Finding Shade by the Lake in July   Saturday, July 14, 2007


II.7.2



It's the middle of the summer and it's to hot to go out and play, so let's read some poetry.







We start this week with a little something in defense of my style which, for better or worse, is what I do.


I like foreplay

some say
my lines
are too
short and
s
k
i
n
n
y
and my poems
to long
and
it takes too
forever
to get past
the foreplay
and into the
good stuff
and I say
hey
foreplay's
not so bad
and how can
you have a third
act
if you don't have
an act I
and an act II
I mean after all
consider
shakespeare
(and I don't compare
myself to him though
we do face similar
problems at our own
respective levels)
what if he wrote like they say I ought to write with long lines and got to the point just right away without the all the messy stuff up front and all those silly rhymes that slow things down and that really weird english and so many characters with all those strange names and long speeches like who cares about benvolio anyway I don't

well
maybe
like this

romeo and juliet....
....no too long
just....

maybe just
this...

roy and julie

boy thinks girl is dead kills self girl finds boy dead kills self too curtain applause

that wouldn't be
any good at
all







Here's a poem by New York poet Brian Blanchfield from his book Not Even Then.


String Theory Readymade

Number one, draw on your paper your paper on fire.
Get this down. Use this red. Any line you start
is a hose in half, and from third dimension
a fourth is siphoned, but that suggests as far as it goes.
By no power higher can you raise yourself and document.
Make fire, page one of one. With fire
or with red or with rise begin.

        International operator, come on with patience.
Once I have you I think that once I was imaginative
and more than once imaginary, closely
an ant at the date line climbing over.

I answered Susan Mensch's cell phone because it rang and,
from Four Seasons Chicago, Susan said she'd cancel usage,
so, darling say hello in English remember I miss you.

If Duchamp made quite the New York snowshovel and from
scratch the vial of Paris air, such is art more material to love.
Once Mrs. Stephen Jay Gould makes a name for herself,
rest assured everyone's units are like assholes, and there is one
theory of everything:

One's attention is divided between following that car
and stepping on it. To have come by pursuit is fait accompli,

the skin and trail and look of getting out but not the serpent self.







Next we have web-poet Dale McLain. Although I've been reading Dale on-line for at least a couple of years, this is her first time in "Here and Now."

Dale describes herself as a suburban wife and mother who lives just north of Dallas, Texas. She says she considers art her first language and works in many mediums with collage being her current passion. Her poetry has been published online and in print.

We are pleased to have her here. You can see more of her work at her site http://seadreamstudio.net/

Here's her poem.


past solstice

We breathe in blind syncopation
on this bed of banked ashes.
Side by side we watch the sky,
the pinwheeling stars, Venus

rises to the west like a beacon
or an unblinking eye. Between us
lies an ocean and a wall of years.
Unbreached, it takes the wind

like a lover's kiss, sways and sighs,
but stands, impenetrable. My hand traces
the lower stones for hints of warmth
or the memory of what I imagine

we shared. Surely some tenderness
lodges in these grey clefts. Only one
pure place remains. I find you
always in this sky of myths.







From the book Across State Lines we have this poem by Kathryn Stripling Byer which ws selected by the book's editors to represent North Carolina.


fromMountain Time

Up here in the mountains
we know what extinct means. We've seen
how our breath on a bitter night
fades like a ghost from the window glass.
We know the wolf's gone.
The panther. We've heard the old stories
run down, stutter out
into silence. Who knows where we're heading?
All roads seem to lead
to Millennium, dark roads with drop-offs
we can't plumb. It's time to be brought up short
now with the tale-tellers' Listen: There once lived
a woman named Delphia
who walked through the hills teaching children
to read. She was known as a quilter
whose hand never wearied, a mother
who raised up two daughters to pass on
her words like a strong chain of stitches.
Imagine her sitting among us,
her quick thimble moving along these lines
as if to hear every word striking true
as the stab of her needle through calico.
While prophets discourse about endings,
don't you think she'd tell us the world as we know it
keeps calling us back to beginnings?
This labor to make our words matter
is what any good quilter teaches.
A stitch in time, let's say.
A blind stitch
that clings to the edges
of what's left, the ripped
scraps and remnants, whatever
won't stop taking shape even though the whole
crazy quilt's falling to pieces.







And now another first-timer for "Here and Now," Dan Tomsett. As with our other first-timers this week, I read Dan's poem on the Wild Poetry Forum and invited him to join us here. He is from Seattle, a beautiful city we visited in May as part of a wonderful drive up the Pacific coast.

I'm thinking it might be helpful to explain to readers who might not be card players the meaning of the word Dan uses in his title, "mucked." In poker, the pile of discarded cards is called the muck. When you discard your cards, as when you fold your hand, you have mucked.

Here's Dan's poem.


Eden Mucked

So the apples fell,
and Adam bruised easily
as the first leaves cracked.

Eve gathered there'd be grumbling.
The damn kids heave stones
towards the river, the birds, each other,
and she knew
there'd be days like this:

"But at least there's seasons!"
she screams,

as a once monotonous,
green idea of paradise
rots around her feet.







The next poem is from the book Forbidden Words, a selection of poems by Portuguese poet Eugenio de Andrade. The poem originally appeared in his book Dark Domain published in 1971.


Music

Poplars.
This music
of morning's whitewashed walls.

Sweet vowels
of shadow and water
in a summer of tawny
lazing animals.

Morning lark
in the happy
air of June.

Tart music
of thistles.

Music of fire
around the lips.

Unbuttoned
round the waist.

Between the legs
gathering.

Music
of the first rains
upon the hay.

Fragrance only.
Bee of water.

A lap
where the brief flame
of a pomegranate shines.

Music, take me.

Where are the boats?
Where are the islands?

(Translated by Alexis Levitin)







Now we're back with an old friend of "Here and Now," Jane Roken.

Welcome back, Jane.


Lonely attic manga blues

... sometimes
I'm a manga bird
and nothing
is impossible
I know it all
and when the moon rises
it rises for me
I have that power

... sometimes
I'm content to let
anything happen
in its own unit of time
I watch
starry-eyed
shameless
translucent

... sometimes
I'm a skewed nail
in a lonely attic wall
in an abandoned house
windows broken
I can't get out
only feel
the draught







A couple of weeks ago, we used an essay by Victor Hernandez Cruz on poet Juan Felipe Herrera. After reading the essay I resolved to go find one of Herrera's books. Well, I did and now here's a poem from that book Giraffe On Fire.

I like it. You'll see more of Herrera here on "Here and Now."

This piece is from the poem which gave name to the book. It is a long poem of 28 parts. This is part 12.


12

First of all: cinnamon,

then turquoise.
First of all crimson powders,

then fire.

First of all, scars in braids across the back,
then colony, then origin, then you begotten in power.

You begotten in tranquility. You in megalomania,
American new furniture.

You in blues and man in blue, in nails, in Madrid, with Juan Gris
drawing your nose and multiple eyes.

You, first of all in Diego Rivera's rogue trousers and boots.
First of all, you in thigh mambos. You in Erzuli's light captives
off the shores of Trinidad.

You marooned in Dutch ships.
First Zulu, first in Sudan, then Dinka.

First, the drum in the Sea of Cortez, across Janitzio, in Veracruz.
Tumbao, Chekere in octagons, crushed pubis and clenched bellies.
First, the feline stone in the portrait, the one where you reach for me,
without language, you say. Without the sludge and cottage industry
of apparitions for English trinkets.

First of all, Cha-Cha-Cha, then waves.
First, then second Rumba, Queen of Cosmic Sweat, the night.
Do not believe this gutter guitar. This Velazauez, this time.

Do not believe it. Take the easel down. See through, for once.
See through Coptic, see through the Orange Free State,
the diamonds enlarged as penis and vulva.

I am in a half stance. One half goes into darkness with a rag of light
on my leg. The other half goes into you as you come to me,
as you march with your instruments and your continent,

blood soaked against your jacket,
tarnished by minstrel water.







Some days, the poetry business can just get plain discouraging, as I explain here.


I do not want to write

tonight
I do not want
to write

tonight
I read a new poet
and it was like flying
inside a skyrocket
crashing into the sky
exploding over an ocean
a thousand sparkles multiplied
in briny reflection
above
and below
and all around
and I am struck
dumb by the green fire
above
and below
and all around
and do not want
to write
tonight






Our next poem is the second section from the poem The Teeth Mother Naked At Last, the anti-Vietnam War poem by Robert Bly. We did the first section last week.


    II

Excellent Roman knives slip along the ribs.
A stronger man starts to jerk up the strips of flesh.
"Let's hear it again: you believe in the Father, and the
    Son, and the Holy Ghost?"
A long scream unrolls.
More.
"From the political point of view, democratic institutions
    are being built in Vietnam, wouldn't you agree?"


A green parrot shudders under the fingernails.
Blood jumps in the pocket
A scream lashes like a tail
"Let us not be de-terred from our task by the voices of
     dis-sent...."

The whine of the jets
pierce like a long needle.

As soon as the President finishes his press conference,
    black wings carry off the words,
bits of flesh still clinging to them.

****


The ministers lie, the professors lie, the television
    reporters lie, the priests lie,
What are these lies? They mean that the country wants
    to die.
Lie after lie starts out into the prairie grass,
like mile-long caravans of Conestoga wagons crossing the
    Platte.

And a long desire for death goes with them, guiding it all
    from beneath:
"a death longing if all longing else be vain,"
stringing together the vague and foolish words.

It is a desire to eat death,
to gobble it down,
to rush on it like a cobra with mouth open.
It is a desire to take death inside,
to feel it burning inside, pushing out velvety hairs,
like a clothes brush in the intestines -

That is the thrill that leads the President to lie.

****


Now the Chief Executive enters, and the press
    conference begins.
First the President lies about the date the Appalachian
    Mountains rose.
Then he lies about the population of Chicago,
the the weight of the adult eagle, and the acreage of the
    Everglades.
Now he lies about the number of fish taken every year in
    the Arctic.

He has private information about which city is the capital
    of Wyoming.
He lies next about the birthplace of Attila the Hun,
The about the composition of the amniotic fluid.

He insists Luther was never a German,
and only the Protestants sold indulgences.
He declares that Pope Leo X wanted to reform the
    Church, but the liberal elements prevented him.
He declares the Peasants' War was fomented by Italians
    from the North.
And the Attorney General lies about the time the sun
    sets.

****


These lies mean that something in the nation wants to
    die.
What is there now to hold us to earth? We long to go.
It is the longing for someone to come and take us by the
    hand to where they all are sleeping:
where the Egyptian pharaohs are asleep, and our own
    mothers,
and all those disappeared children, who went around
    with us on the rings at grade school.

Do not be angry at the President -
He is longing to take in his hands the locks of death-hair:
to meet his own children, dead, or never born....

He is drifting sideways toward the dusty places.    







This is an old poem, written a couple of years ago and included in my book Seven Beats a Second. I think I've used it here before, but it seem to be appropriate to use it right here again. Sometimes, when we are most passionate about something, most committed and most certain of our own intelligence and virtue, it is time to ask, with humility, whether we are all really asking the right questions.

That's what this poem is about.


antiwar poems are easy

the heart of the matter is that
the heart of the matter
sometimes doesn't matter much

antiwar poems are easy
since, in our hearts,
we all know that the logic of war
that says I will kill strangers
until a stranger kills me
is insane

and who can deny that in our hearts
we all know a human fetus
no matter how small
and misshapen and incomplete
is a human-in-waiting
holding within its tiny bounds
all the capacity for love
and laughter as any of us

and who,
even among the most aggrieved of us
could, without a tremor
of hand and heart, push the button
that drops the cyanid pellet
ending the life
of even the bloodiest
of our murdering kind

yet we kill strangers
who might someday
have been our friend

and we erase from the future
the love and laughter of those
we decide will never be

and we murder the murderers
with appropriate
writ and ceremony

all these terrible things we do
because our heart cannot guide us
in choosing the lesser of evils

it is our lizard brain we must turn to
when the heart of the matter
doesn't matter enough







Here's a short piece by Carl Sandburg. Most would say his time has come and gone but I think he'll be back, valued at some point in the future. if not for his artistic merit, at least for his acute eye and sharp pen, just as we value many of the ancient poets for the glimpses of real life in times long before our own.


Cumulatives

Storms have beaten on this point of land
And ships gone to wreck here
      and the passers-by remember it
      with talk on the deck at night
      as they near it.

Fists have beaten on the face of this old prizefighter
And his battles have held the sporting pages
      and on the street they indicate him with their
      right forefinger as one who once wore
      a championship belt.

A hundred stories have been published and a thousand
   rumored
About why this tall dark man has divorced two beautiful
   young women
And married a third who resembles the first two
      and the shake their heads and say, "There he
        goes,"
      when he passes by in sunny weather or in rain
      along the city streets.







Carl Sandburg was the working man's poet. I'm ok with doing that, as long as I don't get confused with a working man. My days of that are over.

Like it's said, I love work and could watch it all day.

That's me.


working man blues

did
some gainful
employment
today

I try
to keep such
antisocial
behavior
to a minimum
but do stumble
into it
now
and again
though
I much prefer
pecking away
at this key
board
ungainful
though it may
be
there is a certain
soul
satisfaction
to it when
the stars
are
aligned
and it
feels like
just the thing
that ought to be
done
right now
right here
with
you







I think this must be the darkest poem I've ever read, with an ending that sucks the breath right out of you. It's by Wendy Rose and it's from the collection Harper's Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry.


The Day They Cleaned Up the Border El Salvador, February, 1981

      "(Government Soldiers) killed my children. I
      saw it. I saw the head of a baby float-
      ing in the water."

        Surviving village woman as quoted in
        the news

How comforting
the clarity
of water,
flute music
in a rush
or startling
hush,
crackle of grass
like seeds
in a gourd
and the soothing
whisper
of the reeds.
I prayed the whole night
to be taken to my past,
for the pounding of rifles
comes again and again
morning by morning
till my two babies lay,
names stolen away,
in their beds
and in the yard
where they had played.
so many gone
and I pray to be taken,
for the lizards to notice
and begin eating
at my feet,
work their way up
till even my heart
is nibbled away.
I have come so many mornings
to the stream, so many times prayed
in the glistening mist
and now
drink oceans to drown myself
from the mountains
of memory.    But look -
that little melon rind
or round gourd, brown and white
in the water
where I could pluck it out
and use it dry, slipping past me
in the ripples and turning
till its tiny mouth,
still suckling,
points
at me.







Now, another vision of hell on earth, this one from Laura Ring, another "Here and Now" first-timer. I think this was the first of Laura's poems that I read, just a couple of days ago, on the Wild Poetry Forum.

Here it is for you to read.


Dis-articulated

          "Body parts were scattered over streets and buildings today
          after an explosion in Karachi's busiest marketplace."


At high detonation velocity, bomb beats body
every time. I imagine a headscarf of white chiffon, snagged
on the splintered beam of a tea stall; Bata sandal
thrown atop canvas awning.

You tell me I must picture the phalange of a young man
coiled in a dust-strewn skein of Chinese silk, or a child's
distal metacarpal as it tears through toppled aluminum pans
but the mind does not work this way.

The physical laws of the universe
are unbending. In the blast perimeter,
there is little for the eye to linger on.

Bangle Market is gone, redacted
like the anatomical terms in Modi's Medical Jurisprudence
I picked up on a lark at Urdu Bazaar.

The dark-eyed vendors who slide bracelets of colored glass
onto newlywed wrists. Beggar children
with infected nose rings and tiny-beak fingers who peck
the memsahib's forearm. Donkey carts, hagglers, merchants, all
removed from the knowable world.

Not removed, you say, just blown to bits: zippers, snaps,
belt buckles soldered to pavement; nubuck falling
like confetti - the fanfare of a second slaughter. Skull
nestled in gray matter, flesh painted on stone and I

hate you, staff reporter, for your pitiless turn of phrase.







Our next poet, Shawn Nacona Stroud, is another first-timer here at "Here and Now." He is a native of Florida and now resides in Charlotte, NC where he paints and writes poetry. He also works in graphic arts. His poetry has appeared in Mississippi Crow Magazine and the Loch Raven Review.

Here's Shawn's poem.


Becoming Virginia Woolf

Everything wavers,
iridescent glass
moils above me
as a chilled gush-gust
continually flaps me
along the riverbed.

I sway like seaweed.

Carp, Pike, and Barbel
regard me with interested eyes
while awaiting dinner.

My fingers glide across
anchors of stone
that pack each pocket,
stroke the smooth surfaces
which weigh me down
with unquestionable intent.

I watch trapped oxygen escape
from each waterlogged nostril -
air balloons rise towards the heavens.
They tick time like a doomsday clock
constantly counts down seconds.

Soon the mouth dam will fail -
aquatic air will flood in
and fish will clench and gnaw
with cannibal jaws
while they eat me as their own.







Over past weeks we've read a number of the short travel poems of French poet Blaise Cendrars, taken from his book Complete Poems. Last week, he was in the eastern United States. Now we have several short poems from a section he called Far West


I. Cucumingo

The San Bernadino hacienda
I ws built in the middle of a lush valley fed by a multitude of small
   streams that run down from the surrounding mountains
The roofs are tile red in the shade of sycamores and laurels

Trout thrive in the streams
Immense flocks graze untended in the lush meadows
The orchards are thick with fruit pears apples grapes pineapples figs
   oranges
And in the truck gardens
Old World vegetables grow beside those of the tropics

Plenty of game here
The California quail
The rabbit known as the cottontail
The long-eared hare known as the jackass
The prairie hen the turtle dove the partridge
The wild duck and wild goose
The antelope
It's true you still see wildcats and rattlesnakes
But there aren't any pumas anymore


II Dorypha

On holidays
When the Indians and vaqueros get drunk on whiskey and pulque
Dorypha dances
To the sound of the Mexican guitar
Such exciting habaneras
That people come from miles around to admire her

No woman knows as well as she
How to drape the silk mantilla
And to fix her blond hair
With a ribbon
A comb
A flower


III. The Mockingbird

The heat is staggering
Balcony shaded with trumpet vines and purplish honeysuckle
In the big silence of the dozing countryside
You can hear
The gurgling of little rills
The distant mooing of big herds of grazing cattle
The song of the nightingale
The crystal-clear hissing of big bullfrogs
The hooting of the owl
And the call of the mockingbird in the cactus


IV. Mushroom Town

Toward the end of the year 1911 a group of Yankee financiers decide to
   build a town way out west at the foot of the Rocky Mountains
Not even a month goes by and there are three Union railroads although
   still no houses
Workers pour in from everywhere
As early as the second month three churches are built and five theaters
   are going full blast
Around a square that still has a few nice trees a forest of metal girders
   rings day and night with pounding hammers
Winches
Machines huffing and puffing
The steel skeletons of houses thirty stories high start lining up
Brick walls ar often plain aluminum sheets fill in the interstices of the
   framework
In a few hours reinforced concrete is poured using the Edison method
Because of a sort of superstition no one wants to christen the town and a
   contest is announced with a raffle and prizes given by the town's
   biggest newspaper which is also looking for a name


V. Club

Although it's on the official map of the town this street still consists only
   of plank fences and piles of rubbish
The only way to get across the street is by hopping in zigzags over the
   mud and puddles
At the end of this unfinished boulevard lit by powerful arc lights is the
   Black Bean Club which is also a matrimonial agency
Wearing cowboy hats or wool caps with earflaps
Faces hard as nails
Men get out of the 60-horsepower cars they're breaking in and put their
   names on the list look through the photograph album
Choose their fiancees who are cabled to embark at Cherbourg on the
   Keiser Wilhelm and who sail full steam ahead
Mostly German girls
A stable-boy in black wearing swansdown shoes opens he door with a
   glacial propriety and gives the newcomer a suspicious once-over
I drink a whiskey cocktail then another then another
Then a mint julep a mother's milk a prairie oyster a nightcap

(Translated by Ron Padgett)







Next, here's a little travel poem of my own.


prelude to the afternoon of the froot loop

the clouds
were hanging low
black
as the joke
that made the
hang-
man
laugh
but the rain had been
sporadic and light
so we took a drive
out to Medina Lake
for a late lunch at
Oasis Bar and Grill
right on the lake
in little Mico
so small
they didn't even
bother
to widen the road

(thick boneless
pork chops
with razzberry
chipotle sauce -
the best ever)

then scouted out
some of the little
one and a half lane
county roads
that run patched
and bumpy
over rocky hills
through little
stone canyons
not sure
usually
where we were
or where we were
going and
all around
green trees
green hills
green meadows
green valleys
green
green
green
in the hill country
in July, what
a marvelous
believe-it-or-not
thing it is to see

finally
found our way
to County Road 471
where we started
then to Culebra
to Grissom
Bandera
Rolling Ridge
and finally home
for a bowl of
Froot Loops
and Law & Order
reruns







Next, a little fun with e.e. cummings from his book is 5. This poem is the eleventh poem from the second section of the book, titled in true cummings fashion, Two


XI

my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent

war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

for,
my sister

isabel created hundreds
(and
hundreds)of socks not to
mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers

etcetera wristers etcetera,my
mother hoped that

I would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera
(dreaming,
et
  ecetera,of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)







Sometimes it's fun to just let the old brain ramble off on its own.


it's about the syrup

just
riffing
in my head with
no particular
place
to go poem
wise
and I'm
reminded
it's friday
night
so it was dinner
at cha cha's
a family friday
tradition
the san antonio
branch of the family
getting together
on friday night
usually
at cha cha's
since they
have a botana
grande
platter that'll
feed four
or five
and my favorites
pollo en mole
chili rellano
and texas style
enchiladas
which is a kind
of a gringo
enchilada
smothered in
american
cheese
velvetta
for
authenticity
and chile sauce
with onions on the
side and crackers
yep crackers
like I said a
gringo enchilada
and since I'm
the only gringo
in the bunch
I'm given a pass
especially if I
show proper
respect
by alternating
with the rellano
and the mole
I'm telling you
this diversity stuff
works out if you
give it a try
I'm even allowed
my tennessee hillbilly
beans and cornbread
at home if I don't
make a fuss
about the beans
and rice
and we don't
have
company
to see
what I do
with the syrup







Now, two short poems from Guillaume Apollinaire, another French poet from the same milieu as Cendrars, contemporaries in both time and style. (Also like Cendrars, a traveler, including visits to the United States at about the same time as Cendrars.)


The Wind by Night

Oh! the pine tops grind as they collide
The wind is moaning from the southern places
From the river nearby triumphal voices
Of pixies laugh into the gusts
Attis Attis Attis bare breasted sexy
It is you the pixies ridicule
Your trees are falling in the gothic wind
Your forest panics like a primitive army
Whose lances o pine trees tremble in retreat
And now and now extincted villages muse
Like virgin girls or poets or old men
They will never respond no matter what happens
Not even when vultures pounce on their pigeons


Autumn

In the fog the knock-kneed peasant and his ox
Go slowly through the autumn fog
That hides the villages and all their ugliness

The peasant keeps on walking humming
A song about love and deception
A song about a ring and a heart on fire

Oh autumn the autumn ambushed the summer
In the fog I saw two shadows going

(Poems translated by Donald Revell)







Here's a new poem from a web-friend we haven't seen in a while, Alan Addotto.


Subdivisions

Zeno, an ancient Greek philosopher thought
that no journey could be undertaken
because there was an infinity of subdivided distances,
an uncountable sum of fractional parts to traverse
between the origin and the destination.
Halfway there broke down to quarters
which broke down to eighths......ad infinitum
and worse.

This morning as you left for work
walking toward your car
after your goodbye kiss for the day
I thought of this.

How long is a second again?

a minute?

an hour?

a day?

While you are away
I wait
Caught
between anticipation and fear







I visited my favorite Half-Priced Books on Broadway this morning and found I, In The Membership Of My Days, a book of poetry by the now-deceased British actor Richard Harris. I think the last thing I saw him in (maybe the last thing he was in) was Eastwood's Unforgiven. He played the gunfighter English Bob, almost a comic character until Gene Hackman beat the crap out of him.

Here's a poem from the book.


On The One-Day-Dead Face Of My Father

              May 1968

Can you touch me
now
With your marble lips
and increase your love?

Can you now touch me
with your dead hand
and direct me in my path?

Now can you see me
in your dea'
and say 'What is right”
Though you know the answer now
Now in your stillness
Pave the way of my doing

Cold thoughts in your give
creep away
and say
in your marble walk
and cold tombstone of you stare

Rise
now
above your mound and wound
and see you son in your eye
Touch again
the fond fountain of his
flow;
Grow
in the dead and deadly of your going

Can the paint and corrupt of your image
colour the size of my want?
Can your star in its mighty walk
balk
my evolution in its stride?

Guide me
now
in your silence
Cough up one silent prayer and stare
at me again
and see the woven fabric
of your doing
bend his knee
and plea in the tired optic of your stare
a prayer
of acceptance

Father in your mound
and farther away
I stay
at marble length and cry
Hoping that by and by in your height
I might grow
in your marble sight







Memory is a little thing we take out of the drawer sometimes to play with. Sometimes we get more than we bargain for.




memories are like roses

memories
are like roses
the more you pick
the more they
bloom
and
lately
I've been
trying to pick
some of my
earliest
like I remember
when I was four
sitting on the floor
by my parents' bed
with my father and my
older brother
learning that I had
a new baby brother
born that day
and a year or two
before that in another
city playing in the
sunshine with a little
blond girl just a moment
I remember as light
bright sunlight and
the brilliant light
of the little girl's
hair like that
nano-moment
when a flash camera
flashes and all is
bright then gone
before you can blink
and between those
two found pieces
of my life
waking up at midnight
when my dad came home
from work with a present
for me a little metal
airplane with wooden
wings he made for me
and it's only many years
later I think of that and
of the time it took to
make that little
airplane by hand
and the love
that went into it's
creation
and recognition
that it was
the best present
I ever received
and a better present
than I ever gave
my son better
than the nintendo
and the ninja turtles
and the transformers
and all those other
like things that came
and went before one
year's birthday
could be overtaken
by the next
and I am saddened
by my failure and
even more
by my too-late
recognition that
time to do better
is
past







I also found this morning a night without armor, a book of poetry by singer/songwriter Jewel.

Here's the poem.


Underage

I hung out once in the bathroom of Trade Winds Harley
    bar in Anchorage
with several biker chicks for company until the cops left.
They had pale skin and thick black eye makeup
and they asked me to sing at their weddings.
I said I'd ask my dad.

We all sat on the counter and waited for the pigs to leave.
Some guy O.D's and was outside foaming at the mouth.

I remember looking in the mirror
and seeing this white face,
my shirt all buttoned up.
The women were nice to me
and looked like dark angels
beside me. I like them,
and together we waited
patiently for the cops to leave,
so I could go back out
and join my dad up
on stage.







I made a new poetry friend at the Casa Chiapas Poetry Table, Lori L. E. Simpson. Lori is a short story writer, novelist and performance poet. Here are three short poems she read for us Thursday night.


Pantoum of Saldana Street

I grew up on a mostly quiet street,
There's not much more I can say.
I grew up listening to a heavy beat,
And I still hear it today.

There's not much more I can say...
Except the song my heart sang was not always sweet,
And I still hear it today.
It still moves my soul and feet.

I wish there was something more I could say.
I grew up listening to a heavy beat,
Though I'm learning to listen to myself any way,
I grew up on a (mostly) quiet street.


For Finding Your Poetry Again

Take your pen in hand,
There's no need to rush,
No need to understand
What your heart won't hush.

Write down the first thing
That comes to mind.
If it makes your heart to sing,
That's just fine.

If it makes you heart to weep.
That's fine, too..
Simply wake from your sleep
Poetry...will come to you.


If Shakespeare Were Alive Today Would He Write?

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women
Are merely TV addicts.
They leave their sets
To enter the kitchen,
Only to exit with junk food,
And lie around on the sofa,
Waiting to be entertained,
As reality show players,
Instead of true actors.







Well, have to leave now. The situation has gotten dire and if I don't leave quick I may be put in charge of fixing it. Here's the problem, as I see it.


the threat grows worse by the hour

I avert
my eyes
as I walk
from the front door
to my car, trying
not to see the grass
grown to savannah
heights as I pass

it was the rain

miracle grow
falling from the
sky and falling
and falling and
falling

more, more
more
until
the rivers are
high and lakes
are full and the aquifer levels are risen to
restart natural springs
dormant for fifty years
and
all of that's nice
but
the grass
the thick high grass
growing still
higher
even as I sit
here typing
this desperate
missive
to you, growing
even as I sip my
latte in this pleasant
air-conditioned
enclave
of books and
studious people
type type typing
on their laptops,
taking no notice
of the threat
gathering
in yards across
this city
as the grass
grows
and the temperature
rises
and the humidity
turns the yards
in which the grasses
grow into open air
steam rooms

and
sooner or later
someone
will have to go
out into that
hell
to cut
this grass as
it grows grows
grows
even more
and I'm
afraid
afraid afraid
it's going to be
me







Well, that's all for this time out. We'll be back next week with more of our jams and jellies for your consideration.

I'll be watching for you.

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