Witness the Day

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Chachalakas cackling like noisy gossips

in a forest of thorns

while white wing doves admonish

in the deep richness of morning light and shadow

passing over grasses covering the hillside drying

in the end of a perfect cycle,

heavy with grain,

waiting for the rains,

where mice, no longer plaguing my pantry

scurried hungrily in the cover of night

in the dim light of distant stars,

but lay sleeping this very moment

in secret urgency,

while I, awake, sip coffee simultaneously

listening and watching in silence

and seeing nothing moving,

have nothing important to say,

wanting only to witness the day

while scratching sky and scuffing dirt

with lizards along the road.

 

5/22/16

Tail of the Dragon

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         Once a long time ago, or maybe it hasn´t happened yet, I´ve never been quite clear on that point, there was a place here on our beautiful planet Earth, or maybe it was someplace else, I´ve never known for sure, where only dragons lived, well, let´s say where almost only dragons lived.

These dragons sort of had a country of their own there, or maybe it was a kingdom, but then there would have had to have been a king which there wasn´t, and come to think of it, these dragons didn´t really call it anything, it was just where they lived, but it was a place and it had towns and villages and farms where most of the dragons lived and, oh yeah, it had one mountain right in the middle.

Most of the dragons there were pretty average, more like big lizards actually, but there were one or two that were special and there was one lizard, I mean dragon, who was different than all the rest.  He was sort of a mean dragon, really cantankerous and extremely difficult to get along with because he thought he knew everything there was to know about everything and thought it was impossible for him to be wrong about anything.  He was so sure of this that he would get really angry and breath fire at and singe off the eyelashes of anyone who disagreed with anything he said was true, and once he decided something was so, he would never change his mind about it, not even if someone could prove he was wrong.

Anyway, this obnoxious dragon´s name was Elmore and it was actually kind of sad when you think about it. If he wasn´t so stubborn and allowed that maybe he didn´t know everything, then maybe he would have been a lot easier to like.  He did have some rather nice qualities.  His scales had a particularly nice sheen and shimmered with all the colors that there are and his claws and teeth were exactly the same color as the moon sparkling on water and then there was his tail. OH MY!  Has there ever been a more fantastic tail!  It was soooo long! Longer than any other dragon tail that had ever been, and dragons have pretty long tails in general.  Elmore´s tail was possibly a hundred miles long or kilometers or leagues or something long, I´ve never really got that stuff figured out, but to tell you the truth, probably, no one ever measured it.  You see, dragons don´t think they have to measure everything the way humans do,  but it was very, very long indeed and Elmore, who was actually quite tall  when he sat up straight, couldn´t see the whole thing at once and in fact, had never seen the end of it.

It was said, I don´t know who said it, but it was said by someone, that every once in a while Elmore would come across a length of his tail that he had never seen before and say, “My, my, my! What a beautiful tail. Not as beautiful as mine, of course, but look at all those shimmery colors and, my word, so many spines, more like a cactus than a tail actually.  I sure wouldn´t want to touch it!  Quite dangerous.  I wonder who it belongs to.  He must be out of sight around the corner thinking he´s hiding something.”

You see, because he couldn´t see that that particular section was connected to himself, he thought it belonged to somebody else, but it wasn´t only the spines that made his tail so dangerous.  Whenever Elmore went walking in the dragon´s land, his tail would be following him and he couldn´t see what the end of it was doing.  Whenever he turned left or right, way back down at the end where he couldn´t see, the tip of it would whip around and crack like thunder, knocking over everything in it´s path.  It had even knocked over whole towns with it´s terrible swish.  Then, when Elmore turned around to walk back home, he would see all the destruction it had caused.  Grocery stores, houses, it had taken out a couple of  banks, gas stations and tall office buildings would all be laying on their sides and the other dragons would be shaking there heads and wringing their hands in dismay wailing, “It was that terrible tail again!”, and Elmore would say, “Crimeny sakes! I must have just missed it!”  It seems he was always arriving places just after his tail had left, “Whoever owns that thing should be thrown in a dungeon or something!”

But there was no dungeon in the dragon´s realm.  In fact, there was no law enforcement, no police, no national guard, nothing, because dragons value above all else, their freedom to do whatever they want whenever they want to do it, you see, because they´re dragons and that´s what dragons do.

So there was nothing to be done about it except to re-build.

The dragons would look at Elmore like he was a nut case and tell him, “But Elmore!  It was you!  It was your tail that did this!” and Elmore would get that crazy glowy look in his eyes and smoke would start coming out of his nose holes and he would bellow fire at everybody´s eyelashes and he would stomp around yelling, “What! How dare you accuse me, an perfectly innocent dragon of these horrible crimes!  How dare you think you could teach me something I don´t know about MYSELF!  Who could know more about me than ME!  My tail has been right here with me all afternoon and I surely would have noticed if it doing something like this!”  And then he would stomp around, crashing into everything in a blind rage that he wouldn´t remember afterwards, which is a dragon trait,  blaming it all on “some other dragon´s tail”, catching things on fire with his fire breath, and causing even more damage.  One time, he got so bad, he took out an entire National Park.

The villagers soon learned that trying to talk to Elmore about it just wasn´t worth it.  They just didn´t know what to do.  Finally they had a big meeting and decided that it would be best if everyone just hid whenever they saw him coming.

“Cowards!”,  Elmore called them when he heard about it, “I guess this leaves it up to me to find this despicable character and clear my spotlessly clean, good name all by myself.”

Even though Elmore may not have been the smartest dragon the world had ever known, he wasn´t stupid.  I didn´t take him long to come up with a plan that, actually, wasn´t all that bad.  Since, as we all know, mountains are much, much, smaller at the top that they are at the bottom, he figured that if he could lure the “criminal beast” up to the top where there was no room to hide, he could trap him and find a dungeon someplace to throw him in.

To bait the trap, he got a disguise with a funny little paper hat and a push-cart and proceeded to walk all the way around the base of the mountain yelling, “Humans! Get yer red-hot fire-roasted humans heeeer!”

He didn´t really have any fire-roasted humans, of course. Humans had been extinct for a long time in the dragon´s place, but dragons have long memories and remembered how irresistible and juicy they were to eat.  They were extinct because, well, dragons do not conserve! When they see something they like to eat, they eat it…. till it´s GONE!

After he had gone completely around the mountain yelling “fire- roasted humans”, he ditched the push cart and headed up the mountain.  He was all out of breath and real disappointed when he got to the top to find himself all alone.  “Dang!” he exclaimed, “That must be one dumb dragon to pass up a chance to eat fire-roasted humans!”

He waited a little while, just in case the other dragon was just a slow climber, and headed back down the mountain.  When he got to the bottom, he was in for another big surprise.  There, laying across his path was his tail, right where he´d left it when he circled the mountain pretending to be a fire roasted human vendor.

“Oh no!” he cried in despair, “While I was up on the mountain waiting to trap the dastardly demon, he trapped me!  There´s no way I could survive climbing over those wicked spines!”  Of course, if Elmore had just walked around for awhile up there, his tail would have eventually moved out of his way, but it was too late.  He had already decided that he was impossibly trapped and there was no way out.  And of course, Elmore, being Elmore, would never change his mind, so that was that.

That´s how everything got resolved.  Elmore stayed up on the mountain and found a nice cozy cave to turn into his lair where he wasn´t bothered by anyone he thought was more stupid than himself and the villagers put signs around the bottom of the mountain saying, “Danger, Beware of tail!” and never went up there anymore. They re-built everything and went back to doing whatever they wanted whenever they wanted to and never had anymore trouble from Elmore or his tail again.

I just goes to show you, there a lesson or two here if you think about it,  like…..

“If you want to be free, you better keep an open mind, just don´t fall in it.”

…and, oh, maybe, “It´s alright to admit you don´t know something.  It´ll save you the trouble of making something up.”

….or, I know, “You might not know your rear end from something else.”  and maybe a couple other things…..and

 

…The End.

A Little Yolkin´ Around

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A Little Yolkin´ Around

A Children´s Story dedicated to my grandchildren, Madeline, Emily and Ryan.

Jimmy and Charlene were rollin´ around the nest laughin´ their heads off.  Not that eggs really have heads, or rather, they´re pretty much all head with no bodies.  You usually don´t think of eggs as being particularly funny either.  Well, of course they´re usually quiet around humans …for all the obvious reasons.

Anyway, the reason they were laughing so hard was that Patty had told a good yolk.  A “yolk” is what egg children call a joke, and it´s not because they´re Swedish either, that´s just the way eggs talk, from the center out.  And the yolk probably wouldn´t have been that funny to you or me.  Egg humor tends to leave something to be desired for us humans, but egg yolks are a crack-up for eggs.

Jimmy, Patti and Charlene were nest mates, and no finer eggs ever made an omelet.  “You guys are just full of hot sauce!”  their mother often cackled.  She was always warnin´ them that, if they got to carried away laughin´, someday, they were gonna roll right out of the nesting box.  “If you´re not careful,”  she told them, “one day your gonna end up on a McMuffin.

But the three little eggs barely heard her ´cause they were havin´ so much fun.

But then something happened.  This time, it was Jimmy that had made up the yolk.  It was about a rotten little egg that had tried to escape when the farmer went to collect the eggs and take them out to breakfast.  These three little eggs were lucky because the farmer had decided he needed more chickens and left them in their nesting box to hatch in to baby chicks.  Just as the farmer picked the little rotten egg up, he blurted out a yolk that was a little off center and the farmer was so surprised that he threw him straight up in the air, and he came down “splat” on top the bald farmer´s head and started droolin´ down his face.

They all thought that this yolk was so punny, that they giggled and rolled and laughed and rolled right outta the nesting box, all the way across the hen house floor and out the door.  They rolled clear across the chicken yard and under the chicken wire gate, past the garden and down the road, and they didn´t stop rollin´ until they were about a half a mile away from the farm.

There they sat, tryin´ to catch their breaths, when Charlene says, “Hey! Where the heck are we?”

They all looked around, a little confused like, “This isn´t the hen house! Wow! We´ve rolled clean outta the nesting box!” they all chorused at once.  “Oh no!”

There they were, layin´ in a rut in the middle of the road and couldn´t see nothin´ but the weeds on the side of it and some trees on the other side of a fence.  No hen house, no chicken yard, no nothin´.  What a predicament.  They didn´t even know which way to roll to get home.  You see, eggs don´t walk ´cause they don´t have any legs.  The only thing they can do is roll, but they´re darn good at it and can get up to quite a clip.

Patti was the first to say anything after that, “Well, we sure as heck have gotta get outta this road.  We could end sunny-side up out here!  Let´s get over to the side and think about what we gotta do!”

The three little eggs rolled themselves outta the rut they were in and were soon restin´ in the weeds.  If nothin´ else, it was a lot more comfortable and easier to think there.  “Well,” Jimmy said, “I guess we´d better put our noggin´s together and come up with some sorta plan.”,  so they all rolled together until they were touchin´ and started thinkin´ as hard as they could.

All the sudden, Charlene shouted out, “Hey!  I think I´ve got it!  As you remember, we didn´t eggs-actly  roll here on purpose,  so gravity musta done it for us.  Since things only roll down hill by gravity, all we gotta do is roll uphill to get home!”

“You’re a genius!” remarked Patti, and that settled it.  They all rolled over to the edge of the road and started rollin´ uphill.  ´Course, it was slow goin´.  They couldn´t just roll in a straight line because they were ovals and not perfectly round.  They had to wobble and that made them tired.  So tired, in fact, that sometimes they started rollin´ backwards as much as they were rollin´ forwards.  “Stop!”  Jimmy yelled, and they all wobbled off the edge of the road behind a rock so they wouldn´t roll back down the hill where they might end sunny side up.

They were so tired, that the next thing ya know, they all fell asleep, dreamin´ they were back in the nesting box with the mother hen keepin´ them warm under her downy feathers.  Jimmy had another dream too.  He dreamt about his great, great, great, great, great grand-uncle, Humpty, who fell off a wall, and all the king´s  horses and all the king´s men – to tell ya the truth, the horses weren´t all that much help – really did put Humpty back together again.  And after that, he gave up wise crackin´ from up on toppa wall for good.  It´d been a horrible experience and he´d learned his lesson.

Then Charlene started talkin´ in her sleep, “Quit shovin´ Jimmy!”  I woke Jimmy up.  “I ain´t shovin´!” he said.  Then they all opened their eyes and looked up at the big nose of a turtle who was rollin´ them towards the woods.

“Hey! Cut it out!” they all yelled at once.  The turtle stopped and just stared at them like he could hardly believe his ears.  “Waddya think your doin´!” Jimmy asked.

“Well, I´m rollin´ you over to the sand by the big pond so I can bury you, of course.”

“Well, why would you wanna do a thing like that?”

“´Cause that´s what turtles do.  We bury our eggs in the sand so nobody will bother them and they stay warm so they can hatch.  Then they crawl outta the sand and go down to the big pond and go swimmin´.”

“But were not turtle eggs!”  the eggs all said.

“Oh My!” said the turtle. “I musta mistook you for turtles ´cause you all got shells.  Do you mean to tell me that chicken´s have shells too?”

“Of course not, silly.” Patti said. “Chickens have got feathers not shells, but chicken eggs do have shells.”

“Oh dear!  My mistake,” said the turtle. “But I can see you don´t belong out here.  Some ugly ol´´possum might come along and eat you.  Is there anything I can do to help you get where you´re supposed to be?”

“Well, as a matter of fact, there is.” Patti said. “Since you´re so good at pushin´ eggs around, would ya mind pushin´ us up to the hen house? We just sorta rolled outta there by mistake.”

“It´d be my pleasure.” Said the turtle, “Well, over easy!” and he started rollin´ them up the hill again.  Turtles aren´t very fast, but it was certainly faster, not to mention, less tiring than wobblin´ under their own power.

“Hey, this sorta tickles!” giggled Charlene.

“For gawd´s sake, Charlene.  Whatever you do don´t start crackin´up.”

Soon, they had been rolled past the garden and right up to the chicken wire gate.  “Can´t go no further,” the turtle said. “My shells too tall to get under the gate.”

The next thing ya know, the old mama hen comes flyin´at the gate squawkin´ up a storm.  “You the one that stole my egglings?” she asked the turtle.

“Well, no.  I didn´t steal ´em.  I just rolled ´em home for you.” The turtle answered. “They said they rolled down the hill by mistake.”

The old mama hen cocked her head and looked at him kinda sideways,  “Sorry.  My eyesight isn´t that good any more.  I thought you were an ugly, ol´´possum.

“That´s alright.  I get mistaken for ´possums all the time.” The turtle said.

“You do?” asked the rooster who had just come over to see what all the fuss was about.

“Naaaw! That was a jolk.” Answered the turtle.

“But it wasn´t punny.” Said the rooster. “if by jolk, you mean yolk.”

“Well, I guess turtle jolks aren´t very punny unless you’re a turtle.  We´re a little slow.”  Said the turtle.

“What the heck started you rollin´ down the hill?” the rooster asked the eggs.

“Jimmy told a good yolk and we all cracked-up and started laughin´and rollin´.  Next thing ya know, we were a halfa mile down the road.  If it wasn´t for this kind turtle, we´d still be there!”

“You´re a good egg,” said the mama hen.

“I´m not an egg, I´m a turtle!” the turtle protested

“Well, what was the yolk?”  The rooster asked.  Roosters are very fond of yolks.  So Jimmy told the yolk again and all the hens started crackin-up and cacklin´ up a storm, ´cause they thought it was so punny, and were rollin´around in the hot dusty chicken yard.

Then everyone thanked the turtle for rollin´ the little eggs home.  They didn´t shake hands ´cause none of them had any, so they just smiled at one another, and the turtle slowly took off towards the pond.

All the chickens helped roll the three little eggs up onto the old mama hens back and she fluttered them back up to the nesting box.  They rolled off her back and nestled themselves under her warm feathery breast and were soon fast asleep.  Jimmy dreamt up another yolk which will have to wait for another time to be told.  The old mama hen sweetly clucked them a lullaby, and the little eggs dreamt on, dreamin´ turtle dreams, dreams of sandy beaches and swimmin´ in the big pond.