Saturday, October 18, 2014

Waltz - Skaters; Reading; ee cummings; Paul Kaske




First Skating Party

Dozens of kids circle
the worn wooden floor
on old rental skates,
and none of them wear
helmets or pads,
so when they collide
or fall or stop themselves
by the simple technique
of steering straight
into the cinder-block barrier,
you can feel the pain
of the parents
who watch from booths
by the concession stand;
they know their children
have bones of balsa
and skin that tears
as easily as a napkin,
but they can do nothing
except yell, Be Careful!
and make hand gestures
to slow down
                             —Slow Down!—
as the ones they love
strobe past them
faster and faster
just beyond their reach.


"First Skating Party" by Joseph Mills from The Miraculous Turning. © Press 53, 2014



^,^

For My Son, Reading Harry Potter

How lovely, to be lost
as you are now
in someone else's thoughts
an imagined world
of witchcraft, wizardry and clans
that takes you in so utterly
all the ceaseless background noise
of life's insistent pull and drag soon fades
and you are left, a young boy
captured in attention's undivided daze,
as I was once
when books defined a world
no trouble could yet penetrate
or others spoil, or regret stain,
when, between covers, under covers,
all is safe and sure
and each Odysseus makes it home again
and every transformation is to bird or bush
or to a star atwinkle in some firmament of light,
or to a club that lets you, and all others, in.
Oh, how I wish for you
that life may let you turn and turn
these pages, in whose spell
time is frozen, as is pain and fright and loss
before you're destined to be lost again
in that disordered and distressing book
your life will write for you and cannot change.


"For My Son, Reading Harry Potter" by Michael Blumenthal from No Hurry: Poems 2000-201





^,^



love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky


"66" by E.E. Cummings, from Complete Poems. © Grove Press, 1994. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It's the birthday of poet E.E. Cummings (books by this author), born Edward Estlin Cummings in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1894). His father was a Harvard professor, and Cummings grew up in a privileged and happy household — he said, "As it was my miraculous fortune to have a true father and a true mother, and a home which the truth of their love made joyous, so — in reaching outward from this love and this joy — I was marvelously lucky to touch and seize a rising and striving world." At times he rebelled against the strict Christian morality and academic world of his parents. He wrote in one early poem: "the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls / are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds." He said, "I led a double life, getting drunk and feeling up girls but lying about this to my Father and taking his money all the time."
He graduated from Harvard, enlisted in the Ambulance Corps, and then moved to Greenwich Village to write poetry. His Harvard friend John Dos Passos used his influence to find a publisher for Cummings's first book of poems, Tulips and Chimneys (1923). Cummings complained that the editor cut the manuscript down from 152 poems to 66, and took out the ampersand in the title to write out the word "and." One critic said that his poems were "hideous on the page," and another corrected all his punctuation when she quoted him. He continued to publish books, but 12 years after his first collection of poems had come out, Cummings was still unable to find a publisher for his newest manuscript. He ended up self-publishing it with financial help from his mother — he titled it No Thanks (1935) and dedicated it to the 14 publishing houses who had rejected the book.
Slowly, his fame grew. His Collected Poems (1938) was a big success, but his six-month royalty checks were small — one for $14.94, another for $9.75. His mother still gave him a monthly check to help pay his living expenses. He started giving poetry readings, and by the last decade of his life, Cummings was a celebrity. His poetry readings were hugely popular, sold-out events — he packed venues from college campuses to theaters. He charmed his audiences — reading energetically, lingering on individual words, striding around the stage as he spoke, and timing his readings to the second. In 1957, he read to a crowd of 7,000 in Boston. During a reading at Bennington College in Vermont, the huge crowd of students greeted him by reciting his poem about Buffalo Bill en masse. The crowds were so enthusiastic that Cummings had to establish what he called "rules of engagement": he refused to autograph books or attend dinners or other social functions. He sometimes sneaked out after readings by what he called a "secretbackentrance." Young women came up to him on the streets of New York to give him bouquets of flowers, or left them on the doorstep of his Greenwich Village apartment. By the time of his death in 1962, he was the second most widely read poet in America, after Robert Frost.

Source:  Keillor's Writers Almanac


^,^


[Photo courtesy of historian John Schoenknecht who did a series on Waukesha's family grocery stores.
Paul holds a food ad from Kaske's dated 1940, showing then prices]

An old friend, Paul Kaske
died last week of complications of Alzheimers.

Paul was a rough and ready kid with me at the Sunday School
of the 1st Cngregational UCC, a life-long butcher who
learned the trade from his grocer/meat market operator parents
- Hawley and mother Doris -
at the Kaske Corner Grocery, Grand Ave and Harrison Street,
Waukesha.

Paul inherited the store when his father Hawley died
and continued the family operation for decades himself.

Eventually he retired and sold the store which is now a  Mexican restaurant.

Paul kept his hand in the butchering work after retirement
 cutting meat for a chain supermarket.

We wrote this of him in the raccoon:

http://raccoonnews.blogspot.com/2013/03/raccoons-must-eat-everything-ends-bear.html
scroll down to the part about Paul

Another friend and old customer of Kaske's
is 'Xanadu' Carman, who wrote the following about Paul's passing:


>"So many memories we have of the Grocery and for that dear family.  Paul used to deliver groceries when I was too rushed to get to the store or had a sick child who needn't go out.  I'm so glad he is at rest now.  Sweet man....ssc"<

Family mom and pop grocery stores and pretty much a thing of the distant past.
Kaske's was embedded in, invested in the people of the old neighborhood
where I too once lived.  The love was mutual.

^.^

Six Cheerful Couplets on Death

Most things won't happen, Larkin said,
But this one will: We will be dead.

The saddest thing, in each context,
Is knowing that we could be next.

Some take the bus, some take the train,
Some die in sleep, the rest in pain

But of one thing we can be sure:
All die imperfect, each impure

Some wishing that they had been better,
Others worse, but no one deader.

Shoes left, like Buddhists, at the door:
Those won't be needed anymore.


"Six Cheerful Couplets on Death" by Michael Blumenthal, from No Hurry: Poems 2000-2012. © Etruscan Press, 2012


Rest those hands in peace, Paul
Blessings to the family




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Yes, we have it on tap; Composition; Jacky Terrasson; Xanadu at the train; Catastrophe




then


then as my mother played it on her organ console:






^,^








Composition


We used to call it the boob tube,
but I guess they don't use tubes anymore.
Whatever, it serves a small purpose after waking
and before falling asleep. Today's news—
but is there such a thing as news,
or even oral history? Yes, when you want to go back
after a while and appraise the accumulation
of leaves, say in a sandbox.
The rest is rented depression,
available only in season
and the season is always next month,
a pure but troubled time.

That's why I don't go out much, though
staying at home never seemed much of an option.
And speaking of nutty concepts, surely "home"
is way up there on the list. I feel more certain about "now"
and "then," because they are close to me,
like lovers, though apparently not in love with me,
as I am with them. I like to call to them,
and sometimes they reply, out of the deep business of some dream.




"Composition" by John Ashbery from Where Shall I Wander. © Ecco Press, 2005


^,^


Jacky Terrasson



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FKQI7yuQ8U

^.^

Xanadu

at the train station

10-8-14







In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.

^,^




Cat-Ass-Trophy

How many times must one say no
To a cat begging to go out
After hours

My reckoning of how many
Times I’ve leaned down to advise her
Sours

My disposition;  for heaven’s sake
Do you want to hear those mighty descending wings
From the nocturnal sky?  She glowers,

Having no imagination, I guess
And continues her pitiful begging to go out
And take her chances during the darkened hours

An owl will, believe me, WILL swoop down
And pick you, you tasty morsel, as if
You were nothing heftier than one of our flowers

Growing outside the door, in whose midst you slink and creep.
These owls are big with talons sinking deep,
They’ll carry you to a treetop;  disembowelers

These owls are;  your nemeses;
You don’t want to find yourself with great ease flying upward
By surprise, my pussy, to be sliced, diced, and devoured!

Like talking to a catter -wall;
At night a different creature;
She persists!  “ Mee-ow,  Mee-OW, MEE-OW!”  Hers

To learn the hard beak way, but not on this watch!
Her bones and parts shant be reduced to pellets, trophies
Dropped under the Tamarack’s peacable bowers!

No is NO, my furry friend, reckon thyself lucky;
Yea, and compose and confine thyself;
Not to be an owl’s, your howls and bowels are ours!

[David Dix 6-9-2002]







Saturday, October 4, 2014

Trumpet bird; September



^,^

Late September

The leaves grow lighter and lighter,
yet they fall. As the woods thin
a house becomes visible,
and a plume of smoke hand-feeding the wind.
There's no hurry if you don't care.
For thirty years nothing knew paint,
but the house still stands.
What is dust, that we should mark
if it fills our empty boots while we sleep?

Children love you at first the way a dog does.
But eventually they will reveal
the history of your offenses
in high voices that carry across the pond.
Day opens and closes like a camera shutter,
mechanically, with more haste than necessary.
The cat lays a chipmunk at the back step.
I think of its burrow, of all it hoarded,
and of nine consecutive lives without remorse.

"Late September" by Connie Wanek, from Hartley Field. © Holy Cow! Press, 2002



^,^

The raccoon will be shut down for repairs
and updates.  Revisions of auto-sends. Stand by...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Once; Headed for a dance; Dawn downtown


Please note:  this Raccoon is posted SATURDAY
not Sunday as is stated by Google,

...maybe conferring for the SRN collector
added value in printing it out
as is the case for the Jenny stamp
briefly printed upside-down -
now worth thousands:


__________________________________

Saturday Raccoon 9-27-14 as follows:

Once

the train has left the
station you can't take it
Once the promise has been
broke you can't unbreak it.

If the letter has been sent
you can't rewrite it.
If the cigarette's been smoked
you can't not light it.

Not the candle's snuffed
you can't see by it.
Once the seat's been sold
no one can buy it.*
The phone is disconnected:
don't talk to it.
The window's painted black;
you won't see through it.

The scotch tape end is lost,
you can't unwind it.
The earring's in the lake;
you'll never find it.

And now the money's squandered—
you can't give it
back. And time is short;
you have to live it.

"Once" by Jonathan Galassi, from Left-Handed. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. 

* Regarding 'seat's been sold':

Yesterday, I saw two old church folding chairs in the show window of Burlap and Lace repurposing shop around the corner from us on Grand Ave.  They were printed 'Trinity Cong.' on the back.  Congregational church basement seating, the old-fashioned wooden kind.


 As I've had a fondness for folding things, I ruminated over these chairs for a day:


Old Poem



Today I inquired about these chairs of the manager  of the store.  She today had them set up outside her shop in the sidewalk with other miscellany nicely displayed.

She said they were today 15% off, so I could get them for $15 ea less 15%.

I bought them right off the street.


Otherwise they were gonna be SO sold out there in plain sight.


"ONCE THE SEAT'S BEEN SOLD
NO ONE CAN BUY IT..."





^.^

HEADED FOR A DANCE



Play this:





http://www.ba-bamail.com/Content.aspx?emailid=12137&memberid=822358



^.^


Of a morning this week:



Sitting in my chair at the Odd Fellows
I watched the effects on out-of-the-night clouds
as the sun rose.
"Red Sails in the Sun(rise)"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGIwSwAvp6o
(We heard from others subsequently that they had marveled over this sunrise sky, too. 9-25)

Just before that (5 AM), having heard the tell-tale chains
rattling off the shackled outdoor furniture
at Dave's Cafe

signaling his (Jose's) outdoor ambiance
was ready for his contingent
of early morning smokers
and any other patrons;

three regulars took their post
at curbside under the then un-sunned umbrella.
The cigar smoker,
the pipe smoker,
the cigarette smoker.



Different vapours in the undarkening 
as the days grow shorter.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Technical difficulties on Google blogsite, so a redo of this section which we want to come off right



Ray Lyle
WHS class of 1954


I lost track of Ray after we finished Sunday School and youth group years in the 1940's at the 1st Congregational church, Waukesha.

We had been close childhood friends then.  I did not hang out with Ray during WHS days.  I can't remember why not.

(Sally von Briesen wrote here after the obit appeared: "I remember being in the musical "New Moon" with Ray Lyle, Susie Tradewell, Jerry Larson, Frankie Marzocco, my sister Judy Martin, and many others.  Judy Morey, for one,  It was a big cast.  Ray had the lead." See photo above, Ray on the right.

I do remember Ray as kind and friendly with a great singing voice.

When I heard of him from time to time in later life I thought it was cool of him to choose milkman as his career.  I thought of him in that regard when I drove a Milwaukee Yellow Cab in the first half of the 1970's.

Those years spawned an enjoyment of writing simple Edgar Guest-style poems as follows from the Boynton Cab Co. union news letter, The Trip Ticket:

BECK'S MINIONS
 (Frank Beck was the mgr of the cab company)


We are Beck’s minions bold and brave
each day we go a-driving
And some are bald and some don’t shave
Yet all each day are striving

We pay our money and take our chance
Piloting Yellows by the seat of our pants
Through the maelstrom of traffic we fearlessly dance
And at flag-up our loads are still living

We cabbies are lowly, many assay
Our job does yield little station
The dregs of the work force, bottom-rungers, they say
Back-washed from proud civilization

But didn’t we cheer the maudlin, brace up the drunk?
Didn’t we ferry them all, dog, chippie and monk?
Didn’t we treat them as equals though some might have stunk?
Yes, with verve and no small dedication

So take heart, fellow driver, heed what’s here writ
You’re a hero, a champion, a darer with grit
That you can’t quote the market
Doesn’t matter one whit
It’s your guts that call forth admiration

I’m proud to be with you, black men and white
Together on call on the streets day and night
We perform our service. Getting rich? No not quite
Yet to us be there be joy and libation

Yet to us be there be joy and libation


[David Dix in Cab No. 202 8-1973]

.............


Ray's dad was veterinarian Dr. Clyde Lyle.  He had his clinic in the early days on Barstow Street across from now Discount Liquor, then Sears.  That was adjacent to the old Stock Pavilion where as some of us will remember it was the scene of the Friday farmers coming to town.

Large turn-outs at the stock pavilion of farmers and their cattle where the beasts would be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Then, according to Ray (told to us in Sunday School) his dad would move in with his castrating tools to neuter the steers.

Ray used to joke that his dad made a small fortune de-testicling these animals, lickety-spilt, right down the line.  Ray got to help.

So:

RAY LYLE

rip

 another 1954 classmate gone, not forgotten

Scotland, 'land of the heather...'; Elephant eye; Grandchilden; Benchley; Eating honey and locusts OK


Scotland the Brave



I come by my Scottish heritage in this way:

My grandmother was Myrtle Nicholson Dix.
Her ancestors hailed from the Isle Of Skye, Scotland.
She was proud of this and instilled in her progeny
a due respect for that history.

Shown above she tends her lilies in her retirement
in Modesto, CA.  Previously and for many years she resided in Iowa with
her husband, my grandfather Ray, who with her is mentioned
several times in the Raccoon. They both passed in Modesto.




I mention this lore because Scotland is very much in the news.

I have worn and worn my Nicholson Scottish tam
over many years, often to church, but in many other settings.








And the McDonald
Scotland the Brave
link at the beginning
of this section:

I played this CD for Myrtle's
son Leslie, my father, at a visit in his last year
of life in Virginia
and he requested it over and over
as he sat in his couch smiling,
with his eyes closed.

- SCOTLAND THE BRAVE -


Remember this, ye Dixlings, and think of your dad/grandfather
smiling and listening...

^.^

The eyes have it


Poaching ELEPHANTS




Nobody knows
 except for National Geographic
reading types

Nobody knows the trouble they've  seen...

Toward a better day
Glory hallelujah



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVKKRzemX_w








^.^




Grandchildren



They disappear with friends
near age 11. We lose them
to baseball and tennis, garage
bands, slumber parties, stages
where they rehearse for the future,
ripen in a tangle of love knots.
With our artificial knees and hips
we move into the back seats
of their lives, obscure as dust
behind our wrinkles, and sigh
as we add the loss of them
to our growing list of the missing.

Sometimes they come back,
carting memories of sugar cookies
and sandy beaches, memories of how
we sided with them in their wars
with parents, sided with them
even as they slid out of our laps
into the arms of others.

Sometimes they come back
and hold onto our hands
as if they were the thin strings
of helium balloons
about to drift off.

"Grandchildren" by Stiffler, from Otherwise, We Are Safe. © Dos Madres Press, 2013

^.^

ROBERT BENCHLEY

Robert Charles Benchley (September 15, 1889 – November 21, 1945) was an American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper and The New Yorker columnist, etc. etc.
including  numerous short subjects star I saw at the old Bucket of Blood theater (The Avon, Waukesha)



He wrote this, much to my mother and father's amusement:

(* Ruth was the 1940's church organist at the 1st Cong. church of Waukesha)

The Church Supper

The social season in our city ends up with a bang for the summer when the Strawberry Festival at the Second Congregational Church is over. After that you might as well die. Several people have, in fact.

The Big Event is announced several weeks in advance in that racy sheet known as the "church calendar," which is slipped into the pews by the sexton before anyone has a chance to stop him. There, among such items as a quotation from a recent letter from Mr. and Mrs. Wheelock (the church's missionaries in China who are doing a really splendid work in the face of a shortage of flannel goods), and the promise that Elmer Divvit will lead the Intermediate Christian Endeavor that afternoon, rain or shine, on the subject of "What Can I Do to Increase the Number of Stars in My Crown?" we find the announcement that on Friday night, June the 8th, the Ladies of the Church will unbelt with a Strawberry Festival to be held in the vestry and that, furthermore, Mrs. William Horton MacInting will be at the head of the Committee in Charge. 

Surely enough good news for one day!

The Committee is then divided into commissary groups, one to provide the short-cake, another to furnish the juice, another the salad, and so on, until everyone has something to do except Mrs. MacInting, the chairman. She agrees to furnish the paper napkins and to send her car around after the contributions which the others are making. Then, too, there is the use of her name.

The day of the festival arrives, bright and rainy. All preparations are made for a cozy evening in defiance of the elements; so when, along about four in the afternoon, it clears and turns into a nice hot day, everyone is caught with rubbers and steamy mackintoshes, to add to the fun. For, by four o'clock in the afternoon, practically everyone in the parish is at the vestry "helping out," as they call it.

"Helping out" consists of putting on an apron over your good clothes, tucking up the real lace cuffs, and dropping plates. The scene in the kitchen of the church at about five-thirty in the afternoon is one to make a prospective convert to Christianity stop and think. Between four and nine thousand women, all wearing aprons over black silk dresses, rush back and forth carrying platters of food, bumping into each other, hysterical with laughter, filling pitchers with hot coffee from a shiny urn, and poking good-natured fun at Mr. Numaly and Mr. Dow, husbands who have been drafted into service and who, amid screams of delight from the ladies, have also donned aprons and are doing the dropping of the heavier plates and ice-cream freezers.

"Look at Mr. Dow!" they cry. "Some good-looking girl you make, Mr. Dow!"
"Come up to my house, Mr. Numaly, and I'll hire you to do our cooking."
"Alice says for Mr. Numaly to come up to her house and she'll hire him as a cook! Alice, you're a caution!"

And so it goes, back and forth, good church-members all, which means that their banter contains nothing off-color and, by the same token, nothing that was coined later than the first batch of buffalo nickels.

In the meantime, the paying guests are arriving out in the vestry and are sniffing avidly at the coffee aroma, which by now has won its fight with the smell of musty hymn books which usually dominates the place. They leave their hats and coats in the kindergarten room on the dwarfed chairs and wander about looking with weekday detachment at the wall-charts showing the startling progress of the Children of Israel across the Red Sea and the list of gold-star pupils for the month of May. Occasionally they take a peek in at the kitchen and remark on the odd appearance of Messrs. Numaly and Dow, who by this time are just a little fed up on being the center of the taunting and have stopped answering back.

The kiddies, who have been brought in to gorge themselves on indigestible strawberry concoctions, are having a gay time tearing up and down the vestry for the purpose of tagging each other. They manage to reach the door just as Mrs. Camack is entering with a platter full of cabbage salad, and later she explains to Mrs. Reddy while the latter is sponging off her dress that this is the last time she is going to have anything to do with a church supper at which those Basnett children are allowed. The Basnett children, in the meantime, oblivious of this threat, are giving all their attention to slipping pieces of colored chalk from the blackboard into the hot rolls which have just been placed on the tables. And, considering what small children they are, they are doing remarkably well at it.

At last everyone is ready to sit down. In fact, several invited guests do sit down, and have to be reminded that Dr. Murney has yet to arrange the final details of the supper with Heaven before the chairs can be pulled out. This ceremony, with the gentle fragrance of strawberries and salad rising from the table, is one of the longest in the whole list of church rites; and when it is finally over there is a frantic scraping of chairs and clatter of cutlery and babble of voices which means that the hosts of the Lord have completed another day's work in the vineyard and are ready, nay, willing, to toy with several tons of foodstuffs.

The adolescent element in the church has been recruited to do the serving, but only a few of them show up at the beginning of the meal. The others may be found by any member of the committee frantic enough to search them out, sitting in little groups of two on the stairs leading up to the organ loft or indulging in such forms of young love as tie-snatching and braid-pulling up in the study.

The unattached youths and maids who are induced to take up the work of pouring coffee do it with a vim but very little skill. Pouring coffee over the shoulder of a person sitting at a long table with dozens of other people is a thing that you ought to practice weeks in advance for, and these young people step right in on the job without so much as a dress rehearsal. The procedure is, or should be, as follows:

Standing directly behind the person about to be served, say in a loud but pleasant voice: "Coffee?" If the victim wishes it, he or she will lift the cup from the table and hold it to be filled, with the left forefinger through the handle and bracing the cup against the right upper-arm. The pourer will then have nothing to do but see to it that the coffee goes from the pitcher to the cup.

Where the inexperienced often make a mistake is in reaching for the cup themselves and starting to pour before finding out if the victim wants coffee. This results in nine cases out of six in the victim's turning suddenly and saying: "No coffee, thank you, please!", jarring the arm of the pourer and getting the coffee on the cuff.

For a long time nothing is heard but the din of religious eating and then gradually, one by one, forks slip from nerveless fingers, chairs are scraped back, and the zealots stir heavily to their feet. All that remains is for the committee to gather up the remains and congratulate themselves on their success.

The next event in the calendar will not be until October, when the Men's Club of the church will prepare and serve a supper of escalloped oysters and hot rolls. Join now and be enrolled for labor in the vineyard in the coming year.

- From Benchley Beside HImself -

(Remember this was written in the late 1920s, but there is some similarity today.)


^.^



More KD Cat news



KD Cat reposes/tangles
white belly 'V for Victory'
sign showing, tangles with
her best friend in our 
poor man's penthouse:

The Hekkers gift of
a lamb's wool duster

to fit supposedly
on the end of the length
bamboo fishing pole
we have also received from Tom to 
accentuate
the height of the ceiling
in this 1882 building
where we live on the top floor.








KD, hidden in a jungle of spider plant leaves
relentlessly stares at a mourning dove sitting
on the landing skylight edge.

See its shadow at the left side.
The skylight, of which we have three,
is transluscent (cannot see through it)
yet KD knows it is one of her vaunted
birdie playmates, or - favorite imaginary dishes.


http://raccoonnews.blogspot.com/2012/09/not-so-petty-sandy-damatos-chinese.html

^.^

Honeyed Locusts
Leviticus 11:2

William's birthday suckers:

Our pewmate, William

is newly 14 years of age



and he has a thing for eating insects currently
So Dee went to our local haute -cuisine chocolatier 
- Allo Chocolat -
and got William some gourmet cricket suckers.
 We will drop them off at Wm's today,
 his birthday.




Sunlight bathes Wm in back where we sit
in the peanut gallery of the 1st Congo.