Monthly Archives: August 2019

Diary, El Cajón de Grecia, September 2019: ducks and fishing

I have two new poems to share with you for September. One is about a Muscovy duck that wandered into our yard to stay for a while, the other is about unlicensed commercial fishing in the Gulf of Nicoya here in Costa Rica. Enjoy!

The duck

A duck, Muscovy
feathered black, and snowy
her breast speckled
her eyes dark jewels
set in circles of white

strolls down the lane
struts through the barred gate
as if claiming her birthright
her kind having settled here
long before humans.

She perhaps grown annoyed
at the fuss of the chickens
little house up the hill
hen cackle, cock boast
the day and the night.
Or maybe the drake
not suiting her fancy
brash, imperious
anticlockwise-coiled penis
springing erect
three-tenths of a second
twenty centimeters long.
Her vagina complex
curls opposite, clockwise
curbing forced penetration
discouraging rape
the assault yet demeaning.

Muscovy hens like quiet
the peace of solitude
slip off alone to lay in secret.
On the farm, early morning
night spent interred
from coyote and fox
let out, shadow her
pretending to not
or she’ll lead you astray.
Under thick bramble
she’ll slip, if you follow
find eggs in abundance.
Sometimes, surprise
a hen appears beaming
string of ducklings in train.

The dogs pay her no mind
she wanders the compound
sits on the stair landing
soaks up the sun
watches the sunset
perched on a post
waddles  the walk
disappears for the night.

Don’t be tempted
to entice her too close
cracked corn, crushed chips
she’ll crap all over
your fine tile floors.

Los encerradores
(the enclosure fishermen)

In the Gulf of Nicoya
boats twenty, or thirty
of a fleet of a hundred
not licensed or taxed
manned by young men
only work to be found
with a net, encircling
fish found in the shallows
stunned by bombetas
hauled to deck, to shore
leaving desert behind.

Los guardacostas
in Punarenas number sixteen
one boat, out of service
engines dead, mostly
one morning casts off
to challenge the poachers
repelled by flung flurries
arrows slingshots and knives
the crew loath to use force
against their own people
struggling to survive.

My new book, The Book of Noah is available at Amazon – (Kindle, $4.99, paperback, $15.99) ; Apple Books, $4.95; Barnes & Noble, $4.95; Kobo, $4.95; and other booksellers. Here’s what a readers/reviewers have said about it:

“The author takes an honest, deep, and courageous dive into one man’s personal life experiences – profound and painful, mystical and ordinary – and raises them to the level of spiritual allegory. Like any good poetry it speaks in metaphor that touch readers as their own. The poet shares his personal wisdom and impactful insights discovered through his search for truth and meaning to create a work with universal resonance and appeal. It is also a rich and image-laced snapshot into the daily lives of the land and the people of Costa Rica. A must read!” — Mac Fulfer, author and lecturer, Independent Reviews

“This is an amazing collection of poetry. The poems range from the whimsical to the apocalyptic, interspersed with  mundane and humerous vignettes of every day life in Costa Rica.  Just’s poems are breathtaking in the sweep of their range and their suppleness of tongue. The book confronts an unsettling predicament: the ongoing collapse of the environment and consequently of civilization as we know it. In the face of unprecedented disaster, the poems embrace love and the joy of living. An entertaining yet simultaneously thought-provoking read.” — Anna Lee, Salón Cajón

You can go to Smashwords and get it (and my other books) for “you set the price.” Please feel welcome to download The Book of Noah and my other books for free. Or, email me and I’ll send you the files in the format that suits you, ePub or MOBI. And please, leave a review at Amazon.

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, August 2019

Here’s a final (at least for now) version of the poem “Teeming,” an early draft of which I shared with you last month.


Two months
the desk, a desert
out the window, outdoors
a garden, an Eden.


Orchid tree in flower.
Hibiscus, flaming.
Lantana, blooming
heliconia butterflies
Juno silverspots
Julia longwings
Zebra longwings
Isabella tigers
Small postmen
black, red
cream and white.

Tiny birds hover humming
suckle rabo de gato
White faced blue parrots 
forage the trees
Ground doves, a pair
in the woods, peck litter
a dead branch, two kiskadees 
touch down and go
black bars, flash of rufous 
a wren burbles in a bush
a cuckoo glides crossing
break in the brush.

The jungle, alive
always, alluring.

Abandon page barrens
get up, get about
pull a handful of weeds
prune back a shrub
move a plant here to there
a cutting, a seedling
ensoil in pots

the while, thoughts 
roam free, streaming

Paul slipped on a wet tile
down the stairs, broke a fibula
two weeks in hospital
operation, plates screwed
crippled up three months
hobbling on crutches
and Marilyn, a tick bite
now can’t eat meat.
“Makes me vomit,” she says
“turned almost vegetarian
a little fish, a little chicken.
Alpha-gal goes away sometimes
five or ten years.”

Irina, her earlobe
a sore not healing
biopsy, basal cell
scheduled excision
doctor says needs a new one
but she opts arthroscopic
surgery, outpatient
walking the next day
leaning on advice 
from Sheila, physical therapist 
retired here after working
fifty-two years.
“Not getting a replacement,” Irina says
“gonna make this work
really, how much longer 
does my leg have to last?”

Rick tending a second hernia
his bladder, ballooning
can’t take a leak
emergency room, a tube
shoved up the urethra
through prostate swollen
needing to be routered
procedure atuned
to pacemakered heart.
“If there’s a God in Heaven”
Rick moans, “I pray 
his minions never 
catheterize me again.”
Duct cleared, stones 
kidney and gall
with luck go away.

Isaac, the garden groomed
points to pruning shears
locking catch fell off
string trimmer, too
bump feed head broke
needing replaced.
Trimmer catch fastened
to just the right size
to replace the lost rivet
bump head swapped out
from backup electric
buy a new one
next time in town.

Three toilets, Totos
installed first arrived
American Standards
not up to ours
seven years later
seat mounting flange fails
on each, every one.
MacGyver clips
from three-eighths inch washers
galvanize painted white
to blend in, not rust
machined to slide
beneath nylon bolt heads
the fix hardly noticed
not paying attention.
A few years ago
wouldn’t have settled
gone out and bought new ones
hundred bucks each
but switching them out
a pain in the ass
have to lift the throne
attach and reset
not worth the trouble
just have to serve
a few more years.

The Book of Noah is available at Amazon – (Kindle, $4.99, paperback, $15.99) ; Apple Books, $4.95; Barnes & Noble, $4.95; Kobo, $4.95; and other booksellers. Or, you can go to Smashwords and get it (and my other books) for “you set the price.” Please feel welcome to download “The Book of Noah” and my other books for free. And please, leave a review at Amazon.

Twenty free review copies of The Book of Noah are available at Booksprout. Please download a copy and leave a review.