Boys from Shaw, Kansas by Claudia Mundell

20 02 2014

Lets ride that carpet back to Kansas!

Heartland!

Claudia Consolidation closed rural township schools,
Brought the Shaw boys to town.
Swaggering down locker lined halls,
Wearing button down Madras and smelling of Brute,
Their flushed, sun freckled faces
Tossed flirty smiles at glancing girls
Like horseshoes shooting for a ringer.

Muscled thighs squatted under football pads
Before skillful sprints took down half backs
And linemen in late summer practices
While wiry arms grappled teammates
Easily, like cottonwood and hedge pieces
Heaved into cords near a farmhouse.

Once afternoon buses rolled them home again,
The young studs threw hay off pickup trucks,
Cultivated standing soybeans,
Checked bulls fenced on a back forty,
Plowed up Osage arrowheads and
Pottery shards hiding in wheat stubble
While riding red tractor stallions
Across Neosho River bottom dirt.
Shaw boys returned to actual life
On the Big Muddy–
Just like before consolidation.

~Claudia Mundell grew up in Kansas with work life in Missouri. She has…

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A Magical Journey

14 01 2014

magiccarpet

Are you ready for a trip into the exotic this morning? Well, put on your traveling shoes and fill your  insulated mug  with your favorite tea cause we are going to ancient places filled with the unexpected.

Jimmy Nelson has produced a book filled with exquisite photographs that will transport you to other worlds as surely as any magic carpet.  His on-line site is filled with photographs that are  nearly  3-dimensional – you can almost breath in the icy air  in the mountains of India or smell the yellow paint on the faces of  Huli in New Guinea who say “Knowledge is only rumour until it is in the muscle”. This book, Before They Pass Away, is a glorious documentation of what is while it still is.

Hop on your carpet here: http://www.beforethey.com/#before-they-pass-away

or here





The story I don’t tell people, ‘cuz I’m honestly not crazy

11 01 2014

This  is Saturday’s first re-blog; something to think about if you are out and about and shopping today.

Good Graciousness

Disclaimer:  I have, actually, told this story to very few people, mostly because I feel like they either won’t believe it, or they’ll think I’m crazy if they do.

God has given me lots of gifts.  I’m sure all of you would say the same.  When asked to list them people usually say God has given them: wonderful spouses, beautiful children, health, jobs, etc.  And I would be no different.  In fact, I believe everything I have is a gift from God.  But sometimes . . . every once in a while, He gives you something in such a way that stuns you.  It makes you think, “Wow, God.  I know you’re always here and all, but you just showed up right HERE and did that . . . for me.”  And it makes you warm and fuzzy, and it makes you realize He really is a Father to you…

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Walking The Dog

10 01 2014

The new year always comes into my life carrying the baggage of renewal, bringing with it the urge to give an old project one more shot from a slightly askew perspective, touting the ever-present enticement of the do-over with its muffled promise that in the doing perhaps I’ll find a better way of being in the world.

Once again I’ve succumbed.

My intention, unsullied as yet in this  new year, is to blog here again not just when the notion strikes me, as I’ve done in the past, but on a regular reliable schedule. The mailman was my first choice as a model for this new re-imagined  reliability. We never know when, exactly, he will appear on our street only that of a certainty he will appear on his appointed days and our mail will be with him.  But you know I realized after a little more thought that the dog owner who loves his dog  is really the better model for the reliability I’ll be needing.  The dog owner walks that dog in the dark, in the heat of a Texas summer, when he’s tired, when he mad, when supper’s waiting and he’s running late, in the cold and the rain, when he has to carry a stick, even when he’d really, really rather not because well, he loves that dog and the dog needs walking.  Simple as that. The dog has no power to compel him.

From this daily exercise of responsibility born of love the dog owner discovers the topography of his neighborhood; where the dogwood’s bloom, where the potholes are, and whose dog you need to watch out for. He breathes in the good fresh air, exchanges pleasantries with old neighbor friends and meets new ones, he exercises lungs and legs every single day which improves his health; all positive but unintended consequences of his love for his dog.  Life is indeed good and full of serendipity.

I love this blog and I’m not  ready to dustbin it just yet, simple as that. Well almost,  my incentive was piqued a tad last week by a friend’s post.  Still ever the optimist, starting today I’m walking this dog again, once a week on a regular basis.  And I’m  hoping you’ll  join me here on these word walks.

Even solitary folks enjoy a little companionship.

I’m  also hoping, dear souls, that this will not be just a one way conversation but that every once in a while the thoughts here will entertain, amuse, surprise, touch your heart, enlighten or annoy you just enough that you will  respond, as surely and in the same fashion, as you might if  you were sitting across the table from me, here in my sunny kitchen, sipping an amber cup of tea, at the end of our little walk.

So here’s the new deal: every Friday a post from me, then Saturday and Tuesday a re-post  from someone else’s  blog that I liked and thought some of you might like too and no politics here, ever.

 





For a Sonnet Maker

5 09 2013

I was cleaning out files yesterday and smiled when I came across this old poem I wrote (some  forty odd years ago)  for a boss who fancied himself a poet.  Maybe it will bring you a smile too.

One day as your fancy took flight,

Impassioned by Spring’s gay delight

You proposed an iambic dactyl

As a perfectly suitable style

For the small song you’d decided to write.

Innovation resides in the poet

(I’m confident, sir, that you know it)

But a foot with fifth beat

Is a difficult feat,

You’d be better off, sir, to forego it.

The Italians from whom you have borrowed

Might be filled with lament and much sorrowed

If they knew from the start

You had thought to depart

From their classical form, bone and marrow.

Now, you can begin with initial truncation

Or a Pyrrhic quatrain adaptation

But fourteen lines is the curse

That must structure your verse

On that, sir, there’s no vacillation.

So, tho in mysteries I miss where the clue is

And in who-dun-its don’t know who the who is

When put on to the hilt

I do sometimes blink TILT.

It’s not nice to fool Mrs. Lewis.





Mine – Weekly Photo Challenge

1 10 2012

This once was mine – this flat sweet smelling land, haunted by  meadowlark, this land of incredible, incendiary sunsets and luscious sunrises; this land where a man knows just how far it is to the heavens and the difficulty and chooses the journey any way.

In memory it remains mine, always.





My Hero’s Have Always Been Con-Men (Weekly Challenge Stylish Imitation) Sam Spade

13 09 2012
Mickey Spillane

Mickey Spillane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’Shaughnessy. We believed your 200 dollars. I mean, you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right”.  (Sam Spade) Dashiell Hammett

“When a man’s partner is killed, he’s supposed to do something about it. It doesn’t make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you’re supposed to do something about it.”  (Sam Spade)

Dashiell Hammett                ********************************************************************************

I grew up in a dusty seedy little town  where nothing much of anything exciting ever happened, at least not out in the open.  Oh sure we had our share of punk hoodlums and scalawags, the Pharris brothers come right to mind but we chalked  their bad behavior up to a sorry  father who beat them just because he felt like it. When ever he felt like it.  And he felt like it a lot. When they weren’t scaring the pants off little girls like me with remarks like these hissed out to the grocery lady ” Gimme two cents worth of that haaard candy lady, because my teeth are, you know,really, really,  sharp, heh, heh, heh”  they were setting fire to the straw in the upper floor of the shed in the back of their ramshackle house while trying to light the hand rolled cigarettes they took such malicious pride in or jumping out from under the   bridge on my way to town,  in broad day light  at scaredy cats and causing them to lose their mama’s cigarettes, or else they’d be down in the mud along the river  catching catfish with their bare hands.

In the summer the City Library was a big deal, second only to the radio so when I didn’t have my ear glued to the family Motorola I hung out in the musty corners of the top floor of our municipal building where the goods were stored, racks and racks of them. It was here  I discovered Frank Yerby in paperback  just as I was entering the 7th grade.  Now my mama had never read Yerby’s books and I didn’t know it then but  that was a good thing cuz later the next summer she caught me reading the biography of Gypsy Rose Lee out in the shade on the front porch.  Very quickly  she jerked  that book  out of my hands, closing it with a icy glare ” I don’t think this is a book a girl your  age should be reading.”

And that was that.

I was  married  before I knew the story of Gypsy  Rose Lee and even then I read the book with a tinge of guilt.  So, let me tell you, her black hair would of  turned every shade of white if she’d of cracked a Yerby book and I’d probably  have ended up in a convent somewhere  or worse at my grandma’s out in the country feeding chickens and gathering eggs for the summer. No chance of getting in to trouble there. But books like that are  another story.

So what was a skinny  scaredy cat girl  doing, headed towards home  with an armload of Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammet, and Raymond Chandler paperbacks on a Saturday afternoon in the summer of  ’51, with maybe a Yerby  slipped somewhere  into the stack?  Well, she was  jumping into the dark and dangerous  paperback world  of a cynical tough big city detective.  Into a world peopled with smart mouthed women and deceptive partners.  Learning the heft of the disarming come-back and  how to stand your own  ground, how to bluff  and when to fold.  Learning the value of that cynical outlook  or the arching of one brow and how  to look beyond the obvious.  Learning that everybody  has a code  they live by and you can write your own if you’re tough enough.  Learning that things aren’t always exactly as they seem and that even  hero’s have flat feet.  And that’s OK too.

And yeah,  I know the title of this little piece is sort of a con in itself,  but hey it got you this far, didn’t it?

The truth is my hero’s have always been authors and there is a little  bit of the con in every story, don’t you think?

Hammett homage

Hammett homage (Photo credit: Koocheekoo)


 “When you write, you want fame, fortune and personal satisfaction. You want to write what you want to write and feel it’s good, and you want this to go on for hundreds of years. You’re not likely ever to get all these things, and you’re not likely to give up writing and commit suicide if you don’t, but that is — and should be — your goal. Anything else is kind of piddling.”― Dashiell Hammett
To see how other bloggers   handled this week’s theme of  Stylish Imitation,  click here.







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