Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Poetic States of Mississippi and Alabama with notes.

Strongly recommended the book, Rising Tide by John M Barry (1997), the story of the 1927 Mississippi flood, the worse in history. The book should be of interest to anyone who thought Katrina was fubar. There are several parallels in the way government and the power structure dealt with blacks that are worth noting. In addition, the beginning is a very good outline of how the Mississippi came to be a levy solution, the wrong one for the most powerful river in the world. The treatment of blacks after the flood will sicken you.

Barry is author of The Great Influenza, possibly the most frightening book I have ever read.

Also recommended is the movie, The Big White, starring Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Woody Harrelson, Giovanni Ribisi, and Tim Blake Nelson; and released in 2005.

You are probably thinking I never heard of the film. I had not either, but got it off of Comcast On-demand.

It is a sleeper; and in my opinion, one of William’s best – maybe penance for RV.


We were told the 2005 hurricane season was the result of global warming. Now, according to Time magazine, the 2006 non-hurricane season, where none hit the US, is being blamed on global warming.

I happen to believe in global warming, but these kind of statements give rational thought a bad name. I also believe in two other things: One event does not make a trend. And every trend has moments which buck the trend – ups and downs.

Oh, and by the way, the Bush administration wants to make polar bears endangered – due to global warming, which they deny.

And so it goes…


I’ve been posting the Poetic States. In the spirit of the season, I’m skipping Arizona and South Carolina to give you numbers XXIV and XXV about Mississippi and Alabama for two events from civil rights history that should make your blood boil and that make it difficult for me to forgiven the citizens of these states.

XXIV – Mississippi

With Reluctance

I should skip the delta country,
home of the most racist folk
in this land of equality.

Consider a father,
advocate for black voting rights,
killed by Klan cowards
while five sons served with honor
in the defense of their country:

George, sergeant, US Army
Martinez, sergeant, US Air Force
Vernon Jr, master sergeant, US Air Force
Alvin, sergeant, US Army
Harold, sergeant, US Army

Vernon Dahmer shot protecting
his wife and minor children,
house and store firebombed,
daughter severely burned –
all after the Voting Rights Act passed…

I should have skipped Mississippi.

The story: Vernon Dahmer

XXV – Alabama

Herod’s Innocents

Four young girls, barely in their teens,
dressed in white frocks,
their faces scrubbed and hair ribbonned,
for a celebration of youth –

Carol Denise (Niecie) McNair, 11,
Brownie, dancer, fund raiser, baseball

Cynthia Wesley, 14, adopted
daughter of teachers, band

Carole Robertson, 14, marching band,
science club, Girl Scout, dancer

Addie Mae Collins, 15, softball pitcher,
apron and mitt salesman, choir

Four young maidens,
dressed in blood,
their faces destroyed,
their families’ world shattered,
dead within the sacred walls
of a devote church of God.

Four bomb victims
blamed for their own destruction
by the forces of bigotry looking for
“a few first-class funerals.*

Good night, sweet princesses.**

The story: Birmingham Bombing

*Governor George Wallace prior to the bombing.

**Dr. Martin Luther King

Until next week, have a Happy New Year and hope for more civilized behavior.

I’m probably have a few things to say about the Magic Kingdom…if something else doesn’t happen to bump it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Poetic States of Minnesota and Maine

Tis a crazy world: The folks that want to kill all the Jews do a holocaust denial conference. SeaTac airport takes down all the Christmas trees cause they talked to a lawyer who hinted suit, then put them back up. And the Senate may be GOP after all.

Oh, well. We go to Disneyland next week, almost all that is on my mind.

Until after Christmas, enjoy these poetic states.




XX – Minnesota

Loon Dreams

Winter’s early arrived in the Northwest,
a rare event for a Puget November –
snow and ice enough to cause havoc
on highways, roadways and byways.

Settled in with my morning coffee,
watching squirrels and stray cats,
I spy a moose rub against the RV.
A lake is forming in the backyard,

many more in the front and side lawns
as my cedars turn to Northern Pine.
Where the raccoon tribe scampered
to feed from the neighbor’s dog dish,

a pack of timber wolves pad silently by.
Their heads raised to watch me watch them,
they look as hungry as walleyes
eyeing a fishing house set on thin ice.


XXI – Maine


Legend relays they once ran
twenty pounds, even thirty
with a record of over forty-four…
now we seldom see them over two
and those from Australia.

In hidden coves along rocky shores,
decks, piers and barges sell
fresh cooked crustaceans
served on paper with bent plastic,
watery slaw and overbaked beans.

Whether because I was too young
to know what I did not know
or was turned off by the smell,
my meal was greasy chicken
or cold dogs with the slaw and beans.

Then last year I discovered bisque
and wish I could take back the last 40…
crackers in one hand, pick in the other,
bib around my neck and plate empty
of dry beans and warm slaw…

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Suns from Mexico and Kathy

Lots happening this week: Bolton resigns, the Iraq study group says it’s a bust – though they take to long to withdraw, Gates will be SecDef. But none of that matters; it tis nearly the holidays and we are going to Disneyland with Ben week after next – grandparents, mom and dad, Ben, his cousin Clay and Clay’s parents. It’s been about 20 years since I’ve been, so excited – like a grandkid.

This week, more suns; mine from Mexico. And three from my partner, Kathy Paupore, honoring several Eastern poets.

Kathy first, followed by three from me:

Gilded, At the Creek
after LiPo

I follow the sky, the rising sun wakes,
and love the cold creek's purple clarity;

eastern light reflects the water's way,
small currents lead a wanderer's heart.

a song, both sun and moon this morning,
snowflakes settle in the pines, soon white.

Radiant, Along The Path
after Wang Wei

Walking on aspen path near the creek
dappled with saffron leaves, birds fly up
scatter floating catkins caught in the light
a ponderous wave of joe-pye-weed sags.

Luminent, Last Flower
after Basho

One white chrysanthemum in the garden,
sickly, one bud droops in October's sun,
frozen, I am tempted to pick it,
it would melt in my hand--autumn frost.


Optimist, G-59

Wet volleys cheered from the palabla bar,
ready for the afternoon’s bingo game.
Two well-used cards to win, even blackout;
but first Cesar calls what players thinking:

“Somebody needs a drink.
Putta your hand in the air.”

One number left, the cry echoes, “Bingo.”

Effulgence, Indulgence

Down yet one more donkey path,
another agave tour;
even the Mexican air
broken on this old bus.

Home for the welcome party -
too many margaritas
proving the tired tourist adage,
“Tequila makes clothes fall off.”

Lustrous, Flight

Sunrise through my window on the way south,
as bright coming north, the shades closed both ways.
The silver waters below invisible,
green jungles that shine only in my mind.


Until next week.