1890 – Diptheria – Brothel in the Woods – Lake Monster – Firebugs

by angeliska on May 4, 2004

“In winter, the only men left in town
were either so young they were
in school or so old they were in bed,
or so spineless they sold things to ladies.
Everyone else was off in the pineries.
They got up at 4 and turned in at 10.
They swamped and sawed and snaked the trees.
They caught smallpox from each other
and clap from the girls in the dens.
They drank a lot and got caught by chains
and crushed by log jams.
Grudges got settled fast:
if a man was your friend, that was all;
if he was you enemy,
God help him or you.
The old fools got beaten
or strung up just to scare
some sense into them.
The younger ones got run out.
Sometimes a man would get
so used to the woods,
or so bitter about the people
in town, that he’d never go home.
He’d just put up a shack and
wait for the next freeze.”

I finally found, much to my great excitement,
the film homage to Wisconsin Death Trip-
an incredible book I have long adored,
by Michael Lesy, who also wrote
The Forbidden Zone-

No, no- not that Forbidden Zone!
Though if you haven’t yet been exposed
to either, any, or all of the above and the following,
well- you ought to be. I promise.

Also, just tearfully finished the final installment
of the Ken Burns’ Civil War Series, which is
quite, quite good. So sad it had to end.
Watching it reminded me of an odd job
I used to have- helping a quadrapalegic man
write his book about his lineage and
members of his family who fought
famously in the Civil War.
I spent many hot summer hours
re-typing piles of mimeographed
muster reports sent up from Hattiesburg.
Piecing together a history
from scraps of yellowed paper.
That’s what I like.

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