I’ve done live readings, recordings, telecasts with Bill Moyers and always enjoyed it, so when he asked me to read a poem he selected for his podcast, I agreed. But Woody and I had never done a video on his phone before. It only took us 11 tries to finally get one out. It was hard because the poem that was published in 2017 in The Monthly Review had vanished from my computer along with the rest of the poems in that folder when I was still using a MAC and they updated the operating system suddenly and I lost ALL my files. I was able to get back 90% of my poems and all but one story of my fiction from my assistant’s computer and from Melenie’s computer as she keeps a lot of my work. But one folder of poems disappeared, apparently forever. The poem was “I am wrestling with despair” and now I have it back since Bill’s assistant Theresa sent it to me.
Anyhow, I also did a recording at the same time of a new poem that I had posted on the internet for anyone to use – “See them, fear them” about police brutality.
I started a rhubarb patch in 1971, the year I left the upper west side of Manhattan for Wellfleet. For decades, I had plenty of rhubarb, although it was always a battle with pineapple mint. When I first moved here, I planted a huge herb garden with every kind of herb I had ever heard of. I made medicinal tea, dried everything made as I still do, herb vinegars, herb oils, everything you could do with not just the standard herbs I grow now—sage spearmint, summer savory, lovage, rosemary sweet majoram, Greek oregano, French thyme, sweet cicely, sweet woodruff, lavender, Italian and curly parsley, purple and Genovese basil, lemon verbena,lemon balm, tarragon, cilantro – but rue, tansy, orange and chocolate mint, lemon thyme, etc. I made the mistake of ordering three plants of pineapple mint. They have spread all over. They constantly tried to smother my rhubarb. Finally the rhubarb dwindled. I still pull [or try to] pinepapple mint plants in my raised vegetable beds. We moved the plants two years ago to a new patch along the fence of the main garden. Some survived, I bought more. Finally this year, we are getting sufficient rhubarb. I froze two quarts, which means two pies. I want to make compote and rhubarb crisp and freeze smaller amounts.
For my birthday, Dale had given me a $50 gift card to the shop in Brewster, The Cook Shop. Their website wasn’t promising, mainly showing some fancy British pottery. I decided now that shops are somewhat open, it was time to use the gift. Dale drove me there Thursday morning. We went there and back not via Route 6 but via back roads and scenic routes. It turns out the china is a tiny part of the shop. They had all kinds of useful kitchenware and all kinds of exotic and hard to find foodstuffs. I got a great timer tht I desperately needed as all three of mine had died. Also a number of real chunky delicious marmalades and a sesame/wasabi basting and grilling sauce. I have left the house so seldom since Covid19 hit that it was an adventure I enjoyed enormously. Dale was right, it’s a shop for me. I’m someone who enjoys cooking – most of the time….
I discovered some of my poems are still missing from my computer since the time MAC installed a new operating system that wiped out my files. I managed to recoup most of my poems and fiction from my assistant’s computer and from Melenie my chosen daughter. That’s when I switched to a PC. But Bill Moyers wants me to record a particular poem he’s fond of for his podcast. It’s not on my computer. In fact, the whole folder of poems from 2017 is gone, gone, gone.
I wish I had known about Jeopardy 25 years ago. I think I could have won a bundle. I still outguess most of the contestants but there are holes in my knowledge – movies [I am very picky in what I watch]], basketball, soccer [except women’s] and hockey questions. I’m a hotshot on geography, literature, history, that sort of thing. It’s about the only program I’m watching on network tv now except for the evening news. If it wasn’t’ for Netflix and Prime, cobwebs would be growing on the TV lately.
I tried Space Force, since I thought it lent itself to farce, but they didn’t bring it off. I watch the marches, I forgot that. I miss demonstrations. But I can’t walk far on my bum ankle. It hurts like hell when I try. I just write my political poems, send money when I ca, work locally. I remember the days when I was a foot soldier in the Civil Rights movement, when I organized protests against the Vietnam war and American imperialism. But I’m forcibly retired. The June issue of The Monthly Review has my poem “Culling the herd” on the cover. It excites me to see so many people making a point in the streets. Looting never surprises me. When you have nothing and the society puts so much emphasis on owning new things, what do you expect? It’s always happened over the centuries, the millenia. But the emphasis on buying items to demonstrate your worth makes it even more common. It’s just hard on the small shopkeepers. Macy’s isn’t in trouble with looters even if they break a couple of windows. The big corporations aren’t ever hit.