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Occasional Sonnet

Sonnet for My Daughter on Her Birthday

Let me not admit November’s wild
Transition into winter’s dark, my child,
Could ever turn the light out in your mind
Or cause the love within you to unbind.
Oh no, you woke in autumn’s grip but kept
It at arm’s length until you walked and leapt
Across the calendar of time and thought
And showed me everything you found and brought
From icy mornings to the changing seasons,
From cold conclusions to the warming reasons,
To daughter me to father forth my vision,
To light a fire of love and firm decision
To love you always, always newly prove
That I will stay beside you, never move.

My Mother, Urs

My mother, Urs
Is not averse
To what is claimed
To be not worse,

Like apple cores
And wooden floors
And husbands blamed
For broken doors,

But woe betide
The other side
If they, enflamed,
Should try her pride,

For she will cut
Their fattened butt,
Unfurl her famed
Derisive tut,

And bring them low
To eat some crow
Till they be lamed
And in the know.

My Father, Ted

My father, Ted
Can take the lead
From bullets aimed
Straight at his head

And turn them in
To gold and tin
To cure the maimed,
Both friend and kin,

By alchemy
And family tree
And things unnamed
And mystery

Because he knows
The wild rose
Cannot be tamed,
It only grows

With rooted love
And hand and glove
And old age framed
By the sky above.

Birthday Limerick

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 9.27.13 AM

A fellow named Potter was born
On this date in a stable, forlorn
And the angels sang Hank
Williams songs while they drank
Irish ale from the night till the morn.

Grace of God and raise your arms…Flood!

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So we had a flood – and thought it was a good time to have a craw boil, Nawlins style….

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Potatoes, 10 minutes; Chicken thighs, 5 minutes; Corn 3 minutes (after return to rolling boil); crawdads, 3 minutes; Shrimp 3 minutes; sausage (what the hell!). And finished off with Peychaud-laden (five dashes!) Manhattans (actually, at that point, frick! – might as well call them Birminghams!). Then cigars and port wine and conversation. Not a bad way to face the flood.

And her hallway moves
Like the ocean moves
And her hallway moves
Like the sea
Like the sea
She says “no, no, no, no harm will come your way”
She says “bring it on down, bring on the wave”
She says “nobody done no harm”
Grace of God and raise your arms
She says “face it and it’s a place to stay”
This, this is the way it was
This, this is the way it is
When the water come rushing, rushing in
She says
She says “anytime”
Raise your arms
Flood
And her hallway
Like…Like…Like a million voices call my name
Like a million voices calling
Not now, not never again…
Sitting here, now in this bar for hours
Strange men rent strange flowers
Seconds to…

Oriole

oriole audubon

For SW-D, on her birthday

What pleasant crudities this May extends
Beyond the riddled weeds of latent spring—
Its azure heaven plays it coy and lends
Its crush to underbrush. A lightning wing
Ignites the fire-crack of smoky buds—
Now rendered aureate as Christmas trees.
Each second’s inch of fluted branch eludes—
Detains—and spills with orange melodies.

The spring in flood resolves its snag in nests
Among the greening limbs. A throbbing tune
Converts dactylics into anapests.
Staccato notes that span the Yucatan
Now reach with gumbo-limbo limbs that soar
And dive with arils big as Baltimore.

It’s Walker Percy’s Hundredth Birthday and We Suck

… but here’s the beginning of an epic poem about the time a young man met the man himself:

November 22, 1989

The day I met Walker, the rain had fallen
in Louisiana sheets, and I’d left
my tent illicitly pitched in the Bogue Falaya
State Park, along with a bookish bottle
of Early Times I’d taken a few swigs off of
in the dark the night before as pine cones pitched
and fell outside as if in triadic morse code
from Flannery in heaven telling me grace was in
the river. And alligators, too, I reckoned.
I walked the cracked sidewalks of Covington, aimlessly,
dazed by the wonder of seeing vines sprouting
through the cracks in a sacramental vision,
a concelebration of the namer and the named,
and lept across the flashflood puddles
as I made my way towards no destination
but found myself in The Kumquat bookstore
to oggle shelves bursting with signed copies
of The Moviegoer, The Last Gentleman, Love in the Ruins, Lancelot,
The Second Coming, The Thanatos Syndrome, Lost
in the Cosmos, The Message in the Bottle, books
that had changed (and continue to change) my life.
Oh Walker (Oh Rory) I was twenty-four
and pining for a woman I was also
on the run from in triangular
despair (yet thanks in part to you I also
was aware, at least a little — a foothold —
of the despair, contrary to that Kierkegaardian
epigraph, precisely pitched though it is).
Oh Walker: so I bought a stack of books,
some for me and some for those I loved,
and left instructions with the keeper of
the store to have you encode, in your
physician’s scrawl, your cracked prescriptions
where the vines of love and truth might grow from bourbon
and ink, the cumulative bliss of limitation,
where you and I might clear a space for being.

The Last Crawdad, Man!

Since the Kollektiv isn’t traveling south this year, Korrektiv Kollektiv: Soldiers Grove Unit decided to bring Nawlins up to Cheeseland for an evening in honor of Third Oldest Daughter’s birthday… That’s her in the middle with her sisters posing as Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos…

Spin, measure, cut...spin, measure, cut.... spin, measure, cut. OK. Got it.

Spin, measure, cut…spin, measure, cut…. spin, measure, cut. OK. Got it.

Just a taste of what we’ll be missing this October – but, we hope, not next year…

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All mine…?

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Dad’s crawdads….

Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

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Crawdads and uncles…

Still life with escrevisse and cousins

Still life with escrevisse and cousins and beer can.

Mudbugs in the milieu...

Mudbugs in the milieu…

Hand and claw...

Hand and claw…

Bernadette's Feast

Bernadette’s Feast

One fine evening in southwest Wisconsin...

One fine evening in southwest Wisconsin…

Don't forget the pie (One apple and one berry).

Don’t forget the pie (One apple and one berry).

Dylan the Gr8

Eight is great
Don’t hesitate
To fly or skate
Towards your fate
Don’t hate
To wait
Or stay up late
For a special date
What you create
And contemplate
With love innate
You celebrate
There’s no debate
Now nine anticipate!

Potter Sighting

I haven’t seen much of Potter lately, but a mutual friend sent me this clip from his 50th birthday party:

Looks like he may be finally getting around to that midlife crisis.