Remembering A Year When There Was Rain   Friday, May 30, 2008


Nothing to do here but welcome you to this last issue in May of "Here and Now," the little blog that could.

I'm back in the ranks of the retired, so I have a little more time to put things together than I've had for the past couple of months. The result this week is more poets for your reading pleasure (I hope).

My first poem this week is by Tao Lin, a twenty three year old poet from Brooklyn. The poem is from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, his second collection of his poetry. In addition to an earlier poetry collection, he has also published a novel and a short story collection.

a stoic philosophy based on the scientific fact that our thoughts
cause our feelings and behaviors

we have our undesirable situations whether we are upset about them
   or not

if we are upset about our problems we have two problems; the problem
and our being upset about it; with thoughts as the cause of emotions
rather than the outcome the causal order is reversed
the benefit of this is that we can change our thoughts
to feel or act differently regardless of the situation
i need to win a major prize to shove in people's faces
note the similarities with buddhism
a buddhist who has achieved nirvana is not sad
primarily because it does not know the concept
of sad; the sole problem of an undesirable situation
is the absence of a philosophy allowing it to be desirable
the cessation of desire in western civilizations
often coincides with the onset of severe depression
a cessation or increase of suffering in relationships
often effects increased focus on work or art
let's compare the person shot with a rifle
who worries about who manufactured the bullets
rather than staunching the wound
with the person shot with a rifle
who distances himself from the situation
until the focus is on the distance itself
turn to page forty-eight of your workbook and read it aloud in a quiet
focusing intensely on the meaning of each word, phrase, sentence, and
based on the historical fact that after i express anger, frustration, or
you treat me more considerately, then gradually less considerately
until again i am "triggered" to express anger, frustration
or disappointment i think we may have achieved something
like the Buddhist concept of the cycle of birth and rebirth
let me conceive a temporary philosophy to justify
my behavior involving the dissemination of literature
while maintaining and strengthening our identities
we should be aware that identity is a preconception
the purpose of that is yet unknown at this point
i felt a little sad this morning but was able to block it out
and now i feel better, implicitly we trust that once we discover what it
   is we are doing
we will return to let ourselves know; the realization of what we are
   actually achieving
will manifest from an as yet unoccupied perspective, a perspective with
   no metaphysical
temporal, or physical connections to our current situation
with the understanding that thoughts are the cause
of emotions, pain, and the experience of time
and that thoughts can be extinguished
with other thoughts or states of thoughtlessness
we become wholly irrelevant to what already exists in the universe
all of which can be valuable in recovery

I wrote this poem last week. It came about pretty much as described in the poem.

what i did in the war

something happened
to set to floating
in my semiconscious
the novel
"Catch 22"
and one of its
lesser characters,
the inept
Major Major
later in the book
to the rank of Major),
in turn, today
into the open
of spending most of 1967
studying the Russian language
as part of an Air Force detachment
at Indiana University

as is true
throughout the standard
military structure,
we had a grizzled
First Sergeant
who ran the unit
while an officer
held down the top spot
on the organizational chart,
a very
type officer in this particular case,
who spent his days
in his office
tying fishing flies,
in full view,
though i doubt
he ever knew it,
of students
struggling with the
cyrillic alphabet
and verb declensions
and similar mind-benders
in our second floor
in an adjacent building

the officer,
whose name and rank
i don't think i ever knew,
was much like
the airmen in his charge,
most of whom were older,
like me,
and who, like me,
having received draft notices,
chose the Air Force
as a last minute
avenue of escape
from the draft
rather than a messy flight
to Canada and all that entailed -
he didn't seem to want to be there
anymore than we did

whatever his military ineptitude,
he was a dedicated Scoutmaster
as was demonstrated
one day
i, in uniform,
met him on the sidewalk
and he returned my snappiest,
most military hand salute
with a mumble,
downcast eyes
and a perfectly executed
boy scout

it is true
that we did, indeed,
win the cold war,
but nothing in my military
which continued
for another three years
much as it began
at good old IU,
a clue to me
as to

Cornelius Eady, formerly director of the Poetry Center at SUNY/Stony Brook, is currently visiting professor in creative writing at the City College of New York. He is the author of seven books of poetry, including Brutal Imagination, the book I went to for my next poem. He was cofounder of Cave Canem, a source of workshops and retreats for African-American poets.

Stepin Fetchit Reads the Paper

Not the dead actor,
Historically speaking, but the ghost
Of the scripts, the bumbling fake
Of an acrobat, the low-pitched anger
Someone mistook for stupid.

This so-called bruiser rattling the streets,
Heavy with children, I'd like to
Tell him what a thankless job
It is to go along to get along.
All the nuances can and will
Be rubbed smooth and by the time
It's over,

By the time you're dead and the people
You thought you were doing this
On behalf of are long forgotten,

There's only a image left that they
Name you after, toothy, slow,
Worthy of a quick kick in the pants.
I used to have bones, I'd tell him.
It was a story that
Rubbed out my human walk.

I'm returning to Thane Zander again this week. Here's one of his latest poems.

A Mind Surfers Lament Part 1 of 4


Chastised for hereditary recklessness
the clock in your mind always set to 12
your footfalls on soft carpet a perfect 10.

Those fairy lights grandma gave you
drag your mind slipping on all gears
into a past riddled with the Seasons of Decay.


We made papier mache Windmills
not thinking of far off Holland,
more the one in Foxton that spins
and provides milled wheat
to the local bakery.

The bread tastes the same, why so much effort?


Someone stepped on your toe
you don't know who or why
but you are inherently aware
that the bruising is widespread.


There it is I tell you, under the bed,
an errant TV remote sans batteries,
you used them in your vibrator again,
the pillow thrown signifies a Bullseye,
I laugh at the top of my vocal range
the more to infuriate your sensitivity,
we leap for the vibrator, me for the batteries
she because of her embarrassment,
the doorbell rings, she alters tack,
leaves me for the errant mechanical orgasmitiser,
she to go speak with the neighbour's wife.

I wander into the room where they both stand,
waving the deep purple machine in the air.


The window flew open, widows curse
ten elephants flew by, ears flapping,
I looked out the glass door, rhinoceroses,
the chimney echoed a cacophony of monkeys,

I checked the movie on TV, Jumanji
fantasy come to life, dances by my house
I see storks pecking at the roses, pansies
the alligators chew up the vegetable garden,
not doubt looking for mutant ants and slaters,
I switch channels, the music channel,
the serenity of a symphony orchestra in full flight
the chewed roses sing soprano,
the pansies tenor,
the ants and slaters go about their daily business,
forgotten in the melee of jumping channels.

I look out the window again, a string section,
sit down and settle to Beethoven's Fifth,
the horn section of the Flax bush
the woodwinds of the sunflowers,
the piano an errant Dutch Thistle,
yes even weeds share billing with reeds.

The telephone rings in E major, discordant
I answer, without realization the sound is huge,
I flick the remote, nothing happens,
then I see him, The Mad Hatter snorting coke,

I make for the TV, hit the off button,
in time to still hear the phone, the surrealist
passion play stops of a sudden, time flies,
yet still the Mad Hatter invades my mind.

Hello, Thane speaking (I think)

Carol Connolly was born, raised, and educated in the Irish Catholic section of Saint Paul, Minnesota and has seven children. Like me, and a lot of other people I know, she is a second life poet, beginning to write when she was forty years old. She has worked as a newspaper columnist, and a news commentator on television. A number of her works have been performed on stage by herself and others.

She has served as co-chair of the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus, chair of the Saint Paul Human Rights Commission and chair of the affirmative action committee of the Minnesota Racing Commission.

She is a very busy poet.

This next two poems are from her book Payments Due Onstage Offstage. I think they're both a lot of fun.

It's Not Going Well

Five years
of one man's adoration
and undying devotion
is enough for anyone.
When I told him I
wanted to separate,
he leapt like someone
Now the whole house
smells of wounded buffalo,
and he continues
to serve tea
in the best china
at midnight.

Is This a Joke

He invited a student to live in their house,
to work in exchange for lodging.
He began to take brandy to bed,
to cover the glass with a paperback book
to save it from evaporation during the night.
His wife woke him,
shook his shoulder. She asked,
"Do you love the student more than me?"
He resisted, feigned sleep,
rustled the sheets, groaned,
and finally resigned himself
to a true/false answer.
His wife announced
she could now kill herself,
put her head in their oven.
As she turned from their marriage bed,
her elbow tipped the brandy.
It bled into the pages of his soft book.

After some blank time,
with nothing to read or drink,
he ventured into their kitchen.
Curious, he wondered if she knew:
to suicide
you must blow out the pilot light.
"How is it going?"
His wife, her golden hair dull
with carbon and sweat, said,
"It's hot in here."

Sitting at the coffee shop, trying to write a poem. Looking around and finding it. It occurs to me that not much imagination is required to do what I mostly do. Just gotta look around and report what I see, trying to find, somewhere along the way, more to what I see than can be immediately seen.

Or something like that.

just another night in the arena

Friday night is chess night
at the coffee shop
and games are going on
all around me -
the usual cast of characters,
the Harpo Marx look-alike
playing the young girl

(that question
finally settled tonight
after months of wondering
by the outline
of a bra strap beneath
her t-shirt)

a prodigy it seems,
a student first
of Harpo
and now a worthy
sure to make her teacher proud,
and at other tables
groups of middle-aged men
each other game after game,
in the corner
and older man
explaining the finer points
of the game
to a trio of young girls

notable absences tonight,
the tall blond
whose accent
i can never quite nail down
and the bald black guy
who works the game
like pickup basketball,
a lively
likable guy
with a booming voice,
slapping hands,
his favorites,
all that missing
so the night
not so colorful
as usual

Next I have a poem from an anthology published in India, Explorers - A collection of Contemporary Literature. In addition to one of my poems (not one of my best), the book also includes this poem by Jerry Bradley.

Bradley is Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice President for Research at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He has published books of both criticism and poetry.

Bad Coffee Is Grounds For Divorce

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other."
          - Mother Teresa

Dancing backward toward the future,
wives evade excuses, sidestep
indiscretions and infidelity,
pretend to remodel the heart of matrimony
in a lively curvet while secretly
harboring homages to Plath.

Face it: nuclear families are for electrons
and morons. A man with street cred
doesn't stand a chance. He is like
the spider that makes you shriek,
unfit for indoor life. He burns
unevenly like a Tibetan monk.

Watch the heart of Hamlet. No matter
how well he dances, he is a greenhead,
a filchman, a lightfooted bandog, no hero.
Wedlock is an anomic pasquil; marriage,
a hero's grave adorned with plastic flowers.

Clever poetry has depths not immediately apparent on the service. This is not a clever poem and it contains no depths that I'm aware of. Of course, if you find some great depth, I'll be glad to take credit for it.

My guess, though is that it is about just what it says it's about - a good way to spend a Sunday when you're a kid.

a good way to spend a Sunday

at Red Lobster
with family -
i don't like the place
but everyone else does
so i went along -

wasn't too bad,
prices outrageous
as usual,
but i had some kind
of fried thing
that wasn't disgusting,
unlike the mushy things
i've had
the past several times
that were

the worse thing about eating
at the big Red L
is that when i do i can't help
but remember
the really good seafood
i've had in other places,.
like Galveston,
where anywhere along the seawall
you could get creole seafood
that was the best, and,
for a while, back when
we lived in Corpus Christi,
there was a big paddle-wheeler
docked at one of the t-heads
where the blackened redfish
was like a spicy bit of heaven,
and then,
on the other side of the bridge,
right on the water
at Ingleside-By-The Bay
where you could get
the best stuffed crab
on the planet, or at least
any portion of the planet
i'm familiar with,
but the all-time best
was a place in Brownsville
we drove to when i was a kid,
Sunday mornings
every couple of months
after church,
hours fresh
from the shrimp boats
at Port Isabel,
the boats all lined up
along the dock,
nets lifted high
to dry in the sun,
selling their catch
right off the boat,
big shrimp,
big ones from before
all the big ones were caught,
big ones,
palm sized
and still twitching

were the best
when i was a kid,
down to Brownsville
for lunch, then to Boca Chica
to walk the sand and hunt shells
or, later,
when the bridge was built,
to Port Isabel
and across to Padre Island
where the dunes
and the surf were higher,
walking the jetties
all the way to the end,
talking to fisherman, watching
rays, some as big as a raft,
swim up and down the channel,
then home,
salty and sandy
and asleep
in the backseat
before we finished crossing
the long bridge

a good way to spend Sunday
when i was
a kid

Next, I have two poems of grief from the book One Hundred Poems From The Chinese, collected and translated by Kenneth Rexroth.

The poet is Mei Yao Ch'en. He was born in the year 1002 and died in 1060. He was an official scholar of the early Song dynasty whose poems helped initiate a new realism in the poetry of his age. He did not pass the Imperial Examinations until he was forty nine, and his career was marked by assignments in the provinces, alternating with periods in the capital.

He was a distinctly personal poet, who wrote about the loss of his first wife and baby son in 1044 and about the death of a baby daughter a few years later.

Twenty eight hundred of his poems survive.


Heaven took my wife. Now it
Has also taken my son.
My eyes are not allowed a
Dry season. It is too much
For my heart. I long for death.
When the rain falls and enters
The earth, when a pearl drops into
The depth of the sea, you can
Dive in the sea and find the
Pearl, you can dig in the earth
And find the water. But no one
Has ever come back from the
Underground Springs. Once gone, life
Is over for good. My chest
Tightens against me. I have
No one to turn to. Nothing,
Not even a shadow in a mirror.

A Dream At Night

In broad daylight I dream I
Am with her. At night I dream
She is still at my side. She
Carries her kit of colored
Threads. I see her image bent
Over her bag of silks. She
Mends and alters my clothes and
Worries for fear I might look
Worn and ragged. Dead, she watches
Over my life. Her constant
Memory draws me towards death.

My next poem is from a book just released by one of our regulars, James Lineberger. The title of the book is Dollhouse.

James is a retired screenwriter, sometime playwright, and full-time poet. he has eight volumes of poems and a full-length play available from
lulu. For information on Dollhouse, his newest book, and all of his other published work, copy this url and paste it to you browser:

Here's the poem.

now in my old man dreams

now in my old man dreams
it's not the friends
and loved ones who once were my only concern
but strangers and mere
acquaintances i met along the way
people whom i gave short shrift
in places and times i can barely remember
and i'm beginning
to think perhaps there's still so much
left to learn
so many things to tend
looks like i'll be at it from now on
until what's over with and what must be
can make amends

Diane Wakoski was born in Whittier, California and studied at the University of California, Berkeley.

She has published over forty books of poetry, including The Rings of Saturn, from which our poem was taken. She won the prestigious William Carlos Williams award for her book Emerald Ice.

Wakoski teaches creative writing at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

The Tree

outside the north window
has moss growing around its total
circumference. Does this mean
there is only a north? No
south or east or west?
I know about trees, even few names,
though flowers have always yielded
information like little pellets falling out of their petals,
to me.

Possessions rigidify a man or woman.
Even the people you love,
making you stiffen yourself
in a discipline against your annoyance
at the way they eat, or blow their noses.
You know
you love them, yet petty
observations irritate you so much you
not think of them. When
no one
is listening, you say,
"I hate (blank)," thinking the forbidden
loved-one's name. They
you tell yourself how bad you are
and try to think of flowers,
or Mozart, or losing yourself in books about
violent death. Where is Beethoven,
surely a man whose habits would have made any
lover hate him? Bukowski too
has discovered he'd rather live alone, as Pound
discovered he'd prefer
most of the time
not to speak.

The couple in the Nebraska steak restaurant last night,
who sent back their steak,
were embarrassed, but no so much they didn't do it.
No thanks from the waitress.
Adjustment of price
from the management. A tree
with moss growing
on all sides must be a modern
product, like all
of us, not willing to declare boldly
he'll grow his moss on the North side, or
not at all. Usually doesn't send back his steak,
no matter how bad. He covers
as they say,
all the bases. No good
if you're lost and they need direction, the moss
on all sides saying they're all
like the love which is no good
if you want romance
or sex instead,
but much better if you want a calm
and peaceful
everyday life, on where you can assume
you'll never
be lost in a forest.

Memorial Day was a nice quiet day for us, a little drive and a nice lunch.

time today
for "D" and i to take
a quick drive to Austin

lunch with "C" and "E"
in a little place
on South Congress,
very good,
very expensive

the whole area greatly changed
since the time one night
twenty years ago,
i stopped about three blocks
away from were the restaurant
is now to make a u-turn, and,
before i could start again
i was propositioned
by three of the working girls
who claimed that block
as their own - but that's
back in the day,
the girls are long gone
since the area's redevelopment
(officially, the area is now called
SOCO, for South Congress,
but is more commonly
by jokesters as
NOHONOMO to commemorate
the midnight labor force
pushed out
to less trendy neighborhoods)

it's a fine dining area now,
where one can, as we did today,
pay $70
for two sandwiches and
two small pizzas,
as well as little sidewalk cafes
and espresso bars
all within walking distance
of the music and raucous nightlife
of 5th and 6th streets,
a place to start a night on the town
with a fine meal
and a place to return in the morning
for migas and menudo and other fine cures
for the headaches and sour stomachs
left over from the night before

it's nice to visit
the city
especially for someone like me
with more than fifty years
of associated memories,
or even just a drive down for lunch
with the two of them,
to notice
as we eat and talk
how very pleased they seem to be
in each other's company

that pleases me
as well

We haven't read anything from Diane Glancy in several months.

Glancy was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother of English and German descent and to a father of Cherokee descent. She has written numerous works across a wide range of genres, including poetry, one and two act plays, and series of vignettes. She has received many awards and honors, including the American Book Award and the Native American Prose Award for her first collection of essays, Claiming Breath.

Glancy received her Master's Degree from Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. She is currently Assistant Professor in the English Department at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she teaches courses in creative writing and Native American literature.

This week, we're back to her with another piece from her book Lone Dog's Winter Count.

Sandstone Rock In Your Hand

Was it rain that left a hole,
not clear through, but deep at one end?
A cockpit when you flew the rock
looking for a place to land
just before sleep closed its gate,
& you had to find a field or runway
in the first strip of light?
Or the vacancy in the porous rock
was the open trunk of the car
when you unloaded packages?
A saguaro with a bird's nest in its arm
where you went for the holidays?
No, it was more like the space
between you & your brother
in the backseat when the gray road
went by. You try to wipe the windshield
because instrument flight
fights against instinct.
You reach back for the land you left
in sleep, but turnpike tickets spit
at you, the wipers frantic
& you don't know
if you're in the road or air.
Maybe you are the hole
rain has washed out. Your porous surface
didn't hold against the torrents
& torments of this low flight,
the hopelessness, the tunnel
not broken through.

In this next poem, our friend Christopher George applies an historical metaphor to our current situation.

Chris, a regular contributor to "Here and Now," was born in Liverpool, England in 1948 and first emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1955. He went back to Liverpool for a refresher on his Scouse accent, living with his grandparents while attending Rose Lane and Quarry Bank Schools. Chris returned to the U.S.A. in 1968 and has lived there ever since. He now lives in Baltimore, Maryland, near Johns Hopkins University with his wife Donna and two cats.

The War of Jenkins' Ear

It's the sixth year of the war: six years of bodybags.
A train slides toward Baltimore, passes the derelict

Atlas Storage Company and Acme Merchandising Center,
a quarry where the City of Baltimore pounds big stones into

little stones. And we know why this war's being fought:
to battle terrorists in their backyard, for oil, to protect

our assets: blood in the sand. It is an unending war - but
the latest surge is working, as are the gas pump counters,

as does Procede and Hair Club for Men (the poet removes
his cap to show his audience). The magnolias are in bloom

again. Soon the petals will fall and decay like brown tongues.

My next poem is from an anthology I picked up at Half-Priced Books just this week. I is Breaking Silence, An Anthology Of Contemporary Asian American Poets, published by the Greenville Review Press in 1983. The poem I selected from the book is by Gail N. Harada

Harada was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and spent part of her childhood in Japan. After graduating from Stanford University, she earned an M.F.A. in English from the University of Iowa. Her poems have appeared in various journals. She also does work for television and teaches occasionally in the Poets-In-Schools program.

New Year

This is the old way,
the whole clan gathered,
the rice steaming over the charcoal,
the women in the room , talking,
a layer of potato starch on the table.

This is the old way,
the father watching his son lift the mallet,
pound the rice, pound mochi,
the children watching or playing,
the run of the dough to the women,
the rolling of the round cakes.

This is the old way,
eating ozoni, new year's soup;
mochi for longevity,
daikon, long white radish
rooted firmly like families;
eating burdock, also deeply rooted,
fish for general good luck
and lotus root, wheel of life.

This is the old way,
setting off firecrackers
to drive away evil sprits,
leaving the driveways red for good fortune.

The new year arrives,
deaf, smelling of gunpowder.

I wrote this piece a couple of weeks ago after a bomb threat where I was working at the time. At least it as a bomb threat according to the rumors. Nobody ever actually told us why we had to leave the building and stand out in the sun for an hour.

For purpose of this poem, it was a bomb threat.

evil is

there were seven hundred,
maybe a thousand of us
standing in the parking lot,
and, after and hour,
grateful, at least,
that the bomb threat
had come in May
and not in August
when the sun and heat
might have put some of us,
the older ones,
in greater danger from
heat stroke
than from a would-be

i've had bomb threats
a couple, in fact,
one i took seriously
to call the police
and evacuate our building
and another, years earlier
from a client i knew
and was not worried about,
mainly because i knew
even if he'd had a bomb
under his bed
he wasn't smart enough
to make to make it explode

he was a really sad case

build like a pear
with a pockmarked face
and greasy hair

and if his looks
and his borderline retarded
mental capacity
and a complete lack
of any kind of moral sense
weren't bad enough,
he suffered
from a younger brother
and sister,
both stunningly, amazingly beautiful,
both of the very highest intelligence,
and both with even less of a moral sense
than his - had they not been born
dirt poor
on the wrong side of town,
some might have been tempted
to place that evil genius label on them

as it was,
they were just white trash evil

they beat
their older brother regularly,
just for the fun of it,
and had
since they were old enough
to make a fist,
taking turns,
the younger brother
one day,
the younger sister
the next,
both together,
a day of peace

one day
they beat him to death
and they were gone,
him dead
and them life
without parole

i've sometimes thought
i must owe them
some form of payment,
for it was from their lessons
i learned
the reality of evil in this world

My next poem is by Allen Ginsberg from the collection Death & Fame, Final Poems, published after his death. All of the poems were written while he was in the hospital, knowing he was near the end of his life. The poem I selected was written less that two weeks from the end.

Thirty State Bummers

Take a pee pee take a Bum
Take your choice for number one

Old man more or someone new
Take you choice someone new

President Clinton, President Dole
Number three you're in a hole

Anchor two or anchor four
One's a liar one's a bore

Richard Helms Angleton live
We were lucky to survive

Jesse Helms & dirty pix
Dance your fate with his party mix

Idi Amine General Mobutu
were paid by me & you

They were bought by me & mine
Albania, number 9

Mr. Allende was number 10
Pinochet Dictator then

Death squads in El Salvador
We paid D'Aubisson to score
Guatemalas by the dozen
Pat Robertson was country cousin

Rios-Montt the Indian Killer
Born-again General Bible pillar

Nicaragua squeezed between
Col. North & cocaine queen

Drug Czar Bush gave Company moolah
to Noriega Panama's ruler

Venezuela's Drug War Chief
Turned around to be a thief

Mexico's general drug-war head
pumped informers full of lead

State Department's favorite bloke
In Haiti he sold tons of coke

Till Aristide unhex'd the curse
CIA filled Cedras' Purse

White Peru's its Indian shame
Gave "Shining Path" worldwide fame

Then dictator Fujimori
Paid the World Bank hunky dory

With Indian Class the majority
Peru got respectable with poverty

Made a deal with English banks
To pay back the USA with thanks

The price of rubber tin went down
Cocaine syndicates come to town

Now the money's in cocaine crops
U.S. Hellies do their dope air drops

We got rid of the President of Coasta Rica
He had no army he didn't kill people

Lots began in '53
Guatemala couldn't break free

United Fruits annulled the vote
as Alan & Foster Dulles gloat

Then unseated Mosaddeq
& left Iran a police-state wreck

Then we sold the guy in Iraq
Money to bomb Iranians back

Central America Middle East
Preyed on by "Great Satan" beast

Worst of all, & hell be dammed!
Think what happened in Vietnam

Laos, victim of the war
Nobody really knew what for

Cambodia, caught by the tail
When we blew up Mekong's Ho Chi Ming Trail,

Descended into Anarchy
Pol Pot's Maoist Butchery

Shihanook's book before that day
Was called "My War with the CIA"

Who's to blame, Who's to blame
Anybody share America's shame

But there's more! Count the score!
So far we got twenty-four

25 is Afghanistan
Fundamentalists armed by The Man

Tribal Drug Lord Mountain gangs
Veiling up their own sex thangs

Looking around for number 26
Indochina was the Colonial sticks

France introduced the opium crop
France would sell the Chinese hop

Britain, U.S. got in on the deal
Opium war made the Emperor kneel

China opened to our own junk men
Shanghai famous for the opium den

Strung out on junk we took their silk
The yellow peril drank Christian milk

We're doing exactly the same thing again
In Indochina with Marlboro men

Smoke our dope to be Favored Nation
Nicotine cancer next generation

Who's pushing this new dope ring?
Senator Jesse Helms the Moralist King

Peaches Prunes & company goons
For the next two-hundred eighty eight moons

NAFTA NAFTA what comes after?
Toxic waste - Industrial laughter

Industrial smog, Industrial sneers
Industrial women weeping tears

Wages low no CIO
No medical plan oh no! no! no!

No toilet time, human say

No overtime no other way
Yankee work for a dollar a day

No jobs today No jobless pay
No future life but turn to clay

Work hard for a little bit of honey
But USA takes all the money

March 24, 1997. 10:40 P.M.

My next poem is by the poet known by the nom de plume DC Vision.

There, you now know everything about DC Vision that I know. But I do enjoy the poems.

Left Behind

I am alive in this hunger
you are hungry to be alive
faith is not to be testified
no freedom leading or following
how can there be understanding
walking in another's shoes
but perceiving through your own eyes

you are on a journey
with uncomfortable traction
spouting a language
pretending a liberty
liable to be a liability
when the shoes and the beliefs
are returned to their owner

Alone I dance this mystery
the music of love unrehearsed
what do you hold in your hands
you jumped into it with nothing
and you leave just as blessed
if all you find
is what you found
left behind

Dennis Camire is a graduate of Wichita State University and teh University of Maine at Farmington. He works as a bartender as he writes his poems.

I also have a poem in this anthology, one of my good ones, if I do say so myself (and I do).

Teaching Simile At A Midwestern University

I said "you need to see a feather
as a tree from the forest of pheasant."

I tried fusing the two brains with
"a watch is like a moon with a mind."

A few went off to write
"a purse is like money's mouth"

and "a crow flying to roadkill
is like the Grim Reaper's directional."

But most feared simile disguising
those magnum Opus emotions

in those essays about being
"the one lesbian in Midland, Kansas"

or "wanting to fail senior History
because they hadn't a parent

to snap the photo when th diploma
was batoned into their sweated palms."

My graduate student challenge:
to convince them simile isn't like

a berka placed over a wife's face
to mute the indignity that might

stamen her gaze. Oh, frustrated
with their frustration,

I felt like the soccer team's trainer
making players follow through

on all those strange yoga poses
moments before the championship game;

I felt like the Zen Master
stressing breathing

to the novice seeking
to see the Buddha in the

next lotus he walks over.
But gracefully that "open-

admission university classroom"
allowed for my own improvement

and future lessons found me
beginning with: "the heart

is lie an accordion
too few of us make sing

though the left and right brains press
so many buttons and squeeze

a sleuth of keys." and gleaming
the possibility of simile

filleting those salmon-pink feelings,
one imagined "desire like the

scarlet runner bean blindly clinging
to pole, chicken wire, and cornstalk

next row over." Another saw "the heart
as an Allstar's catcher's mitt

in the Fast-pitch League
of adult relationships."

But it's how most slowly came to trust
how truth might be beauty and beauty

might be truth; it's how one or two
always secrets you poem and essays

where the exact simile begins releasing
the pain of their mother's suicide

or guilt from the eighth grade rape,
that has me saying to you:

you really do learn so much
from your students; just like

I was saying the other day
to my teacher-friend Marita:

"sometimes there's just nothing to
compare these students' beauty to...."

War is an abstraction to everyone but those who fight it. That’s certainly the story of our current war. Begun and directed by those at the very top to whom it was but an abstraction, an exercise in desert sand, blown away by desert winds, a shifting pseudo-reality in a world where the real thing never shifts.

memorial day

i knew
two guys
who were killed
in Viet Nam

they were both
younger than me
so i didn't know either
very well

was a short pudgy
guy with thick glasses -
we almost got into a fight once,
i remember that
but don't remember why

became a marine

the other
i hardly knew at all

it happened
that i was home on leave
between duty stations
when i ran into the guy at a bar

he was due to ship out the next day
so i bought him a beer
and another
and so on until
i dropped him off at the bus station
the next morning

the last i saw of him
was his face
through a dirty bus window

i guess i must of wished
him good luck,
it turned out
he didn't have any of

i knew two guys
who were killed in Viet Nam

but don't remember
of their names

Yes, there was a summer when it rained, here. I remember it well. And while I soak in a nostalgia of wet, you should remember that all the work 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 11:10 AM Anonymous Burqa Not Berka said...

"Berka" covering a wife's face?

BERKA is a surname of Slovakian origin. A "burka" or "burkah" or the classically spelled "burqa" (sometimes with an H at the end) is the thing that covers a wife's face in Afghanistan. In Iraq, it's a chaderi, and in Iran, a chador. All of these coverings fall under the collective definition of "hijab," Muslim dress for women which they insist preserves modesty and decreases lust.

It's not a small matter--I hope you will make the correction.

Your "visual verification" fails to show a picture. I had to rely on the Handicapped auditory cues.

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