Refrigerator Magnet Poem—Two-tongued Vixen, October 22, 1998


That two-tongued vixen

Soon may speak like a velvet cup

Her cat belly aches deeply

With each lingering mouse stare

And with every tiny bird-roasted yawn

Perhaps she almost said it…

Please listen softly to her voice

Pierce your TV time cloud

Love mush life and pant thy pig dance

Soon it shall all boil away

in a blush of flickering star dust.

Zogo’s Pest Control

Above the color proofing station, at a printing plant in the wilds of Tennessee was a very unique insect collection. A self-appointed curator had haphazardly attached specimens (and various broken bits of specimens), with clear plastic tape to a beige metal panel. This same individual had later taken a grease pencil and scribbled “Zogo’s Pest Control” just to the right of this ragged display. There was a yellow tiger swallowtail, a cecropia moth, two luna moths, a tulip tree moth, a giant sphinx moth, an imperial moth with a big blood stain, a roach, several preying mantis, some crickets, and a large clearwing labeled “import from Vietnam.” The other insects had hastily scribbled labels: F11, F-23, patriot, stealth bomber, scud, etc.

These insects had had the misfortune of flying towards the plant’s bright florescent lights, and making their way into the intricacies of the giant web presses. The foreman informed me that a large moth, when flattened on the blanket, leaves a football-sized mess. Zogo’s insects were the lucky ones that were captured before they could be turned into flattened bug cartoons.

During the course of this summer, Zogo’s collection was doomed to grow ever bigger. All of the printing plant’s windows were wide open and not one of them had a screen.


Our stay at the Hale Ohia Cottages, 1999

Three days of solid tropical downpours made our experience of Volcano less than sizzling, and tested our Endurance. The Hale Ohia guestbook was the recipient of Sandy’s literary wrath…Image
I awoke to the sound of rain pounding on the skylight. The pillows were damp. The blankets, too, were sparkling with little beads of moisture.

Essential supplies had been placed in the refrigerator, but the pressure of the constantly falling rain was threatening to rot and cave in the roof above the kitchenette. I thought of moving the refrigerator closer to the fireplace, but it was too late. The thoughts that came to me then were not particularly cheerful.

I pulled on my heavy, wet underwear and water-logged jeans, then slowly squished my way to the door. I knew that I would have to reach the car by nightfall, but it was a full 80 feet away.

Somehow, I managed to pull open the door of the cottage, but three times I was driven back by the cold, cruel rain. On my fourth attempt to reach the edge of the parking lot, my pink, retractable umbrella was violently blown backwards. The next squall sent it flying off toward the hot tub.

My strength was nearly exhausted and it was hard work crawling the remaining ten feet. At last my slippery hands encountered one of the tires of our car. From there I was able to feel my way up to the driver’s side door, and wrenched it open. Inside, my husband Snort was soaked, but miraculously, he was still alive. We drank guava juice and ate Tammy’s banana bread.

We stayed in the car the rest of the day, enduring as best we could discomforts that amounted to pain.

Hazel Shackleton
Manhattan Island