Category Archives: Florida – History

Revenge Is A Meal Best Enjoyed Cold


It must have seemed good sense to drain the swamps,
The marshes, sloughs, and other secret places.
For surely they appeared to be land wasted
On snakes, sawgrass, and other useless things.

They would have missed the wonders hidden there,
The rich detritus feeding tiny creatures
Who became meals themselves to feed the larger
Creatures who were surely of no value.

How would they know the secrets of the wetlands?
Why, even if the people there had told them
What did they know, those bands of savage stragglers,
All fugitives, and ignorant of progress?

Thus, everglades and swamps made way for suburbs,
Canals, toll roads and malls, airports and farmland.
Now all must vie for water become precious
Where once it seemed the wetlands stretched forever.

Professors prowl remains of once great systems
Describing remnants in scholastic volumes,
While Seminoles and Miccosukees get rich
Off gambling, booze and cigarettes for tourists.

A Meal Best Enjoyed Cold


It must have seemed good sense to drain the swamps,

The marshes, sloughs, and other secret places.

For surely they appeared to be land wasted

On snakes, sawgrass, and other useless things.

They would have missed the wonders hidden there,

The rich detritus feeding tiny creatures

Who became meals themselves to feed the larger

Creatures who were surely of no value.

How would they know the secrets of the wetlands?

Why, even if the people there had told them

What did they know, those bands of ragged stragglers,

All fugitives, and ignorant of progress?

Thus, everglades and swamps made way for suburbs,

Canals, toll roads and malls, airports and farmland.

Now all must vie for water become precious

Where once it seemed the wetlands stretched forever.

Professors prowl remains of once great systems

Describing remnants in scholastic volumes,

While Seminoles and Miccosukees get rich

Off gambling, booze and cigarettes for tourists.

There Are Times When The Wolves Are Silent, And Only The Moon Howls


[The title, a quote from George Carlin, has little to do with this essay, but I’ve always wanted to use it for something.]

I spent my earliest years on a farm at the edge of the Florida Everglades. It was at the base of the central ridge, where the prairie country segues into the ’Glades as the elevation slopes imperceptibly toward sea level. Until I was about seven we had no electricity. Our lighting was kerosene lamps. We had a wonderful, cacophonous silence: no radios, no television, and only a few human voices.

For the grownups, evening recreation was getting together in the “canasta house” — a little screened-in building open to the humid breeze — and playing cards or just telling stories. For a small boy with no other kids to play with, it was sitting in the darkness on the screened porch, comic books exhausted, and listening to that silence. Continue reading