To the Editor:

You asked me to write and tell you what I think of THE SUN. Well, it’s warm. And I renewed for a year when your appeal came in the mail, so you can see my reaction is positive.

It isn’t what I expected, but that’s neither here nor there. It does speak to my condition in some part of each issue. And I stand in awe of your undertaking.

One more thing: it isn’t phony.

I’d show it around if there were anyone to show it to. But I’m either out here in the boondocks, or I’m at work, where people are nice but not interested in that sort of thing or aren’t readers. I used to be in a university milieu — but not these days.

That’s all I can say as of now. If something in the magazine does to me what a Ferris wheel does to me (as your poems in CoEvolution Quarterly did), I’ll let you know.

Good luck — and don’t give up the ship.

Dick Welch
Maricopa, Arizona

To the Editor:

I love you folks. David Guy, too. You’re all good, and easy to ignore — by me at least.

The sick introversion of the big city, megapolis, the industrial revolution, has reached N.C., and beyond. Too many rats in a cage. Some withdraw with poems of the “within,” while others take advanced photo representations of twats. Twats important?

A national flower, that’s what! Of all the beautiful things that nature, and friendly, crass plant selectors have brought us, the okra blossom is foremost. Other blooms might provide more fragrance, might last longer. But the okra blossom follows its glorious beauty with a fruit that can by cut up (crosswise, small pieces), rolled in salted cornmeal, fried in a mixture of hog fat and other oils, to provide one of life’s foremost delicacies. One that is very, very high in protein and other goodies.

All the states have a bird and a flower. The nation, nothing. You contemplate eating pods of other flowers and okra will become an obvious choice.

Rob Brezsny is brilliant, in a way. Stupid in general. He went from one over-populated area to L.A., an area avoided by anyone with a modicum of sense. It’s a big country. N.Y. is the infected crop (as on a chicken) and L.A. is the asshole — also infected.

Let’s forget fornicating the whole works with oriental philosophy/religion and get on with vital things like a national flower — OKRA.

(Sweet) Jim Evans
Hereford, Arizona

To the Editor:

We speak of the struggle for survival in large cities as one of the most difficult and soul-wrenching which modern man undertakes. Fierce competition for money, power, prestige and space can transform the unwary into automatons programmed for immediate gratification and ultimate self-destruction. There is, however, a largely unnoticed struggle which occurs in small towns across the country and is just as terrible, just as deadly as that staged in the streets of New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

You see, in small towns of America, in the Eldred, New York’s or the Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania’s, young men either leave upon graduating from high school or stay and die, temporarily at least. They die in the dead-end jobs, in the local bars, where beer is 30 cents a draft, in the stale love affairs, if that’s not a contradiction in terms.

Some never awaken from that death. They become alcoholics. They drink their lunch, their dinner, and sometimes their breakfast, trying to drown the despair they are incapable of articulating, even to themselves. They marry young, grow up and settle down with women who they will never know, can never know, because they know so little about themselves. And they suffocate.

They lack the strength to sustain themselves through perhaps 20 years of a grim dance with death. Is there anyone who can serve as mentor, help them see the nature of their desperation, and help them cope? It’s not likely.

Those who do survive, in fact, don’t quite grasp what they have done or how they have done it. These have perhaps been through a marriage, have lived through the nightly beer bouts around the pool table, have managed to pick themselves up for work every morning so that bread would be on the table each evening. For two or three decades, they played this same hand, never coming up with the inside straight.

What they have, however, which many others do not, is a profound courage, a courage which most of us could never understand. It is a courage which engages an enemy without declaration of war. It is a courage, a cosmic courage, if you will, summoned in response to a quiet despair sitting in the depths of the subconscious. For those blessed with it, the struggle eventually diminishes. A sense of order begins to assert itself in the psyche. The interconnectedness of those few simple, seemingly disparate elements of their lives begin to become apparent. Indeed, it is the lack of alternatives which enables these fortunate few to stumble upon a certain oneness with life. In the metaphysical experiment, they have been given at least one advantage — few variables. And their rare courage serves as the flux by which the critical elements recombine to their original state of grace.

And the others — those who have not the strength? They are buried alive, without even the temporal distractions available to our culturally privileged.

Rae Hamilton
Washington, D.C.