Monday, June 21, 2004

Dixie Land

You think I'm kidding about the cotton - It is way beyond
a joke at this point. It covers the grass completely - I call
it the Land O'Cotton -and now the big clumps of
"snowballs" are falling, littering the lawn. I've tried to
capture the effect of roses in the snow, but it is bizarre.

So far the 'net-prognosticators have failed to prove that a
major meteor storm is going to cause killer tsunamis today (this asserted because all the world's navies have put to sea?)
--Those meteors were supposed to rain on Earth by today.

Speaking of rain - we haven't had a drop since April 12.

Speaking of not having a drop - S. is doing great post-rehab
and tells me he hasn't had a drop since April 12. Here's a
poem which came in my mailbox, ironically, the day he told
me that. I wish him well.


I was sixty days without a drink
working the back of the Howard Street store,
cleaning the tools my boss scavenged from basements
of tradesmen's widows all over the state.

I'd polish the wrenches with WD-40, off-sets
and crescents from Stanley and Mac, bright sockets
from Snap-On we'd charge twice as much for,
crowbars, claw hammers, jack planes and pliers.
I'd refurb the handsaws, just back from the sharpener's,
old Disston Brothers and the best, London Springs,
twisting the studs from the filigreed handle and sanding
away the resinous shell, one stroke at a time
from the wide steel blade.

I seldom peered out through the dusty panes
where the stunned face of Howard Street's
plywood-scabbed storefronts might conjure
the thought of a drink. I stayed in the back
near the cracked tubs of solvent,
whose gray vapors ghosted the air,

and kept my eyes lowered,
watching the grinding wheel whirr in its armature,
cutting blue rust from the chisels and knives,
showering my knuckles with fire.

Joseph Millar
New Letters

Thursday, June 10, 2004

We're In The Cotton

Apologies for being a bad blogger - I have been overwhelmed
with people, obligations, personal turmoil and exhaustion,
to make a few excuses.

Also, we're in the cotton -- literally, becoming buried in
the stuff. Cottonwoods are exuding huge fluffs of puffy
seeds, which has accumulated to the point of appearing to
be Christmas in June. The grass is completely white, and
drifts build on the steps. I wet the stuff down the best I
can,and when it dries out it reconstitutes to the appearance
of a huge pillow fight going on out there. We hide inside,
while the blizzard ensues with every breeze. It's insane.

Now the bosque is on fire a few miles south of us, and north
of us the newspapers reported this morning is an area of
about 45 acres which is completely, inexplicably, dead.

So here's a look--I'll be checking in from time to time.