Dear Father

I am so pleased that you have volunteered for Meals on Wheels–a noble endeavor to say the least. The driving around and handing out of containered food must surely keep you busy; which as we both know is something you need to do, especially now, at this point in your life.   

Here on Santa Ana it is raining, a necessity for all ranches and farms alike. There always seems to be too much or too little of the wet stuff: cows either grazing in knee-deep water or chewing cud in puddles of dust, wheat like reeds in lakes or corn withering and dropping cracked ears.  Last week the soy leaves turned from yellow to brown, a worsening state of bad, and the wind–break evergreens ochred the cow-lot borders.   This afternoon, after two hours of steady raindrops the size of acorns, the whole ranch and everything on it seemed to sigh with relief; an almost audible sigh like one you hear in a dream as you are waking.   The land has blackened to chocolate and the air chilled to jacket weather.  Today’s downpour reprieved a two-month bout of ninety-degree swelter that made ill the character of the entire Santa Ana populace, not to mention tainted much of our cupboard tins and racked red wine.   

We start the yerra next week—a picnic for us, as we watch while the gauchos perform.  The cooler weather will be perfect for it.  In a month or so we sell the calves.

I am sure you are happy that you will soon move to Florida after such a cold Michigan winter.  Two months of breath-cracking below-zero is enough to make anyone seek guayaberas and daiquiris on the beach.  Retirement will be pure pleasure.   No more up before daybreak!  No more “thru rain and shine!”

I hope your recovery from prostate surgery goes well.  A hobby is in order for you to find, as we spoke about, to keep you occupied.  Distracted.  Don’t be like your father.  Your career is over, not your life.

I trust this letter finds you and Mom well.

With much thought,

Your son, Jonathan

PS The jacket you gave me during my last visit, the bombardier with the shoulder insignia missing, keeps me from the wet and chill.  I use it on my wood walks. 

*this poem first appeared on Foliate Oak, and later appeared in the book The Salty River Bleeds.

What a Father Wants to Say to His Son

His son is fourteen, 

no longer a boy 

and not yet a man.  

He does not know what he wants to be,

he knows only that he no longer wants to study, 

knows only that he feels restless, bored, fed-up with his place.  

He quits school and leaves his mother’s house in town 

In order to live with his father who is a foreman on a ranch.  

He yells, hoots, hollers, laughs when he is on horseback herding the cattle around. 

He smiles when he is in the ranch pickup with his father behind the wheel.

While the father and the son drive into town on an errand,

the father notices how his son stares admirably at the side of his face.  

He grits his teeth and tries to smile back,

grips the wheel with forty-five-year-old arthritic hands, 

the pain in his left leg (an old injury from falling off a horse) unbearable 

every time he steps on the clutch.  

He uses a special seat cushion because of his bad back, 

and his left eye gums up sometimes, 

so he keeps a hankie in his pocket to wipe out the snot.  

The father is happy his son chose to come live with him, 

happy his son is not out on the streets taking drugs, 

breaking in homes, stealing cars.  

They drive together, running an errand for the Don

while the Don sits in the comfort of his air-conditioned office.  

The day is hot and the sun reflects menacingly off the highway.

The only sound is the rubber hissing on the pavement.

*Poem first published in Red Dashboard, and later appeared in the book The Salty River Bleeds, which was written by Stephen Page and published by Finishing Line Press #poetry #ecoRanching #Father #Dad

Four Poems by Annie Blake

North of Oxford

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.
Graveyard Bodies Turn Over Every Hundred Years
for Ruby
.
their green creek bellies like those of unremembered
vases the twilight buttons up dusk and the honey
moon like a hand worn cardigan the longevity of cemeteries
and winsome meadows the house is a series of smiling saturdays
how her sniveling nooks shed their dark barked canoes because i have forgotten
how water laughs an effulgence in my mind
for once i felt a coruscation life’s crackle the turning over
of winter wood like the ploughing of a field a nascent
conversation between funeral and pentecostal ghosts
whatever births have been carried through its threshold how feathery
the cold wind feels when crossed the unrailed bridges of childhood
the unreeling of middle life a crisp ocean floor and the teetering of shadows owning up
to their merciless hiding places seek
.
How Autumn Burns The Maple Leaves
for Evie

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driving this night alone

driving this night alone I remember my father

and his Sunday jaunts, the ones he sometimes

took me on, sometimes didn’t, where he visited

his friends in their homes, at bars, at

restaurants.  The wheel feels weak in my hands,

the steering less stable, less sure.  If an 

animal or person were to wander out in front

of me, would I react fast enough, would I

swerve in time, would my foot take too long 

to jam on the brakes?  My father’s face relaxing

more and more with each beer, each

visit, each stop, his eyes open but not seeing,

his smile widening, his voice changing,

his words slurring, the subject matter making

less and less sense.   The lights bathe the road 

ahead and I wonder why I don’t just turn 

around and go home, like I had planned 

three stops ago.  The next bar pulls

me like a space particle to a planet, the 

atmosphere up ahead.

*as published in Bravura Literary Journal

New From Our Book Review Editor

North of Oxford

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Poems of the Pennypack– (Moonstone Press)

g emil reutter’sPoems of the Pennypackhas just been released by Moonstone Press. The chapbook captures the respite the park provides to residents from the bustle of city life, reutter’s affinity for the park and the nature that thrives in it.

What Others Say:

Poems of the Pennypack is a forthright book, which reflects a lifetime of exploring a place and one’s self in relation to that place. The poems have a quiet clarity as the book becomes both guide and map. g emil reutter writes, “Beauty and violence of nature in plain view / in this nature sanctuary of Philadelphia / called Pennypack.” Reading the poems now in the spring of 2020 readers may find some of the solace they have been seeking and noticing again in nature. As reutter writes, “nature has reclaimed it, meadows, forest and wildlife are abundant.”…

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Harryette Mullen: “Elliptical”

When polite prejudice makes for scathing satire.

You open a book and start reading a prose poem. The poem’s voice sounds insistent, but it keeps trailing off. It calls itself “we” and repeatedly passes judgment on “they,” but it never specifies who “we” and “they” are. Its tone is disapproving, supercilious, squeamish:

They just can’t seem to . . . They should try harder to . . . They ought to be more . . . We all wish they weren’t so . . . They never . . . They always . . . Sometimes they . . .

BY AUSTIN ALLEN






read rest of article here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/154319/harryette-mullen-elliptical?utm_source=Poetry+Foundation&utm_campaign=5946142cdd-POFO-SEP-18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ff7136981c-5946142cdd-239702361&mc_cid=5946142cdd&mc_eid=ad7d20715f

Why CEOS need to read poetry—yes, poetry—to lead in the post-COVID world

Culture Shocks

Good morning! I read this article and thought to share. 🙂

https://www.fastcompany.com/90532707/why-ceos-need-to-read-poetry-yes-poetry-to-lead-in-the-post-covid-world

Poetry is the art of using words charged with their utmost meaning. A society whose intellectual leaders lose the skill to shape, appreciate, and understand the power of language will become the slaves of those who retain it—be they politicians, preachers, copywriters, or newscasters

BY BUSINESSMAN-POET DANA GIOLA

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