He’s also an American Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, essayist, and teacher; he lives in Garland, a small town near Lincoln, Nebraska. He’s published nearly a dozen books of poetry since 1969.
Not only does he see details hidden right in front of you, he arranges them in the most wondrous way. His poems are quiet moments full of grace and understanding of life way outside of the fast lane. Kooser introduces you to people you want to know and places you want to visit and hang out for a while.
Above all, he shows you how to slow down and open your eyes. Here is a favorite, a one line poem, called Splitting an Order, from his 2014 collection with the same name.
I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half,
maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread,
no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky hands steady
by placing his forearms firm on the edge of the table
and using both hands, the left to hold the sandwich in place,
and the right to cut it surely, corner to corner,
observing his progress through glasses that moments before
he wiped with his napkin, and then to see him lift half
onto the extra plate that he had asked the server to bring,
and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife
while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon,
her knife and her fork in their proper places,
then smoothes the starched white napkin over her knees
and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him
My 2014 VW beetle is key-less. Instead of an ordinary car key, I have a gadget with lock and unlock buttons. Instead of turning the ignition with a key, I step on the break pedal and push a start button. It isn’t a must-have feature for me but I liked the idea.
Once when I was putting wine bottles in the recycling dumpster, I locked my key in the trunk. But I was able to get in and drive home since my key-less-key said remotely, “It’s ok! I’m right here in the trunk.”
(At home, I flipped the back seats face down and was able to rescue my key.)
Then one day, I got out of the car, locked it — with my phone sitting on the front seat. I grabbed the door handle, and surprisingly, the door wasn’t locked. I pushed the lock button on the key gadget a couple of times but each time I tried the handle, it opened.
Oh man, I thought, this will be a pricey repair. From then on I stopped using the defective buttons to lock the car. Then one day, I accidentally slammed the trunk lid with my key and purse inside. I thought no big deal, the car isn’t locked and the key is within range to start it; I’ll drive home like before.
I tried the car door and it WAS locked. Long story short — I walked over a mile and 1/2 to my house wearing hardly sturdy sandals in 90 degree heat.
Key-less entry is in a middle chapter in the manual. I found out that when key-less-key is within a foot of the car, I lock and unlock the doors and the trunk just by the laying on of my hands. My touch activates the remote sensors which shout out, “Key-less-key is in the house. Action approved. Commence.”
I am queen of the universe.
According to the world of Google, this quote is from Francis Picabia, a French poet who died in 1953 and the American poet Allen Ginsberg who, unfortunately, is also dead. Even when asked point-blank, ” Who came up with the ‘Our heads are…’ quote, Ginsberg or Picabia?” Google dodged.
I am sure I could get to the bottom of this mystery but I choose to move on.
The creator of the Smiley Face is uncontested. It’s Harvey Rose Ball, an American graphic artist. In 1963, Harvey was asked to come up with something to raise employee morale at an insurance company; it took him 10 minutes and he was paid $45.00.
If that insurance company had been a little more forward thinking they may have found out what we know today. Satisfied employees work for ethical and community-centered companies that acknowledge and value them, give them chances to learn, give them challenging work and lastly, give them fair compensation.
But, on the other hand, if that had been the case — we just might not have Smiley Face.
Have a Salubrious Labor Day.
Popularized after the 2000 presidential election and spread by television’s love of maps, it’s common to call a state red when it is mostly Republican and blue when Democrat voters are the majority. When you mix red and blue, you end up with purple. So that’s now how we color a state where neither of the two major parties dominate. A look at voting trends and histories shows that Alabama is the reddest state and Washington is the bluest.
Headquartered smack dab in Birmingham, Alabama is BriteBlueDot.com If blue you are in a red state this just might cheer you up. (They do bulk discounts if you know like-minded people in Texas.)
I don’t know if it is uniquely American to plaster your beliefs on your car. But around a major election, it seems like more people than ever show up with bumper stickers. ‘Course we don’t really need text to judge where someone stands. Ford 150, you’re Red, Honda Fit – Blue, Minivan — well, let’s just color you Purple.
To all it may concern:
So sorry to hear about your troubles with Governor LePage. Seems he has a little difficulty with impulse control, courteous discourse and general deportment befitting the highest leadership position in the state. We also heard he has decided not to resign and is seeking spiritual guidance.
Well here’s the deal. We the people of Kansas will swap you one for one.
It’s only fair to provide full disclosure. Frankly, Governor Brownback is no prize. We would encourage your state budget director to get with his/her team and find a way to squirrel away a very, very healthy cash reserve. On the up side, Sam Brownback is steeped in lots of religion. He speaks quietly and presents himself with a great deal of decorum usually in a suit and tie.
As for Paul LePage’s spiritual quest, we can guarantee you there is no scarcity of religious tour guides in the great state of Kansas.
People of Kansas