Thursday, April 05, 2012

rushed home from work the other day because the air was heavy with an impending storm and i was dying to plant my garden; at rural king i bought up some plants, some dirt, a couple of marigolds for the edge, etc. and then quick got them all in the ground before a nice crashing rain came by at about eleven and soaked the whole place. i'd been practicing; we're going to record some music, but was in a small car that barely made it through the puddles on the way home. this is a small town with an antiquated sewer so it doesn't have to rain hard before it gets overwhelmed and there are floods in the low spots, every time you come 'round a bend. people are more interested in our tornado shelter now that we have five or six warnings a year and a few people died the next town over, so they've begun to ask us and now, every storm makes them nervous, even though a good number of them have no tornadoes associated with them. a good storm, a hard rain, lightning, all this stuff is ok, if you're at home, on the porch maybe, don't have to go anywhere, and a garden is soaking up all the good moisture.

it's a busy time; i made a new volume of e pluribus haiku, printed it and all, but haven't really read it to make sure it's acceptable, so that i could make a few more. i want to get it on amazon also, and then apple books, and then get one of those sites where people can buy your books electronically, where i set up a system that doesn't hassle me so much. i'm enjoying it; the fact is that the poetry book has had a better reception than much of what i've done; one friend that had one got me to bring her two more recently & when people read it, they like it and get more. it's still pretty rustic in my opinion, but i could make it better, and will, and this 2012 version now has about six hundred fifty; that's about as big as it can get without my having to make a larger volume and go into serious paper.

the fact is april is a highly variable month, the worst blizzard iowa ever had was april ninth, but even here in far southern illinois anything can happen and probably will, and probably did even if you could remember back that far. this year it was an unusually warm and early spring, and everyone became afraid of what summer would be like if we were really pressure-cooked into having such a warm spring, but they were nervous too, because we all know it can still freeze even this late, kill all the peaches, and all the flowers too. but it didn't. the hard rain brought a cold front all right but the onions and tomatoes i put in didn't seem to mind, and settled in for it to get warmer and sunnier as the season comes out. ran into a saudi student at the starbucks and he gave me a saudi expression: april will cheat you more than your wife. made me wonder, does this mean false spring is a worldwide thing? is this truly a hostile expression? does this mean april is really pretty gentle and loving, but a little moody sometimes? by the way followers of this blog know that april rocks is coming, as soon as i get a minute; it's a celebration of all us april people. have to start all over this year; i have no more, in the backstage dressing rooms of the computer.

my fascination with africa continues though i have no time really to pursue it. i barely have time to do my job at work, organize kids' birthday parties, take kids to soccer, play music, keep body and soul together. but late at night i read about anarchy in timbuktu, or the last of the rhinoceri, or the pirates at the horn, or off the coast of guinea-bissau. at work i have a friend who actually lived in west africa and told a story i thought was quite interesting. she was in the peace corps and a bus with volunteers on it went deep into the heart of a west african country where they were surrounded by the local kids who yelled the local word for "white-man" to everyone. they were quite innocent, she said, just kids, yelling out to people who were quite foreign, you could tell by their jeans they were from far away. but it so happened that there was a black guy on this bus, an american guy, and he had actually invested quite a lot into his idea of coming back, snd so was a little hurt by what they called him. the kids were applying the term, obviously, to everyone, pointing out the obvious cultural gulf. it is we americans who notice race so quickly, and even see it as overriding other things. it's a heavy burden on our african students here in the states, who find a world expecting them to be "black" and find themselves surprised by the weight of cultural baggage one must lug around, so to speak.

it's a vast, wild world, once the onions sink in they get comfortable and send their green shoots upward with a tang just strong enough that the rabbits walk around. the morning dew sits on everything, the sun will of course sear it off but not until it soaks in at some points; we'll be grateful for what water finds its way down into the loose dirt. the snake will head back under the bushes where it's really better off; a huge full moon fills the sky, and there is a curious convergence of natural forces which bring passover, the high holidays, kids' birthdays, a weekend, and a little change in the weather, all at once. april rocks, makes you want to live to see another one.


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