Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Ms. & Citizen K.

Hi everybody, & hope you're having a swell Wednesday! It's been a bit trying around these parts: I managed to come up with a painful muscle pull the other day, & so have been living on ibuprofen & other such things & trying not to laugh (it doesn't only hurt when....but still), & then today after negotiating a 7,000 mile road trip without incident I managed a cartoonish fishtail down an icy hill, which ultimately concluded with my running the Subaru up on the shoulder & fortunately, righting the way again. Sheesh!

But that's really not why I'm checking in. I wanted to mention that the Ms. Blog has been added to the "Our Other Blogs" blog roll, since our own SoCal correspondent Audrey Bilger is contributing to that site often; in fact, Audrey's story today is the featured post - it's called Sarah Barracuda Gets the Last Laugh on McCain. I'm sure at least all stateside readers know who Sarah Barracuda is....

In addition, there's another article today on the Ms. Blog that I think some regular Robert Frost's Banjo readers will enjoy - since folks here tend to be interested in history, women's issues &/or postcards - that post is by David M. Dismore, & is titled How Suffragist Postcards Got Out the Vote.

Finally, I'd like to give a nod to long-time blog comrade Citizen K, who's been posting some thought-provoking articles about the Tea Party phenomenon in this country. I'd especially call attention to his posts What If (which was re-posted by the Seattle Times), Confessions of a Liberal Fascist, & Group Sex (which discusses an incident that anyone - like myself - who has been close to a Parkinson's sufferer should find sickening & appalling). Frankly, friends, the Tea Party movement & the recent rash of violent rhetoric & actual violent outbursts have been chilling - however we may feel about government policy, I believe we all need to ask ourselves if this type of rhetoric & behavior should be tolerated. Thuggery has reared its head in this country before: it occurred in many of our lifetimes in response to the Civil Rights marches in the 50s & 60s, it occurred as a response to the Labor Movement throughout the early part of the 20th century, & it occurred under Jim Crow in the post-Civil War south. Tho the Tea Party movement claims to espouse freedom, their actions belie any claims they may try to make in that direction.

During my road trip I paid a visit to Mount Rushmore. It occurred to me that, for all their uber-patriotic rhetoric, the Tea Party adherents would have little liking for at least three of the Presidents memorialized there: Jefferson, because he championed the notion of separation of church & state; Lincoln, because he stood for a strong federal government (otherwise known as "thefederalgovernment" in right-wing circles) against states' rights; & Theodore Roosevelt whose vision of community service was described by "pundit" Glenn Beck as "a cancer." By the way, criticism of Beck's rant about Roosevelt doesn't just come from dreaded liberals such as myself. The Republican Red State blog also took serious issue with Beck's Roosevelt-bashing.

That's all on the soapbox for me today!

Adams County Makes the News - Council Leader #3

The Council Leader
Ivan M. Durrell, Editor and Publisher
Council, Washington County, Idaho

March 26, 1909

If Midvale, Cambridge, Council, and Meadows would work together in advertising the upper end of the county, much good could be accomplished. There is no use in attempting to deny the fact that there are persons in Weiser who knock the upper country. If a man were stationed there who could tell these people who are looking for homes in a straightforward manner the advantages of this section before the other fellow got hold of him, the chances are very favorable that he would come up and look at the country. There would be no trouble about locating him once he came.

Now is the very time to act. There are thousands of people coming west, and as long as the Alaska-Yukon Exposition is running, they will continue to come. We can more than double our population this summer if we will quit our infernal knocking each other and work together. The settlement of one section of the country enhances the value of the other. If we can’t locate a man at home, let’s locate him where he will be our neighbor.

Cambridge News

February 11, 1910

Dear Editor:

The Third Annual Oratorical of our county has passed into history and we trust that much good of an educational nature may result. The program was carried out very smoothly, and considerable ability was shown by the speakers.

Last year, I considered the decision of the judges in accord with the facts rendered; this year, the decision of the judges was so apparently unjust to Council as well as Meadows that I hereby wish to utter my protest against same, and while we all recognized some merit in one of the contestants awarded a prize from Cambridge, there were certainly plenty of others both from Council and Meadows who took prestige over the one to whom second prize was awarded.

We, as a school, do not feel beaten or outclassed—anything but that. We feel that we won.

Yours very truly,
J.D. Neale, Principal of School

March 25, 1910

James Hensen has been hauling posts and running out lines the first of the week.
E. L. Marble came back from western Washington where he has been working this

Walter Rogers and family have moved into their new home.
D. L. Marble papered Mr. Roger’s new house.
James Hensen bought a new team this spring.
L. L. Marble has been digging a well.
Walter Rogers has been doing some grubbing.
The boys of the upper Hornet Creek have organized a baseball team this spring that
promises to be one of the strongest on the P. & I. N. railroad. We expect to see
some interesting games this season.

Arthur Gardner says that he is going to fence his forty this spring. Good for him.

April 30, 1909

Frequently you pick up the local paper and after glancing it over, you wearily and impatiently thrust it aside remarking: “Nothing in the paper again this week.”

Did you ever stop to think what that expression means? inquires a brother editor. It means first of all that in the week just past no misfortune has befallen the community: that no fire has wiped out the our neighbor’s worldly goods; that the grim angel of death has crossed no threshold; that no one driven by liquor, anger, fear, or hatred has taken the life of a fellow human; that no poor devil haunted by the past and overwhelmed by misfortune in the present has crossed the range by his own hand; that many things that ought not happen have not happened. Yes indeed.

“Nothing in the paper” means further that the community is happy and peaceful and busy. So next time you read the paper that is devoid of tragedy, disaster, or sensation of any kind, take time to give thanks and do not grumble, for “Nothing New” is good news.

Grangeville Globe

April 30, 1909

Set a post in your hog lot and every hog will rub against it. This gives the cue for a cheap and effective louse killer. Wrap the post tightly from the ground up with quarter-inch rope and saturate the rope with kerosene every few days. Kerosene will kill lice, and the hogs will keep rubbing against this post.

Farm Journal

June 25, 1909

In order, as far as possible, to safeguard the property interests of the people of the Village of Council, from the dangers of conflagration, I, Frank E. Brown, chairman of the board of trustees of the village of Council, County of Washington, State of Idaho, do earnestly request that the people of the said village do refrain from exploding firecrackers over the length of four inches within the corporate limits of the village of Council and that no firecrackers, toy cannons, sky rockets or other inflammable substances or devices be set off or exploded near, in or about any building, or structure within the said corporate limits of the village of Council.

Frank E. Brown, chairman.
L.L. Burtenshaw, clerk.

June 25, 1909

This is a Contest worth looking into, also a Prize worth working for and we believe you will become interested.

The Leader has a plan by which some school district may get an organ absolutely free. All that is asked is the cooperation and support of the people.

For some time we have been devising some plan to increase our subscription list and have decided that this will be the most effective plan as it will give each subscriber something to work for. The plan we have adopted is as impartial as could be given and is this: for every five cents paid for subscription to The Council Leader we will give one vote on the organ to the school district designated by the subscriber.

The organ will be ordered and placed for inspection at the Leader office as soon as 300 votes are cast. This is merely enough to make the first payment on the organ.

Every school district should have an organ, and here is a chance to get one without any expense to the district. Remember the date the contest opens, and begin them to cast your votes.

(Not enough money was raised by this plan to purchase the organ.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


[Here’s our next B.N. poem!]


It is again a day in late summer, fin-de-siècle.
I am speaking to you over the sounds of the sea

Over sharks stirring up the sandy bottom.
I am talking because in this seaside town, music

Pours from car windows freakish and vagrant,
And because we know that in our future rooms

Only one of us bathed in TV light will go on
To descend into arm chairs alone. I hope I die first.

I have taken to watching old couples.
Imagining they all met at a New Years Eve party 1946,

The music of victory and Benny Goodman filled the air waves.
All the women wore boldly feathered

Or veiled hats, and a gang of plaintive apparitions
Bent to kiss the white gloved hand of a deserted bride.

In a restaurant last Monday I watched from across the room
As a man leaned over his wife and whistled

Into her ear, and for an instant they both seemed to share
The need to celebrate a nostalgic tune, to remember

Walking once arm in arm in the river light.
This afternoon I am watching again through a window

As summer dries up and drifts away. The promise
Of a harvest moon hangs in the air, a party decoration,

And already I remember our trip to the beach as
Some matter-of-fact talk in the kitchen.

For now, an amicable rain is the measure of our existence,
We've returned in time to praise the alchemy of industry,

Having lived long enough together to see on the street of our
Own Neighborhood, red Novas, blue Falcons, a gold Phoenix.

© to the author, 1983-2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

“The Go Lamb Rag”

Happy Monday, folks! Yours truly is still moving pretty slow here following the big road trip—but I was able to put together this month’s selection in the Alice in Wonder Band Songs series. Appropriately enough for March, the song is “The Go Lamb Rag,” written by Eberle & recorded at the Alpine Playhouse in September 2002; the line-up for the song was: Eberle Umbach: piano; Lois Fry: violin; Art Troutner: oboe; Barb Dixon: drums; & yours truly: ukulele. The crowd got into this one, & hope you will too!

By the way, in case you don’t know: the final image in the slideshow is of Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

In other news: Audrey has a new post up on Ms. Blog; check it out here!

Finally: please consider checking out my Apollinaire translation blog Alcools—there’s a translation (by yours truly) from Apollinaire’s 1913 book, Alcools each Monday!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Photo of the Week 3/28/10

The Badlands, South Dakota - Wednesday March 24th

Please check out today's post at The Days of Wine & Roses; it's a poem called "Poem."

Saturday, March 27, 2010


22 states—4 time zones (northern Idaho is on Pacific Time)—about 7,000 miles later—I’m back in Indian Valley, ID, & very happy to be so. I pulled in yesterday evening before 7:00 p.m. to the sight of Penelope Llama & Mo Alpaca grazing up by the loafing shed. The trip was amazing—but it was time to be home—I felt that acutely yesterday as I was driving thru the snow & rain squalls for 500 miles in Montana & Idaho—Lolo Pass between the two states offered by far the worst travel conditions of the entire journey—a full blown snowstorm swirling & blowing while I was descending the steep curvy grade thru the Bitteroots & down to the Clearwater. After this it was on to Kooskia & Grangeville, with more snow squalls on White Bird Hill, then intermittent rain all the way to New Meadows. But the sun was shining brightly on Indian Valley.

I’ll be back on Sepia Saturday next week—for now, I’ll be resting up & trying to catch up on blog visits!

Friday, March 26, 2010

From the Black Hills to Bozeman

Silent pines—granite rock face—the ice on Horsethief Lake—endless billboards for roadside attractions & an obsession with gold mining—a sacred place transformed to a rough & ready Disneyland—an obsession with natural resources “going to waste” by not being “used”—i.e., extracted—the sky is very sincerely blue tho as only in the west—four presidents carved into a mountain—the audacity & hubris of this—still, at least 3 of the 4 held positions now hated by the uber-patriotic conservatives—this country in a sad time, same as it ever was—the massive face of Crazy Horse emerging from another mountain & a solitary crow flying—

Brick buildings in Deadwood—the old Northwestern line depot transformed to a tourist info center—I’m wobbling around the cobblestone streets with a camera, dazed with fatigue & jittery from roadside coffee—a bust of Wild Bill Hickock, gambler & killer & lawman—the Anglo west with its lust for gold & land—

Wyoming: herds of pronghorns grazing near the pumpjacks & looking up to see the Burlington Northern hauling open containers of coal east—fiestaware cups in a Moorcroft diner—road workers eating chicken fingers & fries amongst the scattered high chairs & Sponge Bob Square Pants on the tube—the workers in work boots & ball caps all have an edge & everyone looks straight ahead—a boy refuses to let a girl sit on a plastic seat in the play area, keeping his feet
firmly planted on it—same as it ever was—so she decides to play with an abacus—

Montana: the truss railroad bridges crossing the Little Big Horn—horses grazing on either side of a roughly paved highway that runs parallel to the interstate—a school bus flashing red lights—the battlefield itself unnaturally quiet & a waxing half moon rising above the battle ridge—nearby a gift shop & teepees in fiestaware colors—in Billings the refineries are smoking & flashing & a Holiday Inn is festooned with fake palm trees in an array of fiestaware colors—the truss bridges crossing the Yellowstone River & its sandbars—snow in the hills & rain along the highway—home is the one thing on my mind but I only make Bozeman, not Butte—home today—

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The home stretch—Wyomng, Montana, Idaho: but as the east fades in the rearview mirror, here’s a song about making connections—old & newfor B.N. & Yaakov, & Willow & WT, & Lana, & Carrie & Marc, & Matt & Margot & Claire & Adele & Iris, & my mom, Bette & her friends Agnes & Mary & Shirley, & Raquel, & Jacqueline, & Molly & Tim, & Jonah & Sally, & Mouse, & especially Eberle.

Listened to this pulling in to Rapid City last night & thought of all of you, & about lots of other friends too, those who weren't along the way
—this go round. How we scatter! If we could gather all our dear friends together in one big town - & of course they'd have all their other friends & their friends' friends & so forth& pretty soon you'd have the world as it ishowever scattered & distant & imperfect


From the Mississippi River to the Badlands

Minnesota’s barns are trim, no question about that—red & white & green & brick with shingled gambrel roofs—morning along the Mississippi River near Dakota, Minnesota—the train tracks winding north to the big river’s source—ice on the Mississippi—grandiose waters even here in the North Country—ice formations on the rock cliffs beside Route 90—later Canada Geese marching across a frozen pond in a tiptoe waddle—the birches from Wisconsin thru Minnesota—the redwinged blackbirds pecking for grit along the road shoulder—

South Dakota: the beginnings of the unkempt west—standing water & round hay bales & signs stating The Wages of Sin is Death—the endless signs for Wall Drug & the Petrified Gardens—the latter closed for the season—dinosaur sculptures & teepee sculptures in the rest area—totems of extinction—a 20 ounce cuppa Joe from a Cenex in Chamberlain—looking at the prairie dog postcards & Mt Rushmore t-shirts—

Wall, South Dakota: a shabby western Disneyland near a Minuteman missle range—the Badlands—serious atavism & I do mean serious—the history of the world told thru severe erosion—wild west jungle—ancient ocean—the mule deer grazing placidly—the rabbits furtive & freezing in the dead yellow grass—the meadowlarks soaring above prairie—the story of Chief Big Foot & the winter passage thru the Badlands into history at Wounded Knee—stark history amongst the jagged rocks & the exposed strata—

Today: the Crazy Horse Memorial—then on to Wyoming & Montana

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Into the West

Greetings! This is being written in a Comfort Inn in the midst of Wisconsin's own little Disneyland, Wisconsin Dells - a yellow SUV with a Buffalo on top - water parks - candy shops - every variety of fast food, tho it must be added, none of the fast food joints have the usual air of squalor - a trim setting -

By the time you read this, however, I'll be well on my way down the road: the last 100 miles of Wisconsin - Minnesota - then back into the Wild West as I travel across South Dakota....

I'll be trying to get as close to the Badlands as possible today, & hope to take a mini tour of that area tomorrow - I have a couple of folks to thank for this idea: my friend Molly in Lyme, CT & the very delightful Mouse of Mouse Medicine & The Lakewood Daily Snap.

This trip has been deeply satisfying, & one of the great pleasures I've experienced has been meeting four blog friends: Willow, Raquel, Jacqueline & Mouse. Mouse has the same upbeat & infectious energy in person that one finds on her great blogs - & she made a lunch of grilled cheese & tomat
o soup - pretty much an all-time personal favorite combo for me! In addition, Mouse & I had very helpful route planning session, & if I had any doubts about whether to see the Badlands or not, that discussion cinched my decision.

It was also rather amazing to turn onto her street in Lakewood, OH & say to myself: "I've seen
this before" - because I have, on both her fine blogs. For those of you who aren't familiar with Mouse Medicine & The Lakewood Daily Snap, you really must check them out - great photos & commentary.

From here on out I should be checking in each evening & morning - thanks everyone for sticking with the irregular posting schedule!

Top Photo: Wisconsin Dells
Bottom Photo: Mouse & Me: photo by Mouse

Adams County Makes the News - Council Leader #2

The Council Leader
Ivan M. Durrell, Editor and Publisher

March 18, 1910

April 4, 1910

A basket picnic will be held at Starkey Hot Springs and at Evergreen on Sunday, June 26, and special railway rates to Starkey and Evergreen will be given.

September 17, 1909

There will be a dance at the opera house next Friday evening, September 24. It is getting to be cool weather now, so you can attend a dance and have the time of your life. First class music has been arranged and a genuine fine time is assured to everyone.

March 18, 1910

That freak piece of legislation known as the Sunday Rest Law will undoubtedly come in for a considerable share of the attention of candidates for election to the next legislature. The following in this connection is from the Mountain Home Maverick:
“Any law that allows a man to guzzle soda and lemonade at a paid stand while denying him the privilege of buying lemons, taking them home and enjoying a refreshing beverage in the bosom of his family is a disgrace to the intelligence of the voters of any state.”
September 17, 1909

The ladies of Council are to be congratulated on their willingness to help their neighbors in times of sickness. We have never lived in a town where the ladies were so generous in sharing their time with their neighbors. During the recent illness of our infant, we have been assisted very liberally and wish to thank our kind neighbors for their kind attitude shown us. Our baby is improving slowly, and if nothing more interferes he will soon be able to endure the hardships of this world.

Editor and wife.

November 13, 1908

The Leader will take produce in payment for subscription.

January 9, 1908

The Leader will take wood in payment for subscription.

March 18, 1910


You will recall that some time ago, D. E. Burley, general passenger agent of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, offered a premium of $500 for the best production of potatoes on any one acre of ground in the local territory of the railroad. I wrote Mr. Burley in the hope that he would permit districts tributary to the Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway to participate in the contest.

The contest as it now stands will include the entire territories of the P. & I. N., the Idaho Northern, the Payette Valley, and the Idaho Southern Railways. The prize of $725 for the cultivation of one acre in potatoes is well worth competing for.

There is, in my judgment, no reason why one of the districts on the P. & I. N. Railway should not land the capital prize.

Yours truly,
E. M. Heigho, President

August 26, 1910

The Weiser Signal, in a long and windy article, states that Weiser has plenty of water while her neighbors are suffering for the want of this fluid which is most essential to vegetable life. You’re right, you have water—but, you coward, you didn’t say where you got the water nor how you got it. Council valley is a tributary valley to Weiser and if it wasn’t for the overwhelming supply of water in Council valley, you fellows in Weiser wouldn’t have plenty of water. The water you have was paid for in cold cash and comes from the reservoir in Lost Valley, a tributary to Council valley, and was stored there by the Weiser Valley Land & Water Company. This water you are getting flows through the entire length of Council valley.

When you wish to tell your friends that vicinities tributary to Weiser are suffering for lack of water, please point your arrow in another direction-- for Council valley is a neighbor to Weiser and we have plenty of water, isn’t it true?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ghost Dance

Today: the midwest - leaving Columbus, OH in mid morning thru a light rain & gray air - backwaters from big Sciota River churning past an industrial site - as yesterday the gray air between Lakewood & Columbus seemed moist & chilled with ghosts while the car stereo blasts Patti Smith Group Easter - the tracery of deciduous trees against a low sky - a red & weathered empty car carrier rattling between a red tractor truck on I-70 - the corn stubble & rusted silos in Indiana - Wabash River - a Covington Diner: Walleye Sandwich/Liver & Onions/Gyros/BBQ Sandwich & fries - the older couple drinking pink lemonade & smoking cigarettes - a felt cowboy hat a pair of suspenders a gumball machine - abandoned farm buildings along the interstates - turning north on I-39 & a piano version of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" on the radio as Illinois rolls past - the corn stubble & leafless maple trees flow across the state lines - so I ask myself about the joy & sadness I've met crossing the country - "we are the tears that fall from your eye" - the lines & Vs of Canada geese wheeling in waves above a Wisconsin farm - an old farm house with green tin roof tilted by the northern weather - the clear air the chill in the air the orange sunset - the lives we've all lived the puzzles we're all untangling as the orange air diffuses somewhere past the northern prairies....

"Things That Aren't What They Are"

[Here's another poem by L.E. Leone for your viewing pleasure!]

Things That Aren't What They Are

The poem is empty and then
there are words
grrrandmama, autumn, and butt juice

Ah, the coffee is on
the drummer’s high hat this
only a matter of time, no?

Like, like, my ex-T-shirts and
currently clean panties
wonders why the laundry line gave

Two, three, four
Over and over, you
little slices off my lip

Maestro of the coffee-
play room carpet, I miss you

Can I say that? Can I
say this, that
you rock, your precision, your

Cannibal kiss, that my poem remains
empty, my mug half-full, a
on my cheek, your pecker

Check that. The cheek is
where the best meat is, I’m told
and over, as ever I roll

repeat chorus

L.E. Leone
© 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What Do Ms. & Robert Frost's Banjo Have in Common?

Bet I stumped you there! Answer: Our dear friend & SoCal correspondent Audrey Bilger is also writing for Ms online! Check her out right here!

Hi Audrey! Thinking of you on the road & congrats on your new gig!

Steel City

Happy Sunday, one & all! I've been offline the past couple of days - time beginning to coagulate in singular configurations speaking more to times of day & sunlight or night sky - waning crescent above the Heinz ketchup sign - a sunset blur over the Alleghany Mountain tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike - two wrong turns at Newark on a perfect March morning one day prior to the equinox - a Kali finger puppet in a crystal shop next to the diner filled with Pittsburgh Penguins hockey jerseys - a delightful old Connecticut farmhouse in an evening that could almost sprout tree frogs & in a morning fluttering with cardinals - still showing drab wings from winter - a delightful Thursday breakfast in historic Concord with blog friend Raquel of Out of the Past & Thoughtful Eating - a delightful lunch in Chicopee at a German restaurant with Jacqueline of Another Old Movie Blog, New England Travels & Tragedy & Comedy in New England - talk of Nell Shipman & children's books & the Civilian Conservation Corps - parenthetically, both very intelligent & engaging women, as one would assume from their excellent blogs - which you should most certainly check out! -

The trip is slowly winding back to the west - it still moves between past & present & future - myself & friends making sense of life in all the days we've been apart - constructing stories because that's what we do - today's stories re-creating yesterday & potentially re-creating tomorrow - which at one time was different & may be again -

Tomorrow: on to Cleveland & a return to Columbus before heading back into the Wild West - a blur - thinking about Plato & Nietzsche & poetry on the Pennsylvania Turnpike turning into gleaming claustrophobic tunnels....does the future narrow to a point at the end no matter the story - no matter how the song ends does the melody linger on....
Please drop by The Days of Wine & Roses & Alcools, both of which are running on schedule thru the road trip!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Alex Chilton - RIP

Alex Chilton, the great singer of the Box Tops & Big Star, died yesterday at the age of 59—Chilton's music was such a big part of my life in the 1980s, as I discussed several months back in my review of the Big Star box set. That music could be dark & heartbreaking or sweet in a way that almost unavoidably led to a different sort of heartache—a fond memory perhaps, a smile for someone cared about deeply in youth, a glimpse of morning sunshine after a long dark night.

From what I understand, Chilton's life was difficult & perhaps filled with demons at times—still, his legacy in the field of pop/rock music is enormous, even among people who don't know him, simply because his influence on the indie bands of the 1980s was so pervasive.

I'll be "on the move" today & won't have the time necessary to write a more full appreciation—but I must say that Chilton's music was a huge influence on me in the mid to late 80s, & most certainly crept into the poetry I wrote at that time—especially the music from Big Star's Third Album (AKA Sister Lovers). I'll let Alex sing for himself: "Stroke It Noel," from Big Star's Third:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Driving on Nine

My mother & I headed north up Route 2 & beyond to the land where I was born today—Vermont, specifically the Westminster & Bellows Falls area. The main goal was seeing my father’s headstone, which neither my mother nor I had seen—she was still living in Florida when he died in 2005 & was unable to come to Vermont—& she’s been unable to make the trip from Dedham, MA to Westminster, VT since she moved to Massachusetts in 2008.

The New England towns all seem so old after the West—the weathered white churches, the 19th century town halls—as we moved up 140 thru Winchedon & then onto Route 12 west thru southern New Hampshire, the quaint historical New England mingled with childhood scenes & remembrances—as Hkatz described recently on the excellent Sill of the World blog, I knew the turns & intersections without knowing the names or numbers of the routes—

But one route I remember is Route 9, which takes one west from Keene, NH into the Brattleboro, VT area—the pic at the top of the post is the bridge on Route 9 crossing the Connecticut River as it runs between the two states—it reminded me of my friends Carrie & Jonah & Dani—Ed’s Redeeming Qualities; Dani’s cousin Dom, who founded the band before his death at an impossibly young age, wrote the song while living in eastern New Hampshire. It’s such a song of youthful loss—a bit of wry humor & a lot of heartache—

This trip was about a whole different type of loss—death—age—physical debilitation—yet still the force that keeps us moving, allows a moment of peace &
yes—happiness in the spring sun as the snow melts from the Vermont hills & pastures & the Connecticut flows deep & dark same as it ever was—

So yes, we found the marker—as is appropriate to this type of trip, it took a bit of effort, but the
effort was well rewarded by seeing my mother as she looked at the plot—what is that emotion? Not happiness nor sadness but a very deep feeling that also partakes deeply of both—

& I think of people I’m seeing on this trip: my friend Margot tells me tonight of an elderly man she knows who recently found out that his high school sweetheart had been dead for some 20 years, & at 80 he drives from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to visit the grave—I’m so fortunate to be seeing these dear friends on this trip while we’re all still vital & full of whatever that thing is that allows us to take in the March sunshine a few days before the equinox with something you might even call joy.

& thinking of Carrie, who I saw on Sunday & Jonah who I’ll see on Friday, & Dani who I’m sure I’ll see soon: here’s “Driving on Nine.”

Adams County Makes the News - Council Leader #1

The Council Leader
Ivan M. Durrell, Editor and Publisher
Council, Washington County, Idaho

April 4, 1910

What Council needs and needs badly is a hotel. We are not saying anything against the present accommodations in that respect, but we all realize that when the influx of homeseekers begins, we will not be able to take care of them all on account of lack of rooms. Let the business men get together and talk the matter over. We can have a hotel here that will be a credit to any town in the state with a little cooperation and boosting.

April 22, 1910


The lot where Fred Cool’s feed store now stands has been purchased, and the erection of the building will be commenced as soon as possible, probably in about three weeks. Mr. Cool will move his building down by the railroad where he will have a better location for his business.

Council is past the pioneer times when a pack horse and a blanket was considered sufficient for a night’s lodging, and when trout in the nearby brook was depended upon for breakfast. We are living in a modern civilization where the riches of life are no longer considered rare, but common, and where conveniences are necessary to accommodate the large influx of land seekers, new locators, and the traveling public in general. We are bidding for big things, big men, and big institutions and all things that cooperate in making a city of prosperity and progress. The new hotel is only one of the many things we need today, but Council is destined to be the metropolis of Washington County.

August 26, 1910

Congressman Hamer has been sending out a lot of superfluous campaign matter at the expense of the government telling how many new post offices have been established, but he forgot to tell how many had been discontinued. If he is the best specimen of humanity Idaho can send to Washington, we would be better off without a Congressman.

March 12,1909

What is more pleasant company for a home than a nice singing canary bird? The Leader has two for sale. Call and listen to them.

April 9, 1909


The question of a clean-up day for Council has been agitated by members of the various organizations of the town. During a general meeting in the Odd Fellows’ Hall on Thursday evening, it was decided to ask everybody to join in a general clean-up of the town on Friday the 16th. Everybody is expected to turn out and lend a hand in collecting the rubbish into heaps, and teams will be provided to cart it away. The schools and all business houses will be asked to close for at least a half day so that no one may have an excuse for failing to do his part. Clean up your own premises first, and then go after the vacant lots, streets, and alleys.

June 6, 1909


For the past 133 years, our nation has put great effort into the celebration of its birthday, but never in its history has as much energy, effort, and strife been made as is being made here in Council Valley this year. Neither money, time, nor labor is being spared to make this the most glorious 4th of July celebration ever held in the state of Idaho. Two special trains will be run on that day and it is feared by our local railroad that they will be unable to secure cars enough to carry the enormous crowd that is now planning on spending the day in Council. The program will commence at 10 a.m. with a grand historic, civic, and industrial parade led by the Weiser Military Band. After the elaborate literary program, an enormous free dinner will be served. Seats, tables and dishes have been arranged so that 1000 people can be fed at one time. At 2 p.m. the grand trap-shooting contest will be held near the schoolhouse, and at 3 p.m., the baseball game between Midvale and Cambridge for a purse of $50 will be on exhibition, followed by the customary races.

August 26, 1910

Some people are ardent supporters of the saloon and of that class of people, but when it comes to having a drunk man hang around their place of business, they simply won’t stand for it. They will support the saloons so a man can get drunk, but when he gets more of that dastardly drug in his system than he can carry in good shape, then they want to kick him out. Then he is no good.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Outback Has Landed

Hello everybody, & greetings from sodden & flooded Concord, MA! I've been places since last we spoke—thru the rest of Illinois—Indiana—where I had lunch at an old soda fountain in the evocatively named town of Brazil (sorta stopped there thinking of Eberle, who lived in Brazil for awhile)—BBQ sandwich & some wonderful hand-squeezed lemonade—into Ohio, where I stopped Tuesday night, Wednesday—had a delightful visit with Willow & WT of Life at Willow Manordelightful Mexican lunch, visit to a bookstore "with creaky wooden floors," & a pleasant visit at the Manor itself—the pic at the top of the post is yours truly at the Manor! Of course, I was also most happy to see my friends B.N. & her husband Yaakov, who kindly put me up for a couple of days.

From Columbus it was onward across Ohio, thru a corner of West Virginia, with much of Friday spent in Pennsylvania—then trying to get thru the Lincoln Tunnel fro New Jersey into NYC. Had a wonderful Friday evening & Saturday in Astoria, Queens with my old & dear friend Lana Bortolot (see pic). I hadn't seen B.N. in over 20 years, & hadn't seen Lana in about 25 years!

From Astoria, I did a bit of backtracking west up the flooded NY Thruway (one lane closed near
the overflowing Ramapo!) to see my friends Carrie & Marc in a small town in the Catskills—my directions & navigational skills were a bit challenged, but I finally made it to their lovely old farmhouse for a delicious dinner of rack of lamb! Have been eating well—in addition to great home-cooked meals by both B.N. & Lana, I also had some great Indian food in Queens!

Yesterday was spent plowing thru rain east on the NY Thruway & the Mass Pike. I should have internet for the next few days, tho it's going to be a while before I get caught up on blog visits or comments! Welcome, by the way, to the new followers! Usually, there are daily posts to Robert Frost's Banjo, but this trip has put a crimp in that! Glad to have you along.

Will post again later today or tomorrow! Thanks to all for your interest & for hanging thru this "slow" blog period.

“Snow In April”

[Wow—this B.N. poem is lovely—enjoy!]

Snow In April

The tulips are so temporal
because they contain
winter in their hearts.
They are the elegy
of flowers.

the weather dissolves us,
the way things grow
smaller in the distance,
miraculous and liquid.

Here, the seasons are compulsive
and winter left a vestige
tender and musky
It rises
with the other scents.

We do not travel
or take any such risks,

but this far inland the flowers
stand for imported life,
stray beauty, and the bit
of snow that can rest in
                                           their bowls.

© to the author 1983-2010

Snow in April appeared previously in Quarterly West

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Adams County Makes the News - Council Journal #2

Council Journal est. 1901
Issued every Thursday by L.S. Cool, Publisher and Proprietor
G.T. Burrows, Editor.

June 5, 1902

To that scoundrel who has been furnishing liquors to the boys of our town, we warn you that if this is not stopped at once, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
A Citizen.

July 17, 1902

Marriage license has been issued for William Lay of Council and Miss Emma Woods of Gray Creek. Judge Richardson will conduct the ceremonies in his usual felicitous manner.

July 10, 1902

Judge Richardson had two cases before him the past week. F.C. Bowerman, a miner who had recently returned from the high altitude of Thunder Mountain and indulged in too much snake-bite antidote, swore out a warrant for John H. McQueen (Jack the Ripper), charging him with robbery. Jack was acquitted. The other case originated over a row among the nymphs du pave, which cost $14 to settle.

July 10, 1902

News comes from Meadows that in an altercation between Uncle Billy Irwin and a man named Phillips on the Fourth of July, the former was slashed across the face with a knife. After the cutting, Billy knocked Phillips down and beat him almost into insensibility before bystanders could get the men apart.

July 17, 1902

Lee Walston, who was arrested by Sheriff Gray on Tuesday is well known here. The Walston family came to Council last spring. Lee and his brother worked around here until taken down with the measles. He is wanted at Bedford on the charge of rape and murder in the second degree. The girl whom it is alleged young Walton raped was but 13 years of age, and died shortly after the birth of a child. The girl’s name was Jenkins. Sheriff Gray apprehended him from a photograph.

July 10, 1902

George Hartley came in from his Cuddy mountain sheep ranch this week to consult with leading democrats on the advisability of nominating the Hon. Ed. Adams for lieutenant governor. Mr. Adams being a sheep-owner, just whether the people of the other upper country will take stock in anything that is tainted with wool is a question that is just now agitating the perturbed spirit of Democracy.

July 17, 1902

Council Lodge No. 85, I.O.O.F. adopted the following resolution:

Whereas, The last great enemy, Death, has entered the home of our beloved brother, Joseph Fariello, and has taken therefrom the pet of the household: and

Whereas, We bow in humble submission to his will, who doeth all things well, we hereby tender to Brother Fariello our heartfelt sympathies in this his time of sorrow and affliction, and we do commend him to seek consolation in the thought that the Lord doeth all things well.
(The Misses Fariello perform musical numbers at a meeting of the High School Literary Society and Debating Club, 1910, page 12.)
August 14, 1902
The best work is done at The Council Blacksmith Shop, Winkler Bros., Proprietors. General Blacksmithing and Horse Shoeing and Wagon Repairing. Work Guaranteed.

July 17, 1902

Go to Thunder Mountain by way of Council where you can buy or lease complete Pack Outfits, or I will Deliver you and your baggage to Meadows, Warrens, Grangeville, Stites, Lardo, or Thunder Mountain in the quickest possible time and at reasonable rates. Baird Bros., Proprietor of the New Barn, Council, Idaho

July 17, 1902

Thomas L. Payne of Pittsburgh and Eph Day of Council came in from Yellow Pine basin to spend the Fourth. The boys have been at it since last May and have struck it rich. They have three adjoining claims about a mile from the basin, assays of which have been received from Pittsburgh running up to $500. They will take ten packhorses back with them next week.

July 17, 1902

Our friend Duffy treated the Journal crew to an excellent chicken dinner with all its concomitants on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Down & Out in Effingham

4 o’clock Central Time Monday afternoon zonked from fatigue in the Effingham, IL Best Western—channel surfing thru cop shows & reality TV—too tired to write—running on fumes along the Missouri River—Kansas City—St Louis—miles of silos & strip malls & white frame farmhouses & pro-life billboards & Hooters restaurants along I-70—

running on fumes along I-70 past the deciduous trees in Illinois—a morning following route 2 past the Iowa wetlands along the Missouri River—I-29 past Mound City home to the great Mound City Blowers kazoo band but where you can’t get an espresso drink outside McDonalds—I turned down that deal—

running on fumes—remnants—memory—time is our shared environment & all road trips are time travel simultaneously into the past/future/present—all the verb tenses eliding into a shared expression—speaking in tongues in verbs only where past perfect & future imperfect become the same damned thing—

what does it mean to say: “I’d like to go home?” what does it mean to say “I’m homesick?” what does it mean to say “take me home?”—

the future & past & present hurtling in multi-dimensions down the highway

Pic shows the old State Theater, Mound City, MO

Blog news note: Eberle's
Adams County Makes the News
post will be up tomorrow, but I'm not sure how the road trip updates will be for the next few days; will be visiting friends: B.N. & her husband Yaakov
Yay! so will be busy & also may not have a very good internet connection. I'll be updating if/when I can!

Oh, & I'm much refreshed & re-energized this morning!

"Emily's Mom"

[Here's the next poem by L.E. Leone—enjoy!]

Emily's Mom

Every night before bed like prayers
or the 10 o’clock news
I will die to remember
your face, the look
on your face, holding
your dying husband’s hand

Looking at us. I wish
I was a camera. Wish I knew a word,
your name. Grace won’t do. Hope, I pray
to remember, to my own dying
day, on some cold, crunchy asphalt
or ice, to see you again
best case scenario in my own lover’s face.
Worst case: Wayne,
a truck driver from Indiana

Please, darling, sweetie, wear your seatbelt
Survive me. Be brave, be baffled. Don’t
be ashamed, afraid, or a psychotherapist
And Wayne, just in case, shave your neck

Emily? You stay eight and out
of the picture. Waiting in wings is what
you will do best, like an angel
or coyote, only instead of harps
and howls: the shaker.

L.E. Leone
© 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Union Pacific

19 degrees & trains rumbling into the siding at Rawlins—bright sun & cold that takes your breath away—Laramie in a gray blue luminous shadow under the sunrise—the red rock outcroppings & scrub pines & cell towers ay 8,000 feet—a faux log cabin convenience store advertising Native American gift items & free WiFi—Cheyenne a clammy pool of freezing fog—the skateboard shop two doors down from the cowboy apparel store—the old Union Pacific depot pale in the gray air—Our Lady of Peace Shrine at Pine Bluffs on a washboard & rutted red dirt road between Interstate 80 & a junk yard—the UP freights running across the Wyoming snows & the Nebraska grassland—snow geese scintillating & undulant flock spiraling & swooping over the truck stops—the longhorn cattle—the appalling feedlots rising in mounds of mud & manure & the reek saturates the car for miles—locusts & sleepy towns & the bustle of Lincoln exiting I-80 for 4-lane state route 2 heading for Iowa—& a Burlington Northern freight chugging under an overpass—& Syracuse, NE, 640 miles later, a ton with cobblestone streets downtown, 3 bars (one open, one closed, one out-of-business) & two convenience stores—tomorrow, Iowa, Missouri & into Illinois—

Pic shows a Union Pacific waycar in Pine Bluffs, WY; UP freight trains have been the guiding spirit of the trip so far...

Please stop by Alcools for my translation of Apollinaire's "Le Pont Mirabeau" ("Mirabeau Bridge”)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Across the Great Divide

Roar of the Union Pacific freight out the motel window—sitting just below 7,000 feet in Rawlins, WY, beyond the rangeland where pronghorns graze on the thin white grass emerging thru snow—12 hours & 735 miles on the road—in the morning, the flash of a Great Horned Owl erupting from a pasture & for a shocking moment swooping thru the high beams—the salmon flesh sunrise thru cross-hatched locust branches along the Snake River—wind turbines & the tableland in Elmore County, ID—a wrong turn toward Pocatello—a UP freight skating along the rangeland past grazing black angus cattle—a diner in Snowville, UT & a retired railroad man talking heavy equipment, all sorts—another UP freight howling along a snowy hillside along a river in Morgan County, UT—a Subaru Outback jostled amidst a fleet of semis surging over the Great Divide, & now the floor shaking as the freight rolls into the mountains past the black angus cattle grazing next to the natural gas pumpjacks & the boarded up diners—I’m tired & thinking about the long lonesome highway—meditating at various moments today what each of my friends might be doing at a given moment because everyone is always here & all moments of the past are skating along beside the blacktop.

* * *

Pic shows a snow-covered mesa just west of the Continental Divide; I shrank it a bit because the Comfort Inn's wireless is a bit shaky!

Please stop by The Days of Wine & Roses for a poem titled “Poem.”

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Grace #4

A smoky gray evening fraught with the black-headed grosbeaks & moths—a fountain bubbling with transparent water time is just passing thru a semi-truck on Highway 95 blacking out the poppy orange sunset for one instant—a sleep disorder a marble statue of our Lady in a shrine past Buffalo NY a white sundress dark hysterical sunglasses a breaker exploding on the rocks at Rockaway, OR like an HO Union Pacific freight in an N scale world

There was a row of Chinese Elms in green Vermont light you don’t remember—there was a whitewashed brick building muralled with trellised pink roses—there was a bowl of yellow curry an American Spirit cigarette a wooden table outside the coffee shop a Calla lily you don’t remember—time is just passing thru like a white Plymouth on a 3:00 a.m. interstate like the cirrus clouds in white sundresses outside a wood-framed glass door

Just passing thru—a red tour bus a blue ghost light a silver ring a black & white canvas awning a blue jumper an embarrassment of reflecting pools lined with white quartz a paperback Apollinaire leaning on a pine shelf the tart odor of linseed oil on an August morning under a sky-blue sky the stars’ shattered glass—the catbird’s marimba trills the sparrow’s natural harmonics a statue of the Black Madonna in an upstate gift shop a china bust of the BVM underneath a dormant poplar in someone else’s hands the same Our Lady of Mercy icon a lullaby goodbye an aluminum full moon sound wave

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Road Trip Update

Happy Friday everybody! My bags are mostly packed, & sometime in the early morning gloaming tomorrow I expect to head south on US highway 95 for the start of a road trip that will take me to Dedham, Massachusetts. By Saturday evening, I intend to be well into Wyoming!

The eastbound trip will take me thru parts of at least 15 states—the return trip west isn’t completely plotted out, but I do know most of the eastern leg. On the way east I should be stopping in Wyoming, Nebraska, either eastern Missouri or western Illinois, & then will be spending a couple of days in Columbus, OH; from there it’s on to the borough of Queens, followed by a minor amount of backtracking into the Catskills; & from the Catskills it’s on to Massachusetts. I think there will be a side trip while in Massachusetts that will take me to New Hampshire & Vermont—the state where I was born & raised—before I turn the Subaru again to the west with stops in western Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, PA & possibly Cleveland. At that point, wherever I am, it will be spring by the calendar!

I will have the Regal resonator with me, & will be singing & playing a bit of blues for the folks where my mom now lives. I’m also bringing a laptop & a camera, so there are blogging possibilities—depending on connectivity. Obviously, while visiting friends, some of whom I haven’t seen for over 20 years—blogging won’t be first priority. Still, I think it’ll be fun to blog from the road & will do so whenever it’s possible & fits into my schedule. I imagine my visits to other blogs will be sporadic as best, & likewise probably for responding to comments here.

Under any circumstances, there will be some content on Robert Frost’s Banjo for sure: B.N.’s poems will alternate with L.E. Leone’s on Tuesday thru the month, & Eberle’s Adams County Makes the News series—now with actual snippets from the old papers—will post each Wednesday; & the last poem in my Grace series will be posting tomorrow morning. Otherwise, I’ve left things up for grabs.

& posts are scheduled each Sunday on The Days of Wine & Roses & each Monday on Alcools throughout the month! & don't forget Eberle's Platypuss-in-Boots blog; that'll be up-&-running as usual.

I hope to be seeing at least a few blog friends in my travels—I’m excited about that, as I am about the trip in general. Hope to share it with you folks along the road!

Top Pic: Where the road trip begins!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grace #3

A smoky gray evening fraught with swallows & electric light wires & a slight anticipation of the underlying pulse—& an N scale Union Pacific derailment somewhere along an N scale Tehachapi pass overlooking the windmills & cell towers & other metal trees sprouting across the Mohave’s dry wash—a desk lamp equipped with a fluorescent coil light bulb a copy of Ring Lardner’s You Know Me, Al & a paperback open to something by Vallejo on a black upholstered easy chair in a Nevada ghost town

A random silence—a phonebooth under an orange top hat neon sign some miles past Vacaville a grilled cheese sandwich an order of French Toast the sun splashing honey & heartbreak across a gray formica table top—a large orange juice on the rocks beside a cut glass ashtray brimming with stubbed-out Camel straights—a stand of vibrantly orange willows erupting against the February snow how that snow shrinks into muddy earth like memory on a Lake Fork ranch

Time passes thru you a Union Pacific freight train inexorable & liberally tagged with graffiti in motion along the Columbia River—a meadowlark in a bitterbrush an afternoon game in the bleachers at Candlestick Park speaking French—a radio wave in the cycle of Saturn’s rings—time passes thru you a Raleigh 10-speed coasting beside the dahlias in Golden Gate Park—there is no such thing as silence only an absence of articulation—a feeling you’ve been here before amidst the black-headed grosbeaks with the same dish of blackberry cobbler the same Our Lady of Mercy icon—OK let’s get moving

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adams County Makes the News - Council Journal #1

Council Journal est. 1901
Issued every Thursday by L.S. Cool, Publisher and Proprietor
G.T. Burrows, Editor.

August 14, 1902

Everybody has an idea of what builds up a town, but only a few people know what kills one. To enlighten those who may be ignorant on this latter point, we reproduce the following remarks.

Town killers are classified into nine separate bunches as follows:
First, those who go out of town to do their shopping.
Second, those who are opposed to public improvements.
Third, those who prefer a quiet town to one of push and bustle.
Fourth, those who imagine they own the town.
Fifth, those who deride public-spirited men.
Sixth, those who oppose every movement that does not originate with them.
Seventh, those who oppose every movement that does not appear to benefit them.
Eighth, those who seek to injure the credit or reputation of individuals.
Ninth, those who take the town paper and do not pay for it.

July 10, 1902

Council-Long Valley Road to be Completed in Three Weeks
Twenty men and five teams. That is the force Superintendent Henry Camp will put to work for the next three weeks in building the road to Long Valley. Mr. Camp has placed his order with the local committee for supplies, hardware, and powder. The hardware had to be ordered from Weiser and will be here on Saturday. The viewers and the superintendent started up the road Tuesday to definitely locate the road. Construction work will begin Monday next and will be pushed as expeditiously as possible. It is confidently expected that the road will be completed in three weeks from next Monday. The Long Valley people have practically completed their portion of the road.

July 17, 1902

Council, Meadows, Warren, Lardo and Thunder Mountain Stage Line. Connects with P. & I. N. train at Council daily, making travel continuous from Weiser to the Meadows. Connects at Meadows with stage for Grangeville and all Salmon River points, and also with stage for Lardo and Payette Lakes. Tickets on sale at the Overland Hotel, Council Idaho. Marion Crowell, Proprietor.

June 5, 1902

Wanted: a good home for a baby, two and one-half years of age, enquire of Mrs. Belle Phillips, at the Overland Hotel.

July 17, 1902

Go to S. Haworth & Co. for tents, tarpaulins, shovels, picks, pick handles, axe handles, axes, mortars and pestles, gold pans, fishing tackle, salmon eggs, and anything else you want except Thunder Mountain Dust.

July 10, 1902

Frank T. Mathias and family left Monday for Warren where they will remain until September. Mr. Mathias and son Royal have several lumber contracts that will keep their sawmill busy until the snow flies.

July 10, 1902

Al Jewell left yesterday for Meadows where he will oversee Hank Bolan’s haying crew. Al has assumed an air of austerity since his promotion. Even Bolan will have to take off his hat as this autocrat passes by.

July 17, 1902

To the Editor, Council Journal:
Understanding that whooping cough is epidemic in your town and vicinity, and, in some instances, proving fatal, I herewith enclose a general treatment for the disease which I have used for years without a single failure. Simply in the interest of the little sufferers I have written this treatment, and if you deem it available for your columns, it is yours to publish. Respectfully submitted, J. R. Foremen, Weiser, Idaho, July 14.

WHOOPING COUGH by Dr. J.R. Foremen

The general treatment should be: Keep the patient warm (not too hot); woolens should be placed next to the skin, and at night the patient should sleep between blankets when the weather will admit it. It will be found beneficial to protect the chest with a piece of flannel, and during the most severe paroxysmal period to place over the chest a piece of brown paper covered with mutton tallow and well sprinkled with ginger. During the convalescence, syrup of wild cherry is the best tonic. All through the attack, flaxseed and ginger tea should be allowed freely. (A prescription which I have used in very many cases without a failure may be found at the drugstore of Mr. Jorgons at Council, Idaho, and is free to those wishing to use it.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

“Three Battles & One Flight”

[Our regularly scheduled B.N. poem—enjoy!]

Three Battles & One Flight

When your Commander tells you, wipe that smile
off your face, you want to explain the faulty
strategies of Jericho, Anzio, or Iwo Jima,
how thin saplings redefine our nobility,
how nothing should be taken and everything given,
how standing in a mine field the echoes of movement
are deafening—
like fish sliding just under the surface
of water, the dead are simple, untheatrical—

The fourteen year-old soldier smokes American cigarettes,
imagines the scents of sex, believes he will
be taken to heaven whole and clean.
They say the pilot is altered
by the sky—at times the horizon means nothing
and there is not enough fuel to go home. Like a
child practicing his scales at the piano—
he wants to go higher.

© to the author 1983-2010

Three Battles & One Flight
appeared previously in the Memphis State Review

Monday, March 1, 2010

All the Poetry News that’s Fit to Print!

In case you’re wondering: yes, I do still play guitar & banjo, tho a look at the blog lately wouldn’t clue you into that so much. I only have mild anxiety about this—but then, I have mild anxiety about many things!—& I’ll be on the road with the ol’resonator starting this weekend, with scheduled visits to at least a couple of musician friends.

But to the topic—I should say “topics” at hand. We’re sorta kicking off a real “poetry week” on Robert Frost’s Banjo, with the second poem in my “Grace” series posting this morning, & the other two poems in the sequence scheduled to post Thursday & Saturday; & of course, we’ll have a fine poem by B.N. tomorrow—in case you’re curious, it’s titled “Three Battles & One Flight.”

But there’s more poetic news—where to begin? How about by announcing a new blog: Alcools. This is something that should intrigue the Translation Tuesday fans: the blog will be dedicated to my ongoing translation of Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1913 collection Alcools, which is very close to being my all-time favorite 20th century poetry collection. I translated over half of Alcools during the 1990s—in fact, it’s possible that I may have translated a couple of them in the late 80s—but at a certain point my translation energies flagged. In going back to translating I picked
Apollinaire primarily because of my great love for his poetry, but also because his works are in the public domain, which means if I complete the work in a satisfactory way, I’ll be able to publish it. The first post on Alcools went up this morning: it’s “Zone,” a long poem & to my mind one of the truly great 20th century works. It was Samuel Beckett’s translation of “Zone” that first spurred me on to find Apollinaire’s work, read it in the original French as well as in various translations, & begin to translate it myself. Poems will appear on Alcools in the order they appear in the book itself; posts will be scheduled for each Monday morning on Alcools.

Speaking of publishing: I have been on somewhat of a roll lately. I published my poetry from Charlottesville in another 92-page book on; this one’s entitled Nightingales in a Stateside Zoo. My 1980s poems were different in many
ways from what came after—more formal, a bit more mannered—but I feel content with the work represented in the book & am glad to see it made public. What may be even more exciting to me, however, is that I recently completed the manuscript I began working on in May 2008 (before I realized I was working on a manuscript)—actually, the “Grace” series, tho dispersed thru the work, was the final touch. This one is called The Spring Ghazals—long-time readers may remember the sequence of ghazals I wrote last spring. The book is 76 pages (proving that I don’t have some “thing” for 92!) & contains material has been posted right here on Robert Frost’s Banjo plus a few poems from 2008 that never made it on the blog. The link for The Spring Ghazals on lulu is here, while the link for Nightingales in a Stateside Zoo is here.

Before wrapping up, I have to say that there are a number of people I credit for my return to poetry after a 12 year lay-off. If you want a complete list, you should buy the books! But Eberle must be credited first & foremost— I know my poetic self is not always the easiest person to be with, & she’s consistently shown patience, enthusiasm & most of all, displayed her own truly amazing creative energy, which is an inspiration not only to me but pretty much every one who knows her. & finally, in addition to be a hugely talented writer herself, she's also a great reader
—in fact, you can see her putting these talents to work today on her blog Platypuss-in-Boots blog: please check out her reading of Kat Mortensen's "Lament of the Fiddleheads." You can find the poem itself on Kat's Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes blog here (there's also a link there from Platypuss-in-Boots).

But I digress, & there's one other “person” who gets a huge amount of credit—& that’s you, as in y’all! Thanks so much for all the support you’ve shown here for my poetry & translations (& music!) It has meant a very great deal to me.

Anyway: hope some of you check out the books & the new blog!

Grace #2

A smoky gray evening fraught with long-billed curlews & a pergola awash in pink roses & a maroon Pontiac Bonneville marooned in Daly City all unstuck in time—a wall clock lemon yellow & cornflower blue & thistle pink its face scalloped & floral—a checkerboard linoleum floor in a theater lobby—a single instant that stands in for forever like a luna moth in a truck stop sodium lamp

A Pennsylvania interstate phosphorescent at 3:00 a.m. & strewn with cigarettes & impossible laughter & poetic voices & other suicidal gestures—a smoky gray evening fraught with a gray Dodge pick-up hauling a horse trailer down North Grays Creek Rd & the polyrhythms of hummingbird wings—& here comes another star & it’s just as you say the stars are shattered glass like a C major 7 chord that won’t stop ringing

A mild dissonance a cognitive dissonance a tiger lily a paperback copy of Alcools tipped over on a shelf a pack of Camel lights beside an Adirondack chair a Bloody Mary garnished with celery all unstuck in time—a willow tree fraught with sparrows & the limbs are guitar strings in smoky gray air you cannot touch—a statue of Nuestra Señora housed in a scrap metal shrine beside a pink rose—a single instant that stands in for forever

Jack Hayes
© 2010