Monday, June 27, 2011

these days when i go out around snapping turtle corner, turn up toward possum hill where the old poor farm/asylum sits out in the university farm field out over the hill, i can't see the place; greenery has taken over and even the grasses are high enough to totally block the view of it. it appears to be a seasonal thing; you can see it sometimes, when the leaves give way and the grasses are a little trodden on or plowed over or whatever, just dead for the season, and the light's just right. animals are all over the place though i've only seen one turtle in spite of the water, and apparent mulberries, and all the joys of the season. the tomatoes are springing out of their little cages and taking over all over the garden blocking light from the poor pepper plants like invasive weeds and drooping with the weight of their own green balls, far over the limit for the little cages that were supposed to hold them. and summer has taken a turn for the hot and steamy, but only after a storm dumped three inches of rain on us in about an hour, and even the sunset strip was flooded and i had to go around.

so i got to my class and there was a few inches of water on it, and ceiling tiles fallen and spread in it, and we were supposed to have a quiz so we went over into the student center. some student asked me if this happened all the time at cesl, and the truth is that in thirty years of teaching or so it's happened two or three times but never at cesl. so in fact we're pretty lucky notwithstanding that story i told you a bit ago, when the chancellor happened into our class and we realized we'd pretty much been leaving the door open due to inhospitable conditions, all term. and my office similarly, after eight years ago of no airconditioning leak, now, it's busting out all over the place, leaving me a wet carpet and probably a fire hazard with all the stention cords around the place.

so sunset was closed, and there's no telling whether it was the creek there or not, and folks out in the country say no sooner did they finally get something planted, than now it's all under water and that's bad because if it stays that way, they'll lose the whole season's crops. now we're going to minnesota, so it's mattering to us less and less, as it gets intolerable steamy, and harder to live here and all, we're just in time to go up the river about three states and way up to where the water actually flows out in another direction. and, i may not be able to give you a report from up there, since we have an agreement to go unplugged for the whole two weeks and stop e-mailing, bogging, stressing over badhearted colleagues, etc. a true vacation. just the pebble beach, the great wide freshwater lake, a swimsuit or two, and a driftwood fire, and maybe a trip to the lighthouse which you see up in the corner yonder.

so i'm going to print out just passing through and e pluribus haiku so i can make a few decisions while i'm on the road, namely where and how to enlarge or cut and whether to run with either as a fullscale 2011 publication. it takes me several years to actually print anything so if i get started now we might be looking at maybe 2013, but no matter; you do what you can and put your stuff out there. eventually i'll be noticed by content-strapped hollywood which again has millions of customers but no good stories left, not that mine are so great, but in their desperation they probably won't notice the difference. while i wait i apply for "dinner with barack" and try to finish up my semester.

barack wanted to know what we'd say if one of us were to have lunch with him, and two or three thousand people wrote in right away so they decided it had wheels, reset the deadline for saturday, and re-advertised, this time throwing twitter and others into the pool, and, on top of that, inviting the vice president as if that would make a difference. now if i have anything to say to the vice president, it would be, don't plagiarize, but i'd have a much better time with barack, so i told them, i'd tell him to consider putting his presidential library in southern illinois, since it has a rich african-american history that needs to be developed, and since chicago and hawaii don't need it. now you don't know this dear reader, but i've actually said this before, and even have a facebook page that says much the same thing, and also wrote barack a letter with pretty much the same message on it, but somehow never sent it. in any case i thought it was a winner, it had a "like" on the comment within minutes, and was unusually well written considering the other entries around it. but now that the pool has been enlarged into the millions probably, and even includes people who merely pay for the privilege, and don't have anything clever to say to him, who knows, and the kicker of it is, no sooner will they announce the winner, than i go offline for a couple of weeks up to the north country. so it's time to let go, as they say.

ah but there's the rub. we here in these small towns get stuck on stuff, it's part of the territory, it's like there's nothing else to do but hearing banjo where there isn't any and reading street signs that are misspelled or simply have a couple of shotgun shells pumped through them. for instance you see some house with a for sale sign and you drive past it five or six times a day and begin to wonder, what's going on here and how long will it take before the city comes by and gives one of those cards for letting the weeds grow too high...doesn't take long around here, but it takes forever if you drive past a place a few times too often, or ride a bike, and it's right where there's a pothole int he street.

saw the granddaughter on skype the other day and she made me proud playing her "ba" (banjo), waving at me, blowing me kisses, talking, and then loping over to the dining room to reach her hand over and haul down some important business from some table. no regard as to whether it would spill, or end up on the floor, or whatever, she was cute as a button, and had all kinds of stuff to say, but the main thing was, i'm here; i'm growing, they're crazy about me, and it's all totally justified. the "ba" was losing some strings from being overplayed yet i got to play my "ba" for her so maybe we'll upgrade on the "ba" scene and get her something that can stand up to a little use. she clearly doesn't mess around and she's working on putting on shoes, riding her horsie and a host of other skills including all kinds of sign language that is quite intense. the bottom line is, maybe it's the wrong time to give up on the internet.

on the other hand my wife put a hibiscus in the ground and it literally almost bust up, bloomed and splayed its wild red out right in front of us as if it'd lived there forever and made her want to get another dozen or so, but made me curious about the tea and the herb-growing business which might be easier said than done but certainly possible. there are a number of them i'd like to investigate, and while i'm at it a few to be harvested and eaten but i didn't even get mulberries this year, i'm so far behind, and almost not keeping track. life is rich, life is full, yet i barely get to eat my own tomatoes and find myself almost not stopping to take a breath or even having a clear nostril to jam it up.

then come to find out that all through the midwest 70 to 80 percent of the soybeans are now genetically modified, so that they can tolerate roundup which as you may know causes birth defects and is a nerve gas, kills almost everything and gives frogs two heads, so they spray this stuff liberally all up and down the valley and then they wonder why folks down at this end of the river are going a little crazy. well hey, enough nerve gas, enough heavy metal, enough hard electricity to the jangly metals in your teeth and you'll glow in the dark too. but that's not necessarily a good thing. you see that big cloud of hot air, keeps rising over the east coast, rises up big and high enough, and doesn't feel like it has to go anywhere, no point in drifting over europe or the ocean, so it just sits up there a while, maybe all summer, and the prevailing westerlies coming down over the rockies have nowhere to go, get backed up with all their moisture, get thick and heavy and wet, until the rains fall & keep falling all up & down the valley, ruining folks crops, which needless to say were probably full of roundup anyway.

so you think the midwest is a wholesome place, what with american gothic farmers hanging aronnd with their pitchforks and looking straight at you with moralistic look and a kind of church window on their barn, when in fact they know full well the main reason they have to use nerve gas on their beans and their lawns is that their neighbor is doing it, and they have to compare notes about yield, and what's good for the earth or the future just isn't really always part of the equation. this might be one thing i'd tell barack, but i'm not sure he'll have time, what with old joe hanging out, and a bunch of aides bringing the coffee, and maybe a shout out from the flooded out swamps of little egypt. maybe the east coast is going on like nothing ever happened, but then, they get so wrapped up in their own hot air they begin to think it's its own weather system and who am i to say it's not; that's surely not what i'd say at lunch, or dinner, regardless of who else shows up. it's summer, times are busy, and it's pretty steamy just about everywhere. just over that hill, though, back in the trees beyond those grasses, there's a ruin, and i don't know but what it might be a pretty interesting combination of ghosts, and spirits, might have something to say, if you could figure out how to talk to them.


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