Dec. 7, 2000

To the Doe Last Seen Running Up the South Exit Ramp Toward Wal-Mart Plaza

by Pamela Gemin

Broadcast date: THURSDAY, 7 December 2000

Poem: “To the Doe Last Seen Running Up the South Exit Ramp Toward Wal*Mart Plaza,” by Pamela Gemin, from Vendettas, Charms, and Prayers (New Rivers Press).

To the Doe Last Seen
Running Up the South Exit Ramp
Toward Wal*Mart Plaza

Through rearview mirrors
you promise her
the worst is almost over:
fur bristling, ears prickling,
horns honking,
clack of her scattering hooves
on asphalt, delicate lungs
pumped full of diesel exhaust.
In her blown-glass eyes
you read the history of prey,
whole chapters cut loose and let fly
over cloverleaf roads,
pages tearing in the whizzing force
of arrows, bullets, engines.
She's already the star
of somebody's coffee room story.
By lunchtime
she will have been somebody's reason
to kiss and make up,
go back to church,
to reconsider everything;
somebody's chance to breathe deep,
let the last, best breath
of wildness run out in a whistle,
stroking the dented fender
or brushing the scrape
of blue paint from her tail.
And if you weren't already
late for work,
if you could take
just one wild ride again

you'd take it now,
in the wisps
of her velveteen ears,
be the whisper that tells her

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. On this day in 1941, the Japanese staged a massive attack on the American Naval and Air base in Hawaii. 2,330 American servicemen were killed, nearly half of them aboard the battleship Arizona, which was destroyed when one of its own 16-inch shells exploded. Many brothers died together that day, since the policy—which was later changed—had been to let family members serve in the same unit.

In 1908 on this date, The Watch and Ward Society of Boston successfully prosecuted a book salesman for selling a spicy book called Three Weeks. This led to the term "Banned in Boston," which proved a boon to the sales of almost any book.

It's the birthday of painter Stuart Davis, born in Philadelphia (1894)—an early American Cubist who anticipated Pop Art by 35 years with his "Lucky Strike" collage (1921). He was especially fond of the images of taxis, chain-store fronts, and neon signs.

It's the birthday of English novelist Joyce Cary, born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland (1888). He’s best known for The Horse's Mouth (1944).

It's the birthday of journalist Heywood Broun, born in Brooklyn (1888). He dropped out of Harvard to begin his career as a sportswriter for the New York Morning Telegraph, then moved to the New York Tribune. He resigned from the Tribune in protest after differing with his publisher on the subject of the guilt of Sacco and Vanzetti. (They were anarchists accused of murder; Broun believed they were being railroaded). Later, he founded the American Newspaper Guild, and served as its president until his death.

It's Willa Cather’s birthday, born near Winchester, Virginia (1873). She and her family moved to Nebraska when Willa was 8, and she grew up in Red Cloud. Her books include My Antonia (1918), and O Pioneers! (1913). She wrote:

"Isn’t it queer: there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before; like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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