“Nothing, Not Dead-Day”

(July 20, 2019)

‘nother not-dead day

was near only those three times*

movie continues

*(Terrible at math: 1. the freak wave at the DelMarVa Peninsula when – still wearing diapers, according to Mom, I tried to go swim The Atlantic and caught a facefull of wave and painted myself a mite blue; 2. a whole bunch of other times including a vitamin B-complex absorption difficulty at 2 which prompted Navy Doctors to say: take the lad back to your home in The Bronx and see what docs there can do (an old Jewish refugee – 1939 – doc in Mom’s neighborhood had the solution found in a Bayer lab just before World War II’s start was just one of the brushes with eternity about which they knew and I wasn’t telling any others for fear of restrictions; and, 3, being inside the explosive cone of events 9 December 1970. All subsequent “brushes” pretty much fell into the category of Number 2 – what chewdoankno won’t scare ya, guys.)

“Patience, August”

(July 20, 2019)

Patience, August,

we’ll get to you soon enough:

‘Sides, fish mostly ‘sleep!*

*(My safely-dead Dad taught me about catching the most, the fattest specs (Speckled Perch you all call Black Crappie) in and around Sanford (Florida) waters was to ignore the old bromides and ‘murther them all’ come September’s end when all the wags would say: gotta wait until ‘they come on the beds in Spring. Shell-crackers and Red-Breast go deep in August like most fish and it takes a good “big” to lure them and their Warmouth brethren and sistren towards a looker-worm; better to get up early and take the night’s crickets you caught while sparkin’ and see what rustles, a good fly-cast in the old river channel, long disused since Government Cut (see: my first case of hate for most things governmental) ruined a world class Largemmouth bass fishery long before my birth and before I gained access to dad’s flyrod and tackle and his 10’6″ semi-vee aluminum boat with a 7.5-horse Mercury kicker I’d use to escape the mid-week throngs out to spoil The Saint Johns River’s middle portions and go doodle for blue crabs at the mouth of the Wekiva River, one of the nation’s first Wild And Scenic Rivers. My newspaper job in Titusville some 30 miles from Sanford, right across where NASA “Threw Rocks At The Moon” which had its own arcane rules and not-rules for fishing the Indian River and Lagoon, I’d take either Tuesday and Wednesday or Wednesday and Thursday for my weekends and have only bulk-oil barges for company and “surf” their bow-waves unless there was a nice blue thunderstorm brewing Out West coming to visit Lake Monroe, whose shallow bottoms would pitch up some terrifingly real rollers and whitecaps in which to race “before the wind,” in that little ol’e boat with its throttle locked down on full and I’d steer by leaning on my little four-legged stool just forward of the last bench seat on that aluminum rocket, capable of a real nice plane and probably 20- to 30-knots flat out on a skilet-shine calm morning. In rough curlers I’d cheat and slap on the PVC extension to the throttle and “tack” back and forth from the St. Johns’ western rivermouth at the twin bridges (three if you counted the railroad twin to the U.S. Highway 17-92 “swing bridges” along with the then-newish Interstate-4 high-spans of concrete running Daytona Beach to Tampa (only one other “Interstate,” H-4, spanning Honolulu never left their home state) leading into Volusia County and spend a good hour whooping and yelling with the near-misses as overspill always threatened to slip past my guard on the windward tack as the boat’s gunnels cut into the waves with ’bout an inch or less freeboard, or, worse, forced to run with the wind and time the power fluctuations to keep the boat – and me – in mid-trough sometimes would find an onrushing wave start to spill past the transom…now those days almost matched the adrenaline rush of getting shot at – and missed. And if there were a dozen or two crabs and a few fat fish to take home to the parents for supper, so much the better. Never told them about the other stuff, though. I had pretty much worn out the welcome of “J Did…What?” excitement for those two not-always-wonderful, not-always-kind people who loved me and my brothers, regardless. And I still maintain I was The Least of Their Worries. And can so do with a straight face even onto this day!)

“In Love”

(July 20, 2019)

i’m in love first time

if not today then last hour

there goes my resolve*

*(So I added 45 minutes to the original figure: sue me! And to be more than my usual honest, cut that 15-minutes figure in half – at least! I find that rather comforting. Still. Like the ditty about beer (“When I’m not Near The Beer I Love, I Love The Beer I’m Near”) some things, gratefully, almost are interchangeable.)

“The Trained Eyes Lie*”v2

(July 20, 2019)

never look ‘the eyes’

but scan footprints, bank statements

if you would have truth

*(Long, long ago, she looked at me – whimsical I believe – and said, “J, I can’t tell when you are lying to me anymore.” I delayed the fist-pump and urgent yell (if sotto voce a yell nonetheless) “Yesss!” All it took was years of dedicated practice: sit up straight, look right into the eyes and lean just a slight bit forward and make sure the lie was based in truth; the worse the truth the the more you included: an absolute truth told with sincerity which was ‘out of character’ from the viewpoint of the listener would be put down to a well-polished lie. When I told my mother this a couple of decades down the road almost got a swat on the arm as I gently patted her shoulderblade. What I got was a slight snort, a gleam in both eyes and a crinkled smile. I wonder if my brothers ever similarly confessed.)