Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Wall

by Anita Endrezze (Yaqui)

Build a wall of saguaros,
butterflies, and bones
of those who perished
in the desert. A wall of worn shoes,
dry water bottles, poinsettias.
Construct it of gilded or crazy house
mirrors so some can see their true faces.
Build a wall of revolving doors
or revolutionary abuelas.
Make it as high as the sun, strong as tequila.
Boulders of sugar skulls. Adobe or ghosts.
A Lego wall or bubble wrap. A wall of hands
holding hands, hair braided from one woman
to another, one country to another.
A wall made of Berlin. A wall made for tunneling.
A beautiful wall of taco trucks.
A wall of silent stars and migratory songs.
This wall of solar panels and holy light,
panels of compressed cheetos,
topped not by barbed wire but sprouting
avocado seeds, those Aztec testicles.
A wall to keep Us in and Them out.
It will have faces and heartbeats.
Dreams will be terrorists. The Wall will divide
towns, homes, mountains,
the sky that airplanes fly through
with their potential illegals.
Our wallets will be on life support
to pay for it. Let it be built
of guacamole so we can have a bigly block party.
Mortar it with xocoatl, chocolate. Build it from coyote howls
and wild horses drumming across the plains of Texas,
from the memories
of hummingbird warriors and healers.
Stack it thick as blood, which has mingled
for centuries, la vida. Dig the foundation deep.
Create a 2,000 mile altar, lit with votive candles
for those who have crossed over
defending freedom under spangled stars
and drape it with rebozos,
and sweet grass.
Make it from two way windows:
the wind will interrogate us,
the rivers will judge us, for they know how to separate
and divide to become whole.
Pink Floyd will inaugurate it.
Ex-Presidente Fox will give it the middle finger salute.
Wiley Coyote will run headlong into it,
and survive long after history forgets us.
Bees will find sand-scoured holes and fill it
with honey. Heroin will cover it in blood.
But it will be a beautiful wall. A huge wall.
Remember to put a rose-strewn doorway in Nogales
where my grandmother crossed over,
pistols on her hips. Make it a gallery of graffiti art,
a refuge for tumbleweeds,
a border of stories we already know by heart.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

                                         Evening Fox in the Urban Primeval

A raccoon family longingly press their cute savage noses against a sliding glass door

Possum plays dead in stand-off with a cat then when alone again ambles away amiably into the night

A doe mother and aunt or big sister lead a black fawn safely through the woods grazing along

A big antlered buck dives magnificently from a low cliff into a cove and swims across

Two spotted fawns hide quietly only to take off running for their lives as someone walks nearby

A newborn black fawn rests on its side then shakily stands but is too weak to move away and falls down

A coyote spots two does and begins the chase by raising up on its hind legs to see where they've run

A dead nutria with four-inch yellow-orange incisors appears, sadly, courtesy of my dog

A deer liver is found and carried by my dog after a fresh coyote kill in the creek flood plain

A tiny spotted fawn lies on its side in silence, a spare coyote portion killed out of habit.

A dead pregnant doe, hit by a car, lies with its unborn fawn's leg protruding through the birth canal

A squirrel is dead on the road with her mate standing over her until he's forced to move

A fat woods rat slowly enters its hiding place in the back side of the refrigerator in the kitchen

A gray mouse grooms itself on my outside windowsill facing away from me, unaware I am watching

A garter snake slips in my house through the open front door and quickly leaves after seeing me

Two garter snakes coil in coitus inside my coiled garden hose

A 5-ft rattlesnake stretches out asleep in the sun on a dock after a meal two Aprils in a row

Geckos press flat against stucco hiding in plain sight

Lizards are everywhere, in silhouette on window screens and hiding in shrubs and under pot edges

Big aquatic turtles venture deep into the woods to dig nests and lay eggs

Hundreds of tiny black frogs are everywhere hip hopping around after hard rains

Two huge long-legged loudly croaking bullfrogs have sex froggy style in the shallows of a cove

All manner of beautiful and goofy birds of all sizes and many kinds with wildly divergent cries live and visit

Cardinals sing their varied repertoire of many songs in a tuneful gabfest each morning

A tiny wren protects her nest of fledglings by aggressively hovering at my face pushing me back

Pairs of tiny wrens each chase away ospreys and hawks and great herons high in the sky

Birds with songs so sweet they soothe the hottest day away are summer companions

Great blue herons with sudden nearby high-decibel squawks that freeze you in your tracks

Screech owls swoop with intense focus and feet first pick off daddy longlegs from the deck

A screech owl dive-bombs my head and follows me down a trail after I try to imitate its cry

A two-foot tall horned hoot owl on a branch suddenly turns its head and stares me directly in the eyes

A neighbor had to build a protective pen for her trash cans to keep out a visiting feral hog

Coyotes are heard nightly from the near hills like now

     Until today, just after sunset this evening, I'd never been near a fox in our woods. I had seen foxes many times previously, often just after sunset, but only when one would cross the road in front of my car headlights. Curiously, each previous sighting happened on the same 50-yard stretch of sharp curves on a steep slope not far from the long driveway to our cabins. There should be a 'Fox Crossing' sign.
     What impressed me most about the foxes I'd seen through the windshield is how low they crouch while crossing, a fast-moving thin and low-profile gray blur in the gray twilight out of sight between tree trunks that hug the road before it dawns on you for certain what you've seen. Fox seems to estimate an observer's expectation of its height and then manages to duck just below that threshold. It's a nice trick and trait.
     I'd thought it would only be a matter of time before I'd be able to stand in the same general patch of ground as a fox but didn't think it would take 20 years to do so. Having done so tonight brightens my brain and thrills a good bit.
    This early evening standing on the same ground as fox about 25 yards away, each aware of the other, I'm surprised how casually the fox esteems my presence at first, confident even cocky about its ability to elude.
Tonight my cat had been sitting upright on the roof of my car, with me standing facing him, both of us enjoying what the evening respectively brings. I like the cool air and the day relaxing into the more subtle and quiet night. Tsavo may have also but seemed to concentrate more on the evening's opportunities, beginning with its secrets.
     He'd been sniffing the air and soon craned his neck to get a better look at something behind me. He might have heard it even before he smelled it. It was the fox, reddish-gray as best I could tell in the faded light, the most common color fox for my area.
     It was a small adult walking slowly, and its bushy tail stretched out behind it parallel to the ground and was almost as long as its lean furry body.  Its head and pointed snout turned our way briefly before its pace accelerated and it vanished in two seconds stage left behind a tumbled tonnage of boulders.
Tsavo craned his head further to see where it had gone, but at that point, there was nothing to be seen except where the fox had been, though cat eyes might have picked up swirling dust particles that were just beginning to settle toward earth. That had been that.  The quick red fox.
An hour later from the deck of the cabin, I see a waddling possum moving stealthily away across the extensive stone patio, disappearing into the dense rim of the woods in apparent slow motion. The slower it moves, the less likely it seems to draw attention to itself, an effective evolutionary visual filter.
      I wonder if playing possum was simply a logical adaptation from the slow stealthy waddle. Perhaps evolution happens on a continuum with logical leaps or in this case waddles. Fox evolved differently, a blur versus a waddle.  Fox's almost invisibility versus possum's virtual writ of habeas corpus hocus pocus.
Another hour later and I'm outdoors hoping to spot Tsavo's eyes reflecting in my flashlight beam. I want to bring him indoors, as I'd heard coyotes in the nearby wilderness area across the street from early that morning on. Now that it was night, it was more likely they'd come around.
There is Tsavo now. I sit down on the ground. Will he approach and greet me with a head butt as he loves to do and which I'll cherish, or will he try to preserve his outdoor privilege a while longer in hopes of finding a mouse, playing the upside of the predator game?
Luckily for me, he approaches, tentatively at first, then more openly, and brushes his head on my pants leg. I lean forward and offer my forehead, and he gently bumps his head against mine a few times then comes back for more. We exult, as usual. I pet him, gently wrap my hands around him, and scoop him into my arms as I rise to height. His front legs hang over my forearm and his back paws rest on my other palm.
Within only a few seconds, from across the road and from up and over the hill, come the howls and cries of a coyote hunting party, probably after deer or maybe a lost dog. There had been a poster on a telephone pole closer to the highway, a pit-lab mix maybe, looking obediently at the camera.
     Tsavo, relaxed yet a bit disappointed to be in my arms, my having played the alpha card, hears the coyotes too, no doubt heard them first and much clearer. They are real to him and to me, and I know I've made the right choice. We'll start the whole process again tomorrow afternoon, when it's time for him to come indoors, and hope for the best.
We're all pioneers in our own neck of the woods and urbs, The Urban Primeval, the vestigial enduring remnant of Earth winding its way through the plats and plots that limit wildness to greenbelts and choke points and sets forth the conditions for the boundaryless mix of compatible and clashing needs that define us more than not, a wildness that still erupts into unexpected beauty and horror in and around us, in an age when the frontier, this time, has found us.
     Oh, to be as quick as a fox, as wild as a coyote, and as soulfully essential as a cat.
     Winter approaches, and the fabled rappelling caterpillars are hibernating on their branches and in their burrows and dreaming of wings.
     We sit in front of the computer, wondering what's next, the screen a two-way sieve. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017


What is this world we’re living in
so torn between chaos and Zen
if peace breaks out don’t we all win
what starts the wars again and again
who stands to gain from this mortal sin
they must not care we all are kin
nor care about the shape we’re in

There’s a bullet with your name
and a trigger it’s no game
who will pull it who’s to blame
it’s the bully with no shame

Who’s this bully this mark of Cain
is he a Christ a king to reign
he’s the one who truly loves your pain
and craves your loss ‘cause it’s his gain

The bully lives high above the laws
where he writes the rules and admits no flaws
challenge him you’ll know his claws
his wealth and fame are his One True Cause

He’s the con and you’re the mark
his thrill to keep you in the dark
to him we’re the servants on his ark
to the new world of The Patriarch
a world of wars and oligarchs
a world of meanness cruel and stark

Welcome to the USA Patriarch Act
with spying lying and dying
up its sleeve behind your back
it’s a crackdown and a smackdown
then a trackdown and a meltdown
with character attacks and panic attacks
I’m indicted with fiction though punished in fact
by death or internment in my homeland

Does your brain contain some interesting thought
from a book you checked out maybe read or bought
or from some nice tune you were humming or sought
that’s the heinous crime that’ll get you caught
in the web of the worldwide homeland

Well your mind is free but what a twist
it lands you smack on that guest list
now rest assured you will be missed
when you get out of line in the homeland

Is speaking up a dangerous crime
say the thought and do hard time
then parable and verse and rhyme
pardon my grammar and my paradigm

Please just threaten me with jail
or make me watch you hurt a whale
so that I’ll let you read my personal mail
it’s the law going postal yet the law’s for sale

Better keep your faith cause you’ll lose your trust
think how you’ll feel right during your bust
you’ll swear the law’s moved beyond natural disgust
as it reads you its rights and insists on your trust

Who might it be who turns you in
your neighbor  mother or my friend
is paranoia now a sin
the paranoids are still after me again

The love of truth it is your code
until persuaded  to implode
your confession due to electrode
oh that’ll be quite the shock to the homeland

What is the thing you don’t want to hear
on that midnight ride we’re conditioned to fear
that you're queer or some other phobic jeer
from macho cops in their bondage gear

Are you perplexed this very night
deciding between flee and flight
methinks the emperor’s wound too tight
a dry drunk with power is dynamite

In ancient Rome when it started a war
dictators were chosen for what was in store
our chosen dictator has chosen more gore
and has frozen free choice then comes back for more

Are our laws meant to constrict and besiege us
with crude ultimatums both vague and egregious
what’s this lesson someone’s so desperate to teach us
that freedom’s a threat and a reason to seize us

My nation has those recurring dreams
where it divides into two teams
first a moment of silence and then the screams
it’s winner take all in freedom’s purges and schemes

Then the winners buy states with their pocket change
while poverty's manacled and memory's estranged
and royal dynasties still become deranged
with headlines still shouting there’s nothing here strange

Now in the interest of my liberal press
I’d like to clear up this news media mess
by daring someone to please confess
rich conservatives own all the networks good guess

So you’d better make that living will
and polish up your survival skill
the preachers say there’s a time to kill
oh the thrills and the chill then you're stuck with the bill

Work on your table manners bub
you’re invited to the big country club
exclusive rights to that big hot tub
for the boiling in oil a la homeland

Oh say can you see the petroleum
and the rocket’s red glare crematorium
can you hear it above the delirium
as the Air Force bombs your stadium
oh how so proudly we hail
how advanced we’ve become
advanced like dementia
What homeland?!?

Is this nation in the process of losing its mind
in compassion and sense is it lost years behind
does it yearn for love only to find
instead the responses are given in kind

The patriaddicts aren’t like me
they wave the flag it proves they’re free
free to pay The Patriarch Fee
of whatever The Patriarchs say it should be
or else be considered the enemy

Still the army's exported all loaded and locked
as Marines and sailors wave bye to the dock
and the next of kin just stand there in shock
while Coffins 'R Us starts issuing stock
buy yours now be the first on your block
no matter how deeply you and the homeland are in hock

I try to ignore all the militarist poseurs
sitting in armchairs safe from exposure
cheering the killer robot bulldozers
but it’s getting harder to keep my composure

It’s Blood Sacrifice ordered by our leaders all hustlers
massacres daily by these genocide rustlers
slaughtering people in unjust wars
families, towns, and cities starting with the poor

herding people with unmanned missiles
strewn through the air like bloody thistles
ladies and gents can you hear the whistles
as we turn people into ghosts and gristle

We use disproven alienating ideology
and flesh-eating zombie technology
algorithms to name our wars and weapons
and arm our fighters with hideous strap-ons

Wars are our fatal fashion shows
designed by fascistissimos
paid for by us average shmoes
as runways deliver lethal blows

We give cute violent names to our most super models
bombshells for our bloodlust which we coddle
so addictive it could be bottled
our flag and our conscience totally mottled

We so love our knockout sexy symbols
from pickup truck size to fits in a thimble
don’t try this at home or try to assemble
these bludgeoning monsters so bloody and nimble

The Predators, Cobras, Raptors, Grim Reapers,
Tomahawks, Hellfires, Harpoons, Deep Sleepers,
Stingers, Crusaders, Tridents, Intruders,
why not one named for Jeb Stuart Magruder,
Avengers, Black Knight, Shockwave, Javelins,
rockets engineered for the bad guy travelin’,
The Goodbye Weapon, America’s Ray Gun,
and I’m sure that last one’s totally way fun,
The Punisher, Excalibur, Dread, and Apache,
and a gas that will make you throw up and all scratchy,
and remember Fat Man and the Little Boy
oh the
nostalgia for some of our earlier toys,

and the modern but milder Daisy Cutter
that slices through a forest as if it's hot butter

creaming Eagle, Strike Eagle, Falcon, and Hornet,
Viper, Venom, Growler, The Disemboweler,
Lulu, Matador, Honest John, Ding Dong,
Hound Dog, Little Dog, Little John, Lance,
Davy Crockett, Condor, Red Snow, Red Beard,
Blue Cat, Blue Fox, Blue Peacock, Blue Slug,
Blue Danube, Blue Rosette, Blue Water, Blue Steel,
Green Bamboo, Green Cheese, Green Flash, Green Granite,
Green Grass, Indigo Hammer, Violet Club, Yellow Sun,
Orange Herald, Locust, Fort Knox, Hellcat,
Bulldog, Hercules, Herky Bird, Spectre,
Puff the Magic Dragon, Wolverine, Snark, Slugger,
Priest, Wolf, Lynx, Cougar, Fox, Buffalo,
Stryker, Guardian Angel, Wrecker, Spooky

We bomb children with thousands of clusters
no safety from them or the vile bunker busters
all the stealth machines glorified in magazines
the fire and forgets without care or regrets
the carriers, the Harriers, the hurriers, the worriers,
the minders, the blinders, the screaming Sidewinders,
the brawlers and crawlers, the brutes and the stalkers
our own Imperial Walkers
the sieges, famines, plagues
these leaders should be in The Hague
with their cheerleader militarist poseurs
how's that for closure

War language is smooth
foreplay with prepositions
propagandize at will
but avoid depositions
fight them there, freedom's march
sloganeering addictions
as they crave martial law
to crucify opposition

If you truly believe in fair or free trade
the flow of ideas and the progress we’ve made
then tell me why all this bullshit blockade
of justice and peace with this homeland charade

If you truly believe in a spiritual love
as on high so below not the pushing and shove
then why not remove your fist from your glove
extending your palm as below so above

Let’s settle now this whole debate
don’t tell me who to love or hate
quit living to discriminate
it's our tolerance keeping us hopeful and great
So go ahead and raise my rent
blow my mind it has its bent
but when you come for the innocent
you've gone way too far dear homeland

So let's lift up high our frosted mugs
our pharmaceuticals and whiskey jugs
and toast the victorious war against drugs
oh the euphoria homeland shrugs
now have another slug and give your homeland a hug

Let’s have our real party on democracy's lawn
and celebrate each liberating dawn
all equal and free with no class lines drawn
no kings no queens no rook no pawn
won’t keep us in check and we’ll sure give hell heck

Now we flow into one
through times hard and fun
with no injustice undone
yes our work's just begun
under one common sun
all living things run
in the one common band
in our hearts through the land
our promise our stand
for our new homeland
for our true homeland
                                                Dogs From The Future

From left to right, Daughter Mir and Mother Star, 10 and about 12 years old respectively and inspirations for many a password, in a photo I took in 2002 while driving with one hand or an occasional knee the back roads of forested central Louisiana at a roughly midpoint location between the Oakdale, Louisiana federal immigration detention prison holding I think mostly Mariel boatlift Cubans and the 3500-year-old 70-foot tall earthen mound built in the shape of a flying bird at Poverty Point world heritage site not far from Monroe built by a people unknown to archaelogists or any extant native histories or even tales. What will WE be remembered for? Our compulsive imprisonment habit? Maybe future people would be glad to forget that sorry episode of human development. They might be better off never learning about us, especially if sadism was unknown to them. Maybe it'd be better if we did something about it while we're here to do so.

Tsavo on the Dock at Indian Cove AKA Turtle Cove, January 2017

Tsavo, the ranger and gregarious adventurer, is gradually losing his hearing and is mellowing, at least compared to his tradition of perpetual motion. Yet he has lost none of his activated curiosity and manages to make an interesting trek out of every opportunity. Daily, he makes his outdoor rounds, comes in to graze his food bowl, and then returns to his rounds until hungry again, three to four hours total usually. That's when I will corral both he and Tiger for the day. To Tsavo, life has mostly been about the changing landscape in front of him and what's next.

He was such an independent, self-sufficient strong silent-type cat that he hadn't spoken to me the whole year and a few months until Tiger moved in, and Tiger, being uninhibitedly vocal apparently from birth, inspired Tsavo and taught him how emotive enunciation could get further positive attention from me. Now Tsavo has words for and emotions about almost everything and it has helped he and I become closer than ever.. Tiger's instructive examples probably help make up for how Tiger attacked Tsavo when Tiger first arrived from the Darwinian streets of Austin.

My current favorite recurring Tsavo moment happens multiple times a night.  He will pad into the dimly lit study and silently stand up and very gently touch my sleeve with one paw two or three times in a row, a touch so soft and pleasing that it helps me clearly imagine his earnest face looking right at mine before I even turn to see him. Then he will softly utter a few meows while looking me directly in the eyes, and when I do turn and face him, usually stating his name, and truly happy to see him and surprised each time he does this - such an intimate personal approach and a wonderful learned understanding of how to appeal to me – there is his small sweet face searching mine for my own sweet surrender.  He then turns and runs out of the study either to the kitchen or front screen door.

Then it is up to me to follow him and look into whatever important need that Tsavo needs tending to at the moment. Sometimes it's a bit more kibble in his bowl to last the rest of the night. Sometimes he just wants company while he sits at the screen door and looks and listens into the forest, his head turning slightly to one side or the other, his ears fine-tuning direction finders. Occasionally he will want me to stand guard at the litter box to make sure our retired warrior Tiger doesn't get any funny ideas about an ambush, which he has been known to do both indoors and out, all in good street fun of course.

Tsavo and I have been great friends since first meeting on our long sloped driveway. He was smelling the air and looking for his previous human significant other who had gone for a walk without him, though she had brought the new dog - a doubly hurtful omission! Yet he longed to join them and wore his heart on his paw, and I was touched by the intensity of his loyalty and feelings. Soon after that, he began visiting me regularly at my cabin, I'd let him sit where he wanted and stay as long as he could. Soon his human knew to head directly to my house when looking for Tsavo.  After a month or two, she asked me if I wanted Tsavo to come live with me.  It was an unexpected and the most generous offer I've ever received.

                Something Very Deer

Not only a bird and squirrel feeder. A big doe hoofed up to it this spring afternoon in plain sight of me lazing on the deck sofa seven yards away. As she reached the feeder, she first glanced to her left at me before beginning to empty the feeder by using her tongue to scoop around the feeder's edges and then ground it all up like a cud and swallowed. It took about six or seven minutes. She looked very content as she slowly went about making sure to leave as few seeds as possible.

Doe then walked a couple of steps to some boulder benches where I'd laid out birdseed during the winter and then licked the spots where the seed had been. The mystery as to who had been eating all the winter seed and now the new sunflower feeder seed was solved.  I'm more surprised that she was so trusting of me. 

Another touch of sweetness was a little gray white-tipped dove walking nonchalantly but carefully around the deer's legs, watching her closely, and now and then pecking at seeds that slid from the feeder to the leafy ground.

The more I get to witness deer life and behavior, the more it becomes apparent how funny and idiosyncratic they are as individuals. They stay wild yet manifest what we would logically consider personalities. Mainly though, whenever I see them, there's always something very deer that happens.

The Wall by Anita Endrezze (Yaqui) Build a wall of saguaros, butterflies, and bones of those who perished in the desert. A wal...