Ode to Billie Collins

 Poetry Challenge Day 54 (Sat 11/27/21)



Billie Collins is my hero.
I love the way he writes.
The connections he makes are so
marvelous and unexpected.

I would love to write like he does,
but then people would say
you sound just like Billie Collins.
I could probably live with that.

My daughter told me that after a year
of this nonsense, I would find my voice.
I doubt that her prediction
has the chance of becoming reality.

I’m going to give her the
benefit of the doubt,
largely because I would love to hear someone say,
“you sound a lot like Billie Collins…”



Tree House

 Poetry Challenge Day 53 (Fri 11/26/21)



I’ve written some poems sitting in a bar,
it may seem like I use beer as inspiration…
perhaps,
but living in a treehouse
would be the ultimate
inspiration.



Thanksgiving

 Poetry Challenge Day 52 (Thu 11/25/21)



Thanksgiving.
I love you.
Yes, all of you…
the current…
the past…
the future…



Beards

 Poetry Challenge Day 51 (Wed 11/24/21)



I’ve noticed
Oregon has the corner
On the beard market.

The men here
put my little goatee
to shame.

Beards here are
age independent.
the fuller and longer the better.

I’ll put Oregon men
up against any
bearded state in the country.



The Bar

 Poetry Challenge Day 50 (Tue 11/23/21)



Occasionally you need to hang out
in your local bar.

It’s distracting and noisy.
I’m surprised I can think.

The place is hopping,
Bruce is whaling on the juke.

I sit alone at the bar,
Just how I like it…

Writing this, what, poem?
Listening to the chatter.

I’m not above this,
More like below it really.

When I choose to leave,
No one will notice, or care.

That’s…
Just how I like it today…



Rosemary Apple Pie

Recipe



Ingredients Filling

  • ¼ C granulated sugar
  • ¼ C water
  • 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary plus 1 tsp finely chopped
  • ½ C packed brown sugar
  • ¼ C all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 C cored, peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ C butter
  • 1 Rosemary Pastry
  • 1 egg white beaten
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar

Ingredients Pastry

  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp finely snipped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 C shortening, chilled
  • 1/3 C ice water
  • 1 egg yolk beaten
  • 1 Tbs vinegar

Prepare Filling and Bake

  • 1 Combine ¼ C granulated sugar, water and 2 sprigs rosemary. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let stand 30 minutes, remove sprigs.
  • 2 In a small bowl combine brown sugar flour, salt and 1 tsp finely snipped rosemary, set aside. In a large bowl toss apples with lemon juice. Add brown sugar mixture, toss to coat. Add whipping cream, vanilla, and rosemary syrup.
  • 3 In a large skillet melt butter, add apple mixture. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • 4 Roll out prepared pastry bottom crust and place in pie pan. Spook in apple mixture. Add top curst, brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Cover edge with foil to prevent over browning. Bake 35 minutes then remove foil. Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.

Prepare Pastry

  • 1 In a food processor combine flour, salt, sugar and fresh rosemary leaves.
  • 2 Add shortening. Pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal. In a small bowl combine ice water, egg yolk, and vinegar. Add liquid mixture, one Tbs at a time and pulse until soft dough forms. Divide in half, form into balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.



From Better Homes and Gardens Recipes

For the top crust, I like to cut leaves from the rolled-out pastry with a small cookie cutter. I form the top crust placing the leaves in a concentric circular pattern. 

Thanksgiving Scallion-Cheddar Cornbread Stuffing

Recipe



Ingredients

  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, more as needed
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large egge
  • 6 cups stale cornbread crumbled into large chunks
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh sage or rosemary
  • Pinch of ground cayenne
  • 1-½ C turkey or chicken stock, more as needed
  • 1 C grated sharp cheddar
  • ¼ C grated Parmesan
  • ¼ C chopped parsley
  • Favorite cornbread (prepared in advance and dried)

Steps

  • 1 Preheat oven to 400. Butter a shallow 1-½ quart baking dish.
  • 2 Thinly slice scallions, separating white and light green parts from the dark green parts. Save the dark green parts for later.
  • 3 In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 3 Tbs butter. When the butter foam has most disappeared, add white and light green scallion slices, celery and pinch of salt. Cook stirring until tender, 5 to 8 mins. Add pepper, let mixture cool.
  • 4 Whisk eggs in a separate bowl. Add cooled vegetable mixture, dark green scallion parts, cornbread, sage or rosemary, ½ tsp salt and cayenne. Stir in 1-½ C stock. Add more if needed to moisten. Moist not mushy. Fold in ½ C cheddar, Parmesan, and parsley.
  • 5 Spoon into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining ½ C Cheddar. Cut butter into ½ inch cubes and spread over top. (Can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated over night.)
  • 6 Bake until crisp and brown on top 25 to 35 minutes. (Longer if baking from the refrigerator.



From New York Times Cooking Recipes

Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole

Recipe



Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and broken in half
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 2 shallots finely chopped (about ½ C)
  • ½ pound mushrooms sliced
  • 1 C creme frappe
  • 1/3 C heavy cream
  • 6 ops Gruyere, shredded (1-½ C)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram or 1 tsp fresh they leaves
  • ½ C bread crumbs

Steps

  • 1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 2 to 2-½ quart baking dish.
  • 2 Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add green beans and boil for 5 minutes then transfer to a bowl of cold water. Drain well and dry. (Substitute canned if fresh are not available.)
  • 3 Heat a heavy skillet over medium head and add bacon. Cook until crispy. Remove to paper towels and let cool. Reserve 2 Tbs bacon grease.
  • 4 Cook shallots in reserved bacon grease, stirring until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms, raise heat slightly and cook until mushrooms begin to sweat. Salt to taste, cook until tender.
  • 5 Whisk creme fraiche and cream. Stir in Gruyere, add green beans, mushrooms, shallots, and marjoram or thyme. Crumble in bacon. Stir until beans are well coated. Transfer to baking dish.
  • 6 Melt remaining butter and toss with bread crumbs. Bake 30 minutes until bread crumbs are golden brown and casserole is bubbling.



 From New York Times Cooking Recipes

Paid

 Poetry Challenge Day 49 (Mon 11/22/21)



I paid,
it forward.



Online Search

 Poetry Challenge Day 48 (Sun 11/21/21)



Adkins…
…Caregiver, State of Oregon
…Director of Field Marketing and Operations
…Inmate Number 1544785, State of Illinois
…American Country Singer

I can’t find myself.
Perhaps I should be looking in
Kentucky coal country,
instead of online…



Kentucky is where the Welsh ‘Adkins’ (with a ‘d’) settled. They were coal miners.

Not A Poem

 Poetry Challenge Day 47 (Sat 11/20/21)



I know this isn’t a poem.
This is my life.
As simple, and as meaningless as it may be…
It is mine.
For the most part, I adore it.



Pay It Forward

 Poetry Challenge Day 46 (11/19/21)

Read Day 45 first…



Out of nowhere,
the answer presents itself.

The couple sitting next to me
picks up my dinner check.

All they ask is that
I pay it forward

To which I heartily agree,
without hesitation.

They have shown me what I need to do,
love, care, help.

I will pay it forward, and my thoughts
will be with them as I do.



The Din

 Poetry Challenge Day 45 (11/18/21)



I can say, unequivocally
I have never lived through
a worse era.

It seems all pretense
of propriety has been
lost and voices are raging.

I’m afraid.
I don’t want to join the din.
How do we see our way out of this?



Poetry Challenge

 Poetry Challenge Day 44 (11/17/21)



The actual challenge here
is to write poetry.

Someone told me, after a year
I should find my poetic voice.

I find myself…
skeptical.



Social Media

 Poetry Challenge Day 43 (11/16/21)



We can not see the value of our institutions
because the walled garden of social media
has cut off our connection to them.



Black

 Poetry Challenge Day 42 (11/15/21)



Think about this for a moment,
There are no black people in Africa.

Being black, being seen as black,
is a distinctly American invention.

Immigrants to this country had to learn
to think in terms of “black” and “white.”

This was demanded of them
in order to be fully assimilated.

They had to shed their nationality
and become “white.”

It is ironic that in the modern world we look at people
through the lens of color..

rather than for who they are.



Much worse than ironic, really.

Caste

Poetry Challenge Day 41 (11/14/21)



Make no mistake
the caste system is alive
and well in America.

But don’t teach my children
about the history of
race in America…

We wouldn’t want to open any eyes.



I view this as my most important poem to-date. I think the caste system in America is at the heart of our current political dilemma. Certain people have decided to move on from our racist/caste past, and certain other people are feeling threatened by the realization that caste is no longer working like they intend it to… and then there are those that recognize this phenomenon, and are using it to exert control over the latter…

Drivers

 Poetry Challenge Day 40, Saturday November 13



Worst drivers on the road…
those driving a Toyota Prius.

Best drivers on the road…
those driving a Toyota Tacoma.
(Especially those heavily modified for overland travel…)



My Tacoma is heavily modified for overland travel…

Virtue

Journal Entry



“A man of virtue ought to solve problems - not simply use them to attack his adversary.”

- Christine Emba

Well, there you have it. That describes where we are as a body politic. It seems to have started with one man, and spread like a disease.



Curse

 Poetry Challenge Day 39, Friday November 12



What is this curse:
to have the desire of gods
but the ability of a mortal.



Bad Poetry

Journal Entry



So I wrote a poem in Go this morning. It’s a calculator that tells me when I will achieve my poetic voice based on the experience of e. e. cummings. I’m making a lame attempt to learn the Go programming language. What else is a retired person supposed to do besides write bad poetry? I probably should go delete my modules on CPAN, but that would be way to much work for a retired person…

Which prompts me to ask myself, do I miss my work now that I have put that behind me. The answer without hesitancy is “no.” Well not really. I don’t miss going to work, but I do miss the intellectual challenge. I make up for that now by reading a lot, and for the most part, that is an excellent stand-in, but there are times when I just want to sit down and write some code.



The Order

Thursday November 11 (Poetry Challenge Day 38)



I would rather adventure overland,
than do anything else.

I would rather ride my bike,
than do anything else.

I would rather ski,
than do anything else.

I would rather write,
than do anything else.

I would rather be with my baby,
than do anything else.

I am presenting these thoughts,
in reverse order of importance.



Fuck No

Wedensday November 10 (Poetry Challenge Day 37)



Let’s play a game…
When I ask you a question,
you answer, “fuck no.”

Q. Baby, would you get out of bed
and fetch me a glass of water?
A. “Fuck no.”

Q. Baby, would you get out of bed
and go cover the lawn chairs?
A. “Fuck no.”

Q. Baby, would you get out of bed
and turn off the light?

A. “Fuck no.”

OK. I’ll do it…

Click.



I just installed a WiFi light switch. Coolest thing ever. I don’t have to get out of bed any more to turn off the light… and neither does anyone else… No part of this poem should be construed as a suggestion that anyone in particular would be unwilling to do a simple thing for me like turn out the light… (Covering lawn chairs could be a different matter, but probably isn’t.)

Climate Change

Tuesday November 9 (Poetry Challenge Day 36)



Some say yes,
some say no.

You can’t remember a time when the climate
was much different than today.

Good for you,
neither can I.

But why should we base the lives and livelihoods
of future generations on our memory?

Can you remember what the climate was like
a thousand years ago, ten thousand, one hundred thousand?

No?
Neither can I.

But there is a way we can…
it’s called science.

Glaciologists are answering these questions today.
All we need to do is pay attention.



Note: Just a couple of weeks ago, U.S. Wildlife officials announced the extinction of 11 birds, 8 fresh water mussels, 2 fish, and 1 bat. “We find speaking of the Anthropocene, even speaking in the Anthropocene, difficult. It is, perhaps, best imagined as an epoch of loss - of species, places and people - for which we are seeking a language of grief and, even harder to find, a language of hope.” - Robert MacFarlane.

What’s Going Down

Journal Entry


I can’t think of an “old” song more relevant to today than this one…


There’s something happening here,
what it is ain’t exactly clear.
There’s a man with a gun over there,
telling me I got to beware.

There’s battle lines being drawn.
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
gettin’ so much resistance from behind.

What a field day for the heat.
A thousand people in the street.
Singing songs and carryin’ signs,
mostly say, “Hooray for our side.”

Paranoia strikes deep.
Into your life, it will creep.
It starts when you’re always afraid,
step out of line, the man come and take you away.

We better stop
hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.



My sister used to listen to “Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66,” they were not a great band, but their cover of “For What It’s Worth” is “worth” listening to, so is the cover by Tab Benoit, from the album “Power Of The Pontchartrain.”