Friday, November 30, 2012

Rodak's Writings: Linnaeus


Trying now to recall the seldom-taken arboreal tours of my neighborhood-happy little boy being. Delivered by V8 woody wagon to tramp beneath that broad green supported by tall brown-to-black pillars that even in rising seemed crushingly stone-like despite the carefree flitting of the birds, the squirrels and one guessed the bats come sundown. Sure. Trees. And I hardly knowing the names of a few. Leaf shape a Cub Scout sort of wisdom that did not grab me for brain branding. An elm: there was one in our yard on Linden Street. Linden a tree too I would later learn. And that one was a maple. But maples come in tribes. Like Canada. Or Vermont. Pancakes. Butter. Canada. Ice-skates. Maple Leafs a plural with the “v” gone missing. Butter not in tribes but brands. To which no loyalty from me to this day. I will have the generic. Or everything Kroger. Would Kount out Kash for Kroger Kondoms if I Kould. So tree tours remembered but names still not known. Elm for sure. Maple, generally. Oak quite the same. From little acorns. Apple? Known only by the fruits. Jesus said that. Cherry? Ha-ha-ha. Dirty jokes come marching in like a company of WWI vets. Of which not a one remains standing. Unless in some Black Forest cave still cluelessly looking for a Kraut to kill at one-hundred-and-something. Forest for the trees. Africa for the Africans. What’s-his-name grouped them. Not Audubon. That was birds. And years later when Rip Van Winkled. Bowling dwarves. With a goddamned “v” -- fucking Canucks! Kerouac. California. Howl. Anal sex. Why knowing back then more birds than trees? Sparrow. Check. Robin. Check. Blue Jay, pigeon, cardinal, pheasant. Easy. Duck, goose, swan. Sure. Parrot and parakeet. Canary. You could buy them at Woolworth’s. Elm, maple, oak. And don’t squeeze the Charmin. Don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass. Memory becomes time lost to the present. Linnaeus that’s it. Linnaeus not Adam named the trees in all their tribes. He probably earned himself a merit badge. The elms like the WWI vets all gone. The name and its learning has so soon come to naught. …Goddamn but I’m lonely...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rodak's Writings: an Etheree

The poem below is my initial attempt to compose an “etheree,” a form to which I was introduced a couple of days ago in the group “Poetry, Poetry, Poetry” by the poet, Jane Lynahan Karklin. The form gets its name from the given name of an obscure poet from Arkansas who invented and developed the form, Etheree Taylor Armstrong, about whom more here:

The form is simple: line one has one syllable; line two has two, and so on, for a total of ten lines.

The Hangnail

can kill you
if it invites
the right kind of bug
to play trout up your blood-
stream. I want to live forever;
but, please God, not as an old man.
The flesh grows soft as the years mount up.
The hangnail's pain: your path to salvation.