“Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
So, Martin Scorcese compares Marvel movies to theme parks. And honestly, what a mood.
True, this isn´t exactly the newsworthy material, Ricky Gervais discussed Scorcese´s top-notch diss of superhero culture movies during his monologue at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards.
But it recently popped up in my recommended videos because the Youtube algorithm works in mysterious ways and got to thinking – is it just about shallow screenwriting and the allure of cheap CGI action, the mindless fun?
And I realized that the problem of Marvel storytelling runs even deeper than the genius director conveyed to us out loud – that it heavily influenced the type of novels we get to read – and it´s not exactly Marvel´s fault … Not entirely.
One-dimensional characters or flat characters do not change or grow from the start of the story to the end. Their purpose is to highlight the main character, to be a plot device, or a tool, and they typically are simpletons with a one point of view on life – they only see one dimension – hence one-dimensional characters, hold a simple and small perspective about life or the situation in the story. Their character is often used as a literary device to keep the narrative moving – many times when the script has written itself into a corner, or the writer has run out of effective ways to move the plot forward.
Now, Marvel, from the three-hundred and seventy-two movies total from which I´ve seen eighteen, does not suffer from one-dimensional characters on the hero side of the story. All the good guys go through trauma, they learn, they grow, they develop new opinions (ehm-ehm- some of them).
Marvel has been criticized for sucking at writing an effective villain but the problem is not the villains, the problem is the root of the Marvel storytelling – the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad.
One would think that they would take their own advice and write all the villains the way Loki is written – which is the reason (not the only one, yeah, Tom Hiddleston is awesome and all that) why audiences flock to him so much. He has a strong motivation, he´s smart and his character is a rainbow of personalities – just like a regular human being, which makes him likable and most importantly, relatable.
But Marvel is not the inventor of one-dimensional characters.
William Shakespeare is.
Benvolio from Romeo and Juliet, Gertrude from Hamlet, Shylock from The Merchant of Venice very effective plot devices with one stubborn character feature that poses an obstacle to the protagonist.
However, Shakespeare didn´t have Hollywood studios behind him to balance out the lack of personalities in his stories with raging beam in the sky and generic CGI armies. To give a complete experience to audiences, he had to support the narrative by creating strong protagonists, interesting antagonists, and villains with complex personalities (Lady Macbeth, Hamlet, Portia). And when you do that, your story not only allows for the one-dimensional character to make sense, it makes it even more immersive and realistic – because we all know that one blank person who is just sort of … there. Existing, with one opinion on all the debatable, morally grey, complicated stuff we deal with in life.
And that´s why people will never have such a raging allergy if a Marvel movie turns out bad and will keep watching them and paying for the next one and the next one and the next one.
Low stakes, low damage.
Now compare that to a show heavily driven by character development where there are no villains and heroes like the Game of Thrones.
Feel like re-watching it? No? Me neither. And no one can blame us. That show became un-rewatchable due to replacing the complexity of the human heart with a hero vs. villain storytelling and adding some explosive Marvel-type action as the final lethal, cyanide-like icing on the cake.
All the teenage apocalyptic series. Thank you for your time, good night.
I really didn´t want to get into this but there is no better example than the popular doomsday book series where children hunt each other in a world that no longer resembles a rational society. And they gave us all the subsequent movie franchises in which those very same teenagers are at least twenty-six years old, of course.
However, there is a silver lining on the horizon in a form of Shadow and Bone. I´ve never read the books but the popular fantasy book series The Grisha has been picked up by Netflix and the first book has been adapted in a form of a limited TV series.
And if the source material is as strong as the adaptation, we might just be plunging out of the lazy storytelling brought about by the likes of Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey.
DOES I AM CECILIA DO BETTER THAN THAT?
Cecilia used to think that being born to a small fortune, accompanied by chrysanthemums on the way from the hospital and surrounded by exploding fanfares of affection, would set her up for a never-ending life of lottery wins, parades without rain, and smooth slides on the slopes of adoration. She never realized how slippery that slope of adoration was. Maybe money was not the root of all evil. Family dysfunction was.
An Excerpt from I am Cecilia by Zara Miller
As promised last time in the first article, I would reveal a little bit behind the story and the inspiration behind writing this YA novel.
The hero vs. villain in the Marvel movies is something that was always on my mind and tried to avoid during writing. Blurring the lines in the protagonist/antagonist/villain/anti-hero characterization. Not just because it´s a lot of fun but because it makes for a rich experience.
When you find yourself disliking the hero yet rooting for them anyway, or loving the villain yet understanding that they have to be stopped – the writer is probably doing it right.
I walk my dog four times a day.
There is nothing special about such a routine,
but if I tell you I feed my Loulou Spitz
at the expense of my nutritional intake,
would you call me insane?
This is my outfit for these daily strolls,
a woolen jumper to match her fluffy coat,
a baggy jeans due to heavy weight loss,
and hair in a knot for absence of gloss.
We wait for justice to ascend its throne,
for sanctions to be lifted
for a sun-born dawn,
for wreckage to be sifted
to salvage unburied bones,
for the return of electricity to current-less bulbs,
for the advent of bread to hungry households
without the discord that long queues invoke,
for our dignity to be restored.
If I fly, I will first class
For eleven years, we have played our portion of the Hunger Games,
and having survived these plights,
who says I am ready to depart
from my own homeland
for a better world?
but not before I am equipped with a beautiful, stone house
and a well-fed bank account,
a life to return to
should you humiliate me as you did in past times,
for we will always be refugees in your own misapprehending eyes.
If I fly, I will first class,
but I am done with flights.
They evoke a poor student’s unhappy times.
Instead, I shall travel in a luxury car
and have as many stops as there are stars in our night sky,
accompanied by my un-quarantined little dog,
even if it takes years to reach the designated house,
which should be totally devoid of other inmates
and accessories that remind me of a poisoned past.
You will probably respond by stating that I am in position to dictate what I like
I say: “Suit yourselves, for having blasted our lives,
you cannot make things any worse”.
Bonne Chance !
[In memory of my father]
A few words would sum up my childhood:
strawberries, chocolate, toys, and a rowing boat,
a chimney whose logs roaring glowed,
the huge mirror before which I danced in our hall
and rivers across which we tried to build bridges of stone.
My dad had Da Vinci up the wall.
He played his golden trumpet and silver saxophone.
He prepared our breakfasts, our evening popcorn
and set up a banquet for us before he dined outside our home.
He never grew tired of wearing blue,
enchanting us with his aftershave and Brut,
and I could not help wearing his expensive perfume
despite his gentle pleas to stop depleting his fragrant store.
His few business trips abroad
brought us accounts of travel that enthralled,
the Château of The Count of Monte Cristo
and the glamorous yachts of Monaco.
He looked like Rock Hudson in his teens.
Some opt for resemblance to James Dean.
I say regardless of his handsome mien,
he was the most generous dad that ever breathed.
Finales vary in their various tints:
the tragic, the comic, and the open-end.
Very few can boast an apocalyptic bend
or a happy content.
Those that are weaved on misfortune’s wheel
appeal to the lachrymose, the morose, the realist,
who attribute their plights to a vengeful god
like the afflicted Mayor of Casterbridge.
Those that are blessed with a humorous twist
lend each mishap a sardonic concept,
breeding a troop of permanent grins
on contorted lips.
The open-end titillates each wit,
some wishful thinking to compete with a naturalistic trend,
leaving the interpreter caught up in net
of inner conflicts.
These days I often melt into the arms of chairs and I find myself gripping the banister as I head down the stairs and I prefer to have guests visit my thoughts rather than actually having them here and I am selfish with moments and often search under furniture to see if happier times like my long lost dog might be hiding somewhere and I was going to keep these dark musings to myself but after careful, tearful consideration decided to share
I move through a dusty cluttered room to a paint-peeled door that leads to a driveway with weeds punching through where I get in my old jalopy Ford with its tattered seats and start the elderly engine which clears its metallic throat and then I drive aimless through the rain on an errant errand and distracted by the rubbish of redundancy I briefly forget that my to-do list will one day be all checked off and come to a bitter end
There is a lot I could, should, or would do if I was brave and bold and outgoing like cliff or social climbers but I tend to stick close to home-base rather than step outside and chase elusive opportunities disguised as attainable goals most nights I stay in and count wolves in sheep’s clothing and I never cease to be amazed that all my ambition amounts to nothing more than pillow fluffing
By day I am that guy who you assume is alright because he is gregarious and seems like he really could care less and by night I am the phantom gentleman who carries himself like a Casanova castaway who kissed the world and made it cry sadly smiling with an overbite on a defunct online dating site a lonely non-smoker who often asks the darkness if it would like a light
Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and popular contemporary poet. His artwork was featured in Art in America, Art News, and Interview Magazine and has sold at auction at Christie’s. Ivan was commissioned by Absolut Vodka to make a painting titled Absolut Jenson for the brand’s national ad campaign. His Absolut paintings are in the collection of the Spiritmusuem, the museum of spirits in Stockholm, Sweden.
Jenson’s painting of the “Marlboro Man” was collected by the Philip Morris corporation. Ivan was commissioned to paint the final portrait of the late Malcolm Forbes. Ivan has written two novels, Dead Artist and Seeing Soriah, both of which illustrate the creative and often dramatic lives of artists. Jenson’s poetry is widely published (with over 600 poems published in the US, UK and Europe) in a variety of literary media. A book of Ivan Jenson’s poetry was recently published by Hen House Press titled Media Child and Other Poems, which can be acquired on Amazon. Two novels by Ivan Jenson entitled, Marketing Mia and Erotic Rights have been published hardcover.
My father, Technical Sargent Stanley F. Thomas flew a total of 60 missions as a bombardier and tail gunner on a B-26 Marauder, twin engine bomber in World War II. The minimum Air Force requirement of missions to be served was 25-30. Since my father never discussed the war with his children, I never knew whether he exceeded the mandate out of patriotism, or he was just an adrenaline junkie. In either case, along with an Air Medal, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The medal bracket on his uniform also held numerous unit citations with oak leaf clusters. Along one side of the front of his leather jacket, a number of bombs were stenciled indicating direct bombing hits, while an adjacent row of swastikas evidenced enemy planes downed by his unit in combat.
The B-26 Marauder was designed and put into production a number of years prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Army Air Corp 1 (AAC) prepared itself for any possible contingency. Specification for the plane included a speed of between 250-350 mph. Because the plane was to be used as a strategic bomber, the plane had to be able to out pace the then known top airspeeds of German and Japanese fighters. The plane also had to have sufficient arms to repel any attack by fighters as it performed its mission. Thus, both nose and rear 30 caliber machine guns, as well as a top turret gun was mandated. Later, the 30 caliber guns were replaced by 50 caliber weapons. Additionally, the plane had to carry a sufficient load of bombs, enough to cause significant damage to designated targets. This meant that weight was of crucial importance. The desire for maximum bomb load resulted in a short wing span. A shorter wing meant greater takeoff and landing speeds. Since the landing gear of the B-26 were in a tricycle-like position, particular attention had to be paid to making sure the rear wheels touched down first, with the nose wheel gently allowed to touch down last. This was no easy feat when coming in at 150 mph or better. Doing so in a damaged plane made the task even more difficult.
Crews treated their planes as if they were their own possessions. Nose art with pet names became a standard, giving the crew and plane a personal identity. My father’s crew named their plane, Kizio Pofoth 2nd, Eaglet. The name consisted of the first letters of the last names of the all the crew members (See airplane above photo). Strategic bombing was considered crucial to any successful outcome in a war. Before any major offensive (D-Day) the enemy’s ability to counter attack had to be thwarted. This meant destroying war materials factories, to limit their production of armaments and supplies; bombing the enemy’s airfields to minimize their dominance of the airways; and to knock out transportation venues such as roads,
bridges and rail yards to keep them from moving supplies and troops into areas of combat. However, at times, given unforeseen circumstances, other targets may have to be considered a priority. This proved to be the case when Germany began implementing the V-1 rocket attacks on England. The V-1 emplacements were scattered across the coastal areas of France and the Netherlands, and had to be taken out, diverting the B-26s from other strategic targets.
The mission of the B-26 units in WWII was to provide strategic intervention, both prior to and after D-Day. The 387th Bombardment Group to which my father was attached, was eventually based in 10various areas of England. A total of 36 or more planes from this group flew out each day. My father’s squadron, the 557th was stationed in Chipping Ongar, located thirty miles northeast of London. From Chipping Ongar, daily sorties of planes flew out over the English Channel to areas of France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Every mission was fraught with danger, not only from possible mechanical problems that might render the plane unable to fly, but also from enemy fire. Anti-aircraft guns protected many of the target areas. These guns sent up shells that exploded at a given height. Many of the B-26s were damaged and or brought down by barrages of flak exploding at the height of the planes. B-26s often came back to base riddled with holes, their crews sometimes injured or dead from shrapnel wounds. While less frequently encountered, enemy fighters were also a challenge. In cases of fighter attack, the skill and dexterity of the gunners was crucial to the crews lives. Although, occasionally, the Americans had friendly fighter escorts run intervention for them. These escorts extended only as far as the fighters range, which were far less than the B-26s flew to reach their targets. Luck also played a part in the crew’s survival. My father had to abort one mission due to severe illness. His replacement came back deceased from a flak hit.
In addition to operating the tail gun on a B-26, my father had the responsibility of preparing the bombs for deployment. A safety fuze pin had to be removed from each bomb before release. The fuze pin consisted of a cotter pin, to which a paper tag was attached. A short safety notice was printed on one side, while the other side of the tag was blank. For each mission flown, Sgt. Thomas saved one tag, upon which he wrote notes related to the mission. Each tag indicated The number of mission; the name of the target; sometimes the weather conditions; enemy fighter encounters; amount of flak; number and size of bombs dropped; and occasionally other personal comments. The tags became a diary of his missions.
I sorted all of the fuse tags in order from his first mission to his last, with only five tags missing. Rather than describe his experiences in narrative form, I have decided to let my father’s own words tell his story. Below are his notes as he wrote them for each mission:
1) August 16, 1943, Bernay-St. Martin airdrome, first mission, James Michael’s first gift (New born 1st child), more to come. 2) September 3, 1943, Lille-Nord Airfield, fighter airdrome, heavy to medium accurate flak, all safe. Dropped 6, 500 lb. bombs. 3) September 14,1943, Lille-Nord Airfield, fishing trip, plenty of flak, target under cloud cover. 4) September 14, 1943, Lille-Nord Airfield, turned back when over target-weather bad, went fishing, light flak 5) September 25, 1943, St. Omer-Longuenesse Airfield, target under cloud cover, couldn’t see results, cold as hell, 6, 500 lb. bombs dropped. 6) September 21, 1943, Beauvais-Tille Airfield, two ships hit by fighters, one lost, one made belly landing on airfield. Also one single engine landing. We were jumped by 18 FW 190s. Engineer of one ship bailed out when ship was hit and set afire. Dropped 10, 300 lb. bombs. 7) October 3, 1943, Woensdrecht Airfield, inaccurate flak, bombed alternate target on coast. Dropped 10, 300 lb. bombs. 8) October 22, 1943, Evreaux-Fauxville Airfield dispersal area, direct hits, beautiful morning takeoff, Little flak, no fighters. Sweated out landing, sick as a dog. Dropped 6, 500 lb. bombs. 9) October 22, 1943, Cambrey-Epinoy Airfield, raining-fog-soup, did not drop bombs, rear 18 shot down, FW-190, could not see 100 yds in front, Cambai/Epinoy. 4 1000 lb. bomb load. 10) November 3, 1943 St. Andre de L’Eure Airfield, flak intense, lost 2 B26s and 1 Spitfire. Saw FW 190, Got in some potshots. Dropped 4, 1000 lb bombs.
11) November 5, 1943, Mimoyecques V-1 site, excavations between Calais and Boulogne, France, flak intense and accurate, one B26 lost from 386th. Six boxes of 36 planes on this target- secret 12) November 26, 1943, Cambrai-Epinoy Airfield, target X, overcast, just got into the coast. 13) November 29, 1943, Cambrai-Epinoy Airfield, target X, Buildings of workers, good hits registered. Typhoon cover, short trip in and out, pas La Calais, flak heavy, bomb stuck in bay. 14) December 1, 1943. Cambrai-Epinoy Airfield dispersal area, hit her right on the button, flak over target-light, fighters on way out, spitfires engaged same. Dropped 6, 500 lb bombs. 15) December 1, 1943, did not drop bombs, in over coast and out. 16) December 2, 1943, Did not Drop bombs? 17) December 30, 1943, Le Meillard-Bonniers V-1 site, target 2X, tour of France over the Pas De Calais area. Had a good dose of light flak It was terrifying. Could not locate target. 6, 500 lb. bombs. 18) December 31. 1943, Cormette V-1 site, Pas De Calais construction works no bombs dropped 6, 500 lb. bomb load. 19) January 23. 1944, Le Grismont V-1 site, no ball (Code for V-1) target in Pas De Calais area, no flak, no fighters, spitfire escort fair bombing. Dropped 5, 500lb. bombs. 20) No tag?
21) February 9. 1944, Belleville en Caux V-1 site, no ball in Pas De Calais , cloud cover, made two penetrations, bomb not dropped, landed at Friston-emergency-weather bad. 6, 500 lb. bomb load. 22) February 10, 1944, Poix Airfield, no ball in Pas De Calais, cloud cover, hit airfield no flak, milk run. 6, 500 lb. bombs dropped. 23) February 11, 1944, Amiens marshalling yards at Amiens, France, cloud cover over target, hit no ball in break through clouds-12 bursts of flak only in rear of formation. 6, 500 lb. bombs dropped. 24) February 24, 1944, Leeuwarden Airfield, Holland, base of 60 single, and 60 twin engine fighters. Good bombing results. 10 miles from German border, light to heavy flak. 30, 100 lb. bombs dropped. 25) February 24, 1944, St. Josse Au Bois V-1 site, no ball Pas De Calais, St Josse Au Bois, dropped 8, 300 lb. bombs, no flak, no fighters.
26) February 25, 1944, Venlo Airfield, Holland on German border, first glimpse of Germany, light- heavy flak. Lost 4 B26s over north Sea to fighters. Box in back of us saw whole show 5 miles back. Dropped 10 250 lb. bombs. 27) No tag? 28) February 28, 1944, Ray sur Authie V-1 site, no-ball Pas De Calais cloud cover did not bomb. 8, 500 lb bomb load. 29) February 29, 1944, Behen V-1 site, no-ball Pas De Calais hit target, no flak milk run. 8, 500 lb. bombs dropped. 30) March 3, 1944, Montdidier Airfield, hit field, flak accurate, received 8 holes, pilot hit by flak in arm. Really sweated on this one. 14 250 lb. bombs dropped.
31) March 5, 1944, Ray sur Authie V-1 site, no-ball Pas De Calais. 1032) March 6, 1944. Bois de Huit Rues V-1 site, no-ball Pas De Calais, no flak, no fighters.10, 500 lb. bombs dropped. 33) March 20, 1944, Criel marshalling yards, France, flak inaccurate, fighter-none attacked, Saw Paris Eiffel tower. 14, 250 lb. bombs dropped. 34) (no date) Criel marshalling yards hit target perfect, light flak, no fighters. 10, 500 lb. bombs dropped. 35) March 23, 1944, Haine St. Pierre marshalling yard, hit target perfect, light flak, no fighters, 10, 500lb. Bombs dropped. 36) March 26, 1944, Ijmuiden E-Boat pens, Holland, Marauders drop 600 tons of bombs. Flak intense, 2 men killed in lead ship, 4, 1000 lb. bombs dropped. 37) April 10. 1944, Le Havre coastal defenses, gun emplacement, hit target right on the button- flak intense and accurate, no fighters, 4. 1000 lb. bombs dropped.
38) April 11, 1944, Bonnieres V-1 site, no-ball, hit target, flak intense and accurate, lost first ship in our squadron, Lt. Pratt- 2 chutes seen, 14 250 lb. bombs dropped. 39) April 12, 1944. Dunkerque coastal defenses, gun emplacement, hit target, flak intense and accurate, lost lead plane-colonel Caldwell, no flak holes, really prayed on this one, 4, 1000 lb. bombs dropped. 40) April 30, 1944, Bois d’Enfer V-1 site, no-ball Pas de Calais, Good bombing, flak accurate, aileron shot up, no fighters, 4, 1000 lb. bombs dropped. 41) April 30, 1944, Somain marshalling yards, didn’t release bombs, tour of France, no fighters, no flak, 4, 1000 lb. bomb load. 42) May 1, 1944, Monceaux-sur-Sambre marshalling yards, bombing fair, no flak, no fighters, 4, 1000 lb. bombs dropped. 1043) May 1, 1944, Louvain marshalling yards, good bombing, no fighters, flak on bomb run, 8, 500 lb. bombs dropped. 44) May 11, 1944, Hardelot coastal defenses, short of target, flak hole in right wing, no fighters, 4, 1000 lb. bombs dropped. 45) May 12, 1944, La Parnelle coastal emplacements, short of target, no flak, milk run, no fighters, 4, 1000 lb. bombs dropped.
46) No tag? 47) No tag? 48) May 20, 1944, Benerville coastal guns, direct hits on target, no flak, no fighters, visibility poor at take-off, 2, 2000 lb. bombs dropped. 49) May 20, 1944, Fecamp coastal defenses north of Le Havre, no flak, no fighters, P47 area cover, 4, 1000 lb. bombs dropped. 50) May 22, 1944, Barfleur/Panelle France coastal gun emplacement, short of target, bombed on pathfinder, flak moderate, no hits, no fighters, P 38 escort, 2, 2000 lb. bombs dropped. 51) May 24, 1944 Barffleur/La Parnelle gun emplacements, France, direct hits, flak, no fighters, pathfinder tech, P 47 cover, 2, 2000 lb. bombs dropped.
52) May 24, 1944, Etaples-St. Cecily coastal gun emplacements, direct hits, no flak, no fighters, P47- cover, 2, 2000 lb. bombs dropped. 53) May 26, 1944, Chartres Airfield, France, hit dispersal area, flak heavy-accurate, lost Smith, #199 road-on single engine, no fighters, 2, 2000 lb. bombs dropped. 1054) May 28, 1944, Liege-Renory bridge, Belgium, hit north span, flak accurate, nose hit at gun, no fighters, long haul, 4, 1000 lb. bombs dropped. 55) May 28, 1944, Maison La Fitte R.R. bridge, Paris, France, missed bridge, flak terrific-several holes, prayed like I never did before, No fighters, 2 2000 lb. bombs dropped. 56) May 31, 1944, Bennecourt highway bridge. R.R. bridge France, Seine, overcast did not bomb, no flak, no fighters, 2, 2000 lb. bomb load.
57) June 2, 1944, Eperville-France, coastal gun emplacement, fair bombing, no flak, no fighters, 2, 2000 lb. bombs dropped. (June 6, 1944, D-Day) 58) No tag? 59) June 10, 1944, St. Lo troop concentrations, St. Lo R.R. bridge France, invasion area, hit target area, meager flak, no fighters, 14, 250 lb. bombs dropped. 60) June 11, 1944, Pontaubault R.R. bridge, France-invasion area fair results, no flak, no fighters, 2, 2000 lb. bombs dropped.
I have no information regarding whether my father returned home after his 60th mission, or if he remained in England participating in other duties until the end of the war.
Poetry on a Rural Theme:
Living in the Middle of Nowhere & Wondering Why
by Marjorie ThelenThe Ditch Witch Blues
after helping John again
with some impossible task
in her estimation
this time trying to load
a 600 pound piece of equipment
a ditch witch
its big wheels
spinning in the mud
onto a trailer covered with snow
that fell overnight, predicted
that the ditch witch slid off of the first time
nearly smashing into John
she's thinking a modest apartment
with an alley view
in a liberal, progressive community,
cultural venues by the boatload,
surrounded by people who have been in therapy
no concern about running out of water
or neighbors shooting at the devil
or rabid extremists
or fulminating fundamentalists
is beginning to look appealing
her country gal era may be over
oh, she's singing the ditch witch blues
yes, she's crying the ditch witch blues
time might be right to hit the road tonight
because she's singing the ditch witch blues
the silence is nice
mountain views spectacular
you can see the stars
John has plenty of space for his treasures
the roads are abominable
the dust never ends
and there's the water problem
oh, she's singing the ditch witch blues
yes, she's crying the ditch witch blues
time might be right to hit the road tonight
because she's singing the ditch witch blues
I can't believe she left the radio blaring again.
She thinks it keeps the coyotes away.
Well, I can't sleep.
Stop complaining. The treat bowl in the morning makes it all worthwhile.
It was skimpy this morning.
Oh, shut up. Quit complaining. I hear she's going to butcher this fall.
You might be on the list. I notice you aren't laying like you used to.
Ha, neither are you. God, I hate NPR. You'd think she'd at least put on the country and western station.
Little blind duck
Little blind duck
bumps into doors and fences
but knows the way to the pond
if John's fire truck isn't in the way
Scarlett is her name
old Indian runner duck
now covered with mostly
white feathers that used to be black
Her favorite foods are tomatoes,
watermelon, and cooked pumpkin
she has one duck friend left
a short, squat mallard
who sometimes looks out for her
A turkey gobbler mistook her
for a turkey hen
insisted on humping her
squashing her into the ground
and bloodying her head
he went into the freezer
Then the two hen turkeys did the same
bloodying Scarlett’s head again
which caused her blindness
they went into the freezer, too
Moral of the story: be careful who you hump
how can you eat your pet?
because we raised him
because he got back rubs every day
because he got orange peels, corn cobs, and cabbage treats
because he had girl friends
because he grazed green pastures, ate alfalfa
because he had nice shade to chew his cud
we nourished him
he nourishes us
we wouldn’t do it again
We could make a potato dish
to take to the potluck
like potato salad or casserole
that would be easy
I don't think the guys
would like purple potatoes
are you embarrassed
to take something that
has been grown in our garden
organic, local, non-GMO?
no, no, it's not that
it's just that the guys around here
aren't used to purple potatoes
Shooting at the Devil
the devil flies around the sagebrush at night
the neighbor shouts back
and orders him to go away
the trouble started
when the new people moved in
when the neighbor comes home
stuff is moved around
they hexed the place
they grind up animals and
throw them raw against her house
she called out the sheriff twice
he was no help
so she shoots at the devil instead
scaring the neighbors to death
Obituary Notice for the Oregon Frontier
Burns and Hines
old frontier towns in southeast Oregon,
died a slow, agonizing death
after refusing to acknowledge climate change
and that they were using water
faster than it came into the basin.
The residents of Harney County
were among other rural Oregon communities
that launched a sustained effort
to defeat every carbon emission reduction bill
that came before the legislature,
that squelched every voice that said
the way they used water
Well, they got their way.
They kept their diesel farm equipment
and old gas hog trucks.
They kept their methane-producing cows.
They kept their water devouring pivots.
They watched the Harney Basin Aquifer dry up.
They scratched their head when their domestic wells went dry
and their cows died for lack of water.
No way to live.
You drive through two ghost towns today.
Front doors stand open
on long deserted homes.
through the pavement of the main streets.
Traffic lights hang dead, unblinking.
Tumbleweed is the only thing moving.
No one home.
But they won all those battles
to keep fossil fuels cheap
and polluting their environment.
They won the battle
to keep their center pivots operating
and guzzling water.
But they didn't win the battle
to preserve their way of life.
One Hundred Feet Down
are snail shells
of black sand
of an old lake
then clay rock
and then clear water at last
at 220 feet
how old is that
water we drink?
how long has it been
are we drinking ancient swamp water?
what have we disturbed
with our modern technology?
maybe three toed horses
will coming galloping out of the well
or ancient rhinoceroses
or gigantic cockroaches
The only evidence
of ancient life
from our newly drilled well
are tiny snail shells
that were sleeping, undisturbed
one hundred feet down
on the road from Burns to Bend
Glass Butte rises to the south, full of obsidian
that oozed up and hardened into beautiful black glass
millions of years ago
between Hampton and Bend south of the highway
lies the Brothers fault swarm
that runs southeast to northwest across Oregon
patiently waiting to move again
to the west rise the Sisters, Newberry Crater, Mt. Bachelor
Mt. Jackson, the resplendent Cascade volcanoes
to the north across the Columbia River
lie Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens
even further west 80 miles off the coast
lies the Juan de Fuca fault which last moved
January 26, 1700 about 9:00 P.M.
a 9.0 on the Richter scale
crating a tsunami
that left dead cedar trees still standing
on the banks of the Copalis River in Washington
and waves recorded in Japan
the Juan de Fuca plate gets unstuck
on average every 243 year
we think we have problems now
We average 80 years here on planet Earth
from baby to elementary to high school
maybe college, maybe marriage, maybe kids
then old age and we're done
The earth is 4.54 billion years old
we are gnats on the back of time
Just like Apocalypse now, heavy breath - 1,2,3, controlled and focused.
Descending steps sounding loud and crisp, only deep reflection floating on top.
In the mind a painting appears, dark, mysterious, Black and Tan.. light too in the center. Don’t disturb this.
A heavy white page is now turning, a story in its own right with no explanation or talking needed.
A sudden revelation emerges but it’s too sudden and too revealing .
Turning another page now.
THE GRACIOUS ROAD
They would talk now. The time had finally arrived. He had gotten what he desired, a chance to express all the hurt and confusion caused by her reckless behavior, a betrayal. She often told him he was so gracious and kind. He would not be today. He would hold her accountable now.
The heart in hiding was now unexpectedly stirred by her voice. A meek hello as she answered the phone. Damn, where were the notes he had meticulous jotted down, his shopping list of topics to be covered? Each point meant to be delivered with just the right tone and effect, causing some uneasiness in her, and yes, some hurt, too. He found his pace and words poured out in a frenzy like rapid brush strokes he applied in one of his paintings. He wasn't just saying it, he was reliving the whole relationship. Her silence indicating she was finally taking him seriously. Then he heard a small groan from her, followed by tears. This did not bode well for his script.
It felt good...no, it felt bad. This was not his nature.
This was a love lost, but not forgotten. Now he did what he had always done in her time of distress. His heart rose to take the wheel, his intellect pushed to the backseat. His voice, his words, comforted them both like a bird's sweet song. She felt better now. He did too, finally.
He suddenly located his notes, but realized they were not needed on the gracious road.