From the Sage of Santa Socatuya   Tuesday, June 19, 2018







                                                       
from the sage of Santa Socatuya
     Ducky to Jimmie, NCIS
     "I you're going through Hell,
      keep going."

this secret:

when writing lousy
poems,
don't stop

instead,
keep
writing lousy poems
with the hope
a good one will slip through -

I'm not to that state yet
but I do keep
trying,
and
this morning,
if a good one was to
slip through
it would almost certainly
be
about
the very tall girl
who just walked buy...

such composure,
such confidence in her step,
regal,
with her chin held high,
stately,
her eyes dead on
the certainty of her future reign
and all the future masses
falling at her
feet.

yes,
most certainly,
if a good poem were to slip
through
it would be slipping
through with her









A few of my new poems this week and poems from my library and some special old poems published mostly in the early 2000s (one of two exceptions, the oldest one published in 1971) before I went on my 30 year writing hiatus. I quit submitting my poems to other journals for publication shortly after these and others were published when I began to say my work for my own uses. A recent exception is included here, a poem I submitted upon request to pair with another poem by my very good friend, Alice Folkart, who passed on a couple of years ago. It was published this month Loch Raven Review.


Me
from the sage of Santa Socatuya

Me
searching for a way home

Alice Folkart
Pretending

Me
inspired bu Alice Folkart's "Pretending"

Li-Young Lee
Nocturne

Me
what is it about blonds in white?

Me
1971

Me
do not disturb

Glenna Luschei
Rocking

Me
I can see how this might happen

Bill Shields
song
another body
two-headed dog

Me
cowboy movie

Sonia Sanchez
Six short form poems

Me
if you are nice to me

Carol Connolly
Lady Poet at Lunch

Me
finding religion at 3 a.m.
while a bald man burns

Thomas Rabbitt
Among the Missing

Me
the great spinach shortage of my youth

Me
what's better than cold chocolate milk?

Me
fever

Ricardo Pau-Llosa
Key Biscayne

Me
anticipating a lower than usual standard on the interest curve


















Thoughts on a morning of momentous news.


















searching for a way home

the coffeehouse
is a desert this morning

the closest thing
to an oasis of possible interest

the guy in shorts and a wife-beater-tee
with probably the ugliest beard

this side of Cincinnati,
looks like a homeless guy

who lost his cardboard sign,
and meanwhile

NASA
announces

they have found the starter kit
for life

in a dry lake bed on Mars,
my dream since I was 8 years old

and Edgar Rice Burroughs
transported Tarzan to Mars

in the person of John Carter,
marooned adventurer,

and my, the adventures he had
that I wished were mine

until I grew up and settled
for a boring life on planet Earth...

sitting here in this near-deserted coffeehouse
with a homeless guy searching

for his lost cardboard sign, a bit
like John Carter I suppose,

searching for a way home...












Here are two poems by Daniel Nathan Terry, from his book Capturing the Dead, his collection of poems inspired by photographs from the Civil War. The book, a Stevens Poetry Manuscript Winner published by NFSPS Press in 2007.

Terry is a former landscaper and horticulturist pursuing, at the time of publication, an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina. Previously published in several journals, this was his debut collection.

The first of the poems, as Lincoln must always be first, was inspired by a photograph by Mathew Brady.












The First Lincoln Portrait - February 27, 1860
"Brady..made me president."
                                                   - Abraham Lincoln

He was so tall and angular, long-necked and gangly,
one could not help but pity him. He stood unnaturally
rigid, his heavy brow pressing black eyes
into sharp check bones. Even the filtered sun
of the skylight could do nothing to soften or humanize

the half-horse, half-alligator in the shabby black suit
and cheap tie. Finally, I asked if he  could arrange his collar.
Lincoln laughed: I see you want to shorten my neck.
He pulled the collar up beneath his chin.
It did the job. He would never lookt the part of president,

but at least he looked like a gentleman and not a giant.
Later that night, snow falling in the dark streets beyond
the studio. I held his photo in my hand. And in the low light
of the wavering lamps, the backwoods rail-splitter shone
like a pillar of fire.



The White Oak
Unburied Dead
photographer unknown

my crows have a taste
               for tongues and eyes

and grow weary
               of picking the bones

they may not wait
               for you to die

why have you come
               to the heart of the wood

with your box of lifeless-tree
               that drinks the light

what do you seek
               among the dead

take what you need and leave
               don't linger

don't seek shelter here
               the desperate dead

at your feet
               mistook leaf-shadow

for sanctuary and cowered
               in my branch-dark

five fell against
               my ravaged bark

blackened it with blood
               they wept and prayed

then died
               I received their breath and flesh

their words and water
               and what the foxes left behind

with the aid of time
               wind and rain

my roots will inter the bones
               I am coffin

I am cradle
               I am home

















Next I have two old poems (but not that old), the first by my wonderful poet friend Alice Folkart, kind, witty, unstoppable Alice who passed on a couple of years ago and whose daily poems I still miss very morning. Her poem is particularly timely these days, considering what's going on in Hawaii.

The second poem is by me, inspired by Alice's poem

Both poems are from the Loch Raven Review, No. 8, an extensive collection of poems and poets featured in its journal since 2012.

A well-done collection of excellent contemporary poetry. If you have an interest in purchasing a copy, contact the Review at submissions@lochravenreview.net.











Alice's poem.


Pretending

Here, in the middle of the sea
we're living on volcanoes,
suspended over the
fiery heart of the world,
pretending that
we're safe.

We build towns inside
comfortable caldera
rimed with frozen
lava, black, red, brown.

We lie on the sand
and watch the ocean showing off,
blowing blues and greens,
milky jade,
electric turquoise,
and a back-blue
out beyond the reef
hinting of great depths.

All of this,
blending and unblending,
a fury of waters a tantrum,
and the creatures
both gentle and fierce
out of sight beneath,
while the waves rush the shore
tossing back strands of white
on every crest.

The fire beneath
us is on everyone's mind
although no one
ever speaks of it.
We pretend we're safe.



My poem.


Inspired by Alice Folkart's "Pretending"

a poem reminds me
of the fragility of beauty,
how it comes upon us
unbidden
then passes on, like life,
no one asks to be born
but when we are,
we hang on to life
like a vain woman chases
beauty...

knowing the rules
of death
and aging, the end
always on the periphery
of our vision, but always denied
until it is our own throat
circled by the gray,
stinking hand
of fate's forever
embracing...

we pretend
we do not notice
the shadows
approaching -

the pretense that keeps life
worth living until
the very
end,
when pretense
can no longer hold back
the black curtain's
closing

as dark night overtakes us

the darkest night ever
forever













This is a short poem by Li-Young Lee, taken from his book, Rose, published by BOA Ediions, Ltd. in 1986.

Lee was born n 1957 in Indonesia of Chinese parents. In 1959 his family fled Indonesia after his father spent a year as a political prisoner. Before arriving in America in 1964, the family lived in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan. He has studied at the University of Pittsburgh, University of Arizona and SUNY Brockport and, at the time of publication worked as a artist for a fashion accessories company.











Nocturne

That scraping of iron on iron when the wind
rises, what is it? Something the wind won't
quit with, but drags back and forth.
Sometimes faint, far, then suddenly, close just
beyond the screened door, as if someone there
squats in the dark honing his wares against
my threshold. Half steel wire, half metal wing,
nothing and anything might make this noise
of saws and rasps, a creaking and groaning
of bone-growth, or body-death, marriages of rust,
or ore abraded. Tonight, something bows
that should not bend. Something stiffens that should
slide. Something, loose and not right,
rakes or forges itself all night.

















From last week, a passing thought as a vision passes.



















what is it about blonds in white?

what
is it about 
blonds in white
that so attracts me,,
like her, over there, young woman,
blond, as I said, with a short pony tail,
trim, spa-burnished body, tight white pants
and a loose white blouse,
large aristocratic feet in white sandals,
having coffee across
the room...

blonde in white,
my attraction maybe a hold-over
from my Sunday School dreams - now I lay me
down to sleep, etc - the white-robed angel
who will take my soul to keep
until I wake...

growing up,
I got over that, don't believe in angels
or devils or any of that stuff,
except, maybe
in my deep sub-conscious, that angel
still hovers over me, visible now
only when a blond woman in white
joins me in morning coffee...

(joins me in the sense of co-location,
which, though not personal, is still
pretty close for an angel)










This was the very first piece I ever had published, 1971, in a very small publication, ARX, out of Austin.

This and a second poem appeared in the journal's last issue. I worked hard to convince myself it wasn't my fault.

I was back in college finishing my degree after military service. It's kind of a maudlin piece, but the times were ripe for it and some in the audience cried when I read it, which seemed to me at the time a very remarkable thing.












1971

she's eighteen years old
married since last spring
facing now
her first winter
as a woman and a wife

the child of her absent husband
is growing within her
and will soon cry with escape

she faces the time quietly
sitting in the home of her parents
in the room that was hers
for all the years before
listening to little girl music on the radio

she thinks of last winter
when the music seemed so much more
and of the school Christmas party
where they danced

she tries to recapture the time and the feeling
but she can't

she cries
and causes her parents to worry
but they think they understand

she cries and wishes
her husband would return
from his father's war
and tell her she is happy















Speaks for itself.
















do not disturb

so i was sickly for  week and  and was just taking a nice Saturday afternoon nap when someone rang my doorbell so i sent my dog to check it out and she said it wasn't ed mcmahon so i said fuckit and went back to sleep














This small poem is by Glenna Luschei. It's taken from her book 30 Songs of Dissolution, published by San Marcos Press in 1977.

The poet says the poems were created in a time of transition following divorce. Many of the poems deal with that transition.















Rocking

The father takes the children
from the playground
I hear the giants clank
the thump
of an unbalanced teeter-totter
I need myself on one end
my children on the other.

So many facets
to this baseball diamond.
In a visitation of silence
I hear the mesa creaking.
So many mothers
out listening for children.
Mothers rocking their babes.

Rocking chair, oh mesadora
I rock myself on one end
my children on the other.











Another coffeehouse vision.

Have been having trouble with the meaning of "young woman" - in my vocabulary that's 25 to 35 years old.

I mention it because, without that explanation, this poem was widely mis-understood.















I can see how this might happen

pretty 
young woman
in knee-high boots
and a ready smile...

 blue jean jacket
and short skirt that
sashays with her hips
when she
walks

having
breakfast
with two young boys,
about seven and nine, my guess...

I can see how that might 
happen...













These three poem are by Bill Shields from his  book Lifetaker, third in a series of books inspired by his experiences as a Navy Seal who served in Vietnam for three years, as well as his experiences after the war.

The book was published by 2.13.61 publications in 1995.














song

I am nobody
always nobody
not a father or a brother
not anyone's son

my picture was thrown away in a worn out orphan's wallet
look for me in a basement
alive at night
hearing things that are inaudible

plucking eyes like flowers



another body

old faces mover their lips if you give them a minute of life
nobody dies in your mind till your heart explodes
then everybody drops
miles of skin evaporate
you'll stand there limply, weakly
decomposed
the future doesn't begin yet
the prison doors are wide open
they'll come to you keep in you
hung with punishment



two-headed dog

two bodies on top of me
still smelling of sweat & life
dripping blow & bowel on my face,
on my stomach, on my legs

I felt the bodies take the shrapnel of our own artillery rounds
2 sacks of filthy death saved my breath later
to be a bad husband & a long-distance father

April 9th, 1970 was a good day

to die













This was the first piece I had published in 2000 after a 30-hiatus from writing. It was actually written in 1970, before I quit writing.

The publisher was the poetry journal Maelstrom. This is a cover from a much later issue.

It's a strange little piece.













cowboy movie

comecomecome
she said to me
in her low voice
and sighed
as I moved closer

comecomecome
she said to me

jjjjjjjesus

stuttersam
        crawled
into his corner
        and cried
        and sighed
in the shallow shadows
of his silver sombrero

comecomecome
she cried to me












This is a selection of short form poetry by Sonia Sanchez from the section of her book, like the singing coming off the drums, titled "Shake Loose My Skin." The book was published by Beacon Press in 1998.

Sanchez was born in 1934 in Alabama. In 1943, several  years after losing her mother in childbirth, she moved to Harlem to live with her father. She completed a BA in Political Science at Hunter College and did postgraduate work at New York University.












Sonku  (for Nueka and Quincy)

love comes with
bone and sea
eyes and rivers
hand of man
tongue of
woman love
trembles at
the edge of
my fingers


Haiku

c'mon man hold me
touche me before time love me
from behind your eyes.


Tanka

c'mon man ride me
beyond smiles teeth corpuscles
come into my bloodstream
abandon yourself to smell let
us be a call to prayer.


Poem #1

I gather up
each sound
you left behind
and stretch them
on our bed.

                   each nite
I breathe you
and become high



Sonku

i hear the
sound of love
you unstring
like purple beads
over my breasts


Haiku

i am who i am
nothing hidden just black silk
above two knees
















Celestial mechanics - an explanation.


















if you are nice to me

so
the question is
do I circle the sun
or does the sun circle me

a question
with an obvious answer...

since I am creator of my sun
and all the universe around it, either
can be true on any given day,
depending upon how I feel about it

and if you are
very nice to me
I will allow it,
on some pleasant days,
to spin around you as well.












This poem is by Carol Connolly, from her book, Payments Due Onstage Offstage. The book was published by Midwest Villages & Voices in 1995.

Born in 1934, Connolly was a lifelong resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, raised seven children until a divorce in 1979 set her off on a new life an activist, political candidate, journalist, poet, playwright,and St. Paul's first poet laureate.













Lady Poet at Lunch

At a small table of big-time poets
leaning into their strong winds,
she politely waves the clean vowls,
the polished consonants of her smallest poems.
Unheard.
Contemplates a table knife though a heart,
a fork plunged into an open hand,
knows the Irishman would see
the beginnings of stigmata,
wishes instead for paper pom-poms
to act the proper
cheerleader.
Pom-poms
to whish rah-rah,
as expected, and yet maintain
the required silence.
Rah-rah.
Silent sis-boom-bah.

Afterwards, safe in her kitchen,
she waits
for her new skin to thicken,
says time spent with the big time
may be time misspent,
feels invisible,
and her son says, "Invisible?
But you look nice."














These two pieces were published by Avant Garde Times in 2001. I first published a piece there in 2000, but I think they may have shut down later in 2001.

I think I used one of these in my first book, Seven Beats a Second.















finding religion at 3 a.m.

hanging my head over a dirty toilet
I wouldn't even piss in
on a better day,
gagging,
the smell of my own breath
and the taste in my mouth
setting off
another round of dry heaves

god
please don't make me sober
now


while a bald man burns

three gulls circle
      while
a bald man burns
in the fierce island sun
       while
I trace gargoyles
in the sand
with my toe
        while
you pretend to study
the book in your hand
         while
three gulls circle
in the fierce island sun












This poem is byThomas Rabbitt, from his book The Abandoned Country, published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 1988.

Rabbit lives and works on a horse farm in Alabama and is employed by the University of Alabama. He has published in various journals as well as in his own books.














Among the Missing

The bay filly tied to the stoutest apple tree
Finds the right height sucker to break and put
Her left eye out. She is crying her left eye out.
Already the ooze of half her world is what I get
For my stupidity. With her face to the sun,
Her muzzle trapped by the small green apples,
She lets the black stud mount. Sour, green maturity.
She broods. This half of what she'll never see
Right now, through sharp leaves, the sunlight dapples.








                                                         





It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.














the great spinach shortage of my youth

had I a greater wit
at the time
I might have imagined him as
"Blutto"
but
there was not enough spinach in the world
to have called him that to his face...

very large
for a 16-17 year old, high, wide,
and dumb as a post
(again, spinach limitations meant
nether I nor anyone else
took audible note
of it)

not by nature malicious,
but the circumstance of his size
meant that the random smaller acts
of smaller bullies
were magnified a hundred-fold
by his bulk...

I always had the feeling
that he pushed, hoping someone
would push back
but
there was that continuing spinach
shortage that made it 
unlikely..

though, fed up,
I did get in his face
once...

luckily
he was looking the other way
at the time












Tryst also published a number of my poems, this one in 2002.

The poem is also in Seven Beats a Second and is a crowd favorite atreadgs. The journal itself, back copies now available on Amazon, was always one of my favorites because of the beautiful art and photography it featured in every issue.
















what's better than cold chocolate milk?

what could be better than a big glass
of ice cold chocolate milk
on a warm summer day?

might be you
naked
up to your neck in a great big vat
of cold chocolate milk

could be you
naked
floating on your back in an immense bowl
of cherry jello

even you
naked
splashing like a puppy in a gigantic pot
of split-pea soup

or, hell, maybe just you
naked

waiting for me











I published a number of pieces in Eclectica beginning in 2000 and into 2003 when I started saving my stuff for my own publishing efforts, including eventually, Here and Now.

I'm pleased to say they survived without me and continue to publish.

This was one of the first poems they accepted and used.

Movie fans probably know the movie from about this time that provided the inspiration for the poem.













fever

I dream
of a glass house,
brightly lit,
a beacon amid
broad-trunked trees
in a dark forest,
velvet cushions
of brown and green
piled high
on all the floors

I am split in two,
one of me inside,
lounging
among the  cushions,
and the other outside
peering in

there is something
we must tell our self,
we think, something
we must know

and we begin to shout
inside and out
but the glass is thick
and swallows all sound

frantic now

beware, we shout,

beware













The last poem from my library for this post is by Ricardo Pau-Llosa. The poem is from his book, Bread of the Imagined, published by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue 1992.

Pau-Llosa was born in Havana in 1954 and has lived in the United States since 1960. Widely published, at the time of this book's publication he was an associate professor in the English Department of Miami-Dade Community College.












Key Biscayne

Between two coconut palms
we saw towers shattered
in the water's skin, novas
swallowed by Miami's scales.

Sipping Cointreau, we watch
the bay from two kinds of refuge.
I am the fisher of metaphors
that bind the layered water
to bark and fonds.
Layers everywhere, we see the squinting
condos and banks across the bay,
clothes and traffic, tiles,
patterns of which city and flesh are made.

You see better. If I had a camera, you say,
I'd shoot the base of the palm's crown. The spades
from which the fronds spring are smooth against
the knots and fibers surrounding them. It tells
me as much about the tree as about the world,
the city and us. A world of patterns that by sheer
number of intersection becomes a world of randomness.
It tells me that chaos is a blizzard of order,
and I stave it off my gazing at one thing
and its dignity reigning in my mind at that moment.

I test what I have learned from you later
as a red light. My pane is a drip lit sky.
I behold the simplest circles
of rain in a puddle, how two echoes
enter each other, become each other
yet stay two rings, not one.














Proof again that life is a relative thing.



















anticipating a lower than usual standard on the interest curve

I could write
about the weather
which has turned on a dime
from a great, late spring
to an early August in May

but 
if I did that
I'd certainly expect to whimper
and moan 
and who wants to read a whimpering
moaning poem in the morning?

hell,
I don't even want to write one...

well,
there being an extreme shortage
of bountifully endowed,
interesting women in the coffeehouse
(a developing trend which I abhor),
I could write about the fellow
across the room
who always waves at me
in the morning
I don't know him and he doesn't
know me,
so happy to see me
it seems,
it seems
kind of creepy...

or I could write about
the old fella next to me,
spotty white beard,
sneakers and orange sports coat
that looks likehe got it at Goodwill, always
head bowed, writing in a little notebook,
the fella I've mentioned before
who reminds me 
of the Jewish
jeweler in a heist movie
with Robert De Niro
and some sexy chick
who is secretly an undercover
agent for the FBI, you know the movie,
she does her duty and arrests him
just as he's trying to fence his ill-gotten
gains with the Jewish jeweler,
but he escapes
and they have 
and they have a long-distance love-affair
for twenty to life
until she dies and he goes to her funeral
and is arrested by her daughter (his daughter)
who is also an undercover FBI agent...


like I said,
I'm sure you know the movie...

or maybe I could write about
my coffeehouse friend,
the lawyer/insurance guy
who was formerly a symphony conductor
in Montana
who is leaving the insurance field
to return to hiss first love,
music, opening a studio on the other side
of town which means if I want to write about him
I should do it soon
since I will shortly never see him
again...

but wait...

two bountifully endowed
young women
have come in and maybe I should wait
before writing my poem
to see if either or both is going to do
something interesting

and at this point I suppose
I should admit I"m likely
to be grading on a generous curve
when it comes to
the interest 
scale... 








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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




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Seven Beats a Second






Fiction


Sonyador - The Dreamer





                                                            


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Links
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Tryst
Poems Niederngasse
BlazeVOX
Eclectica
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
zafusy
The Blogging Poet
Poetsarus.Com
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
The Writer's Block Poetry Forum
The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
Gary Blankenship
The Hiss Quarterly
Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
Arlene Ang
The Comstock Review
Thane Zander
Pitching Pennies
The Rain In My Purse
Dave Ruslander
S. Thomas Summers
Clif Keller's Music
Vienna's Gallery
Shawn Nacona Stroud
Beau Blue
Downside up
Dan Cuddy
Christine Kiefer
David Anthony
Layman Lyric
Scott Acheson
Christopher George
James Lineberger
Joanna M. Weston
Desert Moon Review
Octopus Beak Inc.
Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet