Thursday, September 29, 2005

I Boffed the Big One...Shot the Tail, Missed the Tale

NOB HILL--I sure missed the real story a month ago. I posted a photo of our ex-governor Gary Johnson on the Duke City Fix. He was wearing a pony-tail, sort of confirming a rumor I had heard that he had grown long hair and was hiding out in Taos Ski Valley. But this morning's ABQ Journal ran a front page article about him leaving his wife for another woman, an athlete.

You see, when I spotted the ex-gov in the Flying Star he had come in with another woman. Both of them were wearing bike togs, although those revealing bike shorts were covered over with a pair of regular shorts on his part and a skirt for her. Now, I know I was obnoxious. I did snap his picture while they were eating breakfast. And when they left the restaurant, the woman saw me turn on my digital camera. I was waiting for another shot: them turning left on the sidewalk and walking past me with that big picture window giving me a nice angle on the two of them. Well, she was talking to him, and when they left, she turned left and walked past me...but Johnson turned right and went around the block the other way.

I thought it was kind of funny. Every politician I ever heard of loved to have his picture taken.

This is where I screwed up. SHE was the story...not Gary Johnson's haircut. All the pictures I took of him that morning were of him alone. I did not include her on purpose. What an idiot! And now it is the lead story on the front page of the ABQ Journal.

Of course the Journal might have been happy to have the ex-gov's life up there rather than Tom Delay's indictment. Tonight's ABQ Tribune did not mention the ex-gov's personal reorganization effort at all. Not that they had important news to cover...they had a big 5-column article on A2 about "miffed" former officers in an elementary school parent-teacher group.

Gary Johnson has not been one to stay away from exposing his thoughts and feelings. He is famous nation-wide for his stance on legalizing marijuana, for instance. He has addressed NORML as well as the Cato Institute on this issue. So I was not surprised when I heard the following expressed by someone who claims to have heard it straight from the horse's mouth. I only tell it as part of the Gary Johnson Myth...not as absolute truth.

Johnson's construction firm, which made him a rich man building the Intel plant, derived its name "Big-J" from Johnson's affinity in his youth for smoking what used to be called "bombers." Oh well...joints, j's...what's the dif? Nice joke...but maybe it refers to something else. His "joint" is almost visible in that outfit on the right. And that number, 164, could be millimeters. That would be about 6 1/2 inches. Not a shorty...but probably not a really Big J either.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Attention: We Have a Man Loose in the Hobby Lobby

NOB HILL--Few things are more distasteful to me than hanging out in the women's department of a big store. I do my best, but standing around by the dressing room is not my cup of coffee. And I regard going to those perfumed palaces of cute, plastic do-it-yourself accessories such as Michael's and Hobby Lobby to be just as painful. Yet, last night, there I was...killing time at Hobby Lobby while MaryAnn picked up a few feathers for a school project.

I wandered past the $39.00 golden-robed, becrowned Christmas angel destined for the top of someone's $400 plastic tree, past the rows of ornaments sorted out by color and themes, and through the aisles of foam French bread, slit at the top and browned to painted perfection.

But in the middle of this perceived idiocy I found myself holding something that made sense: an ANT FARM! How did this get in here? I continued down the display aisle. There were model railroad items on the right and on the left were all kinds of cool things. For instance there were several models of Duncan Yo-yo's. I was especially attracted to the "Pro-Fly" for only $2.99. It was competition grade. I seriously thought about buying one, and actually visualized myself finally mastering "rocking the cradle" and wondering if it were possible to come up with a new trick called "the tram."

Omigod! 33 all different U.S. airmail stamps...I remember that 6 cents airmail with the red eagle and blue was one of my favorites. I thought back to the Ambassador Stamp Album I had spent so many hours with as a kid. I still had it and when I taught school showed it to my students in hopes of arousing their curiousity about the world. Stamps teach so much about history as well as geography. At any rate, my folks and I never had the money for this kind of premium stamp selection. No, I got the big bag of 300 stamps for a buck. It kept me busy longer and I guess I really never knew the difference...except that I had to soak the stamps to get the envelope paper off the backs of most of them. I had a close friend named Richard Lenburg who had the coolest collection. There was a set of flag stamps. I think it represented every nation in NATO. At any rate, his dad bought him a whole sheet of every flag in the set. I could not imagine such wealth. It must have set them back nearly a dollar per sheet.

Oh, will you look at this...a Pan-Am China Clipper. Talk about an airplane that inspired people to dream! I loved putting together model airplanes. It is so neat to find that they still make these...wait a minute. That can't be right! Look at the price of that box of plastic parts.

Oh well, time to go. And MaryAnn, who loves me so much, will think I'm a hero for putting up with this place while she shopped.

"Hi Sugar, ready for a cup of coffee?"

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

If You Think Real Estate Prices Are High Here..

SANTA FE--The house next door to my friends Sherwood and Susan Case was for sale. I would call this basically a blue collar neighborhood...west of the Plaza about a mile.

The house looked to be two or three bedrooms, about 40 years old, in pretty good shape, and on a corner lot. The house was unremarkable otherwise. The landscaping was rock and bush.

List price: $360,000.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

American Life in Poetry: Column 026

Descriptive poetry depends for its effects in part upon the vividness of details. Here the Virginia poet, Claudia Emerson, describes the type of old building all of us have seen but may not have stopped to look at carefully. And thoughtfully.


One rusty horseshoe hangs on a nail
above the door, still losing its luck,
and a work-collar swings, an empty
old noose. The silence waits, wild to be
broken by hoofbeat and heavy
harness slap, will founder but remain;
while, outside, above the stable,
eight, nine, now ten buzzards swing low
in lazy loops, a loose black warp
of patience, bearing the blank sky
like a pall of wind on mourning
wings. But the bones of this place are
long picked clean. Only the hayrake's
ribs still rise from the rampant grasses.

Poem copyright © 1997 by Claudia Emerson Andrews, a 2005 Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress. Reprinted from "Pharoah, Pharoah" (1997) by permission of the author, whose newest book, "Late Wife," will appear this fall; both collections are published by Louisiana State University's Southern Messenger Poets. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Good News For Otero Mesa Case: Lyons Gets the Boot

NOB HILL--I ran into Dave Plotsky Friday afternoon. He had just got out of court in a case involving Otero Mesa. Governor Richardson and State AG Patsy Madrid are suing the BLM for their decision to allow exploratory drilling in Otero Mesa. NM State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons intervened in the case stating that he, not the Governor nor the Attorney General, had the right to decide what to do with that land. And he thought that the land should be producing oil and gas revenue for the state. So he wanted to join the suit on the side of the BLM against the Governor and AG.

Well, Last Friday the Judge disallowed Patrick Lyons intervention in the now, I imagine, we go back to the original suit filed by Richardson and Madrid.

Dave was eating an ice cream cone to celebrate. He does get carried away. When Dave first came to New Mexico he thinned trees in the forests for a living. Dave loved being in the forests, but it was a tough way to make a buck. Eventually he got a law degree. Now he does a lot of environmental law and is active in worker rights. He has an office in the Nob Hill area on Girard just south of Central.

Many years ago, when we both had young boys, Dave and I often took them backpacking. Sometimes it was with Troop 9, BSA where I was Scoutmaster and he was the Assistant. Sometimes we just took the boys out by ourselves...many times right after school let out for the summer.

He became known for his camp cookery. His sardine/tofu stir-fry on a backpacking trip to Hillsboro Peak is still discussed late at night with a chuckle and nodding heads. But the most famous cooking episode occured one late afternoon in the Pecos Wilderness.

Dave and I and our two boys were up on Hamilton Mesa heading north when the clouds opened up and it began to rain and rain. We were down a slope from the top hiding under the spreading branches of a huge spruce. There was no lightning, so we stayed there for a while. Eventually we all got real hungry.

Dave reached into his backpack and dragged out a whole, limp chicken. He was pretty enthusiastic about roasting it, so we built a little fire on the downslope side where we had some space and threaded that bird on a stick. We took turns holding the stick and rotating the chicken in the smoke above the flickering little flames.

How long did it take to cook it? Maybe three or four hours. We're not sure if it ever really got cooked. We ate it when it was too dark to see what it looked like.

Friday, September 23, 2005

News Tip Sends Us Down to the Rail Yard

ROUNDHOUSE SITE, SOUTH OF DOWNTOWN--I had a message left on my machine last night from Mike Moye. (Mike and I are riding our bikes from Mexico to Canada one state per year. This summer we ended up at West Yellowstone, Montana.)

Anyway, Mike said he had been riding his bike across the tracks on Bridge Blvd. when he caught a glimpse of something new. He turned his bike around and went north a bit on the east side of the railroad tracks and saw the new RailRunner cars almost totally hidden from view. RailRunner is the name of the new commuter rail line that is going to run from Belen to Bernalillo.

Well, The Artist Ken Saville and I went down there first thing this morning to check it out. We were on the west side stuck behind a chain-link fence with the sun in our eyes, but we found an opening further north and drove between some buildings towards "Bombadier - Shipping and Receiving." Bombadier is the company that built the rail cars. We were following tire tracks in the dirt, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a road exactly. Anyway I thought I better start shooting pictures immediately because I could just see us getting rousted at any moment.

We were standing right on the spot of the old roundhouse! The turntable was still there...and right next to it were the new rail cars. I parked and went up to the Bombadier trailer and knocked. Nobody home. So I started wandering around.

What beautiful cars! Whoever designed this paint scheme was brilliant. I love the way it flows from car to car. Anyway, looking inside, the entrance is large with a place for wheelchairs and bikes. A stairway leads to more seating up above. The seats on the main level are arranged facing each other next to a window. I didn't notice any tables.

There was another guy there wandering around as well. I waved to him. When he waved back I knew he didn't work for the railroad.

Eventually, a man did approach me. "Bob" told me I had to go...especially since I was definitely NOT wearing steel-toed shoes. Well, okay...I'm problem.

He did give me a couple of additional pieces of information. The engines arrive next month. And the RailRunner is on schedule to begin service between Belen, Los Lunas, Albuquerque, and Bernalillo by December. You can bet I'll be on one of the first trains!.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Marty's Got It Going...

NOB HILL--Last night at suppertime there were 15 cars parked in front of the Chavez for Mayor headquarters. It was 6:15 and I can only assume these were volunteers. This is a lot of people on a Wednesday night.

I do know that I have been called twice by the Chavez campaign and had a person knock on my door. I am not sure whether these people were paid, but I doubt it. Also, even in liberal Nob Hill there are probably more Chavez signs than all the rest of the candidates put together.

Marston Moore has a great piece on the Duke City Fix about Chavez and his connections to money. He also explores the role of Teri Baird in his campaign.

Frankly, MayorMarty looks like a steamroller. I lived in Chicago during the Daley era. Very similar.

I like Griego's TV spots. They are memorable and do separate him visually from the pack. He seems warmer, compassionate, and with a keen sense of humor.

There are only two issues:
  1. The West Side.
  2. That Giant Humorless Monolithic Posterman, Martin Chavez
Griego's commercials draw that distinction between personalities very, very well. But Issue #1 is a killer. And Chavez likes to keep digging at Griego on this the posters on the Montano bridge, pointing out that the traffic tie-up can be blamed on his opponents. Deadly. One can't just give up on The West Side...this is the Chavez message. And it is effective.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Socrates and the Unexamined Rock

JEMEZ MOUNTAINS--It was Socrates who said, "The unexamined rock is not worth throwing." So it was in that spirit that I kidnapped Joe The Gumball King for a couple of hours Friday and took him into the Jemez. It is only an hour away...and full of unexamined rocks. Actually, we were prepared to look at anything, whether it be animal, vegetable, or mineral.

There is another story that is superimposed on the Jemez Mountains, and that is the unending whisper of History. For one thing there is the geologic history of an ancient volcano so big that it was twice as high as Mt. Everest...and blew up with such fury that dinosaurs leaving a lake in Nebraska suffocated in its ash cloud, dying on the spot...and then it left a smoking caldera larger than the city of Albuquerque. This is El Valle Grande.

But Joe and I were looking for a more manageable chunk of Time. After all, we only had an afternoon. We examined several of the marked prehistoric sites near Borrego mesa. These are marked with white rings around trees: a single ring marks the perimeter and a tree with 3 rings marks the center. A dot near the bottom of the tree points in the direction of the major part of the ruin. The walls have collapsed, but the piles of volcanic rock still outline kivas, plazas, and other features.

Most of the sites are small. They look like farming or guard outposts. But some are large, quite large...over a couple hundred yards in diameter. And they are scattered all over the Jemez. Anytime you see loose rocks, look may be History talking to you from a thousand years ago.

In the mountains, everything seems more beautiful and significant. Everything is worth examining: flowers, rocks, even grasses that in the city are called weeds. Even trash piles acquire a good amount of beauty. It is not that they are pretty, rather it is because they capture a moment decades or centuries past. Whether one is examining an old pickle jar or a chipped piece of obsidian is not all that important.

The important aspect to all this is how alive it makes us feel! And how humble. To be crawling over the same ground as our brothers and sisters from 1000 years ago is good for the soul. Of course, that happens every day...and in every place. But here, in the Jemez, where the shards of a millenium still lie on the surface, one feels exactly how brief a moment our life encompasses.
American Life in Poetry: Column 025

Emily Dickinson said that poems come at the truth at a slant. Here a birdbath and some overturned chairs on a nursing home lawn suggest the frailties of old age. Masterful poems choose the very best words and put them in the very best places, and Michigan poet Rodney Torreson has deftly chosen "ministers" for his first verb, an active verb that suggests the good work of the nursing home's chaplain.

The Bethlehem Nursing Home

A birdbath ministers
to the lawn chairs,
all toppled: a recliner
on its face, metal arms
trying to push it up;
an overturned rocker,
curvature of the spine.
Armchairs on their sides,
webbing unraveled.
One faces the flowers.
A director's chair
folded, as if prepared
to be taken up.

From "A Breathable Light," New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2002, and first published in "Cape Rock". Copyright © 2002 by Rodney Torreson; reprinted by permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

From the publisher's comments:
A Breathable Light takes the human figure out of his seat in the foreground, strips him of all privileges and asks him to understand himself as nature understands him. . . Thus, as an old gate-post settles into mud, the farmer sees his own quietly abandoned ambition; night falls and a tractor starts up of its own accord; the family dog has wool scraps in its teeth; a saddle slips and the upended rider finds himself galloping in air, “head striking the / grassy sky until [he sees] stars . . .” This is the truth about nature and human nature, and in forty-four beautifully uncluttered poems Torreson shows us the world as it’s always been—a realm of unrelenting wonder.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Rekindling Saint Germain's Violet Flame

CENTRAL & UNIVERSITY SE--The old laundry always sparked an interest among people who gazed at it: those art deco letters stating "PIG & CALF" acr0ss the front of the building and a picture of a pig and calf at each end of the sign. And not just a picture either, these were actually a part of the glazed tiles that the building was made from. That is why they are still visible after 60 years. They don't make buildings with that kind of glazed material anymore. In fact, they don't make those tiles at all. They cannot be replaced.

And then there is the postcard. It was called "The Pig Stand Cafe" at that time. The neat thing is that it gives an interior view of the restaurant as well as the exterior. It is really quite a striking structure.

Well, good news. The former laundry (which went by the name of Saint Germain's Violet Flame when I first moved here...a reference, I thought, to the gas-fueled dryers) is going to be a restaurant again. It will be serving pita sandwiches. I think it might even be called "The Pita Pit."

And most important to some of us, they are doing their best to preserve a lot of the historical nature of the building! This includes the tiled mosaic designs on the walls of the building. They are still there!

It is heartwarming to see buildings of a distinctive character rejuvenated like this...even if it is only a former pig stand!

Alan Armijo Won't Call the Race...But I Will

NOB HILL--County Commissioner Alan Armijo sifted the brown sugar onto his oatmeal and thought a minute. "No, I wouldn't say the race is over...a lot can happen." He was talking about the race for ABQ mayor. Well, here's a piece of news: the mayor's race IS over, and Chavez won. He's got too much money, too much name, and 8 years of doing things that most people like at least some of the time.

"What about the Minimum Wage Initiative?"

"I have a problem with the part of it that says people can come into a place of business and talk to employees about any law they want," he intoned somewhat impatiently. After all, his oatmeal was getting cold. Too bad. That initiative will pass. The Chamber of Commerce and the hospitality industry can't think of anything else to say about it, and this argument is just so twisted that it will make no difference whatsoever.

No, the Chamber will have to settle for a suit after the law is passed...trying to have it ruled unconstitutional because it allegedly contained two separate provisions in one ballot initiative. I figure that to be a 50/50 situation. They could win. But the ballot initiative WILL PASS. So some people here will get to spend a little more money, rather than just wave "Good-bye" to it as it leaves town on its way to corporate headquarters.

There you have it: the straight truth...from a man who is still trying to shake off a bad prediction in the O.J. Simpson trial.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Adams

NOB HILL--The Artist Russell Adams looked a little upset. "There is someone in Albuquerque who looks just like me," he said, "and now I have been thrown out of the Copper Lounge."


"The bartender said, 'You've insulted my help; you've got everybody in here mad!'" I asked her what she was talking about. She shouted, 'Do you smoke a cigar?' I said, 'Sometimes.' She yelled 'Get out!' and pointed with a shaking finger to the door."


"I tried to tell her that there was somebody else in town that looks exactly like me. It must have been him. I've had this problem before!"

"What'd she say to that?"

"She called for the bouncer and he escorted me outside."

"That's a pretty crummy bar to get thrown out of. Maybe you should go somewhere else."

"I used to go to the Press Club."


"I can't go there either."


Sunday, September 11, 2005

One Year Anniversary of the Boulevardiers

Yikes! I missed my own one-year blogging anniversary. Albloggerque was one year old on September 3rd. Thanks for reading...and all your comments. Thanks as well for your kind words on occasion. They really warm my little heart. I thought I would reprint my very first post. It seems to me that I am still telling parts of the same story. Thanks again.

The Boulevardiers

NOB HILL--The Boulevardiers were all out there this afternoon, lounging in the metal chairs in front of the Flying Star: Hal, Russell, David, MaryAnn, and Yours Truly...Johnny Mango. It was a sporting sort of afternoon and we watched the various games being played on the sidewalk and street in front of us: parallel parking, girl-watching, boy-watching, Kerry campaign scamming, sidewalk biking, bus frequency and know, the regular life-filling minutiae that accompanies an iced tea or a cup of coffee. Late afternoon and early evening on the shady side of Central Ave. is truly wonderful.

A nice-looking young lady in a security guard uniform bummed a cigarette from a woman sitting at the next table, a woman who looked like she owned a motorcycle...but didn't have it with her. They talked for a while about people who get in your face.

Then another woman came up and earnestly talked in private to the biker woman. Well, she did look like she had a bike. Bikeless came back to the table with a red face and leaned towards the young security lady. She suddenly remembered she had an ice sculpture in the van that needed to be delivered in Corrales! So she left. I am not making this up.

MaryAnn and I left as well...not wanting to be late for our usual Friday dinner with Mike and Carol. Tonight it's the Bangkok Cafe.

American Life in Poetry: Column 024


In this poem by New York poet Martin Walls, a common insect is described and made vivid for us through a number of fresh and engaging comparisons. Thus an ordinary insect becomes something remarkable and memorable.

Cicadas at the End of Summer

Whine as though a pine tree is bowing a broken violin,
As though a bandsaw cleaves a thousand thin sheets of
They chime like freight wheels on a Norfolk Southern
slowing into town.

But all you ever see is the silence.
Husks, glued to the underside of maple leaves.
With their nineteen fifties Bakelite lines they'd do
just as well hanging from the ceiling of a space
museum —

What cicadas leave behind is a kind of crystallized memory;
The stubborn detail of, the shape around a life turned

The color of forgotten things: a cold broth of tea & milk
in the bottom of a mug.
Or skin on an old tin of varnish you have to lift with
lineman's pliers.
A fly paper that hung thirty years in Bird Cooper's pantry
in Brighton.

Reprinted from "Small Human Detail in Care of National Trust," New Issues Press, Western Michigan University, 2000, by permission of the author. Poem copyright © by Martin Walls, a 2005 Wytter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress. His latest collection "Commonwealth" is available from March Street Press. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Tush and the Too Small Toilet

CARLISLE & MENAUL NE--I was walking by the store next to Cost Plus when I saw this big white thing gleaming through the window. "Hey, a new sports car from the Italians," I thought. Well, it turned out to be a large extremely large toilet.

It was in a store that hasn't actually opened yet, but they invited me in anyway. They said this model is for "big people." If you think I am going to insert some kind of smart-ass remark here you're crazy. In fact, some toilets DO seem a little small...even for me...and I am half-assed...just ask anybody.

The toilet is made by the Great John Toilet Co. And I can think of a lot of potential users besides the "ample bottomed." What about tall people? What about guys with just bad aim? Or lots of male equipment? Or dogs with big heads? Or maybe even a too-big bathroom...lots of new houses have rooms too big for normal stuff.

The only disadvantages to it as far as I can tell would be to those who drink too much, get sick, and have to "ride the porcelain bus." Or "hug the white altar" they say. But even there, it might be possible to curl up on it.

But the absolute CRAZIEST part is this: they swear it only uses 1.4 gallons of water! So says Julian Rivera of Golden Eagle Design.
Their showroom opens October 1st. But the door is open now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Whispering Blue

NOB HILL--The election bumper stickers just won't go away. At first like the gloating winners with their W-04 logos were more plentiful than the sore losers still sporting Kerry stickers. But the dynamics have changed. People are getting so pissed they are making their own statements and fastening them to their cars any way they can. Besides bumperstickers, I've seen signs in windows and even bobble-head dolls.

But yesterday has me a little perplexed. There was a front "license plate" made out of buttons and it said, "BLUE." Now is that or is that not a political statement? Anybody who would spend that kind of time fooling around in the button drawer might be intimating a state of mind. Or maybe she is the kind of woman who names her vehicles.

At any rate in these days of shouted slogans and hyperbole, she certainly whispers.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Name This Park

DOWNTOWN--Besides Old Town and the other little plazas that are strung along the old Camino Real in the valley, Albuquerque is largely the work of developers. And while impact fees may seem like a new idea, developers historically have contributed in many ways to the community donating land for parks.

This is the story of Albuquerque's first city park, except for the venerable Old Town Plaza. And it was donated by developers. The land was set aside in 1881 by the townsite company organized by Eleas Stover, Franz Huning, William Hazeldine, and F.H. Kent. It was an odd-shaped piece of land that the developers assumed would be in the very center of town. But it was only a stand of burdock so thick it was impossible to walk across.

The wives of the developers and other women formed a park association with dues of 25 cents/year. Children from the Congregational school next to the park planted trees. The boys dug the holes; the girls planted them. After school they carried water to these little cottonwoods in buckets. Eventually a barbed wire fence had to be put up around the site because it seemed every family owned a cow and they would visit the park on their way back and forth from Huning's pasture where most of them grazed. The cows were actually eating the park.

The park needed money for improvements and the association decided to hold a fund-raiser, a contest during the time of the Territorial Fair to name a Queen. The candidate who collected the most votes/money would get to name the park. One of the women who had worked especially hard was nominated. She declined...and had another idea. They nominated the daughter of a vice president of the Santa Fe Railroad, Lena Robinson. Mr. Robinson bought a lot of votes, and Miss Robinson won the election. This "centrally" located triangular piece of land is now called Robinson Park.

Information for this post was taken from "The Albuquerque Herald" July 16, 1923; Do You Remember? series by Erna Fergusson.

But Wait...There's More!

There is a "cannon" angle to this story. Those 12 pound mountain howitzers on display in Old Town Plaza started out in Robinson Park. I believe these relics of the Civil War were in Robinson Park until WWII when Franklin Roosevelt sent out a call for brass. FDR's friend Clyde Tingley donated the cannons to the government to be melted down for shell casings, etc. After the war, they were discovered in a basement somewhere over at Kirtland AFB...somebody had saved them from a meltdown and hidden them away. I am unsure what happened to them next, but in the Bicentennial year of 1976, replicas of the cannons were made. These are the ones now sitting on the Plaza. The originals are a couple of blocks away in the Albuquerque Museum.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

American Life in Poetry: Column 023


In this fine poem about camping by Washington poet E. G. Burrows, vivid memories of the speaker's father, set down one after another, move gracefully toward speculation about how experiences cling to us despite any efforts to put them aside. And then, quite suddenly, the father is gone, forever. But life goes on, the coffee is hot, and the bird that opens the poem is still there at its close, singing for life.

Camping Out

I watched the nesting redstart
when we camped by Lake Winnepesaukee.
The tent pegs pulled out in soft soil.
Rain made pawprints on the canvas.

So much clings to the shoes,
the old shoes must be discarded,
but we're fools to think that does it:
burning the scraps.

I listened for the rain at Mt. Monadnock,
for the barred owl on a tent peak
among scrub pines in Michigan.
I can hear my father stir

and the cot creak. The flap opens.
He goes out and never returns
though the coffee steams on the grill
and the redstart sings in the alders.

Reprinted from "Passager," 2001, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2001 by E. G. Burrows, whose most recent book is "Sailing As Before", Devil's Millhopper Press, 2001. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Back Porch Bloggin'...Need a Washer?

NOB HILL--I'm not saying it's bad. In fact, I love it. But it is unpredictable...the wind, some rain, dust. I'm talking about blogging from the back porch for the last month. Our kitchen, in fact our whole house, has been under construction since the end of June. And I have been out here bloggin' since the end of July.

So I have missed some days: construction duties, health procedures (nothing life-threatening), outta town, etc. But I am still lucky in life right now. Duke City Fix publisher and Head Blogista Chantal Foster came by today and snapped a picture. That's Baby keeping me company.

By the way, does anybody out there need a washer and dryer? I have a matched set of Kenmores to give away...coppertone...originally purchased May, 1970...complete with owner's manuals...still working fine.