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Monday, 5 May 2014

Why Me


Fields Landing, California: photo by Christopher Hall, 19 April 2014

Why me?
I asked.

I hadn't ever requested that.
Easter came and went.

The negative thoughts passed
and were replaced

by fresh negative thoughts
popping up

much as blossoms, to mark
the season

of renewal.


Two weeks went by
but little changed. The rain

ended, the city
deer grew thirsty

again. A Saturday
morning, broad daylight, traffic

mayhem as ever
on Marin. Then I saw her.

A bold doe
with fawns in tow

anxiously prancing
across Colusa

in the middle of the lethal
vehicular stream

at the corner where
the Jetta whacked me.

A few hours later
she was back on her own

standing on hind legs
pushing with front

on a sapling
so that it bent low

enough for nibbling.

Fields Landing, California: photo by Christopher Hall, 20 November 2013

Curbside coffee service, El Cerrito, California: photo by Christopher Hall, 20 October 2009

Sweet Dreams (Sunset View Mortuary, El Cerrito, California)
: photo by Christopher Hall, 23 March 2010

17th at Potrero, San Francisco: photo by Christopher Hall, 6 January 2013

El Cerrito, California
: photo by Christopher Hall, 17 October 2009

Death in San Geronimo. Road-killed deer, San Geronimo, California: photo by Christopher Hall, 27 September 2009


Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

Thanks, Tom, for the fine poem... and for the startle-moment when I saw the pics taken at Fields Landing. Geez... there was a summer (1975) that we lived in a disused Pentecostal meeting house in Fields Landing... converted to a rental. Frogs in the make-shift shower. Mouse-infested place. A few years later that old Pentecostal meeting house burned to the ground... perhaps for insurance money. We were broke... without a prayer. So I bought a set of acrylic paints and set to work making nudes on wood boards to sell to fisherman too drunk to care about much. Not a lucrative business. Not in Fields Landing. We drifted south to San Francisco. I made five-dollars a round at the Newman-Herman Gym as a sparring partner for prizefighters... good money in the autumn of 1975. "Why Me?" indeed.

Hazen said...

This is gripping until the very last, when we learn that the deer survive for a while longer.

In the wooded lot behind us, we see almost every morning three to five deer standing, quietly existing.

TC said...


That local knowledge helps here, much as arrowheads turning up in the broken pavement under a parking lot. Though Fields Landing probably hasn't changed much since your day there. That method of attempting to scrape up a small living rings all too familiar. For five dollars a round who wouldn't have cheerfully sacrificed a brain cell or two.

It once almost seemed there were enough to go around.

To stand and quietly exist would be a fair way to go, Hazen.

This big deer didn't hang about, once she'd caught wind of my presence. Bounded away through the better-kept places up the block.

These deer are easily startled, as the circumstances demand; normally the young will browse the (proscribed, often fence protected) foliage of choice -- the deer prefer avocados and rose bushes -- while the mother keeps an eye out -- as she does also when the group ventures across the very heavily trafficked freeway feeder out front. The heart misses a beat, to see them taking that risk. They are bold enough to cross by day only very rarely, in the driest years.

aditya said...

What great photos and poems! Reminded me of an experience I had. Here's a transcribed bit of a conversation with a friend in a bird sanctuary, two years ago--






aditya said...

Sorry, I intended to post the previous comment under "Who goes there?"

deer in the urban areas-- there is barely space for humans here, where I live. Only dogs shouting at rag pickers and rickshaw pullers all day long.

TC said...


Yes, they do teach us... to... take... care.

Deer don't belong in urban areas here, either, but, as humans have progressively usurped their hillside habitats (it's called "development"), they have no choice but to come down out of the hills in quest of sustenance.

Not at all safe, obviously. It's all down to luck and the mercy and patience of drivers.

But the drivers have somewhere oh so important to go, always.

I saw that big mother doe again this morning, negotiating that same lethal street, and once again held my breath.