We Are Schizophrenic

I walk with Ruby Puppy in the overgrown blackberry rows
butterflies and burst milkweed pods hanging over our heads
Peck’s skipper butterflies, a bellwether species,
small, yellow-brown, perch on tall grass stems
I pick berries and Ruby Puppy eats berries
sometimes out of my palm, and we work the field until it is empty,
the last two gallons of the season in my bowl,
a “bad” season due to blackberry blight
Hummingbirds flit in and out of pink and white blossoms
of Rose of Sharon
bluebirds perch on the fence line, bluejays squawk,
and swallows dive in defiance of physics
Misty rain, ominous cloudbursts, dazzling sunspots,
wind humming Samuel Barber’s “Adagio”
Ruby flops along the path and I rub her belly
with berry-stained hands and she utters whiny sounds
and nips my knuckles
We watch the ghost of Old Walt—recently put in a nursing home—
walk across the field to Orville’s porch:
Coffee? Oh, only if you got it. We got it, all right. Well then, black;
There were First People here 15,000 years ago:
When Orville used to plow the blackberry field, up came axes, spear points,
arrowheads, scrapers, fired clay shards
I pick and weep, mourning for my brother Ted
pick blackberries in remembrance of him.
I just saw him, we just saw him did we
see him had we ever seen him
Remember: “remember” is the weakest of words
Ruby Puppy and I dance a reel, me holding her front paws
while she jumps up and down I jump up and
down my shoes soaked with dew, we are schizophrenic
and who gives a good goddamn.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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