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Sam picked up a couple of
mahogany piano crates to build himself
a bookcase and made a desk
from some walnut that got knocked down
near the back of his property.
He keeps his own poems loose leaf,
wrapped in oiled leather.
Spent more for the pen he writes with
than he did for that truck.
Figures his priorities are in perfect order.

Of all Sam's stuff, he thinks his
books are the best of all.
Some fantasy, mostly Tolkien and
C. S. Lewis,
Everything Douglas Adams ever wrote,
a five volume leather-bound set of
Shakespeare for long winter nights
under the kerosene lamp,
a new Chaucer in Middle English,
and more poetry than he can count.
He studies Eliot, but likes
William Carlos Williams the best.


One of the saddest things that happened
was when Sam hired that ol' Frank Beasley
to clear one acre in the back corner of his land
next to the crick.
Sam ain't over it yet.

He had spent days walkin' out a path
for the bulldozer that wouldn't take down any trees,
or dig up the dirt so bad he couldn't put it back.
The trees let him know it was OK, they trusted him.
Sam knew Frank's pretty mean, but he does good work
for a fair price.

After Sam lead him around the twisted path
marked out with pieces of old bandanna,
he watched as the dozer piled trees in one corner,
makin' sure the ones he wanted to save
didn't get hurt.
When it started gettin' dark,
Beasley said he'd be back tomorrow to finish up.

After lunch the next day, Sam went to town
to price fencing, chickens, and hogs.
Took him most of the day to get what he wanted
and make arrangements to pick 'em up
when everything was ready.

When he got home, there was the Caterpillar back on its trailer,
and Frank standin' there with a bill in his hand.
Sam went ahead and paid the eight hundred '
cause the man said he had to get on to his next job.
It wasn't until he had sighed with satisfaction
at his new, clean corner that he noticed the three black walnuts
the old bastard had knocked down
tryin' to find his way back out.


Sam really likes beer.
Makes his own.
It's dark brown,
about the color of walnuts,
and is almost thick enough to chew.
From what he knows about folks,
he wonders how anyone ever
came up with something so good.
Says "It's why I keep talkin' to 'em
at all."


Sam eats a big breakfast.
Drinks strong coffee, black;
eats country ham and fresh eggs.
Slices a tomato from the garden,
says he could have gotten rich
on his recipe for biscuits.
Makes it all on a camp stove
up in his treehouse.
Once in awhile,
he gets to make breakfast for two.
He wonders how Louise can stay
so skinny, and eat so much.

Breakfast is why he keeps chickens and hogs.
Has 'em way out back on his property
downstream from where he bathes in the crick,
Says "in some ways,
they're no different from other folks."


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