Archive for April, 2016

new haikew

poet’s old age fears
that he’s going to die soon
that he won’t die soon

by Job Conger
written April 22, 2016

live long . . . . . . and proper

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I am a single poet/photographer/journalist/songwriter/aviation historian who lives the life of an extreme. . . . . single . . . . . straight man who loves pretty, affectionate, straight women. By “extreme . . . . single” I mean that in the course of living what, in retrospect, seems to have been a “D-minus life” I have accepted compromises in quality of life which I believe would not have taken place if I had found a pretty, affectionate, straight woman with whom to share my life. One of those compromises is lived every time I carry water to the kitchen.  I  believe a woman I loved and married would have driven me to do better than that, if not for my sake, then for hers. And so I carry water to the kitchen.

My home was old when I bought it, built when horses pulled wagons in the streets. One of the early  owner left a wagon yolk in the basement. It’s still where I found it. The indoor plumbing must have arrived about the same time as the owner’s horse, and it, too, wore out its maximum usefulness here. Trouble is, the horse went away, and the plumbing stayed. There are issues with old pipes which  have grown increasingly more unhappily manifest over the past 20 years. And so I carry water to the kitchen.

Over the past five years, I’ve adjusted. For awhile, the bathroom sink took a day to drain after I washed my face and shaved. The bath/shower have always drained just fine.  For awhile, I brushed my teeth and occasionally washed my face at the kitchen sink which drained just fine as well. Last October, my water bills began to rise precipitously. I was using much more water than in the past. I blamed my kitchen sink. Last November, I turned off the water than feeds to the kitchen faucet to see if it would help. It didn’t.

My water bills remained astro-freaking-nomical. Even so, I kept the water turned off in the kitchen. A big league plumber at Mike Williams Plumbing visited and looked at all the water pipes in the basement; said most of them hadn’t been touched since horses lived out back, and to cure the low sink pressure and the lousy draining probems, a MAJOR renovation was needed. — Free  plug here: the fellow was a super-nice gentleman working for a super-nice company in Springfield, Illinois. — I saw and understood what he was talking about. And I believed him. And so I carry water to the kitchen.

Later this year, almost by accident, I discovered a significant water leak in the crawl space next to the laundry room where those pipes work great because a year after I moved in here, (1996, ’97) I had hired a plumber to replace the old ones. The bills from the utility company have begun to come down since a friend fixed that leak. HOORAY!
But still I carry water to the kitchen.

I don’t care about turning the water back on because I know the faucet will still leak drops every minute of the day, and even if it is only pennies a day going down the drain, those are pennies I don’t want to pay, and I have limited dollars in pocket to buy a new sink — which the Mike Williams Plumbing gent said I needed. Since I began carrying water to the kitchen from my bathroom sink in a large, plastic iced tea pitcher and a clean gallon jug, formerly home to Carlo Rossi Burgundy, mostly for water for instant Folgers and Lipton iced tea mix, I’m more conservative with dish usage. As an extreme single straight fellow, my body has built up immunities to household germs and bacterial infestations which could be durn near lethal to normal hummin’ beans. In the course of the last four months, I have used two plates, washed them two or three times with dishwashing detergent and warm water carried into the kitchen. Lately, I’m down to one plate. I eat a lot of Campbell’s Chicken and Rice Gumbo (Chunky Soup) from the pan in which it is heated. Two bowls a week, typically, and I wash it with soap at least once a week. Salads I buy prepared and sold in clear plastic boxes are eaten from a medium sauce pan. I wash it at least twice a month and wipe in out between washings. I  really need to find a salad fork. There is a reason God allowed us to invent salad forks, and three or four times a week I understand that reason. I LIKE prepared Chef Salads sans cherry tomatoes, I truly do. Different dressings keep them interesting.  Lately, I’ve noticed the kitchen sink doesn’t drain as fast as it used to. Who knows? Maybe by summer I’ll be dumping dirty dishwater out the back door too. Don’t want to dump it into the bathtub. I need my shower to drain well. One working drain in this house. That’s not a wish; that’s a requirement. But I’ll still carry water to the kitchen.

Needless to say I have no social life living like this, and that’s okay, I suppose . . . . . I guess . . . . . although I do miss friends. All my arts friends don’t like aviation — DANGfew have visited my aviation museum at the airport — and my many aviation acquaintances and few aviation friends have no room for me in their social lives, and I don’t have time for them anyway.

And you know something? Life goes on. I’m not the happy hick I used to be, and that’s okay. Goodbye hick; hello hemmorhoids. I still write poems occasionally. It’s been too long since my most recent (I hate to say LAST because I might be right.) song. I value every breath, though I would rather share it during heavy petting with a pretty, affectionate, straight woman, and that’s also okay. I’m not mad at anyone — just a gol’ darn second here: I am mad at a few, but they know who they are, and they would rather eat a rotten cherry  tomato that read anything with my name on it.  And as Paul Simon  wrote, “I have my books and my poetry. . . ”

And I carry water to the kitchen.

Live long . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and proper.

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