Drake’s Cook

Oak of the Miwok near Bodega

Published here

Eagle must have made the Golden Hind, with its massive wings stretched across bones of wood, its hold full of strange smells, clothes and implements. The white men, that sailed it in from the sunset, must have come straight from Coyote. Odd, agreed the old Miwok men in the sweathouse of the village nearest the beach, and surprising, that the passengers in Eagle’s basket with wings seemed to have forgotten so much about life, unacquainted with the simplest things, like atole, black eggs and pinole.

The seamen brought gifts, but demanded food and supplies of water in great volume in a rude way. They impatiently sucked their teeth or rattled beads or copper pieces, as if to say: “Right now!” Their speech reminded the People of duck quack and squirrel chatter and many shouted in a loud, coarse way. The strangers that were sick and losing teeth, hair and body fluids were nurtured in the village.

One day, the People noticed that these visitors weren’t mingling or courting the single women. They weren’t staying! During a daylong sweathouse meeting, it was decided to hold a feast and offer a dance directly to the aloof Admiral Drake, as though to Coyote and Eagle. This might evoke pity for the People’s loneliness. Single women could do a flirtatious dance and entice at least some visitors to stay.

Young men set up the fire, with heaps of extra firewood. Boys and girls spread mats over the rocky path all the way from the village to the feast area between the boulders. The women cooked for hours and used many of the village’s reserves to make this feast spectacular. Continue reading

Married Love, July

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Binnacle Ultrashort H.M.

Sticky warm, he left work at the crack of the last whip.

She stuck the paintbrush in the freezer in plastic like a lollipop for use tomorrow.

Wide flung doors and windows admitted a bit of cooling air. They stretched their paycheck on the rug for a picnic.

A little chicken, pasta salad, thank you. They talked about the news of job cuts and her long days. They each ate half a watermelon.

Out of the smoke of hills on fire, the full moon climbed the trellis emitting pure catlight.

During the night their stomachs talked like foghorns. In the morning, they met in the middle of the wiggle room before work.

There was still time to walk the dog.

Hummingbird

pubbed here

I had to make it easier to whip out Wishes and show I was up to the next level. Up to the Miracle Corps light-before-the-end-of-the-tunnel standards. I don’t have to be another Jenny; just good enough to set up a trip to a waterfall with wheelchairs, or some other midsize Wish Fulfillment.
Jenny’s great, no doubt. Except for that one parent that one time. She can set up families of ten coming from eleven states arriving at twelve different times with thirteen different food allergies and all sleeping over with Mickey and Minnie in Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
What do I get? Look at this old folder:
“I want to go surfing.” What’s the big challenge? With a six-month window, I had to get a fourteen year old from Boulder to Huntington Beach.
Or: “I want to see snow.” In eight or nine months, a second-grader from Louisiana to the Rockies.
“I want to ride a bike.” Oh this was a good one…six or seven months, an eleven year old with no use of legs. Easy actually…hand cranks instead of pedals.
See what I mean? So basic.
So during my last review with my supervisor, Randy Lawson, I asked for tougher stuff. Some measurable way to prove that I was ready for five-wheelchairs-on-a-plane-change-at-O’Hare level logistics. What did I get from good old Mr. Lawson? Check this out:
“I want a hummingbird to kiss me”; 3 months.
Balboa Park, San Diego, Bird House. Ka-ching. Continue reading

Maybe a Shift

c/o ccom/jhc/unh/images/seamount

pubbed here

Are we island tips of cowering seamounts?

On the surface, we contest the submarine facts, decline to plumb the depths.

Our closeness is tourism: umbrella drinks, a lie on the beach, a taste of shrimp.

What if friction means moving toward, like tectons shoving obstacles aside?

Maybe we can archipelago.

Rare Book

pubbed here

White gloves and no sudden moves. Limited access. Conditions. Steady breathing. Filtered light. Slight buzz of humidity. Careful spine. Paging your butterfly fragility.

Your illuminations are remarkable: crisp and bright as back light. Too clean to laugh; too cool to cry. Your value is vaulted. Innocence preserved.

Jump in my gym bag, dog-ears and all. Pickup-and-gun-racks, girl, lets dance the silverfish, stumble and fall sloppy drunk, write in the margins muddy.

Naked in my garden, contagiously foxing. High as tigers. Cuddly as lambs. Discharged. Worthless. Experience preferred.

Keeping Time

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It was close to 9 A.M. when he hoisted his case and stepped outside. He felt late. The day had started badly. Green Bay was out of Super Bowl contention already. Shake it off. The street was filled with black grit and slush and snow lay like old manna on strips and patches of grass. Up the street, pitch and run. Sell. Tune in. Make it.
“Look, just bear with me a minute,” he told the short, shiny man wiping the snow from a parked car. “How many ways do you know to boil an egg? One. How many ways to chew it? One. You sleep, you wake up, you chew your eggs the same way every time. Do you want to just hang around till you die of old age?”
The little man was listening. He was buying, Diskus knew. Continue reading

High Water

pubbed here

Willy was born delighted in the middle of a rainstorm that threatened to flood the root cellar where they were hiding from the lightning. She had wide-open blue eyes. Her tiny expressive face soundlessly oohed and aahed and grimaced and startled with each feeling from the very beginning and, soon, she had a coo of contentment that nurtured her mother and then a three-tone song of a laugh that always made her siblings smile. Thunderstorms and floods threatened them so often but Willy’s birth let Mama engage with them easier from then on.
By age two, she had become the sixth oldest for the second time when her mama got sick in child birth and by four she was fifth oldest again when she stopped seeing Ezreel, who used to feed the pigs. She knew every inch of the farmyard and garden, had her own names for every chicken, pig, cow and horse on the place and could boil water on the stove, if mama was there. Continue reading