Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Boy Scouts Camping Out
We sat cross-legged peering into the fire
with a circle of tents at our back.
Flickering coals spotlighted the face
of the scout whose turn it was to talk.
Sucking on cigarettes, we voted on who
was the raunchiest girl in our class.
then swore on a rusty Swiss Army knife
that none of us would ever get hitched.
We wondered about our mothers and fathers
and swapped notes on our budding sisters.
By the time the sunlight began to trickle
through the treetops, we crawled back into
our tents coughing like cranes and fell
with swollen imaginations into heavy sleep.
"Boy Scouts Camping Out" by Norbert Krapf, from Somewhere in Southern Indiana: Poems of Midwestern Origins. © Time Being Books, 1993.
This poem from today's Writers Almanac reminds us of our brief affiliation with Troop 2 BSA that met at the Waukesha Methodist Church. We boys were miscreants, evidently. We were seen window peeping in the bush-hidden back windows of the old Town Hall, ahead of a scout meeting. The Town Hall used to be right next to our scout meeting site at the church, on Wisconsin Ave. We naughtily spied into the dressing room where a weekly girls' dance class donned their tutus.
Our scoutmaster had finally had it with our troop, and disbanded us. Thus we only made it 2nd Class Scout. It was probably our first brush with authority. We didn't smoke.....
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
and still I wear my tattered gray short pants
the house and surround where my home office is,
though I know sartorially no great credit to me these bare threads
The hems dangle down. You say time has made my abbreviated trousers
unpresentable; yes, by some standards I am poorly
Just this very day a squad car passed while I in my shorts
raked leaves into a mound. The cops spied my special drawers and
But I don't seem to give a darn or a big rodent's posterior anymore,
if ever I did, how my own unpublicized posterior is clad. Perhaps I shed or add
now and then, but my shredded fading sheath is a forgiving shroud;
the waist is elastic, a yet strongly expanding and contracting heart. So
me if you will, washing after ragging washing, I just cling to
these pants the more, and they to me; I know how couthless that may
There may be a Lack of Fashion Statement in such die-hard loin clothing
but I don't intend to make it:
I too am fraying, but my pants and I, together, will hold our dear
Friday, July 8, 2011
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
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,
I had my beauty taken from me
and my capsule gradually
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 2000, meditation on hunting for Monarch crysalae in the milkweed patch one day....]
Thursday, July 7, 2011
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.