Blue Harbor   Friday, November 23, 2007


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


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


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


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


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
slips between low clouds


morning mist
dreary day


as clouds
part, make way


with book,
miles away


bright wrapping paper
for sale here

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


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
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
about the beautiful
that began it

i write
sounds like a
of the poem
i would write
if i could write
a poem

so i

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


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.


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.


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

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
on black asphalt

yellow sheet
like a flag
in the wind

lowered slowly
over the still

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
to lift
the last
medical supplies
to help
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
looking for children
broken bones
dead hearts
the loss
to the war
that rages
diminishing now
a scream
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
toss love bonds
of the Eagle
the Last Post
another soldier
another three
the delay
between now
and then
the outcome

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
back from colorado
for a couple of days
tortilla soup,
beef and chicken
rice and beans,
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
maybe two,
well, actually,

fixed lunch today
of leftovers,

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

a sweet
and thoughtful thing
to do


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,
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
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.

at 10:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

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

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