Thursday, January 04, 2007

A New Year and New States

We turn over a new year, the old ended on an execution of a villian, the new with the funeral of a hero.


A bit of a cold today, so I simply leave you with two states I skipped and one new.


Poetic States XXII – South Carolina

Crab Cakes

When I was a working stiff,
I traveled east to shipyards
at Norfolk and Charleston,
conferences during the day,
food, drink and parties at night.

In the bays of the Ashley River,
we would find seafood
nearly as good as home –
red fish, prawns, soft-shell
crab, which I avoided.

I would sit in the middle
of a dozen crab cracking diners,
crustacean and lemon juice flying,
I normally got more on me
than the eaters had on them.

In addition to lobster,
I’ve found the delight of crab cakes
with or without hush-puppies.
though the smell of crab flesh
might defeat me if I tried them.

If I travel back to Charleston,
I will give them a whirl -
after all, I’ve had craw-dads –
but I would still eschew gator.


Poetic States XXIII – Arizona


On a straight stretch of Interstate 10
about halfway between Blythe and Phoenix,
as the driver can practice speeding,
you wonder if any land is more desolate
and if any cactus is uglier than a Saguaro
(exempting the Mojave Joshua tree).
Descending in the Harquahala Wash,
you read a road sign that says,

In the event of a flash flood,
drive to higher ground.

Western movie lore teaches flash
floods originate from rain storms
in the mountains and are upon
unsuspecting travelers before
they have a clue, which leaves
the question of why the I-10 warning.

Or maybe if is like the cries
of those who predict
global warming,
disaster in Iraq,
the housing bubble will burst,
the southwest will be annexed to Mexico,
there will be a shortage of Tickle-Me-Elmos…

We won’t credit the prophets
until it is too late or lack the ability
to tell which sign is bogus
and which we should heed.


Poetic States XXVI – West Virginia

It’s All Relative

A face as wrinkled as a dried apple,
a smile as bright as a week old baby,
she seems happy with the long life she’s led
in hills west of the Monongahela.

A centurion in a straight backed chair
on the lawn before an unpainted house -
her photo in a stained Geographic
rescued from an overloaded attic.

She might have been a great aunt or cousin
fond of homemade as those who moved out west.
I won’t know, my family wouldn’t discuss
family trees or mountain history.

Whether or not she and I related,
I am sure that her smile was meant for me.


I'll be back next week, hopefully without this cold...




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