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April 26, 2007


Cut limb planted
like a fence post
near the wash rack
where weary horses
stand for hose spray –
          matted hair,
          crust of salt,
sweaty rivers run
together until clear
down their flanks
for twenty years
          to irrigate
the cottonwood afire
at dawn – huge silhouette
of new translucent leaves
in flames. Ardens sed virens,
shepherds tending miracles
it sometimes seems.

Ardens sed virens: Exodus 3:2. Latin. "Burning but flourishing," motto of the Presbyterian Chiurch of Ireland

April 15, 2007

Ides of April

With a surprising .38 of an inch in the gauge this morning, it’s still sprinkling. Low and heavy clouds shroud the ridges and shrink the canyon down to look and feel more like February with a fire in the woodstove. Some south slopes in the ‘dobe have been brown for weeks, north slopes holding, west heading-out and turning. But higher in the granite where most of our cows and calves live, the feed still grows as fading skiffs of popcorn flowers have all but shed their petals.

With less than 50% of average precipitation, we have been approaching an early end to our grass season ever since the two weeks of mid-80 degree days in March, but it has been a season of little miracles, well-timed sprinkles and rains, a long battle of hot and cold extremes that has made our feed strong – a season well-suited for native cattle, judging by the cows and calves where Robbin and I put salt out Friday.

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel

Dust Bowl Okie Poet, Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel passed away last night at the age of 88. “At the end, two loving staff at the rest home were reading some of her poems. When the last poem was read, they looked up and she had passed.” There will be a Rosary and Mass at St. Rita's Catholic Church in Tulare on Friday, April 20th, 10:00 a.m., burial at the Tulare District Cemetery.


Will one of you go
pretty please with
sugar on top
in my absence
a total stranger will do
salute the water tower
in my full name

Call out boldly
challenge that proud crow
who claims the grass
beneath it as its own
and I will be forever in
your gracious debt

Do rant and rave and
shake your fists at demon trucks
which shatter the quiet
of the Pancake House
As a further favor to me
let the iris blue of Sycamore Street
turn your head
as it turned mine years ago.

Above all things just anyone
walk the rose fence foursquare
around Tulare District Cemetery
if the sky is clear east
of St. John’s Church
yell my best regards to the Sierra

                                - WEM


Hi Chris,

Thanks for checkin'-in.

There are a couple of other poems that Wilma inspired, though I can't locate them in my brain...I can't even find A Prince Albert Wind somewhere on my desk which has two or three scribbled pieces still tucked inside she wrote for me to read at Down An Old Road's showing at the NCPG...2003? I did find the COS program for your documentary's premiere in Visalia.

When I posted "Asking Favors" from Prince Albert, I had the collection out and remember trying to choose between it and a poem I'd written. "McClure's Grocery," posted to the Chapbook In-Progress category on January 15, 2006 is about as close to Wilma's style and sensibilities as I've ever gotten. In my new chapbook, April Bullfrogs, the poem "Hazards of Flight" [posted here December 16, 2006] refers to the promise I never kept but made to her at COS to take her up the Yokohl and Dry Creek in the spring to see the wildflowers one last time. Your word “canny” perhaps best describes the brilliance of her poetry, a legacy to us all.

I’ll try to locate the missing poems and post them here below. In the meantime, here’s two poems by Wilma published in Dry Crik Review, Spring 1993 that I don’t believe are published elsewhere.


The visitors had been talking
about baseball, but somehow
Uncle Bart switched off to the
subject of flowers
jumped right in with “Folks
if you really want to see a sight
take that Yokohl Valley Drive
why the roadsides and low spots
are alive with monkeyflowers
little yellow monkey faces
and beds of buttercups
and if you take that drive to
the lupine will knock you out
shimmery shiny blue alive
and poppies just popping gold.
It’s a calling card from the Almighty
I tell you from my heart.”
And his son tried to shut him up
“Dad, not everyone is as crazy
as you over California wildflowers.”


As far as we remember
he never used the word
in his long working years
too set in shades of dust
and sweat
if he looked up he saw
a hawk outlined in black.

It shocked everyone
when he told us
in the local rest home.
“That wild mustard
them fields of solid yellow
I ate ‘em with my eyes
before I scythed ‘em down

to cook at home
when I had a cook
my Lula
and I could still see yellow.”

For those interested in more about Wilma McDaniel, copy and paste the following into your web browser: http://www.wilmaelizabethmcdaniel.com

April 14, 2007

April 13th, Friday: Put Salt Out






April 11, 2007

Scott Preston

We are saddened by the news of Scott Preston’s passing on March 21, 2007 in Missoula, Montana. http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005114853

Back 40 Publishing


April 10, 2007


Dry Crik Press
P.O. Box 44320
Lemon Cove, CA 93244-0320

Bezner,Kevin                 1993           ABOUT WATER                                       $6.00

Buyer, Laurie W.           1994           BLUE HERON                                           6.00*
                                      1996           BRAINTANNING BUCKSKIN                       5.00

Dofflemyer, John C.     2007           APRIL BULLFROGS                                 10.00
                                      2004           STILL IN THE MOUNTAINS                      10.00
                                      1999           SHREWD ANGLES & Other Undertones    6.00 (reduced)**
                                      1993           CATTAILS & Other Poems                        N/A
                                      1992           HUNG OUT TO DRY                                  6.00
                                      1991           BLACK MERCEDES                                   5.00
                                      1991           MUSES OF THE RANGES                           9.00
                                      1989           SENSIN’ SOMETHIN’                                 6.50
                                      1989           DRY CREEK RHYMES                                N/A

Jones & McQueary         1994           BLOOD TRAILS                                       12.00
                                                         1st Edition cloth, signed & numbered   30.00 (reduced)

Preston, Scott                1994           LETTERS FROM ELKO                               5.00

Quintero, Henry O.        1996           THE ANIMAL PEOPLE                                6.00

Wallis, Sue                     1993           ANOTHER GREEN GRASS LOVER               5.00 (half-price)***
                                      1991           THE EXALTED ONE                                   N/A
Zarzyski, Paul                1995           I AM NOT A COWBOY                                N/A
                                                         1st Edition cloth                                       N/A

* a few signed & numbered copies only
** original covers
*** smudged color covers


Dry Crik Review: Back Issues

                        Winter 1991                     $5.00
                        Spring 1991                         N/A
                        Summer 1991                      N/A
                        Fall 1991                             7.00

                        Winter 1992                        5.00
                        Spring 1992                         7.00
                        Summer 1992                      7.00
                        Fall 1992/Winter 1993     10.00

                        Spring 1993                         7.00
                        Summer/Fall 1993            10.00
                        Winter/Spring 1994          10.00

Add $1.50/copy shipping and handling for USA orders. Outside USA inquire:

Sorry, no credit cards. Checks only: payable to: Dry Crik Press.

For a comprehensive list of prose, poems, contributors and reviews in each issue,
copy and paste:    
to your web browser.

April 5, 2007


This side of the stream of evening
cars and pickups flowing up and down
the canyon, half-lit sorrel geldings graze

the fading green knoll: hollow ground
where native women stayed beyond
these bred, red heifers at the fence

mowing clover and rye like a machine
moving randomly closer in a single sound
of harvesting: a rhythmic slow dance

of efficiency. Each heavy head lifts, one
by one to look beneath the Palo Verde tree,
dark eyes in white faces: remembering.

Up slope across the creek, your father
scattered – mine a decade gone today
as we wander in and out worlds

before us. Beneath the hose-spray,
it is raining on fresh peppers planted
like leafy soldiers dripping from ridges

into puddled furrows – sweet aroma
of wet manure: last summer’s horses
standing head to tail, batting flies.

April 3, 2007


Few secrets in a little town, kids
brooming sidewalks after school,
fat-tired Schwinn’s slung with bags

of county history we thought was news.
No one felt anonymous, not even
the lean Okie kids from Tuleville

who rode the bus with the rest of us
they hated. The older girls claimed
the long black seat and brayed

gospel songs as the bus filled-up –
but then someone behind me
would always start it to rocking:

erupting with Tennessee Ernie Ford’s
“Sixteen Tons.” Lyrics you could see
before they got off at the company store,

three dirt streets of clapboard shacks
with broke-down wrecks looking-out
so helplessly that we all sang along.

April 1, 2007


Clayton Vincent
March 18, 2007

...and when I dream
my horse can glide
uneven ground –
my loop can reach
from horn to horn,
dallies stacked
to a sliding stop...

Nathan Scott
March 18, 2007

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