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An anthology of Monte Manka's poetry, Volume II

Just another JOB

On a frosty morning
Taking up two rows
Cleaning up the balks
Constantly in the throws

Tossing those cold yellow ears
Up against the Bangboard
Shuckless they were
Not one ear could be ignored.

The mud between the rows
Began to thaw
Collected on your overshoes
Feet resembled a giant Bear's Claw

With Muddy Feet
And body warming too
Off came the first layer of clothes
Before you're half way through

The turn around
Then to start back
Work next to the wagon
And Old Bob's back

Each overshoe
Was carrying tons of crud
If I can make it to that old Oak Tree root
I'll scrape off most of this mud.

Git up, mules move ahead
Far enough, Whoa
Keep up with me and Dad
That's a long way for me to throw

Throwing over Dad's head
Two rows and a balk
I'm having trouble
Just trying to walk.

Now to clean my overshoes
Start back through the balk
Between the two rows
Easier now to walk.

Hold on Bob
You're getting too fast
I've got another ten hours
I want to be able to last

That Bangboard's so far away
Throwing these yellow ears
You're moving too far ahead me and Dad
Put it back in 1st. gear.

If my Dad hadn't gave me these last rows
Next to the wagon
My rear end by now
Would be a draggin.

Through the day
And my Dad I had to prove
That I can shuck corn
Tomorrow I won't be able to move.

Thank goodness that
That the cornfield is small, 20 acres
That's not big at all
To lazy me is a big back breaker.

I look back it's not that bad
When the mules, me and Dad
Worked in the field of corn
On that cold fall morn.

Monte L. Manka 07-25-2008

MONDAY ON THE FARM

Monday was washday
Whether snow, ice or sleet
Come rain or shine
Mom washed clothes and the sheets.

Our washing machine
Was bought from ďMonkey WardĒ
With Briggs and Stratton gas engine
Made washday not so hard.

I would uncoil the ten-foot exhaust pipe
Stretch it out the porch door
Iíd kick-start the engine
Itíd start with a roar.

My Uncle Ves would build a wood fire
Under that twenty gallon old iron vat
That was set up on three rocks
In the back yard where it sat.

When the water came to a boil
Iíd bucket it to the Porch
Pour it in to the machine
So Mom could do the wash.

Took about six trips
From the Kettle to the Porch
Used Dadís gloves
So my hands didnít get scorched.

Two big loads of Bib overalls
Another of underpants and sheets
Moved the lever
How that agitator would beat.

Filled that twenty gallon Kettle
With water once more
To do the rinse
Another of my chores.

At a certain time
The agitator would stop
Iíd haul out the dirty water
The suds and the glop.

Iíd haul in fresh hot rinse water
Heated in the Kettle
Refill the machine
Just above the tub middle.

After the rinse
It was now time to drain
The dirty rinse water from
That washing machine once again.

The sudsy rinse water
Iíd pour on the weeds and the dirt
Behind the chicken house
Where nothing would be hurt.

The wringer had a quick release
A Montgomery Wards selling feature
So if your hand or wrist got caught
The bones would not fracture

The wringer was so strong
That if not fed just so
The buttons and buckles would be bent
Into the buttonholes they would not go.

While draining the washing machine
I heard Mom let out a scream
Her fingers and wrist were caught in the wringer
The emergency release worked like a dream.

Moms arm swelled to three times its size
Turned black and blue
Dad was in the field
What could I do?

Mom moved her fingers
So no broken bones
This was frightening to me
While we were alone.

Mom lay down in bed with her arm on a pillow
When Dad came home for dinner
He looked at Momís arm
It had gotten thinner.

The swelling had gone down some
Mom said it did not hurt
Dad and I hung the wash on the lines
The overalls and shirts.

That old close line
When loaded in the middle did sag
Almost touched the ground
Dadís long handles would drag.

We hung Dadís long handle underwear
Near the closeline post
Hung mine in the middle where
They hung two foot from the ground at most.

Momís arm got better
So by next Monday
We could start all over
On this Kansas farm washday.

Monte L. Manka


Just another job

Get the mules
Hook up to the mowing machine
Go down to the south quarter
Mow that ľ neat and clean

At that lone tree
At the foot of the lake
Thereí a bumble bees nest
Those bees you donít want to awake

Those big bees
Leave them alone
Steer clear with the mules
Theyíll attack like a Kansas cyclone.

If you have to step off the mower
For an adjustment to make
Be alert you might step
On a Rattlesnake.

I want the haystack
South and East of the gate
In that bare spot
That lies at the head of the lake.

Iíll bring the Go-Devil
And the rake
Into that Kansas meadow
Some hay we will make.

These were the orders
From my Dad to me
If I remember all those things
Wait let me see.

Was the haystack at the head or the foot?
Or by the lone tree
I donít remember
Makes no difference to me.

Iíll mow over those Bumble Bees
Heck Iím no fool
If I disturb them
Iíll out run them with this team of mules.

Iíll mow this quarter
In this midday morn
Get it done quickly
And head to the barn

Where I can relax
In the shade of the old Hackberry tree
While the prairie grass cures
Iíll be sippin Iced tea.

As we neared that lone tree
Suddenly I did see
Just one
A single bee.

The Mules tails began
To swish crazily
I saw a couple
More Bumble Bees

As the mower blade
Passed over the nest
The air turned yellow and black
To this I do attest

The mules lurched ahead
I dropped the reins
Hung on for dear life
To the seat of that mowing machine

Cyclone my eye
More like a tornado
Those mules were
Headed for El Dorado

And with us
Angry as could bee
Was that swarm of black and yellow
Bumble bees.

If the mules hadnít turned
Weíd soon be in town
But all the time we were running
Hay was being mown

The sickle on the mower
Was turning red
Smoking from friction
I thought I was dead

Suddenly the air cleared
The mules slowed to a trot
I fell off the mower
And looked around the lot

That quarter had been mowed
As those mules did run
But only a couple spots
Had to be redone.

When Dad got to the field
The mules stood with their heads bowed down
Their tongues
Were almost touching the ground.

Listen carefully
Take it from someone thatís been
Follow the instructions
Youíre much better off then. Monte L. Manka 07-25-08

THE CASSODAY CAF…
(BEEN THERE FOUR TIMES)
See Cassoday, a ghost town of Butler County, Kansas

While sitting here
Before this computer machine
I searched for a subject
While staring at the screen,

I was looking at the Internet
And for today
I typed in something I remembered that was
Far, far away.

About my poem
For today.
Youíve got it
Itís the Cassoday Cafe

I traveled back to the Wayne Manka farm
Dad and I drove up North on Highway 13
Several miles till
We arrived upon the scene

As I drove into Cassoday, Kansas
With my dad that late summer day
We decided to eat
At the Cassoday CAF….

We parked out front by the old hitching rail
We walked through the door
There was a counter, tables and chairs
On a clean, worn wooden floor

Turn left and over the door
Was a sign that read
Remove Spurs or Muddy Boots
Before going ahead.

We went on in and ordered a meal
The food was delicious and then I
Ordered a big piece
Of that good apple pie

When I returned to Anaheim
I told the family
About the Cassoday Cafť
And the sign I did see,

About the spurs and muddy boots
Youíre kidding Daddy, Lori said with a grin
Itís the truth, thatís what it said
Above the door before you go in.

Took a vacation back to El Dorado
In the latter part of May
Lori wanted to know if
We could go up to the Cassoday Cafť.

I drove up thirteen
North of Chelsea
Parked by the hitching post
In front of the Cassoday Cafť.

We walked in and Lori
Started breaking up
When she saw the sign
I told her to straighten up,

Just because youíre a city girl
Doesnít give you the right
To make fun of us country folk
Come on now be polite.

We ate lunch
And I
Had a big slice
Of that good apple pie.

Took my Aunt and Uncle
From Alva, Oklahoma way
Up thirteen Hiway
To the Cassoday Cafť.

High in the air on some power lines
A thousand starlings were perched
I parked far from that line
So my car wouldnít be besmirched.

Went in and had a meal
Before we left, I
Had another slab
Of that good Apple pie.

We left the Cafť
Those Starling birds
Had made 27 deposits on my car
And I said some dirty words. Oh Well

I was riding in the funeral home Limo
That was taking my Dadís body
Up Hiway 77
To the Cemetery at Cassoday.

As we rode along
All the cars we met
Pulled over to the side of the road
To show their respect.

The cowboys in their pickups
Would remove their hats
As by the side of the Hiway 77
They sat,

Until the Funeral procession
Disappeared down the road
This gave me such good feelings
To see such respect, bestowed

On my Dadís procession
Some didnít even know my Dad
But to them
Youíd think they had.

After the Cemetery service
My cousins Harold, Ruby, Alvin his wife, and Monte
And Carol Brooks of the Manka clan
Decided to go to the Cassoday Cafť.

The Funeral director suggested that I
Take the hearse
Drive to the Cafť
I could think of nothing worse.

I could picture those
Cowboys looking out the window sill
And see me in the White Hearse
Parking next to the hitching rail.

I declined the Funeral Directors offer
Rode with my cousins and they
For the first time
Walked into the Cassoday Cafť.

One of the waitresses there
Sang the hymns at the funeral of my Dad
I was taken aback
And I wish I had,

Enough sense to tell her
Her voice sounded so pure and mild
She sang hymns I hadnít heard
Since I was just a child.

We all ordered Tea and coffee
To sorta unwind and relax, and I
Had another slab
Of that good apple pie.

Monte Manka 09-13-2007

Should, would and could: the alibis

These three words are nothing but a "cop out." They are evasive, elusive and excusive (I am not too sure of this last word) and are used in case you need an alibi for something that you have done, have not done or something that you will do later.

We should all have all the money that we need.

We should be happy, we should be glad, we should be all these things. How many of us have all these things? How many of us are happy? How many of us are glad? Should we be unhappy? Should we be rich? Should we be glad?

We could be a lot of things if we could. Man 0 Man
this word is soppy.

I could be president, Yeah Right. I could master Calculus. Yeah Right. I could be smarter if I had studied harder, yeah right. If the dog had not stopped to scratch a flea he should have, could have, and would have caught the rabbit, yeah right.

How many times have you heard I could have done that.

The person saying this knows that he couldn't have, here we
go again. a "cop out." I guess that the person saying this must feel inadequate.

If I had brushed my teeth I would not have any cavities. If I had eaten more vegetables, I would be healthier. You get the idea this is all a way of saying that you did not do these things so the "cop out", and you suffer the consequences.

You hear of shoulda, woulda, coulda, every once in a while and these three words will make you feel better. Thus the alibi.

If I could have left the farm sooner I would be better off. I should have started my truck-driving career sooner and I would be a rich man. (Yeah right)

As I set here and ponder what to say next I could be somewhere else, but I would have to quit and I should finish this. Cop Out.

Often we need an "alibi" for something that we could, should, would, not finish and we can feel good about it. It is an oil that smoothes the choppy water so we ride on the
calm surface. We can have an excuse, whether, the dog
ate my homework and on and on.

If you are thinking that I am the one that needs an "alibiĒ, you are right. I set out here in the garage writing this and Shirley has been after me to do some menial "chore" and I have just about run out of excuses. I am writing this thinking that I can find some new excuses that I can use to get out of another chore but to no avail. A "Mind", is a subject that I would like to be able to use to it's full potential. I could, if I was able, being short on mind I should forget this.

I am sure that you, the reader, can think of a lot of things that you should have done, differently, in your short life span. I certainly can find a lot of things that I should have done but I am past starting over so I will have to live with excuses. I can think of things that I would have done differently if I had it to do over, and a lot of things that I would not change.


Here it is the 9th. of February 1999 and I am trying to end this on a something other than a sour note so I quit.

Music for Alibi:

"I could have danced all night"

"Would we feel this way tomorrow"

"Should we meet again"

"You should sit under the apple Tree with anyone else not me."

Dumber n dumber

Monte L. Manka
03-23-00


Monte Manka can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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