Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Bad Kids On My Block, Meeting The Goose

I grew up 8th grade through high school in a suburban neighborhood. There was a drainage creek in back of my house and a prune orchard across that creek. On our side was a water company grassy area. The creek was mostly dry in the summer. This was in Santa Clara, just beyond the south end of San Francisco Bay, west of San Jose, and east of (and before) what is known as Silicon Valley. We would have rock fights across that creek, which had steep sides, about 20 foot deep. The gap at the top was about 30 yards. It was all pretty safe because you had to throw high to make it across, lobbing the rocks (our side) or prune orchard dirt clods (their side) and it really was about turf, that grassy area on our side, good for football and stuff. Just beyond the prune orchard was a housing development. On our side was a housing development. Beyond us, more prune orchards. That was when we moved in. But later, when I left the area, there were no prune orchards. They had all been bought for housing developments. We had roads named Homestead and Pruneridge dating back to the original settlers.

The Bad Kids On My Block

I felt my head flame,
My inner space grew intense
With the heat of suns
Gathering near me.

Hot enough to roast locusts
Massing for their war,
That's what I thought then.

Hot enough to pop them like
Hard yellowing corn,
Like overstressed bags
Struck suddenly, gassing out.

Those kids would like that.

January 22, 2009 3:24 PM


In Oregon's Willamette Valley there are huge numbers of Canada Geese. They hang out among other places in the grassy intersections of major highways. All along the Willamette River and its tributaries, nearby that is the Clackamas and the Tualitin, the geese search out the varieties of insects that live at or just below the surface. They leave behind prodigious amounts of goose shit. They gather most often in flocks. There is always a goose on lookout, the rest tending to foraging. To me, this is so cool to have the wildfowl. Up on the Columbia River one time we went out to an island connected by a footbridge to a park to eat and eat we did. There were no geese that day, but the ground was basically wall to wall old goose shit. Dry and crunchy.

Often when they are in flocks overhead, because they have just come in or are just leaving, they are close to the ground and they call to one another. I love that. In both the houses I have lived for the last 28 years I have been in Canada Goose flyways even though the houses are several miles apart.

Even though we are most of two hours by car from the ocean, still the tides reach this far up the Columbia and into the Willamette. The gulls follow the onshore flow. They stay mainly along the Columbia. Even another hour inland out east of The Dalles (not many places do that, but there are Des Moines and El Paso, for example, so this is not such a strange city name) there are gulls who hang out at the roadside rest stops cadging lunch and dinner.

Meeting The Goose

The goose eyes me as
Only a goose can, erect neck,
Poised to raise her wings.

I have interrupted her.
She stakes her claim to this ground.

Scary as she is now,
She was magnificent when
She was overhead.

January 23, 2009 8:46 AM


  1. Funny, Ive been thinking about both scary and magnificent applies to myself....and sometimes I wonder if I find me scary when another may see magnificence....and how do I know what another see's anyway.....and I really need to stay out of my head some days :)


  2. i was going to declare myself "off topic" and show you something different, but your poems about bad boys and scary geese provides a segue in response to comment about on my blog.....

    Lucianne is a special place with special people posting...... when perusing Lucianne you can feel the hate seething through twisted logic in a palpable way., founded by Lucianne Goldberg and edited by Joshua Goldberg is essentially a propaganda outlet for "movement conservatives" and the Republican Party. just as in that politico-cultural group and that particular political Party, opinions are monolithic, dissent is ultimately expelled, and free discourse is "not the point" at all.

    here is an example of Lucianne fair from my thinnly veiled racist friends at

  3. I was just thinking, Michelle's magnificent :) I am very happy you visit here.

    So I went to that thread you provided, Ghost, and decided that it is definitely not the part of the blogworld that I inhabit.

  4. Ghost, here is a quote from Mark Twain:

    The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

  5. I like the stories very much.
    And what's the word for that:),
    i can see it, smell it, hear it and feel the dust. Dust? oh that must have the dirt clods hitting the ground beside me.
    Anyway, it's like that bag of corn, just a bag, just a memory, but when you share the story, it all suddenly spills out, all the
    treasures tangible.(ah, there's a word, do i use it correctly?:)

  6. "I am said to be a revolutionist in my sympathies, by birth, by breeding and by principle. I am always on the side of the revolutionists, because there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolt." Mark Twain

    Twain was an adamant supporter of abolition and emancipation, even going so far to say “Lincoln's Proclamation ... not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also.”[50] He argued that non-whites did not receive justice in the United States, once saying “I have seen Chinamen abused and maltreated in all the mean, cowardly ways possible to the invention of a degraded nature....but I never saw a Chinaman righted in a court of justice for wrongs thus done to him.” He paid for at least one black person to attend Yale University Law School and for another black person to attend a southern university to become a minister.

    Mark Twain was a Liberal, as are all true Americans.

    The Republican Party of today would have hated Mark Twain.

  7. Jozien I had a long dissertation on the word tangible. You used it correctly but blogger or my machine which has been changed ate it. Tangible is a word connected not only to the sense of touch but to value in some way. It allows you to say that some things like ideas, for example, are so valuable they become like important things. The word is a crossover word in that sense. It is not very useful to call the ball tangible because that is obvious. The word is used to call things not obviously solid, to call them tangible, and quite often that emphasis is pointing to a high value of some kind.

  8. Ghost, I have been thinking about what to say. I obviously incline toward the Liberal as you once so clearly pointed out, but I am less that than poet and many other things. In other words I hesitate to hold my views strongly because I do not value the study of such things very much. It interferes in some way with my calling and whether that makes me wise or not, there it is.

    But there is one statement you made that troubles me. According to the statement, "Mark Twain was a Liberal, as are all true Americans." If I were born in this country and held citizenship in all ways except that I really liked and doted on Rush Limbaugh, then I could not be a true American, this even though I could get an American passport and had many allies who also qualified as Americans in all important ways but are not Liberal.

    This political divide is a family squabble, not an in group out group thing, even though either side wishes to disown the other. We are clearly related.

    What has seemed to me the key is the vision of what man is. Liberals tend to think that man has redeeming characteristics and can somewhat be trusted to do the right thing left alone to it. Conservatives tend to think that men are dangerous and rotten to the core and while they strive for civilization, they struggle against their own nature to do so. The gathering of men in groups cannot be trusted because man cannot be trusted by nature.

    There is evidence for both positions and it is very difficult to take an objective view. The second position is the position of man unsaved by Christ, of course, and to the extent that Christians fall short sin continues to be their lot. But more than that, it is a natural position for certain human temperaments and thus not a Christian training. From this place comes the distrust of government but also the rigid and totalitarian tendency in that position, why big totalitarian shapes of government arise right along with the assurances that less government is better. The issue is always how to trust the leadership. Get a good one then and make that rigid. Hold to your benevolent leader no matter what. Is it wrong? That I am afraid is a matter of faith.

    If you were a Liberal Jew in Nazi Germany in the early thirties, then you might trust too much in the Liberal Germans to keep you safe. Many did.

    And of course to go to the extremes as even this writing does leaves behind all the more moderate positions we all might take. Sometimes it strikes me that Liberals trust too much because people often genuinely deserve distrust. Sometimes it strikes me that that all "Republicans" really need is reassurance, maybe a big hug. Yet that obviously doesn't end it.

    As for me, I am sure my opinion is right at least this far, because the issues run so deep, the critical argument is not abortion or gay rights of whatever, but something much deeper. Thus the winning or losing of the debate on abortion or gay rights or whatever only serves to fuel new arguments, none of which get to the real divide.

  9. the only reason i say true Americans are Liberals, is because America is all about Liberalism. Liberalism constitutes a set of ideas about governance that flowed from the European enlightenment.

    documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are literary monuments to Liberalism.

    you are, in my opinion, correct in that arguments regarding political wedge issues such as abortion and gay rights has nothing to do with the core issues of Liberalism, except in this way: Liberalism creates a governmental architecture in which all citizens have as much personal liberty as is humanly possible under the law.

    on abortion, therefore, the Liberal solution to the perpetual conundrum, once one understands that a simple legal ban on abortion accomplishes nothing, is to gravitate the decisions regarding a woman and her womb in the direction of individual choice.... a medical decision between her and her doctor.

    it is ironic, in a way, that the so-called "movement conservatives" don't think the government of-and-by-the-people should be able to tax an individual, yet believe the State should have ultimate say over what happens with a woman's womb. that is why it is a wedge issue. the Republican Party really doesn't give a damn about the unborn child. what they give a damn about is leveraging a group of single issue voters to gain power for a governmental architecture that caters to an defaults to corporations as opposed to the People.

    the principle attack of the Republican Party is truly against governmental function and purpose understood within the context of Liberalism.

    i know this is a poetry corner and i like it that way.

    just understand that Nazis, Communists and the Republican Party of the United States hate Liberalism.

    by the way, on the other wedge issue you mentioned, gay rights, the Republicans are the only Party willing to amend the Constitution in such a way as to formally deny rights to a group of America's citizens.

    all other Constitutional amendments, like the Bill of Rights (a fine Liberal document) were intended to reinforce broad liberties assumed in the Constitution.

    the Republicans really have major problems with the American Constitution itself.

    Happy Independence Day... we can now return to our regularly scheduled programming.... :)

  10. I just finished writing a reply to Karen in a previous blog and it turns out that the reply fits better here. So I will post it again. Then when I post it for real in some 2 hundred days, it will have been the third time. It is my manifesto.


    It is the blessing of those who love to say all is well.

    It is the blessing of those who are loved
    to feel the weight of love and wish to rise
    that they may carry it lightly and with joy.

    So burdened with blessing
    we are ever mirrors, in loving one to another.

  11. And I say Amen to that, Christopher. Again I say: Amen!


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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