Where ignorance is king,
where men wear silly expensive hats
and spurs and can hardly put
a coherent sentence together,
that, what I just said is not true,
these cowboys are on top of
I am always confused
if you’re wearing spurs,
where’s the fucking horse—
or cow? Always confused.
I want to sit on my back porch
on a rainy Wednesday night
with a cool porter
and listen to Seger
and write a poem
about how I feel. About life
or death. About important shit,
like vanishing telephone poles and
parked cars and garage doors
and the Stepford wives or
Beatles and Stones and old dogs
eatin’ chicken bones.
I’m not a branded Texan,
ah got no gun or rope,
no horse, nor spurs
in my immigrant collection.
Just Bob; this notebook,
a few memories and
confused convoluted feelings
about everything except the rain.
And boring people
who are interesting, and interesting
people who are not and why
none of that matters.
On my back porch,
where ignorance is king
an’ old Bob can still sing.
Look both ways when you wonder about what you think.
Look for gaps in cowboy hats, that’s how the light gets in.
March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb — not this year. It’s reversed. It started pleasant enough, but now I am cold (I think I have one, or allergies due to pollen all over), it is cold and windy outside. When I finish all my reading and writing for today, I think I’ll take a sick day. Do retired folks get those, especially on Sundays? I feel the need to heal.
I posted a few of the poems I wrote during March. In addition to the 31 for each day, I wrote about 10 others simply because one does not refuse when one’s muse presents a poem. I also managed to write a few essays, but this month my poetry muse has been more active.
Poem titles for March included:
Rock and Roll Will Never Die
Now What I Was
A Touch of Cold (maybe it was cold in early March)
The Fire Down Below (posted)
At the Beginning of the Day
There Was a Time
Why We Can’t Be Friends (I can’t love/like everyone)
Late Bloomer (that would be me)
I Might Be
Stinks (the smell, not the poem)
Hear Ye Me and Thee
The Dance (what we all want to do)
Bacon (the meat)
The Irish in Me (Must have been the 17th)
Too Much (of what?)
Losing It (crazy)
The Priest (a man I knew who died in prison)
It’s Just Me
Handwriting from the Past
Mari Zone II
Rouquin (French word)
Self Portrait as Poe
Beginning tomorrow (1 April 2019), I’ll continue to write at least one poem each day, but instead of writing to my muse’s ideas, I will write to whatever the National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) challenge prompts suggest. My source will be that website where each day’s assignments are posted around midnight. I’ll write and post the poem before giving up the day to Mister Sandman.
I expect to travel during the final days of the month, so I will be writing on the road (again—now I have Willie whining in my good ear). The world is rich with characters and topics, so I anticipate no lack of subjects (think small towns in west Texas).
Unlike my others, I feel challenged (obliged) to post these. That’s what NaPo is all about. Don’t say no pressure. Yes there is, and you know it.
As for prose, who knows?
Look both ways for opportunity and danger.
An inspiration need not be the creative juggernaut of the day.
Mind well gaps within the gaps.
This past ten days was essentially a good week, plus three days. I am healed from the previous week when I had to deal with some of Texas’ smaller critters. I’ve written about them before, but I know more now.
Picture an orchestra or big band about to play. The conductor taps a stand a few times to get everyone’s attention and raises her or his arms and the musicians get ready. The audience quiets (or should) and everyone prepares for the first blast of music when virtually every musician simultaneously begins to play. Got it? I love it when they do it like that.
Now picture me stepping into my back yard to move some things out of the way. I knew there was a fire ant den over yonder. So, I didn’t go there. I did this, that, and the other thing. I then walked up the stairs to my porch and over to the door into the house. I did not hear the conductor do the tap, tap, tap with the baton.
When fire ants sting (and they do, like fire, thus the name) they play you like an orchestra. These little beasts run out of the den/nest/hiding place and climb onto your body, shoes, up your legs and arrange themselves just lickety-split. Tap, tap, tap, arms raised, then BLAM! Everyone of those little mother-fuckers stings in unison. That’s how it works. It hurts. I had reminders on my legs and ankles for days. Apparently, they release some sort of hormone, so they all get the ‘ready-aim-fire’ call in unison.
Last night I lay in bed thinking. Have you ever been to a place where some ass-hole or group of pains-in-the-ass people annoyed the hell out of you? The theater, a restaurant, some sporting event? There are lots of fire ants. Could we harvest a few hundred and put them in a little squeeze bottle thingy? Then, when we no longer can tolerate those people, spray about 20 of our little pissed-off fire ants into some strategic area of the offender’s person: hair, neck, feet, crotch…ideas? We’d get to play conductor. Stand, tap, tap, tap, raise our arms in the air. Let the music and dancing begin.
We’ve had a lot of rain for weeks in this part of (drought or flood) Texas. But it did not rain Thursday of that week. That was when I decided it was time to get back on the rough trails for my walk. I knew the grass was about knee-high tall everywhere they don’t mow. I did not realize how much grass grows on the trails! Since it has been so wet, fewer people have been walking the grass down and they have not mowed out there. I wore long pants tight at the ankle, socks, and a long sleeved shirt.
I showered afterwards, but I woke up Friday morning with a dozen chigger bites. I used to think chiggers burrowed into your skin and stayed there. They bite, move, and bite again. Literally they eat skin (me). But they soften you up for dinner with a chemical that causes irritation and itching and lasts about a week.
I have DEET bug spray, and I know how to keep them off, but I didn’t use it. It was a cold, wet morning. I was fresh raw meat strolling through high grass looking for snakes or whatever critters might be hiding in there (ya can’t see chiggers). The hungry bugs were glad to see me. I transported chiggers on my person to my home on my body. For a week the bites mixed well with the fire ant stings for leg and ankle decorations.
The nest is still there in my yard, even though it was recently treated specifically for fire ants. I’ve ordered another kind of treatment for my clothing (permethrin) to deter the chiggers and other bugs, like ticks. I will treat clothing for trails and will apply DEET to my legs, ankles, and exposed skin. Oh, they found a mosquito with West Nile Virus on the south side. I live on the northside, but this should help with that.
I still like the idea of spraying fire ants on annoying people. Just don’t get caught.
Look both ways. Watch out for snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas.
Mind the gaps where hide the chiggers and fire ants.
The 28th day of NaPoWriMo prompted me to draft a prose poem in the form/style of a postcard. Ain’t it funny, how time drifts away? I got local with vernacular and dialog and supported it with a short video clip.
Fix’n ta Pit Stop
Ah war-out ‘tween Austin an Waco, west-a the shinry an’ east a’the hill country. Mah butt was plum give-out. Feelin’ a smidgen puny, ah dismounted. Lucky as all-git-out, seen a big’o swait-tay saloon o’er yonder. It’ud be jist the thang, cuz ah was fixin’ to be flat as a cow-patty, ‘n dry as Odessa. Ah jerked up mah britches, an moseyed o’r to Harly’s Truck Stop. Dark as a big thicket, them ‘boys gimme a look’n over. Ah tipped mah sombrero, “Howdy. How y’all doin’?” “Ah’ite, ah’rite,” and “better’n all git out,” an one oh’boy yelled, “How ‘bout them ka‘boys?” Barkeep smiled, “Wha’cha drinkin’?” “I’ll have Shirly Temple.” Bar goes silent. Bar back says, “She jist left.” Ah near got-down with all the hootin’ and a-hall-erin’. “Well then, how ‘bout cold Lone Star? An gimme some’a-dem chips ‘n sausa.” Ah drank-up ‘n warshed-up, “Been good. Nite-cha-all,” and ah headed out fer Willie’s Place up ‘a road prit’-near Carl’s Corner.
(Bill Reynolds, 4/28/2018)
This is where I live folks. Lest you think I make this shit up:
Ride sober, look both ways, take breaks,
drink un-swait-tay, mind the gaps,
and love Willie.
The day 12 poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month prompt challenges me to write a haibun, which is a prose/poem form that takes in the natural landscape. This one is supposed to be about the place where I live, to bring this area to life through a charming mix-and-match methodology of haibun. Read about haibun hereif you care to.
I am not sure about the charming part. Haibun, and the included haiku or tanka are Japanese poetic forms hundreds of years old. I’m not that old, nor am I Japanese. But, I am an old American boomer-poet, and child of the sixties. It’s poetry. I write ditties. Ditties don’t have rules. What follows is my twist on haibun. (No disrespect to any oriental art from intended.)
Welcome Home…sort of
The rocky trail invites my curiosity as it gives me perspective into the central Texas biota detected by my five senses and absorbed into the lungs of my mind. Stubborn life forms which I admire more for hardiness and attitude than for beauty or comeliness. Bright green immature ears grow from dark-gray, near-dead, needle-covered cactus. Big old oaks mix with scrawny mesquite and scrubs-n-shrubs to shade the rough pathway.
Rain strips pollen
from the air
a deer looks at me
So much nature
look, dunna touch
hearing of voices
Life thrives in this arid environ that permits me, a feral foreign pest, to have a limited experience. Flora here is so much like the native human species; tough, resilient, rebellious. Then there are the wildflowers: the bluebonnets, the Indian paintbrush and blankets. Beautiful. For now.
(Bill Reynolds, 4/12/2018)
Look both ways to see it all. Enjoy the scene but mind the gaps.
I’m on thin ice here. Texas is different and the natives (Texans) not only insist on it, Texas Pride demands it with few boundaries. It was also 86-cents a 6-pack beer when I was in college. I married a Texas girl, all my kids were born here, and they all read my dribble.
Before traveling, people asked if we or our family lived anywhere near Houston and the flooding from hurricane Harvey. We are about 150 miles west of Houston, so family was on the outer bands of the storm—no damage or flooding, just rain.
Things from my morning walk…
Barbed wire (called “bob-war” in Tex-speak) may be useful for controlling cows, but it’s annoying and dangerous to humans. Putting up such fencing when it’s unnecessary is foolish, but they do it. And they run that miserable prison shit-wire right into the river. WTF is the point of that? There is not a farm, farm animal, ranch, or cow within miles. This is an in-town resort with people and kids. The state motto is “Friendship,” but nuthin’s friendly about that wire. And don’t give me that “good fences-good neighbors” crap. Pointed wire bits that can rip your skin off is not good, neighborly, or friendly.
Texas highways have the best signs. Some are funny. Like up by Moran, a little dry-spot of a town of four or five hundred hardy souls. “Moran next four exits.” It is not on an interstate, there are no exits, and you drive through town. If ya blink, ya miss it. Sarcasm and I love it. Better yet, “Moran Yacht Club Next Right.” There is no yacht club, no water or lake, just cactus and tumbleweed, residents with a sense of humor, and one joker who works for the highway department.
So, as I entered Cypress Bend Park on my walk this morning, I got a chuckle out of the signs at the entrance.
Don’t you dare pop that top until your ass is off our grass. The Guadalupe is kinda green now, but I bet it’s a high yellow color during the summer months.
Know what state you are in. And in this one, fear the sun. And for god’s sake, smile as you fry.
WTF is a “volume drinking device?” Do we need signs to remind us not to jump to our death? Lock yer cooler, the fish are thirsty.
It is not only the heat that is brutal in Texas. The norm for rain is the accompaniment of loud thunder and deadly lightning. Do the peeps here really need signs reminding them to use common sense? Seriously?
If you aren’t concealed (gun) carry licensed in Texas, you must be a namby-pamby liberal Yankee. Thus, if you visit the state capitol, you must pass through the metal detector. That is not required for the 80% who work there and are so-licensed. We know you’re carrying, so just go ahead.
Open carry is also common virtually everywhere in Texas and a gun rack in your pickup is standard, if not required, equipment.
But listen here, Cowboy. Do not open that beer until you’re “feet wet.” And above all, do not dare to open-carry your own bar-b-que grill into this here park. That would be dangerous. Comprehendo, Sundance? (Said the sheriff with a big smile.)
See? Thin ice. I will hear about this.
Look both ways for an easy way through those barb wire fences.
Mind the gaps and don’t jump off the bridges sober.