Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Tonight was another Camera Club of Eagle meeting. Lovely people, a little too invested in camera equipment, perhaps. I feel like I went through that when I got my Minoltas and kept upgrading until they stopped making them and my lenses were obsolete. So that's where my head is right now; let's not start this again! And it was funny just now to find this picture I took last year of the soda machine that no longer lives in an alcove at Eagle City Hall, where we have the Camera Club meetings. I loved it for the sign: MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH. As indeed, what may not?

Just before I go to sleep, I have been Kindle-reading Bibliodeath; my archives (with life in footnotes) which is a new book by Andrei Codrescu. Since he questions everything, it does cause me to pay attention. I don't think I ask enough questions--and the world has been pretty smooth for me so far. Codrescu is also very funny and genuine. I met him once, years ago after a reading in San Jose, and when a small group of us went out afterwards, he was more present and genuinely human than any of the other imported writers.

I am sorry now that I never got to hear Bill Holm read in person. But I've heard a lot of great poetry readings and shouldn't complain (too much.) Here's another poem from Holm's Playing the Black Piano, Milkweed Editions, 2000, pages 84 and 85.


Always the kid's job to kill thistles.
Strap on your tin tank of 2-4D.
Raise up your sprayer with its plastic hose,
The umbilical cord for the poison.
They stand there, arrogantly alive
In the wheat, flax, oats, beans, alfalfa:
Golden flower sow thistle,
Purple horny Canadians,
Bull thistle, pig weed, buffalo burr, cockleburr.
Dowse them with death mist.
At first they feel nothing,
No trembling in the armored stalk,
But come back tomorrow--
Dried heads slumped to one side,
Green leaching toward corpse gray.
In a week they'll be finished.
Does the wheat smile? Does the alfalfa sigh?
Does the flax nod as it it wished
To pat you on the head and say:
Good boy. Job well done.
That's farm work for children.
Behead the chickens, castrate the pigs,
Poison the thistles. Teach them
What the world is going to be like.
Don't weep too hard for the thistles,
They will be back next year.
They will outlast you. Always.
That's what you learn from them.

# # # # #

Good night, Bill Holm, in your eternal sleep. We'll treasure your books always.

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