Midnight Mysteries   Friday, August 14, 2009


Photo by Thomas Costales
IV.8.2.




Another week closer to the end of Summer and I am counting the days. I did get a little ahead of the heat this week and have put together a bit more of a post than last week, including library poems, friends of "Here and Now" poems, and a bit of my own stuff.

Also, I'm very happy to have our photographer-friend Thomas Costales back for a return engagement. The last time he appeared here, back in April, we used his portraits. This week we return with something else he does that I like very much, urban nightscapes. Thomas suffers with insomnia sometimes and when he cannot sleep he takes his camera and roams the night, producing beautiful, moody images that remind me a lot of Edward Hopper.

Here are the poems I have for you.


Carol Connolly
lizzie Borden
Tarnish
Turkey
Baggage
Ode to a Message


Me
death notice

Paula Rankin
To My Mother, Feeling Useless

Dan Cuddy
A Nature Poem About Poetry or a Poetry Poem About Nature

James Hoggard
from Two Gulls, One Hawk

Me
walking on the moon and forgetting how we got there

Diane Glancy
Portrait of the Sufficiency of Winter

'Ilima Stern
Hawai'i
A Pair of Tetractys
What's Left


Demetria Martinez
retro

Me
random thoughts walking down a random trail

Joshua Clover
Union Pacific

Jan Napier
Rainbow

Antler
Everything is Different Now
River anatomy
Privy to My Thoughts


Me
Fin de Cycle

Peter Reading
from Marfan

Sue Clennell
Lost Heroes

Me
care to join me for a pile of food?






Photo by Thomas Costales




I start this second week in August (a week closer than the last to the cool days and nights of Autumn) with several poems by Carol Connolly. The poems are from her book Payments Due Onstage Offstage, published by Midwest Villages and Voices in 1995.

Connolly says she was born, raised, and educated in the Irish Catholic section of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has seven children and didn't start writing poetry until the age of 40. She has worked as a columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, St. Paul magazine and Minnesota's Journal of Law and Politics. She has been a television commentator and an actor in local productions.

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



Lizzie Borden

"Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one."


I understand you, Lizzie Borden.
You end it, forty whacks
with a cleaver or an ax,
say no to the vows,
give the contract a decent burial,
plant white flowers,
move on,
check your bags
with any handy porter,
and still
a long first marriage stays with you,
a mark on your soul
like mother's words
and father's warnings,
wanting extreme unction.

You see the reflection of your own face
in a cloudy mirror that won't come clean.


Tarnish

Her flesh hot from a morning
on the desert,
she steps over the stone hedge
of sharp words and silence
piled between them
in the days just past.
He opens his arms to her.
She clings to him,
whispers of her want,
begs for the comfort of his body,
and he says,
"As soon as I have my toast."

He wonders aloud as he chews,
tiny dry crumbs trembling on his lower lip,
he wonders
why spoons tarnish
and jam furs.


Turkey

He is a man
more ordinary
than he thinks.
As a child
he ate Wheaties
at Thanksgiving.
Everyone else ate
turkey.
He thought
he might not like
turkey.


Baggage

There are some things you have to expect.
If you ride on airplanes,
sooner of later
you stand by that great roulette wheel
that spits out baggage
and your number will not come up.
You look back in fondness at past luck,
when misgivings were temporary,
and accept the empty chute.
You don't have a grip...

You are stranded
in New York without a nuance
to call your own.
There may be abuses.
Your well-kept secrets
have escaped into space,
and your permanent point of view
is loose with your toothbrush,
wrapping itself in your reputation.

Reality is something you rise above
but he longing
to drag your baggage
lingers.


Ode to a Message

She answered the telephone,
said, "Yes, yes,"
and drew a Grecian urn
on the message pad,
the rim of its perfect neck
flush with the paper's edge,
as though to say, "No
to any wildflowers on my urn.
No to any spilling of my wine."

Into the telephone
she hummed, "Of course, yes, yes."
as she drew a second urn
and then a third,
all in the same position.





Photo by Thomas Costales




A death this past week led me to this.



death notice

a friend,
inexperienced
in death, does not fare well
in the face of the death of someone
close, young, still not accepting
that death is the inevitable outcome
of life, always with us, always ahead
of us, the wearing out of us
until the time comes when there is
no more wear left in us

death for me
began with my father 30 years ago,
all previous dead just abstractions,
hardly real to me when alive,
even less real when they died

my father,
followed by my older brother, then
my mother and now, in my mid-60s,
my own contingent, people who were
children with me, people i grew up with

dead to the world, all of them,
but still surviving as electrical impulses
in my mind, jumping the gaps
from memory node to memory node,
leaving tracks just as real as the footprints
i leave behind as i walk a dusty trail

i still think of all of them,
my father, most often, making connections
in my mind that could not be made in life -
imagining
how it might have been, opportunities missed

my son, for example, born three years after
my father died, never knowing the one
the other, good things becoming sad things
because they never happened, i imagine my father,
a baseball player until injured by the game,
watching my son play,
the joy my father would have felt
watching the joy my son
showed in playing
the game they both loved

the sadness of death is not in the dying, that
would be like grieving the passage of clouds,
for we are as clouds, passing across the horizons
of life - the passage our purpose, not the beginning
or the end, but the going, the stories we write
as we pass, a story, like all stories, with an end

no, the sadness of dying is in the things
that don't get to happen, the stories
circumstances deny us, the meetings
never met, the words not said,
the love
never realized,
the love never expressed





Photo by Thomas Costales




The next poem is by Paula Rankin from her book Augers, published by Carnegie-Mellon University Press in 1981.

I was not able to find information on Rankin, other than she published many poems in a variety of the best poetry journals and that her first book By the Wreckmaster's Cottage was published 1977. I did find one mention of her that referred to her as the late Paula Rankin.

This poem is one of my favorites in the book.



To My Mother, Feeling Useless

Some people grow chalky dust on their skin
like leaves on a dirt road.
My mother, who would not run to the drugstore
without clean underwear, stockings,
hair pinned, two spots of blusher,
who believed everything mattered,
now sighs, no need, no need.

Who am I? she asks
of my father's, my sister's, and my faces
on the wall, under glass.
Her face lies on them
until it cannot bear the likeness.

If she goes out for supper
no one knows if she comes back
or keeps driving
into the ocean
or down a dirt road spraying dust.

On her last plane ride
she had a vision
of being taken up
beyond the top cloud:
then she heard a voice
telling her she had to go
down, she was needed.

When I was a child,
she owned two dresses,
many aprons. There was great need
for her hands in the sink,
in the threadbox with needles.

There was great need
when my grandfather's brain
turned to mush, when my father lost
his sense of touch.

I leave my house
and go down the clay road
where the trees smother
into ghosts of themselves.
A car spins past, coating my legs
with gravely powder
and I warn, Back off, dark space.
I've got connections
.
My husband and children saw me leaving.





Photo by Thomas Costales




We haven't heard from our friend Dan Cuddy in a while. Well, here he is with a poem from several months ago that I just found in my almost always screwed-up files.



A Nature Poem About Poetry Or A Poetry Poem About Nature

The natural world is like a free verse poem,
syllables growing everywhere
tangling the tongue with green leaves and roots,
rustling meaning with the friction of unplanned sounds.
Oh, is it the wind that tugs at the poem's anchors,
or is it emotion's fire that crackles through consonants?
Perhaps it is the arbitrary tumbling of sounds from the poet's mouth,
unlike the rows of ordered verdure planted clean
in sculpts of dirt resodded with a hoed-scraped care, a shovel's pat,
and all around precise cut blades of grass, a carpet soft.
No, here the growth of thought spills solidly wild, burrows
in the brown crust and the bloom is baked by the uncivilized sun,
the length of line arbitrary, crabbed, a mess for one
with too civilized a sensibility, too hierarchical values, too obsessed
with lean allusive blushes of color and meaning.
A rose can mean many things but a wild rose means only
unruly life.





Photo by Thomas Costales




My next poet is James Hoggard, a widely published poet, novelist, playwright, essayist and translator. and, beginning in 1966, a long term professor of English at Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas. A former poet laureate of Texas, he is also past president of the Texas Institute of Letters and winner of numerous literary awards.

The two pieces that follow are from a very long autobiographical poem in his book Two Gulls, One Hawk, published by Prickly Pear Press in 1983,

6

Fourth grader, I played tackle
on the sixth grade football team
but was planning to be
the greatest fullback the nation had seen
and alerter than Bronco Nagurski
who knocked himself out
ramming his head into goal posts.

  I'd read about him and Niles Kinnick,
  George Washington, too,
  Alexander the Great,
  Beethoven and Canute, Paderewski
  and everybody else -
  I shook Doak Walker's hand
  and speaking my name
  he asked how my folks were
  and if Greenville was fine

  I even composed music
  though it didn't make sense
  except when Mother played it -
    the music teacher
    said it was noise -


So then to find out
what others were like
I'd stand on the corner
and try hard to push
my soul up out of my body
and into whoever passed by
not so much to see
what the world looked like
from the angle where they stood
but to find how it felt
not to be me, to be them

but I never succeeded
though I'd been trying
from the age of five

and my brother no help.
He mostly played by himself.

  He didn't seem to care
  about the mysteries
  in strangers and friends
  He had his toy soldiers and battles
  and a headful of facts
  you could sometimes get him to say
  when the winds in his dreams
  blew for a while your way


7

We moved again,
this time to Wichita Falls

I was glad,
they had just won State
and in two years Greenville
had lost every game

The parsonage was being redone
We lived half that summer downtown

  halls and stairwells to explore
  new people every day
  hot pavement, shady awnings
  and stores to wander through
  and people picking us up
  carting us off to swim and play

  all those rooms and all those floors
  but disappointment, too

  I never once saw
  any naked ladies
  behind the opened doors
  I'd peer into


But running off my tongue
was Dern y'm te kwa she,
the opening phrases of
"Bringing In The Sheaves"

  my class had learned it years before
  from a missionary who
  had a furlough from China


The lyrics kept coming back
with images of the guttered fish
and new ones I was learning:

  Dolphins leading Roman ships

Cycles are different from circles
The past, unlike the present;
and undulating arc





Photo by Thomas Costales




Forty years ago the first humans walked on the moon, an event to remember and celebrate.



walking on the moon and forgetting how we got there

twenty five years old,
three months returned
from military service,
driving a taxi, two
in the afternoon 'til
two in the morning,
lousy money, but
working that shift
seven days a week,
money is irrelevant
to your life - marking

time,
GI Bill promising
a return to college,
much like today,
waiting for the next
big event in my life


somehow,
i was home that
night, with my
parents, waiting,
with Walter Cronkite
and Wally Schirra
and most of the rest
of the world, for
two human beings,
having crossed
the cold, black well of space,
to make the short final
jump to the surface
of the moon, to make
that first step for
humankind, to step
from the pages of the
books i read from the
age of twelve to real

life,
to walk on a
piece of the void
not our own, i watched
and i waited and it was done
and Walter and Wally shed
tears of a generation who,
like my father, lived to see
our kind's first flight beyond
the heavy weight of gravity to this
walking on the moon, this
escape from the bounds of own
plaanet, this expansion of
humanity's place in the universe,
this great pushing against the
smallness of our world

and i was left with a great
fullness

and i watched the next one
and the one after that, and
by the time they ended, i
read about the last one
in the newspaper the morning
after and what had been
the next big thing in my life
became another bit of dusty
history and by the time of my
son's generation, not even

that, as those who where
there when it happened
forgot to pass on the greatness
and significance of the event,
failed to remember it ourselves,
as if the secret of fire was
discovered, then
forgotten

like
our primitive awe of the flame
was forgotten

a measure of the poverty
of our soul





Photo by Thomas Costales




The next poem is by Diane Glancy, from her book Long Dog's Winter Count published by West End Press in 1991.

Glancy ws born in Kansas City, Missouri, of German/English and Cherokee parents. She received a BA Degree from the University of Missouri, an MA from Central State University in Oklahoma and an MFA from the University of Iowa. At the time her book was published, she taught Native American literature and creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Recipient of numerous awards and grants, Glancy published three collections of poetry prior to this one, as well as a collection of short stories.



Portrait of the Sufficiency of Winter

Fenceposts mark a trail across the land.
Harvester, baler, combine
under snow.
The witchy trees letting the stars shine through them.
Behind the manure pile
a string of hayrolls,
the blue swollen landscape.
The air itself is frozen against the window.
uni:hlana:hi
Great Spirit
I work with a coat hanger to get into the car.
I think we're not on our own here.
The spirits strain with the pulley
hooked to the bale of sun.
It will burn when the clouds move on.
Then we'll get to the locked reasons under snow.
Meanwhile there's another storm
whipping a comet's tail against the dark pines.
But under the hayrolls & manure piles
the ground remembers.
Somewhere the soft green grass unwraps the bolt,
pokes its warm air in
like the sharp point of a hanger.





Photo by Thomas Costales




Here are three short poems from our friend in Hawaii, 'Ilima Stern.



Hawai'i

Fires in the sea
Formed us
Mountains
Rising to the sun
Another fire

Eroding
Folding back, back
From whence we came
Back to the restless sea


A Pair of Tetractys

rain
soft mist
like a kiss
upon a cheek
a whisper leading up to desire

oh, the burning fire of passion's flame
its flaring light
dwindles down
embers
glow


What's Left?

Hula, accompanied by gourds and drums
History passed on through song and dance
Culture kept alive and practiced
Tales of gods and goddesses
Tales of war, deaths, and births
Tales of kings and queens
Progenitors
Dead and gone
What's left
Me





Photo by Thomas Costales




I used a couple of poems by Demetria Martinez last week and have another one this week. The poem this week is from another of her books The Devil's Workshop, published by The University of Arizona Press in 2002.



retro

I thought they were done
With this discussion in the 1960s:
Get your revolution
Out of my house.
It's pissing all
Over the floor.

Your holiness:
Living on rice and tea
For the sake
Of the hungry:
Juggling theories
To cure intellectuals
Of their apathy.

Remember me?
I could use a loving word,
A loaf of bread, a rose.
Help with the laundry.





Photo by Thomas Costales




Here's another of my poems exhibiting no discipline at all.



random thoughts walking down a random trail

the weather forecast
in the newspaper shows
a full five days ahead
with no temperatures one hundred
degrees
or higher - a first since May -
and i celebrate
by stepping out
in a cool
early morning breeze
to squirt
some water on the plants
in the front yard

the grass is gone
and won't be back without
a major transfusion
from the nursery
but i'd like to save the plants,
all hardy southwest varieties
accustomed
to heat
and miserly
in their water use

even they
seem near to failing
in this two-year drought

~~~~

i stop at my favorite
breakfast
hangout for two eggs
(over easy)
sausage
and sourdough toast

as usual
i have a book with me
and looking at the picture
of the author
on the back cover, i notice
his hands and his long, thin
fingers, almost like a spider's
legs, the fingers of an artist,
or a musician, or an artisan,
a creator of miniatures,
gems, tiny portraits
inside tiny seashells like you find
on gulf beaches, my own hands
large, fingers thick and clumsy,
a blacksmith's hands, as
we have been for six generations,
skipping only my grandfather,
a merchant, and me, a mover,
sometimes manipulator, of people

we are the sum of our biology,
though some of us break free and
become our own odd number

~~~~

i know
it is not considered proper
to use the word "fascist"
when describing your political
opponent, it is as though
the Germans in the mid-thirties
found some unique evil, unknown
to the world before their rise and
after their fall, and that none
before or after can be compared to
them

but what else can you call
these right-wing Republicans
who send out
their Brown Shirts to disrupt
public meetings, whose
propagandists
feed the gullible and frightened
with lie after lie after lie

hypocrisy
is as much a part of politics
as kissing babies on the campaign trail,
it is necessary,
practitioners will say, to sometimes
say what you do not mean -
how ever much it may sour you
it is part of the game

but what about the hypocrite
who becomes his own true believer,
who infects others
with the squalor of his soul

i am afraid there is a storm
brewing,
discounted and ignored,
just like the virulence
that infected the last century

~~~~

i think back to my hands
and the blood on the hands
of others
who did not raise alarm
in the past
and how much blood
will be on my own hands
in the future,
these blacksmith's hands
softened
by their use in ways
not biologically driven,
not ready for the hardness
of their true purpose





Photo by Thomas Costales




Now I have a poem by Joshua Clover from his book Madonna anno domini, published in 1996 by the Louisiana State University Press and winner of the 1996 Walt Whitman Award given by the Academy of American Poets.

Though this book is his first collection, Clover has published in many well know literary journals and was recipient of an NEA fellowship in 1994. At the time this book was published, he lived in Berkeley.



Union Pacific

The life about which the Buddhists teach
That the certain life belongs to the uncertain,
The life in which nothing belongs to us for even
The length of a century, which is nothing: Om.
The life in which all streets are named for thieves,
Trees and thieves, the life in which the thief-and-tree
Is the sign of the West, the life in which there are
Seven spheres extending out of to heaven from the Union
Pacific switching yard in Wyoming near midsummer,
The heaven which we are not allowed to see in this life: Om.
The life which spent a third of a century maneuvering me,
Solitary, rouged in the fine dust of the Chimney Rock Ranch,
To the end of Ivinson Street in Laramie near the
Continental Divide where the railroad companies planted
Their feet in a bracework of steel and cracked open
The West the way a bear, a bold animal (first thought
Only thought) might crack open a buddhist,
By skull and by ribcage, the white containments: Om.
From the buddhists we learn that a holy man may own
Half a wooden bowl and replace it every seven years,
About seven bowls a century, about how long the life
Of the great railroads lasted, the Life of Seven bowls
In which you couldn't see the forest for the thieves: Om.
Yesterday, I watched a pair of children taking off
The red Chimney Rock dust in a stone bowl
Rifted by a petty cataract of water, one basin
for the two of them, just the right amount, they were flying
From rock to rock, they were almost oblivious
To the story of the West, it was the Fourth of July,
It seemed possible they could be damaged,
The parents were watching too, through a camera,
From the corner of an eye, view within a view,
The second thought which cradles the first thought
Like a bowl inside a bowl, four times more
Than I am allowed even here, in the other life





Photo by Thomas Costales




Here's a poem from Jan Napier, a new friend from several weeks ago.

Jan traveled the length and breadth of Western Australia for 20 years, working in Side Show Alley (the Oz term for Midway). Her experiences are summed up in her book All The Fun Of The Fair. Now she's turned her attention to poetry.



Rainbow

Wolf sky
flaunts its frost tipped wind,
worries warmth
from scarf and beanie,
nips at six am faces
shocked free of shower steam,
and hot coffee hits,
makes Inuits of commuters
stranded at bus stop tundras.

Within,
yellow lit asylum,
shift workers with
winter splintered health,
share in a cold weather
collection of agues and aches,
are united in garnet
nosed misery.
Pensive streets wish past.

Jealous
rain spits on windows
filmed by fog and cough.
Straphangers shiver away
from the Koh I Noored glass,
turn up Ipods.
Outside the panes,
cloud eggs crack, leak daylight.
Sky bright,
a rainbow ransoms the morning.





Photo by Thomas Costales




The next three poems are from the collection Antler: The Selected Poems. Antler, the poet, was born in Wisconsin and continues to live there and, for a period of a couple of years, was Poet Laureate of Milwaukee. He was also recipient of the Walt Whitman award in 1985.

The book was published by Soft Skull Press in 2000.



Everything is Different Now

Everything is different now,
Now that I know that octopus penises detach
    and wander alone through the Ocean
        seeking a mate,
So that right now, and thought
    all human history,
        and millions of years before
    humans were even at
        the tree-shrew level,
Octopus penises wandered alone
    without eyes or ears or noses
        through vast vastnesses
            of Ocean
        searching for a lady-love


River Anatomy

The mouth of the river
    is really the anus of the river
For the river starts on the mountaintop
    so the mountaintop is the mouth of the river,
        or the cloud is the mouth of the river
Where the river empties into the sea
    is the anus of the river
        not the mouth of the river,
Unless the river is vomiting into the sea.
But the anus of the river
    is really the penis of the river,
        because of what empties into the sea
    is liquid not solid.
So the mouth of the river
    is the penis of the river,
        the vulva of the river.


Privy to My Thoughts

The shit of mice and voles
    contains fungus from truffles they ate
        which contains microorganisms
            without which
        the colossal Douglas Firs
    wouldn't be able to take in and keep
        more water in their root-hairs
            in the dry seasons
        without which they'd die.
No Avenue of Giants without mice shit!
No stupendous towering treetrunk longevities
    without turds,
        little turds of shy
    scurrying pink-toed and white-whiskered
        pink-nosed mousies.
Ah, wee and cowering timorous beastie,
  what awe-inspiring power
        in thy feces!





Photo by Thomas Costales




Been feeling kind of down lately, looking around, trying to imagine a better life for my son's generation than I had for my own. Failing.



Fin de cycle

it is another
end
to another golden
age

all around
pillars crumble

truth
honor
decency

brave
souls resist

but i no longer
have the steel to be
among them

cracked stone
and crumbling mortar
await
arrival of tomorrow's
students
of empires risen
only to fail

they will
wonder
how such a fall
could happen
to these
so high and mighty

i will not
tell them

for

i know
no more then they





Photo by Thomas Costales




For reasons never clear to me, English poet Peter Reading spent a year in Marfa, Texas, in the Big Bend area of Texas, among the most desolate environments in the United States. The little town itself, population a bit over 2,000, has, in the past ten years or so become known as an arts and artist's refuge, creating some of the most interesting conjunctions of people, events and lifestyles you're likely to ever see, most especially during it's annual arts festival (which i attended last year and was not especially impressed by, except for the many young artists who came to exhibit from all around the state). It's way the hell and gone from everywhere and, unless you happen to be taking the old road from San Antonio to El Paso, you won't ever be there unless you really want to.

Reading's time in Marfa resulted in his book Marfan, published by Bloodaxe Books in 2000. The poems are in the form of vignettes and seemingly random notes on the area geography, people, history and legends. Winner of various literary awards, this was his nineteenth collection of poetry.

There's no real starting place for this book but the beginning, so I'll just jump in somewhere near the middle.


~~~~

The lights, demystified by divers eminents:
electrostatic discharge; swamp-gas; moonlight
shining on veins of mica; ghosts of Spanish
Conquistadors who sought gold here; a mirage
produced by cold and hot layers of air
refracting light; Ya know tham Mystery Flickers?
wel, what it is, the CIA is beaming
encrypted messages from Washington
onto the water tower - ya know, that silver
cylinder thar with MARFA writ on it? well,
tham coded signals bounce right off the tower
and light up the entire Chinati Mountains
with flicker flicker flicker flicker flicker




US 90 East, Marfa to Alpine:
you drive through the volcano of Paisano -
just breccia 35 million years old,
caldera, and pale rhyolite, and you.



No-nuke groups lobby governor to resist
proposals for Sierra Blanca site.

(Headline in this week's Big Bend Sentinel.)

Sierra Blanca residents have voiced
concern over the Texas, Maine and Vermont
Compact, which would enable the three states
to dump-low-level radioactive shit
on an impoverished minority's doorstep,
in violation of the federal
and international environmental
agreements made between the USA
and Mexico.

       It doesn't matter though -
they're only Spiks out on the borderline
(a site beneath which lie tectonic faults
rendering it more seismically active
than any other in the Lone Star State):



Outside the Mexican Cemetery, a sign
to visitors is crackling and buckled
from solar blistering over generations
and winds sand-blasting off the Chihuahuan Desert:
$200 FINE FOR LOITERING
OR LITTERING HERE.

        In this place idlers throng;
discarded stones, wood crosses, painted plaster,
and plastic roses faded to pinkish grey
garbage the quiet, death-sustaining slope.

Morales, Marquez, Garcia, Marftinez,
Flores, Rivera, Hinojos-Hernandez...

spiked on a Yucca sprouting from the dirt
of Maria Bartolo Villanuevea,
a straw-stuffed rag doll, smiling, rosy-cheeked,
sporting a hat of bean-sack hessian -
the pious tribute of some hijo.

       Coveys
of Scaled Quail loiter, litter among the ash,
scutter a dusty plot where Moniga
Quinteros deSalgado is reposing,
churr a low nasal Descanse en Paz.





Photo by Thomas Costales




Before I toss in my last offering for the week, here's a piece by our other new friend from Australia, Sue Clennell.



Lost Heroes

We talk over the tomb of Atreus
and of how Atreus fed Thyestes' his own children.
The guide speaks of a sister-in-law
who hates her so much
she would not reveal that her brother
was dying.
"See," she says, "we still feud,
feed our children to each other."
Poppies still bleed for lost heroes
up through snow capped mountains,
and the Judas trees
pink and preen around Olympia.





Photo by Thomas Costales




Might as well go out this week on a rant.



care to join me for a pile of food

every once in a while
i abandon
my normal grub
of chicken fried steak
and baked potato
for some of the fancy fodder
at those restaurants
with cloth tablecloths
and no chance at all
of ketchup
unless you bring it
yourself

and i've noticed
over the years a trend
toward piling your
food,
one thing
on top of another,
meat
on top of potatoes
or rice
or pasta of some denomination
or another
and under several asparagus
stems
or string beans

i don't understand
how we got to this state
of affairs -
from,
the child's complaint
that the peas
are touching the macaroni
and he can't possibly eat anything
because it's touching,
one thing contaminated by the other,
to this current haute cuisine
practice
of presenting to their diners
a pile of food in the middle of a
very large plate, most ot the plate
wasted,
untouched by the food
which is piled in the middle

this is like chopsticks,
two sticks between which
you are supposed to clamp
pieces of food that includes rice
and meat or vegetables too large
to eat in one bite

the biggest question
is not
why would we would want eat this way
but why anyone
would ever think of inventing
this method in the first place - end
product of a drinking game
is my guess

the same is true of this food-piling
movement among top chefs
of the world

i don't get it
and i don't like it
and that's why i just stick
to my chicken fried steak and
baked potatoes

carefully separated,
one kind
from the other





Photo by Thomas Costales




That's it for this week, but before going into my usual closing routine, I've been asked to pass on a request for submissions from a new literary ezine called Lit Magazine, Their Spring issue is ready to publish, but the editors are still looking for material for the Winter 2009-2010 issue.

They request 1 to 3 previously unpublished poems per submission with a maximum length of 30 lines or less and should include no profanity or pornography. Submission should be sent via e-mail to lorisimpson123@gmail.com. The words "Lit Mag" should be included in the subject line of the e-mail and basic contact information should be included in the body.

The submission deadline for the Winter issue is October 31, 2009.

I know a number of poets are included among the readers of "Here and Now" and I'd be pleased to pass on any other submission requests anyone might have. I think for further requests I'd prefer to just receive the name of the publication requesting submissions, the deadline date for submissions and an e-mail address where interested parties can call for complete information. Just send your request for a submission request to me at allen.itz@gmail.com.

I also add, don't forget me. Posting weekly, I go through lots of material and am always looking for more. Use my e-mail address above if you want to send me something.

This also applies to photos and art. I use 15 to 20 images a week, so always looking there as well. If you're going to send me images, I'd prefer to receive 20 jpegs so that I can turn all the images in a blog issue over to you. With 2,000 to 3,000 site visits a month, you'll get lots of looks here.

I do not like to open attachments since who knows what might be hiding in them. So, with the obvious exception of images, i prefer to received any material sent to me be in the body of the e-mail. I'll open attachment if I have to, but I won't like you very much for making me do it.

That being the end of that, I invite your to come back next week. Until then, please remember that all of the material presented in this blog remains the property of its creators. I produced the blog and you are welcome to use those parts created by me any way you want, but credit would be the nice and polite thing to do. Hasta la Pasta...allen itz

1 Comments:
at 1:20 AM Anonymous Arunansu said...

Special thanks to Dan Cuddy for the lovely photos, and thanks to you for publishing the lively haiku of John Brandi. Enjoyed them, all.

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