“Fifty-Plus Years Ago Now Again”

(June 19, 2019)

a big say goodbye

rain noon-on and dry days come

as they will on-off

twenty-degrees rain wind-chill*

twilight-dust and sweet mold-scents

*(From 95 degrees Fahrenheit or nearabouts as not matters in a matter of hours after blinding slanting thunder rain before near fifty-mile-an-hour rains temperatures drop to 75 – and lower. Only other place such drastic temp-drops in the high jungle fastness of the Anamite Corderilla – more specifically the Que Son Mountains, West and Southwest of Danang. High Summer 100 percent humidity and 85 temps turn to 100 percent humidity and 65 and even 55 degree nights. Not frostbite, exactly, but there were cases of exposure.)

“Cemetary Dirt Just Too Rich” Tanka 2366

(June 19, 2019)

in the long strange days

when The Dead were afforded

their own real estate

more and more just say ‘burn me!’

urn gets its own patch-o-dust!*

*(For a brief time when each token of animation got its own lot in the past-partytime village hereabouts even then there were devotees of cremation and in some places family sepulchers sometimes found the next one in got “Over Uncle John” treatments more common to our sentiments from the catacombs of Paris or Rome. And, now, with urban sprawl and the lawyerly eyes lustlooking at all that greensward with stones thrust up – and in more modern villages just polished granite plagues laid flush to accommodate the lawnmowers – a why not consolidate the smaller family-sized cemeteries to make more appropriate – their words, not mine! – use of the land. And one can smell the mind-grease burning here: why not stack-n-packs, and besides we do halloween not day-of-th’-dead and all that beautiful undeveloped land is just so, so funereal standing without a seven-eleven or a bank drive-thru. We could build one-room condos right over there and when the owner dies, just pluck the condo from the stack and put it in the no-party zone stack, no? Don’t laugh. Give yourself apoplexy that way, and then where would you be…waitin’ on line for your new ‘fordable handy-dandy one-room condo-cutie right over there where Woodlawn Used To NotBe.)

“Daily Day-Adjusts” Tanka 2368

most adjust their day

by the severe storm warnings,

high-heat indices

at least it’s not without warn

and makes a cool even’tide*

*This past week’s weather – late afternoon thunderstorms, some severe, give way to cooling breezes and flights of fancy. Fifty-three years ago – just yesterday – it was declare lifeguarding duty done at the pool, jump into the Bass Weejuns and slip on a clean tee and go by best girl’s parents home for a quick “hi” and we both slide off for some Daytona Beach boardwalking.)

“A Quick Accounting* Lesson”

*(By an acknowledged No-Counter)

*(June 20, 2019)

do your debts pile past

all shakespearean writ cant?

answer: poverty*

*(If thou’d not a borrower be then follow the rules of proper pauperhood. Hold out a hand palm up only to cup water or food. Even given money costs. And poverty by choice yields room for alternatives. Working as a sign-holder at a handy interstate entry or exit ramp may pay well – some such workers say $150 a day is poor return…with a leashed small but friendly appearing dog double the output; better yet, do your begging mobile in front of offices where young lions graze in glass-fronted dark towers. Look up, smile, engage, and follow the dog’s lead. Money flows from guilt. Then you can find out all the reasons not to go that route on your own. My informant did his best begging along and near “K” Street in Washington, D.C., but lived miles away at a highway overpass with a running stream for a quick washup underneath, and relatively peaceful neighbors. But no place to garden, no place to get a library book, no place to feel safe at night. Is $300 a day – and for what? dope, brew, whatever really worth it? And poverty carries one positive benefit you haven’t yet realized: it provides the impetus to quit smoking cancer. If you like high so much why do you threaten the end of the run by cramming ciggy smoke down your lungs all day?

This came about as I was walking out of my nearby supermarket with a library cloth bag of groceries. I was separating quarters from nickles-dimes-pennies, each to a separate pocket. Do you have a light, the young man with the small black-n-white puppy on a shoulder-halter-style harness rig asked. “Nope. Don’t smoke.” Do you have a lighter? I quirked and shrugged a negative. Then, do you have any small change your can spare, he came to brass tacks. “Nope,” ever the economizer of negatives I repeated. “These are all counted-for.”

“Don’t Care If You’re Not Thirsty…”

(June 20, 2019)

‘member: if you thirst

you are too late for water

to help you hydrate!*

*(Old story – and test – a man has one gallon of water in a plastic jug and 30 miles of desert to cross overnight. When and how does he begin water rationing? A: He drinks all the water he has right now, before he begins the walk. The Belly is the perfect place to store water for long over-desert walks. Ask a camel. No eight-point-eight pounds of dead weight to lug – by hand, improvise backpack or balanced on a not-flat head; only evaporation loss actually cools the body during the walk. There is no such ameliorative evaporation in a jug. The same answer still obtains if it is bright daylight, though why anyone willingly would walk 30 desert miles by broiling-bright daylight is beyond me. The 30 miles is a canard. Could be 20 or even 40: still the same answer. If it’s 50 miles? Yep. Drink it all and hope you find a lizard or a sidewinder you can kill to squeeze out its liquid. You’re gonna need it. As the Summer starts – what? This still is Spring? – hydration – and by that I mean WATER (not sports drink, soda or, gasp, beer) is three important. And the best advice I ever got was to drink early and often and even when – especially when) you are not thirsty. Dehydration and its fellow traveler Heat Prostration (a step before Heat Stoke) is more a late warning signally You Get To An Ambulance Yesterday! than a signal to swig. I used to go through 10-to-20 salt pills a day in the high mountain jungles in northern South Vietnam: my jungle camouflage blouse (shirt) was streaked white with the accumulated salt leaked out my pores. But I never got muscle cramps, even carrying 120-to-135 pounds of gear and full pack – even when I tipped the scales at a svelte 133 pounds, down from a fleshy high of 186 upon arrival. Sometimes I replenished my canteens – and three-quart emergency blivet at least twice and on several occasions thrice in one day of high mobility in the razorback ridges of The Que Son Mountains, despite war’s depredations and perhaps chemical defoliants perhaps the most breathtaking of all mountains which I have walks – with a firearm or not. In all High Stress situations (Okay, almost all) proper nutrition and hydration are two of the three legs upon which survival hangs. A camel-back beats a canteen. A water blivet, a camel back and a canteen: now, that’s ideal. You can do it ice cold, but I find that a headache – literally, and ambient temperature water does not shock the system the way an ice-water tonsil-dunk may. In high stress situations – and Vietnam combat remains my all-time high-stress, I carried 10 one-quart canteens of water (one one-quart canteen solid ice and one one-quart canteen either of vodka or whiskey but those did not count in the total and one was medicinal, purely. I had a six-back of canned beer at the bottom of my rucksack strung on an aluminum-alloy packframe right beside the two extra bandoleers of 5.56 (.223 caliber) ammunition for quick retrieval by expedient of the late Bo Randall’s hand-forged on the South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando Bowie-style fighting knife always swung upside down on a suspender strap which was attached to extra magazines of ammo and extra water and battle dressings. The solid-ice canteen (an antique aluminum and not molded plastic) was to share with the gang after getting out of the helicopter, quickly and quietly shared with whichever squad to I found myself attached. Nothing builds a quicky-bond as a cold water slug. Unless it’s an extra bandoleer of rounds when everyone else is running low. Survival is important business is the point of this diatribe: and water is the key. Do not make me come dig you up and slap the back of what remains of your head for forgetting to drink your water!)