Fishing With Friends At First Light   Monday, August 28, 2006



"Here and Now" number I.xii nibbling on the line.






Introducing guest blogger Jack Hill

Asked to introduce himself, Jack wrote this.

"I began writing poetry in 1999 right after my wife died, leaving eleven kids and myself. We were married for 48 storybook years, this very much reflects in most of what I write."

I saw Jack's poem, "Philosophical Soup," on one of the poetry forums he and I both frequent. Sharply written, with a twist, it's my favorite kind of poem.


Philosophical soup


Today I was going
to write something
profound,
I set poised...
nothing happened;
so I made a pot of
soup.

It takes four or
five hours
in a crock-pot,
that gives me time
to think-

of how good
that soup's going to be.







One of mine from the book

A reminder that the special pricing on the book and CD will continue through September. The book is $12, the CD $7 and both together, $17, shipping within the U.S. paid. To take advantage of this offer, email me at allen.itz@gmail.com.

where things went wrong

life
gets more screwy every day

and I don't like it

I liked it better
when I didn't have to play dodge'em
on the highway
with all the beam-me-up-scotties
with cell phones in their ears

I liked it better
when the crazy person on the sidewalk
talking to the air
really was a crazy person talking to the air
and not a dweeb yuppie
talking to his dweebette girlfriend
on some kind of phone thing too small
for me to even see

I liked it better when men were hard
and women were soft and cars had fins
and the president was smarter than the
average dumbass drunk at the corner bar

I liked it better
when Desi loved Lucy
and Gorgeous George was the meanest guy
in TV wrestling

I liked it better
when a microwave
was what your girlfriend did
when she was across the room with her
parents

I liked it better
when I was young

a real up-and-comer

and the pretty girl on the park bench
was waiting for me







Hebrew and Arab poets from the turn of the first millennium

Arab conquests in the mid to late years of the first millennium, particularly in Spain and parts of southern Europe, ignited an early Eastern Renaissance and a golden age for poets in the Hebrew and Arabic languages. A benign period of coexistence, which did not last, created a unique opportunity for Jewish, Arab, and Christian cross-cultural fertilization.

These poets lived during this relatively short period of peace.

Samuel Ha-Nagid

One of the leading Jewish notables of Moslem Spain. he began life as Samuel Ha Levi, a storekeeper, and became Chief Minister in the Court of Granada. This position made him political head of the Jews in Granada, leading to his title "Nagid."

One Who Works and Buys Himself Books

One who works
    and buys himself books
while his heart inside them
    is vain or corrupt

resembles a cripple
    who draws on the wall
a hundred legs
    then can't get up.


(translated by Peter Cole)


Solomon ibn Gabirol

The earliest account of Gabirol's life is found in a book by an Arab contemporary. Gabirol is described as a student of philosophy and logic. More than 400 poems appear in the published editions of his work, and new ones are still being discovered.


My Heart Thinks As The Sun Comes Up

My heart thinks as the sun comes up
    that what it does is wise
    as earth borrows its light,
        as pledge it takes the stars.


(Translated by Peter Cole)

Ibn Hazm Al-Andalusi

Ibn Hazm was opposed by many scholars of his time in Cordoba and Valencia, with some of his books publicly burned as a mark of punishment.

During the time he spend in Almeira he engaged in active debates with Jews and Christians, and was very much involved in the study of other religions.

Twice Time Then Is Now

You ask how old am I
bleached by the sun
my teeth all gone.
How old am I?

I have no guide
no calendar inside
except a smile
and little kiss
she gave me
by surprise
upon my brow

And now,
that little while
is all my life
and all reality,
how long or brief
it seems to be.


(Translated by Omar S. Pound)

Muhammad ibn Ghali al-Rusafi

A bit of a cypher, he is included in a number of anthologies, but there is little information about him as a person that I could find on the internet. He seems to have been an important poet of the period and, apparently, lived in, or had some significance to, Valencia.

Blue River

The river of diaphanous waters
murmuring between its banks
would have you believe
it is a stream of pearls.

At midday tall trees
cover it with shadows
turning it the color of metal.

So now you see it, blue,
wrapped in brocade,
like a warrior in armor
resting in the shade of his banner


(Translated by Cola Franzen)






Introducing our Guest Explainer

Recently, a poetry forum was having difficulty with disappearing posts. Luckily, our Guest Explainer, Alan Addotto (AKA Splinter/Splinter Group), was nearby and available to offer his expert opinion.

After reading his explanation, it struck me that the bulk of it could apply to almost any problem in our glitch-prone world and could possibly replace chaos theory as the explanation of all variations of the universal tides.

As to introduction promised above, this is part of what he gave me.

"Physical: Simple -- Italian-Cajun (Louisiana French) , Buddha or perhaps a Santa Claus sized man with the look of a Harley biker. Ponytail, (black) little longer than shoulder length. Beard, gray, medium length. Height: 5'11". Eyes deep brown and soulful. Hairline doing the Baby Boomer glacial retreat boogie.

Birth date: same year as the dropping of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Education: Two degrees, first English- Liberal Arts, second English, Creative Writing. Two others - Technical school and various odd miscellaneous educational activities : two marriages , two divorces (thank God- no children), various job experiences from truck driving to teaching in college during master's degree work. Presently a semi-retired substitute teacher (lower elementary).

Personality: curious, creative and a bit pompous. A slightly exaggerated opinion of self worth. Slightly arrogant, a born storyteller and a bit of a liar in a pinch. A gadfly at times and a recluse most others.

Overall: a harmless person, fairly creative, sociable and an observer and recorder of humanity. A lover of philosophy and women.

Life Philosophy: "This too shall pass" told to King Ashoka when he asked for a statement from his cook that both humbled and elevated his mind..

Heroes: Christ, Buddha, and teacher/writers generally (especially Joseph Campbell).

As far as Splinter/Splinter group--------------->

An explanation of Splinter......"

Well, I'm going to have to come back to that particular explanation at some later time. In the meantime, here is Splinter the Explainer on the subject of the disappearing posts.

Hello,

I am the official apologist for the unfortunate turn of events that may have effected your posted pieces of prose and verse.

We're sorry but the screw-up was unavoidable and due to circumstances beyond our control.

What happened was that the ramaframitz that normally proambulates the intoravesions of the camalarasis of the inflow valve became over-kibbulated. This led the corresponding jigglegaz programs to slide from the brobatushi into the overlapping cooling engine of the trappeli. this normally would not have been a problem as the rengoli automatically fibbles this out and ameliorates the razzit and sends the corrected input back to the auxiliary ramaframitz which in turn transcombulates it to the main ramafamitz and the subsidiary willplomer slant herbicolls. This did not happen because the kickout circuits detected to much overflow from the censor programs. In short the censor programs burned out and the completed corrective measures did not take place.

The reason for the the burnout of the censor programs and the corresponding cascade of uncompleted crabinations was directly due to too many of the posters using forbidden and out and out "naughty and nasty" words. In effect the server servicing the site had a huge version of a conniption fit and started flinging feces all over the place. We are sorry if the innocent and proper writers that respect the Queen's English were inconvenienced but as your teacher in elementary school told you "when nobody speaks up and takes the blame everybody, even the innocent, will have to suffer." Please keep this in mind when you post to Wild as all this foul language must stop.

Remember carefully if you will----- The "Propriety Police" will be closely watching you all in hopes of preventing this sort of meaningless and degrading sort of language from ruining things for others.

YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT WE MEAN-----NOW STRAIGHTEN YOUR ACT UP!

Thanks
Colonel Addotto of the Propriety Police,,,,naughty words section




Yard art.

Is it art,





or do some poeple just have too darn much time on their hands?







A poem of mine having to do with neither the book nor the weather

my theory of relativity

my second
Social Security Check
came in the mail yesterday

a friend from my youth says
admitting this
is like standing on a street corner
yelling to all who pass, "look at me,
I'm old, used up, ready to kiss
this wasting, burdensome life good-bye"

well,
remembering he is as old as me
causes me to think maybe
he has a personal stake in this whole
getting wrinkled up and old issue

but, not to fear

age is a relative thing, depending,
entirely,
on your scale of reference

if you're thinking
milk,
well, then we're both
curdling sour old

but if you're thinking
rock,
we're both young pebbles
in the overall scheme of things

best of all,
this sliding scale of reference
can slide whenever you feel the need

leaving you to feel
strong as hill country granite
when rock-strength is needed
or fresh as a glass of ice-cold milk
on a South Texas summer day
when a little pleasure
in the moment
can make all the years recede







A poem from Langston Hughes

A Negro Speaks of Rivers

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
    flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
    went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
    bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers;
Ancient , dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.







Cafe Chiapas

OK, last week I made a big deal about how well Jim's Restaurants do breakfast. Although every word was true, I didn't properly qualify my praise.

While Jim's makes great American style breakfasts, when it comes to Mexican style breakfasts, they are, at best, mid-range. For a good Mexican breakfast you have to go elsewhere.

The elsewhere for me right now is Chiapas Cafe on South Alamo, a block from the intersection of South Alamo and South St. Mary's.

Chiapas Cafe just opened (taking over the space of the defunct Espuma, formerly my favorite coffee shop) and, so far, I've only had two of their breakfast specialties, chiliquiles and huavos a la Mexicana. Both come with a bowl of boracho beans and either corn or flour tortillas. The food is great and the coffee is just as good.

There are still a lot of choices on the menu and I'm looking forward to trying all of them. Tomorrow I think it will be the chorizo and cheese omelet.

Cafe Chiapas has WiFi so you can bring your laptop and do whatever you do with your laptop while your eating breakfast or having coffee.






Walt Whitman at his most Whitmanesque

Spontaneous Me

Spontaneous me, Nature
The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am
    happy with,
The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder,
The hillside whitten'd with the blossoms of the mountain
    ash,
The same late in autumn, the hues of red, yellow,
    drab, purple, and light and dark green,
The rich coverlet of the grass, animals and birds, the
    private untrimm'd bank, the primitive apples the
    pebble stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments, the negligent list of one
    after another as I happen to call them to me or
    think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely
    pictures.)
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men
    like me,
This poem drooping shy and unseen that I always
    carry, and that all men carry.
(Know once for all, avow'd on purpose, wherever are
    men like me, are our lust lurking masculine
    poems.)
Love-thoughts, love-juice, love-odor, love-yielding,
    love-climbers and the climbing sap,
Arms and hands of love, lips of love, phallic thumb of
    love, breasts of love, bellies press'd and glued
    together with love,
Earth of chaste love, life that is only life after love,
The body of my love, the body of the woman I love,
    the body of the man, the body of the earth,
Soft forenoon airs that blow from the south-west,
The hairy wild-bee that murmurs and hankers up and
    down, that gripes the full-grown lady-flower, curves
    upon her with amorous firm legs, takes his will of
    her, and holds himself tremulous and tight till he is
    satisfied;
The wet of woods, through the early hours,
Two sleepers at night lying close together as they sleep,
    one with arm slanting down and below
    the waist of the other,
The smell of apples, aromas from crush'd sage plant,
    mint, birch-bark,
The boy's longing, the glow and pressure as he
    confides to me what he was dreaming
The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl and falling still
    and content to the ground,
The no-form'd stings that sights, people, objects, sting
    me with,
The hubb'd sting of myself, sting me as much as it
    ever can anyone,
The sensitive, orbic, underlapp'd brothers, that only
    intimate feelers may be intimate where they are,
The curious roamer and hand roaming all over the
    body, the bashful withdrawing of flesh where the
    fingers soothingly pause and edge themselves,
The limpid liquid within the young man,
The vex'd corrosion so pensive and so painful,
The torment, the irritable tide that will not be at rest,
The like of the same I feel, the like of the same in
    others,
The young man that flushes and flushes, and the young
    woman that flushes and flushes,
The young man that wakes deep at night, the hot hand
    seeking to repress what would master him,
The mystic amorous night, the strange half-welcome
    pangs, visions, sweats,
The pulse pounding through palms and trembling
    encircling fingers, the young man all color'd, red,
    ashamed, angry;
The souse upon me of my lover the sea, as I lie
    willing and naked,
The merriment of the twin babes that crawl over the
    grass in the sun, the mother never turning her
    vigilant eye from them,
The walnut-trunk, the walnut-husks, and the ripening
    or ripen'd long-round walnuts,
The continence of vegetables, birds, animals,
The consequent meanness of me should I skulk or find
    myself indecent, while birds and animals never once
     skulk or find themselves indecent,
The great chastity of paternity, to match the great
    chastity of maternity,
The oath of procreation I have sworn, my Adamic and
    fresh daughters,
The greed that eats me day and night with hungry
    gnaw, till I saturate what shall produce boys to fill
    my place when I am through,
The wholesome relief, repose, content,
And this bunch pluck'd at random from myself,
It has done its work - I toss it carelessly to fall where
    it may.







And now, a last little poem from me - this one wishful thinking

home fires

full moon bright
on black winter sky

   wisp of cloud
   like chimney smoke
   crosses

drawing me home



Until next week.



Photos by Allen Itz

1 Comments:
at 11:40 PM Anonymous A faithful fan said...

Allen- I am not good at clever remarks. I am good at knowing when something is GOOD. This is good. I am happy for you. Can these pictures actually be of Texas landscape?

Thanks for posting this on Pennies- I would not have known about it otherwise. I look forward to reading and enjoying more of this site.

~penny

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