At Home a Lot?

What do you do when you’re not cleaning house, cooking, or washing dishes? — read! OK, I mean, lol, that is what you might want to do after you have seen all you want to see on Netflix and HBO, chatted with all your friends 100 times online, and got bored with playing boardgames.

Photo by Shawn Spry Shellnut

A Ranch Bordering the Salty River by Stephen Page

Little by Little he Reveals an Entire Universe in Microcosm

Having done a lot of traveling in Argentina in the past three years, I certainly welcomed reading Stephen Page’s book “The Salty River Bleeds.” His poems and prose-poems follow the lives of a husband and wife who live and work on an Argentinian ranch for a period of time, in that seemingly endless land of cattle-breeding estancias replacing most of the wildlife of the pampas. The other reviewers have for the most part already written whatever I could say, but I do want to add a bit more. I deeply appreciate Page’s scoping in on one of those estancias whose flatline acres I rode through and whose houses and outlying buildings I squinted at mainly from a distance. His near mythic ranch is like a stage with various characters of sometimes unsavory and even brutal traits. Little by little he reveals an entire universe in microcosm, only this one with gauchos; endless gates and fences and fence posts; South American horses, bulls, cows, and calves, and ancient grasses and flowers relentlessly being replaced by soybeans. I like the way the author conveys the gritty reality of cattle ranching while at the same time weaving in the incomparable beauty of what is left of the pampas its flora and fauna. I especially was moved by the poignancy of the book’s last two poems, The Salty River and Old Man, the first with its crescendo-vision of pink flamingos and the second with the old man in black tatters who keeps materializing, walking, forever walking, alongside the road. The Salty River Bleeds is a book containing many evocative and symbolic levels as befits a giant country, attentive to place and spirit of place and how human beings develop in response to that which surrounds them.  I highly recommend a ride through Stephen Page’s poetry.   – Susan Deer Cloud, Author of “The Way to Rainbow Mountain.”

 

I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things ~ Emma Goldman

go to Susan Deer Cloud’s website: https://sites.google.com/site/susandeercloud/

 #SusanDearCloud, #Stephen Page, #FinishingLinePress, #nature, #SavingNature, #TheEndlessRoad, #Flamingos, #theSaltyRiverBleeds

 

 

A Road Wanderer Who Saw Many University of Tennessee Fans Drives Through Knoxville

A Traveller Who Saw Many University of Tennessee Hats Wandered Through Knoxville While Delivering Books by Stephen Page is Given Free Laundry Service By Citi Hills Church. Books Were delivered to:

Lawson McGhee Library

Knoxville County Public Library

McKay Used Books

The Family Bubble Laundromat

and many other bookstores and libraries

#ecoLiterature #ecoPoetry #spreadTheNews #saveOurPlanet #noPesticides

 

 

 

 

 

A Wolverine Fan (Who Also Likes the Spartans) Stayed a Few Nights in Ann

A U of M Fan (Who also likes Michigan State) visited Ann Arbor, ate At Knight’s, mailed packages, and left books at the following locations:

Literati

Crazy Wisdom

Encore Records

Ann Arbor West Side Bookshop

Ann Arbor District Library

Knight’s Grill

AADL Public Library

Shapiro Library

Nicola’s Books

Mr. Stadium Laundry

 

Bridges, Woodlands, and Open Road

Stephen Page’s Lit Rep Has Entered Cincinnati, drove around the suburbs, eaten-on-the-road food, stayed in a roadside hotel, seen a horrible car accident, and left, enjoying the freedom of the road and the beauteous countryside. She has placed “The Salty River Bleeds” and “A Ranch Bordering the Salty River” in the following locations:

Sharonville Public Library

Deer Park Public Library

Madeira Branch Public Library

Old Milford Library

Goshen Branch Public Library

Owensville Branch Public Library

Clermont County Public Library

Doris E. Wood Branch Library

Joseph-Beth Booksellers

Salty, Earthy and Thoughtful

The Salty River Bleeds” by Stephen Page

Review by Aria Ligi

Page’s collection, Salty River Bleeds, is a two-part parable, one of the lives of Jonathon and Teresa and the other of his ranch, its inhabitants, the environ consisting of his cows, sheep, ibis and such and their struggle against the exteriors (man encroaching on them all). Yet, it is also, as he pictures so beautifully, mirrored with Old Man, who through the simple the challenge of living day to day, is a metaphor for it all. Pages’ work embodies very Campbellesque qualities of the myth told within the confines of free verse, epistles, and alternatively spiced with rhyme. Page is not only a mythmaker he is rancher poet-activist who is wise enough to question his place within the tale, that of hunter and farmer, while portraying in stark terms the cost to those around him from his livestock to the earth, air, those who would shepherd it, and those who would seek to profit from it. This is a fascinating read because it does not shy away from depicting the most hideous of things, such as the roof of a truck slicing through a man’s neck, nor does it distance itself from the beauty that is all around him. Yet, Page does not leave it there, because at the end he returns us to his quiet pondering, that of Teresa and Old Man, leaving us with the mirror image for us all and the unsaid question, are we all not walking that same road, and in that are we not all one and the same?

Publisher – Finishing Line Press

Order book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, or straight from the publisher.

Noctua Review XII (with a poem by Stephen Page)

Noctua Review issue XIII

Below is the link for the digital issue of Noctua Review. Check it out!!

https://issuu.com/noctuareview/docs/noctua_review_vol._xii_issuu

With a poem on page 37 by Stephen Page, entitled “Parrot Plague,” which by the way, will be included in a book by Stephen Page to be released later this year.

corn cropParrot Eating Corn

(Photo of parrot courtesy of 123RF)

Noctua Header

(Cover and bird super mobile courtesy of Noctua Review)

The Salty River

madswirl logo black background

STEPHEN PAGE

The Salty River

featured in the poetry forum September 14, 2018  :: 0 comments

I was standing on a grassy hill
overlooking The Salty River
that winds and flows
along Santa Ana’s North-Western border.
The sun was about to set
and the star was turning orange.
The Ponies and The Calves were leaping about
as if celebrating the survival of another day.
The corn was knee high, and the wheat fields
were shorn to short stalks that looked
like the three-day blond stubble of a recently shaped beard.
Birds were chirping and singing
like they too were reveling in the End.
The Cultivators were nowhere to be seen,
their noxious machinery fumes and pesticides
not clouding the air or poisoning the Earth.
The Gauchos were all in their homes
with their families, eating, or drinking mate.

Just as the sun disappeared over the horizon,
The Pink Flamingoes in the river hued red.

editors note:To look upon a scene; to be the scene; the scene in you; belonging… – mh clay

Another Week Begins

featured in the poetry forum February 11, 2018  :: 0 comments

When Jonathan turns off the highway the mud
in the road is a foot deep. He clicks his vehicle
into 4-wheel drive and creeps forward in first gear
so not to slide into one of the ditches. The white gates
of his ranch are open, El Misionero standing next
to them. He rolls his window down and sighs. The air
smells green. Green. Green.

He drives to his office and talks with his capataz,
then they climb in the ranch pickup to go see a calf
cadaver. It was born early that morning with a curled-
neck deformity, and unable to reach its mother’s tit
or the water trough, it just stumbled around awhile and fell
on its side. The gauchos had skinned it and the vultures picked
it mostly clean, the eyes plucked out, the tongue sliced in half,
bits of intestine lying next to the spine, the heart and lungs mush
under the gristly ribs.

They drive to the Yellow House casco to see a pony cadaver.
Apparently, last night it leaped the fence around the
swimming pool and fell in the water. It lay on its side
on the grass where the yardkeeper placed it, its legs
stiff in the curled positions of swimming, yellow froth
tubed out of its nostrils. It was only three-weeks old.

Jonathan goes for a long walk, alone — he admires
the greening grass, the knee-high wheat, the sprouting corn,
the blooming chamomile, the calves and ponies leaping about
pastures spotted white with egrets.

He hears bees buzzing, mockingbirds singing —
and he keeps walking, walking; walking
past the pastures, past the Wood,
until he enters a fallow field.

As he approaches a small marsh
a flock of black ibis lift
and cloud away.

editors note:Like any week, we walk through cadavers to stand free. – mh clay

Transformations

featured in the poetry forum October 19, 2016  :: 1 comment

The weight of grass is heavy
Upon my shoulders; lift it,

Scythe is, mow it, let the cattle
Feed that I may walk again.

I sit upon a log in the shade
Of Wood. I sip mate.

I visit Buenos Aires and lie
In bed all day and watch cartoons.

I just want to sleep in
One Saturday, One Monday.

I want the Field Crossers
To stop trampling the grass,

To stop walking across my back
When they think I am napping:

Don’t they know the padlock turns
Are all numbered and recorded?

Editor, Advisor, stop planting corn
When I want my fields clovered.

I want again my daily strolls
In the quiet of Wood,

To watch for hours the bumblebees work
And lock eyes with the mockingbird.

editors note:Clover over corn? Yes! (This poem is a fine one of the mad many included in Stephen’s new collection, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River, published by Finishing Line Press. Get it here.) – mh clay

Satellites

featured in the poetry forum June 29, 2016  :: 0 comments

The tree frogs called the rain last night,
but the rain did not answer.
The intermittent croaking, about
every hour or so, was followed by
a gust of wind and the scent
of water, but no sprinkle, no pour.

The new gaucho, an angelic Moral
who rides our horse to sores,
has dried the soy beans not yet
planted. He horns the sun and peels
paint from his home.

Twenty millemeters of rain is not
forty nine, even with the north
wind. Two plastic gauges announce
the Tattler’s arrival in the park.

The newer gaucho, taller, broader
shouldered than the Angel
shunned away, suffers the sun
of unshaded twenty-one with
a smile and shovel-blistered hands
(but later became the Excuse Maker).

Just one day of the computer-
promised rain should soften the earth
and shoot the canal
full of internet cable, that is,
if the flexible orange pipe is found
on time.

With each truck that passes lot
three, earth crumbles and narrows
the road. We hope that the Three
barricade that which blackened
and thinned the cows.

I will the odometer to quit
increasing exponentially, and the bushes
Teresa planted not to yellow near
our home.

editors note:Atmospheric conditions unaffected angelically. (Congrats to Stephen on the imminent release of his new book, “A Ranch Bordering the Salty River.” Learn more about it and reserve your order here.) – mh clay

In the Local News

featured in the poetry forum September 25, 2015  :: 0 comments

Friday, September 7th, 1 a.m.:

It begins to rain heavily,
the sound like barrels of water
being poured on the corrugated roof.

Jonathan locks his office door
and settles into his reading chair
to read a bit and sleep.

Just audible above of the sound of water
he hears something else,
like someone rattling
the door handle.

He looks up but the handle is not moving.
Then . . . Bang!
the door caves convexly in,
shakes on its hinges . . .
Bang. Bang. Bang.

Jonathan is on his feet
in the middle of the room,
an antique branding iron
held in his hand
like a club.

(You see, Jonathan has read often
in the local papers
of similar incidents:
“In the middle of the night
a rancher robbed and beaten for cash
in his office.”
Or,
“A rancher and his family
robbed at gunpoint in their home
by three ex-convicts hopped up
on Meth.”

Not that Jonathan couldn’t take care of himself, but)

The door bangs and shakes two more times.
Jonathan thinks that his shotgun
might be a better weapon,
and just as he turns to retrieve it,
lightning flashes through the skylights,
blueing the entire office,
his ridiculous shadow twice
on the floor,
and almost simultaneously,
thunder cracks and rumbles away.

Jonathan drops the branding iron,
unlocks and opens the door,

and in leaps
Dominic,
wet
and muddy and panting,
shaking water everywhere.

Dominic never liked thunder.

editors note:Dog from desperado, transformed in a flash. – mh clay

The Head

featured in the poetry forum July 9, 2014  :: 0 comments

I saw a dead body today.
I did not see the head.

I was on my way back from La Limpieza,
driving the route the Walking Man walks

I was thinking about the Advisor, the Bad
guy, the Tattler. I was coming around
a dangerous curve, a curve where I have
witnessed the aftermath of many an accident,
skid marks, trucks turned over, logs spilled
onto the road, cars with front ends smashed
in, windshields shattered. Coming around
the curve I slowed down then stopped
for a white-gloved policeman with his palm
held out. My white truck reflected
in his sunglasses. There was a dark blue
pickup behind him. I waited while the traffic
passed from the other direction. The police-
man then waved me forward, his lips and chin gravely
set. I tapped my toe on the accelerator, hoping the cop
would not notice that my seatbelt was unfastened, and drove slowly
past the dark blue pickup. The cab was caved
in, the passenger door open. I saw a man, no,
I saw a body wearing a blue plaid
shirt and blue jeans, the right arm
extended, the hand still gripped
to the gear shift. The crushed cab roof
formed a vee that inverted
directly into the middle
of the body’s shoulders,
right where the neck should be.
There was no blood, but
I did not see the head.

I saw a dead body today.
I did not see the head.

I was thinking about the Advisor, the Bad
Guy, the Tattler.

editors note:You won’t take with you head nor toe. When it’s time to go, you go. – mh

The Cattle Rustler

featured in the poetry forum August 18, 2013  :: 0 comments

With your sharp silver facón you shaved
the calf’s hindquarter, looking for the brand
that you knew was not there,
and it was only the notary’s whisper
about the calf’s fat healthy appearance
that jerked your hand
into blae confession, slicing off
your black denial, drawing
sanguine tears.

“Three,” you said, “three calves”
you lost, with fingers upheld,
even though we found eleven
that had to be returned to the neighbor
whose ranch horsed the bearded cohort
who probed me with questions of origin
to discover what substance made
this stoic face and wide-set stance.

Your penned renouncement only papered
when Teresa waved her hand and said
“enough, enough bloodshed; we gave
you our trust which you stabbed then twisted it
deep into my pelvis which will never again birth
confidence in your bull-brown eyes.”

editors note:A short scene; cattle wars and the politics of trust. Someone goes hungry… – mh

Guias

featured in the poetry forum May 9, 2013  :: 0 comments

The green guias are paid for.
The seven thin cows
and seven spine-warped bulls
are about to vanish
from our virid pastures.

The Accomplice skipped work today.
He did no show his olive face.
I guess he became weary
of shoveling hen-house shit.
We set his horse free.

My truck wheel fell off:
after driving sixty kilometers
at one hundred thirty kilometers per hour
I turned off the highway upon a dirt road
and felt the thump.

The two calf-killing stallions
were boxed in crates
and although the Calloused-Hand Curator
displayed coins in his palm
I did not offer the star-marked colts.

The Malingerer extended his sick-leave:
I loom patiently outside his locked window
with a hammer in my hand;
I remove rusty animal traps
from the moonlit afternoon.

In town I errand tools and supplies
and take a coffee-break at El Café Local,
The gossip at the table behind me
is that the Rustler was seen at the stationer—
that his pen had run out of ink.

editors note:When those guidelines indicate the end of famine or the imminency of thieves (which?); when all the usual suspects have fled the scene (where?); it takes a good cup o’ joe to clear the head. – mh

 

Book Review by Garrett Dennert on Orson’s Pubishing – A Ranch Bordering the Salty River by Stephen Page

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