Hermione Gingold Could Be Somewhere Singing Still   Friday, November 12, 2010


Photo by Erin Neutzling
V.11.3.




I'm thinking "Here and Now" might take next week off, but, in the meantime I have great stuff for you this week,including both a featured poet and a featured photographer.

My photographer is young San Antonio teacher Erin Neutzling, with photos of Asuncion, Paraguay, where she has spent the last year teaching, as I understand it, English and English teaching methods to English teachers. From these pictures, and from some earlier ones, it seems Asuncion, the capital and largest city of Paraguay, is a beautiful mix of modern and colonial influences.

The full name of Asuncion, translated into English is "The Very Noble and Loyal City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Assumption," referring to the Assumption of Mary into heaven, which is kind of hard to get on a postcard.

As featured poet, I have another friend who has appeared here before. Jan Napier. Jan travelled 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. I don't know the publisher of the book but I did discover it is available for $20, (includes postage), at PO Box 1127, Nedlands. Western Australia, 6909.


Here's the crew:

Elizabeth Wallace
Party Line
Separating
Land Signs


Me
chapter 67

Alfonsina Storni
You Would Have Me Immaculate

Gloria Fuentes
The Birds Nest in My Arms

Me
old folks day at the rodeo

Ryokan
Poem for a Distant Friend
Empty Bowl: Two Poems
To a Friend


Me
some people

Cyra S. Dumitru
The Perfect Stones
Under the Full Moon


Jan Napier
A Dream of Fire
Cartwheels
Cocoon
Daddy’s Girl
Fish and Tongue


David St. John
I know

Me
I wanted to write something outrageous today

Dana Gioia
Veteran’s Cemetery

Me
sic transit…

Pat Mora
Love Like Champagne
Akumal,1983
Danger: New Ma
n

Me
why not?

Wilfred Owen
A Soldier’s Dream
The Last Laugh
Asleep


Me
getting there from here

Juan Felipe Herrera
Beneath Your Skin

Me
a good way to start the day is what i'm saying






Photo by Erin Neutzling




I start this week with three poems from the anthology Five Inprint Poets. "Inprint" refers to a literary arts organization that sponsors, readings, workshops and, occasionally, the publication of an anthology, such as this one, featuring some of their members. Out of the five poets feature in the book, I have chosen one to use this week, Elizabeth Wallace.

Wallace is a Canadian psychiatrist who has practiced in Toronto and Hong Kong. Educated at the university of Calgary and the University of Toronto, she has received national awards for her published work in the areas of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, with a special interest in psychoanalysis and film.

Her long latent interest in creative writing came to blossom after moving to Houston in 1998 and becoming involved in Inprint workshops.



Party Line

Each house had its ring -
ours was two longs, and a
short. (I still answer it
in dreams.)

Line busy?

my dad would boom
in his big farmer voice into
the black wall box,
alerting the neighbors,
thirteen on this string.

But even my father learned
to wait, to hesitate
a few breaths before
talk, letting midair
words drop
like rain into eaves,

catching hints
of arguments, price
of cream, who went to town
with whom, whose
hand was lopped off
by a machine.

as sentences swept
downstream swelling electric
flooding modes
homes and wetting
curiosity before the soaps
were ever invented.


Separating

I watched my father
sit on the three-legged stool,
his head pressed into rounded underbelly,
sending streams of warm milk pinging
into aluminum buckets, brimming,
squirted steaming onto pink cat tongues,
sometimes he even let give the rubbery teats a try.

I watched my father
carry sloshing silvery pails
with swooshing rubber boot steps
across a muddy yard, overalls fraying,
clinking onto the cement steps with a flourish
as the screen door creaked open for flies,
and my grandfather polishing up the separator.

I watched my father
heft and pour fragrant speckled white
into the huge bowl atop the shiny machine,
pug it in and what a clanging racket
as thick cream spurted from on spout
and bluish skim from the other,
cooling side by side on the mild house floor.

I watched my father
pull apart the contraction,
pour boiling kettle water on every piece,
(they still smelled like grass to me)
and lay them out to dry on clean white
tea towels, like sterile surgical instruments
for the milk I would never drink.


Land Signs

My father's plow churned up
not just black dirt and accursed stones -
the kind that bent blades -
but arrowheads, hammerheads,
even a shriveled penmican.

I loved those fields prizes he spied
glinting and toted home to me - booty bagged
and displayed,reminders of pierced bodies
felled at the point of a hunter.
I reveled in warm, bloody hides,
past erupting through the skin
of the land in shards, like memory rent
by a flinty word or gutting gaze.

I pressed my flesh against
each chipped edge, felt the trace
of leathered hands stashing meat,
chiseling missiles that seeded
soil not fully my father's, nor my own.

So often I tilled his words
for clues to his mind - so few
to find. Looked for glint of eye,
searched his furrowed skin,
weathered and impenetrable,for telling signs.

But I felt the heaviness
of scarred rock, petrified
clots of blueberries saved
for winters long before
in wordless bits and pieces.





Photo by Erin Neutzling




The mornings are beautiful this time of year and I can't help celebrating it.



chapter 67

it’s a great time
of year

when fog slips in early,
liquefying
light;

when party-favor
leaves
are blown
by north winds
crispy-chatter
down the street;

when the air,
fresh in the morning,
is mountain smelling
and sweet;

when my skin
puckers,
all goosebumped
as I stroll my backyard
at midnight;

when the moon
is orange,
slipping
in a watermelon
crescent
between sweet cream clouds;

when dogs howl
at the chocolate shadows
of vanilla-light
night

``

it’s a great
time of year
when the old year
falls
and all the mistakes
and sins of its passage
are finally laid to
rest -
buried,
with all the desiccated leaves
of the season,
as fodder
for another new beginning

a time
to turn the page
and find another,
clean and white, ready
for the writing
of a new chapter
in the story of our lives

~~

chapter 67
for me, such a longer
story
than I had imagined
it would be





Photo by Erin Neutzling>




Next,I have two poems from the book The Defiant Muse, an anthology of "Hispanic Feminist Poems From the Middle Ages to the Present." The book was published by The Feminist Press in 1986. It's a bilingual book, Spanish and English on facing pages.

Both of the poems I'm using this week were translated by Kate Flores.



The first poem is by Alfonsina Storni, an Argentine poet who lived from 1892 to 1938.


You would have me Immaculate

  You would have me immaculate,
you would have me seaspray,
you would have me pearl,
that I be of lilies
the chastest of all,
my perfume subdued,
corolla enclosed,

  Not a ray of moonlight
must filter to me,
nor may a daisy
be said to be my sister;
unsullied you would have me;
you would have me snow;
you would have me chaste.

  You whose hands
have held all the goblets,
whose lips are purple
with honey and fruits,
you who at banquets
covered with vine leaves
passed over the meat
to feast with Bacchus,
you who in gardens
dark with deceit,
clad in scarlet,
caroused to ruin.

  You whose skeleton
you keep intact
by what miracles
I still do not know
(may God forgive you),
expect me to be chaste
(may God forgive you)
expect me to be pure.
Be off to the woods;
get away to the mountain;
clean out your mouth;
live in a shack;
touch with your hands
the humid earth;
feed your body
with bitter roots;
drink from the rocks;
sleep on the frost;restore your tissue
with saltpeter and water;
converse with the birds
and arise with the dawn.
And when your flesh
has returned to your bones,
and you have given it back
the soul you left
entangled in bedrooms,
then, good man,
expect me to be immaculate,
expect me to be snow-white,
expect me to be chaste.


The second poem is by Spanish poet Gloria Fuentes, who was born in 1918 and died in 1998. Fuentes said she began to write before she could read, reciting her first poems to the kids in her neighborhood.


The Birds Nest in my Arms

The birds nest in my arms,
on my shoulders, behind my knees,
between my breasts I have quails,
the birds think I'm a tree.
The swans think I'm a fountain,
they call come down and drink when I talk.
The sheep nudge me going by,
and the sparrows eat from my fingers;
the ants think I'm the earth
and men think I am nothing.






Photo by Erin Neutzling




Things I never noticed come painfully clear.



old folks day at the rodeo

looking at pictures
from a 50-year high school
reunion
I didn’t get to go to,
recognizing hardly
anyone,
and the ones I did know,
mostly men
who looked liked their fathers
looked like 50 years ago

left me thinking how,
after 50 years
of looking at myself in the mirror
every day, I never really
saw the person I was becoming,
until referenced
by the sight of others,
worn through years unseen
by the eroding winds of time
and circumstance, sharply contrasted
to the fresh and shinning
faces
holding fast among my memory’s
comfortably assuring
lies -

it’s not about them,
of course,
but about me - it’s old folks day
at the rodeo
and I’m surprised
to see I have a place
in line





photo by Erin Neutzling




Next, I have several poems from One Robe, One Bowl - The Zen Poetry of Ryokan, published by Weatherhill in 1977. The poems in the book were translated by John Stevens.

Ryokan was a Japanese Buddhist monk born some time around 1758 and died in 1831. From a well-off family where art and literature was revered, he lived through begging, giving away anything he received that wasn't needed in the simple life he fashioned for himself.He never preached or exhorted but was known through his life as "a living sermon," always smiling and radiating purity and joy, calling himself in his poetry, "The Great Fool."



Poem for a Distant Friend

Spring - late at night I go for a walk.
A trace of snow lingers on the pines and mountains.
I think of you, many rivers and mountains away;
Countless thoughts, but the brush does not move.

~~

The long summer days at Entsu-ji temple!
Everything is fresh and pure, and
Worldly emotions never come here.
I sit in the cool shade, reading poems.
Beauty all around: I endure the heat, listening to
The sound of the water wheel.

~~

Silver-white snow envelops the mountains.
Far from the village, my gate is hidden by thick woods.
Midnight: a piece of wood burns slowly in the hearth.
An old man with a long, white, twisted beard -
My thoughts keep returning to the days of my youth.


Empty Bowl: Two Poems

In the blue sky a winter goose cried.
The mountains are bare; nothing but falling leaves.
Twilight: returning along the lonely village path
Alone, carrying an empty bowl.

Foolish and stubborn - what day can I rest?
Lonely and poor, this life.
Twilight: I return from the village
Again carrying an empty bowl.


To a Friend

The bright moon emerges over the eastern mountains.
Walking by your former house -
You are gone, yet I think of you always.
Now no one brings the koto and sake.





Photo by Erin Neutzling




Sometimes I write my poems to entertain. Sometimes I write them to help me think something through. And sometimes I write just to remind myself of things often too easy to forget. This poem is of the last kind.



some people

some people
end up
where they’re supposed
to be,
and I’ve always thought
of myself
as one of those,
finding
to my complete surprise
that I had stumbled into the niche
meant for me -

one of the
lucky ones,
who find their place
by accident,
then spend the rest of their lives
walking in comfortable
shoes

~~

thinking of that
on this quiet Sunday
morning,
I think of the guys
I worked with
when I was driving
a cab, sitting
at our dispatch center,
reading western paperbacks
passed from hand to hand
for months of reading
and re-reading
waiting
for a call
to send us out –

(our dispatcher, another story,
a dentist from back east
caught gay
at a time when such was
cause for loss of profession,
loss of wife and family,
exile
to deep south Texas -
a quiet, gentle, educated man
with a 20-year-old greasy-haired pachuco, drop-out
boyfriend
who abused him –

a man who had lost his place
and lived on the only edges
of life
left for him)

but the drivers all, except for me,
old, worn-down,small-town cabbies
locked in place, in a lousy job,
with lousy hours and lousy pay,
and impossible to imagine
anywhere else, and even though
just passing through, I could feel,
like concrete setting,
the same thing happening to me –

sometimes,
finding place means knowing
when to leave other places,
other people,
behind,
like I left
the newspaper behind,
like I left the military
behind,
comfortable places,
but with no spark to ignite me

~~

thinking of that
on this quiet Sunday morning,
I realize I have not written a poem today
(though I will call it that)
but a note I might someday
read again
and remember all the favorable days
of my life
and how fortunate I was
to live them,
remembering how
so many people float through life
and how lucky I was in mine
to fly





Photo by Erin Neutzling




I am particularly fond of the Adam and Eve poems by Crya S. Dumitru from her book, Listening to Light. I like very much the way she brings to modern life the characters of Genesis and have used the poems often.

Here are two poems from that series.



The Perfect Stones

I can't say I yearned to taste that fruit,
sought the cold adventure waiting beyond.
At times regret wraps long fingers
around my neck, presses
nails into my throat.

I had never seen Eve so alive,
a faraway light dawning in her eyes
pulling her elsewhere.
I knew I couldn't lose her,
sensed the Gently One understood.

The hardest part was watching
birth engulf her, ride through her,
horses pounding a thawing meadow.
I didn't know how to help,
what would happen next.

All I could do was feed the fire, rub
her back as she squatted upon a clean hide.
Then I remembered a song from the garden
and sang our son into the twilight.
Eve lifted Cain triumphant.

After I washed and wrapped him
I bathed her as I would a star.
As she slept beside him
I found the whitest, most perfect stones,
built a circle to hold my family.


Under the Full Moon

Are you naming again, Adam,
so fresh in your new knowing?
Is Eden quite overgrown?

Without you to talk to
I have spent more time listening to the voice.
The One speaks from within now.

I can remember
verses to lost songs,
moments I feared lost.

The time when Cain began to speak
no longer just grunting or whining.
You circled outside the cave, pointing

to the fire, kindling, peaches ripening,
naming them and Cain echoed you.
Then he grabbed your hand and shouted, "Daddy!"

A wave rippled through the back of my head
down my spine, out through my toes.
I felt thrilled to be alive,

like when you first called me "Eve."
I guess those early days together, before more
children came, were out childhood too.

I have collected small white stones worn smooth
from riverbeds. Tonight, when the moon is full,
I will place a circle upon your grave,

sleep within it, listening
as the garden pulses with me.





Photo by Erin Neutzling




Here are six poems from my featured poet and friend Jan Napier.

Jan’s poetry has been showcased in The World According To Goldfish, from the USA), and Dotdotdash, Speedpoets, Tamba, The Mozzie, Valley Micropress, all of New Zealand. She also writes book reviews for the on line magazine Antipodean SF.



A Dream of Fire


It bushfires the eyes,
sucks at them like a Saharan summer,
chars them to catblack.

This SV6 ignites the air,
bleeds flames as sleek as love’s promise,
slick as a card sharp,
carmine as a conscience
still fretted by falsehoods.

The beast itself
is a crisis of red, a birthday of red,
an adventure of red.
The ruby of November bonfires,
of true hearts,     of Mars.

Abyssed within panels of ferric gloss,
a bust of sky rockets,     a snap of Tabasco,
a shout of poppies,     a bang of balloons,
an incandescence of chillies,
all ferris wheel within unfingered duco.

Bright as innocence,     as star melt,     as a shriek,


Cartwheels

Radiant she spins
connects     progresses
turns her world upon its head.
Watchers track the changes
anticipate already
the tumble and tumbrel
of a new revolution.


Cocoon

The green and soft
of her thoughts
tolls in her eyes
as she folds herself
around the nimbus
of her unborn son
nurses already
an aversion
to his transformation.


Daddy's Girl

I believe in fairy tale monsters.
I’ve got an ogre of my own.
He grims my night
sneaks to my room when I’m asleep
replaces my dreams with his pink
and hurtful reality
seeds my promise with his sickness
leaves me to taste his stink
sob up the sun.
At breakfast he eats his egg
kisses me     calls me his princess.
Mum smiles and turns away
to fill her cup.
I top my toast with vegemite
spread it black and thick.
Bruise the bread.


Fish and Tongue


I fish and tongue the long smooth slopes

serpentine     perpendicular

muscular     dark moist crevices

cache the flick of scorpion

a nest     a twist of warmth

inquiry of asp probes

unassuaged returns to test hesitant air.

Offshore but within legal limits

slick wet lures complete

with kohl eyed players

peel kabuki costumes.

Shadows suck at the curved perfection

of flank     relish the saucy junction

hook the pink     say no to those endangered.

I always thought that one day they’d raise

their secret heads     loom curious

afflict the wounds with salty affirmations

admit identity.

Don’t step into the wild air

and find it feels too right

don’t wait to see what Kraken calls.

Skin always has its aberrations.





Photo by Erin Neutzling




Now here's a short poem by David St. John, from his collection Study for the World's Body, published in 1994 by HarperCollins.



I Know

    The definition of beauty is easy;
it is what leads to desperation

        - Valery

I know the moon is troubling:

Its pale eloquence is always such a meddling,
Intrusive lie. I know the pearl sheen of the sheets
Remains the screen I'll draw back against the night;

I know all of those silences invented for me approximate
Those real silences I cannot lose to daylight...
I know the orchid smell of your skin


The way I know the blackened path to the marina,
When gathering clouds obscure the summer moon -
Just as I know the chambered heart when I begin.

I know too the lacquered jewel box, its obsidian patina;
The sexual trumpeting of the diving, sweeping loons...
I know the slow combinations of the night, & the glow

Of fireflies, deepening the shadows of all I do not know.





Photo by Erin Neutzling




I've been writing mostly stogy, boring poems lately and was hoping to shake something loose with this.



I wanted to write something outrageous today

I wanted
to write something
outrageous
today

but it’s still too close
to the election
and my outrage
gauge
is hung on empty

so I thought it’d write
something serious instead,
a serious consideration
of the nation and the world’s
condition,
but that only ignites
panic
attacks
and howling hysterical
laughter

then I was thinking
I’d write about
sex,
but I’m getting kind of
old
and my memory isn’t
as good as it used to be,
not so stiffly resistant to the lassitude
of time

so maybe I could write
about love,
no one’s ever too old
for love they say, but that’s
the problem,
poets young and old
have been writing about love
for ten thousand years, longer
than that if you believe the drawings
on the walls in the caves of Poontanghia,
so how could I possibly
compete,
what new is there to be said
about love
except that I caught it and unlike
a three-day cold, it has stayed
with me, fevers morning and night,
for 30-plus years,
resistant through the liquid
flow of time
to all natural or supernatural events
that might deny and
discourage
it

or
I could write about my lover’s legs
and the amazing way
they join at the
hip
but I don’t want to get too graphic
this morning,
because that would be outrageous
in this august company
and I’m completely out of outrage
since the last
election





Photo by Erin Neutzling




Now I have this piece by Dana Gioia,from his book, The God of Winter, published by Graywolf Press in 1991.

Former corporate executive with General Foods and recent Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia is an often honored poet, as well as translator and anthologist of Italian poetry.

This is a poem I wish I had found for Veteran's Day.



Veteran's Cemetery

The ceremonies of the day have ceased,
Abandoned to the ragged crow's parade.
The flags unravel in the caterpillar's feast.
The wreaths collapse upon the stones they shade.

How quietly doves gather by the gate
Like souls who have no heaven and no hell.
The patient grass reclaims its lost estate
Where one stone angel stands as sentinel.

The voices whispering in the burning leaves,
Faint and inhuman, what can they desire
When every season feeds upon the past,
And summer's green ignites the autumn's fire?

The afternoon's a single thread of light
Sewn through the tatters of a leafless willow,
As one by one the branches fade from sight,
And time curls up like paper turning yellow.





Photo by Erin Neutzling




Mid-November, cool days, cool enough to spend an afternoon by the fire in my chimenea. A place to think, quietly.



sic transit...

i use
a stick
to poke the fire
in my chiminea,

to spread the flame
and even the coal bed -

finally,
with nothing left
of the fire but
red-orange glow,
i consign the blackened stick
to its end -

and with a sizzle
like last breath
passing,
an instrument
of the fire
becomes the fire –


sic
transit
elvis
michael
kurt
janis
hank
jimi
marley…
and the list
ever so long
goes on and on,
ashes
upon ashes






Photo by Erin Neutzling




Pat Mora won the Southwest Book Award for Borders and her earlier book of desert incantations, Chants.

The next three short poems are from the later book Borders, published by Arte Publico Press in 1986.



Love Like Champagne

My fingertips slide down
the cool, green bottle
never feel the fizz
capped inside, playful bubbles
push against the glass
bump, roll, pop
in carefree delight, pressurized
pleasure, like my joy
bubbling, bubbling against my skin.


Akumal, 1983

Curious about the roar
and the crystal spray in the moonlight,
you pulled me from safe lights.
I lifted my long dress
and my unsure feet slipped and slid
on black, sea-shined rocks
until without a word
you pulled me up on your back
carried me where water wild
leaped through dark boulders.
I watched the glint of the cold
splash warm you who love
to taste the salty edge.


Danger: New Man

Stumbling into your blue eyes
some women might linger,
try to tend to you.
            I tiptoe
            over your used socks,
            sit hard
            on my
cookbooks
            when you
come to call,
            fear you might move in,
            eat my life away.
At night I soften,
plot to fill your rooms
with orchids, roses - more
with blossoming flame
trees, jacarandas, flamboyans,
hide in the shadows
silently lift the roof
watch you and the moonlight
stroke the blooms.





Photo by Erin Neutzling




I don't think this was what Bobby had in mind,but...



why not?

I painted
one thumbnail black
as a kind of Halloween joke

but then,
after Halloween,
I decided
the Great Thumb of Blackness,
GTOB, as I have named it,
both looks kind of cool
and serves a community purpose -
an existential
manifestation of the universal
desire to explode
in cosmic swells and gravity wells,
a kind of tattoo, a totem
for all those who wish to be
adorned
with the latest in skin art,
those who ride wild
in their daydreaming
day-slog
but hesitant
when the moment comes
for fear of needles

that’s my socially acceptable reason
for having a black thumbnail, my duty
to serve
as surrogate
for the multitudes
pining to be painted but
hobbled
by fear
of sharp objects

less socially acceptable,
but in accordance
with my new credo - first expressed
by Bobby Kennedy who said we should
quit asking “why”
and ask instead, “why not?” -
the truth is
I have a black thumbnail
simply
for the reason
that I couldn’t think of any reason
not to have a black thumbnail
and so now
I do





Photo by Erin Neutzling



Again a little late Veteran's Day, but next I have three poems by World War I soldier/poet Wilfred Owen, who wrote of war and soldiers as he experienced them on the front lines. All of his important poems were written in the space of just over a year. Only four of his poems were published in his lifetime.

Owen, who was killed in action a week before the Armistice began in November, 1918, said of his poems, "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The poetry is in the pity."

The poems are from The Poems of Wilfred Owen, Wordsworth Classics in 1994.



Soldier's Dream

I dreamed kind Jesus fouled the big-gun gears;
And caused a permanent stoppage in all bolts
And buckled with a smile Mausers and Colts;
And rusted every bayonet with His tears.

And there were no more bombs, of ours or Theirs,
Not even an old flintlock, nor even a pikel.
But God was vexed, and gave all power to Michael;
And when I woke he'd seen to our repairs.



The Last Laugh

"O Jesus Christ! I'm hit," he said; and died.
Whether he vainly cursed, or prayed indeed,
The Bullets chirped - In vain! vain! vain!
Machine guns chuckled - Tut-tut! Tut-tut!
And the Big Guns guffawed.

Another sighed - "O Mother, Mother! Dad!"
Then smiled, at nothing, childlike, being dead.
   And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud
   Leisurely gestures - Fool!
   And the falling splinters tittered.

"My love!" one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood,
Till,slowly lowered, his whole face kissed the mud.
   And the Bayonets' long teeth grinned;
   Rabbles of Shells hoted and groaned;
   And the gas hissed.


Asleep

Under his helmet, up against his pack,
After the many days of work and waking,
Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back.
And in the happy no-time of sleeping,
Death took him by the heart. There was a quaking
Of the aborted life within him leaping...
Then chest and sleepy arms once more fell slack.
And soon the slow, stray blood came creeping
From the intrusive lead, like ants on a track.

****

Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking
Of great wings, and the thoughts that hung the stars,
High-pillowed on calm pillows of God's making
Above these clouds, these rains, these sheets of lead,
And these winds' scimitars;
- Or whether yet his thin and sodden head
Confuses more and more the low mold.
His hair being one with the grey grass
And finished fields of autumns that are old...
Who knows? Who hopes? Who troubles? Let it pass!
He sleeps. He sleeps less tremulous, less cold,
Than we who must awake, and waking, say Alas!





Photo by Erin Neutzling




After I retired the first time,I took on several new jobs. For a while, for example, I worked for a local United Way, a job I enjoyed very much. For another while, I took on the job of Planner for a public entity, a job for which I was not a fit by nature or by 30-years experience mostly running my own show.



getting there from here


after the first time
I retired
I went to work for a while
as a planner -

though not a very successful one,
because,
to the professional planner,
the planning process
is the drawing of a road map

while I, by nature
and experience,
see planning as a compass,
a tool used to select,
out of the 360 options
always available, the one
that leads me past every change
of circumstance and contingency,
across every unforeseeable river ford
and mountain crossing,
always
taking the direction
most likely
to get me to the place
that is the goal of my
passage

that’s the difference
between
the professional
planner
and real life,
where it rarely ever matters
where you are,
as long as you know
where you’re going






Photo by Erin Neutzling




Giraffe On Fire, by Juan Felipe Herrera, is an amazing book by an amazing poet. Unfortunately much of it is too long to use here, and the smaller parts that make up the longer narratives don't work in isolation.

But I did find, near the end of the book, a short poem that catches the flavor of the book.

Herrera is Professor of Chicano and Latin American Studies at California State University in Fresno. The book was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2001.



Beneath Your Skin

A strange sharp whitish black - you whisper to me
something like centimeters continents, the waning night
is smoke. it is a whip that swings in your arms, stone.
No one really re-cognizes you. Your skin, for
example, is a clasp of nuns on fire or earthquakes
ships lamps open covers from sexual honey,
an invisible (as always) heat. A reddish
summer sheet. Every number on your throat.
Whirlwinds
Velvet
An arrow coming at you
We sweat and we bathe in our mid-flight
Oval hair Everything that will never
be said on the Mount
since it is so evident divine me.





Photo by Erin Neutzling




Not much to say about this piece, except bonus points to anyone who knows who Hermione Gingold was. It also means you're old.



a good way to start is what i'm saying

it’s chill
that’s what I’m saying -

went out to feed the critters
and froze my jelly-belly

near
fa-telly

but the sun’s
arising

like
an old man’s hoosit

when memories strike
with tentpole-city

dreams of that pretty girl
from 1954 all bobby-

socked and whooshy skirted
rising all the way to her holymoses

when
she twirled

to the beat
of her rocker-roll feet

like Hermione Gingold
peddling her pettifogs

through the roses of the
Sangre de Chevalier…

but
I was saying

it’s a chill-bill day
but the sun’s arising

an all-together encouraging
way

I’m saying
to kick-off the day




Photo by Erin Neutzling




That's it for the week before Thanksgiving. "Here and Now" will likely not be back for two weeks. In the meantime, remember all the usual stuff about the work here being the property of those who created it.

I'm allen itz, owner and producer of this blog and designated turkey carver for next week.

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