"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Leadership and Gettysburg

Today I showed to my media leadership a U-Tube clip of the Battle of Gettysburg movie, where Col. Joshua Chamberlain of Maine, on Little Round top, saved the Union. It wasn't Grant or Lincoln. The Army of The Potomac had never beaten the Army of Northern Virginia under Lee. It had invaded Pennsylvania, looking for shoes, victory, and taking the war on the offensive. Next stop--Washington D.C.

I asked my students--what do you do if your army is losing? If you've always been beaten  by this other army? If they have the better leaders? If you're out of ammunition? If the enemy wins, and therefore defeats your entire army? If two days from now they enter Washington, and win the war? What do you need, other than a miracle?

Answers? A leader with a sixpack( from an Army sergeant (female). A leader who can inspire. A leader with courage.

Watch the clip on UTube, in HD. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjceQjmlzwI

Watch it and cry.

My students, independent thinkers all,  think "leadership" at UCO has become a buzzword, but they grabbed this. My guys, the ones in gray, with the star-crossed flag, came up against this rock-hard Mainer who decided to charge, not retreat, and saved the Union on the second day of Gettysburg. The next day, my general, Lee, made the mistake that cost us our cause--ordering Picket's Charge.

Leadership isn't a buzzword--it is written with blood.

Today, Bowdoin College in Maine has a statue on its grounds to a famous ex-president--Col. Joshua Chamberlain. Been there, seen it.

I met one of his descendants 10 years ago...but that is a different story.

I'm a Confederate, a Texan, and--you'll think I'm crazy but I don't care--I marched with Bobby Lee in a former life--but here's to Col. Joshua Chamberlain, who saved the Union.

That's leadership. Thank you Col., from a Confederate.

Pressure and grocery lists

My friend, and poet  and seeker K. Lawson Gilbert, says I can make grocery lists interesting....

Hmmm...the pressure, thepressure. "The Horror, the Horror."

Ok scribes, what favorite deceased author of mine is that phrase in and in what story, my favorite?

Hint: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning."

Coming up, an interesting grocery list, I hope.

The last pages of August

The sun inches toward equinox,
announced by the rattling leaves
and the breeze of a fading season

I've turned many pages of poetry
and lived some too, trying
to find the right words
for the changes I sense...

Maybe the answers
are not on the pages,
but in thumbing through them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm buying a hard hat

I was thinking about it for Halloween, but it'll go further than that.

This weekend, starting tomorrow, is the Oklahoma LaborFest, in the Plaza District, of OKC. Celebrating Labor Unions and Labor Day.

Never been a union member. Don't want to be. But.

Anybody who has the guts to organize such a thing in right wing Oklahoma deserves a nod.

I first learned about it thanks to Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, poet and publisher, http://www.jeanettacalhounmish.com/jeanetta_calhoun_mish/Welcome.htmlwho won a National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Wrangler award for her book, Work is Love Made Visible--poetry combined with black and white photos of her Oklahoma family  background.

She sent me more poetry books to review on this blog, and I've half-obliged (more to come). One of them is Ken Hada. http://vacpoetry.org/hada.htm She said she'd be "personing" a table at the Labor Fest, and reading poetry tomorrow night, along with Ken, at the Labor Fest. You can tell she's a liberal by the use of that word, but she lives in Norman, so what do you expect? Owner of Mongrel Empire Press. Anybody who names something after a Mongrel has to be an American. http://www.mongrelempirepress.com/Welcome.htmlWe're all mongrels.

I'm going. I might buy a hard hat tomorrow just for the fun of it. $9.98 at Home Depot. My uncle E.T. Culp, Momma's baby brother, was a big union man and Democrat in Nacogdoches Worked for Ma Bell. Union dues and wages helped set him and his lovely wife Lamerle, up for a comfortable retirement, and provide for my two cousins, David and Chalres, Lindy--whose photos you've seen in earlier posts). Of course those two renegades are now right-wingers much to their parents loving chagrin. "There are things," LaMerle told me in my last visit, in her soft East Texas accemt, "that we just don't talk about."

Is this boring you? I'm finding stories everywhere these days, and they're fun to hear and tell.

Back to the Labor Fest, on 16th Street , just down the road from some right-wing friends who live on Carey Place. Think I'll go buy and ring their door bell, just to irritate them.

I'll wear my pre-Halloween decorated hard hat.

Wait till I tell you the decals I'll put on it...Palin, Unions, Infidels, NRA, Arizona, Confederate flag, A Texas flag with Secede on it, WWJD (What would Jesus do), next to Nuke Iran, you get the picture. More on that later.

Anyway, come to the Poetry reading at Coffy's cafe between 7 and 9 tomorrow. These are Oklahoma poets writing about Oklahoma people--not sicky rhyming stuff, not political, just about real people.

Look for me in my hard hat.


East texas cousins, chapter 3

One more photo, to go with my thoughts on East Texas

Notice the trio of trouble at right on the back row...David Culp, Terry, Charles (Lindy) bottom row from right, Tommy Culp, Jerry Clark, Brenda Gee. I think the other girls are all Son''s. I'm sure my mouth cousin Sarah Beth will correct me..

Corrected again, thanks Cuz

I had some wrong.  Here's Sarah beth's reply:

Ervin Gee is far left back row, between Daddy & Son is Charles, Faye is holding Flo Ann, Tommy is the boy in very front looking back, Pat Culp (Son's wife) is sitting next to the right of Charlotte, to the right of Pat is Lois Fay, next is Carolyn & Brenda in front of her, the little girl in front of Lois Fay is Sandra. So this is absolutely everyone except Terrence.

East Texas, thoughts

Swamps and steeples.
Pines and pickups.
Barbecue, beer, bayous and Baptists.
Holiness and honky-tonks.
Wildflowers and wandering roads.
In East Texas, springtime feels like it just rained, or is about to.
There's no horizon, and the humid skies are usually Confederate gray as the warm Gulf air sticks  to you.
More than the air sticks to you.
 Driving in East Texas is like going back into the womb almost. It's warm, and wet, and ... green.
This is one of the places families are born, and grow, and spread out like runners from the ivy growing up the trunks of the hardwoods, across miles and years.
You realize that when you go back for the funeral of an aunt, your mother's youngest sister and her friend.
You realize that as you sit around in lawn chairs visiting with cousins you hadn't seen for years.
The memories of earlier years come flooding back, drenching you like the soft Texas rain which begins as a mist and then just seems to saturate every green plant before moving on elsewhere. And without horizons you can't see the rain coming or going, but it leaves pools of standing water and wet pavement and water-dappled leaves to mark its passing, like the memories.
Memories of playing as a child with cousins, or aunts and uncles doing magic tricks, or playing the guitar, or playing 42. Memories of walking to a nearby Mom and Pop store to buy 5-cent Cokes and 3-cent candy bars. Memories of going to grandma's house where she made cornbread in old cast iron forms. Memories of teen-agers going to the corner drug store to escape the heat. Memories of sitting on a porch with a summer girlfriend, watching the rain come down and the moments sweep by.
Memories of aunts and uncles and parents long gone.
"I feel like I'm going back in time when I come here," I tell two of my cousins mourning the death of their mother..
One cousin replies: "In this town time stands still."
One of my favorite cousins, who works in a nursing home, says in her soft East Texas drawl, "I work with time every day."

Cousins, part 2

More photos from long ago on visiting Houston, thanks to  my young, mouthy redheaded cousin,who corrects me that it was her father's camera, and ...oh well, she's bossy too.
Culps, et.al.
I don't know all these folks, but we're East Texas-related. Back row, second from left, is Aunt Gladys Lutrick.  third from left is my mouthy redheaded cousin Sarah Beth. Next to her is the baby of the family, uncle E.T. Culp, and in front of him is Louise, wife of Charles Rogers Lutrick, the oldest cousin, who must have taken this photo. Next is Aunt Ima Gee. Then there is Clark Lutrick, father of Sarah Beth and Charles. Next = is Sophie Elizabeth Beard Culp, our grandmother.Next is Tommy Culp, LaMerle Culp, wife of E, T., and mother to cousins David and Lindy. At right is a rare photo of J.C. "Son," or "Addy" (because he had his adenoids taken out). He was the tragic member of the family, dying young. His son Tommy follows in his father's footsteps. I think he was my Mom's favorite, other than Sissie. Mom is at right, holding somebody's baby.

Second row, from left, is me, with arms around Jerry. Then we get to Son's girls, one of whom died young, and the Gee girls, sitting. Carolyn on the right, in front of Brenda. At left with hands on his hips is David Culp and Charles, Lindy" is messing with a camera--they're children of E.T. and LaMerle. Aunt Sissie is in the middle, sitting down.  I think this is one of the very few photos where the four sisters and two brothers are together.
Dad, grandmother, Mom, sissie (adoring me), Me. in front, Gladys, Jerry.
Jerry and I on the galveston beach with Aunt Gladys. Look at that spiffy new Ford in the background, when you could drive on the beach.

Jerry practicing his violin. He always got special treatment. My folks "couldn't afford" to buy me a musical instrument. ;)
The Clarks
Moving to New Mexico from Fort Worth separated us from our kinfolk, so we got to see them in the summers, on vacations, but not every year. Early childhood bonding with some last to this day. We have photos of some of us as babies sitting on a blanket in the yards from long ago. But we didn't really get to know them well. I was particularly close to Carolyn and Jerry to Brenda, and Sarah Beth intimidated us. But we had good times, playing mud patties in the back yards and  going to drive in-s for soft drinks as we got older in those long hot and humid Southern summers that Harper Lee describes so well in To Kill a Mockingbird.   In later years with reunions and email we've reconnected some, marveling how the years have passed. Jerry and I remain in  self-imposed exile from East Texas. I'm the only cousin who lives outside the borders of The Republic, except maybe for a couple in nearby Louisiana. and Jerry is in Lubbock, which is a far cry from East Texas. As he says, Lubbock is an old Indian word for "flat, brown and ugly." But we're all Texans.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New York City religions

With all the controversy about Muslims in NY City, I thought we needed some perspective.

Did you know that 9/ll also attacked up to 1.4 American Muslims, and killed some?

The facts below come from Did You Know.http://didyouknow.org/number-of-churches-and-mosques-in-new-york-city/

New York City is the most linguistically and religiously diverse city in the world. The 8.4 million inhabitants speak 800 different languages in the five boroughs – the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. New York is also a religious city: 83% of New Yorkers are affiliated to some organized religion. This is a rate of adherents larger than that of the state, New York State (75%), and one of the highest in the entire United States.
Christians comprise about 70% of the population; 40%  Catholic and 30% Protestant. They attend about 2000 churches and 4000 informal places of worship such as community halls and homes, totaling about 6000 churches. The city is home to  the world’s largest cathedral, the Episcopal Church of St John the Divine.
12% of New Yorker claim Jewish decent. There are more Jews in New York City than t in the Jerusalem city limits. They have more than 1000 synagogues – 70% permanent and 30% temporary places.
There are almost a million Muslims in New York City. (Some sources claim 1.4 million; the New York City Community Affairs Bureau states the figure as 800 000.) There are more than 100 mosques in the city, plus an unknown number of small mosques that worshipers set up in their apartments or places that are not visible from the street.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Redheads and cousins, part 1

Sarah Beth sent me some color photos, many taken by my Dad, on our visits to East Texas, and some of which I'd never seen.

Understand now why I have this thing for redheads?  Can't you just see that mouthy attitude?

Mother, standing at left, and her sister Gladys, sometime in Houston. Notice the redhead peeking over the heads of all the boys she's flirting with. No, I don't know who they are.
Cousins and Grandmother ...Culps  were a prolific family.
 Sophie Elizabeth beard Culp sitting. Behind her, mouthy redhead. Others standing, David Culp, Me, Charles Lutrick (the first cousin and Sarah's brother, Charles Rogers Lutrick who was the  the "good" boy), and Lindy. David and Lindy are children of the baby of the family, E.T. Culp and Lamerle of Nacodoches(that's his name, though they are the initials of our grandfather Ezra Thomas Culp). In front of me are some I recognize and some I don't. Jerry is right below David. In front of me is redheaded Charlotte Gee, and in from of her is  Carolyn Gee and then in front of her is Brenda Gee. I think Sanda Gee is at right sitting. They're the children of Mom's sister Ima, all of Silsbee.
Three of the sisters, from left, Gladys Lutrick, Faye Clark, Grandmother, and Vera Pollock Culp, known to all as Sissie, my favorite aunt.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dramatis Personae, part one, of the Facebook Follies

For those of you following recent Facebook exchanges about my  views on The Worst President, aka George Bush, conservatives, et.al.,  I thought you'd like to meet part of the cast who are adding to the conversations:
Clark and Morrison
  • Steve Snider, friend from Waurika days, bachelor, big OU fan ( I seem to remember he was a walk-on) and we attended several games together,  exiled to Fort Worth! Hook'm. Most importantly, he's the nephew of my newspaper partner, the late great Don Morrison, "Mr. Waurika Lake," and a plaque I helped dedicate is at the overlook in NW Jeff county. Don was a proud graduate of the H.H. Herbert School of Journalism at OU and used the Waurika News-Democrat in a 30-year fight national fight to get Waurika Lake built. That was back in my Republican days and Don, a lifelong Democrat, who wouldn't endorse candidates in the News-Democrat--"An Independent newspaper"--and I would have our differences. He always argued that the Democrats were for the little guys and the GOP for the rich people. He's upstairs laughing at how I've changed. As a graduate of the Don MOrrison weekly newspaper school, I learned more about quality journalism than you can imagine.Steve  was the town humorist and could get his uncle in stitches with his kidding and parodies, including stopping at Braum's in Chickasha on the way home from the games. Steve swears Don would eat a whole half gallon of ice cream before they got back to Waurika. Steve's parents, George "Brick" and Mary Lacy Snider, were his partners in publishing, until I bought out their share a long time ago. Steve's folks, much to the chagrin of many of the Methodists--their family's church--in town from whence they came, went into religious publishing, moved to Throckmorton and then to Frederick. The name of their paper was The Grape Press. Real faith. They donated their bodies to medical research. So Steve comes by his faith honestly, and I can forgive him for being conservative, and he and I can rattle each other's chains once in a while.
  • Sara Beth Lutrick Foote, my cousin and  the reason I'm in love with all redheads, currently of Plum Grove, Texas. Sarah's a young thing, only five years older than me, the daughter of my Mom's sister Gladys and Clark Lutrick (there's an omen). Besides that red hair, I remember most how mouthy she was. When we were visiting in the hot summers of long ago in Houston and I was a kid, I was amazed how sassy she was with her parents. I'd never have been able to get away with it because I "was a good boy," but she did. Now I'm trying to make up for it. It's Sarah's fault if I'm a little outspoken. Sarah and I didn't get to know each other very well as kids, but in recent years we talk often, and her mouthiness has not changed, along with that East Texas drawl. I can talk to her on the phone and my spirits always lift with laughter, because she's always digging at me with that wry Culp humor, and I get to reciprocate. She can take it and dish it out. She and husband Bob live in this great ranch-style house in the country with a big porch and beautiful azaleas along the front and both the Texas and American flags flying. She and Bob are real conservatives --what would you expect from a member of the DAR, UDC  and DRT (United Daughters of the Confederacy and Daughters of the Republic of Texas, for you infidels). Tells you where my ancestry is. Oh, and they are Republicans, but  I forgive them for being acquaintances of the last president. At least we can kid and each other, and still be friends and love each other, and talk. (Genetic Texan blood is thicker than all that).
  • Note: I have a photo of Sarah Beth and Bob at a Baylor game, on her facebook page. Can't seem to get it to open from here. Sorry, SB. By the way, it is always Sarah Beth. We grew up where middle names were always used. If someone from down there calls, you know immediately because it is "Terry Mike.")
  • Chapter two coming. It's interesting to me that both of these conservatives always mention the abortion issue. I don't know the answer to that, having watched an abortion save a mother's life, but not wanting males to be in charge of women's lives. This deep divide in our country will probably never be healed, but we need to talk. Steve and Sarah Beth are sincere  and ardent in their beliefs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Admnistrators' guide for squelching creativity

With the World Creativity Forum coming to Oklahoma City this fall, our state is facing a insidious threat to its stability and conservative, God-fearing, status-quo lifestyle.

We must prepare to challenge and defeat these liberal-socialist ideas and thoughts from beyond our borders, which will be bigger threats than terrorism or homosexuality. Based on my many years as an administrator in higher education, I believe I'm called by God and Sally Kern to provide some proven guidelines for other administrators  on how to squelch creativity. These should be studied by all  idea police as we mobilize to protect our state from creativity.

Administrators' Creativity Squelching Checklist
  • Call lots of long meetings that bore people to death, sapping any creative energy people have with trivia, wasting time that could be spent creatively, and accomplish nothing but bolster your authority.
  • Make sure every person has multiple committee jobs that require paperwork and is saddled with several reports on things like strategic planning and program evaluations.
  • Demand that all ideas be presented to you first, on the "Permission to Have a New Idea" form. (Sample  of page 1 of 10-page form attached at bottom of this list). Form must be signed by all people involved or affected.
  • Remember, it's always more important to have a slogan, changed often, rather than any substance.
  • Applicant must  demonstrate on appropriate form how New Idea fits a prescribed list of objectives attached to  the current slogans.
  • When presented with the form, ask them if they've filled out the necessary budgetary, personnel, travel, facilities, and other paperwork. Demand those be returned by the end of the day.
  • "They can be found on the website," will saddle them searching the web the rest of the day so they'll miss the deadline.
  • If they do turn in the forms, tell them they've filled out the wrong ones, because they were changed yesterday.
  • Assign their idea to the New Idea Committee for approval, and tell them it only meets once a month. Next meeting will be three weeks from now.
  • In talking to them, use lots of obscure acronyms--the ones nobody knows. These confuse, irritate and depress them. It makes them look ignorant and you "in the know." Meanwhile, creativity begins to wither in the barrage of nonsense. Hint: best examples are from the U.S. military and higher education.   
  • If they question you, or disagree, accuse them of insubordination.  Refuse to sign their form. Start figuring out how to make their job harder so they won't have time to have any ideas (Remember, there is no statute of limitations on getting even). Assign them to at least one more committee immediately, telling them how essential their experience is.
  • If they somehow manage to accomplish all the paperwork for a New Idea, assure them you'll look at it sometime this week, and lose the form in the clutter on your desk. The first time they call about it, tell them you're "working on it." The next time, tell them you  fought for it, but the higher ups, "they," didn't. Tell them to try again next year. Then ask them if they've filled out all the reports from their committee work and tell them they're due today.
  • Be very suspicious of people from different cubicles talking together, or to other administrators.  Such conversations are breeding grounds for creativity. Insist on following a "chain of command." Don't let anyone talk to others without your approval. Make them fill out the "Permission to Talk to Others Form" (Find it on our special Squelching Creativity website).
  • If all else fails, just make up a policy forbids the New Idea ("It's somewhere on the website"). 
  • Other sure-fire ways to squelch creativity: "We tried that once years ago. Didn't work." Or, "We've never done that before."
Permission To Have a New Idea Form--page 1
  • Name________________________________ 
  • Qualifications to Have  a New Idea (no more than 5 pages):
  • New Idea (no more than 5 words):
  • Benefits of New Idea (no more than 5 words):
  • Potential dangers of New Idea. Make sure to explain how New Idea won't harm Oklahoma, and the guarantees for that. Are there any proven antidotes? (At least 10 pages):
  • How will the New Idea make your supervisor look good?
  • Review of literature supporting New Idea with APA style citations (at least 5 pages):
  • Statistical analysis of effects of New Idea including Chi Squares, ANOVA and Likert scales (at least 5 pages):
  • Bibliography  (Warning: You may use only Oklahoma sources):
  • List of all people potentially affected by New Idea (include all e-mails):
  • Be sure and fill out the next nine pages, signed and approved by every person potentially affected by the New Idea.
  • Power point presentation on New Idea must be completed, with lots of small hard-to-read fancy type, bright colors and graphics. Get IT's approval. Be prepared to read every word of each slide  at presentation to New Idea Committee (Power point will probably not work, so be prepared to read entire document anyway).
  • (This year's organizational slogan goes here, and on every page)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Poetry to be a man by

http://www.redflagpress.com/oklahomarevelator/laborfest/2010info. meant to have one blog post to review Mongrel Empire Press books. Got carried away, but will try to shorten it. These two books reek Oklahoma living and people, from a man's perspective.

Nathan Brown's new poetry book, "My Sideways Heart," 93 pages including his black and white photography, digs deep. If you've loved and won and lost, you can identify with the images, the humor, the hurt.

From "Sideways Love":

And life is full of sideways love...
and there are so many kinds...
so many options that don't require
flowers and a phone call every hour.

From "Ribs and Stones":
We walked an older, less traveled
path to the castle of love his time.

Another Okie, Ken Hada, now in Ada (rhyme not intended but there) at ECU, will be reading his poetry at the Oklahoma Labor Fest, along with others and his publisher Jeanetta Cahloun Mish on Thursday, Aug. 28, in  the  Plaza District in OKC. She'll also be "personing" (her words) a table of books, and I'll be you can get a signed copy of Ken's book, "Spare Parts, " 84 pages.

From "Hospice":

the sadness that I knew you
on the empty porch
summer's breeze
half-filled glasses of dark beer ...

From "Dad's Shed":

He built it with used two by fours
scrap metal for runners.
He always saved spare parts... .

You'll want to read "Symphony in Cordell." One of my favorites: "Cottonwoods on the Rio Grande."

Mongrel moments and pages of poetry

Catchy headline, huh? I just like the way the word "mongrel"  sounds. Racists forget that we're all mongrels, especially in Oklahoma.

Then there is the Mongrel Empire Press, http://www.mongrelempirepress.org and its books of poetry.

Have you considered the Norman photographer, musician and poet Nathan Brown? If that sounds like something from the book of Job, it is.

He published poems in "Not Exactly Job" in 2007, comparing himself to Job, a journey through the book he considers poetry, as do Bible scholars, with chapter and verse annotations adding  black and white  photography:  "It came bursting out of  a very dark time in my life."
Yet he sprinkles it with a wry Jewish-style humor.

I'd like to quote the entire book--I've got lines underlined and almost every page thumb-marked.   But instead, you should by it.

Here's a sampling:

In reaction to 3:3 in the poem "Not Exactly Job":
"That's what happens when you
go ahead and throw out 
what many are thinking
but are afraid to say."

12:2 & 13 from the poem "Chapter 12":
Job... my man ...what a smart ass!
And thank God for you...and for that.
We don't pay enough attention to the
smart asses in the Bible and all they teach.

"...those who carry their God in their hands."
Close your eyes and picture: Wal-Mart sacks.

42:3, From the poem "Proof":
"Surely I spoke of things I did not
things to wonderful for me to know."
 And this is proof the poet's blood
runs through your veins, Job. Proof that poetry
leaded out of all the gashes life ripped in you.

Rich. You pick it up and  keep reading. 43 pages. Then you probably pick up Job and read it. Wish it hadn't taken me three years to discover him, and Mongrel Empire. You can contact the poet at www.brownlines.com

Poetry of Power, the pages of August

I wrote in April of poet Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, whose poetry book, Work is Love Made Visible, won the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's Wrangler Award. I pet her and got a signed first edition, and discovered a new poet, for me. She writes of Oklahoma, pairing old black and white family photos with her written images.

Then I discovered she has founded Mongrel Empire Press of Norman, and publishes other writers. Her web page is www.tonguetiedwoman.com.Website for her publishing business is http://www.mongrelempirepress.org

All that said, she and others will be at Oklahoma Labor Fest next weekend in the Plaza District, reading poetry Thursday evening  with others and "personing" a book table, as she wrote me. That link: http://www.redflagpress.com/oklahomarevelator/laborfest/2010info.htm

 She's been kind enough to send me several of the books she's published for review. Most of the work she handles seems to be poetry, but not all. Here's what the books also have in common--many have black and white photos--which I identify with from my photojournalist days--and many are from Oklahoma authors.

It is exciting to "discover" so many talented poets and writers that I've missed out on over the years--and humbling, and inspirational. Susan and I "discovered" Jimmie Santiago Baca http://www.jimmysantiagobaca.com/years ago at an Albuquerque conference. He's  become sort of the old man of Chicano poetry, writing about places where I grew up, but from a different view than we gringos had.

His poetry--like those from blog-friends Kay Lawson Gilbert, Alan Bates. Ronald Rabenold and T.R. Ryan (Check their blogs on my sidebar--Old Mossy Moon, Yogi's Den, Cultured Carbon County, and From the Faraway Nearby)--and like the poets I'm reading from Mongrel Empire, stretch my mind and make me want to write--not poetry, but write.

That's the power of poetry.

Next, you're going to be amazed by the excerpts of what I'm reading.

First day of Kindergarten

That Clark smile
Big steps for big sister

First borns

Daddy and daughter

Sarah Beth Grace
School girl
All I'm missing is a photo of momma and daughter.

Do you remember these kinds of days? How proud, how much it hurt, how many smiles, how many tears?

Vance and Kerin will remember this a long time, treasuring each moment and year. I'm blessed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gettin' riled up


Been posting on facebook some things that riled me up...shoulda put them here...writing about the NTC mosque, Gen. McChrystal, doggie dentures  and more, and oh the reactions.

Back on the blog soon. And more reviews of some special poetry books, from Oklahoma authors. They stir you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Route 66 memories--San Jon

When you get off I-40, you discover real travel--slowing down, looking, thinking. First town in New Mexico after you leave The Republic is San Jon. It's not a ghost town yet, with a school and truckstops and homes, but the memories of US 66 are fading, like the signs on the buildings and the paint on the old cars and trucks.
How many flats were fixed here?

Though I don't remember, I traveled through this town many times as a kid on the way from Albuquerque to Oklahoma and Texas, and then driving all day in an old  Studebaker from Albuquerque as a freshman-to-be at Oklahoma Christian College. A fellow graduate of Highland High School was also going there, and we drove in her car, which wouldn't go more than 55 miles per hour.  I doubt we stopped in San Jon…most business was in Tucumcari, 24 miles away, and while that Quay county seat has changed with the decline of the railroad and US66 it is still  growing.   

Not San Jon.  Founded in 1902, it grew after the arrival of the railroad in 1904 and was once  local commercial center and stop on US 66 until Interstate 40 bypassed it on the north in 1981 leading most of those businesses to shut down. Today, only one motel is still in operation and all of the gas stations and dining establishments are centered around the I-40 interchange on the north side of town. 

Plenty of Vacancy, and a Dodge Dart

In the 2000 census, there were 306 people, 118 households, and 82 families residing in the village. There were 118 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8%  were married  living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. Population was spread out with 30.7% under age 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median income for a household in the village was $22,917, and the median income for a family was $27,000. Males had a median income of $30,000 versus $16,607 for females Per capita income was $11,592.
Windows on the past

You could restore this

I stopped in July to drive up the cap rock escarpment to the south of town to view the wind  farm—because I never had taken that road before. Those are more photos later.
Even the flag is drooping

And then I had to drive down this forlorn stretch of America’s memories. In the words of Simon and Garfunkel, “Slip, sliding away… .
West edge of San Jon, Tucumcari mountain visible 24 miles away.

Yes, click on any photo to supersize it--no charge!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

All aboard!

Forest Park Railroad, Fort Worth
All aboard
You ought to hear this bell
I can hear that whistle  blow
Even the wheels have Lone Stars
About a four mile trip for all us kids
Crossing the Trinity River
Perfect ride for all us kids
Where's the caboose? I want to ride in the caboose!

I rode the train while Susan was napping after our trip to the Botanical gardens..   Clickety-clack, ding, ding, ding, whoo-oooh! Best $2.50 I've spent in ages.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cloud watch encore!

Thor's home in New Mexico

Dramatic clouds dominate a dramatic landscape...ask Willa Cather in Death Comes for the Archbishop

The mountains grow clouds, or are the mountains the roots of clouds?

Vertical in a horizontal landscape.

Rain and rainbow over the Sangre de Cristos at Santa Fe.
Sunset in the Blood of Christ mountains and skies over the Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi.
Last light in one of the fabled cities as lights of gold twinkle.

Skies and lands of contrast and magic.
Where the spirits of the Land of Enchantment dwell.
Golden dawn "female" rain at the southern  end of the Rocky Mountains.
To the south of Santa Fe about 60 miles as you hit the Great Plains for a 500mile trek home, looms the blue bulk of the Sandia Mountains. At their feet stretching across the Rio Grande valley is Albuquerque, where I grew up. The weather changes here and by mid-morning, there's only a single cloud in the sky.
The Sandias are fault-block mountains, with the eastern slopes tilting toward the Great Plains like some listing aircraft carrier hit by massive explosions. Indeed, the Sandias rise like an opened trap door to over 10,000 feet at what is called "The Crest," and are crowned with Pennsylvania limestone over rugged granite cliffs dropping steeply to Albuquerque, 5,000 feet and more below. The rock that matches the crest is 5,000 more feet below the Rio Grande river, a rift valley--massive tectonic explosions indeed--10,000 foot-displacement. The Sandias are so named, because the granite cliffs turned red in the evening sun and have a narrow green rim of Ponderosa pine. To Coronado and the hot, thirsty conquistadors a long way from Spain in 1540, they resembled sliced, juicy watermelons--Sandias.

You may click on any of these images to make them larger. Bienvenidas a mi tierra y corazon.

Summer feasting

Susan's roasted salmon with shallot grapefruit sauce, farmer's market fresh tomatoes, cukes, green beans and new potatoes, with fresh basil in the sauce from my herb garden. Two nights ago. Now I'm starving.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Route 66 Memories, and ghosts

I've started taking the I-40 exits to the towns that once spanned U.S. 66 in New Mexico and Texas, and breathing, and thinking.

Clark quote, when someone told me not to be in a hurry: "I left hurry in Oklahoma." My friend Mark Zimmerman is a professional photographer with a real knack and talent for documentary photography, and he inspired me to this project.

Fading away...
A couple of months ago I stopped on the Texas-New Mexico border and took photos of Glen Rio.

Here's another chapter, Newkirk, N.M., between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa, where I turned off to head up the back roads to Las Vegas.

Backsliding away...
What kind of bottles?
Fill 'er up
Not exactly Motel 6...I wonder who stayed in those rooms?
Can I thumb a ride?

It's just not the same