Commuter Sunrise   Sunday, April 13, 2008


My lead picture this week is of sunrise at about 7:30 a.m. on the corner of Blanco Road and Loop 1604 in San Antonio.

As I mentioned last week I'm back in the ranks of the reluctant employed, maybe through June, which will present me with many more opportunities than I really want to view this scene at this time of the morning.

I think as long as I continue to think of each day as one tenth of a day of our next vacation, among the red and golden leaves of New England autumn, maybe, or basking on the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, maybe, or even that west to east train ride across continental Canada that I've been wanting to do, I'll be able to suck it up.

Enough complaining.

But before we move on to the good stuff, I want to note that, after not sending anything out in quite a while, I finally made time in the last couple of weeks to submit some of my work to a couple of journals, with good results so far. Six of my poems were accepted by Blaze Vox and are included in their new issue online now. If you want to take a look, you can use the link on the right or just cut and past this url to your browser:

I begin this week with four poems from Korean poet, Ku Sang. The poems are from his book Wastelands of Fire, with translations by Anthony Teague.

Eros I

A torso like a ripe peach.

A butterfly fallen
drunk in ecstasy on a flowery tomb.

A tongue with the perfume of melons.

A seagull plunging
into blue waves that flash white teeth.

In a gaze fixed on the distant horizon.

A roe deer
drinking at a secret spring in a virgin forest

Abyss of Eros,
beauty of original sin.

Eros II

The purring cat's
deceitful, mysterious face.

Venus' neck
spun about with hempen locks.

On breasts of velvet
the imprint of a hawk's claws.

An hour-glass navel.

Buttocks the smooth bottom of a wooden bowl,
secret flesh of tree-trunk thighs.

The narrowing rapids of a rendez-vous,
a grassy bank aflame on a spring day.

In primitive darkness,
beneath an azalea-cliff blanket
a naked woman
on a foaming, lapping wave-white sheet
joins her arms
like cords
that criminals are bound with


The cooing of doves.

Breath-taking moment, oh, mystic ritual!

Eros III

I draw in empty space.

That face,
that voice,
that smile,
those thighs,
but that love
cannot be drawn.

Things drawn in the heart
may not be given form.

Eros IV

With that same hand
that caressed her naked body
I stroke my grey beard.

Passion faded into pale silver...

That loving, riding the bucket,
has been drawn up to the heavens.
Henceforth, all those places times and places
are one with Eternity.

As I was typing Ku Sang's "eros" poems, it came to me that I have used them before. Well, never mind. They're good enough for many readings.

In the meantime, though it's risky to set oneself up in comparison to a master, they did remind me of one of my own poems. It's included in my book Seven Beats a Second (which you can buy, by the way, by clicking on the "return to 7beats" link on the top right hand of this page - sorry, I need to try to sell a book now and then, it's a tax thing).

cinnamon dreams

in the dim light
at end of day
I watch you sleep
   still damp
   from the shower
curled on your side
in white linen
   like the center
of a fresh-sliced peach
in a bowl of sweet cream

your foot moves
brushes softly against mine

with a quiet rush
   of warm air
   you sigh
the sweet breath
of cinnamon dreams

Richard Wilbur is known as an excellent translator of poems by other poets as well as a creator of his own fine poetry. So, I'm going to use two poems from his book Collected Poems, 1943-2004.

This first poem is Wilbur's translation of a poem by Andre Voznesensky, a Russian poet born in 1933 and still writing. He is a rare poet who has a minor planet in another solar system named after him. Such was his fame in the USSR.

Foggy Street

The air is grey-white as a pigeon-feather.
   Police bob up like corks on a fishing-net.
Foggy weather.
What century is it? What era? I forgot.

As in a nightmare, everything is crumbling;
   people have come unsoldered; nothing's intact.
I plod on, stumbling,
Or flounder in cotton wool, to be more exact.

Noses. Parking-lights. Badges flash and blur.
   All's vague, as in a magic-lantern show.
Your hat check, Sir?
Mustn't walk off with the wrong head, you know.

It's as if a woman who's scarcely left your lips
   Should blur in the mind, yet trouble it with recall -
Bereft now, widowed by your love's eclipse -
Still yours, yet suddenly not yours at all...

Can that be Venus? No - an ice-cram vendor!
   I bump into curbstones, bump into passersby.
Are they friends, I wonder?
Home-bred Iagos, how covert you are, how sly!

Why it's you, my darling, shivering there alone!
   Your overcoat's too big for you, my dear.
But why have your grown
That moustache? Why is there frost in your hairy ear?

I trip, I stagger, I persist.
   Murk, murk...there's nothing visible anywhere.
Whose is the cheek you brush now in the mist?
Ahoy there!
One's voice won't carry in this heavy air.

When the fog lifts, how brilliant it is, how rare!

Now, here's one of Wilbur's own poems.

Cottage Street, 1953

Framed in her phoenix fire-screen, Edna Ward
Bends to the tray of Canton, pouring tea
For frightened Mrs. Plath; then, turning toward
The pale, slumped daughter, and my wife, and me,

Asks if we would prefer it weak or strong.
Will we have milk or lemon, she inquires?
The visit seems already strained and long.
Each in turn, we tell her out desires.

It is my office to exemplify
The published poet in his happiness,
Thus cheering Sylvia, who has wished to die;
But half-ashamed, and impotent to bless,

I am a stupid life-guard who has found,
Swept to his shallows by the tide, a girl
Who, far from the shore, has been immensely drowned,
And stares through water now with eyes of pearl.

How large is her refusal; and how slight
The genteel chat whereby we recommend
Life, of a summer afternoon, despite
The brewing dusk which hints that it may end.

And Edna Ward shall die in fifteen years,
After her eight-and-eighty summers of
Such grace and courage as permit no tears,
The thin hand reaching out, the last word love,

Outliving Sylvia who, condemned to live,
Shall study for a decade, as she must,
To state at last her brilliant negative
In poems free and helpless and unjust.

Next, we have the return of Francina.

Born in 1947, Francina says she was "reared for the first thirteen years on river plying cargo vessels visiting Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.'

Later she studied accounting, French, English and German. "I have called home many different places over the years," she says, including the United States 12 years, moving back to The Netherlands 10 years ago. She says she has traveled to North Africa, Thailand, Caribbean as well most countries of Europe. Her interest in poetry began, she says, in 1990 when she became a member of the Wallace Steven Society. She says she has also developed a fondness for Japanese and Chinese poetry since then.

Upon Returning

The wooden plank
forms a bridge between
the landlocked life

with daily strife
that hushed the longing
deep inside my soul,

and this,
a world of bliss,

the wind and sea,
pulling me
back to where

I do belong,
out on the deck
when sails are set.

Next. I have a poem I like very much. It's from the book Horse of Earth by Thomas R. Smith.

Smith, born in 1948, grew up in Wisconsin in a paper mill town on the banks of the Chippewa River. After majoring in English at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls, he traveled for a year in Europe, becoming inspired by the work of Rimbaud and Baudelaire. In the early 80s, he directed Artspeople, a rural-based arts organization serving farm communities in western Wisconsin. As a poet, essayist and editor, his work has appeared in numerous journals in the U.S., Canada and abroad.

The book was published in 1994 by the Holy Cow! Press of Duluth, Minnesota.

Now, the poem.


We don't understand our grandparent's
satisfaction in not being famous - the hours spent
practicing the piano because one longed
to hear Chopin, the prairie light so calm
on weathered boards of the shed.

The scripture pages the old ones ponder
as death approaches are a walled garden
no longer noticed by the television watchers
admiring ingenious explosions
in the dawn sky over Mesopotamia.

What does it mean that we are bombing
the Garden? Contempt for simple
aspirations, for ordinary and peaceful
needs, shrieking down from dark cockpits
as the passive nation looks on.

Unable to play an instrument or dance,
we bomb the Bagdad of our human joy.
In the four-gated city, our grandfathers
and grandmothers become the children
Christ asked to "come unto Him."

So, here's more in my continuing landlord saga.

cleaning the mess

another weekend
of landlording
cleaning up all the mess
left behind
by the last tenant,
some of it to trash
and some to Goodwill,
then plastering over the fist-sized
holes in all the walls...

(i mean, hell, dude,
a man to do
when his woman leaves him,
he's just nacherly
got to find
something else

going blue
inside and out,
finished and looking good
but Lowe's switched
my paint order
so instead of light blue
with dark blue trim,
outside's going to be
the opposite,
light on dark instead
of dark on light,
a strange look, an
"miami vice avant garde"
appearance we decided,
and named the look as such,
and by so naming
established a rationale to it
so that we we can say
we meant to do it that way
all along

we both painted today,
but yesterday D did most of the painting
while i mowed the grass - three quarters of an acre,
high as it was, took most of the afternoon
even with our big tractor mower,
especially going slow
as i was, carefully mowing around
little patches of wildflowers

i'm thinking
it'll take us a good three months
to sell the place, which, with a wet spring,
means ill be back mowing
at least six weekends,
giving time for the flowers
to spread their seeds before they die,
so whoever buys the place
will wake up some morning
next spring
and find themselves
with almost an acre of color,
indian paintbrushes
and those pink things
whose name i can never remember

i like
the thought of that
almost wish i could be here
to see it too

To paraphrase the play, I rely on the creativity of strangers, as well as friends, to publish this blog every week. I use a few of my own poems, but mostly I count on poems I beg from friends and poems I get from the used books I buy at places like Half-Priced Books. (I think I now have a larger poetry library than any bookstore in town, new or used.)

It's really convenient to find good used anthologies that have a large number of poems from a wide variety of poets, like for example, The Outlaw's Bible of American Poetry and the Native American anthology I have, as well as several others, Such anthologies provide material enough to do "Here and Now" probably longer than I'll be around to do it. One stop shopping, so to speak.

But it's also nice to find a book by an individual poet that provides a deep well of the kind of poems I can go to for material over and over again. One such book is Red Beans, a collection by Puerto Rican poet Victor Hernandez Cruz. I've gone to this book many times in the two plus years I've been doing "Here and Now" and I expect to go many more times as well.

There's lots of talk about immigration right now, a lot of it racist, in my opinion. So, here, on the subject of immigration, is the latest from Red Beans by Victor Cruz.

Snaps of Immigration

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

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

When we saw the tenements
our eyes turned backwards
to the miracle of scenery
At the supermarket
My mother caressed the

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was paying for my latte at a Barnes & Noble coffee bar last week and say this little book on counter and bought it.

The title of the book is Ignorance is Blitz and it is selections from history essays by college students. As someone who occasionally reads student essays, I can tell you that nothing in the book seems to me to be unlikely.

Here are few essay snippets.

"Bible legend states that the trouble started after Eve ate the Golden Apple of Discord. This was the forbidding fruit. An angry God sent his wrath. Man fell from the space of grace. It was mostly downhill skiing from there."

"There was Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Lower Egypt was actually farther up than Upper Egypt, which was, of course, lower down than the upper part."

"Babylon was similar to Egypt because of the differences they had apart from each other. Egypt, for example, had only Egyptians, but Babylon had Summarians, Acadians, and Canadians, to name just a few."

"Zorroastrologism was founded by Zorro. This was a duelist religion."

"The three gods were 'Good,' 'Bad,' and 'Indifferent.' These beliefs later resurfaced among the Manatees."

"The history of the Jewish people begins with Abraham, Issac, and their twelve children. Judyhism was the first monlithic religion. It had one big God named 'Yahoo.'"

"Moses was told by Jesus Christ to lead the people out of Egypt into the Sahaira Desert. The Book of Exodus describes this trip and the amazing things that happened on it, including the Ten Commandments, various special effects, and the building of the Suez Canal."

"Rome was founded sometime by Uncle Remus and Wolf."

"Eventually Christian started the new religion with sayings like, 'The mice shall inherit the earth.' Later Christians fortunately abandoned this idea."

"Cesar was assassinated on the Yikes of March."

"It is unfortunate that we do have a medivel European laid out on a table before us, ready for dissection. Society was arranged like a tree,with our nobels in the upper twigs and your pesants grubbing around the roots. This was knows as the manurial system where land was passed through fathers to sons by primogenuflecture. To some degree rulers diluted people into thinking that this was a religious opperation."

"Monks were assigned to monkeries, where they were supposed to live as nuns. Many, however, simply preyed by day and played by night. Fryers were required to take a vow of pottery."

"Medieval builders gave God his usual chair in the church roof. In a Romanesue church the stone roof is held up by a system of peers. The usual design was a long knave split by a crosshair. Without the discovery of the flying buttock it would have been and impossible job to build the Gothic cathedral."

And this goes on through the centuries until we're dealing with last night's news, such as "we are glad that the Persian war ended with victory to the cotillion. Current cause for concern is the creeping of fomentalism among the people. This spells out the whole thing in a nuthouse."

We will do some more of these in future issues. They break me up.

My next poem is by our friend, James Fowler.

Jim lives in Massachusetts, has eight grand kids and wants to retire, write poetry, garden, play tennis, cook and write some more poetry.

I haven't eaten any of his cooking, but he does just fine in the poetry department.

Dark Stonee

Gunmetal day, green knoll
slashed brown for burial.
Gladiolas and roses
rest near the hidden hole.

Shallow shovels dig the pit.
Workers peer at the edge,
measure its depth while he waits,
condensed in ashes.

I want to smooth the granite,
speckled like the back of his hands,
transfer tears and love, gifts
for his passage in dark stone.

The next poem from a collection of work by Arthur Sze titled The Redshifting Web Poems 1970-1998 published in 1998 by Copper Canyon Press of Port Townsend, Washington.

I was poetry illiterate when I started "Here and Now" two and a half years ago, knowing mainly what had not escaped my head since college literature classes, and not much more. One of the reasons I enjoy doing the blog every week is the chance it's given me to discover so many poets new to me whose work excites me. The poet Arthur Sze is one of those I'm particularly glad to have discovered. Since nobody can know everybody, one of the purposes of "Here and Now" is to share my own sense of discovery.

Sze is a second generation Chinese American born in New York City in 1950. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley and is the author of six books of poetry. He has taught at Brown University, Bard College and the Naropa Institute. He is currently a Professor of Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico.

The Silence

We walk through a yellow-ocher adobe house:
the windows are smeared with grease,
the doors are missing. Rain leaks
through the ceilings of all the rooms,
and the ribs of saguaro thrown across vigas
are dark, wet, and smell. The view outside
of red-faded and turquoise-faded adobes
could be Chihuahua, but it isn't.
I stop and look through an open doorway,
see wet newspapers rotting in mud
in the small center patio.
I suddenly see red bougainvillea blooming
against a fresh whitewashed wall,
smell yellow wisteria through an open
window on a warm summer night;
but, no, a shot of cortisone is no cure
for a detaching retina. I might just
as well see a smashed dog in the street,
a boojumree pushing its way up
through asphalt. And as we turn
and arrive where we began, I notice
the construction of the house is
simply room after room forming a square.
We step outside, and the silence is as
water is, taking the shape of the container.

Here's another of my poems inspired by a painting. Strictly speaking, these "art" poems ought to stand on their own, and not as commentary on the painting, but as a poetic expression of the my reaction to the painting.

That said, I think this poem is really better if you look at the painting. As I've posted these painting-inspired poems in the past, I've include a url that you could go to to view the painting. (I'm sorry you have to cut and paste these url's to your browser, but I don't have link capability here in the body of the blog.) In this case, the poem is supposed to be funny and it doesn't work so well without the painting. I guess that makes this more of a cartoon caption than a poem, but I'm willing:

(after Hana Barrett's "Little Sigmund" - oil on canvas)

a scrawny
looking fella,
but a real fancy dan
when it comes to clothes,
and ribbons
and lace
and bows,
a real fashionista

but here's the

really needs
to talk to him,
tell him right straight
out to his face...

you can wear
the hat
or you can wear
the dress,
you just can't
wear both"

be for his own good

My next poem is by Langston Hughes from Selected Poems of Langston Hughes, a collection of his poetry personally selected by Hughes shortly before his death in 1967.

The South

The lazy, laughing South
With blood on its mouth.
The sunny-faced South,
The child-minded South
Scratching in the dead fire's ashes
For a Negro's bones.
   Cotton and the moon,
   Warmth, earth, warmth,
   The sky, the sun, the stars,
   The magnolia-scented South.
Beautiful, like a woman,
Seductive as a dark-eyed whore,
   Passionate, cruel,
   Honey-lipped, syphilitic -
   That is the South.
And I, who am black, would lover her
But she spits in my face.
And I, who am black,
Would give her many rare gifts
But she turns her back upon me.
   so now I seek the North -
   The cold-faced North,
   For she, they say,
   Is a kinder mistress,
And in her house my children
May escape the spell of the South.

Marie Gail Stratford is a freelance writer and dance instructor from Kansas City, Missouri, where she also works for a small computer retailer. Her work has appeared in several online periodicals, including The Loch Raven Review, Blue House, and Poems Niederngasse.

Marie Gail was with us just a couple of weeks ago. She's back this week with this intriguing piece that I saw on the Blueline Forum.

Tempid Whatnot

What happened to doing
what you do because you love
what it is,
what it draws from you,
what it becomes outside of you?

What perversion led so many to believe that
what is worthwhile is measured only by
what others say, by
what success comes from
whatever television network or webpage or
whatever celebrity decides that
what you do is worth saying
what she thinks or spending
what he will on
whatever prime time special on
whatever night brings him
what he wishes in return?

What will we become when
what pleases everyone is
what we produce because
what offends anyone is
what we are afraid to become rather than
what we are? We will become bland and repetitive, so that

what everybody wants becomes
what no one really likes.

I have a poem now from the anthology From Totems to Hip-Hop edited by Ismael Reed. The book is subtitled "A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900-2002."

The poem I'm using from the book is by Lawson Inada.

Inada, born in Fresno, California in 1938, is a third-generation sansei Japanese-American. During World War II he was incarcerated at the Fresno County Fairground, and later was interned in a Japanese-American concentration camps in Arkansas and Colorado. His first published collection of poetry, Before the War: Poems As They Happened, was the first poetry collection by an Asian-American writer to be published by a major United States-based publishing house. At the time the book was published, he was a professor in the English department at Southern Oregon College in Ashland, Oregon.

Filling the Gap

When Bird died, I didn't mind:
I had things to do -

polish some shoes, practice
a high school cha-cha-cha

I didn't even know
Clifford was dead:

I must have been
lobbing an oblong ball
beside the gymnasium.

I saw the Lady
right before she died -

dried, brittle
as last year's gardenia.

I let her scratch an autograph.

But not Pres.

Too bugged to boo, I left
as Basie's brass
booted him off the stand
in a sick reunion -

tottering, saxophone
dragging him like a stage-hook.

When I read Dr. Williams
poem, "Stormy,"
I wrote a letter of love and praise

and didn't mail it.

After he died, it burned my desk
like a delinquent prescription...

I don't like to mourn the dead:
what didn't, never will,

And I sometimes feel foolish
staying up late,
trying to squeeze some life
out of books and records,
filling the gaps
between words and notes.

That is wy]
I rush into our room to find you
mumbling and moaning
in your incoherent performance

That is why
I rub and squeeze you
and love to hear your
live, alterable cry against my breast.

More from me on the domestic side of life.

settling in

is not sitting behind me
on her carpet
as she usually does
and i wonder why...
until i notice
that the ironing board
i set out so i could
iron a shirt
for work
is sitting right on top
of her carpet

no wonder

i set up the ironing board
i made one last turn
my nearly depleted closet
and found,
way over in the corner,
a blue shirt
i can wear with my new tan pants
so there is no need for the ironing board
at all,
at least not tonight

happy happy
joy joy,
as Ren and Stimpy
used to sing...
what happened to them
the company that owned the rights
fired the artist
who created the series
is what i heard
which sounds dumbass enough
to be true...

but the point is,
there being no need
for the ironing board tonight,
i moved it,
liberating Reba's carpet
which she occupied immediately
as it was cleared for her use

there was a look in her eye
as she settled in with her normal
which seem clearly to me to be saying
"thanks, pal"

and i say
"nothing to it girl, anytime
at all"

My next poem is from a fine poet I've only used once or twice since I bought her book. The poet is Mary Swander and the book is Heaven-and-Earth House published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1994.

Swander was born in 1950 in Iowa where she was raised.

She began college at Georgetown University, but finished an English degree at the University of Iowa. She earned her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. She was involved in a variety of pursuits for several years, including becoming a certified and licensed practitioner of therapeutic massage. She began teaching English at Iowa State University, Ames, in 1986 and continues to live in Ames and Kalona.


We're all here in Vegas - the look-alike Elvis,
Ringo Starr, Sammy Davis Jr....
I shuffle into the clinic with the other
arthritic for one more quack cure, drop
my money in the slot. Oh, it's hot!
The handle too warm to touch, the desert sun,
outside bleaching the lizard's skull.
I bet on reptiles, on the scaly-skinned,
the spaderfoot toad who burrows backward
and sleeps seven feet down in the sand.
I go with the insects who breed and feed at night,
with the single-celled protozoan protected
from the heat by its own cyst.
I bet on the woman on the couch with
a growth on her cheek, the seven-year-old
in cowboy boots with eczema head to toe.
I roll for the shaky hand, spastic muscle, drooling lip.
I roll for the palsied girl that she may walk,
the diapered man that he may no longer drip.
For I have faith in the communion of waiting rooms
and know the inside secret of wheelchairs,
IV poles, crutches and canes.
I know the woman weeping on the examining table.
She raises the ante and bets on Death Valley.
I bet on the shuttle bus back to the motel near the casino,
the ice machine, the clean plop into the bucket,
the fresh towels and Gideon Bible in the desk drawer.
I bet on the Book of Mormon next to the fish tank,
the Newsweek with Oliver North on the cover.
Yes, I roll for the silver dollar, the neon,
salamander and tadpole, the quickie marriage of the
kissing gouramis behind the glass. I wait for the
cloudburst, the once-or-twice-a-year puddle,
the underground tests to explode.

Here's another poem from Thane Zander, frequent contributor and our reporter on all things New Zealand.

Thane is a 49 year old ex Navy veteran (27 years) and currently an 8 year poetry veteran. The poetry came after leaving the Navy due to suffering Bipolar disorder. Thane considers himself a Web Poet, a place he has frequented since 1999. He says he found the Blueline Poetry in 2003 and is now a director of the Challenges and Workshop forums at Blueline. He also participates in the Poem a Day forum on Blueline, which has allowed his repertoire in seven short years to grow over 700 poems.

He says he also "at one stage busked his poetry on the streets (during a down time) and as a result made the local newspaper as a quaint oddity." His latest endeavour is to tackle a Creative Writing course at the local university, which he hopes he will do well. In short, he says, he eats and breathes poetry.

I am a very large fan of his work.

The Errant Life of an Ant and Anteater

Little ant, you are mine
I watch you with avid interest
as you scuttle to and fro
watch you carry your burdens
back to a nest
dominated by an Errant Queen

Little earwig, you are mine
I espy your daily carriage
of objects heavier
than 10 times your weight
see you carry your prizes
to a place I can't yet discern.

Little Ladybird, you are mine
flittering and fluttering
the day of the week
means nothing to your insect life
you just do what you have to do
and then fly away happy.

Fantail, you are not mine
you playfully dart and dash
your tail feathers fanned
to attract a mate, for life
your fanciful dance through the air
followed by a stint in a tree.

Welcome Swallow, you are not mine
you fly fitfully in rapid motions
your movement to catch a mate to,
with grace and high speed
you plunder the airwaves
ready for a long trip home.

Tui, you are not mine
you are a bird of extreme beauty
your evening song heart wrenching
your call for a mate mellow
I hear your longing in every tone
marvel at your persistence.

Kotuku, you are nobody's
your white plumage and dress
make for a pleasant thing to see
your elegant movement
your passive manipulation
of dance sublime.

And there endeth the poem. I'm a nature beast, I live for nature, I love nature, I hate to see natural things end just because we want to build bigger cities and towns. The Government has in place a department called The Department of Conservation, to safeguard nature as it was before men arrived, to stop the clear felling of native forests and as a consequence, natures wonderful birds and insects here. My father was a local member of the Society, and he worked hard to stop the incorrect use of rivers and forests by people with agenda towards not caring.

I wasted years of my life stuck in a steel encased tomb at sea, but did have the pleasure of seeing life's creatures in their natural environment. When I see Beer Wrappers thrown away and washed out to see I feel for the Penguins and dolphins that are caught up in that mess. Yes real issues for me. I used to admonish people for chucking rubbish overboard without a moments thought. Food scraps, yes, but not stuff that could be stored until a suitable landfill was reached.

Sadly today I have almost lost touch with reality, but if not for the creatures I mention in the poem I would only have the flies and moths to tell me how Nature is going these days, and they tell nothing. Thankfully, I smoke, and I have to do it outside and every time I do go for a smoke, Nature smiles.

I've used this poem before, but it makes me think of a happy time and I like it so I'm using it again.

It's by Texas poet and underground film maker W. Joe Hoppe and it's from his book Galvanized.

Hombres Solitarios

Seven Mexicans on the stereo
sing of loneliness
together in fine harmony

Two kinds of accordions
three kinds of guitars
and a pair of fiddles
believable lonely in the same key

Certain that this
is the way a man
truly exists

Finally, one last poem from me before we call it a week.

old men in jeans

you see old men in blue jeans
all the time these days.
i am an old man
and i don't wear hardly anything
but jeans...

thinking back
to my father and the khaki work pants
he wore every day of his
adult life
except for four hours on Sunday
when he wore a blue double breasted suit
he bought
when he and my mother
got married

to imagine
him in jeans and i can't -
jeans were for kids
and not for grown men,
unless they were
real ones, not the
phony ones
you'd see at the dance
on Saturday night
when Adolph Hoffner
and his Texas swing band
would be playing at the
Brown Bottle out on Highway 83

- you could always tell the difference
between them
and the real cowboys
whose cotton shirts
were homesewn
from flowerdy flour sack material
and whose boots under their jeans
were a little scuffed
and shiny on the outside instep
from rubbing against a stirrup -

except for them,
the real mccoys, grown men
didn't wear bluejeans,
just like they didn't do other things,
like cuss in front of women
or drink whiskey with little umbrellas
or cry
or wear perfume
or get their nails done
or talk too much about their feelings
except maybe sometimes when
they were really really drunk
which grown up men didn't hardly do
anyway, things like that,
it just wasn't done

but that's the way it goes

i wear jeans all the time,
and couldn't ever
live in my father's world, just like
he wouldn't want
to have anything to do
with mine

I guess that's enough for this bright and golden day. But before I live I want to mention that I'm expecting to start a new semi-regular feature next week, music review and commentary. I think most everyone's going to like it, especially since it's going to be presented by someone who lknows what he's talking about and not by me.

Also just noticed that this is a particularly tame issue. Nothing to raise a single hackle anywhere. I'll try to do better next time.

In the meantime, time to go out and recreate.

And as you recreate, remember, all the material presented on this blog remains the property of its creators. The blog itself was produced by and is the property of me...allen itz

at 9:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to see pics of the famous Reba and the infamous rental house. I enjoy your visual formats a lot. Thanks for including me. Always an honor.

Kindest regards,
Marie Gail

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