Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hunting mushrooms and snails in our little Odd Fellows woods; Crickets (Creekets); Walkin the walk; Ray and Myrt

Just outside our door
here in the heart of the city
there is a small woods.

It is space that has been allowed
to grow wild.
How great it is to pass it
carrying out the trash to the
waiting dumpsters.

Life and death enact themselves
for those who care to look -
peculiar eruptions of spring
and co-obtaining attacks by mushroooms

are left to happen by lack of weeding
or mycological preventions till 
too late.

We cook and eat some mushrooms
thanks to teachings of good cooks.




Everything about Sunny was colorful:

She lived in beauty, and was beauty
Her walk upon this earth was light,
Her voice was soft, and she was the brightness
Of the dome of stars on a northern cloudless night!
Set your garden sundial by her, and be right.

She did not tread, she glided,
Crushing nothing and no one
In her impish winged rounds
From flower to flower, ‘shroom to ‘shroom
And in her house from room to room
She barely disturbed dust with a broom.

It’s the kind of girl she was, no doubt,
‘tis the way her nature was; naught
But Norm would bawl her out,
And even curmudgeonly he
Had a love of her, choppy and deep
As the sea.

With woodland spirits she had some valuable

I used to think she was witchen –
So many odd things were in her kitchen;
divining locations of hidden treats,
vaporizing in the the damp of deep woods weeds
and coming back with edibles
from her known bounds and metes.

She never lost in her labyrinthine heart and mind,
Sunny was honey for Norm’s internment,
A particular grandma who brought discernment
While being extraordinarily – mystically – able
To set great food and such upon her table.

By David Zep Dix 4-9-1999

Her famous quote:
“You’re not going to throw away that perfectly good snake,
are you?”  uttered graciously in Pembine WI 1973
She was given farmer Hertig’s dispatched snake
hanging over a barb wife fence line
and cooked it up for our supper…..


Gender Studies
by Michael Blumenthal

Listen Online

A cricket chirps in the grass.
Another cricket, all ears,
joins him. Now there are two.
Up above, birds shriek
like drunken gods, the air
is atizzy with the melodrama
of what is about to be.
The two crickets
eye each other
out of the corner
of their cricket eyes.
Each desires something
the other has, each
abhors its own desire.
After a brief silence,
there will be little
cricket mating, a little
cricket love. Soon,
the air will be abuzz
with the sounds
of heavy cricket breathing,
legs rubbing together,
the sound of war in the air
in crickatese,
a subject for specialists.

"Gender Studies" by Michael C. Blumenthal.



In 1998 the pre-SRN writer ran a series 
called 'Zepata's Adventures'
Synthesizing the famed name
of Mexican Robin Hood-style outlaw 

Today's Writers Almanac poem
about crickets (above)
reminded us of our prior work
on the subject:

zepata and the creekets

Instalment 6

Creekets in another instalment that may follow

The expected storm arrives
Just before dawn
Zepata and Irena
Pull the tarp down upon them
It was either that or have it blown away
So high were the winds

The red-bandana clad creekets
had long ago retired to
their stow-away saddle bag
and if their legs had been
fine instruments
which in a way they were
the creekets would have put
them away
in velvet-lined music cases;
as it was, to the little mariachi band,
they just blew them off
like smoke from fired

This weather pattern was a frik
Zepata say to Irena
He nevair see one like
Cyclonic winds seem to blow
Around and around the mountain

A stream-rinsed red union suit
Hanging on a makeshift line blew off
Only to return fifteen minutes later
From the opposite direction
It had traveled around the mountain

Daylight slowly comes
But the rain and crying wind does not let up
El Dayo appears at their active
Bundle of tarp and he sounds
His battle call
Zepata and Irena look out from inside
Their waterproof canvas
Cocoon of rest and love

Raising himself again and again
On his powerful hind legs
Dayo gives a primeval battle cry
At the sky, daring it to strike
Him with lightning
His bulging eyes blazing

Zeus himself might refrain
From hurling a bolt at such a
For fear El Dayo would perhaps
catch it
In his frothing gaping mouth
And hurl it back

Zepata calls out to the drenched
Issy Boy issy
Go get Mare
We liff in half an hour

Soon Dayo and Mare
stand waiting
And the terrible storm
Zepata checks the dynamite
Eet is try he proclaims
And with Irena breaks camp

Vowing never to forget that storm
And the jump-started Mexican saviour
Ponders its portent

Now mud is their greatest danger
It is too risky to ride
So Zepata and Irena walk
Beside their mounts
All morning they descend
In this way

In the early afternoon
They discover that the storm
Did not happen at the lower
It had been a mountaintop
Electric cyclone only
Like nobody ever saw before

Zepata thinks it must
Have been a sight to see
From down below
And indeed the compadres
Had looked up from their campsite
And thought of Zepata and Irena
And offered prayers
for their safekeeping

The waters that had rushed
Down the mountain
Were torrential
And the air had taken on
A charged crispness
Following the high winds
That had swirled through
The compadres' tentative

Zepata who was a simple Indian
with cause and effect
thought patterns at root
Divined the storm had been
Stirred by the pro-creative
Exhibited by humans and horses
In the night

After all, he mused
If a little Zepata or Irena
Was being conceived
Or a foal to match or even
Exceed Dayo and Mare's
Powerful exhuberances
Should it not storm?

These were all natural things
To the mind of Zepata
For himself he knew
That the inflammations
Stirred by Irena
and her surfeit of oil
Produced energy that not even
He, ZEPATA, could fully combust
Try as he might

He thought as he watched
Her riding ahead of him:
Here was an exciting fuel
That could never be burned

Irena possessed a life force
That commenced as female
Gateway of life physiology
That which every woman has
But in Irena's instance
A bellows of only guessed-at origin
Had blown her womanly propensities
Into a conflagration whose
Raging flames licked
The highest clouds and
Changed weather patterns

The Indians knew
The northern lights were caused
By a woman such as this

In the north, it was said,
there was such a woman
And in other parts
Of the world
Rainmakers, storm-causers
Interacting with mighty men
Their powers are released
This is what Zepata believed

How could he not believe it
As he watched Irena's
Buttocks ahead of him
Nudging and shunting
The hand-tooled saddle
He had rubbed to smoothness
And presented to his Real Woman

It must be time for siesta
He mused
Irena felt his eyes upon her
And she smiled without turning

[dzd 7-23-98


....and again


Ray and Myrt

Myrtle and Ray (II) Bringing Cheer to Grandpa

Myrtle, loyal member of The Daughters
Of  The American Revolution and
Something of a family geneologist
Ruled the daily life at 2009 Clay Street
She had a square face and an upright
Posture and she took purposeful steps

She was taller than Ray 
But did not seem so and fortunately
For Ray in those days
The 1930s and 1940s
When I was down there in Cedar Falls Iowa
Taking mental images of them as
My grandparents -
Hats with high crowns were in

So Ray wore his hat alot
He had a few strands of hair
In place over his general baldness
Wore  gold rim glasses
And his trouser legs were baggy
He almost always wore a white shirt
And necktie

And a tie clip from his company
For whom he sold insurance
The Union Central of Cincinnati
His shirt sleeves were always
Held up with rubber bands
Above the elbow

That either was a sign of arms too short
For available sleeve lengths
Or more likely from his days as a
Bank officer and the need - as might have
Been dictated by Grandma - to keep his shirtcuffs
Away from dirty money

Ray was not a dude or a dandy
He kind of dressed like Harry Truman
Straight and unpretentious
And his character and mien were the same
But he liked to behead chickens
At his backyard chopping block
And watch me scream and run

Once a beheaded chicken chased me
Right up the backporch steps
And against my kicking legs as I struggled to
Open the screen door I was
Terrified and embarrassed -
Grandpa Ray was bent over in laughter

That incident and another one
When my mother drove a golf ball
Into my head account
It is said
For my variant thought patterns
And disposition
I also see humor many times
When others do not

Grandma Myrtle used to say
W-H-Y,   R-A-A-Y !!!!
Whenever she thought he was
Acting up like that
And she said it when the bloody chicken
 chased me
Gathering me in her ever-present apron

Mostly Ray was given to black moods
And I never knew why until many years later
When my Uncle Lee told me
That once when Ray was out driving his
Rural insurance rounds
He struck and killed a little girl

Although it was well documented
That the child darted out in front of
Grandpa without sufficient warning
For him to do anything but hit her
And it was pronounced not his fault
Ray never forgave himself

The farmers who he served faithfully
And blessedly when during the
Depression he went around and made
Them aware they did have money afterall;
They had the cash value they could
Borrow against the life insurance
He had sold them
The farmers tried to uplift Ray

The man who delivered the goods for them
When they were down
The farmers his friends and clients tried to uplift Ray
All I ever knew until years later
Was that Grandpa seemed very serious
Most of the time
Unless something like a dead chicken
Briefly lifted his spirits

It would have been good to know

And understand

[DZD, 1998]

Cedar Falls Iowa


Grandpa and the Rat: