Monday, March 12, 2007

Tennessee and Wyoming

I finished Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box, and it is a good as I thought it would be. One of the best in the haunt genre you will read.

Today, I finally caught An Inconvenient Truth on cable. While it is largely a slide show (How many of those did I sit through while I was working), it is also excellant and well worth your time. The statistics and views of lost ice and snow (such as Soon-to-be No Glacier National Park) are impressive.

Maybe Al Gore should run for president.


Allen Itz sent me this: I just heard on NPR today, something about Bush's intelligence "experts" taking CIA analysts reports on Iraq and turning all the question marks into exclamation marks.

Should we be surprised?


This week, some blues in one of my favorite states, and having fun with Wyoming.

The index is at


The Yellow Jack Blues

I can’t purchase a ticket out of this mosquito summer,
I can’t find passage out of this mosquito summer -
no bottle passed in the park, checkers with a newcomer.

The wagons loaded on the way to Elmwood, hear the bells;
wagons empty on the way downtown, last toll of the bells.
When the death wagon comes, will there be room to ride to hell?

First time I saw the nuns they went house to house nursing,
last time I saw the nuns the houses empty, hands trembling…
No vespers rang last night, no call for confession, mass sung.

Quay wall bare of cotton; icehouses, fish markets closed.
No tinker calls for scrap tin, no ragman sings for old clothes.
Only dogs howl this yellow summer, city’s greed exposed.

Now my bones will rest below hot tarmac and taxi stands.
Yellow Jack lies with me for when skeeters cover the land.

The author of The American Plague (2006), Molly Caldwell Crosby, quoted the Lancet Infectious Disease (2001) that yellow fever is responsible for 1000-fold more illness and death than Ebola. In 1878, Memphis and the Mississippi River valley was the site of the worse outbreak in United States history – over 20,000 dead.

The form is the blues stanza.



Things You Never Learned in School

Pour a gallon of water west of Steamboat
and it will flow to Big Sandy and on down
the Green to where the Colorado disappears
beneath an immigrant crossing the Gran Desierto.

One hundred and forty miles, pour a gallon
down the opposite face of the Seminos,
and it will reach the Platte to eventually
flow down Big Muddy to a broken levee.

In between is a desert basin as empty
as the horse corrals behind house trailers
in Rawlins, as barren as the compassion
in Dick Cheney’s New Testament Rewritten.

Your water poured there will disappear
into oil fields, gas wells and uranium mines
as surely as the Tetons disappear in the fog
of exploration, exploitation and profit.

Bet you were never taught that in school.


Until next week, when hopefully my gout will be gone.


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