Sunset Gilds The End Of Day   Monday, September 18, 2006

This is it. "Here and Now" Number I.xiv.

A return visit from guest blogger Alan Addotto, AKA , Splinter/Splinter Group

Saturday evening------ Kwan Yin and the "boys"

Kwan Yin is out in the yard in the back
right out in front of my office window in fact
and she has taken the "boys"
(which now includes "Sister" the Resurrected
German Shepherd)
and a tennis racquet and ball.

All of them are out there,,,,
on the paved part
where we park our cars
at the rear of the house.

Tee-Boy and Dooley are off to the side
just as cleverquick and cunning-sly
as they always are.

Kwan Yin bounces the ball
on the pavement
swats it a good lick
sending it almost as far
as the chickenless chicken pen.

SamBear the Bodhisattva Incarnation
of Silky Lovableness
still disguised as a brown Lab
sprints breakneck after
the yellow-green fluorescent thing
and catches it ----- first bounce, no less!

"Yessssssssssssss," Sam says
to us and himself as he trots back.

Sam is seriously obsessed
with this retrieval game.
and drops the ball at Kwan Yin's feet.

Ready for another volley
Kwan Yin bounces it
but Tee-Boy has other ideas
ambush predator that he is
rushes in
snatches the ball in mid-bounce and runs out

For just a few milliseconds Kwan Yin stands there
completely nonplused
For just that eternity in a moment
SamBear too.
Both do absolutely nothing at all
as Tee-boy turns and runs off with the ball
with it locked in that set of steel trap jaws.

And then Kwan Yin laughs high and lovely
and heals the broken space in time
and chases the unbelievably agile Tee-Boy.

Time is flowing again,
it's still Saturday evening after the rain
with wet bare footprints on the drying concrete
hers and theirs.

William Meredith

William Meredith was born in 1919 in New York City. He graduated from Princeton University in 1940 and has held professorships at Princeton University, University of Hawaii, and Connecticut College. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship 1975, a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1988 for Partial Accounts and the National Book Award for Poetry in 1997 for Effort at Speech

A Couple of Trees

The two oaks lean apart for light.
They aren"t as strong as lone oaks
but in a wind they give each other lee.

Daily since I cleared them I can see
them, tempting to chain saw and ax -
two hardwoods leaning like that for light.

A hurricane tore through the state one night,
picking up roof and hen-house, boat and dock.
Those two stood leafless, twigless, giving lee

Last summer ugly slugs unleafed the trees.
Environmental kids wrote "Gypsy Moths Suck".
The V of naked oaks leaned to the light

for a few weeks, then put out slight
second leaves, scar tissue pale as branches,
bandaged comrades, lending each other lee.

How perilous in one another's V
our lives are, yoked in this yoke:
two men, leaning apart for light,
but in a wind who give each other lee.

The missions of San Antonio

(I changed out the gallery on the Photo page of the website, deleting the Riverwalk images and posting a series of San Antonio missions photos. Since there is no text associated with the photos, I thought there might be some interest in more information on the missions. So.....)

Beginning in the 16th century, Spanish missionaries, accompanied by a few soldiers, moved north out of the Valley of Mexico, founding missions and presidios along the way. By 1718, this movement north had extended to the San Antonio River. Six missions were established along a relatively short stretch of the river, with the northernmost mission, now known as the Alamo, establishing the nucleus of what became San Antonio, now a city of more than one million population.

The Alamo (San Antonio de Valero), established in 1718, was first of the six missions. It was already over a hundred years old when it became a symbol of the Texas Revolution. The Siege of the Alamo would have been only small battle in a failed war for independence had it not had the effect of delaying the Mexican Army long enough for Sam Houston, the Commander of the Texas Revolutionary Army, to reconstitute his scattered army and, ultimately, defeat Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto.

The Alamo is very near the center of downtown San Antonio. The current structure and grounds cover an approximate city block. Much of the original mission compound is buried beneath city streets and buildings, seen only occasionally and in fragments by archeological fieldwork.

The next mission to the south, Mission Concepcion (Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de Acuna), was established in 1731. The mission looks essentially as it did more than 200 years ago. Colorful geometric designs that originally covered the outside surfaces are long vanished, but interior walls still show original paintings of religious symbols and architectural designs.

Mission Concepcion is located in the center-city residential and commercial suburbs of the City of San Antonio.

There is no picture of Mission Najera (San Francisco Xavier de Najera) because it no longer exists. Established in 1722, it was abandoned only four years later in 1726. Today a municipal golf course is on the site of the former mission and the only notice of its previous existence is a historical marker on the side of the road.

Mission San Jose (San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo) was established in 1720, two years after the Alamo. It is the largest and grandest of the missions and was the most heavily fortified and garrisoned. Workshops and storage buildings as well as quarters for soldiers and Coahuiltecan Indians (some of whom lived and worked at the mission and others who came in when threatened by raiding Commanches) can still be seen around the perimeter of the mission grounds.

Mission San Jose is located in one of the city's outer suburban rings.

Espada Aqueduct was built in 1745 to carry water from the San Antonio River for irrigation of mission crops. It still carries water across Piedras Creek to fields near the mission. It is the only aqueduct in the United States from the Spanish Colonial Period still functioning and fulfilling its original intended purpose. The creek crossing shown in the picture is often visited by artists and others seeking a place of quiet amid echoes from the past.

Mission San Juan (San Juan Capistrano), the next mission south of San Jose, was established the same year as Mission Concepcion. Originally slated for East Texas, it ended up on the banks of the San Antonio River in 1731. It is located in an undeveloped area within San Antonio City Limits. Within a short time of being established, it became a regional supplier of agricultural and other products, including iron, wood, cloth and leather goods produced in its workshops. A few miles southeast of the mission was Rancho Pataguilla, which in 1762 reported 3,500 sheep and almost as many cattle.

Unlike San Jose, only the chapel remains intact. The outbuildings which provided living quarters for Indian residents and made up the exterior wall of the mission compound are all in ruins.

I visit all of the missions several times a year, but San Juan is my favorite. A cleared patch in a wooded area of oak and pecan, it is surrounded by cool, shaded areas even in the hottest part of summer. A nature walk from the Mission takes visitors about 40 yards to and then alongside the San Antonio River.

Mission San Juan

Swirling whirlwinds dance
across the chapel plaza,
tossing clouds of caliche dust
into the simmering air,
little diablitos, skipping
across the sun-baked ground
como los muchachitos al jugar,
untamed by the afternoon mass
and the pieties of the parish priest.

The first shadows of summer dusk
edge slowly across the grassy camposanto
and up the crumbling convento walls.
The cool of the river wood
spreads with the falling sun,
through the shaded waters
and the thickening shadows,
through pecan and oak, willow and cypress
that surround the mission grounds.
A fresh evening breeze
breaks the afternoon heat as the
long summer day slips away.

Under the yellow rising
of the solstice moon,
the silence of centuries past
falls across the broken stones.

Mission Espada (San Francisco de la Espada) is southernmost of the six original missions. Far from the noise and traffic of the city, it is in the middle of its own quiet community, including many descendants of the original parishioners and inhabitants of the mission.

Like San Juan, its outbuildings are mostly in ruins. But, like Concepcion, San Jose and San Juan, it continues to perform its religious function as an active parish of the Catholic Church, with regular mass and other parish and church activities. It was just a year ago that my wife and I attended a wedding of friends in Espada's chapel.

All missions are open to the public during the day.

Bukowski on Li Po

A.D. 701-762

these dark nights
I begin to feel like
the Chinese Poet
Li Po:
drinking wine and writing
writing poems and drinking
all the while
aware of the strict limitations
that come with
being human

accepting that

the wine and the poems

yes, there is a peaceable place
to be found
in this unending
we call life
such as
light, shadow, sound
and meaningfully

Li Po
drunk on his
knew very well that
just to know
one thing well

There is always time for Divine instruction (from Seven Beats a Second)

what God don't like

I was seeing this preacher fella on tv the other day
that was saying God don't like men fucking men

I don't know how in the world he would know that,
except maybe he was talking to God
and just straight out ask him, like, hey, God,
what do you think about this men fucking men thing

I'd be afraid to do that, but maybe it's ok for preachers,
especially this particular preacher fella,
since it looks like he's pretty close to God and
like he must talk to him about all sorts of things
cause he's all the time on tv,
talking about what God likes and don't like
(mostly about what he don't like from what I've seen),
not just about fucking, but all sorts of things
God don't like, like tree huggers and feminazies
and Democrats and evolutionists and poor people
and those wussy-pussy perverts who think
we ought not be killing raghead foreigners
without some kind of pretty good reason (I mean, hell,
he says, it's not like they're white people),
all those commies, whatever they call themselves now

but, mostly what I get from listening to the tv fella
is that mainly what God most often don't like
are people who aren't exactly like him

so I'm thinking maybe I ought to study that fella
and try real hard to be as much like he is as I can

then maybe God won't don't like me too

Remember Flip Wilson?

Here's the joke he told that made me laugh the hardest.

A Lady and Her Baby

A lady and her baby get on a bus. The bus driver looks at the lady, and then her baby, and then screams, "AHHHH! That's the ugliest child I've ever seen in my life!"

The lady then, totally disgusted, marches up to the back of the bus to sit down.

As she was sitting there absolutely furious, a man asks, "Are you ok, dear?"

The lady replies, "I'm so angry, that bus driver just insulted me."

The man says, "You go back up there and give that bus driver a piece of your mind, and I'll watch your monkey."

Short poems from two Japanese poets

Ki no Tsuaryuki

Ki no Tsurayuki lived from 872 to 945. He became a waka poet in the 890s. The literal translation of waka is "Japanese poet," differentiating poets who wrote in the Japanese style from those who wrote in the Chinese style, which was also popular at the time.

In 905, under the imperial order of Emperor Daigo, he was one of four poets selected to compile the Kokin-wakashu, an anthology of waka poetry.

His waka is included in one of the most important Japanese poetry anthologies, the Hyakunin Isshu, which was compiled in the 13th century by Fujiwara no Teika, long after Tsurayuki's death.

Three Poems On Spring Blossoms

On a spring hillside
    I took lodging for the night;
and as I slept
    the blossoms kept falling -
even in the midst of my dreams

(Translated by Steven D. Carter)

The hue is as rich
    and the perfume as fragrant
        as in days gone by
but how I long for a glimpse
    of the one who planted the tree

The wind that scatters
    cherry blossoms from their boughs
        is not a cold wind -
and the sky has never known
    snow flurries like these.

(Translated by Helen Craig McCullough)

Lady Ise

Lady Ise was a contemporary of Ki no Tsurayuki, born around 875 and died around 938. She was a Japanese poet in the Imperial court's waka tradition. She was born Fujiwara no Tsugikage of Ise, and eventually became the lover of Prince Atsuyoshi and a concubine to Emperor Uda.

She was one of the three other poets who worked with Ki no Tsurayuki in compiling the Kokin-wakashu and her waka was included in the collection.

Four Poems

Lightly forsaking
the Spring mist as it rises,
the wild geese are setting off.
Have they learned to live in a flowerless country?

Because we suspected
the pillow would say "I know,"
we slept without it.
Nevertheless my name
is being bandied like dust.

A flower of waves
blossoms in the distance
and ripples shoreward
as though a breeze had quickened
the sea and set it blooming

If it is you, there
in the light boat on the pond,
I long to beg you
"Do not go; linger a while
among us here in this place."

A poem from the book

This one of the longer poems in the book Seven Beats a Second. It was written shortly after the last presidential election, as the text suggests, at a time when I was less accepting of some of the new realities of my life than I am now. The reelection of the despicable George Bush was icing on a very sour cake.

slipping away

my mind is blind
to the crisp autumn sky
and the creek running clear
and the squirrel
teasing my dog,
a backyard clown
the quivering,
puffed-chest forward
of a small dog
facing a large world

my eyes see none of this,
for like a fist
clenched tight on itself
I am closed to all but anger,
a simmering constant
since the last election,
not just at the loss
of mine against theirs,
but at the outcome
as a symptom
of the progress of my life
in these later years,
like a lifetime
of being on the wrong side

I feel the passing of time now
like never before,
time and opportunity
slipping away,
life space lost
like water squeezed
from a cloth,
disappearing in an eddy
down a drain,
leaving an approximation of me
to fill the place I had before
until the day I need no space at all

as I read the obituaries in the morning
or stand at the grave of my father,
as I did this past week in a park
green with the growth of recent rain,
I cannot reconcile the contradictions
of death and life, how the life I see
in the obituary photos and the light
I remember in my father's eyes
can disappear in an onrush of dark,
one minute to the next, life to death,
how it is that I, too, will slip some day
into that vortex of night and never return

I think of the eternal nature of atoms
and how they combine and recombine
over uncountable eons to create
illusions of form
and in some of those illusory forms
a spark of life and consciousness
and beings like you and me
and all those whose obituaries
I read every morning
and my father, dead 25 years,
the illusion of him gone forever
to seed the soil he lies in
and the grass and trees and clouds
over his head and, someday,
in the great recycling that brings
all the old to something new,
perhaps another form with life
and a sense of self and a universe
outside of self that is the cradle
of that which is, evidence that
for life forever we first must die

Two affirmations from Langston Hughes

Still Here

I've been scarred and battered.
My hopes the wind done shattered.
Snow has friz me, sun has baked me
     Looks like between 'em
     They done tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin' ...
     But I don't care!
     I'm still here!

Me and the Mule

My old mule,
He's got a grin on his face,
He's been a mule so long
He's forgot about his race.

I'm like that old mule...
Black -- and don't give a damn!

You got to take me
Like I am.

Shel Silverstein

Writer Waiting

Oh this shiny new computer...
There just isn't nothin' cuter.
It knows everything the world ever knew.
And with this great computer
I don't need no writin' tutor,
'Cause there ain't a single thing that it can't do.
It can sort and it can spell,
It can punctuate as well.
It can find and file and underline and type.
It can edit and select,
It can copy and correct,
So I'll have a whole book written by tonight
(Just as soon as it can think of what to write).

Drought is broken (for a little while)


six months
of drought,
two days
of rain
and we all
think we're
the same old
jokes about
webbed feet
and growing
that aren't
and never
have been
but give us
of change and
the new life
that will come
from overdue

we are pagans
only the
have changed

Damm Straight!

Words of passed along wisdom from Jerry Damm, Midland, Texas.

Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.

I love my cat. My cat does not care.

I can only please one person per day. Today is not
your day. Tomorrow is not looking good either.

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for

Attaways and Oh,Boys!

Loch Raven Review

I received word a couple of days ago that four of my poems appear in the fall issue of Loch Raven Review. The poems are sunset on South Alamo, things to watch out for when entering into a barroom confrontation, morning coffee, and esperanzas.

To take a look at my poems and the other excellent poets featured in this issue, go to The Loch Raven Review link near the top of the page on the right will take you directly to the journal.

Cafe Chiapas

I will be reading at Cafe Chiapas Friday evening, September 29th. The reading will include poems from my book, Seven Beats a Second, as well as new work.

This is the first of what the folks at Cafe Chiapas hope will become a regular series
of readings featuring many area poets.

All are welcome.

I'll have more information on this next week for folks from San Antonio who might want to attend. In the meantime, I've added a link to Cafe Chiapas near the top of the page on the right.

A reminder that the September Sale is half way done. Only two weeks left to get the book Seven Beats a Second and the C D, chimeras, ideals, errors! by the Ray-Guhn Show Choir, at outrageously low prices. Email me at for details.

What a deal!!

Photos by Allen Itz

at 5:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen, Really enjoyed the piece on the Missions. In many respects they are similar to the Missions we have here in California which isn't a surprise. Outstanding website. Your photos are stunning. I enjoyed this respite.

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