Remembering the Caves   Wednesday, December 13, 2017








Memories beyond memory; memories genetically encoded, new science that fascinates.















remembering the caves

so it's like this,
we preserve memories in our brain
and when our brain
dies
so die the memories

but it's more complicated
than that, for there are also
memories that reside in our genes
that do not die with us
but are passed on to our offspring,
memories encoded in genes
that are part of the inheritance
just as are the rest
of the genetic mix that makes us

generational memories,
passed on and passed on
so that some part of us remembers
the caves remembers the man-things,
the almost-us Neanderthals
who we remember
as we remember so many
other fantastical things
beyond our experience, things
we explain through tall tales
and myths and fairy
stories...

and beyond that,
it is said, all living things
animal and plant
have these genetic memories
just a all living things
have a consciousness, the
whooping cranes
in their winter marsh home,
finding this refuge every year
not through some trick
of navigation, but because
they remember it,
generations of genetic memory
remembering its comforts
and where it is and how
to get there

and also the forests
and the prairie grasses
and the sunflower who turns its face
to the sun, before the sun rises,
knowing from generations that it will
rise and that it will rise
in the east
and generations of warm sun memory
tell it wen it is time to turn...

science learning from myth,
myth suggesting new science
and with each new thing we learn,
new mysteries, all knowledge
an accumulation of ignorance addressed
universal consciousness, memories
from all becoming
part of all...

where have we heard this before?

````

this
the state of knowledge
expanding
today

theory
always questing to be challenged,
questing to be debunked...

what does a poet know of this
and what advice
can such a dabbler provide?

not much

only enough to consider
one suggestion -

maybe we should all talk
to our petunias today,
even though we know they will not
talk back, science tells us
there is a good chance
they will hear
and warm themselves
in the genetic memory
of kind words
spoken
by those who
in the far past knew them
better than
we








Same as before, just even more extraordinary.


Me
remembering the caves

Me
hidden moon

Federico Garcia Lorca
Malaguena
August
The Little Mute Boy

Me
two mustachioed cowboys

Sir Philip Sidney
Who will in fairest book

Me
exactly as cold as it looks

Catherine Tufariello
Seasons of the Moon

Me
for criminy sake

Lucy Tapahonso
Blue Horses Rush In

Me
finding his own way home

Sylvia Plath
Ariel

Me
it's gonna be a great day

Gary Soto
Small talk and Chess

Me
Monday notes

Ted Walter
The South Downs

Me
anything can be a sign if you want it to be

Deborah Slicer 
Having It Out With Life Over Breakfast

Me
these southern breezes

Me
things that only I can see

Me
autumn wood

Tino Villanueva 
Again
Persistent Dreams

Me
when pigs fly














A small morning moment.

















hidden moon

dark morning,
sky overcast under deep clouds,
the moon,
unseen
unremarked
but for its tug on my pulsing
heart...










First from my library this week, three short poems by Federico Garcia Lorca, from Roots and Wings, Poetry from Spain 1900-1975. The anthology was published by White Pine Press in 1976. It is a bilingual book, Spanish and English

Garcia Lorca, born in 1898, a poet and playwright active in the anti-fascist movement, was executed by Nationalist forces in 1836 at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.
















Malaguena

Death
is entering and leaving
the tavern.

Black horses and dark
people are riding
over the deep roads
of the guitar.

There is an odor of salt
and female blood
in the warm spice plants
near the sea.

Death
is coming in and leaving
the tavern,
death
leaving and coming in.

Translated by Robert Bly


August

August.
The opposing
of peach and sugar,
and he sun inside the afternoon
like the stone in the fruit.

The ear of corn keeps
its laughter intact, yellow and firm.

August.
The little boys eat
brown bread and delicious moon.

Translated by James Wright


The Little Mute Boy

The little boy was looking for his voice.
(The king of the crickets had it.)
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

I do not want it for speaking with;
I will make a ring of it
that my silence may wear
on its little finger.

In a drop of water
the little voice was looking for his voice.

(The captive voice, far away,
put on a cricket's clothes.)

Translated by W.S. Merwin








                                                                 




Remembering a joker.














two mustachioed cowboys

Bobbie Lamar was already
an older fella
when I  was introduced to him

a native of Louisiana,
he had a endless cache of jokes,
most he told with a dead-on Cajun accent
like Justin Wilson or Moms Mabley,
and just as funny, though not quite
as dirty as either one

he broke up our quarterly managers' meetings,
so funny, that the boss let him tell his jokes,
even though they added an extra
half day to every meeting...

last time I saw him
he had gotten old, as we all do,
giving up a little piece of our life
with every year that passes

for Lamar, it was his memory,
and though he had just as many jokes
as he ever did, he could seldom remember
the punch lines,
so he'd start a great joke and the rest of us
would be left to figure out how the old Lamar
would have finished it before being sidetracked
by his prostrate problems
or the latest in an endless series
of disappointments from the Dallas Cowboys...

but we didn't mind, remembering him
in his prime, willing to imagine the old days
and his old ways of making us laugh
even if he couldn't remember it himself,
even though some of what he remembered
was worth remembering
even if we didn't know how they ended

two mustachioed cowboys and a fat man in a clown suit
walk into a bar...













Next I have another anthology, Till I End My Song - A Gathering of Last Poems, published by Harper Collins in 2010.

The  poet is Sir Philip Sidney, born 1554 and died 1586. There is a complicated story behind this piece which I will let you look up because it's too long and convoluted to include here.

















Who will in fairest book
  from Astrophel and Stella

LXIX

Who will in fairest book of Nature know
How virtue may best lodged in beauty be,
Let him but learn of love to read in thee,
Stella, those fair lines which truth goodness show.
There shall he find all vices' overthrow.
Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty
Of reason, from whose light these night-birds fly,
That inward sun in thine eyes shineth so,
And, not content to be perfection's heir
Thyself, dost strive all minds that way to move,
Who mark in thee what is in thee most fair.
So while they beauty draws the heart to love,
      As fast they virtue bends that love to good
      But, ah, Desire still cries, "Give me some food."







Summer in South Texas is consistent. The sun comes up and you know it's going to burn on you, hot and unremitting, all day. Winter is a problem because when you get up there's no way to know how the rest of the day is going to be. Today, there will be a 40 degree swing from five in the morning to mid-day. So always a question, whether to dress for five in the morning (when I get up) or for the middle of the day. As, for example, two days ago, snow for the first time in 35 years, completely unexpected.

This piece is from 2013.









exactly as cold as it looks

today
it is exactly as cold
as it looks

this is an important
thing
to know
as I dress for my
early morning walk with my dog
who doesn't much care
how cold it is
or isn't

yesterday
it was much colder than it looked
so I under-dressed
and was cold for the entire trek

the day before
it was not nearly as cold
as it looked
so I overdressed, finishing the walk
almost in a sweat

this need for daily
calibration
is one of the things that keeps life
interesting
for old folks who don't have much else
on their mind

`````

Momma Cat,
so named because when she
joined us she brought two fresh kitten along for the ride,
usually follows us on our morning walk, but
only as far as the end of the block
where she sits and waits
until we complete our circuit

then rejoins us

this morning
she followed us all the way around
the circuit

to the end of the block,
then over the footbridge
that crosses Apache Creek,
then down West Rolling Ridge
until it dead ends at Evers, then
back across the creek on the Evers Road bridge
then north on East Rolling Ridge
to the end of the block on our street, Clearview,
then home...

I don't know why she does it, doesn't participate
in the walk in any way but by following
along...

but what strange shadows we cast under streetlights,
dog shadow, man shadow, and, several paces behind,
cat shadow...

I can't help but feel
there are some hints here
to a solution to some kind of universal mystery -

I'll think about it again
tomorrow morning
as we walk

````

I have a sense
when we walk in the morning
that some shadowy
presence
that is not the cat
is following
us

the dog senses it too,
constantly turning her head back
to scan the darkness
alongside the
road

````

I don't have a lot of shoes

just some boots I don't wear
anymore

the brown shoes
I wear every day and some black shoes
I keep shined for dress-up purposes -
weddings, funerals, and the like

and a pair of slogging-in-the-cold-and-wet shoes
for walking the dog

it was cold and wet yesterday morning
so when we set out to walk
I put on my slogging-in-the-cold-and-wet shoes
then forgot to change into my
regular shoes
when we returned home

so I walked around all day in my cold and wet
shoes, feeling sometimes like a lumberjack
or a lobster fisherman
but most often
like just a guy with cold, wet feet...

occasionally exciting and reaffirming
to my masculinity,
but mostly sloppily miserable

````

in a life of few certainties,
one thing is certainly known...

I will be up at 4:30 tomorrow morning,
making a determination as to the relative
relationship of cold and cold-looking
as I prepare to select the proper
clothing
and shoes
for my morning walk with my dog, Bella

the moral contract
I have with her and, lately, Momma Cat,
require it, as does my poetry,
the dark of uncomplicated early day,
no matter the relative cold to cold-looking
relationship
being the best time for thoughts,
both meaningful and futilely meaningless,
which will in their own good time
slip, elegantly or otherwise,
into a poem for the day










This poem is by Catherine Tufariello, taken from her book, Keeping My Name. The book was published by Texas Tech University Press in 2004.

Born in New York in 1963, she graduated from University at Buffalo and at Cornell where she earned a Ph.D. She has taught at Cornell,  the College of Charleston, and University of Miami and currently teaches at Valparaiso University.

















Seasons of the Moon

The moon rose, a bright balloon slipped free
From a child's fist. A blue-tinged light, like milk,
Silvered their hair and turned the sheets to silk,
Still twined, they slept like children, knee to knee.

While plaintive crickets quavered in the yard,
The moon rose, a face halfway turned away
From the open window. Watching him, she lay
And wondered what it heard. She listened hard.

Wind tried the door all night, and dry leaves leapt
To peer inside mice scrabbling at the screen.
A shell of moon appeared, washed pale and clean
Above the empty bed where neither slept.

They lay, two lovers carved in effigy
On a common tomb, awake in early dawn.
A few birds called across the snowy lawn.
Between the bare, clenched branches of a tree,

The moon slipped like a stone dropped in the sea.














A big deal here, the last time anything like it more than 30 years ago.














for criminy sake

snow in San Antonio,
for criminy  sake, snow
in San Antonio

Bella never seen snow,
a big deal for us,
a whole new deal for her,
so I take her for a walk
in it...

didn't know she could
tiptoe...













From my library, Luci Tapahonso, from her book, Saanii Dahataat, The Women Are Singing, ,published by the University of Arizona Press in 1993.

Tapahonso is a Navajo poet and lecturer in Native American studies. She was the first poet laureate of the Navajo Nation.















Blue Horses Rush In

    for Chamisa Bah Edmo
    who was born March 6, 1991

Before the birth, she moved and pushed inside her mother.
Her heart pounded quickly and we recognized the sound of horses running:
                                                 
                                           the thunder of hooves on the desert floor.

Her mother clenched her fists and gasped.
She moans ageless pain and pushes: This is it!

Chamisa slips out, glistening wet and takes her first breath.
                                               the wind outside swirls and leaves
                                               and branches in the dark.
Her father's eyes are wet with gratitude.
He prays and watches both mother and baby - stunned.

This baby arrived amid a herd of horses,
                                                  horses of different colors.

White horses ride in on the breath of the wind.
White horses from the west
where plants of golden chamisa shimmer in the moonlight.

She arrived amid a herd of horses.
Yellow horses enter from the east
bringing the scent of prairie grasses from the small hills outside.

She arrived amid a herd of horses.

Blue horses rush in, snorting from the desert in the south.
It is possible to see across the entire valley to Niist'aa from To.
Bah, from here your grandmothers went to war long ago.

She arrived amid a herd of horses.

Black horses came from the north.
They are the lush summers of Montana and still white winters of Idaho.

Chamisa, Chamisa Bah. It is all this that your are.
You will grow: laughing, crying,
and we will celebrate each change you live.

You will grow strong like the horses of your past.
You will brow strong like he horses of your birth.









An early morning observational, this time on North Padre.











finding his own way home

old man on the beach,
walking the water's edge
on Mustang Island,
a week's growth of whiskers
and spikes of gray hair
jutting out from his red gimme cap
set at a jaunty angle

tennis shoes
tied together by their laces
hanging around his neck, his bare feet
splashing through water
as the tide pushes
the foaming remains
of the surf up onto the wet sand,
then back
again...

he's here
most every morning,
rain or shine,
with his dog, a black lab mix
he calls "Rough" -
finds his day
here
on this early beach,
purring surf,
squalling gulls overhead,
squeak and squeal of rigging
on the sail boats at the marina
as shallow waves softly rock their hulls,
all the sounds of sunrise...

then, with the sun rising,
the morning sounds
fading
as a fog bank settles in
and the old man on the beach
walks into the gray swirl
and becomes a
ghost walking,
another sailor lost from the Spanish galleon
sunk just offshore and never
rescued from the warm, salty
depths...

finding his own way
slowly, home













This poem by Sylvia Plath is from her book, Ariel. It was first published by Harper & Row in 1965, two years after Plath's suicide.




















Ariel

Stasis in darkness.
The the substanceless blue
Pour of tor and distances.

God's lioness,
How old we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees! - The furrow

Splits and passes, sister to
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,

Nigger-eye
Berries cast dark
Hooks -

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,
Shadows.
Something else

Hauls me through air -
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels.

White
Godiva, I unpeel -
Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now I
Foam to where, a glitter of seas.
The child's cry

Melts in the wall.
And I
Am the arrow,

The dew that flies
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red

Eye, the cauldron of morning.














Before the snow.














it's gonna be a great day

norther
blowing in

dim morning light
rain falling
somewhere
between misty
and drizzle
temperature
dropping like a rock from
the rugged crags of Mt. Penzzozi

it's a day for walking the river,
watching the turtles
poke their heads from the wet below
to the wet above
ducks fluffing feathers
little orange feet
churning


tourists
along the Riverwalk
having their first chorizo con papas y huevos taco
under flapping umbrellas at Casa Rio,
until, the rain as excuse,
they flee off to Stoner's
for early morning cervazas

it's gonna be a great day












From my library again, Gary Soto, a poem selected from his book, Junior College. The book was published by Chronicle Books in 1997,

Born in California in 1952, Soto is a poet, novelist, and children's author known for his reflections on the Chicano experience.

















small talk and checkers

I slip into my old robe.
I weave my beard into a noose.
I set a checkerboard on a trash can -
Three flies for me and my out-of-work friend.
I call him Smiley. "Smiley," I say,
"It's your move." He chuckles
and raises his peppered hand to his throat,
that satchel of loose skin. Smiley scratches
His nose and shoves a checker.
He says, "Is that corn
Or your teeth?" I ignore him.
And leap like crazy across the board.
I rub my hands together,
Friction that was desire ten years before.
The flies settle at the edge
Of boredom and filth,
Their fuzzy bottoms hugging the board.

The sun presses westward.
A boy on a bike tosses the newspaper,
The news sorted equally between the dead
And the living. The wind stirs
The flies on our throats. When a girl taunts,
"Hey, old man!" Smiley and I both look up,
Feeble men eager at out final call.














From 2013.















Monday notes

overcast day
today

too bad

found my sunglasses
I couldn't find
yester-sunny-day


````


45 degrees at sunrise,
60 by noon, great for squirrel-chasing
at the park, mostly Bella
chasing
while me, mostly I'll be watching

she'll never catch a squirrel
in these woods,
but she doesn't know
and I'm not telling

ambition -
it's important
even in a dog's life











From Earth Songs, "A resurgence anthology of contemporary eco-poetry." The book was published in 2002 by Green Books in association with Resurgence magazine.

The poem I selected is by Ted Walter, a prize-winning English poet, short story writer, travel writer, TV and radio dramatist, and broadcaster. The poet died in 2004.















The South Downs

Long before names, before we thought of naming,
seas roared through, dividing Sussex Downs
from what is France, carving through millennia
of laid down life, this chalk, these flints, the land
we came to know as home. Long before that
the cosmos dreamed of consciousness, filled space
with elements that one day would lead to us.

Now every grain of soil, each artifact,
the air we breath, the sweep of shadowed grass,
each stone we gather from a storm-washed beach,
points always back, reminds us of the time
it took to get here, step by step.


















This piece inspired by a song. Two songs actually, only one credited.















anything can be a sign if you want it to be

     Amanda Shires
     singer, songwriter, fiddle player and poet

signs, signs,everywhere
are signs:

chicken innards
tea leaves
a full moon clouded over in the morning
red sails in the sunset
the face of Jesus on a piece of toast
a baby's smile
a crone's scowl
a hick-up in the Dow just before the market closes...

signs,
omens for telling
impeding doom for some
overdue fortune for others

signs
warning/promising
that something, something
SOMETHING
is going to happen

because
something always happens
in a world of flux an churn and turmoil,
something always happens

as the early prognosticators,
the oldest magi, fortunetellers,
bones throwers. fakirs,
priests, rabbis, saints,
philosophers of the deepest currents in the ether
knew the trick is knowing
before it happens,
ad the trick to that is,
as was taught to me by the dean of the business school
at the university in a city
where I served as media seer
for many years -

you can predict what's going to happen, he said,
and you can predict when something is going to happen,
but never,
he said,
try to predict the what and when at the same time...

signs
signs
everywhere are signs

you just must be careful how you read them













This poem is by Deborah Slicer. I chose it from her book The White Calf Kicks. The book was published in 2003 by Autumn House Books.

Slicer earned a Ph.D and an MFA at the University of Virginia. This was her first book, selected for the 2003 Autumn House Poetry Prize.














Having It Out with Life Over Breakfast

Wet snow batters the winter plains like catfish fillets,
as sleet skids
across the tin roof,
popping.
My blue Dodge by the barn burrows under the snow's soft blouse to stick.

World...
World - why am I so
hungry&grit;

Make your biscuits like you used to - with the grape jelly grimace,
eggs over easy. Tabasco
so they squawk.
Boil coffee till it grunts, Honey...
come 'ere, Spoon-feed it
bourbon, brown sugar.
Set the orange on its white plate where it beats its chest laughing
at us.

I've watched the sun dress this row of winter trees
in the same gray tweeds
morning after morning,
a pocketful of vireos sings like spare change and I begin to
hope. But
you ladle up the same food of loose grits, disembowel
the little orange with a kitchen knife leaving
rind on my fork,
where it smells of every grievance since he very beginning.


Listen, you...

I am dog-paddling
through a kettle of Quaker's
cooked oats
just to think this, climbing
up a sweaty glass of last night's beer
to say it loud enough:

we were once equal
parts cream to
sugar and the cause
of many electrical fires in the kitchen.

Now the sum of all your verbs I lighter than a snowflake.
Drifts gagging the one road out.













Remembering earlier days in 2013.















these southern breezes

I have given too little notice
of the moon
lately
and the stars
and the sky with clouds
like foam in a
blue-high river
drifting
with the morning wind,
a southern wind
passing over the coastal plains
from the gulf
and as I feel it fan over me
in the early near-light
I can smell the salt, hear the gulls...

long ago now
I left that place, but on mornings like this
I can imagine
I'm still there, licking salty lips,
mine and yours,
brushing sand from our shoulders
and legs
and secret places
where no sand should ever go

but it does
and so there are the pleasures
of the shower,
rubbing soak-slick against each other
back to back
belly
to belly...

these southern breezes
in summer do
take me
back















Another coffeehouse observational



















things that only I can see

woman
snapping pictures
with her cellphone
in the early dim
of morning

older woman
I think I may have known
twenty years ago...

snapping
pictures of, well,
nothing I can see

maybe she's a world-renown
artist of the camera,
seeing things that only world-renown
artists of the camera can see

patterns
in the dim of early morning

or maybe she's just a nut
taking picture of nothing
that I can see
who would maybe
want to show me her
nothing I can see photos
if I said hello...

I don't say hello -

studiously study thing around her
that only I can see
instead...















A tiny piece for the season.













autumn wood

dense woods
opened 
to view

sun on bare trees
under a rain
of lime-green
and lemon-yellow leaves
falling











Presenting, last from my library this week, Tino Villanueve, with two short pieces from his book Shaking Off the Dark, published by Bilingual Press/Edtorial Billngue in 1998.

Villanueve was born in San Marcos, Texas, to a migrant family. Although I didn't know him, he and I attended Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) University in San Marcos at about the same time.
















Again

So I depend again on myself.
I've taught this part of me
to go unruined
through all the enormous lessons
on defeat.
I've taught this part of me
to thrive among despair,
to be imperative
among chaotic numbers.
Though I may fall away from time to time
like draggled weeds in winter,
breathing thick stern air
in some back shadows of he walk,
I spring again from me,
from the dead quiet of my roots -
listen to me move.

By dawn
I am presence fixed
in the eyes of men.


Persistent Dream

In a calm persistent dream
I am crossing the shore,
as the ongoing light of stars
settles over the waters
of my voyage.
What this river does
cannot be forgotten,
for something of myself says
I am moving among bright mist,
tells me I could go on forever
through the woods I am entering
as I would my life.













The question is raised, how much of what we remember is real and how much is just a memory of a dream.














when pigs fly

I dreamed last night
an elaboration on a very old memory

the narrative logic,
the specificity of detail,
it was like being
there...

only when I woke
did I realize the memory
in my dream was just another dream
and only in the light of day,
as the suspension of disbelief faded,
did the utter impossibility
both the narrative and the specificity
of detail become obvious..

and thinking now
of the "willing suspension of disbelief" of dreams
and how it is so clearly the disease of out time,
the facts as they are presented by many
to memory, so true to a creative narrative of disorder and hate,
lies old well,
false facts, clear and specific
and thus, for so many, believable

sleeping millions masterfully manipulated
so that their dream pigs can and every day so clearly
fly










As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and to me



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Poetry

New Days & New Ways


Places and Spaces 






Always to the Light




Goes Around Comes Around




Pushing Clouds Against the Wind




And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio


Seven Beats a Second






Fiction


Sonyador - The Dreamer





                                                            


  Peace in Our Time



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Previous Entries
Remembering the Caves
As the Moon Through Its Tide Demands
Compromise
Beach Blanket Turkey Trot
Of A Matter Requiring Consideration
Working Man Blues
The Long Lost Sultan of Salamarkand
Not Expecting Much
A Conspiracy of D**kh.eads
Wars, Past and Still
Archives
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