Blue Harbor   Friday, November 23, 2007


II.11.4




Welcome back, all. Still suffering from pecan pie overdose and don't feel up to preliminary chit chat, so on to "Here and Now."







My first poem is by A.D. Winans from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.

Here's what Winans has to say about himself.

"I made North Beach my home away from home for 1958 through much of the eighties, but never considered myself a Beat poet or writer. If one must use labels, I would prefer the label of bohemian. T.S. Eliot and William Carlos Williams were two of the earliest poets to influence me. However, it was jazz and jazz musicians like Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Leadbelly, and Miles DAvis that excited me early on. I'm not a guru. I don't go to the mountains looking for the Dalai Lama. I create largely in isolation. I don't long for academic recognition, but neither do I see the academic world as my enemy, as Charles Bukowski did. I simply write from the heart.

I've published 22 books of poetry and have been published in over 500 literary periodicals and anthologies, but that isn't what is important. What you do with it is a different matter. I hope I have earned more good karma than bad karma points. I hope in the end I can look death in the face and say that I've played the game honestly and that I never sold my integrity."

Here's his poem.



Poem for the Working Man and the Upper Mobile Yuppie

Some people guard their lives
Like a eunuch guards
The Harem door
Like a stock broker with
A hot tip
Like a banker who knows
That today's dollar will only
Be worth one-fourth what
It is today
In less time that it takes
To die
Better to linger over
A cup of coffee
Like a skilled lover with
No need for bragging rights
Remember that every newsman
On every street corner in America
That every meat packer and fisherman
Knows more about life than
Your average poet
That blind man rattling
An empty tin cup
Makes more noise than
A yuppie gunning
His BMW
On his way
to the graveyard








This is a good poem for this time of the year from Gary Blankenship. It is from Gary's series based on Whitman's Song of Myself.

Section 16 of Song of Myself includes about sixty lines of occupations, types of people, and the like (for example, pilot, duck hunter, bride, and so forth. The challenge Gary set for himself was to write a series of short poems each inspired by one of the occupations, people mentioned by Whitman in his poem.

We did the first two poems in the series two weeks ago. Here's number 3.

Note: The italic lead at the beginning of each poem is quoted from Whitman's text.



Song of Myself #3 - Children


3. The married and unmarried children ride home

on freeways and city streets
the unexpected and expecting

with thoughts of Mama's cornmeal dressing
Delilah's green beans topped with crispy onions
sticky buns and pecan pie
Wilbur's special blend

after - satiated
asleep through the rattle of dishes
Sam pays me cause he didn't make the spread
a fight between Robert and his friend

until the next holiday
the children married and unmarried return home
on thruways and country roads

some stay the night on Mama's couch
some hit the bars
I sleep off Wilbur's special blend








I made a run to the used book store last week and picked up several good poetry books. This next poem is from one of them (purchased for the grand total price of $4.98), One Hundred Poems From The Japanese, collected, edited and translated by Kenneth Rexrote. The book was originally published in 1955, but the paperback version I have was published by New Directions Paperbacks in 1964.

I selected five poems to present here, the first five in the book, all by Yamabe No Akahito who lived during the reign of the Emperor Shomu and who is thought to have died in 736 A.D. He is a kasei, a deified poet.

Rexrote, in his notes, suggests that the point of the first poem is the contrast of white on white, typical, he says, of he kind of perception prized in Japanese poetry. The next poem is often used to mean "I had such a good time in Yoshiwara, or elsewhere, in feminine company, I forgot to come home." In Akahito's time it probably referred to one of the ladies of the palace, or, it could mean just what it says. The third poem, he says, could refer to the sudden realization of old age during a love affair with a young girl. He makes no suggestion about the fourth and fifth poem, so I guess we'll have to figure it out ourselves.

Here are the poems, figured out or not.



I

I passed by the beach
At Tago and saw
The snow falling, pure white,
High on the peak of Fuji.


II

When I went out
In the Spring meadows
To gather violets,
I enjoyed myself
So much that I stayed all night.


III

Tomorrow I was
Going to the Spring Meadows
To pick the young greens.
It snowed all day yesterday
And snowed all day today.

IV

On Fujiyama
Under he midsummer moon
The snow melts, and falls
Again the same night.


V

The mists rise over
The still pools at Asuka.
Memory does not
Pass away so easily.








Alice Folkart invented a little three line form that ended up being called a "miku" because they're so tiny.

Mine aren't as good as hers, but I tried anyway.



after alice

dogs bark
moon
slips between low clouds

****

morning mist
warns
dreary day

****

sunburst
as clouds
part, make way

****

child
with book,
miles away

****

bright wrapping paper
christmas
for sale here









And now, a shortie by e. e. cummings from his book is 5.



XX

mr youse needn't be so spry
concernin questions arty

each has his tastes but as for i
i likes a certain party

gimme the he-man's solid bliss
for youse ideas i'll match youse

a pretty girl who naked is
is worth a million statues





Photo by Michaela Gabriel




Now, as promised last week, we have photos from our friend in Vienna, poet, artist, English and computer teacher, web designer and photographer Michaela Gabriel.




Photo by Michaela Gabriel



Photo by Michaela Gabriel



Photo by Michaela Gabriel



Photo by Michaela Gabriel



Photo by Michaela Gabriel









Here's a fanciful tale from our friend from Denmark Jane Roken.

Hang pictures with no tools or use of studs

We meet in the stage props storage hall
for the annual picture hanging séance.
Three days we have fasted and prayed.

The pictures are waiting. Mostly portraits:
founding fathers of the town, fossilized mayors,
dismantled parish councils, antediluvian squires.

Before we enter the hall, we strip and leave
everything in the cloakroom. No cheating. No
hidden tools or studs. (Grant us fortitude!)

Don't expect to come away smelling like roses.
What we're dealing with is an unholy ordure
of pictures like chopped-off heads of monsters,

they cling to everything, thinking they are still
something or other, their voices scratching
raucous, invisible words on any surface.

The worst part is when they start mocking us,
their long yellowish hog-eyes poking
at our nakedness. Their unbearable laughter.

No chance of calling them to order. And then
finally, the undignified, frantic scurrying
to get away from the giggling reptiles.

It is tough, not least on new participants.
Comrade, are you alright? Are you still with us?
Rap once for yes, twice for no.








Another book from my buying spree ($2.98) this week is Storyville, A Hidden Mirror by Brooke Bergan.

The poems are about Storyville, that part of New Orleans just two blocks from the French Quarter that was the city's Red Light District from 1899, when it was created by city ordinance, to 1917, when it was abolished. It was probably the most famous district of it's kind in the United States, producing, along with its whores, gambling and night life, the invention of jazz.

Along with Bergan's poems, the book includes several photographs by Ernest J. Bellocq, a commercial photographer who specialized in boats and machinery parts, but whose total surviving photos are of the prostitutes of Storyville. An artist, Bellocq did portraits, revealing a part of Americana unique to our history. If you remember the movie Pretty Baby, Keith Carradine played a fictionalized version of Bellocql. Many of the poems in the book are based on Bellocq portraits.

Bergan has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has taught writing classes and workshops for fifteen years in grade schools, high schools, libraries, colleges, and universities to widely diverse audiences around the country and is herself widely published.

In some poems, such as this one, Bergan imagines the voices of people from the era.



Voices 4

Jazz is what white folks should be. It come from everywhere - from
Africa, from white folks songs, from the riverboats...

         Jelly Roll, he was half-way a pimp. Most of those fellows
         that played the District were. He could play and he knew
         it alright. But he wasn't the best, and he knew that too.
         The best, the greatest bluesman ever was Tony Jackson.
         We all copied him. Sometimes there'd be so many people
         crowding around his piano he could hardly move his
         hands. He was, well, a sissy, I guess you'd call it. Moved
         on to Chicago after a while and just drank himself to
         death playing in the tenderloin up there.

                  After the district closed, I left and was married in
                  1919. My husband knew nothing about my
                  previous career. I maintained no contact with the
                  colleagues of my Storyville days, except Gertrude
                  Dix Anderson, whom I visit whenever I find
                  myself in New Orleans. I go back frequently,
                  especially for Carnival, which I love dearly.

                           May Spencer, she take me in
                           her house 1911 - I coo'n't
                           speke no English. She's treat
                           me better than my mawther.
                           May Spencer. People says she
                           rooeen't me! I was
                           puta at home before I come
                           dees country. May Spencer
                           treat me real good. Like
                           mawther. Better.

                  All my three girls is older now than I was
                  when I quit the business. They've been to
                  college but I don't see that they're much
                  better off than I was at their age. I know
                  it'd be good if I could say how awful it
                  was and how crime don't pay - but to me
                  it seems just like anything else - like a kid
                  whose father owns a grocery store. He
                  helps him in the store. Well, my mother
                  didn't sell groceries.








This poem got started at the end of a day last week when I signed off on several thousand dollars in renovation and repairs on the place. That's about what we might have cleared in profits on it for the year. Buy high, sell low, that's my investment motto.



to be a country boy again



we have a little rental property
outside San Marcos,
a mobile home on three/quarters
of an acre, set high among rolling hills,
on the edge of the Edwards Escarpment,
that geological separation
marking the end of the Texas
hill country and the beginning
of the Texas coastal plains -
and just a mile away the
San Marcos River,
cold and clear even
in the hottest
days of summer
because of it's proximity
to it's headwater springs

we bought the place
for a purpose and when that purpose
expired we kept it to rent
because that seemed easier
than trying to sell it -
now we have a good tenant,
the kind of golden tenant
landlords dream of
and selling it now would
seem like betrayal of them

even so, every now and then,
caught here in city traffic
or tossing in restless sleep
as the fourth ambulance
of the night passes just
a half a block away,
I think of those rolling hills
and the river and country quiet
nights country fresh air
and decide, maybe,
just maybe, I could learn
to be a country
boy again








This poem is also from one of my book store finds, Two-Headed
Poems
by Margaret Atwood.

Atwood is the author of four novels, as well as numerous collections
of poetry. At the time this book was published by Simon and Schuster
in 1978, she was living in Toronto with her daughter and the novelist,
Graeme Gibson.

We've been hearing a lot about torture in the news, more than I want
to hear, anyway. Well here's a view from inside the chamber as seen by
the cleanup help.



Footnote To The Amnesty Report On Torture

The torture chamber is not like anything
you would have expected.
No opera set or sexy chains and
leather-goods from the glossy
porno magazines, no thirties horror
dungeon with gauzy cobwebs; nor is it
the bare cold-lighted
chrome space of the future
we think we fear.
More like one of the seedier
British Railways stations, with scratched green
walls and spilt tea,
crumpled papers, and a stooped man
who is always cleaning the floor.

It stinks though; like a hospital,
of antiseptics and sickness,
and, on some days, blood
which smells the same anywhere,
here or at the butcher's.

The man who works here
is losing his sense of smell.
He's glad to have this job, because
there are few others.
He isn't a torturer, he only
cleans the floor:
every morning the same vomit,
the same shed teeth, the same
piss and liquid shit, the same panic.

Some have courage, others
don't; those who do what he thinks of
as the real work, and who are
bored, since minor bureaucrats
are always bored, tell them
it doesn't matter, who
will ever know they were brave, they might
as well talk now
and get it over.

Some have nothing to say, which also
doesn't matter. Their
warped bodies too, with the torn
fingers and ragged tongues, are thrown
over the spiked iron fence onto
the Consul's lawn, along with
the bodies of the children
burned to make their mothers talk.

The man who cleans the floor
is glad it isn't him.
It will be if he ever says
what he knows. He works long hours,
submits to the searches, eats
a meal he brings from home, which tastes
of old blood and the sawdust
he cleans the floor with. His wife
is pleased he brings her money
for the food, has been told
not to ask questions,

As he sweeps, he tries
not to listen; he tries
to make himself into a wall,
a thick wall, a wall
soft and without echoes. He thinks
of nothing but the walk back
to the hot shed of his house,
of the door
opening and his children
with their unmarked skin and flawless eyes
running to meet him.

He is afraid of
what he might do
if he were told to,
he is afraid of the door,

he is afraid, not
of the door but of the door
opening; sometimes, no matter
how hard he tries,
his children are not there.








Nancy Williams Lazar is with us again this week, talking about her chestnut obsession.



American Chestnut Obsession


From the sky, angular tongues of land lay
fallow, ready for their Spring sowing -
squares of golden, brown or emerald

with early sod. As my plane descends I spy
my hill, a wide scar covered with silver rooftops
and a patch of woods where I once searched

for American chestnut trees. I'd memorized
points on leaves that swished like a skirt
and their spiral stems; scoured ground

for bowl-shaped nuts to indicate American,
not Chinese or beech. All I discovered were small
trees with diseased bark, red with virus.

My obsession lasted through my last
year of menstruation, the year
I knew I would never be a bearer of fruit.








Here's something from Guillaume Apollinaire, a turn-of-the-century contemporary of Blaise Cendrars and like Cendrars a world traveler. The poem is from the book Alcools, a collection of his poems, published by the Wesleyan University Press in 1995. The translation is by Donald Revell.



The Bells

Fair gypsy my fuckster
Listen to the bells

Our love was a secret
We kept to ourselves

But we weren't invisible
Every tower in town
Saw what we did
And the bells spread it round

By tomorrow St. Ursula
Catherine and Henry
The baker her husband
And all of my cousins

Will smile as I go by
I won't know where to put myself
Now that you're gone
I might even die








So here, AGAIN, is another poem about not being able to write a poem. If I keep this up, I may do a whole chapbook of poems about not being able to write a poem.

This one's not so bad, though, poem-wise.



the best of intentions

i was going
to write a poem
today
about the beautiful
morning
that began it

but
everything
i write
sounds like a
parody
of the poem
i would write
if i could write
a poem
today

so i
won't








I used the first two sections of this poem by Sapphire last week. It's from her book American Dreams.

If you didn't see the poem last week, you can read it now by scrolling down to last week's issue. In the meantime, here are the concluding two parts of the poem.



from Rabbit Man

3.

you saw death like the black legs of your mother
like the bent teeth of your retarded sister
like the wet smell of light in a fish's eye.
you saw death riding without a car or credit cards.
you saw death creeping waddling like the fat women
   you hated.
you saw Jesus could not save you.

god's hand is creased with the smell of burnt hair and
   hot grease,
she hears you tell your sons don't get no
   black nappy-head woman.
her titties sag down sad snakes that crawl up your legs
till your penis talks and with blind sight you see
the two daughters you left in the desert without water.
oh death knows you and invites you for dinner,
rolls out the driveway like a coupe de ville,
is a snake-tongued daughter who turns on you,
is a thirsty rabbit choking on a lonely road.
death is an ax in an elevator rising to the sun.
death is god's egg.
death is a daughter who eats,
you are the table now the wet black earth lays upon -
you are dinner for dirt,
a cadillac spinning back to a one-room shack.
you are the rabbit released from fear,
the circle broken by sun
the handle of a buried ax,
head rolling thru the desert
like tumbleweed -
back to Neptune.

4.

now I am the queen of sand,
wind wrapping like wire around the rabbit's neck,
the end of a cycle.
my children refuse to believe your penis is a lollipop.
my children are the desert in bloom
cactus flowers opening to forgiveness,
millions of rabbits hopping -
hopping over you








I wrote this poem six months to a year ago, a social commentary type piece. I may have used it here, but maybe not. It does seem to flow from Sapphire's poem.

It later appeared in Hiss Quarterly.



invisible

I saw it in the paper
yesterday - invisibility
is proven theoretically possible,
with individual Harry Potter-like
clocks of invisibility likely available
within ten years
for those who can afford them

it has to do with adjusting
the thingamawompers
or realigning
the woolypodaddles
or some such...

it's all physics to me

I don't understand the technical
elements involved and neither
do I understand why, with
so many people already invisible,
a scientist needs to make an
invisibility cloak

all a person needs to do
to be unnoticed and unseen
is be poor, no money required

now, I don't mean poor like
those street corner pity panderers
who've figured out there's
a pretty good living to be made
appearing miserable in public
so that otherwise unexceptional people
can feel good about themselves

only costs a buck
and you can be special, too

no, I'm talking about the really
invisible, the real poor people
with a sick kid
and no insurance
paying two-thirds their income
for rat-hole housing
on dirty and dangerous streets
in a part of town you'll never see

unless your maid misses her bus
or your yardman's car breaks down

but you'll probable do without them
if that happens, because, you know,
it smells down there and there's
plenty more where they came from
anyway, or how about the children,
unprepared to learn, sent to schools
that expect them to fail,don't see
much of them, and old people
turning into husks of the men
and women they were, lying alone
and untouched by love or attention
in tiled rooms on tiled halls
awaiting their date of expiration

so many

so many invisible people already
unseen

science is a wonderful thing,
all my life it's made
my fantasies come real,
from moon walks to the daily dose
of drugs that will keep me living
beyond the time I've earned
with the reckless life I've led,
but its moral blindness makes
it not the tool for seeing true

for that, other vision is required

leaving me with no way to end
this poem but with a preaching
and if sermonize I must, I will try
to preach it straight - there is no god
who has an eye those whom we deny

if they are to be seen it must be done
by the likes of you and I








I found some really nice stuff in my used bookstore haunt this past week, including Gourd Seed by Coleman Barks. It was published by Maypop Books in 1993. It cost me the grand total of $3.98.

The poet, Barks, published his first book of poetry in 1972, though he was primarily known in 1993 for his translations of the 13th century mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi. Accordingly to the book, this book represents his collected writings for the fifteen years prior.

I like the way this guy writes. He has a clear, direct style that appeals to me. I heard him this afternoon on NPR, reading one of his Rumi translations. I also like the way he reads.

The thing to remember as you read this poem is that this was the "good" Gulf War, not the abomination going on now. It serves as a reminder that whether it's a good war (and I believe there can be such a thing, maybe not "good" but necessary) or an abomination, the effects of it are the same on the body and soul of those who fight it.



Becoming Milton

Milton, the airport driver, retired now
from trucking, who ferried me
from the Greenville-Spartanburg airport
to Athens last Sunday midnight to 2:30 a.m.,
tells me abut his son Tom, just back
from the Gulf War. "He's at Fort Stewart
with the 102d Mechanized, the first tank unit
over the line, not a short fired at them.
His job was to check the Iraqi tanks
that the airstrikes hit, hundreds of them.
The boy had never even come up on a car accident
here at home, twenty-four years old. Can you
imagine what he lifted the lid to find?
Three helmets with heads in them staring
from the floor, and that's just one tank.
He has screaming flashbacks, can't talk about it
anymore. I just told him to be strong
and put it out of his mind. With time,
if you stay strong, those things'll go away.
Or they'd find a bunker, one of those holes
they hid in, and yell something in American
and wait a minute, and then roll grenades in
and check it and find nineteen freshly killed guys,
some sixty, some fourteen, real thin.
They were just too scared to move.
He feels pretty bad about it, truthful,
all this yellow ribbon celebrating.
It wasn't a war really. I mean, he says
it was just piles and piles of bodies.
Some of his friends got sick, started vomiting,
and had to be walked back to the rear.
Looks like to me it could have been worked
some other way. My boy came through it OK,
but he won't go back. I'll tell you that.
He's getting out as soon as he can.
First chance comes, he'll be in Greenville
selling cars, or fixing them. He's good at both.
Pretty good carpenter too, you know how I know?
He'll tear the whole thing out if it's not right
and start over. There's some that'll look
at a board that's not flush and say shit,
nail it
, but he can't do that, Tom."








Here's a nice little autumn poem from friend of "Here and Now" and administrator of The Peaceful Pub poetry forum, Sara Zang.



Barely Skimming the Surface

willow leaf floating
barely skimming the surface
still waters run deep

a season of sun
glinting red, orange and gold
pied colors swirling

frost etches dark veins
a rose struggles in blooming
last trace of summer

night blankets the earth
whispers of moonlit shadows
dance past the pine trees








Here's a short piece from Harper's Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry by George Clutesi, a Tse-Shat artist and writer. He has published two books, including Son of Raven, Son of Deer which is used as an elementary English text in British Columbia. He is widely known as a spokesman for the traditional fables and stories of his people.

This is one of those fables.



The Beast in Man

From out of the waters it came with a moan.
Was it animal? Was it a man?
Alone it came for no other would condescend
To be its foe and not a friend.

You saw it gnash a dog in twain,
You saw the gore spill down the chin
While it the water trod.
You saw a grisly sight driven deep within the mind.

In the black waters of our lore
You saw a savage, a savage to the core.
The evil that you saw in the mist of the morn -
It was the beast in man.









I was looking for this piece last week, but couldn't find it because I couldn't remember what I had called it. I meant to use it as a companion to David Cuddy's poem about coming up on an accident on the road.

It's an older poem, written in 2001, published in 2002 inHawkwind.



road sign

blue sky

red cacophony
flashing
on black asphalt

yellow sheet
unfurled
like a flag
in the wind

lowered slowly
over the still
form

red
on black

blue sky
yellow flag








Jimmy Carter, former president and global activist, has written something like 20 books since he was voted out of office. One of those was this book I picked up last week, Always A Reckoning and Other Poems published by Random House in 1995. Like a lot of second life poets (like me), his poems are simple things, about people and places familiar to him, things he cares about.




A Motorcycling Sister

Her lives were always, simply said, her own,
So no one ever knew which one we'd come
To find - a charming southern lady who
Was dressed for tea, or one who made her home

A pad for biker gangs, Daytona bound,
Who'd stop and sometimes stay a week, as though
They'd found a mother - one who rode with them
On many trips. Once, down in Mexico,

She broke her leg, which kept her home awhile
But gave her extra time to freeze and can
Her garden's harvest for the crowds that came,
And ate, and slept on floors, then rode again.

Her final illness filled our town with men,
Leather-jacketed, with beards, who stayed
In shifts, uneasy, in her darkened room.
Telegrams were sent. The hearse was led

To graveside by those friends, two by two,
With one ahead: in all by thirty-seven
Large and noisy bikes. And on her tomb
They had inscribed SHE RIDES IN HARLEY HEAVEN.








Here's another fine piece from Thane Zander, our friend poeticizing away in New Zealand




The Last Train to Babylon

You made a million dollars last week, yet you cry the world owes you a favour. The washing in your room ranks five deep, and rank is what it is. Spend some money on a maid or housekeeper.

The Last Train to Babylon
left the rails south of Baghdad
the carnage for all to see
Sunni, Shia, Kurd, and foreigners
the taste of blood drying on a mouth smashed
I open
the emergency
box
try
to lift
the last
medical supplies
to help
patch
the wounded.

The cup on the nightstand beamed piping hot coffee, the cigarette in the ashtray drawing down. The polite discussion on the TV makes for background noise. I see the love for the written word flash across the screen as you tempted another morsel from the acclamation journal.

The Iraqi's flashed a warning to all
the tracks being blown to smithereens
no, the oil pipeline is safe, secure
the days of Hussein the Hated passed
you crawl
through
damaged
carriages
looking for children
broken bones
dead hearts
the loss
great
compared
to the war
that rages
diminishing now
a scream
another
lost mother

The ride downtown to choose your next business partner a major hassle with cars locked in grid-lock, the cell phone constantly beating out the next meeting. Cairo called to say something big is going down in the Middle East, something about a train of peacekeeping citizens being sabotaged for the sake of religion.

The crucifix, the star of David,
a Mullah with a memory of the Koran
practice death rights amongst the carnage
the disinterred bodies of the dead and dying
passing on their way, no matter the medical supplies.

I walk amongst
the evil
stand pithy
to their
ministrations
toss love bonds
deep
into
the
bowel
of the Eagle
silently
the Last Post
plays
another soldier
another three
citizens
the delay
between now
and then
the outcome
ongoing.

She draws the curtain in the office, now dimly lit by fluorescent tubes, the computer screen blinking email. You watch her go about her job, wondering if she would wear a burkha? Of course not, this is the free world. The urgency of another phone call reminds you to check your investments, to dial the doctor for another check up. Oh, she says the doctor is in Baghdad to help.








And yet another find from this week's used bookstore scavenging is Kenneth W. Brewer and his book of poetry Sum of Accidents

In 1995 when the book was published by City Art of Salt Lake City, Brewer was Poet Laureate of the State of Utah and was retired from Utah State University where he had taught in the English Department for 32 years.

Born in 1941, he died in 2006.



Sucker Sky

Early March
snow still piled
from late November,

and one morning
the sky opens
to blue.

Water drips
from the roof.
The road steams.

Jakob remembers
the tools left
under the snow,

begins to think
of long, warm evenings,
iced tea, corn.

"Sucker sky"
Uncle Lyman says.
"Don't turn your back on it."

Jakob nods,
drinks coffee
hot on his lips.

Out here
the sky
palms aces.








I broke for lunch a few minutes ago, came back, and wrote this, all broken hearted.



coconut cream pie

we had guests over
for dinner
yesterday evening,
family, for
a little
celebration,
chris,
back from colorado
for a couple of days
cooked,
tortilla soup,
beef and chicken
fajitas,
rice and beans,
guacamole,
pico de guillo
and a coconut
cream pie brought
by a guest

great meal,
but my sugar level
has been extra high
lately and I'm not suppose
to even think about things
like a coconut cream pie,
but I had a piece
anyway,
maybe two,
well, actually,
three

fixed lunch today
of leftovers,
fajitas
beans
soup

but no pie,
just an empty
pie pan
in the sink

looks like my
mate and protector
took the rest of the pie
to her office today

what
a sweet
and thoughtful thing
to do

damn!








Poet in New York is said to be one of the most powerful and influential works of twentieth-century verse. The poems were written while the poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, was a student a Columbia University in 1929-30 and were unpublished during his lifetime. This 8th edition of the book, published by the Noonday Press in 1995 is bilingual with original Spanish and English translations by Greg Simon and Steven F. White on facing pages.



Blacks Dancing to Cuban Rhythms

As soon as the full moon rises, I'm going to Santiago,
   Cuba,
I'm going to Santiago
in a coach of black water.
I'm going to Santiago.
The palm trees will sing above the rooftops.
I'm going to Santiago.
When the palm wants to be a stork,
I'm going to Santiago.
When the banana tree wants to be a sea wasp,
I'm going to Santiago.
I'm going to Santiago
with Fonseca's blond head.
I'm going to Santiago.
and with Romeo and Juliet's rose
I'm going to Santiago.
Paper sea and silver coins.
I'm going to Santiago.
Harp of living tree trunks. Crocodile. Tobacco plant in
   bloom!
I'm going to Santiago.
I always said I'd go to Santiago
in coach of black water.
I'm going to Santiago.
Wind and rum on the wheels,
I'm going to Santiago.
My coral in the darkness,
I'm going to Santiago.
The sea drowned in the sand,
I'm going to Santiago.
White heat, rotting fruit,
I'm going to Santiago.
Oh, the bovine coolness of sugar cane!
Oh, Cuba! Oh, curve of sign and clay!
I'm going to Santiago

                  Havana, April 1930








I'm reading a science fiction book and enjoying it, my first in years. I quit reading sci-fi after years of devouring every sci-fi book I could find, beginning when I was 11 or 12 years old. Then it came to a time when all the old pioneering masters were dying and I couldn't get into any of the new ones.

I picked this one up at random. I was going to lunch and like to read whenever I'm eating by myself and didn't have anything so I grabbed this one off the shelf at Borders just to have something.

Turns out it's good, Odyssey by Jack McDevitt. It's a bit old fashioned, but that's the point.

In that mood, I close this week with a sci-fi inspired poem. It's one from several years ago and it's included in my book Seven Beats a Second.



our place in the story of space and time

we are of the same stuff as stars,
made in the spasm of creation
that began all space and time,
electrical impulses,
static of the expanding universe,
positive and negative influences
that form a thing we call matter
arranged in a manner we call me.

our birthing
not the arrival of something new,
but reincarnation,
rearrangement of the elements present
since the first day, sparks
thrown off by that day's conception

our death not the end
but another reformation,
a recycling of the stuff that made us
so that we might become again
a star or a tree or another babe in arms
or just a speck of universal element
drifting for as long as there is time

until it will finally come
that all the pieces come to rest
and slowly fade away in the darkness
of never-light, never-time, never-space
never was and never will be again

from nothing came all
and to nothing it will all return








It appears the fleet is about to sail without me, so,with a hope that all had a happy, turkeyful Thanksgiving, that's all until next week.

In the meantime, be reminded that all work included in this blog is the property of its creators while the blog itself was produced by and is the property of me...allen itz.

1 Comments:
at 10:52 AM Anonymous Nancy said...

HI Allen- Just a note to say I liked your poem, "to be a country boy again" -Laz

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Dreaming Of The High Country   Friday, November 16, 2007


II.11.3



A lowlander born and raised, I always begin dreaming this time of year of the high country and the high country air, fresh and unspoiled.

For now, though, we have to make do with the air we have, not bad as city air goes, but would be better if everyone who got here after 1994 went back wherever they came from. (Naturally, we got here in 1993 so we're not part the problem.)

Whatever the air, here we are with the new "Here and Now," a day early because tomorrow is already full and I haven't even got there yet.




Photo by Michaela Gabriel




I begin this week with a poem by Michaela Gabriel a friend an fellow web-poeteer for about eight years now. She is also a photographer, one of her photographs appears above and more of them will appear here next week.

Michaela is a young poet born in Spittal/Drau, Austria in 1971. She wrote her first poem over 20 years ago. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, both online and in print, mostly in English, but also in German, Italian, and Polish. As most of us who do this know, writing poetry does not pay the bills. For Michaela, teaching computer classes and English carries that load.

Michi has edited the German issue of Poems Niederngasse (where, over the years, a number of my poems have appeared, though not in German) and moderated critique workshops. She says she dreams of editing her own poetry magazine some day and believes that the English language has chosen her and not vice versa, and she prefers it to her native German.

She says she loves strawberries and warm October days, despises beer and tuna, has seen the northern lights, sunbathed on South Pacific islands, and begun love affairs with New Zealand as well as Lapland. She's a night owl, she says, with always music in her head. When she is not writing, she is reading, playing tennis, watching people, blogging, corresponding with friends around the world, traveling or enjoying The Gilmore Girls - usually several of these at the same time.

Michi lives in Vienna, a place brimful of history, where she is weaving her own colourful thread into the fabric.

In addition to all these other accomplishments, she also a web-designer who designed and built this "7beats" website, including the "Here and Now" blog. My function is to merely fill in the blanks.

This poem is from her chapbook the secret meanings of greek letters published by Dancing Girls Press. To find out more about the book, copy and past this url to your browser:

http://www.dancinggirlpress.com/secret.html

To find out more about Michi, click on her link to the right.




the secret meanings of greek letters: tau

tempests blow gates shut
a tree bleeds crimson leaves
under dying stars

trapped in darkness
another moon fails you
unfurls black petals

truculent footsteps
a man follows his shadow
unsaid words crumble

tiny snowflakes like
asterisks in winter vines
unhinge your world

tender snow blankets
all you didn't dare to dream
unsings your sorrow

two hundred breaths
awaken a pale princess
undo her braids

three doors in spring
a slice of sky on your plate
under apple blossoms








Rita Dove was born in 1952 in Ohio. In 1987 she became the second African American poet to win the Pulitzer Prize (after Gwendolyn Brooks in 1950). From 1993 to 1995 she served as the first Black and the youngest Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress.

This poem is from her book On the Bus With Rosa Parks, published in 1999 by W. W. Norton and Company. She had previously published ten other books of poetry, short stories and essays.



Against Self-Pity

It gets you nowhere but deeper into
your own shit - pure misery a luxury
one never learns to enjoy. There's always some

meatier malaise, a misalliance ripe
ripe to burst: Soften the mouth to a smile and
it stutters; laugh, and your drink spills into the wake

of repartee gone cold. Oh, you know
all the right things to say to yourself: Seize
the day, keep the faith, remember the children

starving in India ... the same stuff
you say to your daughter
whenever a poked-out lip betrays

a less than noble constitution. (Not that
you'd consider actually going to India -
all those diseases and fervent eyes.) But it's

not your collapsing credit, it's
the scream you let rip when a centipede
shrieks up the patio wall. And that

daughter? She'll find a reason to laugh
at you, her dear mother: Poor thing
wouldn't harm a soul!
she'll say, as if

she knew of such things -
innocence and soul smart enough to know
when to get our of the way.








Here's a little poem I wrote sitting on my favorite porch on South Alamo, about some scuttlebutt (don't we have some great words) I had picked up just a few minutes before.



talent

I can see
workers
in the loft
across the street
remodeling
for a new owner

I've heard
it's for that
actor guy,
the one
who had some
success
on TV
then decided
he was god's
gift
to the movies
only to discover
after a string of
really bad movies
that he heard wrong,
that he was really
god's gift to TV
so he's back now
in a third-rate
series
that's a rip-off
of a second-rate
series
that's a rip-off
of the series
he thought he
was too good for

I wonder
how it will be
to sit here on the
porch
drinking my coffee
right across the street
from such all-around
talent
for downward
mobility








Next, I have a short poem by Henri Coulette from his collection published by The University of Arkansas Press in 1990.

Coulette was born in 1927 and died in 1988. His first book, The War of the Secret Agents and Other Poems, was greeted with acclaim, while his second, The Family Goldschmitt, received little attention. No surprise to that, since it has been reported that much of the first edition was accidentally pulped. He did not publish another book during his life. Donald Justice and Robert Mezey prepared this collection after his death and brought it to The University of Arkansas Press for publication.



Doors

The two-sided nature of doors
Is disturbing to lovers.

They would have them have
One side only as walls have.

We can forgive the lovers -
And haven't we always? -

Their being so unhinged
By hints of duplicity.

Trust, rather, the pensioners,
Who know that doors yawn

As friends do at daybreak,
And that they close like wings.








Now, I have another love poem from Beki Reese.



Quartet

with lips
softened by dew
I taste this evening's cask
and chase it with an ounce or two
of you

your words
resonate deep
within my hearts caverns,
echoing desire throughout my
senses

you eyes
whisper promise,
look where no one else dared
to seek the secrets of my heart's
lost faith

your touch
seals the bargain,
my renegade heart for yours,
given without hesitation
or fear.








I looked up Doc Dachtler on the web and the most comprehensive information on him I could find was in "Here and Now" some months ago when I used some of his work. And that's not much - he's an actor, carpenter, poet and chronicler of Nevada County, California.

I enjoy reading him.

These two short pieces are from his book ...Waiting for Chains at Pearl's, published by Plain View Press in 1990.



Frogs in an Airbucket

     for Christine Hundemer and Nathaniel
      Springcreek Dachtler in the drought of 76 & 77


I'm framing a little house for a friend.
They bring a bucket of moribund frogs
whose skins are dull brown and dry;
not moving.
I pour a cup of fresh water into the bucket
and they start moving and jumping
so we put a lid on quick
nbsp;  See Dad! They're not dead!
They want to take the frogs to Uncle Pete's Pond
because their home pond is just a mud spot.
I look at them;
going down the road, no shoes,
skinny and dried on dirty.
Two kids
holding the bucket together
leaning out with grins,
they too are
frogs in an airbucket.


It Gets to Kids Even if They Read by Kerosene,
Shit in Outhouses and Don't have TVs


     For Aaron Sanfield and Nathaniel
Springcreek
:

They are coming through the woods.
I hear them talking.
Aaron has a small box on his shoulder
like a porter in a safari of two.
nbsp;  What's in the box? I ask.
He brings it off the shoulder,
lid flips open,
one motion.

There rubber banded,
labeled
like gold bars neatly stacked:
STAR WARS CARDS!

We look at each other.
Bubble gum grins.








Didn't have anything else to do so started thinking about sex. Heck, sometimes I do that even when I do have something else to do.



sex

I was thinking
about sex, maybe
a weird thing
to be thinking
about at 4 pm
on a sunday
afternoon
but it's not
as bad as it
might seem
since it was
just a piddly
little
non-prurient
internal
discussion
of a
philosophical
nature
concerning the
onset of sexual
maturity, attitudinal
that is, not hormonal,
arising from the viewing
of a movie trailer
for one of those
teenage
grope a dope
movies
it just got me
thinking about
how some kids
grow out of their
natural fifth grade
obsession with sex
early, while others
of great age and ex-
perience
die with that
obsession still
driving
their
lives

having considered
this question,
I have concluded
sexual maturity
arrives at that
moment
you realize sex
is not something
done in the dark
that nobody else knows
about, that, in fact
everybody
not only knows about
it, they do it,
everybody
you see on the
sidewalk
at the supermarket
at work
at the park
where ever you are
does it or did it
or wants like crazy
to do it, that
presidents and
prime ministers
do it, that ship
captains do it,
that lawyers and
judges do it
that the barber
who cuts your hair
does it, that the
prime and proper
lady at the library
and the people
on fox news,
for crying out
loud, do it and
that your preacher
does it and your
sunday school teacher
and even some priests
do it, though they're
not supposed to tell,
that your mother
and your father did
it or maybe even still
do it, that
their mothers
and fathers
and their mothers
and fathers
mothers and fathers
did it, back
10,000 generations
to two monkeys
jumping and bumping
and humping
in a tree,
all of that doing
and thank god for
it or you wouldn't
be here to do it
today

what's the point
of all this I can't
say, it's just once
you start thinking
about all these people
doing it, doing it,
doing it
every where
you turn, you have
to wonder how
the earth doesn't
just get knocked
to a wobbling
right
off its
axis








I have this piece by the one name poet Sapphire from her book
American Dreams.

Sapphire is a performance poet. She lives and works in New York City and was born in California. American Dreams, published by Serpent's Tail/High Risk Books in 1994, is her first collection of prose and poetry. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including High Risk 2: Writings on Sex, Death & Subversion, Critical Condition: Women on the Edge of Violence, and Women on Women: An Anthology of American Lesbian Short Fiction. Sapphire earned a degree in Dance, from City College in Harlem, where she was the 1994 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Scholarship in Poetry, and an M.F.A. from the writing program at Brooklyn College. She was the first place winner in Downtown Magazine's Year of the Poet III Award for 1994.

She writes of the bleak streets with no punches drawn, about things you usually see reported in the back pages of your newspaper in more circumspect language.

This poem is in four parts, altogether too long from this venue, so I'm breaking the poem in two, the first two parts this week and the last two next week.



Rabbit Man

1.

he's the night
chasing rabbits,
a pot of dust
under the asphalt sky
cracked with stars.
athlete,
"colored boy from Houston makes good."
standing straight as a razor
he cuts my vagina open
stretches it like bleeding lights thru dark air
his rabbit teeth drag my tongue
over sabers hidden in salt,
from the slit tip
red roses drip
screaming: daddy don't.

I'm not supposed to be
your dinner nigger.
your semen forms fingers
in my throat,
furry fingers.
I cough all the time
rabbit man
colored boy
run
jump
hurdle after hurdle -
higher.

till your penis melts
like a marshmallow in fire
and your fear is a desert with no flowers
except two daughters
American Beauties,
tight rosebuds you hew open,
petals of pink light left bleeding
under a broken moon.
pine needles spring up in the sand
but you don't ask what they're for
surrounded like you are by infant daughters,
little dog fish drowning in diapers.
you did this rabbit dick,
rabbit dick
rabbit dick
hopping coprophagous freak
blind eyes opening
like terminal disease
in mouth after mouth -
paralyzing light.

2.

I slide between cold polyester rooms,
into your bed -
everything is so cheap and falling apart.
I recoil from the blond skin and
bleeding blue eyes of Jesus.
most nights you slept
in the obituary of light -
alone.
the picture is positioned
so when your head hit the pillow
you saw Jesus.
the what?

continued next week








Here's an interesting magazine piece written by Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg. It appeared in Esquire in 1986, under the title "Ten Angry Men." It is taken from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, which, with literally hundreds of poetry and prose pieces, is becoming a major source of a particular kind of American poetry for me for "Here and Now."

The "outlaws" were a group outside the mainstream, speaking mostly to each other. As usually happens in such closed-loop conversations, both brilliance and bullshit are produced. Both are in evidence in this piece.

I post it here under the title given it by it's authors.



Ten Outlaw Heroes

William Carlos Williams (1883 - 1963): Respectable pediatrician by trade, by vocation and outlaw from an Academy that didn't understand his Einsteinian invention of a "relative measure" as a new law of verse form to articulate living talk on the poetic page. Proposed that American poets write American; after Robert Lowell had a nervous breakdown, most did, Following generations still hear Dr. Williams speaking to them kindly from the grave.

Willem De Kooning (1904 - ): Made and broke art. The fourth top Dutchman, after Vermeer, Rembrandt, Ban Gogh. Abandoned the literal image of empty lot fence & steam shovel; taking their abstract forms, excavated giant city holes in the 2-D 1940s canvas. Experimented the volumes of breasts, thighs and holes a lifetime, saw women for what they were. A classic moderne American.

William Seward Burroughs (1914 - ): Inventor of a literary collage montage cut-up jump-cut technique for novel writing (Naked Lunch, Wild Boys, Place of Dead Roads) as a counter-brainwash method for reversing effects of mass media, Military-Industrial communist-capitalist CIA-KGB disinformation Reality Image Bank. Inventor of Heavy Metal, Soft Machine, Steely Dan concepts for multitude of garage bands across the MTV globe. A doctor of doctor'd time and space. Rimbaud's Poet of Science.

Charlie Parker (1920 - 55): Took off from spoken black street-speech cadence in an alto saxophone breath that blew down the skyscrapers of New York. 'When the mod of the music changes, the walls of the city shake," quote Plato. Parker proved it, changing the time of gutbucket jazz, transforming the cadence of prose novels and lyric poetry, altering the rhythms of white speech, syncopating up the mechanistic metronome of modern thought. Once busted for drugs, was outlawed from playing music in New York clubs in the last decade of his brief life for lack of a police-OK'ed cabaret card, made and broke jazz, the supreme intellectual of Afric sounds.

Jack Kerouac (1922 - 69): Visionary Seer of his own beatific generation looking up out of the bottom of the empty-barrel of the atom-bomb world, prose creator of twentieth-century intercontinental myth of personal-heart consciousness in over twenty tomes writ in obscurity saintly solitude prior to enlighted Fame. Bodhisattva behind the solipsistic Arhats of New Journalism; redeemer of individuality in the hyperindustrialized metropolis, poetic adorer of humankind whose Mexico City Blues inseminated the hearts of a hundred younger poets including immortal Dylan. Hermetic messenger of Buddha consciousness in the American Half-Century; yet suffering Christ-loving alcoholic body crucifixion, took care of his cracked mother & "didn't throw her to the Dogs of Eternity." Wrote the first true North American haikus; gave speech back to Bop, gave Bop to speech; scribed sacred prayers in guise of modernistic novels that for a single vast and interconnected visionary Bookmovie of his mortal life.

Neal Cassady (1926 - 68): Prototype inspirer of Kerouac's telepath prose of 1940s Roads, Johnny Appleseed of Bay Area Aquarian weed culture; living human phantom behind the Grateful Dead, king of Ken Kesey's 1960 cross-continental psychedelic Wheel; tenderhearted lover of melancholy poets, family railroad brakeman father husbandman, classic jailbird orphan haunted by his lost father the United States itself. Dragon slayer of squaredom, the hip-cocksman of the American vulva, spoke faster than a bullet and hit the mark because he could recollect recall entire contents of some moments of his universal mind.

Julian Beck (1925 - 85): Helped invent Nike Laughter peace protest refusing to duck-and-cover underground mid-1950s for atom-bomb drill. Then as American Living theaterman survived the glory of 1960s Paradise Now and brought his pacific-Anarchy onstage for Europa; as did Shelley, ventured to free the heirs of Prometheus from their bondage on the Military-Industrial rock where an American eagle plucks perpetual War-Tax from the liver. In his last year insulted from the aisles by homophobic bourgeois press reviewers in America, rose from cancer bed with a hollow-eyed finely chiseled intelligent skeleton face to act Cotton Club film Mephistopheles, pre-record television serial dream Lama reappearances, then fly off to a Swiss graveyard with video innovator Nam Jun Paik and read a page of classic anarchist text, "Slavery is the necessary consequence of the very existence o the State" (from Rousseau's "Theory of the State" by Mikhail Bakunin), over the grave of the great Bakunin while smoking a cannabis joint, breaking the laws of death.

Robert Frank (1924 - ): Abandoned imitation of classic art picture misty naked girls on Turkish rugs and Swiss chalets with cuckoo clock snowpeaks, came down to the gutters of Paris and black Mississippi backroad America, inventing the Leica gut portrait of jukebox coffins & and Chicago flag cigars. Gave up on snapshots and invented spontaneous chair-scratching-across-the-floor underground movies that turned Hollywood upside down till Marlon Brando stuck a buttery finger up his lady's behind in a last tango of cinema-inspiration breaking the bonds of commercial censorship. The map of the wandering Jew on his face, his eyes are human, but arm'd with lens and shutter can be gods spies thru 35mm stills black & white 16mm cinema scriptless classics like Mick Jagger in Cocksucker Blues, or video-haunted spots of time home-make on Daytona Beach, by the 1990's some kind of million-dollar full-scale genius accident film likely'll get shot far from Hollywood.

The Vidyadhara, The Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rimpoche (1939 - ): A bona fide guru Tibetan Lama, knowledge holder of Thousand year-old Wild Wisdom lineage teachings of the Kagyu-Nyingma Buddhist schools of actual Shambhla kingdom once misnamed Shangri-La. A Renaissance man of the highest peaks of East, meditation emperor, space awareness Dance-master, witty rude calligrapher whose poetry and flower arrangements unite the Mind with Body; Admiral of Tibetan Navies, Prime Minister of Imagination in the Gkuddhafields, General of empty Doorkeeper Armies at the Eternal Gates in Rocky Mountains' American spine; founder of Naropa Institute: 2130 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, Colorado 80302 - the first Buddhist college in the West, whereat students can attend the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics; Vajrayana vehicle teacher, Chairman of Board of Directors of Ordinary Mind.

Bob Dylan (1941 - ): One of the most powerful blues singers ever heard in the West, peer of Ma Rainey and Leadbelly in long unobstructed ecstatic breath, his body consciousness of column of air stopping time inspired at the international microphone, Poetus Magnus at the piano of conscience, so hard-working, got no time to answer telephone and mail media vampiric flattery insult lacklove paranoia; genius of the ethic metaphor from Hard Rain past "Idiot Wind"... "to live outside the law, you must be honest." A literary heir of early-century black lyric minstrels, white Bardic rebels of the 1950s. Stands alone the world's troubled muse - He has nowhere to go, a singing bum of the mind.








There are several references to William Carlos Williams in this issue so it's only fair that we give San Antonio wit David Kelly a chance to abuse Williams with this parody.

Since WCW is like a rockgod to me, I am happy that David spreads his abuse to include Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson.

(Actually, David says that he has affection for all three of these poets and couldn't parody them if that wasn't so.)



To Hell With William Carlos Williams

free form poetry


oozes from the brain,


turdlike


in


chopped,


rabbity,


pellets,


or in great dribbly-long gushes, uncontrollable, as from a spastic
                                                                colon.



To Hell With Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And so it was the dice were tossed
I studied both roads from where I stood
Which didn't do me any good
Except to get me good and lost.

So here I am in the yellow wood
Devoid of clean undies or a comb -
As I wander through the yellow wood,
I'd take my turns over, if only I could.
I wish to Christ I'd stayed at home.

I've come to despise this yellow wood,
It's birds in song, air fresh and clean -
If I can escape the yellow wood,
I may return, someday I think I should
And bring with me matches and gasoline.



To Hell With Emily Dickinson

Because I would not stop for Fate
She knocked me on my ass
And danced with cleats upon my head,
Told me She was the boss.

She pummeled me quite handily
And then, to my surprise,
She gave me to her sister Luck
To further tenderize.

Then Happenstance dealt me a blow
That knocked my breath right out.
I flopped and gasped for breath like an
asphyxiating trout.

Then Serendipity jumped in
And with a piercing cry
And heroic, wasted effort
Fought Them off valiantly

So to this day the Universe
Is my sworn enemy
And I'll not hesitate to put
A thumb into Her eye.








I'm pleased to welcome back to "Here and Now" Susan B. McDonough. She is a poet with one foot in coastal Maine the other in the sonoran desert. She splits her time working at small Maine Farm and as a desert landscaper. Along with all her other activities, she describes herself as tamer of two teenagers.



Forecasting Daybreak

I count window
panes and silverware,
welcome infomercials
after midnight.
Daylight is invited -
a long awaited
guest. I pull on
the weary handle
to let him in,
but find its weight
in my palm.
Wait, wait!
I'll let you in!
I'll let you in!
But, the Atlantic
has found
the darkest cloud
to blow between
sun and earth.
Now Daylight
flounders and wallows
its way west.








Robert Lowell (1917 - 1977) had a great interest in history, which is reflected in much of his work. Originally a very successful traditional poet, he came under the mentorship of William Carlos Williams and put aside the dense, allusive, ornate of much of his earlier work and turned to more open forms and more personal, even confessional, subject matter.

I took this poem from The Longman Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, originally published as a college textbook in 1989.



For the Union Dead
    "Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam."

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.

Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.

My hand draws back. I often sigh still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and the reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized

fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gourge their underworld garage.

Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, puritan-pumpking colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,
shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.

Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breath.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
It's Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He's out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life land die -
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

On a thousand small town New england greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion: frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year -
wasp-wasted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns...

Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."

The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling

over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages"
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.

Colonel Shaw
is riding on his bubble,
he waits
for the blessed break.

The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.








Charles Bukowski didn't let his image slip very often. Here's one of those instances when he did.



the man?

my daughter said this when she was 5:
HERE COMES THE MAN!
what? I said. what?
I looked all around.
HERE COMES THE MAN!
O, HERE COMES THE MAN!
I went to the window and
looked out. I checked the latch
on the door.
she came out of the kitchen
with a spoon and a piepan:
clang, clang, clang!
HERE COMES THE MAN!
HERE COMES THE MAN!
O, LOOK, SEE THE MAN!
SEE THE MAN NOW!
HERE COMES THE MAN!

she means something else,
I thought, and I clapped my hands in
rhythm and we both
marched around and
sang and
laughed. me
loudest.






Photo by Thomas Costales




Thomas Costales is back with this week, with more of his moody and mysterious night images.




Photo by Thomas Costales




Photo by Thomas Costales




Photo by Thomas Costales












It's been a while since we had a poem from the tarot series by Alex Stolis. Well, I just received several new ones from Alex. Here is the first one.



Card VI

The Lovers have second thoughts


I've never seen a wounded bird
in flight but have heard the sound
of longing as it walks out the door.

there are no words to describe the moon
as it ripens on the horizon.


after you go I will dye my hair
again and again until its original color
is forgotten

every moment feels caged and quiet,
the sting of penance becomes dull.


magnolias remind me of our first time,
a dry summer and intentions that crumbled
to dust at sunset.

I could leave without a trace,
not even a whisper to mark my path.









The anonymous Nineteen Ancient Poems were written in the second century B.C. and helped shape the themes and forms of Chinese poetry for the next two thousand years. We don't have space for all nineteen, so I'll just pull several that particularly appeal to me.

The poems were translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping.



fromNineteen Ancient Poems

1
Traveling traveling, and still traveling traveling,
you're separated from me for life,
ten thousand miles apart,
gone to the other end of the sky.
With your road so long and difficult,
how can we know if we'll meet again?
A northern horse leans against a northern wind;
a southern bird nests on southern branches.
This separation lengthens day by day,
and day by day my gown and belt grow slack.
Floating clouds obscure a white sun
and wanderer, you do not return.
Missing you makes age come fast.
Years and months spin past.
No need to mention you abandoned me.
Just take care of yourself and eat enough.


2
Green so green is the river grass,
thick so thick are the garden willow's leaves.
Beautiful so beautiful is the lady upstairs,
shining as she stands by the window, shining.
Pretty is her powdered rouge, so pretty
with her slender, slender white hands.
Once she was a singing girl,
but now is the wife of a womanizer.
He travels and rarely comes home.
So hard to sleep in an empty bed.


3
Green so green are the cypress over the burial mounds.
Boulders upon boulders in the rushing ravine.
Born between heaven and earth,
a man is a long distance traveler.
Let's take joy from this pitcher of wine
and drink with heart, not thin pleasure.
Whipping slow horses pulling our wagon,
we'll play at Wan and Luo.
It is so noisy and crowed in Luoyang,
officials with caps and belts visit each other,
there are main streets and tributary lanes,
and mansions owned by kings and princes.
The two palaces gaze at each other from afar,
yet their watchtowers seem just a hundred feet apart.
Let's exhaust ourselves in banquets to entertain our hearts!
Sorrows and melancholy - who needs such pressure?

6
I cross the river to pick lotus flowers
where fragrant grasses grow in the orchid lake.
But to whom can I send these flowers?
My love is far away on the road.
I turn my head and look home
down the road so long and wide.
We share one heart yet live apart
in sorrow and grief till age takes us.


7
Clear moon pours bright light at night
and crickets sing in the eastern wall.
The Big Dipper's jade handle points to midwinter,
all the stars incredibly clear.
White dewdrops hang to wild grass,
as seasons flow by fast and change.
Autumn cicadas rub their wings in trees.
Where have black swallows migrated to?
Once we studied together,
but you have soared on powerful wings,
forgetting we once held hands.
You abandoned me like old footprints.
The South Basket and North Dipper can't be used
and the Pulling Ox won't bear a yoke.
Indeed, nothing is solid as rock.
What's the use of empty names.


17
A cold current in early winter,
a north wind of bitter shivers.
This grief lengthens night.
I look up, see a million stars arrayed,
a full moon on the fifteenth
but on the twentieth the moon-rabbit's part gone.
From a far land, traveler, you came
and handed me a letter
with a first part about missing me,
a second part mourning long separation.
I put the letter in my sleeve
three years ago. The characters still speak.
My whole heart holds on with a passion.
I fear that you won't understand.









Back again to thunderous applause, here's California-dreaming Hawaiian poet Alice Folkart with two short poems from her recent visit to Tokyo.




Hot Time in the Old Town

Morning.
Old man sweeping
last night's drunks out of sight.
Hot time in the cold streets - Tokyo.
Start over.


Rainy Afternoon in Tokyo

Rain, like needles,
just this side of sleet,
almost snow,
enough to knock
the tender white petals
off the cherry boughs
onto the thick green waters
of the palace moat,
enough to encourage
the hoary algaeified carp,
tarnished copper bodies,
to distemper the glassy stream,
dimly taking the fractured blossoms
for tasty, struggling insects








Next, I have several poems accredited to King Nezahualcoyotl of Texcoco(1403 - 1473), described by Jim Tuck in one of his articles on Mesoamerica cultures, as a true philosopher king, a ruler who was able to combine intellectual pursuits with war and the perils and pitfalls of ruling .

His people were the Alcohuans, part of the third migratory wave of northern tribes into the Valley of Mexico. The first of the three waves were the Toltecs. Between the 7th and 11th centuries A.D. Toltec civilization flourished, then abruptly disappeared for reasons still unknown. The next wave were people called Chichimecas, an inferior civilization to their predecessors. who were centered in the city of Tula.

The next wave were made of of several tribes. The most powerful of the tribes were the Aztecs and the Alcohuans. Both enjoyed a more elaborate and developed civilization than the Chichimecas. The Alcohuans settled at the eastern end of Lake Texcoco and became known as Texcocans.

Nezahualcoyotl was heir to the Texcocan throne but had to fight an invading tribe, the Tepanecos, to retain it. He spent eight years in exile in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, devoting those years to intellectual self-advancement.

After finally regaining his throne, his first act was to devise a code of laws so well-regarded by his allies the Aztecs and the Tlacopanes that they adopted the same code. The code created a number of councils including war, finance, justice and a "council of music" that devoted itself to music, as the name implies, but also to science, art, literature, poetry and history.

The above information came from an web article by Jim Tuck.

Here are the poems. The first three were translated by Thelma D. Sullivan and the last by Stephen Berg (after Angel Maria Garibay K.).



Where Will I Go?

Where will I go?
Where will I go?
To the road, to the road
That leads to God.
Are you waiting for us in the Place of the Unfleshed?
Is it within the heavens?
Or is the Place of the Unfleshed only here on earth?

We vanish,
We vanish,
Into his house;
No one abides on earth.
Does anyone ask,
"Where are our friends?"
Rejoice


Be Indomitable, O My Heart

Be indomitable, O my heart!
Love only the sunflower;
It is the flower of the Giver-of-Life!
What can my heart do?
Here we come, have we sojourned here on earth in vain?

As the flowers wither, I shall go.
Will there be nothing of my glory ever?
Will there be nothing of my fame on earth?
At most songs, at most flowers.
What can my heart do?
Have we come, have we sojourned on earth in vain?


Our Lord

Our Lord,
Ever-present, Ever-close
Thinks as he pleases,
Does as he pleases,
He mocks us.
As he wishes, so he wills.
He has us in the middle of his hand
And rolls us about,
Like pebbles we spin and bounce,
He flings us every which way,
We offer him diversion,
He laughs at us.


Flowers of Red and Blue

flowers of red and blue
mix with flowers of fiery red
it is your word your heart
Oh, my king
for a little while I can see earth
I cry because death kills
everything I did
everything I sang
for a little while I can see the earth








I have a poem now from "Here and Now" friend Dan Cuddy with a scene we've all seen, some of us from both sides of the picture.



Interstate

rain
an overturned car
state police, a man in a black suit
trees afire with waning light
two lanes tapered to one
a few speed their cars up the shut down lane
wheedle in
just to get ahead
with their selfish life








Reba and I were out for our walk the other evening and it was one of those real creepy nights where much seems hidden and you can easily imagine being alone in the world.



the last

fog on apache
creek
moon
lost in overcast
sky
streetlights like
liquid
splash and pool
on the path
we
walk alone
as if always
before
and forever
hence

we are the
last









Here's a little poem by William Blake from a collection I picked up this afternoon, published by Penguin Classics in 2005.



The Little Vagabond

Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,
But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm:
Besides I can tell where I am used well,
Such usage in heaven will never do well.

But if at the Church they would give us some Ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale:
We'd sing and we'd pray all the live-long day;
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.

Then the Parson might preach & drink & sing,
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring:
And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church
Would not have bandy children nor fasting nor birch.

And God like a father rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as he;
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel
But kiss him & give him both drink and apparel.








Speaking of sex, as I was earlier, here's a short poem from my book, Seven Beats a Second.



lying in the sun with susan

quiet bay

no sound but the light rustle
of marsh grass in the gulf breeze

she
lies on the deck, legs spread,
as if to thrust herself
at the summer sun

sweat glistens
on the inside of her thigh
and my tongue aches
for the taste of her








I welcome back Christopher George, another friend of "Here and Now" we haven't seen in a while.



Flight of Eagles

Friday and I'm fleeing D.C.
Eagles hug the cornices
of Union Station.

Monumentally facing east
and west: talons, wings, beaks.
The eagle flies on Friday.

Folks lug luggage, huge
enough to transport mothers
and fathers, haul their insecurities.

A red-turquoise eagle screeches,
emblazoned on a girl's ass.








It's been a dry spell of a week writing-wise, haven't been able to come up with much of anything. It reminds me of this poem I wrote several months ago during similar writing doldrums.




there are poets

there are poets
who can write
a poem
every day
any time
morning
noon
or night
even when
they don't have
anything to say

they can spread
words
up
and
down
a page
about the least
most inconsequential
humdrum
day
magnifying
the picayune
to epic
proportions
and you
poor
reader
are dazzled
by their
erudition
sure that
secrets have been
revealed
deep truths
uncovered
precious jewels
of thought
polished
to a sheen
and laid before
you like a gift
from gods
and philosopher
kings

there are poets
who can do that

poets
who can
write
with the ease
and flair
of a rock star
flying
on coke
and groupie
buzz
even
on a day
when they have
nothing
to
say

I could never
do that

never
ever

could
I
do that







This is a great picture of a lighthouse on the coast in the fog and it has nothing to do with this being the end of this issue of "Here and Now," but it is a very nice picture that I haven't used before for some reason or other.

So there is is. Back next week.

As usual, all the material included in this blog is the property of it's creators. The blog itself is produced by and the property of me....allen itz.

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