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“Your damn country” Now the right-wingers wing it, Winter Texans inexplicably here in September, down from northern farms sold sub-divided, down to stay to conservatize el valle as they converse sin poesia sin politica but with aging Anglo anger against have-nots here, anywhere. “Newt Gingrich says, any country you defeat should be `your damn country,'” says one. \(He means Japan and Germany, The waiter drops a tray. China everywhere. SYLVIA MANNING Haters Them people like like people any where where any people like people like them. PHILIP BOOTH BOOKS & THE CULTURE Mistaken Identity For my birthday this year my mother mailed me a large yellow envelope Inside was a white cotton nightgown and a handful of photos of me growing up I shook the photos out onto the bed and spread them before me like animal cards to tell me who I am There were babies in bonnets with big violet eyes Tall awkward girls edging toward the sky scraped knees and page cut hair Teen women in party dresses cinched tight by merry widows above feet bound in long pointed flats I gathered the photos back into the envelope marked Mrs. Over my head I pulled on the gown too small so short My mother sends gifts to people I don’t know JUDITH BASEHORE ALEF three-poets issue is a rich place. Philip Booth lives and writes in the house in Castine, Maine where he grew up. He was a founder of the graduate Creative Writing program at Syracuse University. His marvelous collection of poems, Pairs is his ninth published by Viking Penguin. It’s one of those books I find myself urging on everyone. Booth wrote his poem “Haters” when 011ie North “ran for office as the Virginia gentleman he claimed to be.” Sylvia Manning, born in New Braunfels, is a librarian in Mission, Texas, and an active member of REFORMA, the national association for the promotion of library services to Spanish speaking people. Her play, At 28 Dean Street, about Jenny Marx and Helene Demuth, who lived with the Marxes, was produced in New York City last summer. She writes that the play is “available free to anyone who wants to do it.” Judith Basehore Alef is an expatriate Texan now living in Portland, Oregon, where she works as a writer and community planner and tries to grow okra and black-eyed peas. The Observer was among her favorite reading matter in the late ’70s and early ’80s, as “Hightower, Ivins and the crew” guided their “plucky, liberal ship” through the “changing waters of Texas politics.” Come back, Judith! The seas are still rolling. Naomi Shihab Nye 22 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 25, 1996