Dawn's Early Light   Thursday, December 06, 2007


So, we're back for another week, a little longer than usual because I started with several poets (Whitman and Andrade, especially) and liked what I was typing so much I couldn't stop.

I finished this issue very early, intending to concentrate a couple of days on putting stuff together for the new, possibly mythical, book. But the weather was so great I spent the extra time outside. Maybe next week.

For this week, read and, I hope, enjoy.

I concentrated in past issues on the travel poems of Blaise Cendrars because he is such a delightful traveling companion and, also, because his travel poems are short and easy to use here.

But there's more to him then those little travel notes. Here's number 4 in a series of longer poems he titled Nineteen Elastic Poems

fromNineteen Elastic Poems

I. Portrait

He's asleep
He wakes up
Suddenly, he paints
He takes a church and paints with a church
He takes a cow and paints with a cow
With a sardine
With heads, hands, knives
He paints with a bull's pizzle
He paints with all the dirty passions of a little Jewish town
With all the exaggerated sexuality of the Russian provinces
For France
Without sensuality
He paints with his thighs

He has eyes in his ass
And it's suddenly your portrait
It's you reader
It's me
It's him
It's his fiancee
It's the corner grocer
The milkmaid
There are tubs of blood
The wash the newborn in
Skies of madness
Mouths of modernity
The Tower as corkscrew
The Christ
The Christ is him
He spent his childhood on the cross
He commits suicide every day
Suddenly, he is not painting
He was awake
Now he's asleep
He's strangled by his own tie
Chagall is astonished to still be alive

II. Studio

The Beehive
Stairways, doors, stairways
And his door open like a newspaper
Covered with visiting cards
Then it closes.
Disorder, total disorder
Photographs of Leger, photographs of Tobeen, which you don't see
And on the back
On the back
Frantic works
Sketches, drawings, frantic works
And paintings...
Empty bottles
"We guarantee the absolute purity of our tomato sauce"
Says a label
The window is an almanac
When the gigantic cranes of lightning empty the booming barges of the
   sky and dump buckets of thunder
Out fall


Cossacks Christ a shattered sun
Sleepwalkers goats
a lycanthrope
Petrus Borel
Madness winter
A genius split like a peach
Poor kid next to my wife
Morose delectation
The shoes are down at the heel
An old jar full of chocolate
A lamp that's split in two
And my drunkenness when I go see him
Empty bottles
(We've talked about her a lot)
In the graduations of light

(October 1913)

You learn all sorts of things listening to NPR. This is what I learned.

engineering for the ages

to produce
one liter bottle
of water
four liters
of water -
to make the
and one to
fill it

I learned that

I also learned
that when all else
on this world is gone
two things will remain
water bottles

we have created
something to match the
durability of the

Being untaught, or at least, unlearned, in all the range of poetry in this world, I knew William Carlos Williams mostly by the two or three poems of his that appear in just about every anthology of 20th century poets. You know which ones I'm talking about - the wheelbarrow thing and the plum thing. Now, as I read more and more of him, he has become one of my poetry heroes.

This poem is from the book William Carlos Williams, Selected Poems edited by Charles Tomlinson. It was published by New Directions Paperbook in 1985.


The sea will wash in
but the rocks - jagged ribs
riding the cloth of foam
or a knob or pinnacles
      with gannets -
are the stubborn man.

He invites the storm, he
lives by it! instinct
with fears that are not fears
but prickles of ecstasy,
a secret liquor, a fire
that inflames his blood to
coldness so that the rocks
seem rather to leap
at the sea than the sea
to envelope them. They strain
forward to grasp ships
or even the sky itself
that bends down to be torn
upon them. To which he says,
It is I! I who am the rocks!
Without me nothing laughs.

Next, another fine poem from fellow web-poet Thane Zander.

The Light of Day in the Square

The light dawns crimson from the east,
sun lovers pack a mental note
to head to the beach, Himatangi

The ladies traipse around the Square
shopping, no noticing the Marae o Hine
not seeing me rolling up my sleeping bag,

the infusion of smog making transport,
I wander over towards the sun, to toilet
refreshed by another Palmerston North night.

My mental note not of the Beach, but food
a tummy hungry now for two days, pancakes
from Mac's on the Square, my two bobs worth,

I taste love in the air, couples toing and froing,
summer, early as it may be, gets the best of people,
the garbage collector beats me to the trash cans.

The warm rays of a climbing Sun remove my coat
a three year old hoody limps free, shoes scrape on,
Michael, the sociopath, juggles for cigarette money,

As the summer Sun climbs to midday, a sweat starts,
still hungry, I tackle my bank account, no benefit yet,
so hang around Subways and scoot in to fill with leftovers.

Afternoon finds me back in the Marae, writing poetry,
I can't escape those boulders, a new poem for each,
I wonder often if they'd frame each poem for each boulder.

The traffic out of town, after school, kids and parents
off to the beach to capture the rays and swim, balmy
yes, Balmy Palmy, those with nouse head to the Lido.

The sun starts to dip, it's day almost done, reverence,
I bow to my feet and supplant life curses on the ground,
the day cooling means jacket back on, the hoody too.

Shadows from the Library lengthen, the Square darkens,
people shuffle home leaving me to my solitude,
cars return with red skinned children, and sandy feet.

In the deepest recesses of the West, the Sun sinks
the lights in the Square take effect, brighten key areas,
a dog that turns up around the cafes, looks for scraps.

Suddenly I find myself unrolling my sleeping attire,
the benches in the Green Belt a usual haunt, peace
the statues of reverence overlooking as sentinels.


Anna Akhmatova was born in 1889 and died in 1966. She first achieved fame as a poet as an "icon of pre-Revolutionary Russian literary society." An early victim of Stalinism, she was briefly rehabilitated during World War II because of her patriotism, but was later returned to the repression that wasn't lifted until late in her life, when her achievements and international recognition could not be ignored.

I took this poem from, Anna Akhmatova, Selected Poems published by Zephyr Press in 2000. It is a bilingual book, with Russian and English on facing pages. The English translation was done by Judith Hemschemeyer.

July 1914


It smells of burning. For four weeks
The dry peat bog has been burning.
The birds have not even sung today,
And the aspen has stopped quaking.

The sun has become God's displeasure,
Rain has not sprinkled the fields since Easter.
A one-legged stranger came along
And all alone in the courtyard he said:

"Fearful times are drawing near. Soon
Fresh graves will be everywhere.
There will be famine, earthquakes, widespread death,
And the eclipse of the sun and the moon.

But the enemy will not divide
Our land at will, for himself;
The Mother of God will spread her white mantle
Over this enormous grief."


The sweet smell of juniper
Flies from the burning woods.
Soldiers' wives are wailing for the boys,
The widow's lament keens over the countryside.

The public prayers were not in vain,
The earth was yearning for rain!
Warm red liquid sprinkled
The trampled fields.

Low, low hangs the empty sky
And a praying voice quietly intones:
"They are wounding your sacred body,
They are casting lots for you robes."

July 20, 1914

Well, I had a little break in the routine this week. Here's what happened.

over it

to work
first day
of a three day

not so bad

really exciting
but not so boring

when i first
i'd get restless
after a couple of months
get a little jealous
of all the people
passing me
on the highway,
to work

but that was almost
ten years ago
i'm mostly

Here are five poems from the book One Hundred Poems From the Japanese. The poems are translated by Kenneth Rexroth.

Poems number 5 and 6 are attributed to the poet Akahito and number 7 to Lady Akazome Emon. The authors of numbers 9 and 10 are unknown.

Translator Rexroth makes an interesting note in his introduction to the book. These poems were written to be sung and are still sung and recorded. Each poem also has a characteristic pattern of dance gestures.

Here are the poems.


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


I wish I was as close
To you as the wet skirt of
A salt girl to her body.
I think of you always.


I should not have waited.
It would have been better
To have slept and dreamed,
Than to have watched night pass,
And this slow moon sink.


The purity of the moonlight,
Falling out of the immense sky,
Is so great that it freezes
The water touched by its rays.


The cicada sings
In the rotten willow.
Antares, the fire star,
Rolls in the west.

Now, a poem by Alex Stolis, next in his series inspired by the Tarot deck.

Card VII

The Chariot - a 1967 Shelby GT 500 -

Act I
(fade to street level, pan to fifth floor)

There's this girl on First Avenue - a real Georgia peach if ever you could paint
one. She screams out the hotel window to a not-so-young man wearing a baseball
- Mets not Yankees - shirt. Hey Paco, you get it? The not-so-old boyman ignores her,
strolls to a blue Ford Mustang - a shelbyforreal'tang - muscles his way
into the driver's seat, hangs his arm out the window like a rope and pops away
from the curb. The girl is left by the window twisting her hair into a perfect knot.

Act II
(cut to a deserted street; late evening)

Meanwhile, the manboy called Paco whose real name is Wendell - Pete - Jackson
pretends to know all the words to that new-last year's album - Dandy Warhols
song, the one about Miami and early signs of heroin withdrawal.
He seems interested in the way the streetlights look damp in all this heat
but what he really wants is a way to get into Rochelle's panties - Angel
bodywear - without being as obvious to her as it will surely look to anyone else.

(soundtrack plays- The Pixies; intro from Bone Machine)

He drives around the block, recites the best lines from The Big Sleep -
Bogart's - and fumbles for his lighter. At least five minutes go by - one, two
at most - At the same time Rochelle - her real name is Juliana - pours herself
into a margarita. She can almost see the moon fold back on itself and wishes
the rain could wash away regret. This ride is pistol whipped and loaded,
there's a crack and bang - his last chance to chisel a smile into the sunset.

(fade to black; wait 30 seconds, roll credits)

The next poem is by Frederick Seidel from the collection of his work Poems 1959-1979, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1989.

The Walk There

As he approaches each tree goes on,
And the girls one by one
Glance down at their blouses, A nun,
The six or seven, hop in
A cream station wagon,
White-beaked blackbirds baked in a pie,
In his mind is
The lid of an eye
The dark dilated closing behind him.

Rilke. Arched eyebrows and shadowed
Moist eyes. An El Greco. Swart, slim.
He's late to her. He thinks of her, waiting
Limb by limb.

Her defenselessness and childlike trust!
Smiling to be combed out
And parted - her lust
Touching the comb like a lyre.
To have been told by her to to trust her!

And he distrusts her.
And everywhere he sees
Hunchbacks and addicts and sadists
In braces in the cities,
Roosting in their filth,
Or plucking the trees,
In New York for true love,
In Boston for constancy.
You can be needed by someone,
Or needy, thinks Rilke.

They clutch their loves like addicts
Embracing when they see
Hot May put out her flowers.
Or clutch themselves. They can't shake free.

He thinks of the time
He lived by her calendar
When she missed her time.

She gave the child a name.

When she bled, she laughed and gasped
Tears warm as pabulum
On his wrists. But that is past.

Rilke feels his body
Moving in front of his last
Step. He sweats, and thinks
Of the rubble massed
On Cresa behind Aeneas'
White-hot shoulders and neck.

And clothesline laundry swelled
Like pseudocyesis.
That's what he has to pass through.

His tie is so blue,
And a new lotion gives him and air
Of coolness. He combs his hair,
And tries to smooth his hair.

Light, light is in the trees
Pizzicato, and mica
Sizzles up to his knees.
A dozen traffic lights
Swallow and freeze
And one by one relay red red
Like runners with a blank message.


There was another little lively event in our lives last week. Had a bit of a sad ending, but I won't go into that.

squirrel for sale, best offer

there is a
in my kitchen

i saw it

in a corner
of the cabinet
in fear

i don't know how
got there but there
surely is

i also don't know
i'm going to get
the creature

jimmy carter's
killer rabbit
i'm hesitant
to try to do it

but I can't find
in the yellow pages

I opened the book and fell into these poems, each so good I couldn't choose between them.

The book is Forbidden Words; the poet Eugenio De Andrade.

The book was published by New Directions Paperbook in 2003. It's a bilingual book, Portuguese and English on facing pages. The English translation is by Alexis Levitin.

The Wall is White

The wall is white
and suddenly
night falls upon the whiteness of the wall.

There is a horse close to silence,
a cold stone on its mouth,
a stone blind for sleep.

I would love you if now you would come
or bend
your face over mine, so pure,
so lost,
oh life.

There Was

There was
a word
in the dark.
Minuscule, Unremarked.

Hammering in the dark.
at the water's heart

From the bowels of time
At the wall.

A word
in the dark.
For me. A call.

You Knew Summer By Its Fragrance

You knew summer by its fragrance,
the ancient silence
of the wall, the frenzy of the cicadas,
you invented the slightly bitter perpendicular
light, the brief shadow
in which a young urchin had dropped asleep,
the luster of his shoulder blades.
It is that that blinds you, the sunlight of the flesh.

You Are Where My Gaze Begins

You are where my gaze begins
to ache, I recognize the lazy
murmur of August, the carmine of the sea.

Speak to me of cicadas, of that special
sand, your bare feet,
the grain of the air.

Be Still, Light Burns Between The Lips

Be still, light burns between the lips
and love does not ponder, always
love searches, touches in the dark,
this leg, is it yours? is this your arm?
I climb you branch by branch,
breathe close to your mouth,
the soul opens itself to the tongue, I would die
now if you asked me to, sleep,
love was never easy, never,
the earth also dies.

Back with us again, Christopher T. George with another travel tale.

Twaddle: A Journey Not So Long

When I was a boy, Mum and Dad drove up
the boring Jersey Turnpike to Manhattan.
We'd play a game of naming cars; I'd
note each car make Dad identified
on a cream pad in purple ballpoint.

I wrote down Dodge, Plymouth, Ford,
Hillman, Olds, Austin, Ferrari. Added
my physical therapist Dad: "Forceps!"
It's Wednesday: I drive my 87-year-old Mum.
She groans about the long journey. We hear

a blah flute piece on the radio. I say,
"It's the Flute Concerto by Twaddle,
Johann Sebastian Twaddle. The little-known
Tyrolean composer. Utterly Twaddlistic.
Replete with his unique Twaddlisms."

My next poem is by Cyra S. Dumitru from her book Listening to Light. In the book, published by River Lily Press in 2003, Dumitru imagines the world of mythical figures as if if were current events, finding humanity in figures most often obscured by devotion.

The poet is a long time writer, swimmer and student of theology who grew up in Ohio and migrated to Texas. A former medical writer, she now teaches a variety of writing and literature courses at St. Mary's University in San Antonio.

These two poems are the last in the section of the book titled "First Makers."

Eve Consoles Her Granddaughter

Yes, last night was a full moon and, yes,
you usually strike what you seek with arrows.
But even your older brothers walk side by side after dark,

they know what springs from shadows.
Your mother's anger will lift.
You'll swim the river again

while turtles perch on roots of cypress tees
and a green snake barely ripples the water behind you.
You'll feel black mud ooze between toes

as a trout seizes your fishing line.
There's a time to stay close to home
with its tangle of cobwebs.

This quiet can carry you through the noise to come
when you must push your strength.
You will know the moment.

It rises before you -
another world calling
swirling with strange light

heavy as rain upon the air
before a storm opens up.
Yes, like now.

Hear the distance rumbling.

Lamenting the Death of Eve

A strange silence woke me just before dawn.
I went to collect water in hollowed gourds
watching as sky brimmed

with changing light.
I kept listening for you -
your voice singing

every morning from the same hilltop.
As the quiet continued unsung
some impulse led me here

to find you
encircled by white stones
on Grandfather's grave.

As I held you
I traced deep curve of muscles
in old arms

that still smelled of firewood
and smoke, arms that once held me
and spoke about strength.

I am leaving this morning,
a panther preys upon my sheep.
I will track it, taste its blood

wear it skin unless it shreds mine first.
Tucked among my arrows
is the small stone

you held in your hand
when I found you
a greeting

to the warmth of a new sun.
I hear you singing as I too step
alone into unknown light.

We had one of those nights that make you feel a little noirish. Made me feel that way, anyway.

a little night music

damp night
like cold

like diamonds

a night to walk
city streets
low over lost

into shadows
cold and

Now, the greatest of all American poets, Walt Whitman.

fromSong of Myself


I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's self
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks
   to his own funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the
   pick of the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod
   confounds the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young
   man following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for
   the wheel'd universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand
   cool and composed before a million universes.
And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God,
For I who am courious about each am not courious about
(No array of terms can say how much I am at peace
   about God and about death.)

I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand
   God not in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful
   than myself.
Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four,
   and each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my
   own face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every
   is sign'd by God's name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that
   wheresoe'er I go,
Others will punctually come for ever and ever.


And as to you, Death, and your bitter hug of mortality,
   it is idle to try to alarm me.

To his work without flinching the accoucheur comes,
I see the elder-hand pressing receiving supporting.
I recline by the sills of the exquisite flexible doors,
and mark the outlet, and mark the relief and escape.

And as to you Corpse I think you are good manure,
   but that does not offend me.
I smell the white roses sweet-scented and growing
I reach to the leafy lips, I reach to the polish'd breasts
   of melons.
And as to you Life I reckon you are the leavings of
   many deaths.
(No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times

I hear you whispering there O stars of heaven,
O suns - O grass of graves - O perpetual transfers and
If you do not say any thing how can I say any thing?

Of the turbid pool that lies in the autumn forest,
Of the moon that descends the steeps of the soughing
Toss, sparkles of day and dusk - toss on the black
   stems that decay in the muck,
Toss to the moaning gibberish of the dry limbs.
I ascend from the moon, I ascend from the night,
I perceive that the ghastly glimmer is noonday
   sunbeams reflected,
And debouch to the steady and central from the
   offspring great or small.


There is that in me - I do not know what it is - but I
   know it is in me.

Wrench'd and sweaty - calm and cool then my body
I sleep - I sleep long.

I do not know it - it is without name - it is a word
It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol.

Something it swings or more than the earth I swing
To it the creation is the friend whose embracing
   awakes me.

Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines! I plead for my
   brothers and sisters

Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death - it is form, union, plan - it is
   eternal life - it is Happiness.

(The problem with the greatest American poet ever is, once you start with him, it's hard to stop.)

Back with us again, fellow web-poet Dan Cuddy with a scary word poem.

Dan has his own new blog that he just set up. You can get to it by clicking on his link on the right.


how morose such a word?
how dark in a world of light?
how dreadful in the mirror,
in the snap and buckle behind the eyes,
in the rough tangle of the hair in the brow,
in the excess of silence,
and the pulse staccato in the wrist?
how ordinary,
an alphabet learned an eon ago,
a clench of fist,
a chill?

and it is all about growth,
the growth of skin,
the wild fire growth of skin,
of cells,
of the basic building blocks of life,
the frenzy of life.

how ironic,
such a natural outgrowth of birth,
the creative design.

My next poem is from The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, an anthology covering the full 3,000 year tradition of Chinese poetry.

The poet is Zhao Mengfu, born 1254 and died 1322. Unlike many of his contemporary Chinese officials, he accepted Qubilai Khan's invitation to serve in the government set up after the Mongol invasion. Because of that decision, his reputation fell and never recovered.

The poem was translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping, coeditors of the book.

Guilt at Leaving the Hermit's Life

To stay in the mountains is called great ambition;
leaving the mountains you become a small weed.
It was already stated in ancient times.
Why didn't I foresee all this happening?
All my life I longed to go my own way
and to give my ambition to hills and valleys.
I paint and write for my own entertainment,
hoping to keep my nature wild.
Unfortunately I am trapped in a net of dust,
I turn and get tangled up.
I was a gull over the waters,
now a bird in a cage.
Who cares about my sad singing?
Day by day my feathers turn to dry ruin.
Without relatives and friend's help,
vegetables and fruit were often scarce.
My sick wife carried my weak son,
and they left for a place ten thousand miles away.
We are separated, flesh and bones,
and our family tombs have no one to tend them.
When sorrow is deep, words all gone,
I gaze at clouds riding south till my vision fails.
A sad wind comes and I cry,
"How can I tell heaven my story?"

Never far from my coffee shop canvas. This is from yesterday.

girl at the coffee shop with friends

about her slight
and presses her lips
over and over

gives her
a little chipmunk

but when she
it's like
the curtains
in a sickroom
sunlit day
to the gloom
and her eyes
pick up that
and it dances
above her

April Bernard is a teacher at Bennington College in Vermont. She is the author of three collections of poetry and a novel. This poem is from the second of her three poetry collections, Psalms, published by W. W. Norton in 1993.

Psalm of the Surprised

The world lay warm and sugared at waking,
as the head of a child leans back into a big hand, learning to float

So shall we now lean, back in to the forgiveness of strangers,
the blue and red scrapes moving bodiless past cafe railings

Warm sun that plucks the hair of sheep and the skins of pigs
from out backs, leaving us clothed in dust motes
and their conveyances, beams

A pair of miniature women from across the river
arrived clutching portents in a bag they would not open

Wipe the salted, grateful, ignoble tear from the triangle of the eye;
finger the beads of hematite, tell the new works,
a prayer for every step hesitant across cobblestones
rounded and polished, slick with shine

Jane Roken has another little trip for us. Here it is.

Oracle signposts

Way out in the waste lands
you will meet signposts
bloody with rust
pocked with shot
buttered with birdshit
And you may ask them
any kind of question

Signposts that answer back:
No reason to stop here

You can travel the wastes
for days and days and never
see a living soul
but there will be eyes
upon you all the time

The gravel shifts underfoot
and what will be revealed?
The abyss of uncertainty:
superhuman proficiency
in all its permutations
in all its rapture
or just a rusty signpost
illegible beyond absurdity?

Losing the ground under your feet?
No reason to stop here
Ask any kind of question:
no one hears you here
your whisper
is a match lit up against the sun

Who is holding the keys to the pit?
Don't let your life depend

My next poem is by Lawrence Ferlinghetti grandmaster survivor of the Beats. The poem is from his book Wild Dreams of a New Beginning, published by New Directions Paperbook.

An Elegy To Dispel Gloom

(After the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in San Francisco, November, 1978)

Let us not sit upon the ground
and tell sad stories
of the death of sanity.
That two sweet men are dead
is all that need be said.
Two such sentient beings
two humans made of flesh
are meshed in death
and no more need be said.
It is pure vanity
to think that all humanity
be bathed in red
because one young man man
one so bad man
lost his head.
The force that through the red fuze
drove the bullet
does not drive everyone
through the City of Saint Francis
where there's a breathless hush
in the air today
a hush at City Hall
and a hush at the Hall of Justice
a hush in Saint Francis Wood
where no bird
tries to sing
a hush on the Great Highway
and in the great harbor
upon the great ships
and on the embarcadero
from the Mission Rock Resort
to the Eagle Cafe
a hush on the great red bridge
and on the great gray bridge
a hush in the Outer Mission
and at Hunter's Point
a hush at a hot potato stand on Pier 39
and a hush at the People's temple
where no bird
tries its wings
a hush and a weeping
at the Convent of the Sacred Heart
on Upper Broadway
a hush upon the fleshpots
of Lower Broadway
a pall upon the punk rock
at Mabuhay Gardens
and upon the cafes and bookstores
of old North Beach
a hush upon the landscape
of the still wild West
where two sweet dudes are dead
and no more need be said.
Do not sit upon the ground and speak
of other senseless murderings
or worse disasters waiting
in the wings
Do not sit upon the ground and talk
of the death of things beyond
these sad sad happenings.
Such men as these do rise above
our worst imaginings.

This poem is from my book, Seven Beats a Second, available for sale, I might add, by clicking on the link to the 7beats website at the top of the page

Commercial over, here's the poem.

dark lover

you are of a piece
with a universe
made mostly
of dark unknowns

an enigma

black energies
behind bright facade

I have felt your force

dark elements
clandestine desires

dark thoughts
dark looks
flickering behind your face
fair as an open sky

I am drawn to the clouds
behind the morning sun
to the flashes of night
within you
I live in the shadows
of your mysteries
for the light

My next poem is by LeRoi Jones, Marxist, anti-semite, conspiracy mongerer and damn fine writer of poetry, drama, essays and musical criticism. The poem is from the book American Negro Poetry, an anthology prepared edited by Arna Bontemps, first published by Hill and Wang in 1964, the republished with revisions in 1973.

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note

     (For Kellie Jones, born 16 May 1959)

Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelops me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad-edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus...

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars,
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night, I tiptoed up
To my daughter's room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
the door, there was no one there...
Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands.

Here's a very nice autumn poem from Sara Zang

When Autumn Winds Give Way to Chill

In October, the forest
holds committee meetings.
Town Council sees the need for change.
Gnarled oaks and matronly maples
let the young ones have their say.

Junior Chamber strategizes,
They think new colors is their idea,
that ancient trees are too old, too slow to know.
Unschooled upstarts - they are too new
to realize old truths.

October sways and sighs,
frost is soon to make its mark.
It's only the saplings that can't visualize
stark limbs. Old trees are veterans
at changing leaves to fit the season.

They know the drill of hunkering. When
harsh winds blow cold across the hill,
fragile twigs give up the dream in fear.
Weathered veterans whisper,
"Spring will soon be here."

The next poem is by Charles Harper Webb. Educated at Rice University , the University of Washington and the University of Southern California, Webb worked for fifteen years as a professional rock singer and guitarist and is now a licensed psychotherapist and professor of English at California State University, Long Beach.

The poem is from the book Reading the Water published by Northeastern University Press.

True Prophets

Their speech doesn't sound prophetic:
"Wish the damn heat would let up."
"Do you carry three-inch finishing nails?"
Too late their wisdom becomes clear.

True prophets, though, care nothing
for their prophecy. It just leaks out
of them like garlic after Korean food.
Prophets adore food which is thoughtfully

prepared. Sometimes at a restaurant,
a prophet will leap from his chair,
shrieking with rage, or laugh for no
apparent reason, or weep uncontrollably.

This indicates a profound meal.
Prophets will speak of it for centuries,
and congregate where it was served,
although it rarely re-occurs.

Prophets love billiards, but play badly.
Whatever sparks their gift, extinguishes
their sense of angles and geometry.
The can shoot hours without sinking

a ball. When one goes in - even
the white - every prophet on earth
feel an orgasmic shudder. Sex
doesn't interest prophets much. Knowing

the outcome makes them lackadaisical.
This may explain their rarity. They mate
infrequently, and never with the same
person twice. What most upsets
a prophet is the so-called "hot-foot"
in which matches are stuck between the sole
and upper of a shoe, then lit, causing
the victim to dance wildly and, if a prophet,

to fall into a trance from which he
or she can only be wakened by rapping
on the "funnybone." With the advent
of running shoes, however, and migration

of the populace toward video games, MTV,
and shopping malls, the method of "turning
a prophet" like prophecy - however true -
has ceased to have any significance at all.

I'll finish up this week with a goof of a poem I wrote four or five years ago. I suppose there's some principle involved, some message, but mostly it was for fun.

if god had wanted us to fly she'd given us wings

i was last on an airplane
in 1969

a military flight, not a bad one,
just very long, thirty-six hours
in the air in three stages

when it was finally over
and i stepped off the plane
and took in my first full breath
of moist Charleston air
i knew i was done with airplanes

and from that time on
i've either driven
wherever i needed to go
or changed my mind
and decided i didn't need
to go there anyway

it's not that i'm afraid

we all have a time to die
and my time will come three hours
after i win the largest jackpot
in lottery history whether
i'm on an airplane or not

so, since i haven't won yet,
there's no sense in being afraid
to get on a plane, even though
it does not seem to me to be
a highly intelligent thing to do,
to tie myself in a chair
in a sheet metal sausage
further high than i can
throw a rock (which
always to my knowledge
come crashing back to earth)
propelled through thin air
by a highly explosive liquid
under the control of a driver
who may or may not be
a drunken homicidal maniac
with gender identity problems
and suicidal tendencies

and besides
what's the point of going somewhere
if you can't see stuff along the way

And that's another week in Poetyland. D has some business in Austin, so I'll probably go along for the ride. Maybe find some good pictures laying about around Town Lake or maybe Barton Springs area. The picture above was taken from Congress Avenue in Austin, seen from the south, looking toward the state capitol. Found this one last time I was there.

We'll probably have dinner in Austin Friday night, spend the night there, then head out Saturday for a drive in the hill country, through Johnson City, then to Fredericksburg where we'll probably spend the night at Itz Bed and Breakfast on Main Street. The place has nothing to do with the Itz family, except that it's next to the building my grandfather built for his general store in 1902 or something like that. The family lived upstairs.

The general store was lost to the bank in the depression and my grandfather ended up working as manager of the store until he retired many years later.The old store is now, as are most of the old buildings on Main Street, antique shops for the tourists, of which there are many.

Anyway, been wanting to stay at the bed and breakfast to see if I can channel a bit of the old days when the town was one of several little German bubbles in the otherwise English countryside.

And all of that is why I posting a couple of days early this week.

Everything now having now been said and done for this week, please remember, all of the work included in this blog is the property of its creators. The blog, itself, was produced by and is the property of me....allen itz.


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