summer

summer

“going going gone”

most veteran “yoopers” feel that after the july 4th holiday the summer is over and it is time to start looking for the snow shovel. shortly it will be time to have the bard res’ furnace checked as well as the mechanic get my pickup truck ready for the upper peninsula “season in the long white.”

since the last entry, i have had two poetry chapbooks published and a poem printed in the july issue of “abbey” magazine. plus there was a splake creative coup with nineteen poems and twenty-four black and white photographs a part of robby zoschke’s latest “clutch” literary journal.

“abbey”

     the poem “lightness” was a printed in editor david greisman’s july issue of “abbey,

lightness

shadow breaths
pale skin color
feverish sweating
end near
graying poet struggling
seeking right words
to finish final poem
inability to love
jigsaw puzzle with
pieces missing

Abbey150

 

gage press editor emilie johnson recently published a splake collection of three-line poems in a chapbook titled “creative moments,”

tick tock panic
bardic thieves stealing
rat bastard time
# # # #
people not realizing
doing same old same
lost without curiosity
# # # #
empty mirror reflection
nothing beyond mirage
courage inside the eye
# # # #

CreativeMomentsBackCreativeMomentsFront

“transcendent-zero press” editor dustin pickering recently printed a splake chapbook collection “ahhh life.”

ahhlife.jpg

mad memories

old route 66
mother road mainstreet
concrete avenue to nirvana
for steinbeck’s oakies
road for kerouac
looking for himself
café waitress
“good mornin’ hon”
imaginary romantic dreams
speedometer miles turning
new surprise waiting
around next highway bend
unknown artist creating
large blue whale
car radio whispers
bobby troupe’s ballad
chicago to l.a.
don’t forget winona
old san berdoo

AhhhBack.jpg

CLUTCH

Clutch

     the cover of zoschke’s “clutch” is a vintage photograph of san francisco “beat poet” jack micheline. i was extremely pleased with the micheline image, as my old friend jack truly possessed black and white reality with a lunch-bucket creative energy.

“clutch” is easily one of the best avant garde literary publications currently published today. i believe serious artists and poets should order a copy of robby’s marvelous collection of photographs, poems and stories. his mailing address is:

robert zoschke
10781 birchwood drive
sister bay, wi
54234

ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yes, and where was that rake, hmmm,

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doomsday library – “first five books”

the reader of this commentary should understand that i have read and enjoyed all of the books on my “doomsday library” list.  i also found the decision of the top ten books to be an extremely difficult choice to make.  in addition, it should be understood that whether living on a desert island, in a mountaintop stone hut, or cabin in the deep forest, my books would be reread several times.  so, the strength of my authors is their reminder of important past events and to continue to provide me with insights to new experiences.

pilgrim at tinker creek
annie dillard

i have many writing friends who live on the west coast and in the warmer southern states who frequently ask me, “t, how can you stand those bitter upper peninsula winters.” my response is probably not very convincing to them, however, i would not feel comfortable living where i did not experience the changing of the different seasons.

annie dillard’s book grew out of her personal journal recording her meanderings around tinker creek in the blue ridge mountains of virginia. the book, pilgram at tinker creek, is divided into four sections, each one describing what dillard saw during each passing season.

the book’s narrative identifies with the area’s flora and fauna and suggests to me what i should see and understand during my visits to the upper peninsula wilderness areas. i read pilgrim at tinker creek the first time one summer while camping in the pictured rocks outback. two days after reading about the “giant water bug,” i saw one devouring a frog in a backwater swamp

in short, annie’s book is my continuous outdoor guide.

walden
henry david thoreau

walden is a book that should be read at least once a year by all students and adult citizens. the wise observations and recommendations made by thoreau provide an excellent guide to measure an individual’s vision and the progress of their life.

in the pages of walden, thoreau mentions “masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation” and strongly recommends “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.” in the chapter “what i lived for” thoreau says:

“the millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only on in a hundred million to a poetic or divine life.”

having become a poet in my senior, graybeard years, i am, as the author of walden says, marching to a different drummer.

trout fishing in america
richard brautigan

college professors lost in their academic posturing and alaskan politicians who have acted to destroy their state’s wilderness will never understand or appreciate trout fishing in america.  author brautigan believes that trout is a creature of great natural beauty, but also does not believe in catching them. in his short story “the trout fishing diary of alonzo hagen” brautigan makes a chart detailing “trips made–trout lost.”

also in the story “the cleveland wrecking yard” brautigan described selling used trout streams:

“how much are you selling the streams for. . . . six dollars and fifty cents a foot. . . that’s for the first hundred feet. . . after that it is five dollars a foot. . . how much for the birds. . . thirty-five cents a piece. . . but of course they are used, . . .”

in all of brautigan’s writings, there is a short clever wit to his imagination, which explains why only those open to new ideas and writing styles will appreciate reading his books.

a fan’s notes
frederick exley

exley was a fine writer, alcoholic, failure at marriage and rehabilitation, and possessed an alter ego in the football player frank gifford who played for the new york giants. with his writing and personal credentials, how could i not relate to the life of exley. all you have to do is substitute the university of michigan wolverines for his new york giants.

for most of my life i have failed to measure up satisfactorily to what the “great american dream” required of mature individuals. however, the summer that i wrote my first poem and declared myself an artist freed me. it saved me from being one of society’s ordinary spectators quietly watching life from the sidelines.

cold mountain
han-shan

whatever season i climb the cliffs–spring, summer, autumn, or the upper peninsula time of the long white–this graybeard poet carries along with him the poems of the crazy chinese hermit.  han-shan described the nervous noisy big city life and how he quickly became a prisoner of the things that money could buy.  he returned to the wilderness, prowling about the forests and streams.  his poems say life is too short and that the only true way to determine truth is through meditation.

today, hiking up the cliffs and standing in the summit’s shadows, han-shan and i listen together to the mad poetic voices spoken by the winds.

(continued in “doomsday library – second five books”)

before writing poetry

summer escapes
michigan upper peninsula
leaving college teaching
below mackinaw bridge
always about 10:30
orange-pineapple time
before labor day
return to vanilla land
camping in pictured rocks
telling fishing friends
meet me at the orange barrel
donahey home in grand marais
chasing elusive trout
rainbows and brookies
chilly may mornings
bitter hot coffee
christian brothers brandy mix
checking with postmaster
rascal sayre ostrander
general delivery incoming
letters from
stella in hollywood
trying to succeed in music
sandy and paula
back in battle creek
writing latest news
“love you tom” goodbyes
stopping at superior hotel
bessie saving detroit free press
off to breakwater
sipping warm boegels
checking baseball scores
picking up postcards
beaver house selections
chatting with ruth
asking about neal
his next “beaver trails”
grand marais pilot
quickly into inga
grabbing several wedges
delicious black pepper cheese
ignoring tourists
9 to 5 veterans
briefly free from cubicles
cargo shorts
message t-shirts
baseball caps
will bills pointed straight
older humorless people
wondering what to do
bicycle riding done
dog walked
new car waxed
little interest in
painting photography writing
missing desk security
suit and power ties
continuous cell-phone calls
making big deals
earning more money
suddenly one morning
nursing club majestic hangover
writing two or three poems
on wrinkled paper plate
creative realization
contesting elusive muse
translating ideas to words
what life is all about

pictured rocks

pictured rocks

the donahey pickle barrel

the donahey pickle barrel

grand marais - old post office

grand marais – old post office

superior hotel

superior hotel

fisherman on breakwater

fisherman on breakwater

the sportsman bar

the sportsman bar

the pictured rocks

     i owe the pictured rocks a tremendous debt for saving my life as an alienated father and disillusioned professor.  whatever upper peninsula magic existed in the pictured rocks, it gave me the “stuff” to survive and continue to stay alive.  when my summer vacations had vanished, i felt reasonably relaxed and ready to return to kellog community college and the fall semester.

    before i purchased ten acres of vacant land and established the “broken-axe handle” splake camp, i would camp in the unimproved state forest campgrounds.  i spent much time at the hurricane river, ross lake, twelve-mile beach, and gemini lake sites.  however, late summer when camping areas got too crowded, i would drive out and establish a place to stay in the middle of the kingston plains.

     during the summer’s passing days i frequently visited sable falls, the log slide, and hiked into the sable point lighthouse.  also during my vacations i would often trek from sable lake across the sand dunes and have a picnic on the lake superior bluffs.  earlier in my vacations it was very special to visit chapel rock and beach and take a fast icy swim in lake superior.

     since my earlier camping days in the pictured rocks,  i wrote a book only in my dreams, which describe my feelings about the new paved highway established in the pictured rocks.

pictured rocks

pictured rocks

miner's rock

miner’s rock

miner's falls

miner’s falls

hurricane river

hurricane river

sable falls

sable falls

munising falls

munising falls

sable point lighthouse

sable point lighthouse

indian head

indian head

grand sable dunes

grand sable dunes

melstrand store

melstrand store

chapel beach

chapel beach

old wooden lighthouse on grand island

old wooden lighthouse on grand island