Sue Blaustein “The Old Ways”

 

 

 

The Old Ways

So many atmospheres
to perceive
when it gets quiet!

Sometimes on 17th Street
I hear a train.
Though active lines

aren’t really near
I know. Then, the feel
of a dusty depot –

late-August-in-April.
I lose myself in golden
            wheat fields

gracing the box
of Triscuits on
the counter.

Color lithography
has not entirely
lost its power.

Leaving the wheat field
where Triscuits are born
I lose myself again,

in a halftone
of mud-colored raisins
on another box.

A picture on the outside
showing what’s inside –
fifteen sticky ounces

of raisins. “Lion”
brand. Lion Raisins?
That’s funny.

But don’t laugh
at the lion in the logo.
He’s in profile –

the flow of his mane
modeled with simple
strokes. Just line art.

Just line art, it’s enough.
To show lion is stable
and strong. Run out of raisins?

It cannot happen.

 

About the Author: Sue Blaustein is the author of “In the Field, Autobiography of an Inspector”. Her publication credits and bio can be found at www.sueblaustein.com. Sue retired from the Milwaukee Health Department in 2016, and is an active volunteer. She blogs for ExFabula (“Connecting Milwaukee Through Real Stories”), serves as an interviewer/writer for the “My Life My Story” program at the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and chases insects at the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center.

 

More by Sue Blaustein:

A Song for Harvest Spiders

A Song for Noise

 

Image Credit: Patricia M. Highsmith “Wheat field near Candor, New York ” (2018) The Library of Congress

Sue Blaustein: “A Song for Noise”

 

 

A Song for Noise

Time has been called God’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen at once. In the same spirit, noise is Nature’s way of making sure we don’t find out everything that happens.

– Hans Christian Von Baeyer (in Information, The New Language of Science)

 

I was there – passing by –
             on an April day
when industrial gases arrived.
A long truck parked on Holton Street –
Advance Diecasting – their new home.

I saw tanks secured on the flatbed.
Primary colors on Hazmat signs.
Warnings in triangles – yellows
and reds. The delivery was almost over.  

It was something that happened –
an event – so I marked it. Goodbye
welding gases I said. Cordial, to cylinders
in my rear-view mirror. Visit again sometime soon! 

I could’ve said goodbye
            to the driver too. 
Said goodbye, unloaders and signs.
Goodbye tires, goodbye pebbles
caught in the tread, rolling 

            away to where? 
When to leave off? To wrap it up –
when nothing’s really “over”?
It’s a never-ending, all-at-once
            overlapping onrush –

Something happened…What 
             happened?
            What’s next?

 

About the Author: Sue Blaustein is the author of “In the Field, Autobiography of an Inspector”. Her publication credits and bio can be found at www.sueblaustein.com. Sue retired from the Milwaukee Health Department in 2016, and is an active volunteer. She blogs for ExFabula (“Connecting Milwaukee Through Real Stories”), serves as an interviewer/writer for the “My Life My Story” program at the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and chases insects at the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center.

 

More by Sue Blaustein:

A Song for Harvest Spiders

 

Image Credit: Reginald Hotchkiss “Shuck pile. Rock Point, Maryland. These shells are returned to river to start new beds” (1941) The Library of Congress

Sue Blaustein “A Song for Harvest Spiders”

 

 

A Song for Harvest Spiders

August – I’m by the river,
watching harvest spiders.
I squint, then focus, and I see one.
A second one comes, then a third! 

They move down the ends
of rotting logs, follow long,
softening splinters. Crossing folds 
of pearly fungus, they move.

Their legs – banded with white
gaiters (where crew socks could be)
            convey that grand caplet,
the cephalothorax. Now one’s astride 

the crinkly vertical fungus!
Skinny legs lift the feet high, step
clear of bark-bound centipedes;
and the caplets rise and dip,

            rise and dip.
I call their motion silent. But really
it isn’t. My ears just aren’t
made to hear their footfalls.

Thump! They take inaudible
steps, palping for edible tidbits.
The ladies’ eggs scrape and settle
into humus. Back-to-school season,

Halloween…                  I’ll miss you
after the freeze. Companions – miss
means that when cold days come, 
I’ll be here, but you’ll be gone.

 

About the Author: Sue Blaustein is the author of “In the Field, Autobiography of an Inspector”. Her publication credits and bio can be found at www.sueblaustein.com. Sue retired from the Milwaukee Health Department in 2016, and is an active volunteer. She blogs for ExFabula (“Connecting Milwaukee Through Real Stories”), serves as an interviewer/writer for the “My Life My Story” program at the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and chases insects at the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center.

 

Image Credit: American spiders and their spinningwork. V.3, Academy of natural sciences of Philadelphia,1889-93. Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library