Hello, 2010. We almanackers salute you and the new, clean, unfilled calendar that bears your name, a new orbit plotted out, waiting to be lived.
You sound more futuristic than your predecessor did. It's that confident 1 in the tens column, copilot to the 2. We're a decade in, by common consent, and ready to call you Twenty Ten.
And hello, January, elder of the Ary brothers. Still wearing your tophat, but not a diaper or sash. Heck, no. Silk pyjamas. You slept late. Woke carefully. Tried not to make any mistakes, but that'll pass. In a few days, the resolutions will start looking a bit shopworn, if not already. And the newspapers already bear testament to bad news. Don't feel responsible. You can enjoy your firstness, your virginity, for a few more days. Put on Tony Bennett. Do another crossword puzzle. It's the weekend.
Let's start things off with another Betty Begonia poem, written for my mom in a year that's receded a bit, but she hasn't. She's riding along with us. I believe she just smiled.
Betty Begonia and the Coyote
“Miz B, that stew shore was delicious,”
said Ringo, soap-sudsing the dishes
while Jim melancholically
played his harmonicky,
mourning his unfulfilled wishes.
Jim’s tune wafted out, wild and throaty
like a brujo on too much peyote
and it proved so persistent
that five miles distant,
it lassoed a lonesome coyote.
The critter stood high on a butte
and listened, alert and astute.
then, nose to the sky,
he howled a reply:
a fellow night crier’s salute.
Sure enough, that long note left a scorch
clear back to Ms. Betty’s back porch.
“Whoa! I declare, boyos,”
said Thomas, “That coyo’s
a-carryin’ some kind of torch!”
For hours the concert kept going,
the howl-and-harp music flowing,
criss-crossing like rivers
and giving the shivers
to anyone born and still growing.
* * *
The next morning, Betty Begonia
woke up to diverse pandemonia!
Her llamas were manic,
her goats in a panic—
especially Sadie and Sonya.
For there in the yard by the pen,
having traveled since dawn from his den,
sat a big gray coyote,
smelling all creosote-y…
He scratched himself now and again.
“No fears!” Ringo yelled from a tree,
while attempting to yank his gun free
from out of his holster
and also to bolster
his trembling hand with his knee.
“Stow your pistol ‘fore someone gets hurt,”
Betty said as she tucked in her shirt
and strode out in the yard
with a pause for a hard
authoritative spit in the dirt.
“I’m guessing this here’s the same critter
who crooned like a canine Tex Ritter
from sunset’s last ember
just about ‘til the first starry glitter.”
“Hey, there, partner!” whooped Jim with a grin,
bursting out of the bush he’d been in.
“If my face ain’t too gruesome,
let’s form up a twosome—
we'd make us a right purty din!”
Well, the goats were initially wary
and the llamas were downright contrary.
But Jim built the varmint
its own snug apartment
right next to the barn—nice and airy.
And each Saturday night, KYOT
broadcasts Jim and the Singing Coyote
doing ballads and blues
on mouth harp and ARROOOOOOOOOOOOOs
from Ms. Betty’s—with many devotees!