Ripple On Ripple Makes A Tide
Monday, September 11, 2006
Welcome to "Here and Now," Lucky Number X.iii.
Guest blogger Amanda Evangelista on inspiration
Amanda is a poet from Battle Creek, Michigan. She says she wrote this poem after watching a particularly wild storm at night.
Flashes of brilliance, almost blinding
Like sudden strikes of lightning
Accompanied by clapping thunder,
The adoring audience
So quickly ideas rain down
Crystal clear thoughts illuminated;
Welcome clarity amidst the haze
So bright you can't ignore
These moments of inspiration
Call on you to trust divinity,
Forget the haunting negativity
Believe in your own self, and mind
It won't rain down forever
Your moment to shine will come
Learn from the storms and know
The rainbow is not far away
Though currently at rest, the mini-rant beast may soon be roused
Photobucket, the on-line storage site for all the photos I use here, recently made some "improvements." As usual, when an American company makes an "improvement," customers beware. Previously, I had a bunch of options when it came to sizing the images for posting here. With the "improvements," I now have only 4 choices, all either larger or smaller than I like to use. Also, it appears that changes I make to photos on IPhoto (cropping, changing exposures, increasing sharpness, etc.) may not transfer when I move the photos to Photobucket. If that doesn't change, I will have only original images for use here and not the those I’ve enhanced.
So, as I write this, I have no idea what my images are going to look like. Supposedly, Photobucket is going to fix these problems. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm frustrated, since the images I've used are important to my vision for "Here and Now."
I know there are other ways to adjust image size, but they're all much more complicated. I valued the simplicity of the old Photobucket process because it freed my increasingly inefficient brain from technical considerations and allowed me to concentrate on finding content. I'm a big fan of doing things the easy way and I'm hoping it works out so that I get to continue at that level of laid backisity.
But enough about that, on with the show.
A poem from the book
The September sale continues. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
diminishing the stars
the city approaches
across the hills
the black serenity
diminishing the stars
in the virgin sky
sounds of the city
soon to follow
across the hills
the city approaches
in a fog
of its own detritus
Several from Langston Hughes
Hughes was born in 1902 and died in 1967. He was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and newspaper columnist. He is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. In his work he confronted racial stereotypes, protested social conditions, and expanded African America's image of itself.
In the barren dusk
Even the snake
Terror on the sand --
Better than nobody
In this lonely
as the wind
On the Lincoln
As a bottle of Licker
On a table
All by itself.
We are the desperate
Who do not care,
Who have nowhere
No place to sleep,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.
Old Walt Whitman
Went finding and seeking,
Finding less than sought
Seeking more than found,
Every detail minding
Of the seeking or the finding.
In seeking as in finding,
Each detail minding.
Old Walt went seeking
They took me out
To some lonesome place.
They said, "do you believe
In the great white race?"
I said, "Mister,
To tell you the truth
I'd believe in anything
If you'd just turn me loose."
The white man said, "Boy,
Can it be
You're a standing there
They hit me in the head
And knocked me down.
And then they kicked me
On the Ground.
A klansman said, "Nigger,
Look me in the face --
And tell me you believe in
The great white race."
Another poem on "inspiration."
Here's lesson number 19 from The Art of Writing by Lu Ji, born in the year 261, died 303
As to the flash of inspiration
and traffic laws on writing's path,
What comes can't be stopped,
what leaves will not be restrained.
It hides like fire in a coal
then flares into a shout.
When instinct is swift as a horse
no tangle of thoughts will hold it back;
a thought wind rises in your chest,
a river of words pours out from your mouth,
and so many burgeoning leaves sprout
on the silk from your brush,
that colors brim out of your eyes
and music echoes in your ears.
(Translation by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping)
Inspiration, plus place
Inspiration never finds me at home. I need the right place, in public, but off to the side, around people, but not a crowd, the sounds of life, but not the noise, able to see, but still not noticed. Once I find such a place, writing becomes a waiting game, finding the right place to stay until whatever ideas are circulating through my unconscious break through to the part of my brain that can pick up a pen and write.
I mentioned last week about breakfast at Cafe Chiapas and their front porch where you can sit and watch some of the life of San Antonio pass by on South Alamo Street, and, sometimes, be inspired. (A little rain for the first time in several months helps also.)
Here's a product of that front porch.
from the porch at Cafe Chiapas on a rainy morning
it is a cool morning,
wet at long last, rainwater
pooling atop the table on the patio
on the street
workers are building
curb and gutter forms,
first step in repaving
this old street
high and dry
on the porch, enjoying
the cool morning,
the workers, their yellow
hardhats dripping from the rain,
even the noise,
the hammers, the concrete saw
cutting through old sidewalk,
the screechy beep of the front loader
as it backs up to drop its load
of broken asphalt and concrete
in the idling dump truck
the morning is all around me,
the stink of diesel exhaust,
the big engine of the motor grader, rumbling,
(see how delicate and precise it's cut),
I watch it all, hear it all, smell it all
even the worker on the side,
taking a break, lighting up, letting
lose a cloud of tobacco smoke,
I smell that, too, and remember the taste
and, for the first time in ten years, miss it
I imagine a cigarette between my fingers
and wait for a poem
Bukowski at the track
searching for what?
as one goes to the racetrack year after year one notices
certain individuals who are there every day,
people who are strangely dressed and as desperate of eye
as I am.
there was one who stank badly and had diseased
I often picked him up as he hitchhiked in and I believe
he slept in the bushes along the freeway.
his theory was that all the jockeys got together
before the races and decided which number would
win that day -- they chose a number and only that number
win all day long and that's why all those sons-of-bitches
were rich; they all simply bet the number
and there was another guy I had seen for years at all the
tracks, I was in a hurry and he bumped me with his elbow
and I said, "hey, Mac, watch that shit!" and he said,
"I got a mind to rub your face in the cement!" and I said,
"wait a minute," and I took my coat off and laid it on
a bench but when I turned around he was gone.
I still see him at the track and the strangest thing is
that he seems to be getting thinner and weaker as by
I seem to get younger and stronger, but I don't think
it's my imagination, I think he must be having
a long string of losers.
then there's the blond, she was fat and slow but it
didn't seem to matter, she had a way of picking winners,
and some of the winners were longshots, day after day, she
bet the horses calmly in a very offhand manner and now
I see her in the clubhouse, dressed fine, still fat,
with some young guy at her side,
and she knows that I know but I don't say anything, since
I'm in the clubhouse too maybe I've done some whoring
in my own way
there's another one, dresses dapper, smokes good cigars
but he never bets, he just pokes around in the
trashcans, reaching his fingers down into the
wet coffee containers, napkins, ripped tickets,old news-
papers, stale hot dog buns, beer puke, he just reaches down in
there, inhaling on his cigar, searching for what?
then there's the one who starts running when he sees a late flash
on the board, they are putting them into the gate and
he starts running to the window like he's had a message
from heaven, and he's right, the last flash of the board
is the most important but you can't win that way either,
he's poorly dressed and desperate and come to think of it I
haven't seen him for some weeks now.
I think I've been around the track longer than any of
the other bettors, maybe not longer that the hot walkers,
the trainers or the jocks, they've been here longer
than me, but not the bettors.
all my women (and there have been plenty of them) have said
(with one voice) "my God, everytime I see you
you start talking about HORSES! you'll talk about the
for hours, my God, what a dull man your are! and then you
POEMS about the HORSES! don't your realize how dull
your HORSE poems are? nobody understands them!"
In a Bukowski frame of mind
Another one from the book.
why the boys go out on Saturday night
especially when lit in
sex flashes through the night
drawing us through the rushing current
bashing our heads on the sharp rocks
of deceit and desire, all for a chance to
fuck our fish brains out before we die
in the shallow pool of everyday life
I heard talk of this group called The Weepies this morning on NPR. It's a couple, a man and a woman. I haven't bought the CD yet, and don't know that I will. Anybody that calls themselves "The Weepies" has a lot to prove to me. The reason I'm even thinking about it are the opening lines to the song fragment they played on the radio.
I may not have it exactly right, but I'm close.
What should I compare your to?
my red boots...
with angel wings
Now that's some lyrics for a do-it-yourself created pop song.
Some ancient Greeks (no gifts)
Alcman lived from about 654 to 611 B.C.He is thought to have been born in Sardis, capital of ancient Lydia, and brought to Sparta as a slave. He eventually became Sparta's official singer for public rites and spectacles. At one point, it is said, that he became unorthodox in his music until the Spartan authorities "arrested" his lyre and wouldn't give it back until he promised to be more conventional in his performances.
arms, knees, thighs, she
looks at me
than sleep or death, such
sweetness carries her --
past me, lifts her garland
high, a star
skimming the night air,
or green-gold April sprout, or,
softly, a feather....
(Translated by Rosanna Warren)
Sappho was born to an aristocratic family around 612 B.C. Most of her work was lost, probably because she wrote in a difficult dialect which faded from use over time. It is also possible that she was purposefully censored and her work destroyed in the early Christian era because of the homoerotic nature of her work. Much of what is known now of her life and poetry comes from mention in the works of her contemporaries.
Star of Evening
which light of day dispersed
home the sheep herds
home the goat
home the mother's darling
(Translated by Paul Roche)
A contemporary Chinese poet
Yang Lian was born in 1955 in Switzerland to a family of diplomats. He returned to China while still a baby and was raised in Beijing. During the Cultural Revolution,he was sent to the countryside for "reeducation." While there, he worked as a gravedigger and began to write poetry. He currently lives in London and has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature.
To a Nine Year-Old Girl Killed in the Massacre
They say you tripped on a piece of skipping elastic
And you jumped out of the house of white chalk
On a day of terrifyingly loud rain
Nine bullet holes in your body exude a sweetness
They say that you lost the moon while you were playing
Green grass on the grave Are new teeth
Sprouting where there is no need for grief
You did not die They say
You still sit at the small wooden desk
Looks crash noisily against the blackboard
The school bell suddenly rings
A burst of nothingness Your death is killed
The say Now You are a woman and a mother
And each year there is a birthday without you
just as when you were alive
(Translated by Mabel Lee)
And to close out for this week, one more from the book
I've worked in August
under the noonday sun
digging post holes
in hard-packed caliche
on the Texas-Mexican border
that's one kind of hot
I've won six months pay
throwing dice in Reno
that's another kind of hot
I've seen pretty little whores
in Piedras Negras
hot enough to melt the silver tip
off a cowboy's dress-up boots
that's pretty hot too
but no kind of hot
is as hot
as thinking of you and me
in a big white bed
in a room with curtains whispering
to a low midnight breeze,
soft lights, satin shadows
shifting over pale skin
your dark eyes shining
liquid in their knowing
That's it for this week. I hope by next week, the photo problem will be solved. In fact, if it gets fixed before next week I'll probably come back to this and repost the images the way I want them.
Hasta la Pasta
Late addition. Image size problem resolved. Thank you Michaela Gabriel!
Photos by Allen Itz