Saturday, March 28, 2015

The tree that would not be broken; Jose; Reprintables; Ritual Waters

I caught this the oher day
on the NY Times

Definitely worth a play:


Not bad
for a "blind" guy




Waukesha raccoon sees the good news


from the Shepherd Express 3-26-15

Also reprinted from
Shepherd Express


The mighty Fox River now sees the young Burmese father
At its banks communing with the moving water
Which flows like the Ihrewhaddy in his homeland
Slowly but surely, and it has fish

Hla rides my bicycle – now his -  in spare moments and continues
His pursuit of a livelihood at the Fox River
The other day he told me he caught eight big fish
“How big?” -  and he held his thumbs and middle fingers together
to represent girth

instead of  hands far apart to represent length
the way we do around here
which said he is thinking of food
where fishermen of my acquaintance usually are thinking of a trophy

How wonderful to think of Hla riding my bicycle to the river
With a fishing pole
Catching fish that struggle to survive in slowly clearing water
Fish to feed his boys who also like to catch and eat fish, as in Burma

In olden days and even now sometimes we see
Milwaukee (?) blacks and pore folks at the riverbanks and lakeshores
in Waukesha County – they aren’t from around here -
hunkered down, usually, so as not to stand out

fishing “our” recreational waters
for food, smiling furtively beneath broad straw hat-brims
when they snag one that would bring their hands
around in big O’s;
And well-to-do locals motor by and cluck their tongues and say:
“Just look at that!”

[David Dix 9-14-2002]

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nola/Vincent - Muriel Anderson; Days we would rather know; View from space

Muriel Anderson



Days We Would Rather Know

There are days we would rather know
than these, as there is always, later,
a wife we would rather have married
than whom we did, in that severe nowness
time pushed, imperfectly, to then. Whether,
standing in the museum before Rembrandt’s “Juno,”
we stand before beauty, or only before a consensus
about beauty, is a question that makes all beauty
suspect … and all marriages. Last night,
leaves circled the base of the ginkgo as if
the sun had shattered during the night
into a million gold coins no one had the sense
to claim. And now, there are days we would
rather know than these, days when to stand
before beauty and before “Juno” are, convincingly,
the same, days when the shattered sunlight
seeps through the trees and the women we marry
stay interesting and beautiful both at once,
and their men. And though there are days
we would rather know than now, I am,
at heart, a scared and simple man. So I tighten
my arms around the woman I love, now
and imperfectly, stand before “Juno” whispering
beautiful beautiful until I believe it, and-
when I come home at night-I run out
into the day’s pale dusk with my broom
and my dustpan, sweeping the coins from the base
of the ginkgo, something to keep for a better tomorrow:
days we would rather know that never come.

"Days We Would Rather Know" by Michael Blumenthal from Days We Would Rather Know. © Pleasure Boat Studio Press, 2005.


        View from Space  


For Wiki data on the artist:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

No raccoon; A person of limited palette; Heaven

On Friday
March a week ago
at 4 AM a Waukesha ambulance
picked me up at the Odd Fellows hall on South Street.

After rapidly checking my vitals first upstairs
then hauling me inside, the several attendants continued working on me
before we got rolling to the hospital hill ER.
After 3 - 4 days of dehydratng I'd succumbed to
a case of viral pneumonia
it was determined.

The doctors at the airplane hangar
-it seemed like - hallucinating - 
at Waukesha Memorial
had me under control quickly -
going through their checklist of things
that could be wrong with me

given my history.

After a couple days of administering IV fluids
and antibiotics in intensive care
I was transferred to the regular patient population
and on Tuesday this week I was released
to the world at large.

That is why there was no raccoon last Saturday.

This remedial sortie was endorsed, embraced and underwritten by my good partner, Dee.

 Life has taken on its usual madcapacity again.
This get well card sent by friend Wm.


A Person of Limited Palette
by Ted Kooser

Listen Online

I would love to have lived out my years
in a cottage a few blocks from the sea,
and to have spent my mornings painting
out in the cold, wet rocks, to be known
as “a local artist,” a pleasant old man
who “paints passably well, in a traditional
manner,” though a person of limited
talent, of limited palette: earth tones
and predictable blues, snap-brim cloth cap
and cardigan, baggy old trousers
and comfortable shoes, but none of this
shall come to pass, for every day
the possibilities grow fewer, like swallows
in autumn. If you should come looking
for me, you’ll find me here, in Nebraska,
thirty miles south of the broad Platte River,
right under the flyway of dreams.

"A Person of Limited Palette" by Ted Kooser from Splitting an Order. © Copper Canyon Press, 2014



SRN ed.:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Congolese - Join the Movement PFC; Hawks; Stand by me in Brazil


Having written about our surprise sighting of a goshawk across the street
at the Five Points
we were glad to see the front piece in the NYT Book Review section last Sunday
about a book I want to read (H IS FOR HAWK by Helen Macdonald):



This part of the Sat Rac is thus specially headed
to my son David Jr. who was a Goshawk (aka: Coopers)_
handler briefly, alother story in itself * -
a take-off from his leathered wrist under tutelage
of a raptor specialist;

and to good friend Hawk Mahoney
follower of Native American ways
who took on the name HAWK
in honor of them...


WIS's 97th

Wis Guthrie had a birthday last week
so I joined him for lunch at the Avalon Cafe
where after dining I withdrew from my carry-all bag
two cordial glasses and some Balkan Slimowicz to clear our transnitting

The toast left a hint of a smile on Wis's face as this is not just
any ordinary libation.
We knew his entrails were tracking the warming passage down
as were mine.

We probably didn't have to secret the goods into the Avalon
under cover of a Pellegrino bottle,
but we did not to cause any stir among other residents having their lunch
in the cafe. What are they drinking, some folks might have wondered?

When we left our table I put the small drink-makings back in my bag 
which is furthered disguised as a fishing creel. A clear get away with no one
looking our way.

But before, creel bag sling over my shoulder,
we went up to Wis's apartment there in the Avalon
luxurious retirement site for some more visiting.

He asked me to retrieve a couple of Cutie tangerines
from his ice box.

Cuties are a favorite food of Wis's along with weekly
cheese curds from the Waukesha Farmers Market.
(and popsicles bought there too, sometimes).

As we sat talking among some of his obects d'art spanning his history
the subject of the Farmers Market travail came up. He hadn't heard
this news.

I filled him in how the lovely Waukesha Saturday AM
experience along the Fox River is in supposed jeapardy, partly over
the enforcement of a porta-potty ordinance.

A loggershead seems threatening
as Officer Bruce and the Waukesha Business District Assoc. don't see 
why porta-potties should be needed
when some of their WBDA merchant members including Norm's book store
bathrooms are available.

The city attorney wants signed letters on file stipulating these store bathrooms
are indeed available to market shoppers.  The State Bank bathroom was said 
by WBDA Officer Bruce is available, too.

EMPHATICALLY NOT SO, said the bank!


Wis pondered all this briefly and came up with an idea:


Wis contemplates this year's Christmas pageant at the 1st Cong. Church
where we haven't been seen lately due to the weather.
Next to him is Sid Estenik, another longtime Congo regular.

Wis earlier as a thespian.


A decoupage picture adorns Wis's front door
to his apartment at the Avalon.

He attached an old photo of his wife Ina and himself
to a drawing of the Carroll campus,
at the dorm he first managed for returning WW II veteran Carroll students
known as 'Maniac Manor', still standing, at Hartwell and College Ave.

  Wis has acquired not a small amount of family history.

For one thing, see:

Later, before Ina passed, Wis and Ina together retired,
he from the chair  of the Carroll art department and they took up
residency at the Avalon Square.

A visitor to his solo unit 
comes and goes through this inviting portal:


end with


* Coming next week

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Note from Cindy; All that we have is now; Time; Cat alarm; Coffee in the afternoon

John and Cindy take Emerson for a sleigh ride
in their solarized back yard where Cindy's story takes place 
in shadow of Holy Hill

To the Helt family, plus a few friends:
(Now Raccooned, Ed. note)

I wanted to share a story about an event that happened today. Around 2pm, John and I both heard a loud "thwump", which sounded like a bird hitting the windows. It has  happened frequently in the past, until we learned that moving feeders either 3 feet or thirty feet from the house could prevent this tragedy. (This advice was given by birding experts). As I scanned the perimeter of the house, I spotted the upside-down body of a bird I recognized as a woodpecker lodged in the snow, with only his feet and tail showing. Panic-stricken, I threw on my coat and boots and ran out to see if there was any chance it was still alive. I picked it up, and its eyes were still open. I quickly thrust it under my coat, knowing that it needed to be kept warm. I ran to the garage, secured a small box, and went in the house. John got a soft towel to line the box, and I followed  him to the shower room, where he shut the doors. We placed the bird (a red-bellied woodpecker) in the box, and shut the lid. He would remain in the box for a half hour. I know from past experience that in this time the victims either recover or perish. Sometimes they just seem to need some quiet recovery time to gather their wits. 

After about 15 minutes, we heard a "tap-tap" noise from the room. John thought the bird got out. I checked, and saw the lid was still in place. So I quickly got my coat and boots on, and got the box.I could see the tip of the bird's bill poking out around the lid; I took this for a good sign. John opened the back door, and I stepped out toward the back yard to open the lid. With a leap and a flutter the woodpecker flew off to the nearest tree. I heard a squawk, and chose to interpret it as a simple thanks, instead of a scolding for the temporary confinement. I love happy endings. 

Stay warm. 


Sarah, Cindy (Grandma), and Emerson
whose Dad is my godson Aaron Helt

Helt's train intro



Like cousin Steve Dix, author of FINDING HONOR, Winchester - the late - went to Canada instead of Vietnam.
He stayed there until the last 10 yrear of his life
when he returned to the US, pardoned.

Steve says he knew of JS but did get to meet him.

Funny thing is that one of the commmenters under the U-tubed song is another Canada-flight Viet avoider,
poet Michael Lee Johnson. I contacted him thru his link below; we are now in touch with things in common.. + Steve and Michael
are exchanging books, a nice thing.


Pink Floyd

-  "the tolling of the iron bell"  -

even a child can ring it

Ticking away the moments 
That make up a dull day 
Fritter and waste the hours 
In an off-hand way 

Kicking around on a piece of ground 
In your home town 
Waiting for someone or something 
To show you the way 

Tired of lying in the sunshine 
Staying home to watch the rain 
You are young and life is long 
And there is time to kill today 

And then the one day you find 
Ten years have got behind you 
No one told you when to run 
You missed the starting gun 


And you run and you run 
To catch up with the sun 
But it's sinking 

Racing around 
To come up behind you again 

The sun is the same 
In a relative way 
But you're older 

Shorter of breath 
And one day closer to death 

Every year is getting shorter 
Never seem to find the time 

Plans that either come to naught 
Or half a page of scribbled lines 

Hanging on in quiet desperation 
Is the English way 

The time is gone 
The song is over 
Thought I'd something more to say 

Home again 
I like to be here 
When I can 

When I come home 
Cold and tired 
It's good to warm my bones 
Beside the fire 

Far away 
Across the field 
Tolling of the iron bell 
Calls the faithful to their knees 
To hear the softly spoken magic spell...

Bill H. oils it


Dee now, zips up for the present cold temp.


Cat Alarm


Coffee in the Afternoon
by Alberto Rios

It was afternoon tea, with tea foods spread out
Like in the books, except that it was coffee.
She made a tin pot of cowboy coffee, from memory,
That’s what we used to call it, she said, cowboy coffee.
The grounds she pinched up in her hands, not a spoon,
And the fire on the stove she made from a match.
I sat with her and talked, but the talk was like the tea food,
A little of this and something from the other plate as well,
Always with a napkin and a thank-you. We sat and visited
And I watched her smoke cigarettes
Until the afternoon light was funny in the room,
And then we said our good-byes. The visit was liniment,
The way the tea was coffee, a confusion plain and nice,
A balm for the nerves of two people living in the world,
A balm in the tenor of its language, which spoke through
       our hands
In the small lifting of our cups and our cakes to our lips.
It was simplicity, and held only what it needed.
It was a gentle visit, and I did not see her again.

"Coffee in the Afternoon" by Alberto Rios from The Theater of Night. © Copper Canyon Press, 2007

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Just for openers; In the Chicago theater; Auction; Laughton; Jesse Winchester ....That's what makes us see....


My Father Laughing in the Chicago Theater
by David Wagoner

His heavy body would double itself forward
At the waist, swell, and come heaving around
To slam at his seatback, making the screws groan
And squawk down half the row as it went tilting
Under my mother and me, under whoever
Was out of luck on the other side of him.
Like a boxer slipping punches, he’d lift his elbows
To flail and jerk, and his wide-open mouth
Would boom out four deep haaa’s to the end of his breath.
He was laughing at Burns and Allen or Jack Benny
In person or at his limitless engagement
With Groucho, Chico, and Harpo. While my mother
Sat there between us, gazing at the stage
And chuckling placidly, I watched with amazement
The spectacle of a helpless father, unmanned,
Disarmed by laughter. The tears would dribble
From under his bifocals, as real as sweat.
He would gape and gag, go limp, and spring back to life.
I would laugh too, but partly at him, afraid
Of becoming him. He could scowl anywhere,
Be solemn or blank in church or going to work,
Turn grim with a cold chisel, or he could smile
At babies or football games, but he only laughed
There in that theater. And up the aisle
And through the lobby to the parking lot
And all the way home, I’d see the glow on his cheeks
Fade to the usual hectic steelmill sunburn.

"My Father Laughing in the Chicago Theater" by David Wagoner from Traveling Light. © University of Illinois Press, 1999


Farm Auction

Contrails scrawl the sky under which
sawhorse-and-lumber tables offer up
the hoard and store of fifty years.
Neighbors have come to scour house
and barn and implement shed.
Yes, we’ve come to haul it all away-
their nests of pillows and quilts
and feather ticks, the glazed plates
and bread crocks, a washtub rimed
with bluing, the saltcellar and gravy boat,
her cross-stitch sampler and figurines,
canning jars, seals, lids. And spools
of baling wire, seed drills, spades,
coffee cans of bolts and bent nails,
a burlap-wrapped schnapps bottle
he kept back of the barn’s fuse box and all
his spare fuses. An aerial photo of their farm.
And even the rusted harrow in the ditch.
The auctioneer works to disperse
all their worldly goods, singing hey
somebody give me twenty now, twenty
as his wife hands over odd boxes
of cribbage boards and crucifixes
to the ladies fanning themselves
with sale bills by the tilting lilacs.
From the porch the 4-H club sells
plates of peach pie and waxy cups of pop.
Inside, the smell of silage still clings
to his chambray shirt hung
on the backdoor peg after choring.
How, in stocking feet, he loved to step
on the warm place where the dog had lain,
where dilapidated hips collapsed her
in a sleeping, yellow heap.
Now all is echo where once they sat
together with the ledger, adding columns
of crop yields and prices per bushel,
or thumbing rosaries like they shelled peas-
dutiful, dutiful to the ceaseless seasons,
to their tillage and cattle and kin.
Through the window screen comes little gusts
and the sound of the gavel coming down.

"Farm Auction" by Amy Fleury from Sympathetic Magic. © Southern Illinois University Press, 2013. 


Rememberng Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton
1899 - 1962



A Day Of the Dead figurine
purhased long ago at the Market Place
on Milw. East Side

converted to an item for the faithful waitress
by painting one of the breasts red.

Happy Valentines Day !

Jesse Winchester (the late)

"That's what makes us see"

Thanks to Rev/Dr. Bentz of New Jersey