Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
It's me, seaweed-harvester ( & temporarily-retired attorney), Bob, of Puget Sound.
I have a domestic problem I thought you might help me with. It concerns my smelly-cheese disdaining wife. I have a condition, Dave, that causes me to buy every available lawn trinket I can lay my hands on. I say "condition" because that's just what my wife calls it. To me, I am normal. I finally bought a tin-roofed shed in the Olympic forest near the Dungeness River off River Road at Sequim. [Snapshot enclosed.]It's not far from what my wife calls our "regular" home.
I stay at the shed whenever I get to missing my figurines, plaster gnomes, flamingoes, and the rest of my beloved motionless friends. Our lawn at home is so pristine - void of anything but the usual trees and shrubbery - that I get attacks of virtual amnesia whenever I mow the pathless, untruly addorned lawn. I'll go out with the mower and quickly forget where I am. There are no reference points. My shed lawn is sparsely mowable with scissors.
This is a much smaller place than the regular home. As soon as I bought it, my wife quickly moved all my friends here. I can still come home, but except for her I am directionless with nothing to bounce off. As a gnome man, according to my reading in the raccoon news, you're one guy who would understand.
PB: Know where you're comin' from, know where you're comin' from! I have had to keep my gnome and trinket purchases to a severe minimum, (many of them inside) and even so, my door-to-door educational book-selling son in college has bluntly informed me that he would never stop at our door. "Too many trinkets!" he dismisses, as just a fact of marketing life.
As to your lawn-mowing problem, I do get to keep enough of my gnomes and statues that lawn-mowing navigation trouble is not a factor. Also, my wife herself is the lawn-mower. I'm thinking I've got it quite made here. I get to have some gnomes, and I get the lawn mowed to boot. Yes, I well know that such good fortune is not etched in stone, or epoxy-resin, or plaster. Nothing lasts forever.
If you ever get out our way, Bob, I'll take you to the Dickeyville (WI) grotto, where I sometimes go when my lawn ornament lust builds up. I manage to accept my comparatively untrinketed life with occasional trips there, where I can worship the gnome-age and the billions and billions of intricately-fitted structures made of broken crockery, colored stones, and sea shells. See: http://www.wurlington-bros.com/Museum/Grotto/Dickeyville1.html
Visiting Dickeyville is kind of like visiting a porn website, but the theme there is religious and patriotic. Meanwhile, I'll think of you, Bob, at your luxurious, circumbscribed, trimmed-just-right for-me get-away.
ps: I love tin roofs when it rains, don't you?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Your neck skin is fitted so tight to all the cords
and bones inside that when you swallow
from your perpetual gum chewing,
animation is given to all those interior parts
I have absolutely no interest in seeing;
your head perches atop your golf tee neck
and swivels so anxiously left and right
twisting all those cords and should-be invisibles
you look like a perpetual motion
twist-left, twist-right lab display!
You look like an ostrich:
your lips somehow because of your gum-chewing
protrude flatly out in front of you
like a bill, and when you talk,
I hear a clacking sound, any words are lost!
I wouldn't have noticed all this ugliness
had it not been for your constant stoking
of your mouth, hiddenly, I'll give you that,
with fresh pieces of chewing gum.
The movement, the cnutch- cnutching
draws attention to your big head
and your scrawny neck.
I also don't like the speed with which
you chew, like a jackal trying to consume
something before it's snatched away
Because of this, you are very very ugly
but if you could get along without the gum
I wouldn't notice you,
you'd be just another unfortunate pop-eyed
Guppie face in a crowd
Get some fat on your neck,
will you please?
If you're going to chew that gum
day in and day out, I'd consider
It a favor if you'd make it so
I wouldn't have to watch your
peristalsis swallowing wave
moving gum juice down your
This is my thing about you.
My reckoning of how many
times I've leaned down to advise her
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 darkening hours
An owl will, believe me, WILL swoop down
and pick you, you tasty morsel, as if
you were nothing heftier that 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 shan't be reduced to pellets, trophies
dropped under the Tamarack's peaceable bowers!
No is NO, my furryfriend, reckon thyself lucky;
Yea, and compose and confine thyself;
not to be an owl's, your howls and bowels are ours!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Thanks for the well-wishes on my fill-in job as a seaweed-gatherer while my legal practice is down. Things are going pretty well, and I've even recently found another barnacle-covered Japanese fishing net float in a tide pool I was working. Since I've been harvesting seaweed I've found two of these treasures! Buffeted by the vagaries of wind and current, considering the vastness of the Pacific, it is as though someone were sprinking these floats like easter eggs closer to home.
I noticed the piece in the here popular (Puget Sound area) Sewer Raccoon News about your consumption of smelly cheese. By golly, there's another thing we have in common! For me, the rancid-er the better! You are on the same track regarding storing the smelliest of cheeses in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
I sacrificed a perfectly good radish-buncher rubber band around a cardboard box of super ripe liederkrantz. The band and the container crumbled after about a week in the icebox and I had to throw away the entire "contaminated" contents of the fridge, in observance of my wife's peculiar nose-sensitive edict.
The truly smelly cheese habit can be costly. JAR STORAGE A MUST!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
a very manly brick of Limburger cheese.
I say manly because women usually
don't eat cheese that buzzes
and is as old-aged as mine.
This cube of cheese has an odor
Perhaps best described as that which issues
from long-unwashed underwear hems.
To eat it is to be arrested, overcome.
You cannot eat this cheese
and do anything else as a secondary activity;
your full attention is riveted to the consuming act
as though you're on a wing-walking excursion,
or shaving with an extremely sharp straight razor.
I gaze at this cheese contemplating
burying it in the yard
or eating more. The cat tries to bury it
There is an edible-if-you-dare rind
around this cheese that sweats
when it is exposed to air. I keep my Limburger
in a tight jar once opened, and
I appreciate that this cheese
continues its critical mass build-up
even when refrigerated and stored thusly;
eating limburger reminds me of
other nasty things I 've done.
Afterwards, no amount
of hand-washing will
from the consequence of my deed,
but I can assume thoughtful poses
with my fingers near my nose
and secretly re-live it all
in blissful reverie.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Feb. 23, 2008
Two sisters are not well
My sister-in-law grapples with
A long-time chronic fatigue syndrome
Though with a full schedule
And another very worried
I heard yesterday
Is facing a grim prospect;
Around the world
The sisterhood is troubled
In my south window,
And the sun illuminates
From west to east
Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley);
Date:Feb 23, 2008;
Cat owners less likely to die of heart attack, stroke, study finds
Health benefit not seen for dogs
MINNEAPOLIS (MCT) – Here, kitty kitty. A new study suggests cat owners are less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than people who, well, don’t own cats. And no, dogs don’t do the same trick. The study, by researchers at the University of Minnesota, found that feline-less people were 30 percent to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those with cats. Yet dog owners had the same rate as non-owners. ‘‘No protective effect of dogs as domestic pets was observed,’’ said the study, which was presented Thursday at the International Stroke Conference in New Orleans. Dr. Adnan Qureshi, a stroke expert at the university, said he decided to raise the question because other studies have suggested pets can help reduce stress. He and his team analyzed a group of 4,435 people who had answered questionnaires about pet ownership and other risk factors. But the cat-dog differential came as a surprise. ‘‘We don’t understand this completely,’’ he said, but ‘‘it’s probably not a coincidence.’’ Asked if he owns a cat, Qureshi replied: ‘‘No. Maybe I should get one, though. With this new research, I think the time has come to change. ’’
Friday, February 22, 2008
The Juneau members recently held their annual election of officers, and the Sewer Raccoon News takes particular delight in publishing the intendedly dim images. Dim as they were received here, not by anything we've done to doctor them.
The SR News editor is somewhat portrayed above in his incarnation of The Prelate. However, more significantly, his brother Steve Hale is shown front and center as the Chancellor Commander. Or, as the popularly re-elected officer self-deprecatingly says, "The Grand Poo-bah."
The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal order formed in 1864. Most of the members are old, partly because of that. Brotherhood lodgers are endangered. But the dominant goals prevail as ever: to promote the legend of Damian and Pythias, and to encourage Friendship, Charity and Benevolence. 1864 saw the end of the Civil War, and it was felt by the late founder Justis Rathbone and his fellows that healing friendship between the warring sides was a necessity. Reconciliation, and an exertion to thwart anger and dissension prevail at our meetings.
For more information (and you are always welcome) see:
We current knights begin, on arriving at our twice-monthy meetings (as we assemble from all parts of the greater Milwaukee area,) with a round of handshakes, and ensuing comaraderie. A smorgasbord is held at the end of every meeting. The middle part? Well, you have to come and join to find out.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
the review of some of the works of the famous Dutchman, H.W. Van Loon.
During only a couple of thousands of centuries (a mere second from the point of view of eternity) the human race has made itself the undisputed ruler of every bit of land and at present (Ed. note: 1932) it bids fair to add both air and sea as part of its domains. And all that, if you please, has been accomplished by a few hundred million creatures who have enjoyed not one single advantage over their enemies except the divine gift of Reason.
Even there I am exaggerating. The gift of Reason in its more sublime form and the ability to think for one’s self is restricted to a mere handful of men and women. They therefore became the masters who lead. The others, no matter how much they may resent the fact, can only follow. The result is a strange and halting procession, for no matter how hard people may try, there are ten thousand stragglers for every true pioneer.
Whither the route of march will eventually lead us, that we do not know. But in the light of what has been achieved during the last four thousand years, there is no limit to the sum total of our potential achievements - unless we are tempted away from the path of normal development by our strange inherent cruelty which makes us treat other members of our own species as we would never have dared to treat a cow or a dog, or even a tree.
The earth and the fullness thereof has been placed at the disposal of Man. Where it has not been placed at his disposal, he has taken possession by right of his superior brain and by the strength of his foresight and his shot-guns.
This home of ours is a good home. It grows food enough for all of us. It has abundant quarries and clay beds and forests from which all of us can be provided with more than ample shelter. The patient sheep of our pastures and the waving flax fields with their myriads of blue flowers, not to forget the industrious little silk worm of China’s mulberry trees – they all contribute to shelter our bodies against the cold of winter and protect them against the scorching heat of summer. This home of ours is a good home. It produces all these benefits in so abundant measure that every man, woman and child could have his or her share with a little extra supply thrown in for the inevitable days of rest.
But Nature has her own code of laws. They are just, these laws, but they are inexorable and there is no court of appeal.
Nature will give unto us and she will give without stint, but in return she demands that we study her precepts and abide by her dictates.
A hundred cows in a meadow meant for only fifty spells disaster – a bit of wisdom with which every farmer is thoroughly familiar. A million people gathered in one spot where there should be only a hundred thousand causes congestion, poverty and unnecessary suffering, a fact which apparently has been overlooked by those who are supposed to guide our destinies.
That, however, is not the most serious of our manifold errors. There is another way in which we offend out generous foster-mother. Man is the only living organism that is hostile to its own kind. Dog does not eat dog – tiger does not eat tiger – yea, even the loathsome hyena lives at peace with the members of his own species. But Man hates Man, Man kills Man, and in the world of today the prime concern of every nation is to prepare itself for the coming slaughter of some more of its neighbors.
This open violation of Article I of the great Code of Creation which insists upon peace
and good will among the members of the same species has carried us to a point where soon the human race may be faced with the possibility of complete annihilation. For our enemies are ever on the alert. If Homo Sapiens (the all too-flattering name given to our race by a cynical scientist, to denote our intellectual superiority over the rest of the animal world) – if Homo Sapiens is unable or unwilling to assert himself as the master of all he surveys, there are thousands of other candidates for the job and it ofttimes seems as if a world dominated by cats or dogs or elephants or some of the more highly organized insects (and how they watch their opportunity!) might offer very decided advantages over a planet top-heavy with bathe-ships and siege-guns.
What is the answer and what is the way out of this hideous and shameful state of affairs?
It will take some time, it will take hundreds of years of slow and painful education to make us find the true road to salvation. But that road leads towards the consciousness that we are all of us fellow-passengers on one and the same planet. Once we have got hold of this absolute verity – once we have realized and grasped the fact that for better or for worse this is our common home – that we have never known another place of abode – that we shall never be able to move from the spot in space upon which we happened to be born – that it therefore behooves us to behave as we would if we found ourselves on board a train or a steamer bound for an unknown destination – we shall have taken the first but most important step towards the solution of that terrible problem which is at the root of all our difficulties.
We are all of us fellow-passengers on the same planet and the weal and woe of everybody else means the weal and woe of ourselves!
Call me a dreamer and call me a fool – call me a visionary or call for the police or the ambulance to remove me to a spot where I can no longer proclaim such unwelcome heresies. But mark my words and remember them on that fatal day when the human raceshall be requested to pack up its little toys and surrender the keys of happiness to a more worthy successor.
The only hope for survival lies in that one sentence:
WE ARE ALL OF US FELLOW PASSENGERS ON THE SAME PLANET AND WE ARE ALL OF US EQUALLY RESPONSIBIITY FOR THE HAPPINESS AND WELL-BEING OF THE WORLD IN WHICH WE HAPPEN TO LIVE.
.................who, what to believe?
IN THE ONSLAUGHT OF THE CURRENT POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES, we regular and littler people, from the higher to the lower-educated, are pretty much at the whim of the media as to what we tentatively or stringently buy into, or don’t. Waves of opposing viewpoints sweep over us like oceanic cross-currents. We’re like underwater foliage waving this way, then that.
The Sewer Raccoon News editor likes to think that he takes his cues from better-informed, subterranean raccoonoitering sources. They get around; they cover the waterfront.
He also feels he needs much more distant perspective, to escape from the programmed press and internet. To read from fresher goose quills. To even get away from the sewers. To think for himself, if possible.
Maybe from a vantage of Iceland.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Because I liked him. Though he was at his peak in the early 1930’s and some of his views are now considered antiquated (ex: zeppelins were in his illustrations representing “where we are now”), I’ve found his massive overview of this planet – what’s that word of today or yesterday? Awesome.
Not only could this born Netherlander write exceptionally well, especially for younger or less complex yet searching minds, he could illustrate with simple lines the most involved subjects. Sometimes his sense of vast space was EMPHASIZED by what was NOT shown on his allotted surface, yet his task of minimizing his pictures, many of which were drawn on classroom chalked blackboards, reducing them to basic lineal abbreviations, was ingenious. At least it has seemed so to my untrained eye.
I have attached some of these illustrations from two of my favorite books, Van Loon’s GEOGRAPHY and STORY OF MANKIND. Van Loon's books are now collectors' volumes, often for the pen and ink drawings, mainly.
 Life and works
Born in Rotterdam, he went to the United States in 1903 to study at Cornell University. He was a correspondent during the Russian Revolution of 1905 and in Belgium in 1914 at the start of World War I. He later became a professor of history at Cornell University (1915-17) and in 1919 became an American citizen.
From the 1910s until his death, Van Loon wrote many books, most notably The Story of Mankind, by far his most well-known book, a history of the world especially for children which won the first Newbery Medal in 1922. The book was later updated by Van Loon and has continued to be updated, first by his son and later by other historians.
However, he also wrote many other very popular books aimed at young adults. As a writer he was known for emphasizing crucial historical events and giving a complete picture of individual characters, as well as the role of the arts in history. He also had an informal style which, particularly in The Story of Mankind, included personal anecdotes.
Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest "I still stick to the Dutch pronunciation of the double o—Loon like loan in 'Loan and Trust Co.' My sons will probably accept the American pronunciation. It really does not matter very much." (Charles Earle Funk, What's the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.)
A partial list of books by Hendrik Willem van Loon, with first publication dates.
The Fall of the Dutch Republic (1913)
The Romance of Discovery (1917)
The Golden Book of the Dutch Navigators (1917)
Ancient man; the beginning of civilizations (1920)
The Story of Mankind (1921)
The Story of the Bible (1923)
The Liberation of Mankind (1926)
The Story of America (1927)
Multiplex man (1928)
Life and Times of Peter Stuyvesant (1928)
R.v.R. (1930; a fictional biography of Rembrandt)
"If the Dutch Had Kept Nieuw Amsterdam", in If, Or History Rewritten, edited by J. C. Squire (1931)
Van Loon's Geography (1932)
An Elephant Up a Tree (1933)
The story of inventions: Man, the miracle maker (1934)
Ships and How They Sailed the Seven Seas (1935)
Love me not (1935)
World divided is a world lost (1935)
Home of mankind; the story of the world we live in (1936)
The Arts (1937)
Observations on the mystery of print and the work of Johann Gutenberg (1937)
Our Battle: Being One Man's Answer to "My Battle" by Adolf Hitler (1938)
How to Look at Pictures (1938)
The Story of the Pacific (1940)
Life and times of Johann Sebastian Bach (1940)
Van Loon's Lives (1942)
Thomas Jefferson (1943)
Life and times of Simon Bolivar (1943)
Report to St. Peter (1947; posthumously published autobiography)
 Books about Van Loon
Cornelis van Minnen (2005). Van Loon: Popular Historian, Journalist, and FDR Confidant. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-7049-1.
Gerard Willem Van Loon (1972). The story of Hendrik Willem van Loon. Lippincott. ISBN 0-397-00844-9.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
of the muchachas
The un-alone ranger and his murderous
mountain riders, men and women,
are stealthy strangers to some
(yes, the hapless yet economically powerful)
and re-arrangers of the national
wealth, by hook, crook, and especially
by gun or dynamite
An unspoken credo
because Zepata and company
did not know such words;
what they knew of perpetual motion
was taught by the tirelessness of the horses,
the mariachi creekets
and the examples set by
the entire merry band
an example unto themselves
of which they had no need
Like vines or cacti
growing yon and hither
at their random and absolute
the outlaws had but one aim,
to rectify the cruelties,
the hardships, the injustices
by those who, though in command
si, temporary command –
of the currency bags and RR baggage cars
mercilessly harm and divest
Those who, like Zepata, were simple
And Zepata, he not subscribe to that;
No, his Mexican blood boiled over
to be dragged by a mounted Federali
through cactus for miles,
caused him to strenuously kill;
The savior cannot always have 360 degree
and perpetual vision
- sometimes even he must rest - alas
was lassoed unaware by an unbooted foot
protruding from his blanket;
the amigos, the sentries
will see to it that no one else
violates Zepata’s sleep
Even the creekets take turns
sleeping, to guard Zepata and Irena
and if they chirp an alert
or stop their leg action
c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y (too quiet!)
The tortilla chips will fall
where they may; with mucho lead
any trespasser will likewise
and especially be dead
Consider the lowly creekets:
Their sole purpose is to
provide the music Zepata loves
and their multi-tasking legs
work like fine violin bows
while they dance
and toss their specially-made
and they do all this
at the same time
Their gifts to the hombres
are freely given;
no under-sized hat
is ever passed
and there are no tin cups
The creekets sometimes
mop their brows with their
mischievous red bandanas
after an especially long set
but they never stop playing
Tonight they will
stop playing, though Zepata is
awake, and very busy….
To be continued]
Who writes letters anymore?
Who takes the time to move a freshly-cut goose quill across a piece of paper with ink that may run, and then address and stamp (!) a letter that may take days to arrive, when the preferred method in today's world is to simply, quickly and efficiently E-mail?
In my peregrination of aging, the great cudgel I have involuntarily taken up, I sometimes still avail myself of the antiquated letter. Pay the money, take chances. As I did this Saturday morning when I actually wrote a communique to a dear friend by hand. I wanted to draw hearts on it, which I know I could do electronically but I wanted to actually leave some pastel color on real paper. I also wanted to tuck a few of those little peppermint Valentine candy hearts in the envelope, and you cannot as yet do that by E-mail.
Further, I feel it necessary to at least periodically keep up the practice of the hand-written form, or it may atrophy.
We are open to old-fashioned postal at the Raccoon News. We will answer as many letters as time allows, and you will reach us c/o Waukesha Sewer Raccoon News
517 Arcadian Ave
Waukesha, WI 53186
Friday, February 15, 2008
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day;
promotion of love day
I bought my early-Alzheimering mother
A mum (for mom) and a box of
Valentine cookies made with a
lot of red dye
and the white blossoms
of the potted plant had a little red
heart on the end of a stick
stuck down into the dirt;
during the day the United Nations
Security Council met and I heard
the French leader echo the words of
John Lennon, “We think we should
‘Give peace a chance’”
and then heard Bush’s minion Powell
argue lustily for war; I saw red;
On the day set aside for the
promotion of love
our government, established through
a theft of the presidency
aided by thrown-away votes for
a 3rd party candidate
talks of the irrelevancy of the
A banty rooster struts from podium
To podium, thrusts out his glass chin
And from his vapid head
mouthing words put there by charlatans,
Flanders Field ghost-writers,
tells it like it isn’t
as though it were;
and I see red;
Finally on Valentine’s Day
I go to bed;
and in the middle of the night
I get up to go to the bathroom
And I feel my right nostril
is containing foreign matter;
sitting on the edge of the bed
I insert a finger and my nail
hooks onto a large serpentine booger;
I tug at it and it seems connected
somewhere deep within my head;
I am swamped by a clearer-headed
feeling as I begin to withdraw my finger,
of some miraculous ousting of
George Bush from office,
when the blood gushes from my nose;
I jam my finger back into my nostril
and dash to the bathroom
where I shove a tissue in,
leaning over the sink,
and the blood dripped onto the
and the soon-removed tissue
had a brilliant red crown on it;
my hands were bloody;
I saw some more red; blood
like that about to be shed by
the fiendish man
who claimed in his campaign
to be foremostly influenced
I saw red again;
on Valentine’s Day I saw
[David Dix 2-15-2003]
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Mare and El Dayo and the stowed-away creekets
attained leveler-ground at the base of their
Olympian love aerie
and the vigilant sentries quietly
but strenuously greeted their long-absent
and deeply-loved friends
“Shhhh-shhhhh,” they admonished kindly:
“The muchachos are slipping!”
After a night of finger-shooting
they had finally fallen into restless,
But you're nevair too early for us
the sentries pled
Stay a while, pliz!
So they exchanged various peasantries
(For peasants was what they all were)
before Zepata and company
rode on stealthy horse’s hooves
into the bed-roll-covered
fuming mass of unwashed imminent co-
payroll train robbers:
(mucho withdrawals intended without
benefit of any forkeen co-signers!)
Zepata winked at Irena
and at that signal she withdrew her warm
pistolas from their luxuriantly-placed crossed
then Zepata tossed some crispy tortillas
From his nearest saddlebag
and very sharp-shooter Irena,
unfettered by hair in her eyes,
The compadres were up so
that they had already fondly touched
the too long-awaited boots and horse-shoes
Before the tortilla chips hit the ground
That was but a sign of the love
that existed among these wrong-righting,
and the Federalis should wisely
Stay out their way
Let the robbers say: Amen
They were quick
They were slick
And they meant to kill (not kick)
Some governmental ASS-ic
But first, JOY:
Coffee pots were put on the campfire embers
and all guitars and creeket legs came out
a veritable stringed band of burglars
because Zepata in recruiting his
muchachos had a rule:
All derring-doers had to play the guitar
which was getting more and more difficult
to do for some of the finger-shooting
but all could at least fumblingly chord along
The seriously impeded,
those with only trigger finger
and rage-expressing digits intact, shook
maracas and were thus not left out
The red-bandana’d mariachi creekets
danced and sang
close to the campfire where they were
less apt to get trampled by the
fandango-istas, who were sublimating
their knowledge that soon
great danger would be upon them.
[dd Feb. 14, 2008
Happy Valentines Day]
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
On the downward trail to
The rendezvous with the encamped compadres
Knew Zepata was studying her posterior
She always sensed his warming gaze
Zepata lak to choke, she mused
I have ice in bek of my rumpal zones
And she gave him silent thanks for
His taste, her thoughts wandered
And his smell Si
Everything about Zepata
Could not get enough of
She liked being sanded
All over by his whiskery stubble
And when she shaved Zepata
She looked forward to the next day
When it would be rough again
Zepata in Irena's eyes
Was a model of what a man might be
He was not a tall man
By some peoples' measure
But he carried himself
And he had an aura about him
That made him seem
Like a ducker in doorways
Zepata's arms, mighty bear traps
Or cradling cushions
Zepata's eyes, beacons
Day or night
With gentle kindness and empathetic
Sunburned squint lines
Yet he could brutishly stare down
Poised cougars and had done so
Zepata's way with Irena
Was slow and easy
He could run long distances
Tirelessly on foot
Once was pulled 25 miles
Behind a Federali horse
With a rope around his neck
His hands tied behind him
Before being rescued by the compadres
And then he cut the legs off
The Soldier who dragged him, killed him
With the big knife on his belt
Left him to die slowly in the sun
This helped him understand
Patience and the blessing
Of endurance in all things
It seemed everything that
Happened to Zepata
Everything made him
A better lover in some way
The women before Irena
And Irena more than any
Appreciated what Zepata had given
For his Country's poor and
Because they saw his ravaged
And tended it lovingly
Zepata was not a handsome man
In the popular standard
Of the day
Nor was he young anymore
He started out young
But then in doing he got un-young
And there was something
All the more lovable about him
His stride, ah yes
Irena secretly coveted
The way he walked
Something to behold
His wide and muscular shoulders
Fit through no portals head-on
Zepata had to turn sideways
To negotiate the doors
Of the peasant dwellings
In which he so often sought
Sustenance and shelter
Always moving from place
So it was something to see
Wary of any visitor
Mexican families in their
Ground by fate like the meal
Between their corn stones
Ground down to near powder
They get the word
Prepare a place for Zepata tonight
He is coming
Maybe he stop
- their hero their saviour -
Not with them
But with some other luckier poor
Always with the poor
Dayo's hooves get louter and
Louter and enter our courtyard
Our cheekens chump awp and town
Zepata is town from hees great hoe-worse
And before they can run to meet him
Zepata's spurs jing-jing on their wooden porch
And they cheer and cannot wait to embrace the man
Who will be their guest
The man who has been dragged
Through cactus for them
Who has been perforated by Federal bullets
For them is with them
Always but now incarnate
In the flesh
The man nobody can kill
Appears in their doorway, knocks and
Steps through the beads
One shoulder at a time
Takes off his bandoliers wearily
Returns their tax money with golden interest
And receives their tears and joyful supplications
With tenderness and love
He caresses all the children
Everybody around took their best food
And cooked it but it will be
This family tonight
So many scenes like that
Drift through Irena's head
As she rides on with
Zepata's eyes upon her
And she says to Zepata Si
Eet is time for siesta
Si I mus' holt you my lawv
I mus' you know eet
The creek-ets in her saddle bag
Hear this and begin to tune their instruments
For after this rest the little bawgs know
It will be the Federal Bank of Mexico
And a daring robbery
A rubber band will break
Stretched too much
The elasticity breaks down
First, gets sticky,
The first sign,
And then tangles easily
- snap -
But it is always
Relationships are like that
Rubber bands and friendships
Can only take so much
There are only so many
And contractions to give
Even from the best rubber band
or the best friend
- snap -
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
When I was a kid going through Confirmation Class
My minister gave us a complete Book of St. Matthew’s
Printed in a readable form
2 inches by 1-1/2 inches by ¼ inch
And he said of all the Gospels this was the one
With the best rules of life
And we should keep it, carry it with us
And refer to it often
To LIVE by it
It’s now been about 68 years
Since I received that book
From the venerable Dr. Gregory
I’ve read it often as he told us
But somehow I could not keep those
I bent them and I forgot to read them;
An imperfect but well-meaning
Now my wife is teaching the Confirmation Class
At that same church Dr. Gregory served
She is casting about for a gift
To give the confirmands
And I thought of my bent book
And suggested such a thing
If now procurable;
Monday, February 11, 2008
two tongue depressors for one very big-mouthed man
HE visited his doctor's office. One of several patients the nurse had lined up in a row of adjacent examing rooms, he grew impatient. He shifted his weight and tapped his fingers looking for something to do.
Then he spied the tongue depressor dispenser on the table. He borrowed two for an art project, rationalizing that he would have asked the doctor, but he was busy accumulating vast earnings. When he finally came in, the pocketing had been forgotten.
Arriving back home he emptied his pockets and found the swag. He made a mental note to pay for the balsam when next he returned. But rationalizing (again): his bill well-covered two flimsy depressors anyway.