

A Prophetess from Minnesota   3 comments

The Prophetess Deborah

Dreams from the LORD 2003-2006
18 December 2004

Somewhere in December of 1991 some friends of mine invited me to some Pentecostal church in Marshalltown, Iowa. That Sunday a prophetess from Minnesota gave the sermon. She was originally from Greece. After the sermon, she walked through the people gathered in the church and prophesied over every one of them. When she came to me she said, “You have a message to give.” I didn’t think about it much at the time: if it (the prophecy) was from the Lord, fine; if it wasn’t from the Lord, fine.

It wasn’t until 1998 that the Lord told me that her prophecy came to pass in 1997 when my two poems “A Prophet’s Eyes” and “Shiloh” were published in Ethos magazine. I believe “Shiloh” disturbed a lot of people. “Shiloh” was absolutely inspired by (dictated to me by) the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would wake me up in the middle of the night and I would have to write down several more verses—that happened for three nights. The great miracle about the whole thing is that the Lord told me to submit these two poems to Ethos, which is a secular magazine, and they were published. Ethos is published by the Journalism Department at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Shiloh
A Prophet’s Eyes
New Jerusalem and New Shiloh
.
_____
.

Shiloh
By Tim Shey

Brutal deathdance;
My eyes weep blood.
Pharisees smile like vipers,
They laugh and mock their venom:
Blind snakes leading
The deaf and dumb multitude.

Where are my friends?
The landscape is dry and desolate.
They have stretched my shredded body
On this humiliating tree.

The hands that healed
And the feet that brought good news
They have pierced
With their fierce hatred.

The man-made whip
That opened up my back
Preaches from a proper pulpit.
They sit in comfort:
That vacant-eyed congregation.
The respected, demon-possessed reverend
Forks his tongue
Scratching itchy ears
While Cain bludgeons
Abel into silence.

My flesh in tattered pieces
Clots red and cold and sticks
To the rough-hewn timber
That props up my limp, vertical carcase
Between heaven and earth.
My life drips and puddles
Below my feet,
As I gaze down dizzily
On merciless eyes and dagger teeth.

The chapter-and-versed wolves
Jeer and taunt me.
Their sheepwool clothing
Is stained black with the furious violence
Of their heart of stone.
They worship me in lip service,
But I confess,
I never knew them
(Though they are my creation).

My tongue tastes like ashes:
It sticks to the roof of my mouth.
I am so thirsty.
This famine is too much for me.
The bulls of Bashan have bled me white.
Papa, into your hands
I commend my Spirit.

Ethos
February/March 1997
Iowa State University

Genesis 49: 10: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

Author Pens Tales Reminiscing from the Road   7 comments

LCEBanner

April 25, 2012

By Ryan Bonham

.

Eat your heart out, Jack Kerouac.

Self-professed hitchhiker Tim Shey, whose traveling path often passes through Lake County, published his second book earlier this year, a work filled with tales reflecting his experiences in hitchhiking across the country over the past 16 years.

Shey, who often works as a laborer for friends living in the Cedarville/Surprise Valley area of northeastern California, said his travels have taken him far and wide through the years.  His first trip to Lakeview occurred in 2004 while hitchhiking from Cedarville, Calif., to Washington state.

His newest book is entitled “The First Time I Rode a Freight Train,” and features stories inspired by his many years traveling a solo journey in and around the United States, in which he proselytized his Christian faith.

Born and raised in Iowa, Shey graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English literature in 1995.  He published some of his short stories on the online blog Ditchhitchhike.com, as well as the Ethos (italics), a publication of the University of Iowa’s journalism department.

After finishing college, Shey worked full time in lumber yard until 1996, when he considered, applied for and did not get accepted into law school.  The allure of the open road came about that year, Shey said.

“I’d say I’ve been hitchhiking 80 percent of the last 16 years,” he said.  “I’m a Christian, and I’m hitchhiking by faith.”

Shey said that he’s putting each and every day’s provisions into his faith in God, and writes about his experiences and encounters from this travels.

He published his first collection of reflections from the road, “High Plains Drifter: A Hitchhiking Journey Across America,” in 2008, which traced his travels from earlier journeys of 1986-87 as well as those spanning 1996-99.

“You see a lot of nice country, but mostly it’s the people you meet (that leaves an impression),” Shey said.

Shey acknowledged the social stigma associated with hitchhiking, particularly in the United States, but he said he mostly faced occasional warnings by Johnny Law and recalled mostly positive interactions; sometimes they even helped him get to his next destination, he said.

“If you’re not causing any trouble, they’ll cut you some slack,” he said.

Shey said that the first book was put together within 10 days, but his newest effort is the culmination of two years of work.

Lake County Examiner [Lakeview, Oregon]

Copyright 2012 Lake County Examiner

[Corrections:  I received a BA from Iowa State University,  not the University of Iowa.  It is Digihitch.com, not Ditchhitchhike.com.  Ethos is published by the Journalism Dept at Iowa State University.]

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
A Short Hitchhiking Trip
Providence

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