Derfluckenflagetta   Tuesday, November 26, 2019







For the record, there is a tiny town named Dime Box in Texas, and several miles away another, even tinier town, named Little Dime Box.



derfluckenflagetta

there ought to be
an instruction

in the drivers' manual -

if you insist
on doing something stupid

do it fast

don't creep
through your stupidity

increasing for an extended
period

your stupid stupidity
the danger to everyone
else
on the road

get the derfluckenflagetta out of the way
before you kill someone

maybe me -

and this is where the story
drifts entirely into fiction because
I almost never say "derfluckenflagetta"
in this situation, instead, normally
it is a much shorter word I use,
but my old Aunt Filomena
in Little Dime Box, Texas, sometimes
reads my poems and hates Anglo-Saxons
and thinks they all ought to go back
to where they came from and would probably
waste a whole box of Depends
if she saw me use that other word
and Little Dime Box, being such a small town,
she'd have to drive all the way to big Dime Box
to buy more Depends
and she being eighty eighteen years old,
everyone else in the county hides
behind large, sturdy walls
whenever Aunt Filomena hits the road,
and, so, by not using that other word here
I would normally use in the actual situation
I am safeguarding the peace and tranquility
of Comanche County Texas,
thank you very much

- so
while true
I want it to be a big surprise
when I die

I don't want it to be
because I got
entangled

in someone's derfluckenflagetta
vehicular stupidity










After the last long post, here's a short one.


Me
derflunkenflagetta

Me
about Abigail

Me
seeing old friends

Gary Snyder
Geese Gone Beyond

Me
knocking on heaven's door

Me
Indigenous Peoples' Day

Michael Ondaatje
from Rainy Night Talk

Me
a new man aborning

Me
black dogs in the chill and wet

Marge Piercy
The twelve-spoked wheel flashing

Me
the breakfast cook with the growth on the back of his neck








about Abigail

I had a flapjack for breakfast this
morning
just like all good
lumberjacks
do

but
being an old, worn down and
diabetic lumberjack
 I only had one

a compromise,
as is often necessary
in a compromised life,
but I made up for it with
double maple
syrup

protecting
my inner lumberjack
as all good lumberjacks
do

like chopping down trees
but naming them first,
so as to remember them
for the distinctive life form
they were
before

like Wyatt Earp and
Doc Holiday
put notches in their six-shooters
as as to remember
the lives they had taken

like Buffalo Bill tried
to name his dead bison
but lost track because
there were just so
damn man of
them

I try to uphold the tradition

like my flapjack this morning
was Abigail,
beautiful, sweet, buttery Abigail,
so fondly she will be
remembered









In these trying, serious times, I've been trying to not be so serious. Then I wrote this.



seeing old friends

seeing
a couple of old friends,
first time in at least ten years

time has taken its toll
on me more than
them

but
at least
we're both still alive

a victory of sorts

denied to many of my
old friends,
unseen
because in the shifting nature
of the universe
the tiny bits and pieces
that made them
have gone over to make
new creations

life
does go on,
it seems, until
it doesn't

~~~~

but
maybe it does,
just in constructs
unable to share
a joke and morning coffee













The next poem is from one of my very favorites, Gary Snyder, taken from his book, Ax Handles. The book was published by North Point Press in 1983.

This is a book I just bought and I apparently didn't look closely when I bought it. I think it's a new edition with a new cover. I think I already have it in a much early edition.




Geese Gone Beyond

In the decar canoe gliding and paddling
on mirror-smooth lake;
     a carpet of canada geese
afloat in the water
who talk first noisy          then murmur

we stop paddling, let drift,
yellow larch on the shores
morning chill, mist off the
cold gently mountains beyond

I kneeling the bow
in seiza, like tea-ceremony
     or watching  No play
kneeling, legs arching, silent.

One goose breaks and flies up.

     a rumble of dripping water
     beating wings
     full honking sky,

     a touch across,
          the trigger,

     The one who is the first to feel to go.

         X,79, Seeley Lake, Montana









knocking on heaven's door

so
maybe it's not
exactly
breaking news
but in he whirrillybobble scale
of the universe
900 million years is something like
week before last

that's when a black hole
ate,
one bite,
whole,
a neutron star, gulp and gone,
and the crunch of the gulp
caused ripples, like potato chips
exploding from the corner of an inattentive bit
of chomp, ripples, they say,
that wrinkled through our little piece
of the holy shit universe
8,550 millio trillion kilometers
away from our latest
sunrise

(and think of this makes me think
maybe we ought to re-evaluate
our assumptions about
sunrise
and sunsets
and who knows the day
when the latest might be
the last

religious folk
often think of their God, Almighty,
and I wonder if they have any idea at all
of what almighty really is...

almighty,
I'm thinking,
is a pretty presumptuous claim
for a puny little god on our tiny lump
of clay,
shaking in its little clay boots
when almighty happened 8550 million trillion
kilometers away

~~~~

knocking down the walls of Jericho
doesn't seem such a big
deal when you think
about it









I wrote this on "Indigenous Peoples Day." I have no particular interest in Chris Columbus so am pleased to celebrate indigenous people.

It's like the moniker, "First Peoples." Lots of people claim to be the "first peoples" and I like that because it's away for people to celebrate their history and culture with pride.

Best of all, it has something for all of us since all of us have been first at some time or place or other. All of us have our first people moment in our history. All of us, in that lineage, have been both oppressed and the oppressor at one time, all of us in our history have stolen and been stolen from. All of us somewhere in our roots have been the murdered and the murderer. None of us in our genetic history have we been the cleanest in time, but, thankfully, neither have we been the dirtiest.

A little devil and a little angel, that is the description of being human.

I wrote this on Indigenous Peoples Day to give a shout out to the true "First People"




Indigenous Peoples Day

yesterday
was Indigenous Peoples' Day,
a new holiday celebrated
in San Antonio with
much more enthusisasm
than ever accorded to Christopher
Columbus Day, as you should expect
given the city's cultural and historical
heritage

and I'm in favor of that


( the only Christopher Columbus Day
event I recall is the annual
Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner
at the Christopher Columbus 
Catholic Church, which I'm also
in favor of because they have
the best meatballs ever)

my only question
as regards the new holiday is
exactly whom are we celebrating...

am I, setting aside my German,
Irish, Scot genetic accomplishments,
an indigenous person,
for, aside from forays to
several universities and
countries across the Great Waters,
I have lived in South Texas
all of my life...

and, if not me, how about my
Spanish/Mayan wife, or if not her,
what about the Maya people
of Mayan times, or what about
the (if I remember correctly) the Olmecs,
displaced by the Mayans or the
ancient peoples who called themselves
the "First People" who were displaced
by the Olmecs or the even more ancient
people who also called themselves
"First People" who were displaced
by the Olmecs or the even more ancient
people who also called themselves
the "First People" who displaced
the first "First People" or
the thousands of years of tribes
displacing, stealing from, and murdering
earlier people

until...

it seems to me
we must be, in the end,
celebrating
those vaguely human humanoids
chipping away at their stone tools
300,000 to 400,000 years ago
who only stold, if the stole anything
at all, from giant killer lizards
who threatened to eat them
and it seems to me that stealing
from giant hungry lizards
is worth celebrating, having even
a special holiday

after all,
we all have to start
somewhere...














This poem is by Michael Ondaatje, from his book The Cinnamon Peeler, published by Vintage Books 1991.

Ondaatje is primarily a novelist with a number of well-received novels, including his best known, The English Patient for which he won the Booker Prize.





from Rainy Night Talk

Oh, Rilke, I want to sit down calm like you
or pace the castle, avoiding the path of the cook, Carlo,
who believes down to his turnip soup
that you speak with the voice of the devil.
I want the long lines my friend spoke of
that bamboo which sway muttering
like wooden teeth in the slim volume I have
with its childlike drawing of Duino Castle.
I have circled  your book for years
like a wave combing
the green hair of the sea
kept it with me, your name
a password for the alley.
I always wanted poetry to be that
but this solitude brings no wisdom
just two days old food in the fridge,
certain habits you would not approve of.
If I said all of your name now
it would be the movement
of the tide you soared over
so your private angel
could become part of  map.

I am too often busy with things
I wish to get away from, and I want
the line to move slowly now, slow
-ly like a careful drunk across the street
no cars in the vicinity
but in his fearful imagination.
How can I link your flowing name
to geckos or a slice of octopus?
Though there are no Rainier beer cans,
magically,on the windowsill.

And still your lovely letters
January 1912 near Trieste.
The car you were driven in
"at a snail's pace"
through Provence. Wanting
"to go into chrysalises...
to live by the heart and nothing else."
Or your guilt -
                        "I howl at the moon
                         with all my hart
                         and put the blame
                         on the dogs"

I can see you sitting down
the suspicious cook asleep
so it is just you
and the machinery of the night
that foul beast that sucks and drains
leaping over us sweeping our determination
away with its tail. Us and the coffee,
all the small charms we invade it with.

As at midnight we remember the colour
of the dogwood flower growing
like a woman's sex outside the window.
I wanted poetry to be walnuts
in their green cases
but now it is the sea
and we let it drown us,
and we fly to it released
by giant catapults
of pain loneliness deceit and vanity










I think it's appropriate note of significant events in the ebb and flow of life.




a new man aborning

I
put
my right shoe on first
this morning

significant
since I have put my left
shoe
on first
every since I was
complete
with feet,
clear sign
that a new me
is aborning...

who knows
what outlandish thing
I'll do next in these days
when change is
afoot








A morning observation.




black dogs in the chill and wet

a wet,
chilled day,
three
black dogs,
large to small, walk
in
single
file
across a warehouse
parking lot
with seemingly serious
intent

I've known
a few roaming strays
in my life,
never satisfied, never settled,
like a tumbleweed
they come and go,
blowing to where the wind
takes them, looking for that place
where there is the life they want,
surrendered instead
to the capricious wind

and I imagine the three black dogs
crossing a parking lot
on a wet, chilled day, walking
in single file with such concentrated purpose,
eyes focused ahead to a place I cannot see,
I think of the wanderers
I've known wishing them a serious purpose,
finding with such a focus
a place to go on such a day,
and the good fortune to recognize it
when they get there













This is the title poem from The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing, a poetry collection by Marge Piercy. The book was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1980.

Author of 17 novels and 19 collections of poetry, Piercy is very active in antiwar, feminist, and environmental issues. I've never read any of her novels, but as a poet she is one on my favorites, one who makes me wish I could sit down and write a real poem and not just the shallow ditties I toss off in the morning..




The twelve-spoked wheel flashing

A turn of the wheel, I thrust
up with effort pushing, braced and sweating,
then easy over down into sleep, body idle,
and the sweet loamy smell of the earth,
a turn of the twelve-spoked wheel flashing.

I have tried to forge my life whole,
round, integral as the earth spinning.
I have tried to bet my values,
poker played with a tarot deck,
all we hope and fear and struggle for,
where the white chips are the eyes of anguish,
the red the coins of blood paid on the streets
and the blues are all piled by the dealer.
We sit round the table gambling against the house:
the power hidden under the green felt,
the television camera that reads your hand,
the magnetic dice, the transistorized
computer controlled deck that riffles
with the sound of ice
blowing on the wind against glass.

A turn of the wheel: nothing
stays. The red winged blackbirds implode
into a tree above the salt marsh one
March day piping and chittering
every year, but the banded pet
does not return. The cherry tree begins
to bear this June, a cluster
of sweet black fruit warm on the palm.
The rue died of the winter heaves.
We'll plant a new one. It does not
taste the same, bitterness there shades,
flavors, subtle essences, dissections
in what sets the teeth on edge.

Down into the mud of pain,
buried, choking, shivering with despair,
the fire gone out of the belly's hearth
and frogs hopping on the floor,
ears sealed with the icy muck,
and the busy shrill cricket of the mad
ego twitching its legs in dry
compulsion all night. Up into the sun
that ripens you like a pear
bronze and golden, the hope that wines
its strands clambering up to the light
and bears fragrant wide blossoms opening
like singing faces.

Turn and turn again and turn,
always rolling on with massive thumps
and sudden lurching dives, I am pinned
to the wheel of the seasons,
hot and cold, sober and glad and menacing,
bearing and losing. I turn head high,
head low, my feet brushing the pine boughs,
moss in my ears, my nose gathering
snow, my feet soaked like a tree's
roots. I go rolling on, heads and tails,
turn and turn again and turn,
pinned to the wheel of my choice and choosing still,
stretched on the wheel of the seasons,
learning and forgetting and moving
some part of the way toward
a new and better place, some part
of the way toward dying.









A fella who shares my mornings




the breakfast cook with the growth on the back of his neck

I see him on my way
out of the restaurant, having completed
my half-waffle and scrambled eggs
for the morning

and I'm momentarily
stopped in my tracks by the sight
of the bulbous mass
under his pony
tail

and I think
this might be my poem for the day
but then
I'm stopped again
by the vision of his growth
touching my eggs
and the contortions required
for him to do that
and how unlikely it would be
for him to be able to do
that
but
you know,
what if
like maybe he's Elasticman,
undercover superhero
tracking down super-villains
who might,
just might,
come here for breakfast

Elasticman
could touch that thing easily, for
example











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