Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grand Ave; Pizza for you; Family news; New Orleans street jazz; Fairies go for a ride

Grand Avenue

My wife and I were jogging, like we do every morning. Down Mission, left
at Trader Joe's, then up Grand Avenue and past the stately houses we will
never be able to afford. We'd just turned the corner by Senor Fish, scattering
a flock of pigeons strutting their stuff. One of them took off late, veered
right into the path of a silver Lexus, then lay against the curb beating his
one good wing like he was trying to put out a fire. My wife asked me to, for
God's sake, do something, so I turned the delicate head clockwise until I
heard a click. Then darkness poured out of the small safe of his body. That
is when I realized I used to merely love my wife. Now I would kill for her.

"Grand Avenue" by Ron Koertge from Sex World. © Red Hen Press, 2014. 


Pizza for you:


 Family news

Grand-daughter Grace Kari is
getting hitched to longtime boyfriend/love.
They were Wasilla Alaska high schoolmates
and now live in Missoula Montana
pursuing their music and photo work.

Grace set up this picture of herself  being proposed to by Alex
showing her sense of composition, lighting and drama
so customary in her taken pictures.

Great work
and good luck

s/ Mr. Grandpa Dix



Thank you!

Sent to the SRN by Laurie of AK


Downtown is a carousel

Architects eventually of towns
Aboriginals at first laid it out as trodden pathways
through forested land like spokes in a wheel
a merry go round to the trading posts

For me and others it is still a carousel
where we go round and round -
this downtown that we love so much
is like a Rogers and Hammerstein tune

The fairies in their buttercup blooms
threaded to a colorful 
but hallucinogenic mushroom
live dreamy lives

and everybody gets along

in the dark.
(in the light now that the street-lights are working)

Speaking of 'Carousel'




 Coming next Saturday 

A trip down South St. outside our door, including


Outpost Music

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,

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:
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 as my mother played it on her organ console:



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



at the train station


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.



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

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...