Tag Archives: Dry Crik Review

Early Spring Cleaning

 

 

Between rains when we couldn’t go anywhere on the ranch, we began extricating boxes of books from the house that have been published by Dry Crik Press since 1989, including every issue of Dry Crik Review. Boxes were stashed throughout the house, office and attic that we sorted into plastic containers, now half-a-pallet in the shop—the first time that Dry Crik’s offerings have been in one spot.

Certainly not a job I relished, Robbin decided to replace the carpet in the living and dining rooms while Bob and I are in Elko. Once we started clearing the floor space, we found box after box of books that had to be dealt with. All of the Dry Crik Review issues, and Dry Crik Press publications prior to 2008, were printed in Craig Lindeman’s garage in Visalia. Craig collected leftover paper from the other print shops, and sympathetic to the cause, didn’t charge much for his work.

The books and memories were overwhelming.

 

AT THE HEART OF THINGS

                                A rattlesnake coils among cold stones,
                                full of mice, waits for evening
                                when he will hunt again.

                                               – Linda M. Hasselstrom (“Morning News
                                                                    on Windbreak Road”)

No feast on Dry Creek, no dance among the trees –
no amount of words rhymed with earth will change
the arrogance of men primping in the light.

We do not breathe by their generosity, nor believe
they may, someday, be gods – saviors of a nation
always at war with what it can’t comprehend.

We have forgotten, perhaps we never heard
the silent mantra of the harvest strum in our heads –
hands busy, bodies bent, genuflecting in the dirt.

Or been of a tribe of men, women and communities
that still rise to raise a glass to that great expanse
that feeds us all we need, sparingly. Riding out

alone, do you remember conversations with living
and dead? Did you mark the granite outcrop,
hang words in an oak tree, or just let them loose

on a hawk’s wing? If only Jeffers’ perch-mates,
power and desire – not greed – might roost in
Washington, we’d dedicate his fountain to humanity.

*               *               *               *               *               *               *               *

As the dust settles, I am reminded of Andy Warhol’s famous ’15 minutes of fame’ quote in 1968 after the hullabaloo of the recent NY Times’ piece,
‘For Cowboy Poets, Unwelcome Spotlight in Battle Over Spending’
Dry Crik Journal received nearly 4,000 visits and 14 assorted comments in the 3 days following. Not unwelcome because that’s what we’ve been about here, sharing, trying to offer glimpses of a grounded way of life that we think consists of a bit more than what’s assumed by the majority. The referenced Robinson Jeffer’s poem: ‘THE EXCESSES OF GOD’ is worth a read, wonderfully applicable. Linda Hasselstrom’s poem is forthcoming from Dry Crik Review.

FIVE HUNDRED SOULS

I am here to gather cattle, ride the ridges,
see – light step on the morning, rising
higher before the sun shatters atop Broke-Up
to search out darkness in the draws.

Soft dirt under hoof, cowtrails cut in grass
on grade travel easy to the same places,
speak no tracks yet today. The Coyote Tree
is dying, lost the limbs they hung them on

in the old days, my young days when
this was the way – old road the CCCs
with wheelbarrows, pick and shovel,
mule-drawn Fresno scraper in the hands

of many men carved upwards out of Greasy
where it met the Kaweah before the lake,
the dam, before the lowland changed.
Wide sand beach with tules, cattail-hemmed

Wukchumne camp, five hundred souls
before me. I was afraid, dark within
Chiishe’s den in Belle Point’s flank.
Hear my father say, ‘Keep your eyes peeled!’

I am here to gather cattle, ride the day
down – cows, calves and a century and a half
spread before me – the buck and run of years
that haven’t changed, still shaping me.

                                                            for Hank