Wild Kingdom   Friday, April 10, 2009


IV.4.2.



No prelims this week - right to it.

Here's who we have:

INNOKENTY ANNENSKY (as reintepreted by Stephen Berg)
My Anxiety
The Flame
One Second


ME
does he still dream?

HOWARD MOSS
Have You Forgotten
Remains
Listening to Jazz on a Summer Terrace


ALICE FOLKART
Five Observations

WILLIAM BLAKE
The Little Boy Lost
The Little Boy Found


ME
old made new again

JOAN BOSSA
Small Apotheosis
Pastoral
Poem With Black Background
Time
Language
A Spy Wanders Through the Streets of Washington
Defeat


SUSAN MCDONOUGH
Spontaneous Healing of a Casio EX-8.1

STEVE HEALEY
henry david throeau junior high school
lungs, nougat, nothing


ME
morning storm

CHIP DAMERON
Star Bright
Game Catch


BRENDA MORISSE
Please don't blow up my poem

JILL WIGGENS
One Hand in the River

PHILLIP T. STEPHENS
You Can't Go Home Again

ME
Hopalong will show you the way

ROD MCKUEN
Twenty-Three
Iowa From an Airplane


ME
ended up here

THANE ZANDER
Angelicised Beefcakes and Chinese Proverbs

Me
i want a donut









The next three poems are from the book by Stephen Berg, The Steel Cricket, Versions 1958-1997, published by Copper Canyon Press in 1997. The book includes both Berg's own poems, as well as his reimagining of poems translated into English by others.

This week, I'm concentrating on Berg's work with one poet in particular, Innokenty Annensky, a Russian poet, critic and translator, born in 1855 and died in 1909.

I find some of his images and metaphors really strange, but as a successful translator of Baudelaire and Verlaine into Russian (the language perhaps least likely for such translation), such strangeness might be required.



My Anxiety

Let the grass turn brown on top of my crazy skull.
Let my wax hand in the box disappear.
I'm convinced my confusion and pain
will continue to live in you, and my anxiety.

But not in those who love me and think I'm special
though I don't deserve their jealous, wild praise.
Ah the strength of people who love - gentle even in pain.
their girlish tenderness heals invisibly.

Why should anyone be confused?
Love shines forever like the infinite depths of crystal.
But my love isn't love - it blows apart like a horse in the sky.
To her it's poison mean, something unreal.

Decorated with a wreath of withered azaleas,
love wants to sing but before the first line slips out
her children are captured and tied up.
Their hands have been broken. Their eyes are blind.


The Flame

I thought my heart was empty and hard
like a stone,
I said it didn't matter if the fire's tongue
scorched it.

So I wasn't hurt at all,
or only a little,
but I know it's better if I
kill it while there's still time.

My heart's ripe with a darkness
like the grave's, the fire out.
Now fumes from the black wick
choke me.


One Second

The designs on your blouse are flickering, so wildly,
the boiling dust is so white
we don't need smiles or words.
Stay like this,

almost invisible, sullen,
chalkier than the dusk in autumn
under this steaming willow.
The distance swells with shadow,

one second and the wind jumps past,
spilling the leaves
one second and my heart wakes up
and feels that it isn't you.

Stay like this, not speaking,
or smiling, a ghost.
Shadows meet, their edges quiver,
the dust listens. It's as soft as your hands.








This next piece is an old poem I wrote five or six years ago and included in my book Seven Beats a Second. I heard a discussion on "end of life" issues on one of the National Public Radio programs and was reminded of the poem.

At the time i wrote the poem, more than 20 years after my father's death, I was still going over in my mind the decision we had to make about how and when his life would end. There is no avoiding second thoughts about such a decision, even years later, no matter how certain you are the proper decision was made. That's why this poem ends without a conclusion, because there will never be a end that won't be reconsidered again and again.



does he still dream?

his body survives, dependent
for every beat and breath
on the machines that surround him

his conscious mind is blank -

but what of dreams?

we never forget our dreams,
from the very earliest sloshing
in the universe of our mother's belly
to the very last, as we die, riffling
one last time through the book of dreams
we made page by page over our lifetime

so, if this derelict can dream, if this scrap
of man who used to laugh and love,
this shrunken giant who would carry me,

enfold me in his arms, hold me close
in the worst of storms, this declining

remnant of a son and lover who slept
at the breast of both his mother and mine

this fallen hero leaving the world as he
entered it, head reaching for his knees

the frail ghost of my father

if he has yet the final gift of dreams,
if, in some part of his mind we can
neither see nor measure, he still drifts
through dreams fading, like the shadows
of a fire banked and growing colder...








Howard Moss, born in 1922 in New York City and educated at the University of Michigan, was a poet, dramatist and critic, who was poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine from 1948 until his death in 1987. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1971 and the National Book Award in 1972 for Selected Poems.

The next three poems are from his book, Notes from the Castle, published Antheneum in 1979.



Have You Forgotten

Have you forgotten the sweetness of women,
Their treble cries, the underworld of milk?
How in the fleshy inside of an elbow
The warm hollow trembles with blue silk -
All luscious opaque roundness in a blur
Of bedroom coverlet, of rind and mound,
Those supple thighs I nested in at twelve
Whose milk-white forms melted in the horizon's
Aggregate of birds into empty distances.

To walk by heavy mirrors of a myth
With the greedy mouth everyone begins with
And feed on nothing but the self reflected
Is to know how pleasure ceases, does away with
Savor, and the attributes of Eden
End up in a darkroom of details,
Or a day of too much light whose sun erases
Privacies gone flat, communication
A letter bomb arriving the mails.


Remains

Long after the liner has been put in drydock
The wish still steers the rudder of its will.
They are carting away the remains of a novel
Two people worked on for years. In a park,
Old-timers watch the spring leaves re-hanging
Their bits and pieces. Someone else, far away,
Through vertical skyscraper windows sees
The street being swept of its autumn leaves.


Listening to Jazz on a Summer Terrace

The stars come out. They might be made of snow,
Below, a subtle drumbeat slips and snares
Its honey and sandpaper into nerves
That pull long shadows out of paper bags
Or shift like gears behind the window shades:
Ozone-sweat of chromium, green felt
Saliva stops, the shifty seeds of drums,
That flimsy shimmy, that old rat-a-tat!
Ampules of musk and dust geraniums!








Here's a short piece by our friend Alice Folkart. I really like this piece a lot, especially the sharp, brief expression of the universal fear of death right in the middle, between the more mundane of everyday life on either side.

I was just yesterday transcribing some of the work of Kabir, the mystic Indian poet of the sixteenth century, and immediately thought of him as I read this. It is much the kind of piece he often did.



Five Observations

Maximum goose
dirty white,
full of opinions


Blue-green Rooster
how do you die?
Beauty evaporates?


I fear death
almost as much
as the stream fears the ocean.


Three black forest pigs
working at eating
to fulfill their destiny.


Skinny-legged brown hens
crowded by gray chick-balls
make their rooster look good.








Now have two short poems by William Blake from Penguin Classics William Blake, Selected Poems.



The Little Boy Lost

"Father, father, where are you going?
O do not walk so fast.
Speak, father, speak to your little boy
Or else I shall be lost."

The night was dark, no father was there;
The child was set with dew.
The mire was deep, & the child did weep
And away the vapor flew.


The Little Boy Found

The little boy lost in the lonely fen,
Led by the the wand'ring light,
Began to cry, but God ever nigh,
Appeared like his father in white.

He kissed the child & by the hand led
And to his mother brought,
Who in sorrow pale thro' the lonely dale
Her little boy weeping sought.








The reason old people like antiques is because the sight of something old that is still useful and beautiful offers reassurance that the aged can still find a place.



old made new again

sitting here at MadHattters,
having breakfast
at my window table,
watching dark clouds gather
in the north,
i find i'm comfortable here,
at home
in this part of the city,
full, as it is,
of old buildings
and neighborhoods
put to new use -

the restaurant itself,
two old houses cobbled together,
Alamo Street Market
on the corner, now
Tito's Cocina,
and, right across the street,
a beautiful old house,
its age seen only
in the weathered brick
of it's fireplace chimney,
two stories, grand porticos
with porch swings
swaying in the morning breeze
on both levels,
and the bougainvillea
by the driveway, tall as a tree,
red as a drop of blood
on the deepest petal
of the reddest ripest rose

i like
this part of this very old city,
where beauty is found
in old things made new
for extended life and new purpose








Next, I have several poems by Joan Brossa from Modern Catalan Poetry: An Anthology, published by New Rivers Press in 1979. The poems in the book were selected and translated by David H. Rosenthal.

Brossa, a poet, playwright, graphic designer and plastic artist, was born in Barcelona in 1919 and died in 1998. He was one of the founders in 1948 of both the group and the publication known as Dau-al-Set and one of the leading early proponents of visual poetry in Catalan literature. His creative work embraced every aspect of the arts: cinema, theater, music, cabaret, the para-theatrical arts, magic and the circus.

This is poetry as play.



Small Apotheosis

The night
The day

We split the poem half
and half.







A mailman carrying the village correspondence
was surprised in the woods by
one of his neighbors who, brandishing a knife,
insisted that he give him a certain letter, or that he let him have
the mailbag so he could look for it himself. The mailman
resisted as best he could and promised,
as was proper, that he'd bring the letter to his neighbor's house.
But the other refused, knocked the mailman
down, and started ransacking the mailbag when
a pair of policemen appeared on the scent
who, when they realized there was a fight going on, ran towards the men.
The neighbor fled and, chased by the policemen,
jumped over some rocks with so little
skill and luck that he broke his leg
fell on his back and hit his head on the ground.

Moments later a carriage pulled up.


Pastoral

None, because the ones he didn't kill
flew away.

A shepherd fired into a tree
full of birds and killed some of them.
How many are left?

There still are flowers
and clumps of trees,
and a fountain to help
the trees and flowers grow.


Poem With Black Background

     To David and Roser Mackay

To the right of the poem, a brown
sofa, In the middle of the poem,
Pierrot stretched out on the lines:
Harlequin crosses the poem, with
a black dove in his hand.
Colombine enters the poem
and from the sofa pulls dozens
of knitting needles.

She leaves


Time

This line is the present.

The line you've read is now past
-it fell behind after being read -.
the rest of the poem is the future,
which exists outside you
awareness.

The words
are here, whether you read them
or not. And nothing on earth
can change that.


Language

I

Bread
There's a fountain beside the house
The wind roars

...

Two words
A description
An image

II

I'll call the moon and the sun
Gederme
and the men and the trees
Lungumul.






I stare at the fire...

I see myself walking past the end of the street,
all my money shot to hell.
She, I keep thinking, is with those clowns
who end up biting bullets
between the sea and the mountains. She's with those clowns
who end up biting bullets
between the sea and the mountains.

Terrible sea and impetuous! You
hold heaven's key
and lock up the waters underground.
Father of rain and storms,
you who are equal to the earth's own blood:
we adore you and invoke you.


A Spy Wanders Through the Streets of Washington

A man wears an overcoat and grey boots.
A woman crosses, very pretty in mourning.
A boy with glasses, near-sighted, explains with profuse
     details
how it's he who's taken his place.
A man with a scar on his hand hurriedly leaves
     a building
with a briefcase under his arm.
A by-passer complains that it's disgusting how they abuse the
populace in the street.
A boy passes with an old bent-over man.
A soldier, grim-faced, gets in a car which starts.
A woman walks into an optician's shop.
A man enters a phone booth.
Groups of young people pass.
A man with a mustache takes out his glasses.


Defeat

The rudder
gives direction to the ship.
The mountain is the ruin of a
country turned upside-down; the buildings
are underneath and their foundations
stick up.

     In the ruins
lies a buried people. If you listen
carefully you can hear
inside the mountain
a deep and
muffled voice
asking, always
asking.




You get up. Your silhouette
hides the stars' reflection
for a moment.

The prodigious silence of the sleeping
sea.

But decisions must ripen
within people, not fall
from the sky.








Susan McDonough, our friend who lives in Arizona and Maine, reveals in this poem the healing power of her hands.

I'm sending her our toaster that's been on the fritz for the past 12 years. It's a kind of last chance, last hope thing for crispy, toastie bread.



Spontaneous Healing of a Casio Ex-8.1

No prayer beads
or sage burning.
No chants or
anointment oils.
The camera on
a recharge had
lost its reason
for living. No zoom,
no date, no extra
function. Just point,
just shoot. No video,
no Best Shot.
No face detection?
I mean for God's sake
It could have been
a Kodak disposable wannabe.
Just ten months old such a pity.
I'd no idea something that celebrated
so much life could succumb to disrepair
without a whimper.
For three weeks,
I'd coddled it,
sung sweet lullabies,
fondled it (in a
maternal way).
Charged, recharged,
battery in, battery out.
Nothing. No change.
Hope had pulled
the plug for good.
I found a box and
packing stuff. Oh
the pain, the pain
of finding that
original receipt.
I held this little
treasure lovingly
in my hands one
last time. It had
been there for me:
Graduation pictures,
landscapes I'd designed,
Red Sox games, Christmas,
a cactus or two (or two hundred -
whose writing this anyway)
I switched it on one last
time for a look through
the view finder and then
it happened. It zoomed,
it zipped, it zoned in!
A healing right within
my two hands.
Thank you sweet Jesus.








Steve Healey earned his B.A. and the University of Virginia and an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is Associate Editor of Conduit Magazine. His poems have appeared in numerous journals.

He currently teaches creative writing at Macalester College.

I have two poems this week from his book, Earthling, published by Coffee House Press in 2004.



henry david thoreau junior high school

You can blend with air.
You can bend around the pond
or math teacher's mouth.
The scar on your arm can whisper
the answer, yes be the answer,
and all the girls named Dawn
(with the Lord still in your good ear).
Like a pine grove, you can hear
fingers be counted, let lunchtime
come forever with its baloney
and noonlight sandwich. But the bell
doesn't ring, it's quiet here
on Earth, and taste, only
the carameled valleys of your molars,
and smell, a house the size
of your smell. Call me lost teeth
and years find a dime in there
to buy an afternoon, I was
brought by a trembling: my eyeball
waterbugs across bright windows,
a janitor pushes moist sawdust
down the hall. Because slowness
gets there, only a matter of when,
and had I give more me
to the homework of my lungs,
maybe just breathing could be
a note to Marvin Alsip. Sorry
you have to sit in the first desk
because of the alphabet, Marvin,
but you can be first to step off
this ark, you can begin
the locker combination song.
The new yearbook is coming out
today, we can say I'm in there
I'm wearing clothes, that's what
I learned today: pants plus shirt
equals me. That's how to please.
In America, you can please anything
you want to be, you can be a robot
leading a platoon of sticks
around the shoreline, see the fish flash,
the cannibal clouds. A lightning bolt
may have created the first amino acid,
then what? Then there was a pond
named Walden, and a girl named Dawn,
a stone to skip the silver,
and a skinny ass to rise out
of her gym shorts by the power
of her own hands. You can be
frightened by the signals you receive.
American birds can sound
like millionaires turning up
the volume: they don't care if gravy
kills them, and you can kill me
if you want. The question is
truth or dare, and can you keep
a secret. Can you be a solitary lover,
hoeing beans by the starlight
those branches are willing
to let through.


lungs, nougat, nothing

My last idea appeared
like an archipelago of clouds.

It gathered amphibian flames
and lasted until just now.

then a tiny storm arrived
without reason or charm,
asking only to be invited inside.

When I came to, the lesson ended.

I learned that membranes
wear many textures, all meant
to hide: lungs, nougat, nothing.

What is fire? A billowy husk.

The more familiar the storm the less
distinguishable from these walls,
the less I lived here. I loved

the smell of a snuffed match,
for example. Where steam went,
I went. A jungle out there
snored like a machine. In here

the jade plant lived for itself,
fanning out soft green earlobes.

It listened to the window bend
as north wind blew, and the room
percolated with ocean sound.

Tiptoe gravity: lifeboat,
wingspan. Song that drank
a cocktail in the dark. No waves,
no particles to speak of.

Curtains, doors. In the next room
a universe beckoned like
a 9000-year-old bird-bone flute,

and the way grew clear:
come here before this avian tune

dawns on you how far from home
waking happens.

You can overhear the hairs
in your ear worshipping a nebula.

If you turn the ocean upside down

it sounds like an animal
bringing its face to the glass.

When the firefighters arrived
the attic was bleeding upward.

The road walked away.

My heels began to murmur:

moonlight, ice.








I love it when the big storms rage in from the north. I was disappointed I slept through this one.



morning storm

just a little
red
dot
on the local radar map,
swirling
across the city,
not visible at all
on the state map,
but within that little red
circle
rain cascading from the dark
sky and powerful wind
blowing tree limbs
like a drunk
stuck in post-binge sleep,
shaken wildly awake
by the impatient hands
of a spouse
with things on her mind

such rain such wind
frightening the dogs so
that Reba woke me by leaping up
and crashing
against my bedroom window

then, when let in, following me
one step behind for a full 30 minutes

so small, yet so powerful,
passing so quickly from rain crush
to blue skies and sunshine
that it seemed 2 different days
had passed in the course of
just a few minutes

a storm from the north,
leaving in its wake, cool
clear air, fresh
as the highest reaches of the sky

so much better
than storms coming off the southern coast
with their oppressive heat and humidity
like the whole weight of the sun
and all its fierce magma
lay crushing on your chest

the last storm from the north
we'll see for at least 6 months
and i am sorry for its passing -
but it's still dry enough here
i will welcome any storm we get
from any direction it might come -
even those from the salty
southern
sea








Hook & Bloodline is a book of poetry, published by Wings Press of San Antonio in 2000, by Chip Dameron.

Born and raised in Dallas, Dameron taught writing and literature at the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College. He has published several books of poetry, both before and after publication of this book. As editor of Thicket, an Austin-based literary magazine, he was an important figure in the early years of the Texas small press movement.



Star Bright

      One year later,
you still seem to remember
those balmy nights when,
after the evening meal
on the wide verandah, flush
with wine and idle talk,
I carried you down the lawn
to the beach and sang you
to sleep, rocking sideways,
stunned by the Milky Way's
splatter against the black sky,
letting the sound of the sea
scrub my thoughts of their
stock preoccupations, drawing
you deep into my lightening
bones.

     Now, half a world
away, you stand on our drive
and say, "Look, Daddy - the moon!
Hold me and sing the song."
As we sway on the pavement,
your arms squeezing my neck,
I close my eyes and sing
softly, Caffrey, an improvisation
on the things that hold us
close, that stretch beyond
this moment, binding sky
and sea and earth, stars
and blooded beings, pulling
us toward some dying flickers
of light.


Game Catch

      The closest thing
to a lie is a moment's
deepest yes: the perfect
dive for a ball off a bat,
the gloved and echoed sting
verifying every hidden wish,
the shift and fling as true
as summer.

      The hum we hear
is just the buzzing of the day's
doings, wind across an infield,
electric lights that click on
and carve out a lifetime,
where line drives up the alleys
can tear holes in the air
that can't be fixed.








Here's a fun poem by our friend from the Bronx, Brenda Morisse. Brenda has been featured at a number poetry venues in New York City.



Please don't blow up my poem

Please don't blow up my poem
don't dynamite its tail
or pull out its teeth.
Don't shove a stick into its eye
don't cut off its legs
don't crop its ears
don't spank the poem.
Please don't decapitate my poem
don't shoot my poem in the heart or the gut
with a bullet or a flaming arrow
don't pull out its fingernails
Please don't shave the legs of my poem
don't tweeze its eyebrows
don't exfoliate
don't take it to the beauty parlor
Please don't break the knees of my poem
don't billy club my poem or arrest it
Don't move it
don't send it to hell
don't send it to heaven
don't send it to Vegas
leave it alone
buy it a hershey bar
give it a massage
but keep the front door locked
Don't take a walk with the poem
don't treat it to a chocolate ice cream soda
don't adopt it and change its last name
Don't steal the eyeglasses of my poem or it will go blind
don't smoke its cigarettes
buy your own
Don't skin my poem
leave the skin alone
If you see it in the middle of the Sahara
Water it. But don't move it to Tahiti.
We like the desert.
if it asks you for a token to go to a museum, don't give in.
Bring it a book. Show it the pictures.








Feeding the Crow is an anthology of the work of eight Texas poets who got together to produce it. The book was published by Plain View Press of Austin in 1998.

I'm featuring the work of two of the poets this week.

The first of the two is Jill Wiggins, born in England, moved to Ohio as a child, then to Austin in 1982. She has a degree in Art from St.Edward's University in Austin and works as writer and graphic designer. She has two daughters and is married to an actor, with whom she occasionally performs in participatory murder mysteries. Her poetry has appeared in a number of journals.



One Hand in the River

The richest man in the country
doesn't go to church
because religion,
he says,
is not efficient time management -
there are better uses
to his sunday mornings.

Well! Now I know
why I'm not rich:
I don't practice
efficient time management -
I spend Sunday mornings in church.

Not only that,
I sometimes spend
a Sunday afternoon
lying lizard-like
on a warm rock
next to a deep green river,
a hand
dangling in the icy current.


The next poem from Feeding the Crow is by Phillip T. Stephens. Of himself, Stephens says he "hasn't published a best-selling novel since 1954. Easily suggestible, but suffering from nearsightedness, he practices random acts of irony and senseless metaphor. One of the first reporters to blow the whistle over the Martian Pathfinder cover-up, he performs daily with partner Hep Cat at http:www.io.com/-stephens."

Of course, he said all of that about himself ten years ago and none of it may be true anymore.


You Can't Go Home Again

By the time Christ returned,
they had covered his grave
with a short-order grill
which didn't bother him
nearly so much as all that grease
they grilled his grits with.








Heroes and villains, they're the ones who show us how to live.



Hopalong will show you the way

a beautiful morning,
being Saturday,
and being unwound
under a sun bright
as a blessing
in a cold blue sky

Saturday
was always my favorite,
even though there was
always work for me to do
in the morning, wash
windows, pull weeds, jobs
that never ended
as i would circumnavigate
the house, starting in the back,
windows one day, weeds the next,
until i was back were i started
and the weeds had grown again
and the windows were dirty again,
an important lesson
for a ten-year-old about life
as a journey, destinations
even such simple ones
as weedless flower-beds
or streakless windows, rare
and always temporary, life as flux,
the only end, the stillness of death

a lot for a youngster to live with,
but for every Saturday morning
there was a Saturday afternoon movie
bringing heroes back into the
process, showing there were different
ways to make the journey, some
for the black hats,
and some the hero's way as well,
bringing light and purpose
through the miles of time -

Hoppy
on a white horse
showing how to make the
getting-there worth
the price of the end








I found this 1974 Pocket Book edition of Seasons in the Sun in a little used book store next to La Taza where I had spent the afternoon writing. It was one of three poetry books in the store, between the Keats I didn't want and the Ted Hughes I already have, and, at $1.35 looked like a book worth having.

On top of the other reasons to buy was just plain curiosity. Rod McKuen, with 65 million copies of his work sold, must be the best known, most commercially successful poet of all time. Then he seemed to just drop out of sight.

I don't think I've heard or read his name in 30 years. This, the guy with a the poem, Seasons in the Sun, everyone knows how to hum.

But he is still around, mainly writing songs and music, with his songs (some 1500 of them with total sales of over 150 million records) being recorded by such artists as Frank Sinatra (who in 1969 recorded A Man Alone, an album of McKuen's songs), Johnny Cash who (just before his death) recorded McKuen's Love's Been Good To Me, Waylon Jennings, The London Philharmonic, Greta Keller, Perry Como, and Madonna. Perhaps his most well-known song is "Jean", recorded by Oliver in 1969 for the soundtrack to the film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. He has collaborated with a variety of internationally renowned composers, including Henry Mancini and John Williams, and a highly successful series of albums with Anita Kerr. His symphonies, concertos, and other classical works have been performed by orchestras around the globe. His work as a composer in the film industry has garnered him two Academy Award nominations.

So, what happened to Rod McKuen - a bunch of good things. I guess I just haven't been paying attention, knowing about all this stuff, but never associating McKuen's name with any of it.

Here are two of his poems.



Twenty-Three

I am
and I am not
a kind man
when it comes to loving.

Help me up
if I fall down
and prop my head
against the sink
if need be.




I am sick of sunshine
when you lie
in bed
beside me.
But when you venture
through the door
I need the daylight
        desperately.


Iowa from an Airplane

Above Iowa and looking down
the patchwork quilt of farms
unfolding through the oval window.
Now short green squares,
now broad gray triangles
and oblong stretches
of fresh-urned chocolate earth
that surveyors would find hard
        to pace off.
Plots and pleats of land
orphaned from a quilting bee.




Though mid April
        grapples
with the middle earth
bare trees still
        stand bare.
Airports are the only
          eyesore

as silos dot
and red barns dash
    the land,
and God plays bridge
with unseen friends
and shows the world
          his hand.




<




The kind of writing I do is usually near spontaneous, following from one word or phrase to the next without a lot of conscioius editing, which means I frequently don't know where I'm going with a poem until it gets there.

This is a for-example.



ended up here

looking out
on the bright morning square

having my breakfast
of migas and refried beans
in a busy little restaurant
that was a boot and hat store
when i came here
nearly fifty years ago
to go to the university

around the square the trees are heavy
with fat leaves of spring
and in the middle, right
across the street from me,
the county courthouse,
one of those big old stone
courthouses
the state of Texas is famous for,
grand and imposing
cathedrals of law and civil development
in a wooded square in the county seat
of even the poorest of counties,
places where the interests of wealth and power
and occasional justice are protected

this courthouse was used in the movie
"The Getaway" - the original 1972 version
with Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw,
the young actress McQueen had either
just married or was about to marry
and would divorce in a while either way

it was a long time ago, but
i think i remember the movie sheriff
running out of the courthouse
just as McQueen and girlfriend
had finished robbing the bank
on the northwest corner
of the square - a restaurant now
and not a very good one, but
interesting, because they kept
the bank look inside so it's
kind of strange eating there,
like some fat old banker's
going to come out from the vault
and chase you away
right in the middle of your eating.

.
.
.
.
.
.....
.
.
.
.
.
sixty miles west
and five hours later
i'm back in San Antonio

the meeting in San Marcos
with the lawyer
not a happy event

if lawyers are paid
to give us the bad news
we don't want to hear,
my lawyer is earning every damn
penny
he's getting from me,
the sale of property i so want
to be finished, done, irrevocably
complete continues awash in complexity
and i'm beginning to think, my god, when i
finally cross that river to the fiery domains of hades,
i'll be dragging this goddamn real estate sinkhole right along
behind me, forever plagued
by its insatiable demand for more and more of my time,
more and more of my attention, eating more and more of my poetry

like
today
when i started writing about the nostalgia
of a beautiful spring day
and ended up
here








Here's a poem by our New Zealander friend, Thane Zander, described by one fellow poet as "the Salvador Dali of poetry."

Works for me.



Anglicized Beefcakes and Chinese Proverbs

Those nickels on a footpath plated with gold
are the bearer of poverty
unable to enrich vagrant lives.

The table legs are wobbly Friday nights,
when passionfruit and ducks legs
collide in a miasma of chinese defloration.

A mark on the tall clock tower bearing the sign of Jesus
calls time to a standstill,
ladies in pink lycra dance,
men in rowing suits
place kisses on ginger babies
as their mothers stroll by.

Midnight whores and Summer Dolls commingle
in an Irish bar full of Anglicized Beefcakes,
the Irish at home in their roman catholic beds
dreaming of the Blarney Stone
and a Colleen with bit tits and a warm oven.

Confucius say dog with missing legs
really a sausage roll,
man with misguided womanly attempts
a farmer rolling in his own hay.

Today, Matrixical the neighborhood Magician
showed kids how bunnies appeared,
armed with this knowledge
they hounded their parents for a hutch,
too bad their parents are omnivores.








Sometimes, by God, I just want what I want.



i want a donut

i said, i want
a donut,
damnit

not a carrot
stick
or a celery
stalk

not a bowl of
moose
munch in
re-hydrogenated
goat's milk

no cold little
cauliflower bud

not even a fat-free
and certainly not
a sugar-free
donut

i want a good ol' suicide-
in-the-round
glazed
Dixie Cream capital D
donut
with sprinkles

you gotta fight back
or the older
you get
the less you get in
living

now
get me
my damn
donut








No post-lims either this time. Planning a trip next week, so the next issue will probably be posted from somewhere in New Mexico or Colorado, depending on what kind of headwind I hit in my little red Rav4.

Just a reminder that 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.

4 Comments:
at 1:49 PM Blogger Alice Folkart said...

Beautiful issue, Allen. What I love about 7beats is that you introduce me to poets. I'd never heard of Moss, nor Brossa, nor Healy, nor Wiggins - and I'm so very glad to meet them. And it's wonderful to see Zander, and McDonough and Brenda here too, not to mention the maestro of the 'near-spontaneous' form himself - you. The photos are, as usual great. Is that Reba at the end? Oh, and I couldn't help reflecting on that wonderful poem about your father when I read the Blake little boy lost and found poem. And, you're right, in your poem about the old part of the city- there is reassurance for us in seeing old things made new, or at least useful. Loved the photo of the steers in the scrub and the GOAT - really like goats. And, thank you for using my work and making it look sooo good. Very kind words too.

Alice Folkart

at 2:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for your information dk jones is impossible to find on the Internet and the man was not nearly wealthy enough to publish his books on a very large scale, I should know I lived with the man for 7 Years. If u find yourself interested in knowing anything about him you can e-mail me at Malcolmlightheart@yahoo.com

at 12:19 PM Anonymous P. Legendre said...

Donald Keith Jones (D.K., Don, Pablo, Papa...) Age 77, Eagan MN Don passed away in Scottsdale AZ on April 15th, 2011.
P. Legendre, friend

at 4:11 PM Anonymous allen itz said...

I received an email from D.K. Jones' step-son (Anonymous above) with background on Mr. Jones and his recent passing, but hadn't a chance to post the information here.

My condolences to his family and friends.

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