Friday, January 20, 2017

Jack Scott writes

Lake of the Lost Fisherman 

With my little hatchet 
I hacked and chopped   
until I had a nest of chips,
and kept at it
until sure I had enough,
stowing them inside the tent
to keep them good and dry
without cutting one log through,
too much for me,
but I had an idea
of what might work as well.
It was not raining hard,
it never was,
just remaining wet.
Although my manufactured kindling
was dry enough on top of shredded paper
I spoiled my matches
with my soggy hands.
Although a smoker,
I had no more
and didn’t have a lighter,
so I started up the car
and used its lighter
to start the fire I carried
to the nest I’d made for it.

Rule one in wilderness:
don’t make mistakes.
(Rule one anywhere!)

My spirits rose up with the fire
as I worked to feed it,
a friendly Frankenstein,
my child, my own creation.
I fed it twigs and stems and chips;
it gave me smoke and heat and steam.
In theory,
I would burn each log in two
and then those two in two;
the proof was its own pudding.
That kept me busy for awhile
and almost kept my mind off pain
and loneliness and fear
and other goblins of the night.
The crisscrossed logs
made an ungainly pile,
a giant’s game of Pick-up Sticks
and a bit of Seesaw.

Alive for sure, it talked to me
in ancient tongues
of flame and sparks
exposing darkness’ immensity.
I opened to its music,
the lyrics sang to me
and in my awkward way,
I danced with it
in celebration 
of, simply, my survival.
People die of hypothermia
before they’ve learned to spell it,
thinking it a fangless snake.

I didn’t broil filet mignon
because I didn’t have any.
I ate whatever
could be spread on crackers,
made cowboy coffee
and drank the last of beer.
I didn’t think of her, tried not to.
Those roads that led me to her Rome
were now leading me away
upon a long neglected path
to an overdue accounting.

Foremost, my eye.
Curable, I hoped
was what a doctor’d say.
My job was number two;
I hated it, a prison.
I had no other prospects,
but also hadn’t looked for them.
I hoped that I still had my job,
but also hoped they’d fired me
for going AWOL
on this fool’s errand.


  1. Frankenstein's monster, sometimes known just as Frankenstein, was created by Victor Frankenstein. The nameless monster first appeared in Mary Shelley's 1818 anonymous novel "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus" (because Prometheus had fashioned humans out of clay) and gained particular fame in the Universal Studios' series of movies beginning in 1931's "Frankenstein." (In the opening credits, the character was referred to merely as "The Monster," and the actor Boris Karloff 's name was replaced by a question mark, though "Karloff" was listed in the closing credits). Shelley's monster was 8-ft (2.4 m) tall with watery, glowing eyes, flowing black hair, black lips, prominent white teeth, and translucent yellowish skin so taut over the body that it "barely disguised the workings of the arteries and muscles underneath," but it was sensitive and articulate. He was created via an ambiguous method consisting of chemistry and alchemy (Isaac Asimov regarded the novel as the first science fiction story). The monster was shunned by his creator, leading him to wreak vengeance. He killed Victor's younger brother William, then demanded that Victor create a mate for him to mitigate his loneliness. Victor agreed but reneged rather than make a race of monsters, and the monster retaliated by killing Victor's best friend and Victor's wife, and Victor's father died from grief. Victor pursued his creation to the Arctic Ocean, but died of pneumonia; the grieving monster vowed to incinerate himself at "the Northernmost extremity of the globe."

  2. In a speech addressed to Victor he referred to himself as the "Adam of your labours" but Victor called him variously "vile insect," "creature," "abhorred monster," "fiend," "spectre," "demon," "wretch," "devil," "thing," "being, and "ogre." His nameless was a central part of the stage adaptations in London and Paris during the decades after the novel's first appearance, beginning with "Presumption" (1823), the first successful stage adaptation, which listed "_________, by Mr T. Cooke" in the dramatis personae. (Shelley told Leigh Hunt, "This nameless mode of naming the unnameable is rather good." Although the creator's name was used to refer to the monster within a decade of the novel's appearance, it was not until Peggy Webling's 1927 adaptation (the basis of the movie) establish the use of Frankenstein as a reference to the monster himself. Karloff's monster, which finally established the popular standard visualization, was the brainchild of makeup artist Jack Pierce; Universal quickly secured a copyright for the makeup format, and the image of Karloff's face is now owned by his daughter's company, Karloff Enterprises. This monster was a towering, inarticulate, infantile figure, often with a flat-topped angular head and bolts on his neck (electrical connectors or electrodes), wearing a dark suit with shortened coat sleeves and thick, heavy boots, causing him to walk with an awkward, stiff-legged gait. Pyrophobic, he was an amalgam of stitched-together corpse parts, including a crimonals's brain or one that is damaged or abnormal. Karloff strongly opposed director James Whale's giving the monster lines of dialogue, however halting and stunted, in "The Bride of Frankenstein" ("My argument was that if the monster had any impact or charm, it was because he was inarticulate – this great, lumbering, inarticulate creature"), and his muteness was restored in "Son of Frankenstein." After Karloff left, Lon Chaney, Jr. took over the part in "The Ghost of Frankenstein," and the monster spoke with the voice and personality of the brain donor. Bela Lugosi followed the practice in "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man," but the dialogue was excised before its relase. Glenn Strange played the role in the last three Universal films, "House of Frankenstein," "House of Dracula," and "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." In Dean Koontz's "Frankenstein" (2004), the creature was named Deucalion after Prometheus' son. In the TV series "Penny Dreadful" (2014) Victor considered naming his creation "Adam" but let the monster choose his own name; the monster named himself Proteus from William Shakespeare's first play, "The Two Gentlemen of Verona." Iin later episodes it was revealed that Proteus was actually the second monster Victor had created; the first was abandoned and then take in by an actor who named him Caliban from Shakespeare's last solo play, "The Tempest" and later named himself John Clare, a 19th-century poet who came to believe that he had formerly been both Shakespeare and Shelley's friend Lord Byron.

  3. Pick-up sticks is a game of physical and mental skill. A bundle of "sticks" made of ivory, bone, wood, bamboo, straw, reed, rush, yarrow, or plastic is held in a loose bunch and released on a table top, falling in random disarray. Each player in turn must remove a stick from the pile without disturbing the remaining ones, either by hame or with one of the sticks used as a tool. If any other stick moves, the turn is over, but the turn continues if a stick is successfully picked up. The game ends when the last stick is removed. The winner is the player with the most stick. In some versions, different-coloured sticks are worth different numbers of points, and the winner has the highest score. The name is probably derived from the counting nursery rhyme line, "five, six, pick-up sticks!"

    A seesaw (teeter-totter) is a board balanced on a pivot. One person sits on each edge of the board and they go up and down. Seesaw logic is a multi-level computer game consisting of a number of seesaws and objects of different weights which are placed on the seesaws so they incline to one side. The player selects the heaviest one, and the time spent at each level is recorded. But a wrong answer deducts 1000 points, and the correct object needs to be picked in order to proceed.


  4. Filet mignon (French for "tender fillet" or "dainty fillet") is a steak cut of beef taken from the smaller end of the tenderloin (psoas major) of a steer or heifer carcass. In French this cut is also be called "filet de bœuf" (beef fillet), while "filet mignon" generally refers to pork rather than beef. The tenderloin, considered the tenderest cut of beef because the muscle is not weight-bearing and thus contains less connective tissue, runs along both sides of the spine and is usually harvested as two long snake-shaped cuts of beef. When sliced along the short dimension, creating roughly round and tube cuts, the fillets from the small forward end are filet mignon, those from from the smaller center are tournedos, the larger central portions are châteaubriand, and the ones from the large end (tête de filet, the "head of filet") are biftek. American butchers label all tenderloin steaks "filet mignon," and most restaurants sell steaks from the wider end of the tenderloin, since the shape of the true filet mignon may be a hindrance when cooking. However, it is generally not as flavorful as some other cuts (such as primal rib cuts). The average steer or heifer provides 500 g or less of filet mignon (also called medallions, tenderloin steak, fillet steak, or eye fillet). Porterhouse steaks and T-bone steaks are large cuts that include the fillet; the small medallion on one side of the bone is the fillet, and the long strip of meat on the other side is the portrhouse (the strip steak). Filet mignon is cut into 1- to 2-inch-thick portions, then grilled, pan fried, broiled, or roasted. It is seared on each side for a short time and then transferred to a lower heat to cook the meat all the way through, but it is generally rarer than other meats. Those preferring a more well-done steak can request a "butterflied" filet, meaning that the meat is cut down the middle and opened up to expose more of it to heat.It is often cooked with bacon wrapped around it, pinned closed with a wooden toothpick, because of the low levels of fat found in the cut and to keep the fillet from drying out during the cooking process. They are most often served in a cognac cream sauce, au poivre with peppercorns, or in a red wine reduction.
    "Cowboy coffee" is made by heating coarse grounds with water in a pot, letting the grounds settle, and pouring off the liquid to drink, sometimes filtering it to remove fine grounds.
    "All roads lead to Rome," meaning many routes can lead to a given result, is the modern reading of a medieval statement that referred to the Milliarium Aureum (Golden Milestone), probably of marble or gilded bronze, erected in 20 BCE by Caesar Augustus near the Temple of Saturn in the city's central forum, perhaps at the southeast corner of the podium of the Rostra Augusti on a symmetrical axis with the Umbilicus Urbis Romae. All roads were considered to begin at this monument, and all distances were measured relative to it.
    AWOL (Absence Without Leave) is a military offense that is regarded as temporary desertion, generally 30 days. People who are gone longer but return voluntarily or indicate a credible intent to return may be considered AWOL rather than deserters, while those who are away for less time but can credibly be shown to have no intent to return may be tried for desertion or even treason. Missing Movement is a term used to describe members of the armed forces who fail to arrive at the appointed deployment time and may draw more severe punishment. Failure to Repair consists of missing a formation or failing to appear at an assigned place and time when so ordered and is a lesser offense.


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