Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sticks

Sticks.
Favorite silly quote of the week
My children are 1/16th Akwesasne Mohawk, and so they have a special interest when Iroquois pop up in schoolwork.
The Daddy, asking study sheet questions: How did joining the Iroquois League help the Mohawks?
N, age 9: Better technology.
D: How’s that?
N: Sharper sticks.
***
The Akwesasne Mohawks did not join. They were fire-spirited Iroquois, once upon a time, and did not care for nation-building. But they liked sharp sticks.

More sticks.
One of my favorite North Carolina artists is the withie-man, Patrick Dougherty. Evidently he was inspired by the forests around Southern Pines, where he grew up. They strike me as very "sticky" places. I've seen some of his creations in Raleigh and Carrboro. I just had a pleasant little fantasy that he came to visit and made us a little castle and village in the backyard. Then there would be four castles in Cooperstown. If you don’t know his magic cities and withie gyres and leaning towers, go indulge your wanderlust. The picture is borrowed from his sticky site, www.stickwork.net/.

***


Sticks to come.
Next week the gigantic ash tree comes down. Sad for the ash, sad for the dratted old pocketbook. I’ll have to write a poem for the extravagant creature. Three times it dropped an enormous branch on the lawn, one filling up the entire back yard. A fourth time it speared a large branch through the driver’s side of the windshield, about thirty seconds after I paused at the back door, thinking the day a bit windy. Life is so full of near misses: I'm very glad not to have been an ash-tree's shish kabob. I’d like to make a Dougherty house out of its no-doubt astonishing remains, but I’m only 5’3” and have nary a stick of scaffolding.

By stick, by stone, I am surprised!
I have been elevated! Poet and web-dreamer Michael Burch (another Southerner, by the by) wrote me that I am now not only a “Spotlight” poet for the month but also one of the permanently “featured” poets on The HyperTexts. Thanks, Mike!

Last stick
N’s silly 4th-grade joke, acquired at summer camp: What’s brown and sticky? A stick.

7 comments:

  1. What a great, sticky post! I love Patrick Dougherty's work and actually had one of his smaller pieces in my garden, until it gave up the ghost after years of rain, sun, time passing. Patrick has lots of imitators now, but his work is, of course, the best of the lot.
    Congrats on your elevation! And watch out for pokes in the eye with.... .

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  2. Chiming in with Laura on the stickiness. And I have to say I just loved the silly joke -- right up my twig-filled alley.

    Glad to be back, glad to have places like yours to wander (erk, once I get this dang morning glory off me) -- and since I'm doing some link housekeeping, am wondering if it would be all right with you to link to The Palace?

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  3. I loved the comment about better technology being sharper sticks. I wish often that better technology meant something simpler now days.

    Maybe the kids/hubby/pot-boy could build a shack or something for the kids from the ash?

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  4. Congrats Marly. I loved so many aspects of this post; the geneology of your children, the picture of the tree-house at the top and that description of your ash tree - magnifique! I'm pretty glad you weren't a shish kebab too, giantess...(you beat me by 1/4 of an inch).

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  5. Ms. Witzel,

    That would be considered a twig in the nest, a gem in the Queen's crown, a feather in the Pot Boy's cap, a rose in the ipomoea, and so on.

    I commend you for your good taste and energy. It is unfortunate that somebody passed on the attractive but tiny-witted name of Witzel to you, when anybody can tell that you ought to be a Bigwit.

    Ladies 4,

    I'm afraid Michael and the eldest son are out hauling expensive Cabelo's blinds into the upper parts of distant maples and will be on the lookout for unarmed wandering animals rather than making any sort of stick house. Meanwhile the Palace freezer overflows with antelope, and the opposite sex wonders, "Why?" and "How long, O Lord," and so on.

    Marly will be quite pleased, by the by, that she is taller than Somebody. She was quite disturbed by the recent scientific speculation that the human race will divide into short and stupid people who labor for tall, smart people. Patent absurdity.

    We at The Ministry of Ephemeral Notes & Such confess to feeling a pronounced tweak of envy over the little Dougherty stick sculpture in the garden. After all, we are specialists in the Ephemeral, devoted to its praise. Right now we are putting on our flowing disposable over-garments (not to be confused with disposable undergarments, which we do not need, refuse to wear, etc.) to go out and make a Goldworthy-style collage of pebbles, peels, and rotting gingko leaves in the front garden.

    Respectfully yours,
    Jorge Porge,
    Lesser Assistant no. 3
    to the Assistant
    of the Minister for Ephemerals

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  6. I've been inside some Dougherty pieces and wanted to stay...they felt cleaner than the world on the outside.

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  7. Yes, it's so lovely to be inside one of those! I remember making leafy bowers with my children--I'd be making a stick house right now except the tree men are chewing up my giant ash as they go along.

    N has already cried over it. Luckily I never told him about hamadryads.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.