Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Badger State: Getting to Know You…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Snow stories & poems,Travel,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 9:49 am on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

By Robert M. Katzman

© October 3, 2015


The munching horses have become more familiar

The insanely circuitous route I take home

Each night a bit less incomprehensible

The surly burly guy with steel grey hair

Smiles at me when I buy gas from him

The beautiful deep brown Root River

Less of an impossible barrier every morning

As I learn the handful of roads crossing it


Going south on 32 each morning

I pause at Main Street’s western turn

Greeting the blinding sunrise over Lake Michigan

As if it were a cuddly puppy

Waiting just for me, too

Sometimes a single sailboat passing

Before I turn west towards

The grey concrete interstate


I have watched the fierce windstorms

Knock over trees

Supplying me with jagged firewood

Make my nighttime log fires

Rage and blaze as the wind

Forces its way through the chinks

Of my sturdy brick fire pit

The bright burning hardwood

Glows, dims, flares, crackles and crumbles

In the damp early mornings

Only powdery white ash remains


Amid the million red barns and puffing tractors

Besides the meadows and forests

Beyond the sleepy silence of a

Small town Downtown

And the tilting abandoned siloes

There are foreign film festivals

Thai, Japanese, Indian & Italian restaurants

Real Jewish delicatessens

Steaming corned beef and pastrami

Reborn Industrial Renaissance

Old buildings with new concepts


African Festivals

Arab Festivals

Armenian Festivals

East Indian Festivals

French Festivals

LGBT Festival

German Festivals

Greek Festivals


Irish Festivals

Italian Festivals

Jewish Festivals (ok, not yet…)

Latino Festivals

Mexican Festivals

Native American Festivals

Polish Festivals

Scottish Festivals

Serbian Festivals


An antique intersection

Surrounded by modern wreckage

Piles of smoking timbers and twisted steel

Chain link fences with bright yellow !warnings!

Twinkling purple neon

Seductively luring me into a

Red brick building filled with books

Thousands of old paperback books

Not a Kindle in sight!


Tchotchkes and fainting couches

Limp red-furred dead-eyed Fox stoles

Zoot suits and crumbling pulp magazines

Roy Rogers and Davy Crockett

Curling theater posters of

Long forgotten movies and their

Heroically posed un-twinkling stars

I frequently visit

These ghostly cemeteries of fame

Visiting bits and pieces of my life

Scattered within dim display cases

Disintegrating flies resting on history


We discovered

Pick n’ Save!

As wonderful as Whole Foods

But more proletarian pricing

A fragrant bakery

Apples pies and walnut brownies

Ethnic breads and chocolate chip cookies

Ice-filled glass cases swimming with

Red, white, brown, and yellow fish

And yes, staring right at you


Enough displays of

Beer, brats and cheese

To swell the Middle American hearts

Of any proud Wisconsin

Green Bay Packer tailgater


I still get lost sometimes

Bright street lights

Illuminating only Main Street

One small bungalow

Looking identical to another

Black shadows like a jigsaw puzzle

Often I’ll take the pitch black

“Road less traveled”

‘Cause I can’t find the damn road I want

But maybe that’s just me


When I want to be alone

Easy enough in Wisconsin

I ride between fields of ripe October corn

The stiff dry rows reminding me

Of a frozen parchment army

Some rows higher than my old Toyota


The hilly land undulates like

A lush and opulent woman

All hips and curves

Each old farm sold and developed

Is beginning to fill me with dread

Walgreens, Costco, Citgo

Replacing cows, goats and horses

Gentle vistas with a single structure

I accept my getting old, but

Can’t anything else just stay as it is?


I dread the coming winter

I fear a paralyzing blizzard

Isolating two hopeful grandparents

Fluffy piles of quilts awaiting us

Candles in hurricane glass

Tucked aside in every room

Cupboards filled with canned food

We hug our warm dogs at night


Fragile older people

Diminished energy

Fortified with experience

Well aware of the

Wide mood swings

Of Wisconsin’s

Sizzling / frozen weather

Earth’s North Pole

Three thousand miles

Above us


Nevertheless stoic

Come Spring

Like pink Crocuses

Poking through the snow

We will still be here


Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart  and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998                                                                                                                    (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $24.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.


Comment by Brad Dechter

October 7, 2015 @ 11:49 am

Nice Bob- already fires at night? Here in Long Beach Ca. it’s getting into the 60’s at night. Soon no walking with T-shirts on.
Sad that summer has to lead to the dark cold of winter….Funny as we get into the winter of our lives we pray for anything but winter….

Comment by David Griesemer

October 7, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

As with Emerson, gems drop from your pockets. Another seed planted. A harvest of notoriety in the coming year.
Among my favorite phrases: parchment army. Reminds me of Ezekiel’s scroll – the sweet taste of scripture.
“Can’t anything just stay as it is?” This line may absolve you of FIBness. That and a love of fire pits.
So many festivals. Who knew? Maybe that’s intentional.
Haven’t you heard? Most fragile older people move South. Loved the pink Crocuses metaphor.

Comment by Don Larson

October 7, 2015 @ 2:08 pm

Hi Bob,

I enjoyed it.

Warmest regards,


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