Rueben

It’s not necessary to corn your own beef –
It’s not hard, but will save you some grief
To pick it up from a reputable delicatessen.
Having them slice it on site will lessen
The work load when you are home
Giving you time to stop and comb
The grocery shelves for fine sauerkraut
Which delivers salty, crunchy clout.
Thousand islands do not enter discussion,
Make sure your dressing is actually Russian.
(This sandwich is original fusion cuisine)
Grab some Swiss cheese, wash your hands clean.
For bread, try a rye deftly marbled –
Pumpernickel, too, quite dark and
If you prefer, a light rye is tradition
Though, I feel it carries a condition
Of distracting the tongue from the innermost filling –
Which by the way, take care is not spilling
Out on the plate. Keep the sandwich contained.
Now for the step that really ups the game:

A Reuben sings if you take time to grill it.

Take a heavy pan, add butter, and we’ll wit
It on the burner, medium low.
Into the pan, the rye bread will go.
When toasty and warm, flip it over and spread
The dressing upon a toasty brown surface
Layer beef, cheese, kraut and in earnest
Flip the plain sauce side onto the heap.
Hold on – you’re almost ready to eat!
On a plate and then slice at an angle.
Now, time for your taste buds to jangle!

Friends, I love a Reuben sandwich. It is, perhaps, my favorite sandwich. My default of my meat-eating days. I don’t mind 1000-Island, but Russian is traditional! This sandwich has varying inventors – but it’s got ingredients named after different countries!

I do prefer dark or marbled rye to light – so much so, I typically ask and then don’t bother with the light. Mileage varies, I guess.

Sandwich hounds may know of the “California Reuben” which uses turkey and cole-slaw instead of corned beef and sauerkraut; it is also tasty. I’m not the biggest fan of straying from tradition on sandwiches that have specific names. It gets confusing! I have found the Reuben to be the most consistently named sandwich in my travels. The only variations are the amount of ingredients. I prefer a small heap to a mound o the beef, and don’t skimp on the dressing!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

INGREDIENTS: Two Slices of bread
American Cheese – yeah, that’s what I said!
Some sort of fat, butter is typical
But mayonnaise is another victual
Spread thinly upon the bread, both sides!
Place them upon the griddle to fry.
When each slice has reached a golden brown
The time has come to flip them upside down.
A slice of cheese on the browned side is dealt,
As the other side toasts, the cheese will melt.
The melted sides then combine into one
Sealing the sandwich – you’re almost done.
You can choose to place it upon the plate
And cut in half – it will taste great!

Or…you can take this savory comestible
To a superior level – that’s incontestable.
If you enter the fridge and grab the cheddar,
And use for a minute on a box shredder,
Keeping the sandwich on the heat –
Put this cheese on top, take care to be neat.
Let THIS cheese melt under a towel or lid
And beneath it have a spatula slid
Then flip it quickly so cheese hits the pan
And do your best to stand and withstand
The aroma as these shreds caramelize.
But give it a minute until your spatula can prise
This sandwich back on the your dish.
Some seasoning is now all you may wish
To add to this perfect grilled cheese – with no fault!
I suggest a small sprinkle of fine garlic salt.

Bro! Best grilled cheese sandwich ever. Yeah, and I love food and cheese and fanciness, but salty, melty American will always make the best grilled cheese. Don’t @ me, bro!

That said, I love to change up the breads, the cheeses, throw on some fruit or jam. If you add fruit, warm it up in the pan or micro before adding it to the cheese. Apples and brie are a treat. So’s fig jam with some sharp cheddar on whole wheat.

If you really want to reach back to schoolyard days, squish it down after it’s done. 

 

Avengers Review

I’m choosing to do some more poems. But after poems of such a serious theme (despite some needed levity) I believe I’ll be a bit more frivolous. Spoilers if you haven’t seen the picture.

I saw the heroes turn the tide
After an elaborate Quantum ride.
There was plenty I enjoyed, of course:
The fan service, the final force –
Visiting places where we’ve been before.
When the Captain lofted the hammer of Thor!
The action, the heroes, the final goodbyes.
Watching Ant Man and Wasp as they changed size.
Allowing an opera to have a clear end –
Though we will see many faces again.

Where will marvel go from here?
They haven’t told us; it isn’t clear.
The book has closed for Iron Man.
The Captain, too, has had his last stand.
I am saddened by the end of an era –
One wouldn’t expect a 4 color pair of
Bright shiny heroes to cause this reaction.
Always of the “Make Mine Marvel!” faction.

Emotional, exhausted, sad and undone –
Darn it, these pictures are supposed to be fun!
There are stories to tell of heroes still alive –
We’ll (hopefully) find out in Avengers Five.

The End

Twenty-Nine lifeforms described to the ether –
Are they gone already, or are they still there?
Out in the wild, the ocean, the ice
Suffering due to humanity’s vice.
Why should humanity wonder
On ways to prevent non-humanity to suffer?
To sit in deep warmth snug in a house
Why care about the Alabama Beach Mouse?

I’ll tell you this – how can we ask them?
How can we sit and shout and type
“You can’t wear the fur coat – it just isn’t right?”
How can we tell these people their lives?
Stop the poachers with their guns and their knives?

Why should they care about animals rare?
As they sit in the dirt without water or air –
The people I mean. Shut out on the street.
With threadbare shirts and nothing on their feet.
There is no desire to save otherkind
When your own people pay you no mind.

Humanity is stocked from pole to pole
And we’ve filled the air with oil and coal,
But we need to fill bellies and we need to fill brains
And work to release mankind from the chains
Of centuries of others controlling the roads
Of upward mobility – instead we’ve set loads
Upon loads of struggle and debt and treatment unfair-
So how can you ask “mind the polar bears there?”
Until we work to undoom our own species
No one will care. That is my thesis.

I remember the Lorax who spoke for the trees –
And Adams, and Adams, and Margaret Mead
Who spoke of nature and creatures and fought for all we
Who were willing to stand up and fight.
Fight for less fortunate, fight for what’s right.

There needn’t be battles, but an army we need
To dismiss the shackles and help people be freed.
Through this effort of providing our brothers enough
The animals, plants, the others will rise up.

Help the planet, help the people, help all of the life
To live it as much as one can without strife.

What a month! Yes, a treatise to end it on. A poem a day. A realization I did have writing – many people do not care about endangered species. And, indeed, why would they? The very people who hunt the gorilla are often doing so because they need to eat. People poach horns and ivory for the lucrative trade – but they, too, need to eat.

So, it comes as no surprise, that I would entreat us all to care and help and protect the natural world. But people, too, need protection and aid. And by helping them to rise up, we increase our ability to help nature.

Thank you for reading my poems this month.

Kakapo

A bird so heavy it stays on the ground
Nudging the brush for any nuts around.
It isn’t too heavy – it still can climb trees,
But you’ll never see on in the sky free.

It’s favorite food is the rimu nut
Which gives it energy to breed, but
The tree only offers this every four years.
The bird is far older than it appears.

A kakapo can live to be ninety-five
Longer than some of us have been alive.
It’s a nocturnal avian with whiskers to find
It’s way through the forest in the dark and blind.

In New Zealand fair it makes its home
Upon the forest floor it walks and roams.
A bird so heavy it stays on the ground
Weighing, as a parrot, to almost nine pounds.

The Kakapo is a fat parrot that can’t fly, which is very interesting. It is also called the “owl parrot” by people smarter than me. This bird is heavy, it climbs trees, it has sensory whiskers on its face. During the great harvest of the rimu tree it gains the energy to mate, in which courts and battles take place.

It is an absolutely fascinating bird! Also, there is a BBC documentary with a segment about it featuring Benedict Cumberbatch narrating, so that’s pretty cool.

Panther

They stalk quietly, not to avenge
Though, to some humanity, they could justify revenge.
Their interest, instead, lay toward their prey –
A hare, dear, stork – a little mouse grey.
It may stumble upon a reptilian battle
An alligator find could be its death rattle.
But, if removed from a space where it swims,
The panther, instead, will be one who wins.
The rate of dismissal now thankfully slowed
Though many undone by the busiest roads.
A life in Florida can be terrible harsh
When daring to exit the motherland marsh.
As others, their existence carries a sad metric
They lack past generations diverse genetics.

The Florida Panther is a subspecies of puma, cougar, mountain lion – the large cat that haunts the Ozarks and fur trapping young men. Endemic, naturally, to Florida. It’s population has seen a slight rebound from the teen-twenties to the low hundreds. As in, 120 in the wild. It suffers from hunting, habitat loss, and environmental poisonings. Also feline leukemia. And roads. It gets struck quite a bit crossing the road.

It is the only mountain lion in the Eastern United States, though sightings come out every so often in northern states. I had a college friend who swears he saw one crossing the road.

If you find a cougar in the wild, you are supposed to use your coat to look larger than normal to scare it away. Take your chances.

Nubian Giraffe

The Giraffe is a Genius!
Oh wait I meant genus-
Perhaps they are better at spelling.

You’d feel strongly jubilant
If you spied a Nubian
In the wild, where they’re no longer dwelling.

But in some places it lives
In these places it gives
Tourists a view quite compelling.

These camelopardalis
As a specimen is flawless
With a male median lump known for swelling.

It’s neck and its spots
Gives it space so it ought
To be safe from a predators felling.

The Nubian Giraffe is the nominative subscies of giraffe. But instead of Giraffe Giraffe it is Giraffe camelopardalis camelopardalis. Which is hard to rhyme!

Unfortunately, the story is the same as for 26 other species. Poachers and habitat loss due to humans. You know, I am starting to think humans might not be very kind to animals!

Brazilian GuitarFish

Out to fish
Many fish
Overfish
Guitar Fish

You cannot play it.
But what fun to say it.
It looks like a skate.
Also similar in weight.

Say! This fish is not doing so great!

The females get catched
Before eggs lay or hatch.
None are sad
And none are glad
But all are doing bad.

If your health and wealth
Bring you to the continental shelf
See the surf swish and make a wish
For the Brazilian Guitar Fish.

 

Gorilla of the Mount

A subspecies, alike other in dignity
In fair Africa, found upon the mountains.
It bears no grudges within its own family
And hides should skies unleash a fountain.

Silverbacks do fight and come to blows
Exerting wounds with sharp canine teeth.
But, at social time, let the youngest doze
As they groom fur for insects hidden beneath.

Mountain Gorillas are down to the last thousand or so. Found in a small range of Africa, they are suffering from interbreeding, poachers, habitat loss, etc. These are gentle, shy creatures with the strength to remove our arms from our bodies. 

Conservation efforts ARE working, thankfully. But this is still a critically endangered animal out there in the wild.

Woody

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Woodpeckers with ivory bills
Tapped trees in the southerly hills
But a sighting is rare
We aren’t sure it’s there –
It would give avid birders a chill!

It projects a long tongue from its mouth
And eats too many insects to count
As it drills into the trees
Making holes with great ease
A hammer once heard ’round the south.

The bird has a look indistinct
(The Pileated’s visage is linked)
But if one is astute
There is no dispute
For one is fine, the other likely extinct.

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is thought to still be alive in the wild. Many sightings are reported, but no true proof. Even if these sightings are live specimens of the southern US, it is likely they are the last. This woodpecker is (was) the largest in North America – a mighty hammer across trees of the South.

Like all (most?) woodpeckers, it uses its tough bill to find bugs inside trees. It’s long tongue wraps around its skull when not in use. It has a strong resemblance to the northern Pileated, but it is not too hard to tell them apart given the Ivory-Billed’s striking dark feathers.