Another Turkey Day : Another Fight

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I’ve had many Thanksgivings in my lifetime – 64 to be exact. Some Thanksgivings were solemn while some were in need of police intervention. This Thanksgiving, I vow to not argue, fight, or suffer even the slightest guilt over the kind of turkey that will be consumed by my family. I won’t.

From my working-class childhood to my middle-class life in the hinterlands of western New York, I’ve learned that a turkey, any turkey, even just the smell of a roasting turkey is a must. I’ve come to this conclusion via my mom who would, surveying her kitchen early Thursday morning, pronounce the beginning of the holiday by saying, “Let’s get this place smelling like Thanksgiving.” And so she would.

We live in interesting times when it comes to the food we put on our plates. I’ve suffered the slings and arrows shot from the self-righteous and well heeled. And I’ve walked through a Whole Foods store. So I think I understand the vaygeshray that surrounds the argument between the factory-farmed turkeys and those birds who’ve been raised in the weedless fields of the free-range mind. Suffering. It’s all about suffering.

The Thanksgivings of my childhood were only fraught with decisions around frozen vs. non-frozen and the turkey’s weight – questions easily answered by my parent’s current budget. Today, one can run from pillar to post in attempts to be politically correct and can, after taking out a second mortgage on one’s home, get the totally natural turkey; one that slept on down comforters and was fed on manna dropped from the hands various gods of free-range practices. And so, for more than a few years, my husband and I opted for the expensive, middle-class-guilt reducing bird that needed the strength and precision of Seal-team 6 to cut through. But hey, the bird didn’t suffer. It could hardly have suffered as much as we did – chewing, chewing, and chewing on what seemed like the dusty, original, leather-bound edition of Moby Dick!

So, this Thursday I vow (in honor of my late mom) to get up early and get my house “…smelling like Thanksgiving.” I will give thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me and mine. Also, I will acknowledge the original (yet unspoken) theft this holiday commemorates with an apology for the suffering of native Americans – a suffering that gets lost in the concern for an ugly bird that we will slice and dice with impunity. And after all of this, I will gladly testify before the senate committee on turkey injustice. I will raise my right hand, and swear to tell the truth before all the gods of political correctness that, yes, I bought a commercial, salt injected bird at 89¢ a pound. A bird that probably gobbled horribly as it was being killed; a bird that may have had siblings that hated him or her for a fat-breasted success; a bird that had no idea what a future was or that there was a senate committee committed to his or her happiness. Yes, I ate such a bird and I found it – GOOD.

THE STORY OF US

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Speaking of time, I took a course

To sate curiosity

Just how someone else believes

Our super species came to be

~

The Story of Us told online

Puts to rest the tooth & nail

Survival, fittest at the top

of the mountain from which we hail

~

Twas not the ax or large of tooth

That got us to the peak

Sizeless and vulnerable all we had

Was our ability to speak

~

A warring species we overcame

Doubt and annihilation

With voice and reason we invented

Inner-species cooperation

~

No easy ride to top of the chain

Even so it happened fast

Early sapiens frightened sheep

How long could this good thing last

~

Doubt returned to fortify

Ourselves against the other

We don the pelt and tooth of wolf

Taking aim against our brother

~

Now we strut our claws and fangs

To intimidate the weak

What’s more dangerous than angry wolves?

Frightened, heavily armed sheep

SPRING – Vol. II

Swans overhd

Comes in on muddy skids

Ignoring the calendar

Shaving its low gray brow

Undercover of a high cloudy sky

Wet with anticipation

It comes in when you see & hear

The great white flock

Of tundra swans

Trailed by a few dark geese all

Bellowing goodbyes

From overhead

 It comes

The day you’ve had enough of

Of ice and frozen bones

The day you refuse to acquiesce

To your bed until the sun breaks the spell

Shaking off the coldest month

In the history of keeping warm

 It comes

The day you throw

Off winter covers & sing songs

Warm enough to overtake

The sorrow that is homemade

And unnecessary

 

THE LIFE LIMITED

train head-on

Not the express

The one gladly missed

Dawdling on life’s platform

Counting cars

Windows flashing light

Quick, dark faces inert

Blank stare ahead

Glimpsing the gold

Coins of paradise

Gone too soon

We, unhurried & unnoticed

Age and wisdom

In separate cars

On that same track

Tearing through

A landscape of

Scattered grace

The Beloved Monster

lake

Walking against the wind

Off the lake slows my pace

I consider the remnants of

The coldest February on record

The receding snow

Pulling back from last night’s rain

Leaving molded columns of

Autumn’s leaves

Along the road

Heaped dirty and waiting huge

Ice & snow mounds long since

Spent of fun and wonder that

Came new last December

March is here with its uneven

Message: promises of what might be

The patches of green

Slicing white winter

Mocking romantic winter havens

Warmth upended with

The old wooden mailbox

After the passing of

The beloved monster

Patron saint of the winter road:

The snowplow

KITE SEASON

kite

Happiness builds a fast fire
Underfoot the running child
In fields wild with flowers
Laughing, some unknown joy,
That life will be good

Happiness forces arms open
New experience
Embracing daring
Nothing but youth

Before receding to the corners
Beaten back by the collected ticks
A clock and a heart weary
Holding happiness at bay

Then comes
The thumping hush
That muscle upon which
Nothing is lost

Rolling and dipping
Tethered calmly against
Winds of age & change:

Happiness,
Flying its own kite

MARCH 3rd

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It’s still here; winter

Marching to that clove of seasons

We remain road-kill

Frozen, run over by ice and time

Clutching fingers stiffened releasing

Any vestige of warm memory

And all the light

That winter allows

To see war as it is

(Not the misguided

Miscalculations of man)

But nature’s

Mysteries of the obvious

Safeguards of Spring

swans & mallards

The lake is down –

To the frozen edges

A swan or two

And tasteless

Geese footing

To rocky nests

Where they curl into

Feathery boulders among

The cold pebbles

Upon which you’ll slip

Next summer

 

Try to find music in

Canadian geese honking

All night – by morning

You’ll know all about

Exercising in futility

 

They remain in spite of disdain

Small fluffy armadas floating in

February 28th’s icy water

Honking in a frosty daybreak

 

And, just when you’re ready

To curse the freezing dun

Madness of the season

An arcing muster of mallards

Waving in decisive consideration

Of parting clouds

Lands, arching necks

Off which the sun glints its elegant

Emerald promise of spring

FOR THE CHEER LEADER OF SCIENCE

 

 Dead coral

The non-fiction writer said *art will not fix the global crisis and the vengeance

Neglect is reining down upon our dirty greasy planet.

I beg to differ.

I want to dip Mr. Bryson in the waters of

Huxley, Orwell, Atwood, Carson, and the words of

Colette that tell the world of the corresponding

Smells of the betrayed, jealous and lovesick.

Science has a fix  but a “fix”

Denied its beauty – resolution

Because there is no profit

Ensuring the earth remains

Healthy for everyone.

Right here,

Right now,

Money’s to be made

Fat capitalists sucking the earth

Dry of its natural resources

Sadly, ironically

With the help science.

In revolutions over time

Knowledge and passion is

Ignited by art

And the time is neigh

When art reveals the capitalists deniers

Who catch the money flung at solutions

Hiding it away in the pockets of those

“Rapture ready”

With no need of a future world.

Art, in freedom

Will save us

When science, in chains

Will not.

 

 

* “An arts graduate is not going to fix global warming. They may do other valuable things, but they are not going to fix the planet, or cure cancer, or get rid of malaria.” ~  Bill Bryson

 

THE FERRY TO THE DRY TORTUGAS

Dry tortugas

 

 

 

 

Seats (the best) on the top deck

Draped with posh hotel

Towels – pulling double duty saving and drying the seat for

The entitled; the family of five with a guest

 

Middle age couple #1 she holding desperately his hand

He looking like he stole time

Deciding on the white island linen shirt

The #2 she, face a beautiful forlorn ruin looking

Into the shoulder she married.

A shoulder that is turned away from her

As her husband talks across his son’s girlfriend (who feigns sleep)

Explaining something

Important (?) to his namesake

 

The young pale and married couple next to us Russian (?)

He sits away from the rays reading a thick paperback

She sits yoga in the sun

 

Two lovers at the rail; beautiful

Unnoticing of the lame (who are now walking)

And the blind (who are now seeing)

When he of receding hairline & confidence

grabs at her hips

She shimmy’s away

Ignorant of the finite attracting powers of good skin

She stands away a bit – the coy mistress, eyeing him

As the lusty gulf wind whips at her hem

Revealing everyone’s wish