Monday, December 31, 2007

ZEP: origin of


In 1938, I had a small wagon with Zep written across the sides. This was in the time of the German zeppelins, much vaunted. It wasn't until very later that I took the name Zep for my nick-name. I ran across the rumpled snapshot shown at the right in a box of old pictures. At that time, Orson Welles' famous film Citizen Kane was getting a lot of acclaim, and I was taken by the ethereal portayal of the Kane's death scene and his dying word, Rosebud, which was (ostensibly) the name of his childhood sled. Rosebud......Rosebud..........Rosebud.

Ancillary to that self-dubbing, I had and continue to have a great love of zeppelins. In this transit-ory world, they, like everything else, came and went. The Hindenburg's crashing and burning was something I could relate to, and the tragedy was the knell of death for the huge airships.

So I collect zeppelin toys, and have a lovely and large book of zeppelin photos and history given to me by my dad before he passed on. That is why I am called Zep, often signing my correspondence "Zep" or "v. Zeppelin." Now you know.

Yours truly,

v. Z

The 2008 Jack Daniels calendar has a picture of an antique metal (copper?) zeppelin on a bookshelf with other items.

Cross 3D room freshener, MOVES!

In yet another piece of evidence on why Dr. John Helt would never have worked out as the called minister of the First Cong. Church of Waukesha, he sends me this! After getting one in his stocking he rushed right out (to "Walgreens, ubiquitous place of Enlightenment" per John) to buy one for me and mine. A Boxing Day gift we shall treasure. And may not open, for fear of reek. I once included with a poem a sealed bag of pigeon droppings from that church steeple with my Christmas card, a few years ago. Keeping it sealed was recommended.

Walgreens now becomes the Alice's Restaurant of 07-08. You CAN get anything you want.....

This item tops the Taiwanese Christian hologram post cards John and I used to buy at Holy Hill.

Thanks, Juan!

air comb (reg.)

The Air Comb (reg.) is an artifact of the early Yibawean Society, an international organization for the Bald, Unbald, and Friends of the Bald (FOB).
YIBAWE is an acronym standing for Yes I'm Bald, And What Else ? Like a raccoon advocate, a Yibawean accepts all creatures as they are, because of the fundamental Oneness of the universe.
Founded in 1987, the society has a code of conduct, available by request.
The Air Comb (reg.) is becoming rare. It consisted of old combs found in gutters (near sewer grates or elsewhere) from which the teeth were knocked out. Sterilized and placed in silken cases as shown, an AC may be put into subdued or flagrant use, combing imaginary pompadours, vast waves of hair, or precise parts. The inherent urge to primp was thus satisfied in a harmless way.

Ivete Sangalo


I may have misspelled the name of this Brazilian singer, Ivete Sangalo. Apologies to my son, future Brazilian (?) who put me onto her. Now I'm down with her and can't quit her. Here's another tune from UTube, a duet with a fine singer, Alejandro Sanz. I am taken by the rapid execution, the seemingly perfect mesh of their voices, the joy they exude:

Wikipedia has a lot of bio on Ivete. This is just a squib:

Ivete Sangalo (born May 27, 1972 in Juazeiro, Bahia) is a Latin Grammy Award-winning Brazilian axé and MPB singer, songwriter, and occasional actress and television show host. She is one of the most popular and best-selling Brazilian female singers of the present, with six albums released with Banda Eva, and seven more albums in a solo career. Ivete is most often recognized by her powerful voice, charisma and live performances. Her music is also popular in Portugal.

There are many other videos of her on the web..............

Sunday, December 30, 2007


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all."

One is Evil.

It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good.

It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


Found object
Some years ago, I found a beautiful stone, looking up at me through
a breaking Lake Michigan wave.
Had I been wading past at another time, any other time, I think, this stone would have escaped my notice. All the millions of rocks in that surf and on that beach looked tan, and plain, the color of this 3/4th of this stone meant for me (?), this one was crystalized on one side. A geologic find!
I stooped down, picked it up, and wondered at it's beauty, like the ape from the beginning of the film 2001 A Space Odyssey studied the bone, (a tool) lying at his feet. Being wet from the water, it glistened. Imagine, all the stones and rocks on this Northport WI beach were matching drab, but this one, this single one had beauty to show, if it faced up. And it did, just as I walked by in my bare feet, hewing a time-worn habit of gazing down to rock-pick, even on such an unlikely, plain beach as this.
I've had this stone with the golden triangle configuration ever since the fortunate find, circa 1966. I carry it in a beaded pouch, around my neck sometimes.
I believe it has some profound meaning. Perhaps some magical power? I'm going to start wearing it, maybe under my shirt, close to my heart, every day.

That's all, she wrote

That's all, she wrote

I know it by rote:
That’s all, she wrote
The new year is coming
By beam
Or by mote

The remote is now here
A load to tote
The grasshopper’s laze
No anti

What is needed
Is Noah’s big boat
And rags to chew
And a little white

The snow is down
The clock near out
Tic-tocs whisper on
And me with the

Snout in the air
And drug through the mud
When you are up for the count
You are down, so she

[DD 12/30/07]

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Overgrown raccoons

Impossible Colloquialism

What's that?

I don't knnnnoooowwwww (zzzzzzzz...)

Snark snark
Hock hock

It sounded like an animal
very near the tent
I knew we should have rented a camper

Are you kidding?
Go back to sleep

Back to sleep?
I've never been asleep
I can't sleep with all these noises
and...and...there's another one
I hear it

Hear what?

A mosquito in here

Ralph, when I slapped
at the tent just now...

Yeah, what?

Well, there was no give to it


There's something up against
our tent right outside
and I just slapped it
Oh Ralph, can't we just go
to a motel? Please!

If you're so worried
go out there and see for yourself
there's nothing, absolutely nothing
out there

And while you're out there
go in the car trunk and bring me
another beer
woodja honey?

What if there's a bear out there?

I'm telling you
there is no bear out there
he belched
gitcher posterior out there
my greatest love

Mergie in a gust of huge bravery
began to unzip the tent door
a freshet of cool night air
carressed her prickly face

She peered into the darkness
and there apparently was nothing out there
She stepped gingerly over the tent
threshhold and stood outside

It was indeed a lovely lovely night
Oh Ralph
would you believe I just saw
a shooting star?
I did

Merg, wouldja just git the beer?
There's only a billion stars shooting
up 'ere, OK, Honey-buns?
Just git the beer

There they were
Ralph and Mergatroyd
of Jersey City
in Yellowstone
who'da ever believed?
she thought

A wave of excitement swept
over her, and thinking Ralphie might be
watching from the tent
she did the old wiggle walk
for him

Unfortunately their idyllic
vacation as a joint venture
ended quickly for as Mergie
opened the trunk where their food
was stored out of harm's way

the bear she suddenly sensed was right behind her
actually was
and as Mergie was at her time of month
the giant grizzly
(for that was what it was)
made his first bite of her
her reproductive area
lower intestines and one buttock
Chucking the mouthful of human caviar
back and then snatching the picnic basket

from the trunk the giant ursula
took Mergie by the remaining buttock and dragged
his delectables into the woods
All the while Mergie was screaming
bloody murder

from his bedroll in the tent
simply said
For Chrisake, Merg,
will you kindly bring me my beer?
You're not foolin me
Get your ass back in here



Many are called, Few are eaten

An entourage on four wheels waited
In line at the Yellowstone park entrance
For the ranger with his clipboard who
Spoke grimly to the would-be campers
In their tinned vehicles with lawn chairs
And bicycles lashed to the sides

In many ways we weren’t like them:
We were traveling light, the only way to go
We had a VW beetle with a pop-up
Canvas tent on top and two ten speeds
On a rack over the rear bumper
The back seat of the car was out

To make room for our six month vacation
Gear and space for Sally the Siamese cat
A mere speck we offered on that canvas
Of seriously-traveling metal units
Lined up to be admitted into
The nirvanic national treasure, Yellowstone

The Ranger had something serious to tell
All entering vehicle’s occupants
Something that caused most of the
Drivers to do U-turns and head out
With expressions of chagrine
Was the park closed?

We finally reached the number two position
At the Ranger’s shack and I got out
To hear what he was telling the vacationers
Ahead of us:
“Enter at your own risk!
Particularly any menstruating women!”

A grizzly bear had dispatched a woman
The night before by performing “A howlingly
Hungry, hurried historectomy
Hideously, horrifically, Honestly!”
Proclaimed the harried Ranger, who
Seemed over-taken with the letter H

That explained the U turns out of the park
But the man driving the camper ahead of us
Wondered if they wouldn’t be safe
In their mighty Winnebago
The Ranger stuck his fingernail behind
The camper’s door edge and said

“You see this? This is a grizzly claw
behind your door. He’ll peel it back with
no more effort than it takes to open
a can of sardines!”
“Oh,” said the man, and he did a Yooey
While his wife said, “And, you know I’m…”

But after hearing our own private warning
From the hellacious Ranger, we said
“We’re going in! Lower the drawbridge
As we are the Dixes!”
This was in August of 1972, and the Ranger
Didn’t know I had a break-down .22 Browning

Semi-automatic rifle but if he had known
He would have said, “Those little bullets
Will bounce right off a grizzly; no disrespect,
But you’re a fool!”
So we signed a warning acknowledgement
And deep within a wooded campground

Found a secluded site
And spent
A very watchful night
Encanvased atop our car
With me hoping I could shoot a bear
Exactly in the eye

[David Zep Dix]



Blotting Paper

I’m soaking up everything
That can get it’s hands
On me

Which means much of
What I see or do
In this later decade

As circumscribed
As my life now is
There’s plenty of ink

To be blotted
And passed on
No smudges on the bottom

Of my writing hand
For me
Figuratively speaking

Which is the The Way
To speak

Of gnomes or gnomons
Or gnostic

Metaphorically versified
Soaked off in blot
Ergo what is, is not

everything ends

Everything Ends

Within too close of a span of time
I lost my aunt, and uncle
And father, and mother;

Today I telephoned for a reservation
At the Wheeling Inn
Where I like to stay on my upcoming annual drive
To the Maryland farm of my in-laws;

I like to stay there because it’s at the foot
Of the United States’ oldest suspension bridge;
A swinging bridge, though made of steel and heavy cables,
Still, Civil War soldiers brought it down with just their boots
And their legioned in-step marching;

It fell for the first time; there were two other collapses
Until engineers got it right.

In the morning, rested, before continuing
The eastward drive over the Alleghenies
Into Maryland I like to walk softly
Across that swaying bridge sequestered in tons of concrete
Outside the door and under the Wheeling Inn,

Across it to Wheeling Island
In the middle of the Ohio River
Where I continue walking the mid-river turf
Looking at and photographing mansions
From another era, when the economy boomed;

Now for years it’s been a region of depression
But the residents are cheerful, and striving
To rehabilitate some of the structures
And year by year I monitor progress and further erosion,

And even shoot pictures of their cats
In the alleyways paved with brick,
And of high water marks scrawled
On the outside of their community building,
Of old churches and sidewalk bricks dislodged

By the roots of giant trees
Well-watered by their constant source;
Always in the hour of dawn I wander
And wave at, sometimes chat with bath-robed
Early risers on porches; some recognize me;

They're drinking their coffee, or watering their honeysuckle
And bougainvillea in the muggy river atmosphere;

But everything ends;

I found today on the telephone with the Chamber of Commerce
That the Wheeling Inn died, is boarded up, a victim of
The poor economy; it was getting seedy at the edges,

Yes, and I guess too sparsely used,
But I will miss it.

One year Dad and I stood
On the fifth floor balcony staring up the Ohio
And I stepped back and took his picture,
Which I still have,
A coal barge below, full, in it's unstoppable momentum
Floating gracefully by;

I will stay at another place east on Route 70
And it won’t be the same;
Ancient bridge anchors won’t be set under that hotel;
I won’t feel the vibrations of night traffic
On the bridge in my bed, they won't be there;

I’ll get my bridge walk in
By driving back to the vacant Wheeling Inn
From that place so down the road and into the foothills
Yet only point eight miles that it’s disconnected
From the water-treading city of Wheeling;

Another thing ends,
Another subtraction that is unwelcome.

[David Z. Dix ]


Ivete Sangora, problematica

Son Leland, student of advanced Portuguese at the Univ. of WI Madison, and a capable drummer, introduced the Sewer Raccoon district headquarters to Ivete Sangora. Enjoyed by all, including a rank or chorus line of coons outside, dancing to the music. The link is HOT:

Friday, December 28, 2007


Bell Signals

The churchbell lodged in ancient timbers
At the steepletop
Rung by rope knotted into a gigantic wooden pulley wheel
- mechanical advantage -
Strung down through air and pigeon leavings
Emerging cleanly in the vestibule
A strong Sunday-dressed child can ring it

Doves lodged in ancient timbers
Flutter in and out through louvers
Chicken-wired but time-worn
Keeping their high watches over the town
From coved and linteled archways
Cooing mildly feather-cuddling silent

Generations of doves nestled
In sanctuary at this height
Lived with the sleeping giant
Awakened only on Sunday mornings to summon
The attention of the worshipers gathered below
An under-used instrument
Calling not because of fire, death,
Disaster or rebellion

Struck in a foreign foundry over a century ago
Freighted to this town to be hoisted aloft
To be rung sedately by Congregationalists
A ton of bronze lodged in ancient timbers
With peaceful quiet doves
Might be sounding greater attentions
in times like these

Might be rung in shifts 24 hours a day
With all bells everywhere
Across the world ringing out
our own ton of bronze
With thousands more might speak out
In mad clamor to the heavens
Our ancient dusty megaphone
Oiled for Sunday use only

Treasured mighty bell
Voice above us though out of our sight;
The news from The Holy Land
God’s Earth
makes me think we should ring you
Until we lose consciousness

[David Dix]



You Call That a Glass a Wine?
A hell of a way to run a railroad

While the Episcopalians swill real communion wine
From a common metal cup, the rim of which is
Merely swiped lightly with a cloth between hearty gulps
Of the blood of Christ,

A block away at the Congregational Church
They’ve gone from glass to plastic thimbles that are disposable
After each hummingbird half-filling of Juicy Juice; and why?
Because one can never be sure;

Were they washed well enough between once-a-month
Eucharists? Germs, oh nastiful nasties, fie upon them;
Although a good Christian willfully eats his allotted bucket of dirt
A year, and breathes noxious fumes all ‘round,

At the Congregational Church
He can control at least something, and it’s
The type of mini-vessel
From which he tiddles his teensy taste,

His weensy taste of sugary “blood”;
But I’ll tell you one thing;
Those plastic vials will never clink
The way real glass did in the communion racks!

You cannot slam down a plastic thimble
Nor can you cherish the feel of it in your fingers;
It just aint the same; and brother,
It’s not the way we used to do it.

It is just a good thing, probably,
The heavenly monitors, if they be,
Couldn’t care less what form
Our worship takes, as long as it’s sincere,

And resonant, if ecologically unsound.

[David Dix]


Ragtime’s Testicles

We had a cat who was a male
Whose habits and wants none could assail
Except in his dotage he’d flagrantly pee
In places inside where we’d smell, and then see

The vet said of that he could be easily fixed
By neutering him that scourge would be nixed
So I took him in and had the job done
And I told the vet I had a request, only one

That he save the testes in a small glass jar
For me to take home; would not carry’t too far
They were to be sure Ragtime’s prized possessions
And I thought that to save them might stay any questions

Thus I placed in the ice box Ragtime’s yellow-gray orbs
In a small screw-top jar midst the food of all sorts
And with time in the way of fridges everywhere galore
The little jar got forgotten; I knew it no more

I married Dee later, and she liked to clean
She tackled my icebox, threw out many things mean
But my sauces and condiments if questioned got left
For me to not lose so I’d be not bereft

Besides, the mystery jar took so little room
And didn’t look mouldy, formelahyded safely from gloom
The contents looked like something that I might want to keep
So Dee, a good saver, said not a peep

Years later my father visited and in accord with his habit
Required a martini; he’d make it and have it
The gin and the vermouth were there in plain sight
But no garnishments, like olives, cheered him that terrible night

He made do through searching, built a drink I’d have banned
And joined us in the living room, bare toothpicks in hand
And his brow it was furrowed as his lips he did smack
Saying, “Boy, your cocktail onions a wallop do pack!”

“They have a certain gristle I’m not used to having,
And the flavour, though pungent, I’d probably be halving;
How long have you had them?” Though with dawning great dread
I said not “The cat that they came from is dead!”

[David Dix]



Getting Light

I saw a golden cat as the barely rising sun
Still behind the West Virginia mountains
Made the sky slightly pink and not as blackened
As it was when my walk across the river
An hour ago had just begun

The cat lay on top of a garbage can
In kind of a no-man’s land
Off an alley I was walking
On Wheeling Island hawking
For queer things to expose my film at, and

It was soon after I’d passed an Hibiscus hedge
Following a tenuous crossing
From Wheeling to the island
On a pre-Civil War suspension bridge

An isolated community I so much annually enjoy
I quiver looking down from such a high ledge
Through the swaying gratewalk at the water
Far below

The cat had likely been out all night
A satisfied smile showed just a trace
As maybe full of mice it looked benignly
Upon my out of town face

And we spoke in wow wows kindly
Then he graciously said signly
Take my picture Mr. Man, it’s quite alright

That’s how I read him all the same
So I raised my camera squinting through it taking aim
Got him centered for quick shooting because
He was sitting on his paws so nice and tame

His face turned to glowing phosphorus
I could see it through my finder
I could have not made him blinder
In incandescence he was one loud screeching puss

The mood of our acquaintance turned dreary
And he ricocheted round so bleary
And I knew in an instant I should have used
Available light

Would the cat have sat still for that though
Was something I did not know so
The flash went off and temporarily
So went his pussycat sight

Next year when I go back there
I hope to see his cat hair
Resettled and him once again
At his curmudgeonly ease

I shall pet his golden coif so
He will be ready when I show him the photo
And to his eyes and heart
I might hold the kitty cat keys

I’ll pledge to him in the sternest of stricture
Should I ever again capture his picture
There’ll be no flash in his face
When he says cheese

[DD 2002}


To Max the Cat
1988 – 1999

In an age of many things blackened
Your missing blackness no more cattening
Our rooms and halls, our souls are slackened
Max, we loved you, we gently lay you down.

I live some miles from where you rest
But you are here right now
On my mourning mind
As I feel your lumpen weight on my reclining chest,
And if pall bearers there would have been,
I would have been one for you,
My feline, too.

You were not just a good cat (pass me that wine!)
You were a great cat
A cavernous black hole you’ve left in my heart
And in the hearts of our friends, mine and yours
On the Helt farm,
An address to which your beloved bones
We forever consign, and as at Arlington
Guard and mind in perpetuity
Or till we too have moved on

We know where that dark well is,
where your shell is,
and when I visit that little grave- site
I am going to lay myself down on it,
Out of
Out of Africa
Might I?

You never asked me when the table was turned
But I could have shooed you away
And now I’m glad I never did.
I’ll be wet- eyed as now I am
And sigh: Max, Max, Max, why do we die?
You want ed to no more than I

Or Buddy, or Maggie, your surviving cats
In the house gone dry,
Save for tears of unsuccessful searching
Now that you are no longer in it

Who upon our chests will lie
And make such a weighty thing of it?
We thought you were good for fifteen years
you got eleven;
Much is wrong with our world
Though you are in your heaven

And, I don’t want to “recover” from your loss
It’s made me frankly cross, and blue
You showed your trust, no part of you did you withhold
You brought us gamey socks
And tolerated moods of many hues

You did your darndest to talk to us
Now we withhold nothing in ever remembering you;
Your gamboling gamble of a life may be over
You may have been but “an animal”
Yes, but never to us

Dear Max, we send you our best
We loved you, we gently lay you down.

[David Dix 2006]



Hemingway's in The New Yorker This Week

I was reading aloud to my family, a previously
unpublished short story by Earnest Hemingway
in the current issue of The New Yorker,
and I noticed our cat was listening intently
to the article which was about Papa and Mary's
lion-hunting in Africa; specifically, about
a particular dark-haired huge-headed lion
that had been plaguing the native populace.

As I read the great white hunter's descriptions
of the giant cat, Mona's pupils dilated more and
more, and pretty soon she was up on my lap
to see the picture of the charging beast that
accompanied the story, and after she'd looked
at it awhile she stopped me in mid-sentence
saying she wanted me to make her a mane
like the one in the picture.

I said, "No Mona, only male lions have
manes." She said she didn't care, she still
really wanted one so we discussed it as any
family that loves its pet would and decided
to take some hair saved from when one of
the women had a seriously shortened trim
and get some wig netting and actually devise
a mane for Mona that would be kept on

by a rubber band under her chin, but I warned
her she would struggle and struggle to get it off,
the same way she does when we attach other
devices to her body like twisties to her tail
and clip-on earrings. Mona said she promised
not to try to get the mane off if we took time to
make one for her, so we said we would,
although we were secretly winking at each other

and trying not to laugh, but by golly, fashion it
we did and Mona hasn't taken it off yet in three days.
It's been a little hard on us when she charges
us by surprise and I think her voice has dropped
an octave; she practices roars and postures in
front of the hall mirror. The hair of the mane could be
a little shorter. It drags on the floor when she
walks but she won't let us touch it, and she means it.

She still eats her kibbles but much prefers
insect prey, only supplementing her diet with
the dry cat food, but she is wearying of hunting
and somehow found out that maned lions get to hang out
and sleep a lot while their mates do the hunting,
so tonight she informed us she needs a male cat
partner to provide that mundane service for her.

I looked under her cushion and found a Gloria Steinem book.

[David Dix]


Like life, like


Believe me, I am aware of my heart beating
- long post surgery –
It is beating and
I feel it in my drum ears
Long and long, steady
will it falter?

I am sensitive to the rhythm of my heart
If you’ve wondered

Like Paradiddle Joe
Beating out the rhythm with a rootem and a way
On Gene Krupa Slingerlands
And Zildjian cymbals
(Anita, Ah-neat’-ah):

Oh day
I am sensitive to the pulsing arteries
The phenomenon rocks me to sleep
at night
a regular beat

Driving the band, wakes me whole
And of a peace;
Thanks be to my (pace) Maker


Rhonda the Magnificent

Sylphan vessel pours herself out,
drives exquisite shafts into my heart
with her music;

A half-pint at a mighty organ console
pleasurably stings and pinions
my listening soul;

pierced and webbed,
I am unconcerned with my immobility
while she levitates,
all ninety-eight pounds of her,

flawlessly hand and footing it,
booming and whispering,
her piped hemlock ecstasy
fills me up.

I would brave the darkest path
if accompanied by this little girl musician;

a welcome death by ear
plays me to sleep,
lays me down
[DD 2006]

a gaudy butterfly laid me

A Gaudy Butterfly Laid Me

On a milkweed leaf she laid me
with no great hope of my success,
for I was just one of a hundred eggs
she deposited,
flitting, pausing, flitting, pausing,
my mother's abdomen arching
each time and putting us down;
we pinheads were merely something
that made her feel good
or the result of an act that did;
or not even that;
I don't know and will never know.

I ate my full engorgement of clean furrows
in the white-juiced leaves until I grew
to a fat temptation for predators
that eat the likes of me,
but the numbers had it
that I was one of the few who survived,
never got picked off in the hard
mandibles of life.

my disappointment was different;
I spun my waxy cocoon
according to pattern
and then, alas, instead of the transformation,
the metanoia,
I had my beauty taken from me
and my capsule gradually
turned black,
and as I lay dying inside,
rotting into a fetid inkiness,

a monarch's striving nature
nonetheless living still,
my little strength merged to
poke a pinhole in the bottom
of my enbindment, and by dint
of waning force I dripped this
message onto the leaf below,
and that is how you come
to read a distillation of all
I was ever to become,

a quotation, nothing more, but by a higher power than I:
What we have to be
Is what we are - Thomas Merton

[David Dix 7/06]
Waukesha Sewer Raccoon News

While the City Sleeps

Waukeshans complacently enjoy their town-grown-to-city
With it’s well-policed, clean, safe streets
And the cerulean blue skies overhead;
Or when it rains

The rain washing everything anew and flowing
If heavy
Away like dirty bathwater down the drain
Out of sight, out of mind; oh yes,

We think of everything and take for granted
That the solid terra-firma plane on which we work and play
IS as storybooked as it appears
And that the sky overhead here is relatively terrorless

That covers two of the three physical dimensions
But we never think about the seething subterranean world
Beneath the city where that dirty bathwater flows
Unless we happen to be with the Sanitation Department

And as far as I know, they aren’t talking;
My friends, we co-exist over a nether-world
About which we never think
And the Sewer Raccoons down there - that’s right - count on our ignorance;

Their profligacy festers beneath us
Growing daily, like whiskers becoming a dread-locked beard
But we don’t know it because we trust in our local government
And in what we see

The coons, woe to us! phantoms of this opera are
Just a few feet beneath Waukesha in archen coves and caverns
Until nightfall when every storm grate at every corner
Becomes an open doorway into our elysian yards and gardens;

Marauders on velvet paws which they keep licking, masked,
They steal about under cover of nocturnal shadows, late,
When the windows of our proud houses show black;
It’s then the Sewer Coons take over the town;

By day
These slick creatures have free rein in their underworld
Bartering our garden produce in little shops and bazaars
In their sub-city
Where they swarm and reproduce like rabbits;

They have their own school district where all the little coons
Study burglary and ankle-nipping;
So far they are content with their lowly position, hence,
The Sanitation Department, the Mayor and the Aldermen

Only monitor them and do not tell us of their spreading presence
An Amos or a Paul Revere I send this warning
For I live nearer the Fox River in one of the town’s ruder huts
And the Sewer Coons are, though proliferating

Concentrated only in our poorer neighborhoods at the present time;
By the railroad tracks and the Fox River waterway,
But the storm sewer web is beneath us all, free and accessible
And even now no one is safe

I have again lately seen the coons emerge from the grate at our corner
As has my wife; we know the desolation
Of having our grapes stolen from our vines;
We’ve actually heard the coons’ little “chick-chick-chick” sounds;

Close-up, we’ve seen the phosphorescent reflection of their eyes
In our flashlight beams; they run, are not brazen yet – oh, no -
Carrying little bindles over their hump-ed shoulders
And make their dash back to their grated holes,

Furred hit-and-run warriors, in place,
Waiting for their messiah to come, perhaps from Milwaukee or Chicago
The Really Big Coon, to marshal them into an invading army,
Meanwhile waxing stronger in secret on Dix grapes and sacked left-overs;

And sometimes I think I can hear muffled “tink”s
As they pound on their tiny anvils under Arcadian Avenue
Making suits of armor on foot-pumped forges; flaring
Light seems to flash from the gratings after the clock has struck twelve

And I go out and listen at my corner sewer entrance
And hear their “YO-OH, HO HO!” chants
Echoing softly up from below;
The Sewer Raccoons are coming, the Sewer Raccoons are coming

[David Dix 9-19-2002]

Waukesha Sewer Raccoon News
Dec. 12, 2007

“The coons, woe to us! Phantoms of this opera are
Just a few feet beneath Waukesha
In archen coves and caverns……..”


Last night as I sat huddled at the fire, low and close, in a rush Gatlinburg rocking chair, the wood and flames - perhaps under the influence of sewer raccoons - took on a configuration of The Hound From Hell, ala: A.C. Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. So it appeared to cloud-watcher, such a thing. Images from the animal world carom about.

The beast in this instance had flames leaping from his mouth, and steam coming from his nostrils. The only visible smoke in the fireplace came from that uncircumscribed, horrendous snout. I saw a manic red eye, glaring right.

All of this too-quickly vanished into the ashes of the hearth. I put no more wood in, pondered the picture in my heart, my ravaged and repaired heart. Eventually I rose and bedded down for the night.
Waukesha Sewer Raccoon District News
Dec. 3, 2007

Item: Timeless Manifestation (dedicated to the Vollmer family)

A freezing snow and rainstorm befell us
last night in the Sewer Raccoon District.
The dead branches of the skeleton Tamarack
were rigidly coated, over the lichen
by a thick glaze of heavy, even live-
branch-breaking ice.

What would happen, I wondered?
A morning with broken
- let us decompose! -
twigs and branches
reposing on the ground?
A shattered visage?
The end of this strangely decorous
long death?

No. Not a twig lying beneath
the timeless
outspread arms
of the long dead (?)
Vollmer Memorial Tamarack!

Everything intact!
This must mean something,
but what……..?
Could it be that my swamp-plucked tree
abideth still?
Is Bill holding forth, somewhere?
Muscle and grit, albeit changed, as ever?
And always?
Welcome to a new blog spot! The Waukesha Sewer Raccoon District News, namely.

Established Dec. 28, 2007.

More to come after bugs ironed out.

David Dix sr.