THE ODDS

Only one person in a thousand aspires to become a Subway Hitchhiker. Nobody knows why, either. Of those aspirants, only one in a thousand is chosen. That aspect’s equally mysterious.

Question: With 2,371 cars operating in Tokyo, how many Hitchhikers?

DL pondered Soviet subway systems in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tbilisi, Baku, Kharkov, Tashkent, Minsk, Yerevan, Gorky, Novosibirsk, Kuybishev, Sverdlovsk, Riga, and Dnepropetrovsk. To say nothing of related Warsaw Pact, Eastern Bloc operations.

At least they didn’t suffer graffiti. Not with spellings like theirs. No, both Hitchhikers and vandals in those realms have different problems to confront.

Not a single ballot had been cast, either.

~*~

For more from my THIRD RAIL collection, click here.

NOMADS

Some cultures believe a man’s spirit exists in the soil of one’s ancestors. My grandmother’s ground furnished my own, with her muddled knowledge extended in part through Grandpa. But I never knew Mom’s parents, who had been born in other states. Here, though, apart from the Indians, we are all nomads. Many of us, spiritless nomads.

~*~

In this Census round I ponder multiple categories of Hispanics: Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, other Spanish, Hispanic. Also, some of the other categories I keep encountering in the Valley: Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Asian Indian, Hawaiian, Guamanian, Samoan, Eskimo, Aleut, other (specify). Indian (Amer.) print tribe.

I have no idea what I am other than a homogenous WASP. English? German? Norwegian? Czech? Not a clue.

Kokopelli, for his part, is offended there are no distinctions between Hopi and Navajo, even if he’d checkmark both and a few more.

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.

A TITLE OR A POEM OF ITS OWN?

I often delight in a phrase or term that takes on a life of its own, apart from a particular content or meaning. The poet Jack Spicer, drawing on his training as a linguist, was a master at this.

Overhearing one conversation recently, my mind’s eye took the Black Joker who met the Red Herrings on a Non-Tour in a much different direction. My choir buddies, Mike and Kate, knew who they were talking about, and where. It was all about Morris dancing. For me, though, it was pure magic on its own.

Words can, after all, exist in their own sound and space. How short can a poem be, anyway? I have a few that weigh in at one word apiece, while two or three words can make for a nice verbal dance.

The title of my newest poetry collection, Noble Blue Liberty, is one of those. Years ago, I warned the mother of three children I’d run with her lofty impression, and I have. Actually, the title could stand as a poem all its own.

I have similar feelings about some of my other recent releases.

~*~

Noble Blue Liberty
Noble Blue Liberty

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

AFTER THE EERIE ICE CAVES

I joined him on a trip to the ice caves at the mouth of a Rainier glacier. I nearly froze to death, too, when rain suddenly appeared and blew up under my poncho. When we hiked down through the summer snowstorm, I shivered uncontrollably. Back at the trailhead, sitting in the car and acknowledging symptoms of impending hypothermia, I was grateful Todd had put hot chocolate in the Thermos, possibly saving my life.

“To think, we got stuck in a snowstorm in mid-August,” I said. “Who’s gonna believe that story back east when we tell ’em?”

“Maybe we shouldn’t even try. They’ll have enough trouble understanding ice caves or glaciers.”

For more of the story, click here.

AT HEART

waging peace restores harmony uncovers common values where only conflicts and differences in appearance surface steps outside dominant viewpoints teaches children alternatives to consumerism which is self-centered at its core engenders instead the practice of doing good work reveals to us the unfavorable implications “God bless America” extends to the rest of the world O […]