Snow Days   Thursday, March 25, 2010


V.3.4.




The weather in San Antonio this week has been ideal, cold nights and warm sunshine days, the nights a reminder of winter leaving and the days warning of a slide back into another South Texas summer.

I know most everyone reading this isn't nearly as unhappy as I am to see winter coming to a close. For those few like me who find the best of life in the winter and the worst in the summer, I offer in my images this week a tribute to winter and to snow. The pictures were taken over five years with three different cameras in six different states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Most of them have appeared here before.

The last photo is my concession to the rest of you who can enjoy spring without thinking of the summer to come. It helps, I suppose, if, unlike South Texas, spring lasts more than three days, six hours and forty-five minutes before jumping into most of the rest of the year, which is summer.

For those who don't care about the weather one way or the other, I have a fine feature poet this week,Kevin McCann. Kevin has been a full-time writer for 16 years now. He's published six limited edition pamphlets in England. He also writes for children.

You've read Kevin here before but this is the first time, I think, he has been my featured poet.

Here's what else we have this week along with Kevin and my winter pictures.


Basho
14 Haiku

Kevin McCann
Roadkill

Me
freak show

Rolph Jacobsen
Moon and Apple
Sunflower
Light Pole


Me
bird-brains

Kevin McCann
To Time Travel

Patricia Monaghan
The Woman of Bagdad

Holly Thomas
Chiapas

Kevin McCann
First Contact

Me
king of the gone frontier

Frederick Seidel
1968

Me
storms

Kevin McCann
On the day after...

Ishley Yi Park
Meat Trucks
A Simple Bridge


Kevin McCann
The God Delusion

Me
breakfast with the president

Julia B. Levine
Vigil
This would be a good way to die


Me
Immanual Kant, but i can

Philip T. Stephens
Viewing "Easy Rider"

Carlyn Luke Reding
The Dollmaker

Me
poems









I begin this week with haiku by Basho, the greatest of the haiku masters. The poems were translated by Robert Bly and are taken from his book The Winged Energy of Delight, Selected Translations.

Basho was born Matsuo Munefusa in 1644 in a small town thirty miles from Kyoto. His father died when he was young, causing him to enter into the service of a local feudal lord. When the lord died ten years later, Basho left home and began to travel. He studied with a well-known priest for a while and edited a collection of haiku by thirty different poets. When he was thirty-six, a group of his students build a hut for him on the Sumita River near a banana tree, or, "basho," and he took the name for himself. He lived sparsely and, when he was about forty,taking only his knapsack and a walking stick, he began a series of wanderings, that were to be the basis for his haiku for the rest of his writing life, which ended when he was fifty years old after one last walking trip.

Here are some of his haiku, the product of his close observations as he wandered. The greatest thing about these little poems is the way they make it seem you are walking and observing right alongside of him.



Spider, if you had a voice,
what would you sing,
swaying in the wind?

~~~~

It's fall and dusk.
And no one is walking
along the road.

~~~~

The temple bell stops -
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.

~~~~

It's late fall.
I wonder how the man
next door lives.

~~~~

It's fall and a full moon.
I walked around the shore
of the pond all night.

~~~~

Dried salmon
and Kuya's breakthrough into the spirit - both
belong to the cold time of the year!

~~~~

Storm on Mount Asama!
Wind blowing
out of the stones!

~~~~

Give your longing to wound
and to own more things
away to the willow.

~~~~

The sea grows rough.
The Milky Way reaches past
the islands of Sado!

~~~~

How marvelous the man is
who can see a lightning flash
and not think, "Life is short!"

~~~~

It's spring, all right;
that hill we named
is hidden in the mist.

~~~~

The sea grows dark.
The voices of wild ducks
turn white.

~~~~

It's quiet, all right.
The cries of the cicadas
sink into the rocks.

~~~~

Octopuses caught in floating pots,
dreams that are not eternal
under the summer moon.








Here's this week's first poem by featured poet, Kevin McCann.



Roadkill

At what seems like milepost
Intervals : possum, porcupine,
A broken backed snake still
Rolling, crow mixed in
With rabbit,
Somebody's cat : blood trail,
Long as a fanfare,
Stag,
One antler snapped,
Head twisting
Back,
Pink guts
Fly sucked
And blackening.

Cars slow up.

Windows roll down.

Mouths open.

Just a minute
Down the road,
A flattened skunk,
Whose scent bag,
Still potent,
                              Spills wide.








Maybe it's just some kind of empathic vibe I feel with the pain and gathering panic of the planet under attack; or maybe it's just the paranoia of the times. But I have felt it for several years now, like an itch between my shoulders.

Something is not right.



freak show

i feel
a great unwinding,
a wobble
like the way a top
wobbles
as it loses its spin

i feel it in my own
life

a queasy reality-shift
flutter
in the pit of my stomach

i see it in the world
around me

a momentary
disl
ocation
of things and the spaces
between,
a coloring outside the
lines of universal time -
like the universe in a box
shaken
so all the pieces shift
and come together again
not quite right,
but not so wrong as to draw
immediate attention, mis-
construsions and mis-
constructions
caught only in the corner of
an eye while watching
other things, fraudulent reality,
shucking and jiving
like the carnival man
selling tickets
to the freak show,
another boardwalk fake-show, fake-
freaks, fake-
bearded women,
pillow stuffed fatmen,
and a strongman lifting
cardboard weights,
freaks in night's dark, accountants,
lawyers, and beauty parlor
operators in the light of day

it just doesn't seem right
and i can feel it

a great unwinding,
a wobble,
like a drunk man
walking home
at 3 a.m.,
his path dimly
lit
in barely-
connected
pieces








Here's another poet, a Norwegian, from Bly's book of translations.

Rolf Jacobsen was born in Oslo in 1907. He produced twelve books of poems in his life, winning the Norwegian Critics' Prize in 1960, the Bergen Prize in 1968, the Aschelough Prize in 1986, and the Grand Nordic Prize from the Swedish Academy in 1989. Editor of a small town newspaper for many years, his poems reflect his knowingness of small closely observed things and events.

His poems were translated into more than twenty languages before his death in 1994 when he was eighty-seven years old.



Moon and Apple

When the apple tree blooms,
the moon comes often like a blossom,
paler than any of them,
shining over the tree.

It is the ghost of the summer,
the white sister of the blossoms who returns
to drop in on us,
and radiate peace with her hands
so that you shouldn't feel too bad when the hard times come.
For the earth itself is a blossom, she says,
on the star tree,
pale and with luminous
ocean leaves.


Sunflower

What sower walked over earth,
which hands sowed
our inward seeds of fire?
They went out from his fists like rainbow curves
to frozen earth, young loam, hot sand,
they will sleep there
greedily, and drink up our lives
and explode it into pieces
for the sake of a sunflower that you haven't seen
or a thistle head or a chrysanthemum.

Let the young rain of tears come.
Let the calm hands of grief come.
It's not all as evil as you think.


Light Pole

My street lamp is so glacially alone in the night.
The small paving stones lay their heads down all around
where it holds up its lightumbrella over them
so that the wicked dark will not come near.

It says: We are all far from home.
There's no hope anymore.








Birds seem so optimistic in the morning, singing in their trees; you almost ever see a bird on a downer. Doesn't that just piss you off sometimes, all that chirpity chirpity brightness when you're just awake and not feeling that way at all.



bird-brains

feeling
frisky this morning

but i'll get over it
when the sun comes

up -
something about fresh

daylight
wakens the dog asleep

on a soft pillow
in me -

there are two ways to see
the glory of a rising

sun, wake up very early
or stay up very late

and i've done
both

but more of the second
than the first

which may be why
early blue morning skies

and hustle bustle
of traffic on the freeway

and people
walking their dogs

and the songs of birds
welcoming the day

chirping and singing
as birds do

thinking
as birds do

that dark is gone forever
oh joy joy chirp chirp

tweedle
that's why they do it

you know
because bird-brains that

they are
they are certain that

the sun having come up
once

will never go down again
and that kind of stuff

just makes me so damn
tired








Here's a second piece by Kevin McCann. I might try his suggestion here. Who knows, can't hurt.



To Time Travel

                              A random coin
                              That always
Comes up heads

                              Mix in

                              Spilled salt
                              Broken mirrors
                              A breaking dream

                              Add

                              Can't wait
                              To grow up

                              Subtract

                              Wish I was
                              A kid again

                              Kick-start
                              With a lucky guess...








Poets Against the War, published by Thunder's Mouth Press in 2003, is a compilation of poems selected from the website, "Poets Against the War" which included thousands of antiwar poems (including several of my own) at the height of the war in Iraq. Most of the poems are very much a product of the time and circumstances particular. My poems, for example, were howls of outrage at George Bush's stupid initiation and prosecution of the war, even the best almost unreadable now as being out of place and out of time.

Among the poems, though, are many that are universal, speaking to the humanity and wars of any moment and any circumstance, reminding the reader that the tragedies of war have nothing to do with politics or justice, nothing to do with "good wars" and "bad wars," nothing to do with necessary wars or foolish follies of foolish men. It is all the same to the dead.

That's what I was looking for when I selected the following two poems from the book.

There is almost no information included about the poets. Of the first poet the book indicates only that she has some connection to DePaul University and of the second only that she is 46 years old and from Seattle.



The first poet is Patricia Monaghan. This is her poem.


The Woman of Bagdad

She rises in the glow of a red sun
to make strong coffee. She fills her
cup with sugar from the bowl
her grandmother used. She sits
drinking slowly, beneath her lime tree.

I can see her through the blue glow
of the news: she moves with deliberate
grace in the silence of her morning.
As she reaches up to pull her hair
back from her neck, I see the tiny age
spots beginning on the back of her hand.

Men are talking somewhere, but she
does not hear them. She hears the murmur
of a dove in the tree. She hears the tiny
roar of a city wakening. She hears her heart
as we all hear ours, a soundless sound.

The men are saying she will die. The men
are saying the bombs are coming.
She, hearing nothing, gets up heavily
and picks a single lime from her tree.
She breathes its oily fragrance. These
are the last breaths she will take.


And the second poet, Holly Thomas, wrote this.


Chiapas

I don't know you, child.
I've never seen your country
or spoken your tongue.
But I see you burning
like an oil-soaked rag
in one of the old farm trucks
torched to terrify your people,
burning alone
because you fell asleep
after a long day's bending
in stony fields,
too tired at day's end
to walk back home.
Or, because you were
dragged there
conscious, and
set aflame.

Your mother devours your murderers' hearts
in her drugged dreams.
Your father, "disappeared" after the burning,
eats his own.








This is another poem by Kevin McCann, his third so far this issue, this one a reminder that our own little obsessions might not be, as Rick said, "worth a hill of beans" against a larger scale.



First Contact

               His satellite dish
               Had scanned the sky
               For fifty years
               Until,
At last,
He heard

Bleep
bleep
blah
blip-blip

And fed through his computer
               It became numbers
That fed through his computer
And became letters
That fed through his computer
               And became words :
                   get a life
               They said...








This next poem of mine fits in with Kevin's above, a reminder that the biggest thing in our life might be, some years later, history that no one else remembers.



king of the gone frontier

i was feeling
really tired this morning,
like a whole lifetime of tired
had been dropped on me
all at once,
worn out like an old rug
in $25-a-week fleabag hotel, just
worn down and out

used up

and feeling even worse
after i read Fess Parker died

and i was telling Chris
the coffee shop guy
about it
and he said,

who?

and i said,

Fess Parker

and he said,

who?

and i said,

Davy Crockett

and he said,

who?

and i said,

Daniel Boone

and he said,

Who?

and i said,

coonskin caps!

and he said,

what kind of hats?

and so now i'm feeling
really very tired
and really very, very,
really
very
old








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

Seidel was born in 1936 in Missouri. He earned an undergraduate degree at Harvard University in 1957 and is the author of numerous collections of poetry. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, his awards include a Lamont Poetry Prize and a PEN/Voelcker Award.

His first collection, Final Solutions, created a controversy in 1962 when it was chosen for an award sponsored by the 92nd Street Y which included a $1,500 honorarium and publication by Atheneum Press, only to have the award withdrawn after the Y rejected the manuscript, claiming that one of the poems libeled a famous living person, and Seidel was unwilling to make the requested edits. Initially, Atheneum agreed to publish the book, even without the Y's support, but eventually dropped the book which was published some years later by Random House.

Seidel did not publish another book for seventeen years.

I originally wanted to use the poem Sunrise from the book, but it is much too long, so I chose the next poem, instead, which has somewhat the same feel as Sunrise. Should you want to look the longer poem up somewhere, it is worth the search.

Seidel's poems remind me of Nathanael West's Day of the Locust, a witheringly matter-of-fact look at his culture and his time.



1968

A football spirals through the oyster glow
of dawn dope and fog in L.A.'s
Bel Air, punted perfectly. The foot
That punted it is absolutely stoned.

A rising starlet leans her head against the tire
Of a replica Cord,
A bonfire of red hair out of
focus in the fog. Serenading here,
A boy plucks "God Bless America" from a guitar.
Vascular spasm has made the boy's hands blue,
Even after hours of opium.

Fifty or so of the original
four hundred
At the fundraiser,
Robert Kennedy for President, the remnants, lie
Exposed as snails around the swimming pool, stretched
Out on the paths, and in the gardens, and the drive.
Many dreams their famous bodies have filled.

The host, a rock superstar, has
A huge cake of opium,
Which he refers to as "King Kong,"
And which he serves on a silver salver
Under a glass bell to his close friends,
So called,
Which means all mankind apparently,
Except the fuzz,
Sticky as tar, the color of coffee,
A quarter of a million dollars going up in smoke.
This is Paradise painted
On the inside of an eggshell
With the light outside showing through,
Subtropical trees and flowers and lawns,
Clammy as albumen in the fog,
And smelling of fog. Backlit
And diffuse, the murdered
Voityck Frokowski, Abigail Folger and Sharon Tate
Sit together with out faces.

This is the future.
Their future is the future. The future
Has been born,
The present is the afterbirth,
These bloodshot and blue acres of flowerbeds and stars.
Robert Kennedy will be killed.
It is "68, the campaign year -
And the beginning of a new day.

People are waiting
When the chauffeur-bodyguard arrives
For work and walks
Into the ballroom, not recording studio, herds
Of breasts turn round, it seems in silence,
Like cattle turning to face a sound.
Like cattle lined up to face the dawn.
Shining eyes seeing all or nothing ,
In the silence.
A stranger, and wearing a suit,
Has to be John the Baptist,
At least, come
To say someone else is coming.
He hikes up his shoulder holster
Self-consciously, meeting their gaze.
That is as sensitive as the future gets.








A really fierce storm blew in this morning, heavy wind and rain dropping the temperature from 60 degrees when I got up to the high 40s an hour later. Got me to thinking about storms, all kinds.



storms

Febrero loco, y Marzo mas poco

5:30 on a Saturday
morning
and a storm blows in

a big one,
red and yellow on the radar
sweeping across the hill country -

the wind and the rain and thunder
wake me
and wakes the dogs

who whine by my bed,
wanting me to sit on the floor
with them

where we can huddle up,
a quivering mass
of dog and man huddled up

the best cure
for thunder as all good dogs
know -

the rain comes hard
and the wind
blowing branches to the ground

high water on the road
where high water usually is not,
the creek up

at least 10 feet,
brushing against the bottom
of the footbridge

high lightning
behind clouds shearing
open the whole sky

from horizon to horizon,
and i can't stay inside,
the wild weather calling me

to breakfast
so i gather up my old raincoat -
forty-five years since it was issued to me,

and i think of that day,
January 10th, 1965, the strangeness
of that day, a blur voices shouting

and faces nose to nose,
hard eyes,
the first day of basic training,

the coat still pristine this rainy day,
not even a button lost, only
the man inside showing the wear

of all the years he's worn it
and i think of the man i was
and the life i had years ago when i was

as old as the coat is now, and i think
of the miracle and mystery of time
how it carries us with hardly any notice

by us
through the eddies and flows
of our lives,

the mystery of a life
that passes with almost no notice
of its passage,

another storm passing
and we, the storm riders
to busy to feel it buck under us -

like this morning as through the rain
i run,
gathering up the news of this day

on the way to the car,
then off though the rain, pulse
thumping, wild as the morning,

alive as the new day,
the deep sleep of winter broken
by the wet waking of spring -

a block from the house,
a very large black dog walking
slowly through the rain

he stops as i approach, turns his yellow timeless eyes
to my headlights, does not move,
black truth waiting on this wet-blowing day -

i go around
and do not look back








Here's another piece by feature poet, Kevin McCann



On the day after...

                    All the papers
                              Give extensive coverage

To something else.

On the day after :

A cardboard sign,
Hand written,
Is briefly displayed
At his local station.

Within an hour,
Its twin appears
At the next stop
Down the line.

And the next

And the next

And so on.

On the day after that

Dozens file through his house.

Some kneel.

Many sob angrily.

On the day after that

They carry him,
Shoulder high :

His coffin draped
With birdsong.








The next two poems are by young Korean-American poet, Ishle Yi Park, from her book The Temperature of This Water, published by Kaya Press in 2004.



Meat Trucks

When I cannot look at your face,
I look at your back
curled away from me in sleep,
half buried in polyester sheets.

I know it supports you
under wooden crates of packed beef
hauled off loading trucks
on lamplit streets. It's almost geometric
in its tight bend, hoist, pull
that cranks you through the morning.

In these strange lights,
its ridges are reptilian and fierce,
but when my fingers graze your spine,
it shudders like a quiet earthquake.


A Simple Bridge

These days I feel out of touch with lightning,
fire, even the loneliness of wind.

My soul sings to itself
because it is alone.

And then, I think lightning,
fire, wind are all solitary forces:

they can't help but touch
things in their path. It is the reaching -

the space between the paper's edge,
the blue fingers of flame,

between the wind
and sharp, breathless leaves,

between the whiteblue jolt,
the one bare tree,

branches open to light
and burning -

it is a simultaneous distance
and longing my body recognizes.

A simple bridge inside me
waits to be crossed by lovers

in both directions - who meet
in the middle of the arc at four hours:

the pink hour, the pitch hour,
the starless hour, the soft, waking hour.








And, now, the last poem for this week by feature poet, Kevin McCann. Thanks, Kevin, for letting us read your work.



The God Delusion

Listen.
Once there was a drought.

Fish ponds shrank down,
Stinking.
Paddy fields dried up,
Cracking,
Rice shoots scorched brown,
Wilting.

                              So out of
Bamboo,
Silk
And rice paper,
                              People built a dragon

Then set fire to him.

Smoke rose,
                              A desperate calligraphy,
                              Until the dragon
That controls weather,
                              Finally woke up
                              And as he started
Beating his wings

                              Wind blew.

                              Clouds grew.

                              The pale blue sky
Turned black.

                              Rain fell :
                              Paddy fields were ankle deep :
                              Rain fell :
                              Rice shoots grew green :
                              Rain fell :
                              Stinking ponds refilled.

                              But that was then
                              And no-one really believes it.

                              Now we build
                              Radio telescopes
                              Out of steel,
                              Micro-circuits
                              And lasers

Then broadcast
Our frantic equations :

Pray
That an answer
Will come.








This fellow comes in about once a week to The Egg & I where I have breakfast every day. He seem to be to be the archetypal Vermont farmer, to the point where I always a little surprised when I notice he's not wearing overalls.



breakfast with the president

the guy
at the table next to me
reminds me of what Cal Coolidge
might look like if he happened to stop in here
at The Egg & I for breakfast at 7 a.m.
on this second day of Spring
of the year 2010

70-ish,
short, trim build, bald head
all angles and planes,
heavy, plastic-rimmed glasses,
pink cheeks like he had spent yesterday
facing that strong north wind
that blew in about the time the sun came up

the kind of look
makes you think of a guy in a big floppy hat
guiding a plow
across a rocky field in Vermont

and he wasted no words
ordering breakfast

just 5

each separated by a pause,
demonstrating the thought behind each,
emphasizing his commitment to the word
and all it might mean or suggest
before actually uttering it
for the world to hear

except at the end
when he threw 2 words together
in an explosion of orgasmic verbosity

egg


toast


bacon


coffeeblack


thanks, he said
when they brought him his
egg-toast-bacon-cofffeeblack

and thanks, again,
when they brought him his check

7 words all together;
two of them repeats, from the time
he walked in until he paid his bill and walked
out the door, putting his big, floppy hat firmly atop his head

back to the farm,
where the mules pull the plow
and don't just sit around all day chattering about it








Now I have two poems by Julia B. Levine, from her book Ditch-tender, published in 2007 by the University of Tampa Press.

Levine lives and works in Davis, California, and is the author of three books of poetry. Her awards in poetry include the Discovery/The Nation Award for Emerging New Writers and the Pablo Neruda Prize.



Vigil

Now the geese are crying for the falling year.

Adrift and on fire, flickers return from the blue hills.
Moths tear open the fierce green lawn,

like directions to the next world, tattered into bits.,
shredded handfuls thrown up to sun.

Remember last Halloween, when our neighbors called
the animals and archangels, one by one, across his doorway,

and in they came, to his wife's hospital bed, frightened
but obedient, while he lifted their hands into hers.

Some things need to know they can still be touched.

Some things astonish us with the deeper names
of what was never meant to be

like the dream the child had of your guitar,

so certain that you'd brought the music back,
that she woke and padded down the hallway

to find me, here, alone, sewing her black cape and own,
listening to the strange lantern of the geese

passing on...


This would be a good way to die

he says, and swims out into the bay,
thought I understand he's only thinking about his heart,

his death imminent and impossible
as the hard wind working against sky.

My daughter stands on shore, watching dusk redden
the far hills, asking, Why is it more beautiful over there?

What is clear to someone on the edge of a life?

Once I came down here alone, dragging my kayak behind,
astonished to see three otters rising like slender reeds
from the mouth of a vaster music,

and followed after,
through a wall of white fog, thinking, The soul is a small vessel
paddling into the living fire of time.


That morning has been working in me ever since

like threshold, like my old friend
trudging up the beach,

my daughter leaning against my chest,
a strand of her hair against my lips,
the hour like a window
out to where two kites collide and fall

into an endless aisle of waves going out,
coming back, one by one...








I'm one of those people who think by writing, unable to get a clear idea anything until I can clearly state it on paper. It's one of the reasons I hardly ever know how my poems are going to end until I get to the ending. It is also why I can be very pleased with a poem that is not of any interest to anyone else, but satisfies me because of how it led me to its conclusion.

This might be one of those poems.



Immanuel Kant, but i can

the religioso mosos
babosos
were late yesterday

didn't get here
until i was finished with my poem
and was packing up to leave

but they started right in talking about
Immanuel Kant
and his theories of what can be known

through the human mind
and what cannot,
the difference as he defined it

between scientific questions
which can be investigated and known
and metaphysics which cannot

and i've been wondering since then
what i thought about that, me, being
a person who does not believe

in metaphysical questions or any other
question that cannot be addressed
by thinking human beings

though i admit,
not by all human beings, thinking
or not, none of us as smart

as is surely required
to be a real know-it-all, rather
than just the know-it-all

that some of us of lesser self-knowledge
sometimes claim to be -
even smart people can be stupid

when it comes to understanding
their own limitations
and i try not to be one of those -

but as to that metaphysical stuff,
i just don't buy it,
believing instead that all questions

are subject to rational structures
and honest experimentation,
and though there may be many things

i'll never know,
the only thing i know i'll never know
is what's going to happen tomorrow

time being a different dimension
subject to it's own laws
and maybe under those laws

there is a God who created all and
who continues to care for all
his creations

and a Jesus,
God and Son of God, who died
for His/His Father's creations -

but that's a dimension
where i am not and cannot be
and in this dimension where i can be

it seems clear to me
that i'm on my
own

and if my best friend, Reba,
waiting so patiently in the car,
gets her walk today

it's going to be with me
and not with
Jesus








I have a couple of poets now from the anthology Feeding the Crow, published by Plain View Press of Austin in 1998.


The first of the poets is Phillip T. Stephens, a self-styled, "creative catalyst," specializing in his business consultancy in the field of ontology.


Viewing "Easy Rider"

In the end, after Nicholson was dead,
after Peter Fonda, Karen Black and Dennis Hopper
had freaked out on the bad acid in the French Quarter,
after they had been invited into communities of love
and ended up with prostitutes in their laps,
in the end Peter Fonda understood. He said to
Dennis Hopper, "We blew it, man," and Hopper said,
"What do you mean, man? We're rich."
And it's plain as the daylight on my face,
at least it’s plain all these years later,
that only Fonda was looking for beauty or truth
or even love, but Dennis Hopper was an asshole.
and my generation, my friends who passed around
the Panama Red in the theater while we waited for
those two-shit faced rednecks to point their shotgun
at the asshole shooting the peace sign, My generation,
who knew this movie was addressing some vital truth
but could never get it straight just what the truth was,
My generation grew up to be Dennis Hoppers.


The second poem is by Carlyn Luke Reding who is a native of Brazoria County and identifies herself as a sixth generation Texan. That seems like more generations than there were Texans, but counting it out on my fingers, it turns out I'm a fifth generation Texan myself, old grandpa Henrich arriving just after the revolution was won, in the years between nationhood and statehood. Never thought of it before.


The Dolmaker

molded second grade girls
through magical twists and turns
into great big Brownie smiles,
then managed a nursery school at home
before daycare was popular.

The dollmaker
painted the kitchen, baked a pie,
ironed alter linens in front of a fan,
fixed a tire, changed the diapers,
and sang in the choir,
grew saucer-sized Peace roses,
coaxed sweet-peas in the spring,
sold real estate,
taught Special Ed students like gifted,
swam in the Gulf of Mexico; beach combed for hours,
ignored the dirty dishes, read arm loads of books,
then polished the hardwoods on hands and knees,
finished my first communion gown early Sunday morn,
fashioned and dressed Snowflakes for the Christmas pageant,
redesigned Easter bonnets,
outmaneuvered hurricanes,
survived a nervous breakdown.

Once the doll maker
created a doll with needle and thread; taffeta and old lace,
crushed tissue paper shaped the burgundy gown and cape.
she decorated its fragile eggshell head
with a tiny face, curls, and bonnet.
Alarmingly, the fabric sculpture
 lacked shoes
lacked feet.









We all fall into the habit at times of beginning to think that everything that is is going to always be, that everything we have will always be there for us. Many people, fortunate people, die with that illusion intact.

Not me. It seems to me that everyday I am reminded of the frailty of all we have and know, the certain knowledge that some morning I will write a poem and it will be the last one, that on that morning I will face a dry well of inspiration that will never run wet again. The immediate effect of that is to be very grateful for every morning when I drop my bucket and it comes up with a poem.

That's the thought that led to this one, the last poem for this week, an expression of faith that, by believing, there will be another one tomorrow.



poems

between
about six thirty
to nine thirty every morning
i crank up the day

breakfast
and a newspaper
and lots of coffee and a poem,
just one, no more until the next day -

the rest of the day
is mostly just
small chores and little
wanderings

the kind of things a person does
because the day
is more than 3 hours long
and must be filled with something

i don't know how long this will last

i know life is a transitory thing
and all the events and habits of life
in transit
until the next thing comes

i learned my lessons
about permanent long ago,
nothing is forever, nothing last longer
than your everyday sweetening of it

learned that lesson
from watching all my monuments
crumble, the pride of my prides
eroded by the wash of time

leaving nothing in this world
of me
but the pleasure i had in it -
the monument of me to me daily built

and i know that one day
all that will end, the little "that"
of the daily poem, the big "that"
of the daily poet

and the thing within me that makes a poem
will make something new, a tree, a leaf,
a spider on a web between the leaves, a web
or something that struggles within the web

every day a thousand thousand poems,
poems of sunshine; poems of rain,
poems of me in all my pieces spread again, becoming again
part of the universal poem of everything and everywhere

and any part of me that still floats in that ether
capable, still, of pleasure,
will smile
and call it well and goodly done








The week is done.

Everything here, though borrowed by me, remains the property of it's creators. Take my stuff if you want it, just give credit where credit is due.

I am allen itz, owner and produce of this blog and, in the end, it's all my fault.

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