Author Joseph Heywood
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Yooper Song: Summer Solstice

Wheesht!
Nin bim-a-da-gas-i,
Nik-a-nis-si
I wade now,
my friends,
in English.
There is no word
For welcome
In Anishnabe.

I say in English,
Welcome
Gi-go an-i-mosh, Fish Dogs,
To Pa-gid-ji Ta-ba-shish
Above Below,
To Wa-gosh Si-bi,
River of the Fox
The holy place,
Man-git-ig-wei-a  si-bi, the narrow river,
Nam-e-goss-i-kan,
The people’s word for this is a place
Where there are trout,
A place of migisi, the eagle,
Makwa, the bear, mons, the moose,
Maingan, the wolf.

In the days ahead
Much will be revealed.
May we each enjoy shibui, Japanese for the beauty of aging,
Take from it  the shih, Chinese for insight,
See in trout rasa, the Sanskrit word
for mood evoked by a work of art.

Here no orders,
no schedule to drive you.
No radfahrer to browbeat us,
Rather we practice
What the Japanese
call nemawashi
informal feeling-out 
toward consensus.

Here gather we myrmidons of trout,
Yeah, merry maffickers
Mirable dictum, mirable vis
Bums one and all,
From English slang for buttocks
Which we view as the top
Not bottom.

To chase trout is a fine anodyne
Here in od-ei-mi-ni-gisiss,
Named June by Romans
From the Latin ianua, the door,
Juno, the month’s namesake
The Janitor, keeper of the door,
Which opens to the jeweled
rivers where Hemingway
Hallucinated and hatched
Magic on paper.

The barbecue and hex chase follow soon,
Where then we join
for larger common good,
But here we focus on
Fishy fellowship in lacustrine splendor,
Clooping corks from bottles,
Popping tabs from cans,
That we might imbibe
Of ichor, that fluid said
To flow in the veins of gods.

Mooncussers beware!
Give wide berth
To this place of  myth
As we give thanks
To Patulcius, the door opener,
May he open the door of the Fox
And Driggs and let brook trout
Rise to our wannel offerings.

We pray we feel neither
Chubasco nor mistral,
Ask only a gentle lebeccio
From the southwest.
Or zonda, that hot, humid air
That warms Argentinian plains
Where brown trout swim.

Here I travel into history.
Ten miles south is Seney,
Hell Town in the Pine, home
loggers, swampers,
cant hook men and teamsters
The passion of jacks:  downing hookers of hootch
And scrapping.
If you fell,
better get to your feet
before you got corked boots in the puss,
or caught a cant hook in the mush.

Girls too, ladies of pleasure,
Who chewed Peerless,
One named Razorback
Who would waltz a partner
On the dance floor
Close to the door,
Where her pals
Would drag him outside
Put a few nobs on his head
And rob him.

We salute the memory
Of Jack McDonald,
Roaring Jimmy Gleason,
Tea Pot Kelly, Handsome Jack,
Runaway Shea, Buck Pete,
Blue Jay, Protestant Bob McGuire,
Stuttering Jim Gallagher,
Fighting Jim Morrison
Silver Jack Driscoll and Frying Pan Mag.
And P.K. Small who bit the heads off reptiles and amphibians
for drinks, and once the head
of Frank O’Brien’s pet owl,
out of spite.
Men who didn’t want to sleep three to a bed
Slept on the floor, the ram’s pasture.

Dear friends,
Welcome to this Yooper bothy,
Small shack
Where we gather
Among bracken, gorse, and cedar.
Prithee, I weird you
grace from this place
as you waltz aplowter
in fecund water
in the gloaming,
dancing
along the haughs and heughs.

I bid thee ignore the calls
Of the hoodies,
Dancing with roadkill,
Think not of the world mundane,
For you have
Entered
A special place where
late at night
You can turn thine eyes
Upward to the Merry Dancers.

We banish Schaddenfreude.
Ask only for bonga,
That special spirit unique to each place.

We seek here what Spaniards term
Conmocion, that tie of  emotion
shared within a group,
And sabsung, what our Thai
Brothers call revitalizing spiritual thirst.

We old men have our memories
Edited soft by time.
But who shall say what thoughts and visions
Fill the fiery brains of young men and women?

Raise a hooker, my friends.
Remember the words of poet Seamus Heaney,
“Like Braille, may you glean the unsaid off the palpable.”

Slainte!


 
 
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