Friday, January 27, 2012

Cherokee Presentation at FPL

The library had a full house this Wednesday evening for Larry Pearl’s excellent presentation on the early life of the Cherokee people. Larry provided fascinating instruction on many of the key events in Cherokee and Native American history such as the Iroquois Confederacy, Sequoyah and the Cherokee language, and the Golden Age of the Cherokees, to name just a few. Larry also demonstrated his knowledge and ability with the Cherokee language. Along with an excellent PowerPoint presentation, Larry had two tables full of Cherokee art, instruments, weaponry, and research materials. During and after the Q & A session, many lively discussions ensued with audience members sharing stories and memories.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Super Hero by Barbara Ann Carle

Barbara Carle is a published essayist and poet and is a featured reader at Friendswood Public Library's Essay Readings on Wednesday, February 29th at 7pm. Also read Carle's The Red Shoes.

The Super Hero

By Barbara Ann Carle

My oldest son Scott was an archer.  He had a large collection of bows that he purchased on our trips to the flea market in Canton, Texas.  He would often practice in the back yard and of course, whatever Scott was, his younger brother Glen had to be too.  And once Glen decided he wanted to do something he could be quite persistent.  Pretty soon all we heard was “Can I try? Can I try?” Scott began searching for a bow that Glen could handle.  When he found the right size; he began teaching Glen and Glen’s best friend Bob archery. 
Over the next year both boys got pretty good.  That fall Scott took Glen to the Renaissance Festival in Magnolia, Texas.  Scott said three men in their twenties were playing the archery game and they were really bad.  They obviously didn’t know the first thing about archery.  Glen decided he wanted to try.  The three men began to laugh at the little kid trying to shoot an arrow.  With a fair amount of pride, Scott laughed when he described the scene.  “I stood off to one side.  Glen walked up, put down his money and took the proper position.  He pulled back the bow in perfect form and scored three out of three shots.  Those older guys were stunned.” 
One afternoon Scott came to me and said “Mom I think I have a problem.  Glen and Bob came up to my room today and told me they think it’s time I started fighting crime.  They want me to become a Super Hero.  They want me to buy green tights and a green shirt and Hgo out at night with my bow and arrows to catch bad guys.  I tried telling them that I couldn’t do that but they’re convinced I can.  I don’t know what to do.”  Scott was eighteen then and Glen was eight. 
Scott and I had a good laugh.  The thought of him running around Nassau Bay in green tights with a bow and a quiver of arrows on his back was just too funny.  “You have to admit, it’s rather flattering that they’re convinced you can be a crime fighter.”   I couldn’t help adding “Come to think of it, you do look good in green.” 
Poor Scott really was between a rock and a hard place.  Glen idolized his big brother and thought he could do anything.  “I don’t want to hurt their feelings but they just won’t take no for an answer” Scott said.   “Don’t worry, I’ll talk to Glen.” 
The next day when Glen came home from school I sat him down and said “So Scott told me you have a plan.  You want him to become a crime fighter.” 
The enthusiasm that lit his face showed me just what I was up against. 
“Yeah, he’s a great archer, Mom.  He can go out after dark and look for bad guys.”
“Well, honey you know he can’t go around arresting people, he’s not a police officer.  The police department wouldn’t want him doing that.”
“There are bad guys out there, right?  You’re a police officer Mom and you go after bad guys all the time.”
“Well yes, but that’s my job and it’s what I’ve been trained to do.  Police officers don’t want citizens running around trying to catch criminals.  That’s what we’re paid to do.”
“So we won’t tell them.  You, Bob and I can keep it a secret.”
“But what if Scott gets hurt?”
            “He won’t get hurt, he’s too good.  You should see him Mom he never misses.”
“I know he’s good but what if the bad guys have a gun?” I asked.
“Oh he’s really fast Mom.  He wouldn’t get hurt.  So will you make his outfit Mom?  He needs green tights and a green shirt, maybe a hat too.  He could be like the Green Hornet.”
I was getting nowhere fast.  I knew Scott was a good archer but I doubted he was faster than a speeding bullet.
“You know Scott is really busy, going to school and working.  He has lots of things he needs to do.”
“That’s why Bob and I will help.  Will you make us outfits too, just like Scott’s?  And then when Scott’s busy, Bob and I can take over.”
“I don’t think Bob’s Mom would let him become a crime fighter” I replied.
“She will if you talk to her, I know you can convince her.”

      I found myself face to face with a major case of hero worship.  How could I maintain the image Glen had of his brother but talk some sense into him. 
“You know Scott starts college in two months, right?”
“And you know college is really hard, right?”  He nodded his eight year old head.  “Well he couldn’t possibly do his homework, study and work while being a crime fighter, could he?  And you know how much he’s looking forward to going to college.  We wouldn’t want him to fail, would we?” 
I could see his blue eyes cloud with a look of deep disappointment.  I got a dejected “No”. 
Shoulders slumped, he turned and walked away.  At the last minute, just before going through the doorway, he spun around smiling and shouted “That’s OK, Mom.  He can do it on his summer vacation.”

©Copyright – Barbara Ann Carle, 2010

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Library Lines Redux: Volume 4 Issue 10, 2006

Gangly Noir by Matthew Riley

I first saw her through the window of Webster Bicycle Shop. She was leaning gracefully, not unlike, yet wholly different from her inferior replicas. I was 12 and she was a silver and red Rebel BMX racing bike and she shone like the sun. She was all I longed for during the summer between seventh and eigth grade. To quench this longing, I took a summer custodial job at my school in hopes of saving enough money to rescue her from layaway prison. We rode out together, number 13 displayed proudly on her handlebar’s number plate. Throughout the remaining summer days, we bonded over tabletop jumps and high-speed berm collisions. Time and again I lifted her out of the mud smiling through a grimace. Bruised shins and bent spokes only made us stronger. And then she went away. 

How many minutes I stood staring at the spot in the garage where she should have been I do not know. Time’s weight crushed me and I fell without knowing the fall. Days of confused moping ensued and then finally the righteous anger pointing the way to my resurrection. Four of my buddies were over later that day and we set up shop at the scene of the crime. We were the Mystery Gang with five too many Shaggys’, but between us we knew most every creep hiding behind most every hedge and curtain in the hood. Dog walkers were no longer walking dogs but answering a few questions about what they might have seen on the night of the last full moon. Sam covered the 7-11 beat, Mike down by the creek, Yatu and Torren had the north side and my nose kept twitching south of the link. For me, this was real. For my buddies, it was just a fun way to burn the last week of summer.  

Just as my time was running out, we had a break. A friend of a friend knew a guy who had just gotten busted for running a bicycle chop shop out of his parents’ garage. We were there in minutes and to my luck the garage doors were open. The first thing I saw was her number 13 partially visible behind a multitude of bikes and bike parts. As I got a closer look I could see that her handlebars were on a Mongoose frame. Then I spotted her forks embarrassingly clutching a yellow Tuff Wheel. Her frame was sporting a host of Huffy and Redline products. This was a mongrel lot all bent and betrayed. Unsure of my next move, I bought time by pacing the street in front of his house. Then I saw him coming out through the kitchen door into the darkish garage. He was two or three years my senior and thirty or more pound heavier, but my anger was beginning to grow starting in two small, clinched fists. Before I knew what I was doing I was standing in front of the open garage listening with him to the words falling staccato from my mouth, “That’s my bike. There, and there, and there, and over there.” I could see that he had been crying and before he could turn his head back around from where I had been pointing, his tears began to flow again; "Please don’t say anything. I’m already in huge trouble and I’ll have your bike fixed and back to you by tomorrow.” I had no reason to forgive him or believe him, but I did and he came through. Although, she never did feel like she took the berms quite as smooth or caught the same kind of air as before. As time passed, my interest in BMX waned and my fret over her lost capabilities diminished to forgetfulness. In my late teens, I gave her away to someone nearly as enthralled with her as I was then.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

4 poems by graphic designer and poet Glynn Monroe Irby

Glynn Monroe Irby lives in Brazoria, County, Texas. He carries a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Texas, Austin, including earlier studies at the University of Houston, the Brazosport College, and Edinburgh University, Scotland, with subsequent graduate studies in architecture at the
University of Houston.  Irby is the graphic designer and co-author of the book, 3 Savanna Blue, the graphic and cover designer of many other books, and has displayed and marketed photographic and poetic art for homes and offices. As a writer, Irby has been published in both the Houston and Austin poetry festival anthologies as well as Sol Magazine, Borderlands Texas Poetry Review, The Spiky Palm, Galaxy Journal, Curbside Review, Poetz e-zine (New York), HIP, and others; Irby has been an invited poet to many reading venues in Texas, is a member of the Galveston Poets’ Roundtable, the Circle Way Poets, the Poetry Society of Texas, the Gulf Coast Poets, and was selected in 2006 as one of the “Bards of the Bayou.”  For many years, Irby has been a manager, buyer, and professional interior planner in his family-run furniture and design business.

Look for Glynn Irby to be a reader at the FPL Poetry Series reading on Wednesday, July 18th at 7pm.  The Friendswood Public Library carries 3 Savanna Blue. Ask for assistance at the reference desk.

Tall Grasses

Can you hear that sound
of tall grasses in the wind,
that sound of decades-hay
before the final shocks are made?
Listen to the whirling overhead
of golden crowns in the sky,
the sound of grain heads
yielding their seeds into the frantic air.
Listen to the sound of shadowy things
harbored inside the bramble,
and that bursting sound of cracking
through unyielded early stems.
Listen to the raging of change
through my soul,
the sound of breaking cane
and the shattering of my secret places
as you clearly pierce the last
of my perimeter reeds
onto the outer boundaries
of my dispersing reservoirs.

Glynn Monroe Irby

White and Grey Dominiques
               — from my father’s farm stories
When night comes, some chickens
go to the woodhouse, others fly
to branches of the apple tree.
Now and then after midnight,
the sly weasel with razor teeth,
quiet on the balls of his feet,
sneaks up along the creek,
slips under the hawthorn hedge,
and climbs the bountiful chicken tree,
takes his pick among resting hens.
Each morning when leaves
are wet with dew and I start
my long walk to the schoolroom,
I watch for blood feathers
in the clover bed.

Glynn Monroe Irby

Sailing Together

Steering our chalk-white catamaran
toward rising constellations,
we slip through the scattered sea
beneath a patterned sky,
leaving the sun in our wake.
Sailing in line with moon-tides,
cross-grain to ghostly grey passages
of young pelagic jaegers, we attend
to combinations of changing
currents and wind direction.
We listen for the cry of laughing gulls
or the whisper of a shore break
as we delight in the exuberance
of blood pressing through our veins,
engage in an echo of emotion,
experience the chorus of heaven,
and the thundering voice of God
in the sudden electric storm-rage
before morning.

Glynn Monroe Irby

Knowing the Tides

She advances straight
into my channel access,
then recedes through
the swelling sluice
toward the open sea
once again.
Still in the morning
her fresh water-beads
collect on the dew-lips
of my over-edging grasses
before slipping back
into the stream.
She’ll then ascend
into the anvil clouds
to flash violently back
into the dark waters
of the open ocean
once again.

Glynn Monroe Irby

More poems by Glynn Monroe Irby:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cherokee History, Culture and Language at Friendswood Public Library

Larry Pearl, a resident of League City, was born in Oklahoma and is a descendant of the Cherokee people. He will be giving a presentation that will cover many aspects of early Cherokee life. He will share his knowledge about this important part of our American history and demonstrate how European and Cherokee cultures were influenced and developed over centuries of contact. This will be a fun and entertaining evening for all.

Wednesday, January 25th at 7pm in the Friendswood Public Library Activity Room.