Thursday, April 19, 2012


Seventies: Part One                                    

            One of the first things you notice after being retired is that you have time to notice things. There is time. Not as much as I thought there would be, but time enough. I have begun to notice crows these last three years— an interesting bird. Some people are against them. They rob nests when they can find them, eat the young. I watch them walk along the fence and scan the evergreens for nests. Not nice. But then we all kill something. I remember an old Buddhist thing: “We are all food, and the eaters of food .”         
            I have digressed. I tend to do that.

            I want to talk about crows. They fascinate me, so damn smart, so cautious. After three years some now dare to stand their ground some ten or twelve feet off, watching my every move— poised for a quick escape. A burst of flight. One hangs around, keeping an eye on a crow feeder I made—an aluminum baking  pan in a wood  pole about four feet off the ground. Should have made it higher by at least a foot. Dogs get into it sometimes.

            It’s still mid-winter and the gulls have come in shore to plunder. They are a much larger bird, but fewer. Fighters and bombers. Gulls chase crows only if one’s found something to eat something it cannot quickly swallow, trying to steal it away. Sometimes the drop their prize. A band of crows can drive a gull or two away . . . but not so far away.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Downsized at 50+ Temp Jobs No. 3

The Time of My Life

Hot summer afternoon
It’s ninety-seven in the shade
And more
Inside my gear
White paper dust mask
Padded rubber on my ears
To stop some of the noise
A pair of safety glasses
Dark blue coveralls on top my clothing
Heavy leather gloves
Thick socks and steel toe boots.

Holding this powerful electric drill
Eight pounds of heavy metal
Spinning wire-brush wheel
A blur of blue and gray
Against the rust that has accumulated
On eight tons of angle iron
My job.

Eight hours inside a cloud of dark red dust
Fire storm of sparks
Bristles fly off
Go though this fabric armor
Into sweating skin
Dust makes it hard to breath
My glasses fogged by body heat

I watch the slow shop clock
Selling the time of my life

Six-fifty an hour.