Saturday, February 4, 2017

Some scenes; Paper-boys to men; A precedent; Mexico; Outside of Richmond

Scenes around the Odd fellows hall

Turning back and forth in our center window
to be seen by passers-by and diners at the Clark etc.
are  two green frogs mounted on an axle.

This is a subliminal Trump un-endorsement.

The device was purchased Aug. 2003 in Bayfield Wi.
It was during what we called our GETTING FAT UP NORTH:

Powered by a 9 volt battery, it swings left and right
sort of like the way The Donald listens to the last person
to give him advice. (Magnets are involved in the mechanism)

Wis Guthrie's The Dirt God
casts a long shadow.
Made of twine, roaster lid, vacuum cleaner brushes
zipper, belt loop kit pieces daubed in white, etc.

KD-Cat still sleeps in the Xmas box lid she commandeered for one of her napping places.
A favorite, apparently.

KD has enjoyed sleeping on the table under the Xmas tree.
Therefore we have not taken down the tree yet.
She doesn't seem to mind that the ornaments are now taken off.
(And now, 2-4-17, the tree is in the storeroom till next year.)

View to the left as we sit in the creativity end of the old 6 foot round-table.

Currently, we work on greeting notes with color clips from the computer printer
of a frog wearing a snail hat, and one showing the beautiful Gingko tree
across the street from the Putney Odd Fellows hall in front of the Masonic Lodge No. 37.

Like Wis, our technique involves scissors and rubber cement.


Paper boys to men

Calvin Nicholls


Wis Guthrie

In his 90s,
Wis from his riding electric chair at the Avalon
took to doing decoupage scissors-work
in an able continuation of his life-long pursuit - ART.

We've followed his creativity from near his professorial  beginning
  to  practice of teaching art to students at Carroll College
-  that random beauty is as good or better
than planned efforts.

For oft-repeated example, he took his students to places
like vacant barns
with bales of assorted rags from Good Will.
Wis had them take the top rag and nail it to 
the bottom left corner of a space.

Each student then took the top rag and went across
the barn space to the right, forming a line.
Continuing, he had them go back to the left and
complete another line of miscellaneous fabrics.

 Then to the next rank up
and so on until the entire space was covered
in such fashion.

Finally, everybody stood back and observed
the beauty of the absolutely random array of
odd shaped rags and their various colors
and textures, forming an ominous whole.

Wis was a proponent of 'Found Objects' art.
He was sometimes found dumpster-diving for items he would
incorporate into assembled art.

A former student of artist Grant Wood (American Gothic)
Wis learned early the beauty of objects just lying around,
sometimes in junk heaps.

He once found a discarded weathered road-sign with most of its message
missing,  just a couple of faded gray partial words on a darker gray background.

As a lark, Wis turned the sign a little, framed it elaborately
and wound up entering it in an art contest.  He won a prize. He accepted it. A story he enjoyed
telling varied groups that often invited Wis to address them.  He was known
for dry humor, and matter-of-fact speaking style.

 * Scroll down for Guthrie tale *

Once a couple years back Wis took a  National Geographic book
which was one of his preferred mediums for his paper cut-out work
and took one of our poems for the fly leaf with his footprint imprimatur,
an ode that he'd liked about mutual friends of ours,
and added his birthday wish on the heel of his shoe.

Then page by page by page we viewed his sometimes vivid, sometimes mystic combos
of Geographic pictures which he'd altered with his careful snipping.

It says:

"Thy Spring Be Sprung

On earth as is in Heaven

Thanks be to global warmin'
My premature mind bees swarmin'
To early thoughts of upshoots everywhere

Our mutual friends Sunny and NormanLeft for Florida yesterday mornin'
But gol-ding it, hets like Florida rat here!

I'm thinkin' of a thang so rampant
No rain or age can dampen it
A future totem's fixin' to join the other'n out there

Gots to make a hole, cement and clamp it
When the temps are warm enough to dig and tamp it 
People are ask'n what these things stand for outside my lair

But I don't tell 'em nothin much about it
They're just painted 16 ft. poles, that's about it
The beauty is that now I'm going to have a pair

"But what do they stand for, Dave? Please.....
We gots-ta know, we're on our bended knees!'
~ They stand because they stand and they are rare ~

Oh, I hates to be so inscrutable
But on this I'm jus' immutable
I'm of an age now (64) when I don't care"

[David Zep Dix 2-28-2000]


A precedent

What's-er-name leaves for work;

drives incensed sewer raccoons to the rear lines

'Sent' to the raccoon by reader Bentz
now of Delaware by the ocean.

He does not submit anything he advised.

From the Shepherd Express



I have just crossed the Rio Grande,
And by a string of clever switchbacks
Have, for the moment, outwitted the posse.
Ahead lie the ghosts of Sierra Madre.
Behind, I have nothing but sun,
While the condor’s shadow circles over my bones.
Though the mountains are steep, my horse doesn’t falter,
And now I know why starving bandoleros
Will never shoot their animals for food.
Beyond my mirage, I see the white adobe-
Yes, the one with the red-tiled roof-
Which one afternoon I will lean against, with my hat down
And knees up, after a bottle of tequila.
In that siesta, I am sure to dream
Of the lovely senorita
Who has stolen away from her father
To meet me in the orchard.
But enough of that. There is work to be done.
I have cattle to rustle and horses to steal
Before the posse picks up my trail.
(In a poem of Mexico, it would be unwise
For a poet to mention the posse is his wife.)
So, mi amigo, if you find her
Prowling my mountains
With a wooden spoon in her hand,
Tell her I am not here.
Tell her I have run off
With Cormac McCarthy and Louis L’Amour,
That I ride like the wind
To join up with the great Pancho Villa.

"Mexico" by Robert Bernard Hass from Counting Thunder. © David Robert Books, 2008.

Readers of this poem in Keillor's Writers Almanac might hear overtones of our 'Zepata' Mexican series


Outside of Richmond, Virginia, Sunday
by Deborah Slicer

Listen Online

It’s the kind of mid-January afternoon-
the sky as calm as an empty bed,
fields indulgent,
black Angus finally sitting down to chew-
that makes a girl ride her bike up and down the same muddy track of road
between the gray barn and the state highway
all afternoon, the black mutt
with the white patch like a slap on his rump
loping after the rear tire, so happy.
Right after Sunday dinner
until she can see the headlights out on the dark highway,
she rides as though she has an understanding with the track she’s opened up in
     the road,
with the two wheels that slide and stutter in the red mud
but don’t run off from under her,
with the dog who knows to stay out of the way but to stay.
And even after the winter cold draws tears,
makes her nose run,
even after both sleeves are used up,
she thinks a life couldn’t be any better than this.
And hers won’t be,
and it will be very good.

"Outside of Richmond, Virginia, Sunday" by Deborah Slicer from The White Calf Kicks. © Autumn House Press, 2003