Saturday, March 11, 2017

A platter of frogs; How's your weather out there?; Cryin'; Looks familiar; Enveloped

A platter of frogs

As our collection of Thailand frogs gathers steam
they now occupy a platter,
plus those we have sent out to family, friends,
and regular commenters on the Raccoon.

All others, contact Turtle Island Imports.
Our hope is that gatherers on street corners,
peaceful protesters against Humpty-Trumpty
will take the frog voices up in unison 

to negate the need for mounted horse riders
and other order-keeping forces
near quiet downtown's Cutler Park,
to foil  their raucous spoilage.

Who can complain?

Like delightful Spring Peepers in a marsh.
The usual many.


In a froggish mis-leap
we note that the Trumpkin artful deal-maker
has ordered thousands of green St. Patrick's hats
but with  non-Irish FOUR leaf clovers on the back!

Another Department Store recall ahead!


by Faith Shearin

Listen Online

There is weather on the day you are born
and weather on the day you die. There is
the year of drought, and the year of floods,
when everything rises and swells,
the year when winter will not stop falling,
and the year when summer lightning
burns the prairie, makes it disappear.
There are the weathervanes, dizzy
on top of farmhouses, hurricanes
curled like cats on a map of sky:
there are cows under the trees outlined
in flies. There is the weather that blows
a stranger into town and the weather
that changes suddenly: an argument,
a sickness, a baby born
too soon. Crops fail and a field becomes
a study in hunger; storm clouds
billow over the sea;
tornadoes appear like the drunk
trunks of elephants. People talking about
weather are people who don’t know what to say
and yet the weather is what happens to all of us:
the blizzard that makes our neighborhoods
strange, the flood that carries away
our plans. We are getting ready for the weather,
or cleaning up after the weather, or enduring
the weather. We are drenched in rain
or sweat: we are looking for an umbrella,
a second mitten; we are gathering
wood to build a fire.

"Weather" by Faith Shearin from Orpheus, Turning. © The Broadkill River Press, 2015




Been here before

Thy Spring Be Sprung

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

Our mutual friends Sunny and Norman
Left for Florida yesterday mornin’
But gol-ding it, hits 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

Got 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]

Ed note
Now I am 81 and I still feel that way



When we were in seventh grade, Jr. High School,
1949, in The Lincoln Building, Waukesha
we were required to take one of several shop courses
along with our academic studies.

We opted for the type-setting course
not knowing that that form of printing
would soon be dead thanks to the prevailing 
linotype machines.  An earlier automation.

But now, in March 2017, we have found a set of type rubber stamps
which enable us to return to the days of seventh grade type-setting
 - sort of -
and we are making custom envelopes for our personal

Some examples below:

As we meld this older technology today (3/10/17)
with our our up-to-the-minute computer printer
KD Cat, printer's apprentice, waiting for the
mystery machine to begin its magic.

This event is reminiscent of our
poem, an oldie ~

Backwards In the Sun

From a man loathe to give up the manual typewriter
To bow to the age of computers
Who liked push reel lawn mowers
Wringer washers
And treadle sewing machines:

 We announce that
Something good happened here to mitigate
our reluctant accessions adopting the new over the old
while sitting as a machinist
 marveling at what the word processor
And color printer can do.

 We like to correspond with fountain pen
And then hang the letter backwards in a sunny window
For a while before sending
To study the line without the ability to read text
As if the right or wrong  will show
And save us from mistake or unmeant innuendo

Hand script, even supposedly horrible hand script
Sometimes dangerous from the front side
Takes on a loveliness when viewed backwards
And this is interesting when one thinks
Of evaluations involving all angles and facets
Rather than merely the most obvious surface

(How often have we sent letters not so carefully inspected)

The thinner the paper for this sunlit viewing
the better:
We remembered a box of old onion-skin typing paper
we had from when thinner meant more copies
Yielded by typewriters and carbon paper
Before clicks and double clicks and infinite production

We got this dusty box down and opened the lid
To find nearly a full box of crispy thin sheets
Audibly-crinkling onion skin paper
Talking paper very loud to the touch
After all that time being cooped up

Like a presumed useless ugly duckling
Or love-starved oldster getting dryer
It leaps to respond to the slightest tactility
And you cannot buy it anymore.

Who needs it?

On the word processor so novel to us
we can practically put cardboard through
And obtain glorious-looking pages
But they don't talk when we handle them
They are dead except for the images on them
Not so with onion skin
It says something.

You must be of an age to appreciate V- (victory) Mail
From World War II when loved ones communicated
Across seas on government-mandated crackling tissue paper
To keep the weight of transport down
And to reduce bulk.
 It was a practical and beautiful medium.

We inspected father's letters then on the flip side to the light
After we had digested all from the most obvious facade
We knew there must be more from him than that
Which showed on just one surface;
 We were six years old

We searched side-ways both sides and between the lines
 We became familiar with the look, feel and sound of onion skin
Our one contact with Dad and so much  preferred
To the dreaded telegram on yellow paper;
That bad paper never wanted never came here
And to find a whole box of  lively paper 65 years after
Those haunting hungry scrutinies was a blessing.

We had it among our high basement cobwebs
- Must have known it had value -
It had escaped years of throwing out
In silent peace like a covered bird
 Intact a perfectly good box of now off-white paper

backwards fountain-penned sheets in sunny windows
Will vibrate while this irreplaceable and
Obsolete box lasts

It will last long this, new lost art
Because there are so many dry leaves fitted in the old box
Like memories they are so very thin
But strong.
Tearing such gossamer  is  not as easy as you'd suppose

In our cyber-spacial kingdom there are many color images
In our computer's memory many favorite old snapshots
And vivid drawings we've committed to that realm
And our fountain pen will not quit till we do.

A way is pointed to a blending
Validating procedures and leanings  in the doing,
Printing computer-generated transparencies
On talking paper - with penned script -
 And  backlighting these marriages not on an electric monitor
But in the window, backwards in the sun

(DZD )

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Come warm your foot by the fire; If this be error; New from Garrison; Gonna miss me when I'm gone; I love you; Set the world on fire - not; Icarusian

Take the chill off

 In front of the Chinese electric stove
our fireplace of necessity at the Odd Fellows
We sit and await the nearly instant warming of the blues

Prompter than the baseboard heat 
this little machine we love so much
works wonders, but slow on the marshmallows.



Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out ev'n to the edge of doom.
      If this be error and upon me proved,
      I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

"116" by William Shakespeare. Public domain



The following was written by Dr. Bill Brown
Old Testament and Presbyterian minister
who is happy to have it shared:

You're gonna miss me when I'm gone

a must play:

(Anna Kendrick)

Early on, I noticed that you always say it
to each of your children
as you are getting off the phone with them
just as you never fail to say it
to me whenever we arrive at the end of a call.
It's all new to this only child.
I never heard my parents say it,
at least not on such a regular basis,
nor did it ever occur to me to miss it.
To say I love you pretty much every day
would have seemed strangely obvious,
like saying I'm looking at you
when you are standing there looking at someone.
If my parents had started saying it
a lot, I would have started to worry about them.
Of course, I always like hearing it from you.
That is never a cause for concern.
The problem is I now find myself saying it back
if only because just saying good-bye
then hanging up would make me seem discourteous.
But like Bartleby, I would prefer not to
say it so often, would prefer instead to save it
for special occasions, like shouting it out as I leaped
into the red mouth of a volcano
with you standing helplessly on the smoking rim,
or while we are desperately clasping hands
before our plane plunges into the Gulf of Mexico,
which are only two of the examples I had in mind,
but enough, as it turns out, to make me
want to say it to you right now,
and what better place than in the final couplet
of a poem where, as every student knows, it really counts.

"I Love You" by Billy Collins from Aimless Love. © Random House, 2013


The Goshawk, downtown pigeon hunter,
prepares to rise on his wings
from beneath our Odd Fellows window.

He sits under the framing arch
of a street light at The Five Points.


I don't want set the world in fire



Rise up on wings like eagles...

It is not surprising that Hugely presumptuous 
Humpty Trumpster
has himself a golden
lectern now.

Just be careful not to fly
 too close to the wax-melting sun.

You're going down!

S/ Icarus.