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Friday, May 31, 2013

Backyard Circus

A celebration of dirt circus was in town
With acrobats and jugglers
Animal shows and a clown
All under the great blue open big topped backyard
In the color of the day: A dirty dark brown

The ringmaster stood front and center
Directing all of the show
Pointing here there and everywhere
With his baton of spraying water hose

An exotic animal frolicked to the delight of the crowd
Jumping to and fro in the yard
Rolling in puddles both small and large
Almost appearing to be a tiger if you squinted real hard

Another performer sat in the area of stage right
Throwing a ball in the air
Sometimes catching and sometimes dropping
Though it was a slippery thing to be fair

This circus trio had a soundtrack
That cut the air most rock and roily
A catchy tune and steady beat
To go along with this star-studded attraction:

The Cirque de Soily


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Resistance Discharge

I sing the body resistance
Generating heat with every passing joule
Glowing with wasted energy
Breaking every sensible rule

It simply builds up like electrical obesity
Making nonsense in critical ways
No capacitance or useful discharge
At least that's what mom and dad says

Volts over Amps times Ohms
Gives lots of answers with proper input
It is the law after all
Though I smell a mystery afoot

So overly charged I go forth into the world
Melting through walls
Walking the marble halls
Charging every conversation with extra static and tension
Due to my nature
My inbred penchant

It's not terribly productive though
For either my heart or my soul
My touch causes instant death to the living
And reanimates the dead
Who are less than forgiving

Killing life
Causing new ghosts
Bringing in the Frankensteins
Walking hollow hosts

I flee to the hallowed portals of home
Running from all that I'd done
Hiding from excessive potential
Declaring life to be less than fun
Though I harbored all the power under the sun
A seething furnace of power
Ruined by a reality newly undone

It's safer here now
Plugged into the wall on recharge
Nothing living or dead nearby
To give or take life from
With an accidental discharge


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Whatever Wednesday

"Whatever happens I'll be happy with the results"
At least that's what I said to nobody else in the room
But I had no idea what I was letting myself in for
Nothing good
Contrary to what I'd have assumed

When the results showed up they were spastic
Ever changing and erratic
Life went up and down without a tempo
The gods of anarchy must have been ecstatic

Then I looked at the calendar
And realized why my life was suddenly in a blender set to puree
It was a hump day
A middle of the week day
Definitely a Whatever Wednesday


Lockheed FYI pt 2

My eyes on the door counterbalance assembly
With one hand outstretched towards my partner
Who put my requested ratchet into my hand

I put the tools to work right away
It was below freezing inside the fuselage of the old Lockheed L1011
And I had the shivers already

For some reason it always seemed even colder than it really was
Up inside the dark and still metal air-frames out on the ramp
All awaiting their eventual fate of the scrapper and his cutter

The first four bolts on the spring loaded counterbalance came out easily
Leading me to believe it would be easy as pie
But the last fastener came out hard
Which I just chalked up to it being the last one
So of course it would be harder
Because that's the way things work, right?

The Lockheed maintenance manual paperwork fluttered on the floor next to my tool bag
Silently mocking me
Though I didn't realize it

I asked my partner to reach up and wrench on the last bolt while I held onto the counterweight assembly
There was a bit of weight to it and I didn't want to drop it
Though from the looks of it
It would do more damage to the floor than the floor to it

I grasped the sides of the short cylindrical part
My fingers naturally resting on the safety wire that criss-crossed it's barrel
Going from fastener to fastener in pairs
Little pig tails of twisted wire sticking out of every other bolt head

The bolt was almost out
"Boy, this sure seems bound up...."
My partner started to say

But just then the last bolt popped out with an audible
"Thunk!"

And for half a second I didn't realize what was happening
As I tried to maintain my grip upon the now madly spinning counterbalance 

I yanked my hands away with a yell
Pressing them into my thighs briefly
But that made them hurt worse

The palms and fingers of my hands felt frostbitten

I looked at them in surprise and shock
They both looked like I had tried to grab a belt sander
White chunks of abraded skin hanging off everywhere
Red stripes of shallow cuts running across both hands

I looked up at the counterbalance
Still secure in it's place
Obviously held in by design as well as those five bolts

When we had removed that last bolt
The counterbalance
Still anchored by the large gear to the toothed door track
Had spun in place as it unwound all the tension on it's internal torsion spring
And all those bolt heads, and their little metal wire pigtails on the barrel of the part
Had done their best to shred my hands as they tried in vain to hold it in place

The shock was wearing off
And both of my hands were starting to feel a burning sensation
I wrapped two clean rags around them and pouted
While my partner looked at the counterbalance
Then at me
Then picked up our paperwork

His eyes scanned the words and ordered steps on the first page
"Oh, here it is.  It says 'Caution: Insert retaining pin into locking hole on assembly; or unwinding spring could damage equipment or personnel'"

I made a face and swore at him

He laughed at me as he tossed my tools back into my bag
And started making his way back forward
With me in tow

Time for him to head back in 
And find himself a new partner
In order to try again
To harvest one of the tightly spring loaded hand shredders

I mumbled something about
"There ought to be a warning....."
As he climbed down the ladder
To which he laughed
Because there had been one

We just hadn't read it


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lockheed FYI pt 1

The junk Lockheed L1011 sat forlornly on the ramp expanse
It's blue and white ex-British Airways paint job faded and oxidized
It's UK registration spray painted over
No engines upon it's three pylon mounts
No landing gear for it to rest upon
Instead sitting atop square steel section shoring
That had been welded up in place

With the added indignity of having it's L4 and R4 doors permanently open
A massive steel beam running straight through the two door openings
With the weight of the rear of the aircraft pressing down
At the top of the door cutouts in the fuselage

This plane was going nowhere
Ever again

But for a couple years it is fair game for spare parts
To be used on the still-flying fleet of L1011's that we operate
Most out somewhere in the world
Making money hauling freight or passengers
As a good airplane should

Today I needed a door counterbalance spring assy
From the clever Lockheed entry door setup
Which instead of having the door open like a regular door on hinges
Had the door instead get rolled up into the upper fuselage
Hiding away completely out of the way
Which was a really neat idea

Normally electrically operated
By an electric motor which drove a toothed gear mounted on the fuselage
Which in turn drove the door up and down via a toothed track mounted along it's edge

It also had an 'emergency' mode
Where you could pull a handle and have the door quickly rise up into the stowed position
This was accomplished by the use of a wound spring assembly in the upper wall next to the door
Designed to be used with the full weight of the door plus it's mounted emergency slide
There were stories of mechanics who had pulled the open lever without a slide installed on the door
Only to have it spring upwards too quickly in it's lightened state
Smashing through the rubber stops on the fuselage and breaking structure on it's way through

Not something you wanted to do

My partner and I had our paperwork for the removal
Freshly printed out from the persnickety microfiche machine in the hangar only minutes before
And we climbed up into the plane through the nose access door
Making our way to the L2 door
Carefully stepping on the floor beams
As much of the flooring had been removed
Or was laying about loose
Allowing us to see into the cargo pits below
Should we have been interested to do so

Grabbing a wooden box to stand on
I set my toolbag down and climbed on up for a closer look
There only seemed to be five bolts holding the spring assembly in place

Roughly barrel shaped and ten inches in diameter
The one and a half foot tall cylinder was layed sideways in the upper wall structure
Mounted between fuselage frames
Safety wired pairs of bolts spaced around it's outer shell

"Hand me my ratchet set for these bolts"
I asked my partner
"This looks easy"

If only that had been true


Monday, May 27, 2013

One Less Place of Memorial

The local Veterans of Foreign Wars
Post 8275 is no more

I can't say as to why it came to pass
Whether the old soldiers finally got too old
Or the young ones stopped joining the VFW
I could speculate further but wouldn't presume to be so bold

All I know is that the for sale sign is still out front
With no more barbecues, celebrations, or remembrances within
For past soldiers of long past of current wars
No matter if it was chalked up as a loss, a stalemate, or a win

There is an empty concrete pad out front now
I reckon it's twelve inches thick
With dirty rusty tread marks marking
Where the surplus Army tank used to sit

An empty white flagpole
Standing tall out front
Site of many a Reveille raising and Taps lowering
Careful handling and folding of the Stars and Stripes

The closing of the building isn't the end of the world
It is only a building after all
But it does mean something
It's one less place for comrades in arms to gather together
To raise a glass and remember their brothers and sisters who fall


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lego TARDIS Dreams

Blocks upon interlocking blocks clutter the drawer
A wrist deep selection of Legos all for the taking
The seemingly infinite myriad of shapes almost daunting
Waiting to be snicked together for the making

Seems to be a lot of blue ones here
And the shade of color reminds me of something
And before I know it they get stacked up in a mad outlay
With a semi clear one crowning the top center
A TARDIS blue police call box awaits some small scale cosplay

No Doctor in sight to bring it to life
It gets set upon a shelf
To await the arrival of a small mad alien man
Who would fall in love with it using both of his hearts
Snap his fingers before walking inside
To visit places far and near before the universe even starts

Unfortunately for reality
The little Lego TARDIS is not bigger on the inside
Nor smaller on the outside
Simply six inches tall by two wide on the side

Rooting around inside the magic Lego drawer
Finding the pieces I'd need
I begin laying out the TARDIS control room
While thinking ahead
To an attached library and wardrobe room
Perhaps even the pool
As there is really no end to where this could lead

I go speak to my mother
And request an advance on my allowance
As I need to place an order with Lego
For an All Purpose Assortment box
Because building a replica time machine isn't cheap or easy
But in the end
Given enough Time and Relative Dimension in Space
I'll have all the time I might need


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ice Bear Induced Global Cooling


The  ice yodel
Hung in the air
The one who uttered it
Looking on in despair
With the temperature so low
All he could do was stare

From whence did this cold front come?

It's supposed to be summer now
It's early morning May 25th
Barely above freezing
I defy there to be a reason

But of course there always is
Whether a good one
Bad one
Made up one
Or even the real one

I prefer the made up ones myself

For as the Ice Bears were driven South
Far from their ancestral homes
Their frozen hides shimmered in the sunlight
Casting off ice shards like used up skin cells
Which floated up into the stratosphere
Changing this warm poppy filled land
Making it more like home

It's only natural
After all




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Snapshot

Eighteen years old
Big Mac in one hand
Steering wheel in the other
Foot planted on the accelerator
Pressing it to the floor
Super Big Gulp full of Mountain Dew resting precariously on the seat

Two tons of metal rubber and plastic
Hurtling down the road at one hundred miles per hour
Painted in a pretty Forest Green Metallic
One of the optional colors on 1971 Chryslers

Scenery racing by the windows
Gas stations with Regular grade fuel priced at 89 cents per gallon

Tossing the now foodless McDonald's bag out the window
To bounce onto the shoulder
Blending in with all the rest of the trash swirling in the windy wake

This excessive caricature of American consumption and waste

Was me


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ain't Nobody Gonna Fall

The two junk aircraft were parked side by side
A Boeing 747 and a Lockheed L1011
Both looking faded and pillaged for parts
Their wings were overlapping slightly
So as to maximize the available ramp space

Today workers were emptying out the L1011
And moving all the loose parts that had been stored on it's main deck
Over into the B747
As the elderly Lockheed was going to be cut up finally
And this was one of the last preparations to make it ready for the scrapper

A large flatbed lift truck was parked at the aft entry door of each plane
With their platforms raised up to the door sill height
And a three foot wide piece of scaffolding bridging the gap between the two
Multiple wraps of safety wire securing the ends of the temporary bridge in place
With no handrails on anything

Singly or in pairs
The workers were carrying items out of the L4 door of the L1011
Out onto the truck platform
Across the scaffolding
Onto the other truck platform
And into the R5 door of the B747
To be stowed somewhere up inside on shelving that had been erected on the main deck

I looked up and watched them for a few minutes
Drinking my coffee
Smoking a cigarette
Eyeing the container strewn concrete ramp twenty five feet below all the activity

I looked over at the supervisor of the operation
"You know, someone might fall off of that contraption"

He looked at me like I was daft
And sneered, "Ain't nobody gonna fall"

I finished my cigarette
Flicked the butt onto the concrete of the ramp
And wandered off
Looking for safer sights to take in

About an hour later an ambulance came in through the main gate
And made it's red and white flashing way over to where the dangerous goods transfer was happening
And parked itself right in between the two junk airplanes

Apparently
Somebody fell

Too bad nobody saw that coming


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Morning Spazz

Morning spazz
Where everything tastes like candy
Everybody is fascinating
Sights are intoxicating
Sounds are involuntary spasms of dance waiting to happen
Upon the dancefloor of the world's stage

Sixteen pancakes stacked like Jenga
Daring me to pull one out from the center
But I don't
Instead I place butter between every pan fried flat cake
Before smothering the whole affair in real Vermont maple syrup
A golden dream piled carefully on my plate
The smell alone driving me wild
I eat them like a starved animal

The woman and her dog speak spritely to me as I put a letter in the post
Drawing me into a scintillating conversation
Which has me speculating the origins of everything and pancakes
She checks her watch giving me a hint
But I obliviously press on
Talking about the Doctor Who season finale in minute detail
The massiveness of the graveyard Tardis and on and on

On my drive in to work the sunrise intrigued me
So I pulled over and walked onto the beach
Ignoring all the Do Not Trespass signs
For as we know only the best places have those
Sitting in the sand watching Sol rise in the East
Gulls circling hoping for pancakes as I wiggle sand through my toes

I'd found the most amazing music the night before
And only now was listening to it for the first time
Chords I'd never heard before
Words sung into melodic couplets leading to places unimagined
An epic rock opera album from a band nobody knows
Something new to share in a knowing hipster glow
I can't tear myself away
And sit outside of work until it is done

My boss walks outside and knocks on my window
I roll it down with a smile
He says that I am fired and walks away
I continue to sit there rocking out for awhile
Before driving off

In search of Second Breakfast




Monday, May 20, 2013

Morning Blues

The morning blues
Where nothing looks appetizing
Nobody is worth talking to
No sights are breathtaking
Sounds fall flat as pancakes
Rotating on the lazy susan of my mind's breakfast table

The cereal floats in it's milky liquid
Wet looking cardboard
Tasting about as good
This corrugated paper coated with too much sugar
That will make my piss smell sweet in a few hours

The woman walking her dog past the house as I come outside
Says good morning
And then I lose track of what she is saying
The muted Charlie Brown trombone all that I hear
The secrets of the universe and happiness
Buried in bad impromptu jazz notes

The sun rising like thunder from the proverbial poem
Illuminating the early morning fishing boats
Little black diamonds upon a shimmering sea
White gulls floating upon the morning breeze
All a dull common sight
Irritating my allergies and causing a sudden sneeze

A special set of music downloaded just the night before
I'd searched for it for months
A new audio treasure unfolds upon my ears
Already sounding trite and on radio rotation replay
Causing a headache in the front to bring me to tears

Maybe the leftover tacos for lunch will perk me up


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Trespassing

Do Not Enter

No Trespassing

If I had obeyed every sign of such wording
All the things I would not have seen
The pictures I wouldn't have taken
The memories that would have never been

Copper Range Railroad engine #29
Never would have felt my presence
Had I not gone on purpose out of bounds
As it resided behind an old copper ore processing plant
Along the Portage in old Hancock town

I climbed aboard and sat right down
One hand on the throttle
The other on the window sill
My wife took my picture
And it's one of my favorites still

Not to mention the ore processing plant itself
Which really didn't need a sign to say keep out
As any sane individual could see it was a danger
As it stood rotten falling down sentinel
Old ore chutes overhead as I walked in
Chains dangling next to each
Daring me to touch one
To see if anything would come out if I did
But I resisted, as there are limits to my curiousity

But I'll never forget the main floor of the large building
A formerly three story vaulted ceiling
Now collapsed onto the floor below
Burying mysterious machinery
Overgrown with green vines and the odd tree
A sight I hadn't seen in real life
I hovered at the periphery
Not bold enough to go inside
The unseen rotten floor taunting my bravery

Other places with signs posted to keep me out:

The old Soo Lines roundhouse in Sault St Marie
Where I saw the blackboard requesting the last one out to shut off the lights
My wife posed amongst the engine pits deep between the rails
As we pictured locomotives steaming quietly
Mechanics tending their every need

A Michigan Central train depot in Mackinaw City
With it's waybills scattered about
Detailing cargo and it's coming and going
Where I sat at a forgotten stationmaster's desk
Reading what came and went during Christmas week in 1953

That random Calumet & Hecla Mining building in Calumet
With it's rusted steam engine powerplant
Cast iron pulley system
Rotten leather and rubber belts
Hanging like meat in an abattoir
From the post and beam frame
Of this forgotten hub of employment

All with their secrets
Of a transportation or industrial past
With relics hidden in plain sight
To be seen
To be touched
To be photographed
And left behind for some other industrial ruins spelunker

I cannot visit these places again
Not for fear of going twice to my own crime scene, no
But for the fact that all the mentioned places are gone now
Engine #29 spirited away to a museum three states away
And all the buildings torn down without much thought

All these places had their own ominous signs
Proclaiming danger or prosecution
But if I had not dared their domains
I'd not be the man I am
Trespassing tentatively upon forgotten dreams


Saturday, May 18, 2013

46

The job at hand is to look at the first stage compressor blades
The C-1's
Made of a devilishly complex titanium alloy
Forged deep within the secretive labs of Pratt & Whitney
Made with magic

At least it appears so to someone unfamiliar with chemistry and metallurgy
Someone like me

About three feet long
Sprouting from a central hub
Attached with fir tree slots and tabs
Curving and widening outwards to the extreme of the circumference
A compound bend in them as well
Twisting them gently from root to tip

My fingers run gently along each blade in turn
My eyes following along
Using touch and sight to look for irregularities
Nicks and burrs
Dents and dings
Burning and arcing

Almost sensually do my fingers take in their surface
Smooth and almost warm
As if they are alive
Curving softly under my touch
Each blade in turn receives it's attention

Personal and lingering

Forty six times


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rock

The day was bright and sunny
And I could have cared less
It could have been fifty below
It's all the same to me

After all
I am a rock

Clinging to this cliff face
And quite frankly a bit bored
Looking for a bit of excitement
Looking for a change of scenery
Looking to cause a little damage in the process

As I think heavy rocky thoughts on the matter
A noise piques my interest

Far below
A man walks the narrow path along the face of the cliff
One hand on the old rusty tourist railing that the monks had installed
The other hand practically hanging over the abyss
His head on a swivel taking in the scenery
Putting way too much trust in that metal rail on his left

I'm going to take him out
He seems to cocky

So I start to wiggle and rock myself in place
Working at the dirt and debris that cements me in place
Feeling it loosen it's grip as the man comes closer to the imaginary "X" on the path
That spot where I know I'll be able to flatten him

Oh boy
This is going to be sweet!
Excitement
A new spot to sit
And mayhem
All in one motion

I live for this crap

The man walks
I wiggle
The man strolls
I break free

Tumbling down the cliff face
In an almost vertical plunge to the drop zone
I bounce lightly on the side of the mountain
Picking up speed in that oh so predictable manner

We both arrive at the appointed spot at the same moment
The gawking human
The falling rock

I smash into his skull with all of my weight
A shriek of maniacal laughter erupts from me as I feel the contact!

The man reaches up his hand suddenly
Touching the spot where a pebble had just bounced off his head
"Ow!"  He says to nobody
As he is all alone on the trail
Or is he?

He stops and looks around carefully

He could have sworn he heard someone laughing


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dirty Fries

French fried potatoes perched perkily in their familiar red box
The little golden arches front and center showing their allegiance to the House of Croc
My fingers invaded their hard paper pocketed space over and over again
Plucking them from the pack one by golden greasy salty one

But I was leaving something behind as well
And with every select-remove-insert-chew-repeat cycle
It was getting more obvious
That the upper portion of the fries were taking on a decidedly sooty tinge

It reminded me of an instructor's words of advice back in aviation maintenance school

"You need to take care with all the things that you will come into contact with
All the oils, cleaners, greases, paints"

"Use gloves
Use respirators
Wash your hands before you eat
Wash your hands before you go home
Not just for your own sake
But for your family's sake"

"And wash before you take a piss
Not only could you cause an uncomfortable burning sensation on yourself
But you get stuff on you
Then go home and make love to your wife or girlfriend
And then you've gotten whatever you had on your hands
Which went to your cock
Which is now inside of her"

"Nice job
Now you gave her cancer
Or birth defects to your unborn kid"

We'd all had an uncomfortable chuckle then silence at all that
Since we were all just overgrown kids then

And here I was years later
Eating my french fries with my exhaust sooty hands
Not only eating it along with my food
But putting it out in front of me on the uneaten portion
As constant reminder that the soap in the bathroom wouldn't get it all off
That I never use gloves
That this is one dirty job

I grabbed a couple more fries
Leaving a little more soot behind
As the grease on the fries scrubbed my fingers better than any official hand cleaner ever could
Dipping them into the no name brand ketchup from the company fridge

Damn but they sure are tasty
Maybe the jet engine exhaust makes them better
Maybe I'll get super powers of aircraft maintenance from eating all this!

Or maybe just cancer


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Oblitus Memorias

Memories aren't perfect
Mine more so than most
How can I describe how it is?
I'll offer these rough examples
And I'll fix them up in post

I would make a perfect priest
At least for the confessional part of things
For I would listen like a wise little owl
Inside my darkened center confessional compartment
As you pour your sins out to my ears
I could offer platitudes of comfort
And acts of contrition appropriate in size
Only to forget most everything that was shared with me
Before the next sunrise

As a mob lawyer
I'd be the perfect defender
With my clientele we could discuss detailed criminal operations
Picking at the facts
Creating a credible defense
Leading the jury by the hand from act to act
Then afterwards my conscience would be clear
For I'd forget so much that I'd have no fear
And if the Feds came to me and wanted me to play ball
They could grill me for days or weeks looking for information
But my honest answer would always be "I do not recall"

I'd be fun at parties
I can be convinced of many things
Just Photoshop some pictures and concoct a story
And before you know it I'll be right on board
With false memories to go along with the events
Facts and images now firmly in my brain wherever such things are stored

Oh memories!
In the crevasses of my mind
Those compacted impacted memories....
Of the worst forgotten kind


Monday, May 13, 2013

Meter Junky

Meter reader baby boy blue
Walking the backyards all dressed as who
The man with the clipboard the pen and the glue
Clipboard for holding
Pen for writing
Glue for snorting up his flue

High meter reader baby boy blue
Seeing nothing but color by numbers
A black and white world
Open coloring book with cheater numbers everywhere
And him with no paints crayons nor colored pixels to fill in the voids
Causing a collapse and creation of noise

Withdrawal meter reader baby boy blue
Curled in the fetal by the wall with his glue
Trying to get a hit off the empty as hell tube
Offering his body with no requirement of lube
Pennies on the dollar a value to you
Now satisfied you are on your way
Leaving him happy as well with his new tube of glue

Happy junkie meter reader baby boy blue
With a skip in his step mighty high it is true
Writing his numbers though the height of boredom
In another world entirely that no one else sees
Off he walks to his next stop not a care in the world
Whistling hands in his pockets jingling change and his keys


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother

First the warmth and love that surrounds us
Becoming that which kisses and holds us
To feed and to teach
Hold danger out of reach
Guide scold mold and grow
Only to someday have to let go
Though the first love never went away
Could you would you won't you
Tell mother that you love her
On this annual May Mother's Day


Reverse Cowboy "B"

The black lined cowboy was staring at me

It was a steely 1000 yard stare
He was bobbing up and down in a rhythmic motion
I won't lie to you
I liked it
Hell, I loved it

Silky red hair would occasionally brush across his face
All in time with the motion
The steady up and down
The glorious feeling

But those eyes
They were penetrating me
Almost as deep as I was penetrating her
So I tried looking lower
Where the action was
But it didn't help
His cold hard eyes kept calling me back

To be frank
He was ruining the moment for me

I reached out and gently put my hands upon my woman's heaving sides

"Baby?  Could you turn around maybe?
I want to look at your face as you cum....."

She happily switched around
Sliding back down my cock
Rubbing her clit on my shaft as she went
Facing me
With her full perky breasts jutting out
Bouncing with every hip thrust and gyration
True eye candy
To go with the motion

Ok, so I lied
I just didn't want to stare at that huge cowboy tatooed back piece of hers
At least not while she was riding me in bed

Her brown and gold flecked eyes
Were much sexier than those cold dead eyes of that black line drawn cowboy any day



Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reverse Cowboy "A"


The Yobwoc strode into the church
Soft sandals not making a sound upon the hardwood floors
His silk robes blowing around him
Though there was not a breeze in the building
Hands folded in front of him
Ready to make peace
If that was required of him
But preferring his everyday way of life
That of randomly giving away cattle
And taking care of stagecoaches
Mostly in need of a new paint job

Consisting of waiting out in the desert
Until a shabby stagecoach happened by
Stepping out and halting it at paintbrush point
Taking care of business
Even adding pinstripes if he was in a mood to
Even though nobody asked him to

Yobwoc detests sleeping under the stars
Preferring holes in the ground instead
Which he digs with his hands
Deep in the desert
Deep in the sands

Eating nothing but fine cheeses
Drinking nothing but New York City tapwater
Yobwoc knows what he likes

And though it is often hard
And similarities with Cowboys are many
Yobwoc strives for the differences
Though most would say that there aren't any

Yobwoc doesn't agree
And doesn't have to
Such is the creed of the Yobwoc
It doesn't have to be a life anyone approves



Friday, May 10, 2013

The Thing About Water Towers

I stared out my window
The sun dipping lower towards the horizon
Bringing relief from the summer heat at last
And telling the peeping frogs from the stream
That it was time to start peeping

The sunlight reflected off the township water tower
The pride of the town, painted to look like a giant onion
Making a glare that made me look away
And back into the kitchen
Where I'd been having a late snack with my uncle

"Uncle Tom?"
I said idly just trying to talk my way to a later bedtime
"How do they get the water up into the water tower tanks?"

Uncle Tom always had answers to any question I could ask
I'd long ago given up trying to stump him
So this was just an honest question from my young mind
And as always, his answer came immediately

"I'm not sure you're old enough to know such things"
He began with a serious look about him
"But perhaps I can tell you anyways"

"You see
Water towers are actually living things
And my father told me that they live in symbiosis with us humans
Do you know what a symbiotic relationship is?"  He asked me

I nodded my head
We'd gone over that stuff in biology class just last year in school

"Ok, well I still can't say for sure what they get out of the deal from us
But we get the use of the water that they carry inside
And how they get it up there is pretty simple"
His eyes narrowed slightly
"They drink it"

"Yes sir, they do
They just walk over to the pond
Or the lake, or whatever water is nearby
And they just crouch right down and sip it right up until they are full!"

I must have looked a little skeptical
Because he went on to explain water tower locomotion to me

"Sure, sure
The ones that have multiple legs supporting their tanks
They just walk around just like you'd see an animal do
And crouch down over the water
With special joints in their long legs all splayed out when they do it"

I interrupted him with what I thought was a valid point
"What about the ones that are standing on one thick tube?
How do they get to the water and drink it?"

Now he didn't look so sure of himself
And I almost thought maybe I'd stumped him accidentally
But the answer came, mostly
"I've only seen that type of water tank do it's fill up walk one time
And it was a strange thing to see
It kind of pogo-hopped over to a river about an eighth of a mile away
And then just kind of retracted it's one leg up into itself somewhere
Until it was just above the water
And when it was done, it got real tall again
And hopped right back to where it was supposed to be!"

Just then my mom walked in and glanced up at the clock
"It is past your bedtime mister", she told me and shot Uncle Tom a dirty look
"Get on up to bed, I'll be up to tuck you in"

I hugged Uncle Tom goodnight and went upstairs

A little while later my mom came up to say goodnight
I told her a little bit of what Uncle Tom had told me about water tanks
Which made her make a funny face
The same face she got whenever I told her what me and Uncle Tom were up to
"I think that's a pretty fantastic story he told you
But you should take it with a grain of salt"

I asked her what that meant
And I was a little disappointed when she told me
A small dent appearing perhaps in the image of Uncle Tom for me

After kissing me goodnight
Mom turned out the lights
The almost finished setting sun the only illumination on the walls of my room

I rolled over and turned on my fan
Setting it so it would tilt and blow around automatically
And picked up a toy horse from my bed stand
Playing with it absentmindedly while my eyes got heavy

If I had bothered to look out my window right around then
I might have seen something that would restore my faith in Uncle Tom

For the township water tower was hundreds of yards from where it should be
And was crouched low over the river
Legs bent out like a daddy long legs spider
A giant onion sipping water up into itself for the long hot day to come tomorrow


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kerosene Scented Flower

Curved and cupped
Wrought in titanium sheet
Welded and fastened
Into a shape so sweet

This flower is beholden
To those who view it
And a rare sight indeed
As it goes by at speed

Kerosene scented hot touch me notness
Sensually held fast in place
Mixing cold and hot gasses
Step close and feel it upon your face

The heat is a bit much though
Melting everything like that one scene in Raiders of The Lost Ark
You know, the one where the Nazi's faces melt
While Indy and Marion look away

This is one hot, pretty flower
Put it on my table to tell me that you love me
Shine it up with Mother's polish maybe
Some candles and light scents

It's really all I need



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Boys Will Be Boys

"Boys Will Be Boys"
The photo caption said

It looked out of place in this exhibition
Along with all the bright watercolors and handmade sculpture
Going with the whole Art Of Children theme

But this picture stood out
This slice of boyhood
Showing a mix of emotion on the four boy's faces
Grim satisfaction
Queasy doubt 
Fake grown-up manliness
A hint of regret

In short
The most common feelings that happen all too often
Immediately following most situations and hi jinks
That result in some disinterested grown-up saying those old words:

"Boys will be boys"



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Curve Knuckle Run Safe Maybe

Curve spittle curve right left straight
Hands clenched upon the bat's ratty grip
This is the pitch I've come to hate
A swing and a miss just a little too much side slip

Knuckle grip twisted finger high rate sink
Ready once again in a pre swing funk
I read this one coming before I could even think
Arms swinging in reaction shattering the bat for the junk

It didn't go far and it didn't go fast
I ran for it anyways because it's in my contract
The pitcher scoops the squib and throws but I won't be last
Aiming for the bag at full speed prepare for first baseman contact

All three of us knocked unconscious from the impact
The first baseman, the umpire, and me the runner I
Who was out and who was safe
Who can say oh say ain't baseball great


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Another Aircraft Gremlin

The silver aircraft flew through the night
A full moon reflecting off of it's polished hide
Looking fantastic in the clear air at twenty thousand feet
Clipping along at three hundred miles per hour
The four Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engines are purring
Pulling the Douglas DC-6B along with almost invisible propellers

A stewardess, named Mary, is straightening her uniform in a lavatory mirror
Making sure her little American Airlines winged pin is straight
Her blue hat pinned in place perfectly
She touches up her lipstick carefully
But of course, just as she does, the airplane jostles itself in the air slightly
Making a little smear above her upper lip
Mary frowns and dabs at it with a bit of paper towel
Unaware of what has caused the slight disturbance

Five minutes before....

In the trailing edge of the left wing
Just along the rear wing spar
In a spot no different or special than any other
A tiny six inch door had suddenly appeared
The door slowly opened
Revealing a set of glowing eyes
Belonging to a strange little creature
A creature that stepped out of the door
Onto the lower trailing edge skin panel like he owned the place

A gremlin had arrived on the scene

A hair under six inches tall
And looking like a gnome that someone's grandmother would have on the front lawn
But without the hat
Because those are just silly
The gremlin was a caricature of mischief
With a long mustache that it was currently twirling between the thumb and index finger of one hand
As it eyed what was around it in the area of the trailing edge of the wing

Some aileron cables were running near it's head
And the gremlin reached up and touched them
Pulling his hand back in disgust
As the cables were greasy

Muttering to itself now
In some strange gremlin tongue
It pulled some gloves out of it's jacket and put them on
This time it didn't just touch the aileron cable
It grabbed ahold and hung on it
But wasn't satisfied with the results

So instead, he placed his little feet firmly on the wing panel below
And pushed up on the cable as hard as he could
Then released the tension
Only to do it again a second later
Keeping this up for a time and raising a terrific gremlin sweat

All these gremlin calisthenics were creating quite the effect
The large silver aircraft was rocking back and forth very small amounts
But sharply and with a steady rhythm
Much to the puzzlement of the crew
Who were fiddling with the autopilot and talking amongst themselves
Unsure of what was causing this behavior

Their riddle was short lived however
As the gremlin had tired quickly of all the physical activity
And was retreating back to his magical little door
Jumping through, and pulling it shut behind him
All traces of the six inch opening disappearing completely as he did so

Less than a minute later
The now familiar door reappeared
This time on the stainless steel surface of the number two engine firewall
Opening wide to show the gremlin
Who was already prepared for this new and noisy place
With little yellow ear muffs over his ears
A small bag in one hand
A sharp stick half as tall as he was in the other

Stepping out of the doorway and walking daintily along the tubular engine mount lattice
The gremlin made his way to the bank of engine cylinders
And set his bag and stick down
Both of which magically did not vibrate away with the buzzing of the large engine
Taking both of his still gloved hands and wrapping them around one of the spark plug wires
The gremlin pulled
Using his legs and not his back
For he was a smart gremlin
Until the wire popped off the end of the spark plug

The engine started missing slightly when this occurred
Sending the flight crew into a flurry of speculation once again
Wondering what had happened to the ignition system on that engine
But figuring that a plug had gone bad

The gremlin placed the end of the plug wire down on the metal heat shield
And held it there with his foot

The metal end of the plug wire was about an eighth of an inch from the metal
And there was a regular arc going from it to the heat shield
The electricity that the magneto was sending along it intended for the plug in the cylinder
Now just arcing to ground under the gremlin's supervision

The gremlin calmly picked up his bag
Opening it up he peered inside and grabbed at something
In his hand he pulled out two marshmallows
Which were put onto the end of the stick as quick as you please

The gremlin then stuck the marshmallow end of the stick right next to the arcing plug wire
Soon creating a pair of perfectly toasted marshmallows

The mysterious little bag then produced a graham cracker and a bit of chocolate
Which provided the gremlin with everything he needed for a delightful little s'more snack
Enjoyed with gremlin gusto right there on the backside of that Pratt & Whitney engine
At twenty thousand feet and three hundred miles per hour

Upon finishing his snack
The gremlin put the spark plug wire back on the appropriate spark plug
Which had the flight crew revising it's notes to the maintenance staff again
He picked up his things
Made his way back along the tubular engine mount as easy as you please
And back through the little magic door
Into whatever place that the gremlin calls home
Shutting it as he went

His work here complete


Four For Uncle Tom

The fourth of May is Quatro de Mayo
Which is properly pronounced as:
"Kwa-Troe Day Mayo(nnaise)"
Or at least that's what Uncle Tom says

Uncle Tom tells of things in fours
Four are the toes on each of his feet
Four are the times he has fought in wars
Four are the times that true love he will meet

There aren't literally four toes on each of his feet
Uncle Tom lost the two smallest toes on his left foot when he was eight
Something about rusty metal in a river
And always be careful when you swim
You should always wear shoes

And having eight toes total
Well, that averages out to four per foot
There is no arguing with him

Somehow he fought in four wars
Uncle Tom caught the end of Vietnam when he was eighteen
Spent six months in the jungle
Making not a shitting bit of difference
Except to the other members of his platoon

Then he got to go to Grenada
And eventually Beirut
Which put him off his career goals
Something about a discipline problem
A lot of time picking up trash and sleeping in the stockade

Uncle Tom retired from the Army
Tried being an electrician
He claims he tried four different employers
None of which worked out for one reason or another

One of which called the cops on Uncle Tom
After Tom punched him four times in the face
Causing four separate medical procedures
And four thousand dollars in bills

Uncle Tom signed back up for the Persian Gulf War
And was sent over to repair equipment in the motor pool
He claims that he got to fire four shots at the enemy
And that makes it count as 'fighting'
Hence he can claim to have fought in four wars

Uncle Tom met his first true love when he was fifteen
She didn't want anything to do with him
And when he kissed her
She told her daddy
And her daddy told Tom's daddy
And that was that for first true love

Uncle Tom's second true love was at seventeen
Two months before his eighteenth birthday he got her pregnant
Which got them married
And him signed up for the Army and Vietnam
When he got back she was gone
The marriage was annulled
She hadn't been pregnant
All a false alarm you see

That rabbit had died of natural causes

Uncle Tom's third true love was a cute Korean girl
And that relationship lasted until he met her parents
Who hadn't approved
And had called the base commander on him
Making for some of his time picking up trash and sleeping in the stockade

Uncle Tom is still looking for his fourth true love
In this modern age of the internet and speed dating
So far there haven't been any prospects that have pleased him much
And he lives alone in a little log cabin near a stream
A dog, a cat, some chickens and a dream

A simple love and a simple dream
That may end up being his fourth true love after all


Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Banana of Mystery

Oh mighty banana lying on the side of the road
Nestled in the grasses being eyed by a toad
How didest thou end up in such a predicament?
Did you walk here yourself?
Which would shake all belief and the firmament

The answer lies in a clue nearby
An errant left hand glove
Now out of season
Laying not far from a pencil
And a small plastic Pokemon figure

This was the kid's bus stop area
MY kids

Leaving things all about the place
Is really just their modus operandi
Common to them in every way
Demonstrated as I trip over their things

Every day

Viewed as such
The banana wasn't anything unusual
Except for the fact that I'd found it before it had gotten rotten
Really only hours after it had been left there
Inexplicably by itself in the grass

I may ask them about it
Though the answer will be a typical "I don't know"
Or the all too frequent "I don't remember"
As to the reason why

So I'm taking it to work with me
I bought and paid for this pernicious plantain
And if by some small chance
A nefarious plot was undertaken
To poison bananas and leave them near children's bus stops in rural Michigan

Well
It's been nice knowing you


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Monarch of The Cranberry Bog

A cocoa colored cranberry bog captain
Sailed his berry sea
Hemmed in on all sides by grassy earthen mounds topped with hedges
And one red door, to which only he had a key
Tending his crop of small red and round
Bobbing and bouncing as far as his eye can see

Sometimes
The captain farmer got out of his little boat
Into the water under the bumpy carpet of crimson
Hides until only his eyes show as he lets himself float
And from his low floaty hiding place
The berries seem as large as boulders
An almost impassable terrain
Extending all around
A kingdom for this farmer captain to rule

Sometimes
When this farmer captainking floats so low in the bog
A lightfooted mouse or chipmunk will make it's way across the scenery
Oblivious to their precarious path
Only focused on getting to the other side

Once
A cat chased a mouse through the hedge and into the bog
The mouse daintily moused it's way across the floating fruit
Whereas the cat stepped right through
Disappearing for a moment before bobbing up
It's wet haired head miserably making it's way back to the hedge
Climbing out and disappearing after shaking itself
Water flying away from it like an explosion

Occasionally
A duck would paddle it's way across the bog
Never noticing the sitting regal monarch
Mostly hidden up to his nose and eyes
Brown forehead and black hair bobbing gently
The duck's chest breaking through the crop
A tiny feathered ship's bow on this strange square sea

Times like these
The hidden floating farmer captain king felt at peace
Certain that there was no place else that he would rather be


The Clothes Fake The Man

In he walked
Full of self assurance
His hair was perfect
With the wispy hint of a mullet resting on the collar of his leather jacket

I couldn't take my eyes off that jacket
It was made of brown leather
Cut in the classic World War II pilot style
And it was covered in patches

I surreptitiously followed him
Staring at his back
Reading all the patches

There were several from the Air Force
Various Edwards Air Force Base projects illustrated
In all their sewn glory
High altitude tests
Speed records
Electronic package proving tests

Then there were civilian ones
Motorcycle ones mostly
Marking visits to Sturgis South Dakota
The Daytona 200 in Florida
And the obligatory Bike Week patch to go with it

There was a whole string of smaller patches down the arms
All showing places that he had been
Most were different states
Some were countries
All cleverly shaped to look like their geographical counterparts
With the name across them

We came to a crosswalk
The Do Not Walk red hand was on
So we had to stop
And I took the opportunity to sidle up next to him
Trying not to be creepy

"Excuse me"
I timidly said
And he looked my way
With his strong jaw and knowing smile
"I've been checking out your jacket
And I really love it"

His smile got broader as I praised his jacket
"Thanks man, I like it too"

But I wasn't done
I wanted more
"Hey, I used to work with a few guys from Edwards
They were in the Flight Test squadron too"
I rattled off their names
I was trying to be a part of the jacket's mystique
Even though I felt a little fake doing it

He hesitated
His jaw not quite as strong
His manner not quite as assured suddenly

"Oh, um, I haven't actually been any of those places really...."
He stopped making solid eye contact with me
"This was my uncle's jacket
And it doesn't fit him anymore
So I kind of took charge of it"

The green Walk signal came up on the crosswalk
And away he went
Leaving me standing there disappointed

"It sure is cool though, eh?"
He said over his shoulder
And then he was gone

I was so put out
I turned around and went back the other way
As if following him would diminish me in some manner

I reflected on the old saying:
The Clothes Make The Man

Though in this case it seems as if the clothes were a little greater than the man
Clothing a great pretender
Clad in thick cow leather
And stolen hand sewn glory

As meaningful as putting something on a store mannequin
Where the thing that wears the clothes isn't the centerpiece
But the clothes themselves
The man underneath just a fake outline of a person

And not who you thought it was at all