Winter Night to Winter Day   Sunday, February 25, 2007




Healthy and, once again, freed from the obligation to support that capitalist Good Fairy they call the global economy, this number II.2.4 issue of "Here and Now" is sure to be a humdinger, or, at least, a dinger.







First, more from Alice Folkart. This is the first of several of Alice's poems we will be featuring this week.


Yeah, it's nice.

Nothing of trees or sky have I seen today,
nor birds, nor bugs, nor rising sun,
from my all-business, no nonsense office,
but, finally freed, I hurry home
thinking of dinner and a glass of wine,
and telling myself, no, first
you walk and breathe and stretch.

So I slip on my old shoes
my soft gray tee, tattered red sweatshirt,
blue windbreaker from the Salvation Army,
and head out into the sunset wind,
soon cold and dark and fresh.
Clouds piling themselves up above our hill,
trying to make a storm, seem important,
but they're nothing much but pretty.

On the home stretch, striding down the middle
of a shadowed, quiet street,
a man arriving home from work, parks,
gets out, slams the door, and, courteously says,
"Hi, there." To which, I reply, "Isn't it nice?"
Feeling immediately silly and inept until
he answers, looking about him, as if he had
just landed on this planet, "Yeah, Yeah, it's nice!"








Everybody's talking about immigration these days. Actually, everybody's talking too much about immigration, in my opinion. But that's not always true. Here's some talk on immigration by Puerto Rican poet Victor Hernandez Cruz that I like a lot.

The poem is from his book Red Beans.


Snaps of Immigration

1
I remember the fragrance of
the Caribbean scent that anchors into the
ports of technology.

2
I dream with suitcases
full of illegal fruits
Interned between white
guayaberas that dissolved
into snowflaked polyester.

3
When we saw the tenements
our eyes turned backwards
to the miracle of scenery
at the supermarket
My mother caressed the
Parsley.

4
We came in the middle of winter
from another time
We took a trip into the future
A fragment of another planet
To a place where time flew
As if clocks had coconut oil
put on them.

5
Rural mountain dirt walk
Had to be adjusted to cement
pavement
The new city finished the
concrete supply of the world
Even the sky was cement
The streets were made of shit.

6
The past was dissolving like
sugar at the bottom of a coffee cup
That small piece of earth that we habitated
Was somewhere in a television
Waving in space.

7
From beneath the ice
From beneath the cement
From beneath the tar
From beneath the pipes and wires
Came the cucurucu of the roosters.

8
People wrote letters as if they
were writing the scriptures
Penmanship of woman who made
tapestry with their hands
Cooked criollo post
Fashioned words of hope and longing
Men made ink out of love
And saw their sweethearts
Wearing yellow dresses
Reaching from the balcony
To the hands of the mailman.

9
At first English was nothing
but sound
Like trumpets doing yakity yak
As we found meanings for the words
We noticed that many times the
letters deceived the sound
What could we do
It was the language of a
foreign land.








A few short Vietnamese poems from the 11th century.


From Van Hanh (d.1018)


The Body of Man

The body of man is like a flicker of lightning
existing only to return to Nothingness.
Like the spring growth that shrivels in autumn.
Waste no thought on the process for it has no purpose,
coming and going like the dew.



Man Giac (b.1051 - d.1096)

Spring goes, and the hundred flowers.
Spring comes, and the hundred flowers.
My eyes watch things passing,
my head fills with years.
But when spring has gone not all the flowers follow.
Last night a plum branch blossomed by my door.



(Poems translated by Nguyen Ngoc Bich with W. S. Merwin


From Khoung Viet (c.1050)


Wood and Fire

Deep inside wood sleeps primal fire.
Set free, it kindles back to life.
If there's no fire locked up in wood,
where does a tinder's spark come from?


(Translated by Huynh Sanh Thong)



From Doa Van Kham (c.1090)


Remembering Priest Quang Tri

Though you fled the Capital for the woods,
your name came back - fragrance from the hills.
I used to dream of being your disciple;
Then the news; You're gone, our door is shut.
Only sad birdcries in the empty moonlight outside your hut.
Reverend friends, do not grieve. Look round the temple.
In rivers and mountains, his face still shines.



From Trn Nhan-tong


Spring View

The willows trail such glory that the birds are struck dumb.
Evening clouds balance above the eave-shaded hall.
A friend comes, not for conversation,
But to lean on the balustrade and watch the turquoise sky.


(Poems translated by Nguyen Ngoe Bich)







As challenge coordinator on an on-line poetry workshop called The Blueline, I try to come up with a new writing challenge every month for the poets who post in the workshop.

One I like to do every now and then is a Barku challenge because writing Barkus is both simple and a tension reliever. They"re also fun.

The story behind the Barku began about a year ago at the Ruta Maya coffee shop on the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. I had forgotten to bring my notebook with me, so I was trying to write a poem on a cocktail napkin.

Eureka!!

What we need, I thought, is a new poetic form that fits on a bar napkin. So I invented the Barku, succinct and compressed in the spirit of the Haiku, but with slightly different and simpler rules.

I calculated that, to fit perfectly on a bar napkin a Barku should have no more and no less than 10 words on no more and no less than 6 lines.

So, ten words on six lines - no other rules.

Here are some Barkus written in response to the Barku Challenge. If you want to look at other responses, click on the Blueline link on the right, then go to the "Challenge Forum."


From Ellen Kombiyil (A first-timer on "Here and Now," writing from India.


Summer Barku

quick-quick
barefoot
back home
through streets
of hot
asphalt



from Rhonda Maltbie (Another "Here and Now" first-timer)


moonlight

moist windows -
blue eyes
trace
the curvature
of wet
skin



From Dan Cuddy


Diner Barkus

1) napkins
folded
neatly
while light
spots circles
of silent conversations

2) hammy
waitress
rumping
back and forth
kitchen door
always swinging

3) eggs
frying
whites
bubbling
yolks sitting pretty
like blonde babes



From Alice Folkart


Morning Ritual

get up
coffee
dress
coffee
go out
for more coffee


Introspection

I Meditate,
thoughtful eyes
half-closed,
focussed
on meaningless
cold toes


Reading the List of War Dead

Young.
All dead.
Blown
up,
laid down.
Stars
and stripes.



From Jack Hill


Barku morning

Sun Rose
As silent
Thunder
Morning glories
In cleansing
Dew



From Mary Jo Caffery


Barku Tries

Cranes
dance in
cornfield stubble
plie and pirouette
ageless
ritual

Juncos hunt
scattered seeds
in snow
gleaners
with
folded wings



From Gary Blankenship


squirrels

grey squirrels
search
for acorns
under
the housecat"s
watchful eye


barku from oz

Hot, fires,
bloody smokey.
Rain needed.
"Send her
down,
Hughie!"




From Susan McDonough (A "Here and Now" first timer, Sue splits her writing time between the Sonoran Desert and the southern coast of Maine.)


In Moments

early
spring rains
find an escape
from
ever cloudy
confines

spirits
wrung damp
leave air misted
their dusty
goblins
rearranged



And, of course, if you're going to give a challenge, you ought to be willing to take a challenge. So here are some Barkus I wrote.


Animal House

1. Kitty Pride

sleeps
all day
wakes
at night
to steal my
pillow

2. Peanut

frantic
for attention
thinks peeing
on carpets
an Olympic
sport

3. Reba

soft eyed
peace
keeper
comes to intercede
when people
shout


reelect Al Gore

1. climate change

hot
cold
cold
then hot
don't know
what to wear


2. selective service

wars fought
by
fools
who sought them are
extraordinarily
rare


3. what a mix

curiosity
honor
serious thought
depends on neither
lies
nor tricks








This is the title piece from William Heyen's book Lord Dragonfly. As with much of his work, there is a dreamlike quality to it, intermitent flashes of dream that, taken together, tell a story. I like the technique and the way it all comes together for him.


Lord Dragonfly


i.

A friend dies.
Another,
forcing the lilac to flower.

ii.

in a corner of the field, wild
grapevine climbs a lightning
groove in the ash trunk.
Where are the dead?


iii.

In the field's drizzle and gloom,
soft-glowing sheaths,
the souls of spikes
of goldenrod..


iv.

Breaking the field I find
a ring of round white stones,
gift of the glacier.


v.

As I dig, the old apple stump
tries pulling itself deeper
by its last root.


vi.

Inside the windfall apple
tunnels of bees
singing.


vii.

I'm glad,
grasshopper of my childhood,
you've grown your legs back.


viii.

Pure white found
a wild rose to live in,
for now.


ix.

Half the mantis still
prays on my scythe blade..


x.

In the mowed field,
a million crickets for hire.
My steps are money.


xi.

My wife away.
In a garden furrow,
I find her lost earring.


xii.

Lord Dragonfly
sees me from all sides
at once.


xiii.

Pear blossoms
sift the same air
as last year.


xiv.

No one has ever
seen snow fall here,
until next year.


xv.

The hummingbird whirrs,
only its ruby
throat feathers clear


xvi.

curves of the summer pepper
lit with every green.


xvii.

With trees overhead,
where is the void?


xviii.

One red cardinal,
one gray cardinal,
three cinnamon-spotted eggs.


xix.

I am safe here,
not a friend in sight.


xx.

I lean on my shovel,
trusting the field.


xxi.

Playing dead,
Japanese beetles tumble
from a skeleton leaf.


xxii.

Already morning glory
tendrils circle
my shovel's handle.


xxiii.

Beneath its tassels
an ear of corn
erupts in fungus,
the blackest light.


xxiv.

When I look for him,
he is away,
finding another home,
the borer that killed my poplar.


xxv.

Prune for shade.


xxvi.

Rooted,
the trees are green islands
in fog
in the shifting field.


xxvii.

Sunflower, my lamp,
on such a rainy day.


xxviii.

Tree-man
carrying branches
of silver maple
I walk through the storm.


xxix.

Evening: time to level
the frantic ant hill,
the field's brain.


xxx.

Meteor shower -
a little more, or less,
of the Lord.


xxxi.

Outside at night
I close my eyes:
the lost chestnuts' roots
luminous underground.


xxxii.

This western corner of the field,
this grove of ash -
if there were a place....


xxxiii.

Beetle's cargo:
heaviness?
happiness?
Neither, nor
both together.


xxxiv.

In the far galaxies,
collapsed stars,
yes, but here,
light escapes
even the blackberries.


xxxv.

In the autumn field,
my body,
a warm stone.


xxxvi.

Cosmos, planet, field,
and the dead
aware of everything!








And now this, from frequent contributor Alan Addotto


Song of a soldier writing home

Who am I?
I'm the little guy from down the street
who peed in your geraniums
on a dare from one of your kids.
Yep, that was me.
I hoped you would see
and get just as upset
as I thought you would be.

I am the boy who chased your cat
up the sycamore
in your back yard.
I wouldn't have hurt it
But it was your daughter
that knocked him out of the tree
with a clod of dirt.

I'm the kid that woke your whole family up
with the firecrackers
that New Year's day
throwing them up on the porch
right next to your front door.

I'm the one that
told your son about girls
and all that stuff.... you know.
and got Jenny from school
to show him her butt
if he promised not to touch it
which he didn't.
Yeah....that was me.

I was the one that taught him how to make
a slingshot
from an tire's inner tube
and the fork from your live oak
and it was me that broke
that side window in your garage
when we practiced that day....
but it really was an accident....
more than not anyway.

That was a long, long time ago
I hope I'm forgiven by now
for that and all the other stuff I did.








Several short poems from Langston Hughes


Gone Boy

Playboy of the dawn,
Solid gone!
Out all night
Until 12-1-2 a.m.

Next day
When he should be gone
To work -
Dog-gone!
He ain't gone.


What?

Some pimps wear summer hats
Into late fall
Since the money that comes in
Won't cover it all -
Suit, overcoat, shoes -
And hat, too!

Got to neglect something,
So what would you do?


Midnight Raffle

I put my nickel
In the raffle of the night.
Somehow that raffle
Didn't turn out right.

I lost my nickel,
I lost my time.
I got back home
Without a dime.

When I dropped that nickel
In that subway slot,
I wouldn't have dropped it,
Knowing what I got.

I could just as well've
Stayed home inside:
My bread wasn't buttered
On either side.


Maybe

I asked you, baby,
If you understood -
You told me that you didn't,
But you thought you would.








When I finally graduated from the halls of academia in 1971 (almost ten years after I started the process), I had a chance at a creative writing fellowship.

At the time, I was in my late twenties and had been around a bit, which left me feeling years older than my fellow students. Also, I had completed the last two years of my education on a $130 monthly GI Bill stipend and, after paying off the hot checks my friendly local grocer had been holding for me, had exactly thirty-five cents and a tank of gas to get home, the only place I knew of where I could count on getting fed.

I was sick of school, sick of teachers, sick of my fellow students and dead broke, so I passed on the opportunity and set out on what turned out to be a thirty year public service career doing work I loved from the first day to the last.

But that's another story.

What I meant to do before my mind wandered was explain the next piece.

When I first began to think of myself as a writer in the late sixties, I was mostly interested in writing prose, short stories. The irony is that none of the stories I wrote were ever published and have been lost while the poetry, which was mostly an afterthought, was published and saved.

A short fiction writer is still what I'd like to be, but I've tried and tried since my return to writing and seem to have lost the touch.

The few story pieces I have written were first done as poems, reconfigured, when I could, into a prose format. Here's one such.


Dinner For Two


As the sun sets to the west, the moon rises over the bay like a bright white button in the blue sky, deepening to black as we watch.

We had been warned that there was a hard freeze coming, the season's first, and the north wind bringing it to us began to blow just minutes ago.

It whips around the corner of the house, lashing the broad leaves of the banana plants. They had grown through last spring and summer and first half of winter to roof high, still green. By this time tomorrow, they will be soggy, brown stumps lying flat on the ground, though their roots, deep and warm, will survive and flourish tall again in spring.

The wind rattles the plastic plates we had eaten from. They are saved from blowing across the terrace and into the yard only by the weight of the silverware laid across them. The heavy knives and forks and spoons were a gift from my mother, given to us just before she died, taken from their box and cleaned and shined just this morning on a whim.

We had completed our meal, hardly talking at all.

We rarely do anymore, not like we used to, anyway, when the kids were still with us, talking about school and friends and comic books and the latest songs on the radio.

Really, we didn't talk that much then, either, I'm remembering, mostly listening to the children's lives. Not much in our own lives to talk about or listen to, it seemed.

Things change, I'm thinking, and things stay the same. And after a while, it's hard to tell the difference.

"Getting dark," I say.

"It will be a cold one," she says.

We gather up the left over bits and pieces of our meal and hurry back to the house, she ahead, me behind.

Both of us, listening intently to the running commentary of our own thoughts.








Frank Marshall Davis rose to prominence as a poet and journalist during the Depression and the Second World War. Prior to his departure for the Territory of Hawaii in 1948, he found himself the target of close scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the House Un-American Activities Committee. This official interest during the anti-communist excesses of the time was due to social realist poetry he wrote responding to the racial discrimination and labor inequity of that period in American history.

Born in south central Kansas in 1905, he went on to attend Kansas State College, from 1924 to 1926 and again from 1929 to 1930 where he began to write his poetry. Ultimately, he would write three major collections of poetry: Black Man's Verse, I Am the American Negro, and 47th Street: Poems
. All of these collections as well as his chapbooks and previously unpublished and uncollected works appeared in 2002 as Black Moods: Collected Poems.

As a practicing journalist, from 1927 to about 1957, he earned a reputation as editor, managing editor, executive editor, feature writer, editorial writer, correspondent, sports reporter, music and theater critic, contributing editor, and fiction writer for the Chicago Evening Bulletin, the Chicago Whip, the Chicago Star, the Gary (Indiana) American, the Atlanta World, and the Associated Negro Press.


This poem is from Totems to Hip-Hop, A Multicultural Anthology
of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900-2002
, compiled and edited by Ishmael Reed.


Giles Johnson, Ph.D.

had four college degrees
knew he whyfore of this
the wherefore of that
could orate in Latin
or cuss in Greek
and, having learned such things
he died of starvation
because he wouldn't teach
and he couldn't porter.








The Book of Songs (c. 600 BC) is the earliest anthology of Chinese poetry and the source of the Chinese poetic tradition. Legend is that the songs were compiled by Confucius, though that is considered unlikely. But the book was of his time. He refers to it and it was part of the curriculum for his disciples. It is considered to be among the Confucian classics that form the basics of Confucian education.

Here are several of the 305 songs that make up the book.


White Moonrise

The white rising moon
is your bright beauty
binding me in spells
till my heart's devoured.

The light moon soars
resplendent like my lady,
binding me in light chains
till my heart's devoured


(Translated by Tony Barnstone and Willis Barnstone)


Fruit Plummets from the Plum Tree

Fruit plummets from the plum tree
but seven of ten plums remain.
You gentlemen who would court me,
come on a lucky day.
Fruit plummets from the plum tree
but three of ten plums still remain.
You men who want to court me,
come now, today is a lucky day!


Serene Girl

The serene girl is pretty,
waiting for me at the corner.
She loves me but hides from me.
I scratch m head, walking back and forth.

The serene girl is tender,
she gave me a red straw.
The red straw shines;
I love this beauty.

It was picked in the fields,
It is beautiful and are.
It isn't the straw that is so beautiful
but that it's a gift from a beauty.


In the Wilds is a Dead River-Deer

In the wilds is a dead river-deer.
White rushes wrap her.
A lady yearns for someone dear.
A fine man seduces her.

In the woods are clustered bushes,
and in the wilds a river-deer is dead
and wrapped up in white rushes.
There is a lady as fine as jade.
Oh! Slow down, don't be so harsh,
let of of my girdle's sash.
Shhh! You'll make the dog bark.


All the Grasslands are Yellow

All the grasslands are yellow
and all the days we march
and all the men are conscripts
sent off in four directions.

All the grasslands are black
and all the men like widowers,
So much grief! Are soldiers
not men like other men?

We aren't bison! We aren't tigers
crossing the wilderness,
but our sorrows
roam from dawn till dusk.

Hair-tailed foxes slink
through the dark grass
as we ride tall chariots
along the wide rutted roads.


(Poems translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping)







We also have a return engagement this month by Arlene Ang. Here's the first of a couple of pieces we will use.

Both poems are from her book, The Desecration of Doves.


The Implications of Lampshades

The color never matches
the upholstery.

Like drugged moths,
nicotine stains the edges;
yellow is unbecoming
not only in jaundiced patients.

There was a time when
the lady next door offered
to crochet covers in return
for small favors: brown sugar,
matches, a sip of Madira,
euthanasia for her cat.

She left the same way
one of the bulbs sparked
before turning black

Geckoes are attracted
to heat. The open book on
your lap is marked by shadows
of tails. This is where
the tale gets horny: the white
lumps hidden at the corner
of our bed are unhatched eggs.

Every night green insects
are reborn, dogs dig
freshly turned soil, nails grow,
a chapter in the novel ends.

Overhead like a genealogy
of kings, stars are going out.








William Stafford, born in Kansas in 1914, was an American poet and pacifist.

Although he began publishing his poems relatively late in life, he had published fifty-seven volumes of poetry by the time of his death in 1993. His first major collection, Traveling Through the Dark, was published when he was forty-eight years old. It won the National Book Award in 1963.

This is the title poem from that first published collection.


Traveling Through the Dark

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the taillight I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason -
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all - my only swerving -
then pushed her over the edge into the river.








I wrote this tribute to my older bother in 2000, several years after he died at the age I am now. He had a strong resemblance to Paul Newman, both in looks and in the way he moved and, even as a successful businessman, the kind of daredevil attitude of Newman in the movie, Cool Hand Luke.


hellraiser

a hellraiser,
all his life a fighter,
him against anyone
who pushed
when they should
have backed away,
defier of authority,
disdainer of limits,
a cool-hand-luke of a man
always skirting close
to the sharp edges
most swing wide
around

     time comes
     you have to fight
     some son of a bitch,
     end it fast,
     hit him first,
     hit him hard
     and if he's still
     standing
     hit him again
     until he's
     not

that was his advice
to me when I was young
on how to fight a fight,
how to face the world,
how to live a life

the last time I saw him
he looked like an old man,
brittle-looking chicken-bones
wrapped tight in old leather,
only his eyes showing
the flash of the wild man
who was my my brother,
win or lose,
always
ready for a fight







And here's our second poem this week from Alice Folkart


The Little Blue Cup

He's washing dishes.
I should be glad.
I can write or read,
and keep my hands
more or less white,

but, crash,
there goes the little blue cup.
Clink, the square glass,
the last one,
I liked them.

The gnashing of
forks and knives
sounds like a battle to the death.
I will not look, I can't.
They're only things,

we can get some more.
My lesson for today
is to detach, very Zen,
and very hard.
The little blue cup was my son's.








Franz Wright, born in Vienna in 1953, won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book Walking to Martha's Vineyard published in 2003.

He and his father, James Wright, are the only parent/child pair to have won the Pulitzer Prize in the same category (Poetry).


Mosquitoes

Playing your trumpets
thin as a needle
in my ear,
standing on my finger

or on the back of my neck
like the best arguments
against pity I know.
You insignificant vampires

that sip my life
through a straw;
you drops of blood
with wings;

carriers
of insomnia
I search for
with a lit match....

I had a job once
driving around in a truck
to look for your eggs.
They can be found

in ditches, near
train tracks, outside
of a barn
in an upright piano filled with rainwater;

It is impossible to kill
all of you,
invisible in the uncut grass
at the edges of the cemetery:

when the dogs go down there it
looks like they've gotten into birds








Sometimes the day seems beat before you can really get it started.

I wrote this poem last week.


early rising

up
at 4:30
this morning,
couldn't sleep,
tired of fighting
the bed,
got up and
took a walk
through the
neighborhood,
all very quiet,
all waiting
for the new day,
even the dogs
on the corner
who bark at
every wind,
sleeping dogs,
let
them lie

drove to the diner
for coffee and the
morning paper,
more of the same
same same same
same old shit,
lying
president,
craven congress,
compliant press
all atwitter with the
dead model while
other dead
pile up
in old-news
places.
oh,
oh, oh they say,
who will see to
Anna's baby,
who will see to
the children
of all the other
dead,
I ask,
but no answer,
old news,
no time in sweeps week
for old news

so I say fuck'em all
and take my camera
to look for a sunrise,
a new day, we all wait
for a sunrise
to a new day,
but, no,
the sunrise
is hidden
behind power lines
and street signs
and tall buildings
that cover the sky,
that capture
the sky
and hold it
for corner office
hoodats,
who say, hell, son,
don't you pay attention
to the news, we
bought the sun
when we bought
the building
and the sunrise
concession
is ours,
so run along now
a'fore we make
your ass
arrested
for trespass
and misappropriating
my sunrise, you're
making shadows, boy,
with my
sun,
now scram

and
the old day
wins








Now, here's our second piece from Arlene Ang


Old Aged Is Not Quite What You Expect

Nothing betrays womanhood in the '60s portrait
save for a sharp tongue and a habit

of spitting from second-story windows.
Streets being more populated,

there have been some complaints lately.
What can I say? Aunt Cornelia is aging.

Objects appear larger in flight;
I was there when she threw cup and saucer.

Bruised chest and cuts heal;
coffee on my merino blouse, less.

Obsession with discontent poisons
remaining years. Beyond smashed porcelain,
urine-stained bed, denials of phone sex bills,
the sonar for trouble works overtime.

When a passerby rapped on the door,
Aunt Cornelia opened, still entranced

by her spittle centering the old man's bald spot.
After his fist came, she was speechless for days.

Hematoma spread discolor around hr left eye,
like raspberry jam, sweets for the sweet.








Keith Douglas was an English poet. born in 1920 and killed on the third day of the Normandy invasion in 1944.

Douglas described his poetic style as extrospective, focusing on external impressions rather than inner emotions. The result is a poetry which, according to his detractors, can be callous in the midst of war's atrocities. For others, Douglas's work is powerful and unsettling because its exact descriptions eschew egotism and shift the burden of emotion from the poet to the reader. His best poetry is generally considered to rank alongside the twentieth-century's finest soldier-poetry.

The title of this poem roughly translates to an ironic "forget me not."


Vergissmeinnicht

Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
returning over the nightmare ground
we found the place again, and found
the soldier sprawling in the sun.

The frowning barrel of his gun
overshadowing. As we came on
that day, he hit my tank with one
like the entry of a demon.

Look. Here in the gun pit spoil
the dishonored picture of his girl
who has put: "Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht"
in a copybook gothic script.

We see him almost with content,
abased, and seeming to have paid
and mocked at his own equipment
that's hard and good when he's decayed.

But she would weep to see today
how on his skin the swart flies move;
the dust upon the paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave.

For here the lover and killer are mingled
who had one body and one heart.
And death who had the soldier singled
has done the lover mortal hurt

(Tunisia, May-June, 1943)








Here's a final ramble from me, written just a couple days ago.


tell me, what day is this?

I thought
this morning
that today
would be
a good one
to go tramping
in the woods
for pictures,
but I waited
too long
to start and now
a good lunch
and a comfortable chair
in the shade
has drained all
ambition
from me, so I think
I'll just sit here
on the porch
with my camera
and hope something
interesting comes by

it is an idle
life
I live now,
ambition
more often
thwarted than not,
and I have concluded
that it is good,
not that there is anything
wrong with ambition'
I've had that life -
the pleasure of
ambition
and success -
and it was good, too,
but that time is
passed
for the idle life
suits me fine,
like the picture
I just took
of a sparrow
eating pancake crumbs
on the table next to me,
he cocks his head
as he eats
tooks at me
as if to say well done,

and that's enough
ambition
for this day
for me








Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were one of the most successful writing teams of their era, writing for, among others, The Clovers, The Coasters, The Drifters, Big Mama Thornton, Jimmy Witherspoon, Little Ester, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Peggy Lee and Perry Como.

This is one of my favorites, recorded by The Coasters, who also did Little Egypt, Yakety Yak, Charley Brown, Young Blood, Along Came Jones and so many others it's making me misty-eyed just thinking about it. Well, not really, but they were a lot of fun.


Searchin'

Gonna find her

Gonna find her

I been searchin', uh huh searchin'
Oh yeah searchin' every which a-way
Oh yeah I been searchin', searchin'
Searchin' every which a-way
I'm like that Northwest Mountie
You know I'll bring her in someday

Gonna find her

Well now if I have to swim a river, you know I will
And if I have to climb a mountain, you know I will
And if she's hidin' up on blueberry hill
Am I gonna find her, child, you know I will

Well now Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade gonna nothin', child, on me
Sergeant Friday, Charlie Chan, and Boston Blackie
No matter where she’s hidin' she gonna hear me coming
I'm gonna walk right down the street like Bulldog Drummond

'Cause I been searchin', uh huh searchin'
Oh yeah searchin' every which a-way
Oh yeah I been searchin', searchin'
Searchin' every which a-way
I'm like that Northwest Mountie
You know I'll bring her in someday

Gonna find her

Gonna find her



Boston Blackie!!! God, I loved Boston Blackie.

That's it for this week. Until next week, au jus, you all

1 Comments:
at 1:03 PM Anonymous Alice Folkart said...

Great issue, and I'm not just saying that 'cause I'm in it. The Vietnamese poems took my breath away, as did William Heyen's - they just reach out from the page and touch me. The closing poem, about how you feel now and sitting there with your camera waiting to see if anything interesting wanders by is wonderful. I am feeling more and more like that. Arlene's poems are, as usual, charged with energy - I can see that old lady with her black eye, maybe I'll even become that old lady . . . And, the lampshade - oh yeah.

Everything, especially the super photos, just extra special in this - the barkus show well, don't they?

I know I'm forgetting something, but I liked everything . . .thanks for making this for all of us and for the honor of including my work.

Alice

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