Sue Blaustein: “On Hubbard Street”

 

 

On Hubbard Street

 

April

My new friend
is the northern end
of Hubbard Street.
Hubbard is a homely

name! Old Mother
Hubbard’s bare cupboard;
fall wagons heaped
with warty squash.

Hubbard Street comes
near my house too. But
the northern end – the terminus –
feels like a distant

village. By going there
this spring I learned
that I need a distant
village. It has outskirts.

Where a copter-beanie
wind turbine
in a warehouse parking
lot goes whup whup

whup whup whup.

 

June

East Side Stor-Mor
is on the outskirts. Not
Store not More.
We shaved e’s off

naming places
in the 20th century.
Not anymore – too
corny. I’m scuffing

a heated mix of brown
pine needles and litter.
A cups-and-bags-and-wrappers mix
that clogs catch-basins

and recurs;
piling ahead of your same feet
in all the summers of your life,
to appear again

across lifetimes, suffusing
you with feelings
about eternity. Everything
simultaneous… could be…

 

November

The curbstones are soft-edged
along the street
between Stor-Mor and what
I call my village proper.

Where there are
seven houses – residences!
Modest, and I don’t know
who lives there. I’ve

dwelt in houses and flats
I might’ve passed;
circumstances and years
before I lived there.

Hubbard Street –
I feel something in your ether.
You seem to know where I’ve been.
I sense you know

where I might be, when one
day another now
turns to then. It’s 2:00 PM
and the turbine blades whirl,

casting shadows
on the units of Stor-Mor –
garage doors 29, 30 and 31 –
whup whup…whup whup whup

 

 

 

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

The Old Ways

 

Image Credit: John Margolies “Thrift Store, Baseline [i.e. Base Line] Street, San Bernardino, California” (1991) The Library of Congress

Sue Blaustein: The Fifty-Year Anniversaries are Almost Over

 

 

1968, ‘69
2018, ‘19:
The Fifty-Year Anniversaries are Almost Over

 

On the back porch
at sunrise,
I hold my toaster oven
over the rail. I
pop the bottom
tray, brush crumbs
onto the grass
then stay
to listen to crickets.
To their uninterrupted
    chirping,
then to chirp-imitating
beeps, as the kneeling floor
of the #15 bus
is lowered to the curb
on Holton Street.

    My tiny portion –
        my due –
    of the brunt of your war
    has been arriving.
    Ramifications traveling
    in steady waves,
    rolling in for fifty years
    and more
    come faster now.

It’s only fit
that I kneel like the bus
to meet them.

 

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

The Old Ways

 

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Sunset at Grover Beach” (2020)

Sue Blaustein: A Horse Named “Can-Ball-the-Flowers”

 

 

A Horse Named “Can-Ball-the-Flowers”

…we can tentatively define information as the communication of relationships
– Hans Christian Von Baeyer in “INFO, Information, the New Language of Science”

When I was five or six,
I was crazy for horses
            and words.
My mother told me
about Thoroughbreds
and the meaning of pedigree –
why owners gave them

long and pompous names. She’d
open the New York Times to find
the line-up at Belmont, read
us the silliest ones out loud
            and we’d laugh.
Something only we shared… As
years passed, I’d remember, or

mis-remember a name.
Was there a horse
named “Can-Ball-the-Flowers”?
I let it drop, but then the Internet was invented.
Forty-three when I got connected, my first
burning question for the web:
Was there ever a horse named

“Can Ball the Flowers”?
DOS search engines in the 90’s
didn’t think for you like Google.
Courier type on a black
background…I strategized
keywords: I was five or six.
So, 1961, ‘62. Races in New York – 

would be Aqueduct or Belmont.
I had to tweak my terms
repeatedly, but finally I learned –
there was a chestnut
stallion named “Candy Spots”,
and a fast mare whose name
was “Bowl of Flowers”!

 

 

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

The Old Ways

 

Image Credit: Russell Lee “Finish line of farm boys’ horse race. Vale Oregon. This was supposed to be a boys race but the girls wanted to be in it too so they were included ” (1941) The Library of Congress

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