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Dear Visitor:

From his Deathbed this past spring in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, the late poet Demod Smith suffered the Breach of his final haiku by a fictional character who had been drinking epic amounts of fictional beer.

The drunk, a down-and-out hay farmer named Arnie, had staggered into the poem’s bit about a shimmering meadow and was about to stomp all over perfectly rendered Wildflowers.  Forcing the dying poet to put down his Pen.

He slammed it down. Haikus interruptus!  Demod Smith was furious.

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Tonight, I’ve turned off the cabin’s lights–all two of them–to better see my first Ozark snowfall.

It’s beautiful and eerily quiet. Living up to my expectations.

But please don’t expect me to go all Robert Frost on you here at The Hayfield Forever and wax poetic over the snowy evening and a hayfield that’s filling up with snow. I don’t have a poetic or lyric bone in my body. Moreover, I’m occcupied. I’ve got one eye on the snowflakes’ slow floating descent and the other for Cathy, who soon should come striding through this wintry night from the farmhouse to help me drink an amazingly strong & smooth rye whiskey I found in cupboards.

THE SHANNON COUNTY BEE

NEWS SECTION

The Jennings of Eminence Welcome Back Their California Girl

Paul and Myrtle Jennings of Eminence had a special guest from California at their farmhouse this past weekend. Their granddaughter Mattie Jennings returned to her hometown while on break from her work as a court stenographer in Los Angeles. The weather cooperated with just one brief snow flurry confined to Friday evening, and the Jennings family was able to have a “wonderful time” with their visitor.

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY:   MARCH 20, 2013

WEBSITE OPERATOR CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING
GRIEVING FAMILIES OVER E-MEMORIAL PRODUCTS

Court’s Order for Preliminary Injunction
May Cast Light on Dead Poet’s Final Poem

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office filed fraud and other unlawful business practice claims yesterday against Los Angeles resident Edgar Scattergood, 45, and his various website-based corporations, including ForeverPrized.com, Inc.   The District Attorney also requested that the court shut down ForeverPrized.com pending trial.

Legal Briefs (from the Daily Legal Record)

Governor Jerry Brown did not waste much time in offering Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Asa Hornscar a seat on the California Supreme Court. Yesterday, and in his second month in office, the Governor called Judge Hornscar at her chambers in Santa Monica to say he wanted to nominate her to the state’s highest bench.

Part III

He had staggered into the hayfield
lonely as that rain-cloud
he did begrudge,
and though beer and ink

now bring him sleep,
he’ll wake to a day stained
with a hangover, ruined hay, and
what he calls his “agonization”

over the women he’s known.
What can the poet do?
With his final few lines?
Salvage part of a crop, perhaps.

I mow the hay with irony;
dry it with sardonic breezes
(they have that electric feel);
leave wide margins with a rake; and
twine the bales into eight stanzas.

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Ink and night fell together moons ago with tattoos I kept getting after bars as a young man.

Some of those tats were later removed by virtue of a strongly worded gift certificate from my first wife.  But among the tattoos that survived her stern largesse–those not emblazoned with the names of pre-marital lovers or lovely muses–there is one unique work of art still gracing my body for which I thank another woman, Alessandra Portinari, an Italian beauty I met during grad school in her tattoo shop in Venice.

Arnie’s prayer.

One early draft of The Hayfield we’ve found in the farmhouse includes a footnote with the words to the prayer that the poet hears as Arnie “dopplers” out into the poet’s fake night.

Here’s that prayer:

Dear God, who art in hammock, hallowed and tattooed around my bicep be your name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in the hammock.

Please give us this day our warm bread and cold beer, and I am much obliged.  Please forgive me my trespasses and lapses and I will forgive thine.  Please do not lead me into any high entropy ventures but deliver me from evil.  Please, dear friend, don’t just number her hairs but watch over that beautiful head of you know who.