The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

A Primer
By Bob Hicok

I remember Michigan fondly as the place I go
to be in Michigan. The right hand of America
waving from maps or the left
pressing into clay a mold to take home
from kindergarten to Mother. I lived in Michigan
forty-three years. The state bird
is a chained factory gate. The state flower
is Lake Superior, which sounds egotistical
though it is merely cold and deep as truth.
A Midwesterner can use the word "truth,"
can sincerely use the word "sincere."
In truth the Midwest is not mid or west.
When I go back to Michigan I drive through Ohio.
There is off I-75 in Ohio a mosque, so life
goes corn corn corn mosque, I wave at Islam,
which we're not getting along with
on account of the Towers as I pass.
Then Ohio goes corn corn corn
billboard, goodbye, Islam. You never forget
how to be from Michigan when you’re from Michigan.
It's like riding a bike of ice and fly fishing.
The Upper Peninsula is a spare state
in case Michigan goes flat. I live now
in Virginia, which has no backup plan
but is named the same as my mother,
I live in my mother again, which is creepy
but so is what the skin under my chin is doing,
suddenly there's a pouch like marsupials
are needed. The state joy is spring.
"Osiris, we beseech thee, rise and give us baseball"
is how we might sound were we Egyptian in April,
when February hasn't ended. February
is thirteen months long in Michigan.
We are a people who by February
want to kill the sky for being so gray
and angry at us. "What did we do?"
is the state motto. There’s a day in May
when we're all tumblers, gymnastics
is everywhere, and daffodils are asked
by young men to be their wives. When a man elopes
with a daffodil, you know where he's from.
In this way I have given you a primer.
Let us all be from somewhere.
Let us tell each other everything we can.


I had lots of little shopping chores to do today, the most exciting of which involved tracking down a pair of slippers to fit older son that were neither too fuzzy nor too thin, had a tear-proof but not stiff bottom, could be thrown in a washing machine without the lining getting all bunched up, would not be too tight around his ankles, and were an acceptable color. With that mission accomplished, I went to get even more exciting items like batteries and conditioner. Then, since I was deprived yesterday, I took myself to California Tortilla for turkey chili. By then it was time to get home and make sure older son finished his big Spanish project that's due Wednesday.

Cows at the trough outside the milking shed at South Mountain Creamery last weekend.

Guineafowl wandered in the pasture with the turkeys and chickens.

Inside the calf barn, miniature donkey Smoky and her daughter Kali, whose father is a spotted donkey so she has traits of both.

The donkeys were visiting from Contentment Farm near Boonsboro, as was this goat.

All of the calves were quite young. This white spotted one was consoling a younger one.

There were several dogs on the farm, though none of them seemed to be involved in herding.

And there were kittens for adoption!

But the farm's major business comes from milking cows. They use no growth hormones or antibiotics and everything the cows eat is grown on the pesticide-free farm.

The kids accidentally found that The Simpsons rerun this evening was the eighth season episode "The Springfield Files," one of the few I ever saw in its original time slot -- the one with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully, and Leonard Nimoy as himself, which ends with everyone singing "Good Morning Starshine" from Hair. It gets in digs not only at The X-Files but also Star Wars, Looney Tunes, Alf, Close Encounters and lots of other sci-fi, good and bad. apaulled and I saw most of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's shows last night, but we put them on again this evening because their commentary on the latest evil vitriol coming out of Camp McCain was so good -- Colbert skewering the racists dismissing Powell's endorsement of Obama, Stewart skewering the idea that there is a Real America and a Fake America (I guess those firefighters who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 were Fake Americans just like the stockbrokers).

The kids mostly worked in the evening, but we did take a break for the Robot Chicken Christmas special, the most politically incorrect thing I have ever seen -- the birth of Jesus was in a manger full of farting animals, where the innkeeper lit a match and created a fireburst that became the star the Wise Men saw. And then there was the Narnia skit in which Peter and Susan killed Father Christmas ("Why did Santa Claus give us lethal weapons?") Edmund had a perverted relationship with the White Witch (he thought Turkish Delight was a sex position), and Aslan said, "This is why kids should read good Christian fantasy instead of Harry Potter," at which a centaur asked Aslan, "Did you see that play with Daniel Radcliffe's penis?" to which Aslan retorted, "What kind of a question is that to ask the Jesus-allegory lion?" before admitting that he did, after which Edmund accidentally killed him.

Needless to say, I howled through the whole thing, so am probably going to hell with the rest of Fake America. Fortunately, all my friends will be fact, nearly everyone I know will be there.

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