Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back between trips

Back from our travels to Toppenish and Albany. In the former, Yakama reservation, where they raise gaint vegtables, and those much more tasty than anything found in a modern supermarket. Hot house tomatoes taste like cardboard compared to sun and vine ripened.

In Albany, we stayed at the Blue Ox RV Park, which next to TimberLinn city park. It was the weekend of the Air and Art Show. For three mornings I had the pleasure of seeing between 30 and 40 hot air balloons ascend and travel south. Surprisingly, they did not travel far, only between 5 and 10 miles, which would take about an hour. The cost to ride - $300 to $500 - ouch pricy. Needless to say, I did not ride, but I did get some poems for the Names of the Sun series I am writing with Kathy Papoure. Even numbered poems are hers, odd numbered mine.

By the way, we got rain last night, a trace at best; so it is a good day to wash the RV.

Have a good end of August and see you next month.




112. Glare, Parched

Days dry waiting for rain
the sun awake all night,
small bites in zucchini
red strawberries stolen.

The thirsty thief unseen
sneaks under leaf edges,
chatters at passerby
steals the garden's bounty.

113. Morning, First Light

A feathered chorus greets awakening,
morning light spills shadows upon the sheets.
You move close as the first rays strike your eyes,
I move closer when your covers fall away.

114. Never Setting Sun

Blue sky burdened with the bulk of clouds;
along the creek, golden rod, joe-pye weed --
sunset blooming near the water's edge,
dusk will arrive soon, your heart calls me home.

115. Sheen, Drought

Blue skies brushed with wisps of colorless clouds,
too thin to stop the sun’s relentless glare;
clear horizons spackled with tufts of white,
too minute to hold a single dry drop .

116. Sun Flight, Change

This old path, hardwoods once shaded the way,
the scent of saw-felled pine dry on the breeze;
aspen thickets gather in the barrens,
perhaps more tiger swallowtails in spring.

117. Illuminate, Air Show

The damselfly brightens the morning sky
as it flits among balloons descending
unbidden on newly harvested fields,
smell wrong for blossoms so full of color.

118. Bowl Of Light

I see your damselfly, smell ripe pumpkins;
my sunflowers tower, maroon faces.
Tomatoes galore, jars of dill pickles,
petals and wings pressed, color for cold days.

119. Flambeau, Farm

Displayed, tomatoes as large as grapefruit;
summer squash in need of a truck to haul.
A watermelon nursed by desert sun,
perfect for a grandson’s birthday present.

120. Rain Light, Jubilation

Ruby hummingbirds sit on pine branches,
open wings to catch blue beads, splash and bathe;
sun dry they hover feeder to flower,
rays of light chase each other across sky.

121. Rainbow, Along the River

A plume of smoke rises from blackened fields,
hawks hover over once golden stubble.
Hot air balloons ascend at day’s first light,
every rainbow shade tints the stream’s flow.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Letter from Silvia Brandon Perez

But first - I was gone all last week entertaining the grandson with enough to make a kid's entire summer - the beach, fairs, swimming, parks, playgrounds and more.

The spammers are now pretending to be the IRS, looking for the truly greedy. They send mail indicating you are due a small refund, and if you bit...! Probably illegal, so maybe this time they have went too far.

Silvia is an old friend who devotes her life to peace and immigration law. The following letter was sent to her local paper, but was not published. I will include another in the next issue of FireWeed due out soon (if I quit traveling modumless).


As someone with over thirty years of experience in the immigration field, I dispute, refute, and am appalled by the newest spate of racist scapegoating of our immigrants.

In study after study, it has been shown that immigrants do not have a negative effect on the economy, nor are they the cause of more crimes than the general 'native' population. For example, in 1998, a 32-page report incorporating the findings of more than two dozen national studies, published by Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute and entitled, "A Fiscal Portrait of the Newest Americans," ended with the comment:

"Overall, the research findings cited in this report suggest, first, that the American economy is greatly enriched by immigrants of all educational levels and ethnicities and, second, that immigrants are a fiscal bargain for American taxpayers."

In the August 2005, Vol 95, No. 8 of the American Journal of Public Health 1431-1438 © 2005 American Public Health Association DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.044602, a report on health care entitled: Health Care Expenditures of Immigrants in the United States: A Nationally Representative Analysis, found that

"Health care expenditures are substantially lower for immigrants than for US-born persons. Our study refutes the assumption that immigrants represent a disproportionate financial burden on the US health care system. "

Concerning Latino immigration in particular, a study released in 2003 by Walter A. Ewing, Ph.D. and Benjamin Johnson* of the American Immigration Law Foundation indicates that "Latinos experience substantial socioeconomic progress across generations compared to both their immigrant forefathers and native Anglos. But this fact is lost in statistical portraits of the Latino population which don’t distinguish between the large number of newcomers and those who have been in the United States for generations. Advocates of restrictive immigration policies often use such aggregate statistics to make the dubious claim that Latinos are unable or unwilling to advance like the European immigrants of a century ago."

The study cites the then campaign by immigration restrictionists concerning European immigration; Henry Cabot Lodge's comments are cited below. Sound familiar?

Representative Henry Cabot Lodge (R-MA), spoke about the worries concerning the wave of immigration (1891) by warning that “that immigration to this country is increasing and…is making its greatest relative increase from races most alien to the body of the American people and from the lowest and most illiterate classes among those races.” He was speaking principally of the Italians, but also the Russians, Poles and Hungarians. He observed that these immigrants, “half of whom have no occupation and most of whom represent the rudest form of labor,” are “people whom it is very difficult to assimilate and do not promise well for the standard of civilization in the United States.” Lodge complained that many of them “have no money at all. They land in this country without a cent in their pockets.” Of the Italians in particular he objected that many “stay but a short time in the United States” in order to “then return to their native country with such money as they have been able to save here.” He warned that these sorts of immigrants, “who come to the United States, reduce the rate of wages by ruinous competition, and then take their savings out of the country, are not desirable. They are mere birds of passage. They form an element in the population which regards home as a foreign country, instead of that in which they live and earn money. They have no interest or stake in the country, and they never become American citizens.”

In fact, a recent study by professors at Babson College reported in Inc. Magazine, July 19th of this year, shows that immigrants are an essential component of the nation's entrepreneurial culture.

"Immigrants tend to be younger and have more children to help build new businesses," said Maria Minniti, a Babson College professor who co-wrote the study and directs research at the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an international research group that gauges entrepreneurial activity in 39 countries worldwide.

Concerning crime among immigrant populations, that is another fallacy not supported by the facts. The Migration Policy Institute in Washington has completed a study about immigrants and the justice system, based on a micro sample from the 2000 National Census.

"Contrary to a lot of erroneous public perceptions, immigrants actually have the lowest rate of incarceration for criminal offenses of any population group in the country," according to director Kathleen Newland. Those most likely to be incarcerated are males with low education, usually high school dropouts; for the immigrant population, however:

“Some of the lowest educated immigrant groups on average like Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, have an incarceration rate of about half of one percent," she said. "They are lower even than the general immigrant population."

This is business as usual. We are living in an imperial, colonialistic society, which attempts to blame its problems on outsiders, rather than looking closely at how the society's own racism and colonial practices actually creates the conditions complained of, so that 'immigrants' become the scapegoats for all the social ills. The scapegoat is an old social animal... the newest ones are the Latino immigrants.

*Benjamin Johnson is the Director of the Immigration Policy Center and Walter Ewing is a Research Associate with the Center

Respectfully submitted,

Silvia A. Brandon Pérez, J.D.


I read a lot about immegration in the editorial pages and am convinced most of what is said is disquised racism.

Closing with a Chinese Brush Limerick

The Beat Goes On...

Beware of when the Browns immigrate,
they want us to be a third world state
with their gangish ways
and saint holidays.
Fence our borders before it's too late.

Read a little American history, not the kind found in UStates' schools and tell me when official policy did not warn of a red, brown, black or yellow peril.

Gone next week again, so see you in two.



Thursday, August 03, 2006

Poetic States - Montana and Ohio


The Shining Mountains

The explorers entered near the mouth
of the Yellowstone and left east
of Lolo Pass, the Missouri’s length
explored past the convergence to the source.
They returned and left at the same points
on the way to report to Mr Jefferson,
the Marias and Yellowstone surveyed.

They never found the Northwest Passage,
but no one else has either, at least
until the Years of the Earth’s Warming
and the green grass they discovered growing
high as a horse’s mane disappeared
as bison and free men of the plains
did before the Constitution a century old.



The Way to a Poet’s Heart

Ohio will always be special to me.
The only person I ever found who knew
what leather britches are besides my family,
I found in a fake Indian village in Dayton,
trapped on the weekend during a business trip

She sat in a lath and daub house to teach
visitors how to grind corn, make succotash,
what was safe to eat and how to fix it
(which doesn’t include skunk cabbage),
and she knew what leather britches are.

The only person outside of my family
unless you do.

We talked about mountain food,
comfort food,
real food,
and she made Ohio special…


SunWatch, Ohio

Along the Miami, near ancient mounds,
a thatch covered house, no more than a shack –
a place to remember how things were done
when the people roamed the river valley.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Linking and more states

A friend reminded me that if someone links to you, you should to them. So I've added several links to blogs and other pages on the left. I'll do more as time goes on. Maybe yours?

In the meanwhile, I'm adding too more states: Hawaii and Michigan. It will be a few days before I add others, we are going to Oregon and take Ben, the grandson, camping. I will probably be modumless.

Enjoy the sun.






I have often heard a lava rock
removed from Pele’s home
will bring pilikia to the thief. -

even if you have rung a temple bell
for long life and the best of luck,
ridden a nui North Shore wave,

tendered care to Molokai’s lepers,
planted taro and learned to like poi,
or simply spent your island days

on the beach as the green spot
appears at sunset, a bikini-clad
wahini cuddled in your arms

One small pahoehoe stone,
and my new rock wall keeps falling over.

Malihini – tourist, one unfamiliar with a place or custom
Nui – big
Pahoehoe – smooth lava
Pilikia – trouble of any kind



Above the Bridge
(for Kathy)

Dozens of suns illuminate its shores,
light the lamps that mark its rocks,
raise the midges who raise the trout,
waken Paul’s crew for their day’s work

Scores of suns to stir deer and grouse,
to wing snow geese west,
turn white pine and paper birch,
redden sugar maple, vine and oak

Hundreds of suns to ripen strawberries,
warm the lakes for troll vacations,
mature the pumpkins for fall’s harvest,
melt ice and frost for spring planting

Thousands of suns to bring us home,
to exalt the land between the lakes.