by Rick Brown
It was one of those mid-summer days where the temperature is
magnified by the exclamation point that is humidity. A day when
the sun beats down and makes the air seem as thick as Jell-o.
Dog days as they say. And while it would have been wiser to
mow the lawn at say…10 o’clock in the morning…I
managed to lollygag the morning away. Appropriately I was in
the company of my dog, Henri…a French Boy of the Bichon
Frise persuasion…and a lover of the great outdoors.
Henri insisted on joining me outside while I mowed. It is for
all intents and purposes HIS yard. Been that way since the day
I brought him home as a tiny ball of frenzied fur. He perched
himself on the deck overlooking his kingdom while I filled his
water bowl, then made my way to the garage and my mower.
Cutting grass behind the garage, along the sidewall…Henri’s
presence is always apparent. Many times he peeks his little
face under the fence. I caught him doing this as I mowed…always
thinking to myself, “What a charming little guy”
or “He’s so DAMNED cute!” Only in the front
yard am I alone with my task, sweating like John Henry laying
down railroad track…but not for long. Again, as I move
to the east side of the house there he is again…the white
furry face with the tiny black nose and eyes peering adorably
at me from under the six-foot tall fence. It melts my heart
every time. Adorable. Henri is precociously precious…at
times cocking his head as I speak to him…as if he is hanging
on my every word. “Watch out for the gate boy!”
I yell to his head tilting adorableness.
As I move into the backyard I see the pooch scramble up the
deck stairs, panting from the heat. He barks at me and stares
at the backdoor. Needing a break from the scorching sun myself,
I let him in and get myself some ice water. I’m not sure
whether to drink it or pour it all over me. The air conditioning
feels like heaven. Henri plops himself down on the cool hardwood
floor of the back room.
“Are you coming back out”, I inquire as if he were
another human being. Henri just looks at my dripping self and
sighs a big dog sigh, “No.”. I can’t blame
him. I have no idea what the temperature is outside…just
that it’s hot as hell.
Out to the yard I plod for some solitary sweating. I remember
an old joke about the first man on the sun.
“Ouch! Ouch! OW! (While the comic grabs his feet one at
a time hopping around) Corny…but a funny and apropos sight
gag for this dog day and chore.
My final phase of mowing involves moving the hammock so I can
mow where it sits. The lawnmower shuts itself off as I stride
over and pull the rope leisure bed out of the way. It’s
then that I notice Henri perched on the loveseat in the backroom
gazing at me through the picture window. Is that a forlorn smile
on his doggie face? Surely he wants to rejoin me. So I walk
back into the house.
“Henri buddy! Do you want to come outside and watch daddy
finish mowing your yard?” I croon saccharinely. He wags
his tail and swiftly makes his way past me while I hold the
door open for his exit. And as I step down from the deck onto
the patio I see my handsome little macho friend saunter over
to my lawnmower…lift his back leg as high as he can…and
pee all over it. Then, he hastily runs to the backdoor and barks
his intension of the comfort of central air.
Talk meanders with the shifting breeze
slip silently beneath the black,
Early blossoms have decayed and
gardens have faded into lawns.
seem so clear while
have given way to the crickets
Thirsty Ear Tavern
July 31, 2008
* * 1/2
by Rick Brown
Thackery…talent wise…may be one of the finest guitar
players I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a few. Early on
in his performance I certainly felt so. Fronting a tight, fiercely
driven power trio Mr. Thackery tore through songs, ripping them
to pieces more than playing them. His “your dad’s
favorite fishing buddy” appearance certainly added to
the intrigue. Mixing the styles of Roy Buchanan, Lonnie Mack,
with a tad of psychedelia thrown in for good measure, the talent
of Jimmy Thackery can easily stand alongside some of the greats.
But despite being billed as a blues show, it became evident
Thackery is really a rock guitar player rooted in the blues.
There is certainly nothing wrong with that. Sometimes though,
especially in rock and roll…less so with jazz…a
musician’s virtuosity can get in the way. While extended
jams with flurries of furious, note heavy solos can at first
be impressive, an entire evening of it can become…well…a
bit boring. In other words, once the simplicity (or at least
the hint of it) disappears from rock and roll, the music can
quickly become overblown, even pretentious. And Jimmy Thackery
flirted with, then succumbed to this formula.
The volume didn’t help matters. Thackery and his crack
rhythm section were too loud. It was tantamount to listening
to the Ramones…live…in a walk-in closet. Yet, when
they settled into a terrific version of the old surf classic
“Apache” near the first set’s end, the show
was almost snatched from the jaws of excess. Unfortunately,
Mr. Thackery then segued into what became a parody of Jimi Hendrix’s
version of the “Star Spangled Banner”. A technically
proficient cliché might impress the masses in a bar,
but it still remains a cheap cliché. Jimmy Thackery should
respect his dynamic talent more than that.
My ringing ears…in the past maybe a reminder of a delightfully
joyous rock and roll adventure…today mostly reminds me
that our pizza was pretty lame. And the saddest part is that
it needn’t have been that way.
Offer We Could Not Refuse
Avignon, Lyon and A Return to Paris
C. Mehrl Bennett
People, Big Woods
Dean, hip hop dancer, came by the teen drop-in tonight,
Daughter with a bum ticker on his mind
And he wind-milled, popped and locked
To our bad music
While the homeless kids just stared, unmoving
After a week of talking about it.
sit down, sore ankle
After flipping to the floor,
Groaning with the weight of me
Now so much more apparent.
ache for his lightness.
I mix it up with that lightness.
(Too fat, she thought, and looked away.)
is just a lonely day in this lonely city in Maine
And I’m even in a good mood.
Barry talked about community events in Chicago.
Block parties, closed-down streets with barbecues, music and
They sound so good to me.
Community like I’ve never known.
Portland I felt like the odd man out;
This effeminate chubby boy
Mixing it up with the super-athletic socialites from out-of-state
And now, here in Lewiston, I just feel alone.
And my skill at conversation gets worse and worse.
Too many non-impetuous situations
Where the expected is the only thing that happens.
Where the bright moving ones
Are so uptight and socially paranoid
That I feed off that first,
Their brilliance second.
a fount of good conversation actually-
Wit-wisdom, clarity, all that shit
And these skills sit here and waste away.
Why do these skills waste away?
and his ‘dance class’ tonight made me want to go
And talk to people
And be well,
And be hope,
And be laughing!
by Sue Lense
the Bird is the Word Then Fish is the Dish!
by Rick Brown
of the newest words in the dictionary this year is pescatarian.
In fact, its so new spell-check doesn’t recognize it! Now
ordinarily I loathe labels. But after years of explaining that
I’m a “vegetarian who eats fish”…meaning
I’m not really a vegetarian at all, but merely lean far
in that direction…it is a relief to have a word that brings
all of us together. Asking, “Are you a pescatarian?”
surely will cut down on a conversation’s length. But think
of the joyousness of finding someone who shares the same diet
without all the linguistic logistics! It’s as if we now
belong to a special club that no longer makes us feel just a little
bit the outsider.
Of course “a vegetarian whose diet includes fish”
(the official definition) is a contradiction much like “a
carnivore whose diet includes vegetables”. But hey…they
have had the word “omnivore” for a long, long time
now. And it sounds a lot more official than veggivore.
Still, my exuberance is tempered by the word itself. I mean…it
does sound remarkably like Presbyterian does it not?
And I’m certain there are Presbyterian pescatarians…although
I’m betting there are significantly more Unitarian
pescatarians. And now that we are the pescatarians (We are the
pescatarians! We are the pescatarians! No time for omnivores ‘cause
we are the pescatatians!! Of the world!) a Pandora’s
Box full of pressing questions prevail.
Such as the Christian symbol of the fish. You know…the one
people slap on the back of their cars. Perhaps there should be
a new, enhanced image for say a Unitarian pescatarian. My suggestion
would be the current fishy symbol with Ms. Pacman…mouth
wide open…waiting to pounce on Pisces! Many times while
sitting in traffic this conundrum has always mangled my mind…is
this THE Holy Mackerel? But hell, I figure there’s no need
putting my proboscis out of place over it.
And with the advent of a word exclusive of fish eating vegetarians,
what if there are vegetarians who include only fowl in their diet?
Say, only eat turkey at Thanksgiving…or just can’t
give up bird? Surely these people must exist and deserve a word
for themselves as well. I suppose they could easily be Fowlists
right? Let’s not forget vegetarians who include reptiles
in their diet! Would they be reptilarians? Or insects? Would they
be insectarians? Why not? With all this specialization one could
easily envision a room full of fowlists (some named Fowler?) squabbling
about squab or grousing over grouse! We pescatarians can sometimes
be heard carping about carp or squiddling over squid! Believe
Of course this also begs the moral question: Does a promiscuous
pescatarian snook around?
Has anyone realized that a Pelican…or any fish eating bird…is
also a pescatarian? “The bird is the word” must be
in the Dead Sea Scrolls somewhere.
Life just keeps getting more complicated.
Just think of all the new possibilities in our world of dietary
cultural labeling. I am by no means complaining. I think it would
be great if the Pescatarian Proctologists Association adapted
“To live to be an octogenarian, first become a pescatarian!!”
as their motto!
So I embrace my new label. I celebrate my pescatarian values proudly!!
Because in my heart of hearts I know…nudist pescatarians
are most certainly loyal readers of Naked Sunfish!!!
Non – Fiction Theater of the Truly Mundane
by Rick Brown
Scene – a large office room in the main library of a
major American university. Desks for about 15 workers are
spread across the stage. Two library employees sit across
from each other center stage. They are engaged in a lively
discussion. A co-worker sits working stage right occasionally
turning his head to listen to their argument.
Dan – How can you say that? Bicycling is transportation!
A bike takes you where you want to go.
Daryl – Sometimes sure. But bicycling most often is
Dan – C’mon Daryl! Half the time you’re
just coasting. Biking is transportation.
Daryl – It may be transportation sometimes. But biking
is always exercise!
Dan (more heatedly) – Biking is TRANS - POR - TAY -
Daryl (unmoved by Dan’s passion states authoritatively
in a low voice) – It is EX – ZER – SIZE!!
The third employee stands and saunters over to Dan and Daryl
with the air of a peacemaker.
Caranci – What about…swimming?
Daryl and Dan together – Huh…wha?
Caranci – Yeah. What about swimming? Transportation
Daryl and Dan - Swimming is always exercise.
Caranci (cavalierly) – Nope. TRANSPORTATION!
Daryl – Himself
Caranci – His Italian self
Winter River Water
give you my last breath,
Not even a sip of this orange juice.
I am watching
movies that let me make my own mind up
As to whether or not it’s OK to kill someone
Given the right circumstances.
I only watch it because I am bored or tired.
over the cold winter river water
Toward the falls, not killing anybody.
I might give you
But my last breath is mine.
It’s the only thing I’ll give away to this planet.