A Woodburners We Recommend Publication 2005 series



& skids up onto the next ridge
His Husqvarna kerfs over
a century pine in 5 minutes
and a dozen wedge blows.

Cross-country, an aunt’s upset
that we dropped timber
to mill our home from.
But what Cascadian clear-cut
birthed her tract house
in the L.A. Basin?

Nature becomes what
we have done to ourselves.
The trail underfoot.
Rocks placed just so
in a streambed for crossing.
This hillside logged for taxes.

What is not understood,
still is. The best blackberries
take root on the old landings.
Grouse drum in the slash.
& a good logger can drop
every tree up to the hermit’s door
and still leave the recluse standing.


When pitching boards
sometimes a knot
breaks free
we hold these out
for Joel who first
held one
clear against
the late spring
sun to show us
how the rosin-thick
edge blazed
a translucent corona
ravenous to flare
up on coals knocked
bright in the predawn cold

So I’m up to the old Moore lot
bullin out pine
from that blow down
we had back late May.
Gotta get those logs
out to mill before
the blue-stain sets in.
Now the mill is all
back-logged bout that time,
but I know Tommy C. the owner
personal & we got us an arrangement...
I can send a charge of logs
as long as it’s under 10,000/week.
Got Ike Lowen hauling for me
& we keep a runnin tab
of footage as he loads up.
       Well now, one slip she comes back
from the mill scaled 2,000 ft short.
So I call Tommy & he says
he’s got a new man scalin loads
& he’ll talk to him. Fine by me.
Next slip comes back 2,500 ft short.
This time I ride the load down
with Ike. The old scaler Jenks is there.
He knows I don’t come to the yard
for no ice cream social & just says,
“Earl, it weren’t me.
It’s that new kid Bowie ya be wantin.’
& here comes the hot-shot round the truck
with his rule all set for scalin.
Old Jenks heads for the office.
I got my limbin axe with me
& I make like I’m dressin a log.
The kid puts out his hand.
Wants to shake.
Guess he figured that would make
everything triple A. So I grip him good,
twist that hand up against the log
& got my axe raised
when Tommy comes up puffin at a trot,
       “Hey Earl! What gives?”
I’m staring the kid in the face.
“Well Tommy, this runt spud’s been scalin me short
& I figure I own the hand’s been cheatin me.”
That’s when I smelled the kid lose it.
       I let Tommy talk me down
into the yard-office to “work-things-out.”
Fine by me. I’m not one to hold a grudge.
That load scaled out right smart.
Next one too.
                            No problem after that.
Guess the kid’s scalin slab now.
Tommy even sent along a check
to cover what I was shorted.
Now That’s
the proper way
to run a business.

Peter leaves wide
the doors to his shop
& all day
little is done
as people stop to
talk winter out
of their systems
in a cradle
of sun
two open doors

Mary starts weeding the garden
early to beat the sun
Helen steps out barefoot,
squats low to help
& whispers —

       “Pull the Big ones first.
        They fill the bucket
        up faster.”

No matter
how hot the job
his flannel shirt
never comes off

But today —
        sleeves rolled up
        past the elbows

Greg Joly’s book of poems Hand Labor was released from Adastra Press
in 1992 — ever busy as a homesteader & letterpress artisan, his play
A Love Greater Than 70 Bushels of Baked Potatoes
(Scott & Helen Nearing in Vermont) was performed in 2002.
Some of these poems first appeared in Hunger Mountain.
When in Vermont, look for a tall, lanky gent in a straw hat.


Now available ~

Greg Joly. Broken Glass Road. Longhouse, 2005. First edition. Fold out accordion booklet. New. Limited edition. $10 (+ $2 s/h) / Or, Signed by the Poet. $15

As an act of goodwill and for poetry - Longhouse is sending out each month complete publications - online - of one poet (or more) we have published in booklet, broadside or postcard form for everyone to share. It's a way of giving back to many of you who have sent to us poems, letters, purchases and the same goodwill over the years. The series will fly in under the banner of our Woodburners We Recommend. It should also be felt as a certain warmth in memory to all our close and dear poetry comrades passed along - each one becoming more of a loss. Each monthly booklet will also be available for purchase from Longhouse. Issued in a very limited keepsake edition of 50 copies. Starting in 2006 we will begin to reissue and present past issues from Longhouse of select poets. For those readers that travel back as far as 1972 when Longhouse began, you know poetry was released like bandits by the day, by the week, by the month, and always free. We have never taken on grants and meant poetry to be seen & heard & on poetry terms. From 2005, into the Infinite, and within the universal cyber cosmos, we would like to share multiple poets with you....and only ask that you share them further.


© December 2005 by Greg Joly

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