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It was her idea I never
to become an artist in the first
place, but I did
want to be good at some-
thing and I kept
whining all the time about how
worthless I was, I guess,
until she made up her mind
she would
show me the way so she 
got out two wooden 
six-pack cartons from behind
the stove, the ones
they used to use
all the time till everybody 
got to worrying about 
the trees, and she
turned the cartons upside down
on their handles and had
me cut
two boards to fit across the
bottoms and showed me how to
nail them
together so they held 
the cartons fast so a person could
sit on
them like it was a stool, and then
she marched me 
over to the Fourth of July Parade 
of Projects
at St. James Catholic, which,
being Presbyterians, 
we were supposed to stay away from, 
Reverend Moore said they
were agents of the devil, 
but she made me promise not
to be afraid,
that art could not be shackled or shut
out even by this crowd,
which is how I made my first
and put on my first show, "boy with
chair," and didn't win
any prize at all except "Honorary" on
a yellow ribbon 
that everybody got that entered, 
which made her madder than I had ever seen
and she went right
up to the priest and said listen
here you
my boy worked hard on that project
and it is not right 
that you should give out 
all the prizes to
your own kind, especially that little guinea
girl that all
she did was put a new dress
on that old Mary Mother of Jesus doll 
that come out 
from under somebody's Christmas tree, 
and I am giving you fair warning, 
we will be
back next year and the year after that 
and after that till you Sons 
of Beelzebub
learn how to appreciate fine workmanship 
and artistic ability
and quit preying on poor Mexicans
that don't know
how to create anything but babies

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