BY JAN HAAG

POETRY + ESSAYS + MUSIC + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO




THE GREAT GOD LESHIKAR

1991




Well, he was tall
and he was strong
and he had a big mouth
and a great big laugh

and more opinions
than there are florets on bluebonnets
in an April Texas field.

He took care of his Ma until she was near
ninety-eight, and she was a character, too.
You betcha. Didn't want the house cleaned
wanted to Talk. "Set down here, honey,
and talk to me."

And she'd tell tales, about
dancing and brawling
and politicians, and parties
you never heard the like of.

She saved rags and boxes, plastics
and hose, silk and nylon, and furniture
right up to the ceiling and clothes.
He brought home jewels and artifacts:

precious things from China --
Tang and Sung and Ching-pai --
and from Japan -- Kaikimon,
and an angelfood cake now and then.

He'd brought her back home from the ice-cold,
mildew-damp Northwest to die
thirty-five years ago in the hot sun,
under the skies of blue. But she lived
on and on and on. He said, to spite

him, but it was to make us all
laugh and love life. Who
wouldn't want to visit that crazy old
woman full of more glee

than a monkey tree?
Same with old Cleve -- has guts that man
or God -- going here, going there,
telling you what to think,

and how to think it. Finding treasures,
convincing you or me or anyone
else they were treasures.

The Great God Leshikar is good for a laugh or two
one of those great tall Texas tale tellers.
And now he's off back to Seattle, and
the gloom and the damp, Mama-free.

The blue bonnets will miss his opinions,
books will miss his capturing,
bits of furniture will miss his
long enduring, great admiration for Texas pine.
And Texas itself will miss him sorely,

even though he didn't keep the banks open
nor the skyscrapers from going bust in Austin.
Well, Lockhart held his heart,
and he's often held my hand:

telling me friendship will out last
love, and he's right, you know.
My loves dropped dead and my friends

go on and on and on and on,
like those bluebonnet opinions
and that wide, quick smile
and the raucous chuckle,
under his straw hat

telling you the gossip of the Bloomsbury Group,
and asking:
"Do you understand what I mean, honey?"






In honor of about thirty-three years of friendship with The Great God Himself: Cleve Leshikar, born March 21, 1919, died 10/01


Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@u.washington.edu




OTHER POEMS ABOUT THE PEOPLE AND LANDSCAPE OF AMERICA

Arizona Desert

George Coluzzi

I Am Innuit





BY JAN HAAG


POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context