Badger never cut anybody any slack if they had anything to do with a war machine. It didn’t matter in what historical timeframe it happened in he despised them. His life focused on raking over the coals everyone who did not show compassion towards the future of humanity.
“I am not like Leonardo da Vinci. I would reveal the beauty of the intestine of a maggot before I revealed the horror of war machines. You have to be especially demented to do something like that. Da Vinci made a lot of machines, but he didn’t make a single one that created mercy. He should have left them in the dark ages. Did you know that Gatling got the idea for his gun from a Da Vinci drawing? Do you know that every American Indian who was slain with a Gatling gun can be traced back to Da Vinci’s drawing table, not to mention the atomic submarines with 16 missiles. They shouldn’t have hung Christ on the cross. They should have waited 1500 years and nailed up Da Vinci. Then they burnt Bruno at the Stake and Da Vinci goes on sucking off his lord and making war machines for fun and profit. So when someone comes up to me fawning over the Mona Lisa, I simply say, I’d rather hang a potato eater.”
This is in reference to Vincent Van Gogh’s Netherland painting called “The Potato Eaters.” The humility of the canvas is focused on the fact that these rural Nuenen people only had potatoes to eat.
Vincent Van Gogh
There’s a lot of irony in regards to Badger’s attempt and determination to make a difference in his personal assault to stop the Viet Nam War. Note the sign in background of The Blues Man photo below has the word “Peace” crossed out. He never once let anyone’s opinion change his own effort once he knew what was right and what was wrong. And if he had not been a songwriter-folksinger he never would have been able to get his message across in person because like the rambling minstrels of Old he was a street singer.
The Blues Man
I went down to a Louisiana town
to see a friend of mine;
they just killed his brother,
‘cause his face was brown.
In cold blood shot him down,
and we sang these words
as we laid him down
in the ground:
It’s a long hard road,
hard road to freedom-
long hard road all the way-
all the way;
and every step along
the hard road to freedom
your feet are gonna bleed everyday-
every step of the way
every step of the way.
Your feet are going
to bleed every step of the way.
Hard Road To Freedom
Visalia, California, ’72
Badger’s overall gutsy determination for others to take his lead is found in another lyric of his where he sang, “The only kind of borderline is the one you have inside of you.” Paraphrased this means society or the military should have no domination over the individual’s will; and shouldn’t control the sacrifice necessary to give courage and justice to all citizens of a state even if you have to break the laws to do so. In Badger’s philosophy it was the end result that was important, not the obstacles or the odds against one’s mission to succeed.
In this way he was a latter day Socrates, who also hung out with the youth of his country like Badger did at colleges. Even though he never was forced to drink the poison hemlock, still society tried to put Badge in a box. That was why he had such a strong need to ramble in his youth. Freedom was the only way he could free up his soul. Here is the only fragment that exists of Badger’s actual words in sheet music. Although the song lyrics are in his own handwriting, he never learned to read music; and the fact he could play by ear allowed him to readily pick up any tune by just listening to it.
Headed Back Home To You
1968, San Francisco
This whole idea of traveling to gain experience of the world was extremely important to Badger. That’s why he lived in New York City for a while and rambled to New Orleans. The other side of the coin though was his strong need to be settled and nurtured by the more tried and trued values of everyday life. Something he saw early on as he lived his burn-the-candle-at-both-ends existence was his own rule of thumb…the necessity of not getting too far out on a limb with his ambitions and his dreams that his lifeline be forsaken. Unfortunately for my brother the delicate balance between having a permanent home was always in uproar; and needing to roam, as the short poem indicates below, never was followed through enough to increase his chances for the longevity he wished for at the end.
A BEAK FULL OF CLAY
We should be like swallows
buildin’ a nest;
it’s all right to fly away free
as long as you come back
with a beak full of clay.
NOTE: Written, exclusively for this publication –Comunidades-, by Art Coelho, Badger Stone’s brother.
Art Coelho (occasionally spelled “Cuelho”), grew up on two family farms at Riverdale and Wheatville in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. He is a grandson of Azorean immigrants from the islands of Pico, São Jorge, and Terceira.
In 1966 Art moved to Montana when he was twenty-three years old. He lived with the Crow Indians for five years; and danced at the Lodge Grass, Montana Sun Dance (Pierce Siding)in 1971. His adopted name of Seven Buffaloes was given to him by his Native American mother, Marjorie Yellowtail. His adjustment to the isolation of prairie life can best be understood by one of his lines: “It is better to be unknown in sagebrush and happy, than to be known in neon and sad.”
From 1965-74, his Gypsy period, he rambled to every state except Hawaii, Alabama, and Maine.
Art Coelho is a self-taught painter, poet, short story writer and novelist; and when he gives public poetry/prose readings he performs with his blues harp harmonica.
From 1975-85 he founded and published Seven Buffaloes Press and featured rural and working class literature in short story and poetry collections, which were in anthology format. Twenty of Coelho’s press books of various authors are from his nature valley. He published eleven titles from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, but he collected rural and working class literature from everywhere in the United States. Some of Art’s books are also available from his press.
He is self-taught as a painter and he considers his study of the masters and his continuing field studies, which led him in 2001 to Van Gogh’s Provence(St. Paul’s Mausoleum at Saint Remy)to be at the heart of his work. Art’s residence in Big Timber since 1975 has allowed him to widen the horizon of his Montana landscapes. His other major work focuses on world cultures themes from Africa, Europe, Asia, Polynesia, and The Mediterranean. He does portraits of people from other countries as well as those from America. His other artistic genres include nature, nudes, and satire of the social and the political arena.
In 1991 he had his first one-man exhibition with To The Azores and Back Again: In Poetry & Painting. A short story of his, My First Kill, was collected in the 1994 Prentice-Hall Macmillan textbook called Fiction 100. The Pushcart Prize(1976-77)featured his killer horse poem, Like a Good Unknown Poet. His painting Morning Chore was an illustration in The Portuguese Americans, Immigrants in Agriculture. Also in 2004 a 45 minute video featured his reading and art exhibit(Walking Between Kale and Horse Beans). firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Timber, Montana 59011