Friday, February 17, 2012

Some things in common; loose but still in proper sequence

This first thing is written today, 2/17/12
I wanted to run the picture received last night after I wrote this post
from 206 in CA.
True to his word, he did send the image of a found object
I put together for them in the 70s.

It is a piece of jetsom from Lake Michigan
picked up on the beach at the Schlitz Audubon nature reserve.

To me, this figure that the owners call Ralph
and have had in their home all these intervening years
demanded to be rescued from the surf and decorated


Bus Driver

Standing at the back door, waiting
while the bus's engine hums
against the dark cold, its exhaust
a flume chilling into ice, melting
the snow beneath it, Driver, hands
in pockets, draws on his cigarette,
exhales, and feels the mean language
of age move in his bones.

Behind him, in the losers' locker room,
he knows his boys are dressing slowly,
staring into mirrors, setting their
wet hair straight, frowning at the way
they have to look, trying to think of
anything but the silent ride home.

The snow, packed hard now in midwinter,
squeaks under foot, and the air freezes
in the lungs, burns like a tongue
stuck to a frozen lamppost. Driver
glances at the bus, WILSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
in black letters along its side, then up into
the sky, clouds crossing the full moon's
light like angels trying to comfort
anyone against a loss. The players

come out, pass him, step up into
the bus, find their seats. Coach
gets on last, sits in front. Driver
takes a last draw, feels the smoke
mix in his lungs, exhales, drops

the butt, a quiet hiss into the ice,
gets on and pulls the warm bus out,
across the empty lot, down a block,
left onto the highway home.

"Bus Driver" by Jack Ridl, from Losing Season. © Cavan Kerry Press Ltd., 2009.


(Dotted line delineates a separate thought)


- THE - Old Man
stands peering up
at an Old Odd Fellows hall

Is he thinking about,
ruing (No!)
his approaching 76th birthday?

Or might he be thinking about
 the poem just read on
Garrison Keillor's
The Writers Almanac

about a  loss?
Did the phrase get to him
 about young men
in the locker room
dejectedly combing hair
and frowning at the way
'they have to look'?

He, the sometime loser,
 whose hair fringe, uncombable,
 needs a trim? Some say.


Both conjectures apply.

It IS indeed unbelievable
that he has attained this age

and, yes, he's thinkingabout the
blessed fortuity
to be granted these additional days,
and too that his sparse hairs are 
still growing;

but in truth
the old man is doing yoga
in his office,
the lofty perch elevated
above the hustling clamor of 
Main Street,
three far floors down.

He just resumed the regimen
of yoga after reading a review
in the Sunday NY Times book section.

He used to be serious about yoga;
surely there is now no reason
 to delay it further.
He will rightly work his way back into it

The faded yoga mat 
made in a Milwaukee 
futon shop,
 purple and blue,
is now 40 years old
and still soft.

The instruction book
used to refresh memories
is held together with  
duct tape over the crumbled spine.

The pages inside are
loose but still in proper


Yesterday the man 
had a phone call from 206
in Albany CA. 
He, 202, drove Yellow cabs with 206
in the same lifetime   
the yoga was originally practiced.

206, aka Beanbag or Leguminous,
is currently writing a work about 
Sir Austen Henry Layard.
We talked about that.


I told him my story of once
picking up a hitch-hiker
who was going in the same direction
we were:    Phoenix.

I then was traveling with an interim wife
on a six month march through the western states
and up into Canada
and down the west coast.

The fellow we gave the ride to
badly mispronounced, laughably so, the word
 Phoenix.  (202 still laughs hysterically)

206 has on order a pair of WI Russell Ringmaster
boots, inspired, he said, by my long ago
telling of my own trips to Berlin WI
to incrementally oversee the construction
of my own Ringmasters, step by step.

206 is planning a trek to the far east
He was driving cab with me in the 70s
 to get up some money
for a trip then to Nepal.

He went, and made a documentary
for public TV on the high-altitude tribe,
the Himalayan Dolpos.

Now he is doctoring for a bad knee and
has postponed the trip for maybe a year's
healing time but he intends to go.


206 is sending me a picture of a 'fetish'
I made for him 
on the birth of his son.
It remained in the son's room for 20 +
years and now enjoys a place somewhere
else in their home.
'Not to be rid of.'

The old man - I - 
don't remember what that item could be.


A tentative attempt at position 3 below:
(Asana No. 1
What's that? A Crow on the skylight?)

202 and 206 wore this emblem on our chauffeur's caps:

Ostrich Ringmaster boots
from the Russell Moccasin Co.
Berlin, WI
shown today atop a shelf
but see this for ref.:

Yes, another plug for