Time, As It Passes, Brushes All With Its Unforgiving Hand
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Time for "Here and Now" number I.x.
The Morning After
Guest blogger Christina Hymes
Christina is a young poet from Florida who started writing at 17. She is also a professional photographer. For this issue of "Here and Now," Christina allows us to present the photo above (The Morning After) and two poems, black beans and the breath in me is vanishing.
Visit Christina's website at www.freewebs.com/cubangi4l to see more of her photos and poems.
Black beans are like rabbit droppings,
tiny specks deposited in soil,
nutrients, countries of organisms
bound together, mixed, clumped,
suffocating together with stingy aroma,
backstabbers, like onions peeled,
soaking in broth in the kettle,
simmering, rushing around
to see who will be the softest bean.
the breath in me is vanishing
Sometimes I feel as though part of me is missing,
the very breath of life is vanishing slowly
like the water that seeps through the earth's
roots; dripping like tears from my cheeks
and my heart forever beating but so
fast the earth evaporates
and roots shrivel up
can someday be
Isn't that just
the most amazing thing?
Are you hep to the jive?
For me, listening to Cab Calloway and his jazz big band is like when I was a kid going into a playground and seeing all the swings and slides and seesaws and whirley things that made me dizzy as I could possibly want to play with. It's just plain, flat fun.
Come to think of it, I guess I started having fun with Calloway about the same time I was having fun on playgrounds. It was the early fifties, I was maybe eight to ten years old and television was just making it down to the far south tip of Texas where I grew up. There was only one station. Network programming started at 7 in the evening and everything shut down and went to test pattern at midnight. Everythinig during the day was local programming, which, after the farm and ranch show first thing in the morning, was mainly old movies that the station bought probably for not much more than a dozen for a dollar. I remember mostly three kinds of movies. Charlie Chan movies, old cowboy movies (Hoppie, Hoot, Lash LaRue, Whip Wilson, and the rest of the B-movie gang) and movies made in the thirties about society people who spent their evenings at nightclubs saying smart things and drinking from long stemmed glasses. The nightclubs always had bands and more often than not the band was Cab Calloway's. I never figured out what the society people were doing at the nightclub, but I knew what Cab Calloway was doing. He was making music, a carnival of music, music a hell'uv a lot more fun than Roy and Dale ever came up with in the Saturday afternoon double-feature movies.
So was born an eight year old closet hepcat, a subliminal influence that I think stayed with me the rest of my life.
What brought these memories back today was that I happening to think of and then listen to a Cab Calloway compilation release from Columbia. The CD, released 1994, is titled Are You Hep To The Jive. It is from Columbia's Legacy Rhythm and Soul Series. It features 22 cuts, including these:
Are You All Reet?
Hey Now, Hey Now
Everybody Eats When They Come To My House
Are You Hep To The Jive
The Calloway Boogie
Papa's In Bed With His Britches On
What's Buzzin’ Cousin
The Jungle King
Don't Falter at the Altar
A Chicken Ain't Nothing But A Bird
Minnie The Moocher
Want to have a good time? Check it out.
Walt Whitman, from The Wound Dresser
Among the wonders of the earth is the springing upon us, as if from nowhere, such genius as Walt Whitman.
The Wound Dresser
An old man bending I come among new faces,
Years looking backward resuming in answer to
Come tell us old man, as from young men and
maidens that love me.
(Arous'd and angry, I'd thought to beat the alarum,
and urge relentless war,
But soon my fingers fail'd me, my face droop'd and I
I resigned myself,
To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently
watch the dead;)
Years hence of these scenes, of these furious passions,
Of unsurpass'd heroes (was one side so brave? the
the other was equally brave;)
Now be witness again, paint the mightiest armies of
Of those armies so rapid so wondrous what saw you to
What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious
of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what
On, on I go, (open doors of time! open hospital
The crush'd head I dress, (poor crazed hand tear not
the bandage away,)
The neck of the calvary-man with the bullet through
and through I examine,
Hard the breathing rattles, quite glazed already the eye,
yet life struggles hard,
(Come sweet death! be persuaded O beautiful death!
in mercy come quickly
From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,
I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off
the matter and blood,
Back on his pillow the soldier bends with curv'd neck
and side falling head,
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, he dares not look
at the bloody stump,
I dress a wound on the side, deep, deep,
But a day or two more, for see the frame all wasted
And the yellow-blue countenance see.
I dress the perforated shoulder, the foot with the
Cleanse the one with a gnawing and putrid gangrene,
so sickening, so offensive,
While the attendant stands behind aside me holding the
tray and pail.
I am faithful, I do not give out,
The fractur'd thigh, the knee, the wound in the
These and more I dress with impassive hand, (yet deep
in my breast, a fire, a burning flame.)
Thus in silence in dreams' projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night, some are so
Some suffer so much, I recall the experience sweet and
(Many a soldier's loving arms about this neck have
cross'd and rested.
Many a soldier's kiss dwells on these bearded lips.)
And, finally, one more from Whitman.
Word over all, as beautiful as the sky,
Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must
in time be utterly lost,
That the hands of the sisters Death and Night
incessantly softly wash again, and ever again, this
For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself if dead,
I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin
- I draw near,
Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white
face in the coffin.
Radio stations I like
I don't listen to commercial radio because they all play the same thing over and over and most of the stuff they're playing over and over again I don't like.
Instead, I usually split my time between four non-commercial stations, two are standard public stations and the other two are college radio stations.
One of the public stations is a classical station. Their library is limited, so I don't listen that much.
The other public station is all NPR, PRI and BBC. I listen to that station a lot. I read the local newspaper and the New York Times in the morning and listen to this station off and on throughout the day and finish in the evening with as much information about what's going on around me as I want to deal with, plus some fun on the sided.
One of the college stations is affiliated with Trinity University and the other with San Antonio College campus of the Alamo Community College District.
KRTU, the Trinity University station, broadcasts jazz in all varieties from 6 in the morning until ten at night. Their schedule includes jazz knowledgable DJ's, live, in studio performances, and feeds from national jazz programming. KRTU is credited with reviving jazz performance in San Antonio, sponsoring appearances by big ticket jazz performers and local established and beginner groups at jazz clubs throughout the city.
KSYM, from San Antonio College, has a more eclectic mix. Their schedule on any given week ranges from hillbilly to hip-hop, third coast to world, funk, metal, soul, reggae, cojunto, alternate rock, alternate country, and even a little jazz, none of it ever likely to show up on the play list of any of the commercial stations.
Both stations webcast. Locally, KRTU is at 91.7 and KSYM is at 90.1. Both receive funds from their parent institution and from public support.
(Yes, they have fund drives, just like the other guys, but never at the same time, so there's always something to listen to.)
On the 26th anniversary of my father's death, an old poem*
does he still dream
his body survives, dependent
for every beat and breath
on the machines that surround him
his conscious mind is blank,
but what of dreams
we never forget our dreams,
from the very earliest sloshing
in the universe of our mother's belly
to the very last, as we die, riffling
one last time through the book of dreams
we made page by page over our lifetime
so, if this derelict can dream, if this scrap
of man who used to laugh and love,
this shrunken giant who would carry me,
enfold me in his arms, hold me close
in the worst of storms, this declining
remnant of son and lover who slept
at the breast of both his mother and mine,
this fallen hero leaving the world as he
entered it, head reaching for his knees
this frail ghost of my father
if he has yet the final gift of dreams,
if, in some part of his mind we can
neither see nor measure, he still drifts
through dreams fading, like the shadows
of a fire banked and growing colder....
*from Seven Beats a Second poems by Allen Itz and Art by Vincent Martinez
A shot of Bukowski, straight, no chaser
first poem back
64 days and nights in that
antibiotics, blood running into
at age 72 I had this foolish thought that
I'd just die peacefully in my sleep
the gods want it their way.
I sit at this machine, shattered,
still seeking the Muse,
but I am back for the moment only,
while nothing seems the same,
I am not reborn, only
a few more days, a few more nights,
A little attaway
I had a very short poem published this week in zafusy at www.zafusy.com/ten.htm. zafusy tends toward the contemporary and avant garde in its poetry. This poem is an old one, about 40 years old, written when I was a student at the air force language training institute at Indiana University. It was inspired by a photo in, I think, Downbeat magazine.
And, you're right. I never throw anything away.
Well, that's about it for this time out, darker, sometimes, than usual, but that will pass. Come back next week when we will welcome guest blogger, from Southern California, wife, mother of two small children and poet, Michelle Beth Cronk. She will be presenting us with a little piece that I like, and I think you will, too.
A last word to remind all that "Here and Now" is just one part of the 7beats website, I mention that because, for the first time in a while, I've added several new poems to the "Latest Poems" page. Also, sometime within the next couple of days I"ll be changing photos on the "Photos" page. The new series will be from a stroll down the San Antonio Riverwalk.
Photo "The Morning After" by Christina Hymes
Vintage photos by Nina Itz (long, long ago and now very far away)
Mustachioed skinny airman photo by ??????
Remaining photos by Allen Itz