A Few Things the Goddess Wishes Us to See   Thursday, October 07, 2010


Nothing unusual this week, just me with a few poems and some old pics and my super-excellent library poets.

Mary Karr
A Blessing from My Sixteen Years’ Son

Matthea Harvey
I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run

gonna smoke me some of that

Larissa Szporluk
Solar Wind

i plant trees wherever i go

R.S. Thomas
This One


Otomo No Yakamochi
Ten poems

the far-reaching consequences to civilization and an individual psyche of wifi failure

Sunil Freeman
Composition for Piano and Rapidly Exiting Yuppies
What the Man in the Frayed Sweater Might Be Thinking

about those who produce and those who consume

Frank Bidart
If See No End In Is

Mary Jo Bang
And as in Alice

Texas Bar-B-Que

Ray Gonzales
Acoma, NM

Taylor Graham
Nude on a Carousel Horse

i wait

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The Long Street


John Philip Santos
Elegy (Never Delivered)
Zarzamora Street

a few things the goddess wants us to see

I begin this week with a couple of poets from The Best American Poetry - 2005, 19th in an annual series, published by Scribner Poet.

My first poet is Mary Karr.

Born in southeast Texas in 1955, Karr is a Guggenheim Fellow,teaches at Syracuse University, and has published four collections of her poetry. Her poem first appeared in The New Yorker.

A Blessing from My Sixteen Years' Son

I have this son who assembled inside me
during Hurricane Gloria. In a flash, he appeared,
in a heartbeat. Outside, pines toppled.

Phone lines snapped and hissed like cobras.
Inside, he was a raw pearl: microscopic, luminous.
Look at the muscled obelisk of him now

pawing through the icebox for more grapes.
Sixteen years and not a bone broken,
not a single stitch. By his age

I was marked more ways, and small.
He's a slouching six foot three,
with implausible blue eyes, which settle

on the pages of Emerson's "Self-Reliance"
with profound belligerence.
A girl with a navel ring

could make his cell phone go brr,
or an Afro'd boy leaning on a mop at Taco Bell -
creatures strange as dragons or eels.

Balanced on a kitchen stool, each gives counsel

arcane as any oracle's. Bruce claims school
is hashing my mellow.Case longs to date

a tattooed girl, because he wants a woman
to do stuff she'll regret.
They've come to lead my son

into his broadening spiral.
Someday soon, the tether
will snap. I birthed my own mom

into oblivion. the night my son smashed
the car fender, then rode home
in the rain-streaked cop car, he asked, Did you

and Dad screw up so much?

He'd let me tuck him in,
my grandmother's wedding quilt

from 1912 drawn to his goateed chin. Don't
blame us
, I said. You're your own
idiot now
. At which he grinned.

The cop said the girl in he crimped Chevy
took it hard. He'd found my son
awkwardly holding her in the canted headlights,

where he'd draped his own coat
over her shaking shoulders. My fault,
he'd confessed right off.

Nice kid, said the cop.

The second poet from the anthology is Matthea Harvey.

Born in Bad Homburg, Germany in 1973, Harvey lived in England until the age of eight, then moved to Milwaukee.She is poetry editor of American Letters & Commentary, lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and the Warren Wilson MFA program, and has published several books of poetry.

The poem first appeared in 88

I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run

Rain fell in a post-Romantic way.
Heads in the planets, toes tucked

under carpets, that's how we our bodies
through. The translator made the sign

for twenty horses backing away from
a lump of sugar. Yes, you.

When I said did you want me
I meant me in the general sense.

The drink we drank was cordial.
In a spoon, the ceiling fan whirled.

The Old World smoked in the fireplace.
Glum was the woman in the ostrich feather hat.

I read about this preacher saying Christians shouldn't do yoga because it was unChristian. Actually, he's not a preacher, but some kind of scholar in the Southern Baptist Church structure.

Lest it seem I'm picking on Baptists, the Muslim hierarchy in three principally Islamic countries (Egypt and two others I can't remember) have issued the same ban - another demonstration trans-religion nature of dogmatic blind-alleyism.

gonna smoke me some of that

never done yoga
but heard that a preacher

down in Bigspit, Alabama,
or some sucha place

said it was sinful
so will probably have to give it a try

there being, at this later stage

of my life, limited
opportunity to try new sins -

rank-smelling stogies,
rye whiskey,

and needful women
just don’t grow on trees,

you know, and you can’t smoke
or cuss in pool halls

and you can’t go drag racing
in your Prius

and making-out in the back seat
is hard when you don’t hardly have

a back seat and even if i had
a back seat

i’d be in traction for a week
if i tried anything in it

and i’m getting damn tired
of wiping cream of wheat

off my dribbily chin
and spit-shining my burying shoes

so i’m going to quit taking
my vitamins and get back

into the sin of things -
gonna go out and smoke me

some of that


gotta be back by nine

cause i need my sleep
and cat’ll be ready

to hit the sack
by then

and looking for me

Next, I have two poems by Larissa Szporluk from her book Dark Sky Question, published by Beacon Press and winner of the 1997 Barnard New Women Poets Prize.

Winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and a Guggnheim Fellow, Szporluk was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan. She also studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and graduated from University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Virginia with an MFA.

She was a visiting professor at Cornell University, in 2005, and currently teaches at Bowling Green State University.


The air yellows
with the energy of grief.
He touches her eyes, almost humming.
What are those depths
to which we all disappear?
Seas advance and recede.
Ebb and flow. Mountains are lifted
and leveled. Ebb and flow.

A mosaic of tiny bones
shifts a bit in the heat.
There are two kinds of time, side by side;
tears bind them.
His finger rests on her lips, then goes in.
Extinction sucks the tip,
softly biting.

Solar Wind

I don't pray.
I just walk out there
where it's thin
with my bow and aim.

But I should have yelled.
I should have changed the world.

A person can die of balance.
just gleam like squid
and disappear.

The fence around our house
is soft with rain.
It can't stop my arrows.
It can't stop

what wants to happen,
the meteors I hear, power lines
blowing from the mountain.

or the girl somewhere
who reads you,
whose skin has memorized your life.
Nothing stops her fingers;
they swim with you at night.

Leave if you're leaving.
Leave plain mud.

I don't know what else
is on your beard.
It would be mercy, God.

I grow weird in the field.

There's never be enough trees in the world for me. Every time we cut one down we cut another little piece out of the future of the earth.

i plant trees wherever i go

i plant trees
wherever i go,

as affirmation
of a future i know

i'll never see -

of all
i've done

with an eye to
the future

it is the only thing
i trust will

past my own passing


my latest,
a volunteer offspring

from the oak in our front yard,
about four feet tall now,

a three inch sapling
when i found and moved it

for better sun, growing
as i watch it from my kitchen



my dream
a forest to shade my ashes


to its reach
for the welcoming sky

I have three short poems now by R.S. Thomas, from the collection Poems of R.S. Thomas published by the University of Arkansas Press in 1985.

Ronald Stuart Thomas, born in 1913, was a Welsh poet and Anglican clergyman, noted for his nationalism, spirituality and deep dislike of the Anglicization of Wales and one of the most famous Welsh poets. He died in 2000.

A real grump of a poet and preacher if the story that I read about his is true, that he made his wife get rid of her vacuum cleaner because the noise of it disturbed his thinking.

This One

Oh, I know it: the long story,
The ecstasies, the mutilations;
Crazed, pitiable creatures
Imagining themselves a Napoleon
a Jesus; letting their hair grow,
Shaving it off; gorging themselves
On a dream; kindling
A new truth, withering by it.

While patiently this poor farmer
Purged himself in his strong sweat,
Ploughing under the tall boughs
Of the tree of the knowledge of
Good and evil, watching its fruit
Ripen, abstaining from it.


It was a time when wise men
Were not silent, but stifled
By vast noise. They took refuge
In books that were not read.

Two counsellors had the ear
Of the public. One cried "Buy"
Day and night, and the other,
More plausibly, "Sell your repose."


I choose white, but with
Red on it, like the snow
In winter with its few
Holly berries and the one

Robin, that is a fire
To warm by and like Christ
Comes to us in his weakness,
But with a sharp song.

October 10, 2010 - there was a hint for a while it was going to turn into a big deal. Then better sense prevailed, but not before I wrote this.


is the tenth day

of the tenth month
of the year 2010

10*10*10 -

a magical array
of numbers

for those of us
of a more numeroligistical

bent, while to others
it’s just a random array

of arabic numerals
that happen to look alike -

as with so much of
what a we see,

it is less about what’s in front
of our eyes

and more about what’s in
back, in the oatmeal part of us

that shapes and defines
our relevant reality


it’s like the coin toss

the more rational and logical
of us

that with every flip there is a fifty-fifty

it will land on either side

and no matter if you flip heads
a thousand times in a row

the odds remain the same,
that even after a thousand times

coming up heads,
the odds are still fifty-fifty

that you’ll see heads again
on the thousand and first flip


but there are others of us
who believe the Goddess, the

Divine Mother of the Universe,
prefers equilibrium

in all of parts her creation
and that she controls the odds,

not chance, and that such an unequal
distribution of heads and tails

is a discordant ripple
in her universe and that she does not

for discordant ripples

and will surely intervene,
giving tails its due in a world

where sometimes
heads may unduly prevail


the Goddess,
with her insistence

on a fair and decent

is a comely, boon companion
on our journey through the hills and valleys

of her creation, but
if you’re thinking craps in Los Vegas

it’s best
you leave her at the casino door

Here are ten short poems by Otomo No Yakamochi, from the anthology, One Hundred Poem From the Japanese.

Takamochi lived from 718 to 785. Son of a high ranked father, he became a Grand Councillor of the State after a career as a general, courtier, and provincial governor. One of the Manyoshu, poets, he came from a large family of poets which was broken up after his death because of a crime of one of its members.

The poems in the anthology were translated by Kenneth Rexroth.

I will come to your
Through the ford at Saho,
The plovers piping about me
As my horse wades
The clear water.


When I see the first
New moon, faint in the twilight,
I think of the moth eyebrows
Of a girl I saw only once.


The cry of the stag
Is so loud in the empty
Mountains that an echo
Answers him as though
It were a doe.


I send you a box
Of glowing pearls.
Wear them with irises
And orange blossoms.


In the spring garden
Where the peach blossoms
Light the path beneath,
a girl is walking.


I lie long abed
in the morning and listen
to the rivermen
Rowing on the Izumi river.


Mist floats on the Spring meadow.
My heart is lonely.
A nightingale sings in the dusk.


The frost lies white
On the suspended
Magpies' Bridge.
The night is far gone.


Now to meet only in dreams,
Bitterly seeking,
Starting from sleep,
Groping in the dark
With hands that touch nothing.


The wind rustles the bamboos
by my window in the dusk.

So, I have to admit it, I'm a creature of habit, at loss when doomish change arises.

the far-reaching consequences to civilization and an individual psyche of wifi failure


a hitch in the morning
& the universal

i am
brute savage
again -crashing
through the green dripping
blindly unaware
of the snakes & spiders
& jungley
carnivors who desire to eat me
bloody raw &

w having writ this
& hav
wifi enabled place
to put
am feeling like a
fallen in the forest
with no
to hear
and i must ask my
self -

did i truly fall
or do i still
there be
no one
in the forest
to see me
am i but an imagined
tree -
a dream of a sleeping god
thinking i fell
thinking i stood tall
in a forest
only thinking i
when i am not
at all
at all

I have this book of poems, That Would Explain the Violinist, by Sunil Freeman, published in 1993 by Gut Punch Press of Cabin John, Maryland.

Freeman's parents met at a refugee camp in Kurukshetra, India, in 1947, his father, from North Carolina, a Quaker volunteer, and his mother, from Uttar Pradesh, a volunteer in charge of the camp's pre school program. In the evenings, she also taught Hindi to adults.

He has lived most of his life in the Washington D.C. area, except for a few years in India, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has a degree in journalish from the University of Maryland and he works as Assistant Director at The Writer's Center in Bethesda.

Being not familiar with Freeman's work, I picked this book up at the second-hand bookstore entirely on it's quirky title and the titles of many of his poems. I was not disappointed.

Composition for Piano and Rapidly Exiting Yuppies

        (For Cecil Taylor)

Geometric chunks dance a space blues
inside a jackhammer strobe of sound.

Two runs chant back, forth,
back again, like a field holler
two centuries later, been to college,
come from the city.

A motif spins itself
into a Mobius Strip.

Languid three second chords
like clouds in a Caribbean paradise
nestled into a hurricane -
distilled, compacted time.

You're cooking; the yuppies rush
out like irrelevant steam,
leaving us, the crazy-eyed people.
We're family. When the lights rise
we'll become mirrors,
hundreds of crazy-eyed mirrors.

Lord, I love the communion.

What the Man in the Frayed Sweater Might Be Thinking

        (Metrobus, February)

His eyes shift like he's tracking reflections
so I look at he motion picture mirrored
in the glass. Translucent buses and cars
run down ghost pedestrians who keep on
walking; a cartoon world. He stares out
the window as an armada of cumulus clouds
races across the sky. Riffles of cirrus
might be ripples on a wind-tossed lake.
Lamp posts, grayish-white suggest sycamores.
The window reflects rectangular chunks of sky
like some old avant-garde photograph.

The man is in his late thirties.
Watching him is like seeing pictures
of European Jews before Kristallnacht.
He's alive for now; the way he turns
his head, I'm pretty sure he's noticed
sounds like Middle Eastern translation
of he blues. Miles Davis could have polished it
into something unforgettable.

When his eyes close I think of waiting
for buses - how he cold hammers a man
to a place where warmth, when it arrives
barreling down the road, triggers a drone
till his temples are those of a child,
and when that buzz synchronizes
with the hum of the bus he closes his eyes,
alive and not hurting, and that's enough.

A newspaper headline Tuesday morning set me off to thinking about my experiences in the South Texas oil patch, including the 1986 oil bust that devastated the whole of the area and any other that had become dependent on the oil business as the principle generator of business and jobs.

It was a tough time for many people, at all levels, from bank presidents to rig hands.

about those who produce and those who consume

"China buys one third stake in South Texas oil, gas fields"
.....San Antonio Express-News, Tuesday, October 12, 2010

i was writing a poem today
about the oil business in South Texas
and all its ups and downs

and booms and busts,
regular as clockwork, and the yuppies
in their SUVs, damning the industry

and the workers that support
their gluttonous ways, like the woman
caller on NPR demanding a law

against drilling all those oil wells
while she walks, i’ll bet,
no further on any given day

than the distance from her
front door
to the Escalade in the driveway,

unless, of course, she’s walking
through some over-lit, over-air
conditioned, oil-guzzling shopping mall,

but then i realized
no one cares, they didn’t
care when the industry crashed

in the 1980s and hundreds
of thousands of workers, laborers
and professionals, lost everything

and, except for the occasional
they don’t care now

and that they don’t care
doesn’t bother me,
for i am an economic realist,

years looking to the interests
of workers and business people
made clear to me that no one

until someone loses -
that is the edict of the market

as gravity or the surety that
you will not buy a winning lottery

until the day after the lottery
is held -

so it is not the ignorance
or disinterest that flames me
but the sanctimony

of those who feed on
the carcass of hard-tracked prey
but damn the hunter

Here are two poets from the October 2007 issue of Poetry.

The first poet is Frank Bidart, winner of the 2007 Bollingen Prize for Poetry. He has had at least one book, Watching the Spring Festival, since this appearance in Poetry.

If See No End In Is

What none knows is when, not if,
Now that your life nears its end
when you turn back what you see
is ruin. You think , It is a prison. No,
it is a vast resonating chamber in
which each thing you say or do is

new, but the same. What none knows is
how to change.
Each plateau you reach, if
single, limited, only itself, in-
cludes trace of all others, so that in the end
limitation frees you, there is no
end, if you once see what is there to see.

You cannot see what is there to see -not when she whose love you failed is
standing next to you. Then, as if refusing he know-
ledge that life unseparated from her is death, as if
again scorning your refusals, she turns away. The end
achieved by the unappeased is burial within.

Familiar spirit, within whose care I grew, within
whose disappointment I twist, may we at las see
by what necessity the double-bind is in the end
the figure for human life, why what we love is
precluded always by something else we love, as if
each no we speak is yes, each yes now

The prospect is mixed but elsewhere the forecast is no
better. They eyrie where you perch in
exhaustion has food and is out of the wind, if
cold. You feel old, young, old, young: you scan the sea
for movement, though the promise of sex food is
the prospect that bewildered you to this end.

Something in you believes that it is not the end.
When you wake, sixth grade will start. The finite you know
you fear is infinite: even at eleven, what you love is
what you should not love, which endless bullies in-
tuit unerringly. The future will be different: you cannot see
the end. What none knows is when, not if.

The second poet from Poetry is Mary Jo Bang, a professor of english and director of the creative writing program at Washington University in St. Louis. When this poem appeared, she had just published her fifth collection of poem, Elegy, which I have and have previously used in "Here and Now."

And as in Alice

Alice cannot be in the poem, she says, because
She's only a metaphor for childhood
And a poem is a metaphor already
So we'd only have a metaphor

Inside a metaphor. Do you see?
They all nod. They see. Except for the girl
With her head in the rabbit hole. From this vantage,
Her bum looks like the flattened backside

Of a black and white panda. She actually has one
In the crook of her arm.
Of course it's stuffed and hot living.
Who would care hold a real bear so near the outer ear?

She's wondering what possible harm might come to her
If she fell all the way down the dark she's looking through.
Would strange creatures sing songs
Where odd syllables came to a sibilant end at the end.

Perhaps the sounds would be a form of light hissing.
Like when a walrus blows air
through two fractured front teeth. Perhaps it would
Take the form of a snake. But if a snake, it would need a tree.

Could she grow one from seed? could one make a cat?
Make it sit on a branch and fade away again
The moment you told it that the rude noise it was hearing
    was rational thought
With an axe beating on the forest door.

The next poem is another of my oldies. Written about six or so years ago, it was first published in 2005 in my book Seven Beats a Second, then included later that year in the anthology Explorers - A Collection of Contemporary Literature.

Texas Bar-B-Que

late Sunday afternoon,
as the sun begins to fall to the west
i'm thinking of driving out to
Leon Springs for dinner,
a ways to drive for a bar-b-que sandwich
but the brisket there is the best and sliding
along the scarred rail to order,
breathing in the mesquite smoke,
watching them pull the meat off the fire,
fat all burnt black and dripping juice
as they slice it...

reminds me
of when i was a kid traveling with my family
through the piney woods of East Texas, stopping
along the way at bar-b-que stands
half-hidden in tall trees
that came right up to the edge
of the little two-lane highway,
just lean-tos, a roof over a pit,
sweet smoke wafting through the trees
like ghosts of a time before, great slabs
of meat, spicy sauce hot as South Texas
asphalt and big bottles of sweet apple cider...

all this i think of then settle
for steam table mystery meat and
canned pinto beans
from a local BBQ chain closer to home

why do we do that, i'm thinking,
we know what's good but we settle
for easy, turn our backs on better days
for the convenience of now,
build soulless hot tar deserts
from the gardens that were out blessing
from the mother of us all, like the hills
all around the city, stripped
of native cedar and oak to make way
for new WalMarts and multi-screen cineplexes
full of pimply-faced kids
with $10,000 teeth
watching soul-dead comedies
about other kids, libidos unleashed,
searching for their collective twelve-inch dick
and outside, fast-food BBQ joints and central air
dens on postage stamp lots,
nature fighting to survive
as weeds in sidewalk cracks,
as we are, crab grass in the cracks
of our own creations, innocent, yet
the scourge of all we most desire.

Next I have two more poets from another anthology, the Fall/Winter 2004 issue of Borderlands Texas Poetry Review.

The first poet is Ray Gonzales.

At the time of publication, Gonzales was professor of English at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Acoma, NM

I wanted to go to Acoma, but the pueblo was way up in the sky. I
wanted to climb the cliff road, but the people said stay away. I
did not deserve the silence of great heights. I wanted to be a
tourist, but mk feet said I was born in the desert. I wanted to go to
Acoma, but the painting in the postcard held me back, the
marked path of invasion erased long ago. I wanted to go up there
but stayed away for years, my brown skin refusing to turn darker
in the desert sun, my rough Spanish changing gradually to a
miserable croaking, the sound of someone destroyed by not being
able to climb the ancient roads and alight to the level of the
burning star left flaming there by Coronado and his men five
hundred years ago, fourteen of the conquistadors thrown off the
cliffs when they reached the top, the people waving their arms at
the falling bodies, watching the rocks take apart the first animals
who tied to sing trhe same songs the people knew by heart.

The second poet from the journal is Taylor Graham.

Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. She has published her poems in a number of journals and was included in the 2004 anthology, California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present.

Nude on a Carousel Horse

Which drive comes first?
the urge to divest oneself
or the longing to leave
trodden soil behind?

A circular argument.

You might as well put on
green pajamas
and lie masquerading
as a field of corn.

Yellow kernels. A carousel-
horse begs no grain
from a feedbag
to sweep a lady off her feet

if she stretches her fingers

toward that golden ring
for the one last ride:
seat on a fleshless horse
that just keeps running.

A report from one of those days when events take over and all I can do is hold on for the ride.

i wait

these few
early moments

are all i’ll

as events

my day

a push-pen

of sharp-edged

i wait
by the telephone


Next, I have a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from his book A Coney Island of the Mind, published by New Directions in 1950. My book is from the 7th printing in 1958, a book I bought for about a dollar in probably about 1962, lost, then bought again a couple of years ago at a used book store for about four times the original price. The book, in its 19th or 20th printing by now, including editions in nine languages,
with over a million copies with more than one million copies in print.

As with much of Ferlinghetti's work, this is a long poem that reads short and fast.

The Long Street

The long street
which is the street of the world
passes through the world
filled with all the people of the world
not to mention all the voices
of al the people
that ever existed
Lovers and weepers
virgins and sleeper
spaghetti salesmen and sandwichment
milkmen and orators
boneless bankers
brittle housewives
sheathed in nylon snobberies
deserts of advertising men
herds of high school fillies
crowds of collegians
all talking and talking
and walking around
or hanging out windows
to see what's doing
out in the world
where everything happens
sooner or later
if it happens at all
And the long street
which is the longest street
in all the world
but which isn't as long
as it seems
passes on
thru all the cities and all the scenes
down every alley
up every boulevard
thru every crossroads
thru red lights and green lights
cities in sunlight
continents in rain
hungry Hong Kongs
untillable Tuscaloosas
Oaklands of the soul
Dublins of the imagination
And the long street
rolls on around
like an enormous choochoo train
chugging around the world
with its bawling passengers
and babies and picnic baskets
and cats and dogs
and all of them wondering
just who is up
in the cab ahead
driving the train
if anybody
like a train which runs around the world
like a world going round
all of them wondering
just what is up
if anything
and some of them leaning out
and peering ahead
and trying to catch
a look at the driver
in his one-eye cab
trying to see him
to glimpse his face
to catch his eye
as they whirl around a bend
but they never do
although once in a while
it looks as it
they're going to
and the street goes rocking on
the train goes bowling on
with its windows reaching up
its windows the windows
ofr all the buildings
in all the streets of the world
bowling along
thru the light of the world
thru the night of the world
with lanterns at crossings
lost lights flashing
crowds at carnivals
nightwood circuses
whorehouses and parliaments
forgotten fountains
cellar doors and unfound doors
figures in lamplight
pale idols dancing
as the world rocks on
But now we come
to the lonely part of the street
the part of the street
that goes around
the lonely part of the world
And this is not the place
that you change trains
for the Brighton Beach Express
This is not the place
that you do anything
This is the part of the world
where nothing's doing
where no one's dong
where nobody's anywhere
nobody nowhere
except yourself
not even a mirror
to make you two
not a soul
except your own
and even that
not there
or not yours
because you're what's called
you've reached your station


Here now, a poem I just finished a couple of minutes ago, a poem inspired by another person's poem.


a friend’s poem
set me to thinking...

my father,
at the edge of death,
for the last time
weeks earlier,
a creature, finally,
of tubes and blinking
lights and machines
going whoosh and wheeze,
keeping his heart pulsing,
his lungs expanding
and contracting

the questions as we
what to do next,
the decision
no one wanted to make,
deciding to continue
his machine-dependent
life, or stop the machines
and let the end

my preoccupation -
the impossibility
of knowing how much
of the father i knew
remained in the
hulk that still survived -
was it possible
in this coma-state
that he still dreamed,
that there was enough
of the spark of self
left in him to dream,
to build a kind of life within
through dreams and how,
if he did still dream, we could take
on ourselves the power
to take from him what life
was left, had we the right,
i wondered,
to end the dreams

it was a question
unanswerable, a decision
finally made without knowing,
then or now,
if we had provided relief
to a struggling spirit
or committed a mortal sin


my friend’s poem extended
for me this question so long
in my mind, taking it from
end of life to it’s beginning -

thinking now about when
the creature growing
in it’s mother’s womb
becomes, unlike a tree
or frog or lichen on a
rock, a self - when does
the first dream, the marker
of self, begin?

when does this creature,
through it’s dreams
become a person - like me,
like you, a self-aware self?

and when, as we consider
ending this process of creation,
are we merely scrapping
lichen from a rock and
when does that pruning
become, instead,
another mortal

I have three short poems by San Antonio writer John Philip Santos, from his poetry collection Songs Older Than Any Know Singer, published by Wings Press in 2007.

Santos is is a freelance filmmaker, producer, journalist, author. In 1979, he was the first Mexican-American Rhodes Scholar. In 1997, he joined the Ford Foundation as an officer in the Media, Arts and Culture Program. A San Antonio native, he lived in New York City for twenty-five years before retuning to his birth city in 2005. His earlier work includes The Farthest Home is in an Empire of Fire and Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation.


Before dawn, the wives would gather at the docks
holding high the candles tat burned with smell of wine.
Their prayers were sung in heavy breath that sank
to the sandaled feet in a mist, the color of babies' veins.

The men woke to this sound of morning dirge, rhythmic
from the shadows of masts and the sails, flapping now in first light.
They left their shack with bread souvenirs of dirt, but the captain
lingered in a cot with the din of a sparrrow's bones snapping in his
    dog's mouth.

After the ships had left, the women started like blind ones home
hugging he walls and sensing the walk damp on their feet from the
    morning tears.

One who waited, watching the bodies grow smaller on the horizon
crossed herself with the candle; beneath her feet,
saltwater slapping the dock's pale wood.

Elegy (Never Delivered)

She was massive
in her huge furs
and coffee-stained smiles,
her words were stone.
But she like parades
and she bit into them
like inevitable fruits.

Zarzamora Street

This morning I woke to crow-kaw
and the mumbling blues of a black
woman visiting on my street.
I remembered the moon, last night,
above Amaya's grocery trembling,
that bitch Elena Abdo, who sells
Mexican curios from her booth
'til midnight, yelling:
And the roses in Senor Bailey's
garden werelosing their petals
one by one.

Recite: All that we count best
in our lives has a shape, and will
remain itself 'til we die
and ourselves are no longer ourselves

Looking for a poem to close out this week's post. Wrote this this morning, so I guess it'll do.

a few things the goddess wants to see

these are a few things
the goddess wants us
to see

a bright yellow moon
on a crisp october night -

reminder that heaven
is far greater
then our dogmas

a baby nursing
at his mother’s breast -

our better self,
the us the goddess
meant us to be...

blue and gold
with spring colors -

for our hearts
for as long as we let it be...

a phantasmic
slipping across a darkened sea -

the end, always
approaching, she reminds us,
just as she meant it to be, the
short-lived ecstasy
of a sea, great and free,
covered at times,
lost to the day but
still stirring beneath
the densest shroud...

these and other things
the goddess wants us to see -

the glories
and beauties
and hope
and desire
and tragedies
and death that make
the life,we’re given,
and sometimes
but still as full as we
allow it to be

that is what she wants us
to see, how
our short span
is designed to be stretched
by us who live it

I'm done. Until next week - as usual - all material presented in this blog remains the property of its creators. My stuff is mine, but you can borrow it if you properly credit "Here and Now" and me.

i'm allen itz, owner and producer of this blog, as well as one of its chief admirers.


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