Coloring Inside the Lines   Saturday, June 02, 2012





I promise  this  is the last time I do this (until the next book), but my latest book Places and Spaces should finally be safe to buy, the bad version removed and the correct vision shipped  to all of the eBook sellers listed  at the end of this post. Currently available at Amazon, and, if not  now, soon to be available everywhere else.










Three or four weeks now of black and white photos, so I'm thinking it's time for some color. And what more brilliant colors are there than sunrises and sunsets.

So a post full of sunrises and sunsets.

My anthology this week is A Book of Luminous Things - An International Anthology of Poetry. The book, edited by Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Miloz, was published by Harcourt Brace in 1996.

Here's  the line-up for the week.



Me
a secret your dog  knows better than you

D.H. Lawrence
Mystic

Po Thu-I
The Philosophers: Lao Tzu

Me
“Wildwood Flower”

Norman Stock
The Dead Horse of Poetry
I’m Feeling fine. And You
Homeless

Me
habits of mercy

Tu Fu
South Wind
Clear  After Rain

Gary Snyder
Late October Camping in the Sawtooths

Me
laid my burden down

Anonymous
The Fable  of  the  Bees

Me
somewhere out there

Tadeusz Rozewicz
A Sketch for a Modern Love Poem

Robinson  Jeffers
Cremation

Wang Wei
Dancing Woman, Cockfighter Husband, and the Impoverished Sage

Me
sleepy head

Luis Cabalquinto
Safari
Angelus
Love Poem With Almost No Adjective
Poem Composed One Morning While Passing Women Disrobing by the River

Me
notes from slower regions of the universe

Zbigniew Machej
Orchards in July

W.S. Merwin
Dusk in Winter

Me
about the possum that fell off the garbage truck

Sonia Sanchez 
untitled short poems from Like the Singing Coming Off the  Drums

Me
poets on every street corner

Francis Ponge
The Frog

Kenneth Rexroth
from The City of the Moon
A Long Lifetime

Anonymous Southern Bushmen
The Way We Die

Ryszard Kbynicki
I Can’t Help You

Me
pretending

Faiz Ahmed Faiz
A Prison Evening
A Prison Daybreak

Me
dead is dead

Robert Creeley
Like They Say

Mary Oliver
The Kingfisher

Me
imagine you are almost  one of a kind








Here's my first poem for this week.  I actually wrote it a couple of weeks ago, but held it back, thinking it would make a good first poem for this particular post.

(And yes, sometimes I really am working as much as a month ahead - usually because I'm digging around for pictures which is hard to do at the last minute.)



a secret your dog knows better than you

I like to see the bones
of things,
the structure
of it all
hidden behind the false beauty
of color

that’s why I prefer
my black and white photos -
color, a lie, an imaginary thing
that conceals more truth
than it ever reveals…

the tree outside the window
has a single trunk that branches
into two about a yard above
the ground and above the basic
“V” of the two ascending trunks
other “V’s” on each trunk ,
the initial separation
at the base producing a series
of smaller and smaller
“V’s” …

the tree is green,
but it is the structure
beneath the green that defines
the tree, “V’s” upon “V’s” - an
arrow symmetry, arrows of tree
falling from the sky to the ground,
the tree becoming, not a thing
rising from the earth, but, instead, a thing
falling toward it, burying it’s largest
arrowhead at its tip into the
ground…

this is the tree the color
of its leaves hides
from us, denying
that which makes it
special…

dogs are not color-blind
as often claimed, but
their colors are
basic
and muted - a few pale
shadows of color while their most
acute visions are black and
white…

there are many days,
when in search of the occasional
truth of things, I long to see
the visions of my
dog -

these visions,
a secret your dog
knows better than
you - the reality
of things all
around…
it is what
sometimes
makes them so
sad









I begin my selections from the anthology with two shorter poems.



The first poem is by D.H. Lawrence, born 1885 - died 1930.


Mystic

They call all experience of the senses mystic, when the experience
     is considered.
So an apple becomes mystic when I taste in it
the summer and the snows, the wild welter of earth
and the insistence of the sun.

All of which things I can surely taste in a  good apple.
Though some apples taste preponderantly of water, wet and sour
and some of too much sun, brackish sweet
like lagoon-water, that has been too much sunned.

If I say I taste things in an apple, I am called mystic, which
     means a liar.
The only way to eat an apple is o hog it down like a pig
and taste nothing
that is real.

But if I eat and apple, I  like to eat it with all my senses awake.
Hogging it down like a pig I call feeding the corpse.


The next short poem is by the Chinese master, Po Chu-I, born 772 - died 846. Though I am a great admirer of "the way" and all it's paradoxes, I like the wit and playfulness of this  poem, which points out the paradox  of the paradoxes. The poem was translated from Chinese by Arthur Waley.


The Philosophers: Lao-tzu

"Those who speak know nothing:
Those who know are silent."
Those words, I am told,
Were spoken by Lao-tzu.
If we are to believe that Lao-tzu,
     Was himself one who knew,
How come it that he wrote a book
     Of five thousand words.







Something  reminded me of this song (which I haven't heard in years) which, as  songs are likely to do, reminded  me of earlier times  and people  I knew in them.



“Wildwood Flower”
in 1962
every wannabe cowboy singer
I knew,
thick-fingered
strumming his first
guitar, was trying to learn
to play
“Wildwood Flower,”
a beautiful song,
the tune
always reminding me
of a high mountain meadow,
wildflowers swaying
in a soft breeze
rustling down the mountain side
to remind us that movement
is a mark of life
and that no beauty
no matter how beautiful
can shine without that spark

I never knew any of these
big-dream cowboy singers to ever be
more than that; most of them
wearing their tall cowboy hats,
not on stage,
where the pristine-
white of crown and brim
might shine under the bright lights
of fame and fortune, instead
their tall hats gray and sweat-stained.
pulled down tight
over rawhide faces
back on the small farm or ranch
where they came from,
finding new dreams, the dreams
of necessity, satisfied with the life
they were meant to live, but
still dreaming in the very early mornings,
when the sun rises on a day’s worth
of fences to be mended,
fields to be plowed,
their herd of ten or fifteen cows
to be moved from one pasture to another

if I’d ever learned to play that first song,
they think,
things would have turned out different



 I'll sing and I'll dance and my laugh shall be gay
I'll charm every heart and the crowd I will away
I'll live you to see him regret the dark hour
When he won and neglected this frail wildwood flower

lyrics as sung by June Carter Cash









Next, I have poems from my library by Norman Stock. The poems are from his book Buying Breakfast for my Kamikaze Pilot, published by Greg Smith Publisher in 1994. It was winner of the 1993 Peregrine Smith Poetry Contest. It was Stock's first book.

His poems have appeared in The  New Republic, College English, The New York Quarterly, The New England Review, Denver Quarterly and many other magazines,, as well as  in anthologies and textbooks. The recipient of many awards and honors, he has  also been a Bread Loaf fellow, a Sewanee scholar, and a finalist for Poet Laureate of Queens. Formerly the Acquisitions  Librarian at Montdlain State University, he retired in 2005.


The Dead Horse of Poetry

I beat it with my black  whip
I hit it so  hard it cried neigh neigh as horses cry
then I kicked it because I love to kick it and it
     grovelled at my feet
this poetry this nothing this dying this whimpering
     horse
I put my hand in its mouth and it didn't even bite


I'm Feeling Fine. And You?

cut glass won't help
bald headed  bakers won't  help
mosquitoes flying in and out of mosquito nets won't help
the seltzer truck won't help
your grandfather with his hands in his overalls won't help
not thinking of blue monkeys won't help
nothing will help
die already die already nothing will help


Homeless

he said he wanted to stay in his apartment
I said look dad to stay here alone you have to be able to
    take care of yourself
and you can't do that anymore so you will have to go to
     the home
I don't want no home he said I want to keep my apartment

So he went to the home and I said isn't this better
you don't have to struggle to stay alive they give you your
     meals they take care of you
I hate it he said I want to go home and he piled his clothes
     on the bed
listen I sad you go home to your goddamn apartment and
     you will never see me again
and I left and he went home the old coot where he couldn't
     take care of himself

where he drove away the people hired to help and and made
     it impossible for anyone to do anything for him
where he wandered the streets and acted funny and ate
     twenty six meals a day and slept and slept and slept
     and generally made a mess of everything
finally he was back in the home then back in the apartment
     then back in the home again and this time for good

I visit him on Saturdays I say you  are doing fine
I hate it he says but I will stay a while if you insist
we go for a walk we have coffee he says the enjoys the visit
the days to the nights go he is in the home and he hates it
after a few years he gets sick his leg hurts his arteri-
     osclerosis has him and then he dies

now I think of his grave and the stone and the homelessness
     he never wanted
here on the lonely earth where we would not take him in
because of his old age  craziness and his  homelessness bets
     me to look at him
to see that he wanted a home but his craziness  drove away
     everyone
here on the homeless earth where the final  home is a stone
     and the bed of the grass










This my first poem this week from my book, Goes Around, Comes Around, published mid-summer last year and available wherever eBooks are sold for $5.99 or less.



habits of mercy

I was thinking this
morning
about what I want to do
with the rest of my
life

and decided
it's the same ting
I want to do
with the rest of my
day -

kiss
my wife at least once or  twice

eat
some good food

write
some good poems

sleep
a nice nap

communicate
with my better nature

& forgive myself
for all recent sins, known, as well
as
secret, even to me

easier for some
than for
others,  those

with no true love
to kiss -

no food to
eat -

no bed to  sleep
in -

no poetry
in their soul -

those
with no key
to unlock the door to self, their
true self as unknown to them as
a stranger  passing dark
on the street -

and most difficult of all for
those who can't find within
themselves
forgiveness of themselves

poor
miserable
ego-obsessed creatures that we are,
sinners almost from out first  thoughts,
if  we cannot  forgive ourselves
how will we ever learn to forgive
others

and if we cannot forgive others,
how can we ever live
in this world
that needs cleansed  hearts
as much as it needs clean air and water

habits off mercy
are what will save this world;
human sins
forgiven
by human sinners








Next, I have two more poets from the "luminous things" anthology.


The first is another Chinese master, Tu Fu. Born in 713, Tu Fu died in 770. He was the leading poet of the T'ung Dynasty.

I have two of his poems, both translated from Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth.


South Wind

The days grow long,the  mountains
Beautiful. The south wind blows
Over blossoming meadows.
Newly arrived swallows dart
Over the streaming marshes.
Ducks in pairs drowse on the warm sand.


Clear After Rain

Autumn, cloud blades on the horizon.
The west wind blows from ten thousand miles.
Dawn, in the clear morning air,
Farmers busy after long rain.
The desert trees shed their few green leaves.
The mountain pears are tiny but ripe.
A Tartar flute plays by the city gate.
A single wild goose  climbs into the road.


The next  poet from the anthology is Gary Snyder. Born in 1930, Snyder is a poet of the California mountains and deserts.


Late October Camping in the Sawtooths

Sunlight climbs the snowpeak
     glowing pale red
Cold  sinks into the gorge
     shadows  merge.
Building a fire of pine twigs
     at the foot of a cliff,
Drinking hot tea from a tin cup
     in the chill air -
Pull  on a sweater and roll a smoke/
     a leaf
     beyond the fire
Sparkles with nightfall frost.








In the poem-a-day business, some days you just feel  so damn good you don't  feel like writing a long complicated poem. So you do something like this, convincing yourself along the way that your minimalist product has hidden depths.



laid my burden down
I slept well
last night,
deep and dreamy,
and did not see
the moon’s
passing

I assume
it came and went
without
me








Next, I have a poem by my anonymous friend, Anonymous.



Fable of the bees


Paint me the sky. I want to remember;

want to remember the fable of the bees.

You told it to me the weekend we lived

with the monks; told me we had to make

love quietly but it was ferocious; as if it

were our last time on earth. When we over-

heard the woman next door praying rosary,

we stifled laughs, hands over mouths;

comfortable in our sin.  Then you pinned

my arms to the bed, kissed me hard;

whispered the story. Please. Paint it.

I want to feel the blood buzz; the flutter

of your dress in summer.








Here's a second poem from my eBook, Goes Around, Comes Around.



somewhere out there

this is serious business

somewhere
out there
interstellar  star systems
are colliding

somewhere
out there
an alien race
of shoozidoozits
is going extinct as their
methane atmosphere
is slowly replaced
by megterlagon oxygen farts

somewhere
out there
a spaceship  full of
Baptists
is approaching
the water-planet
Abosion XII
for full immersion
baptism

somewhere
out there
Pat Boone is thinking about
a comeback tour

somewhere
out there
a Republican
is suffering from delusions
of  competency

somewhere
out there
a bunch of foreigners  who don't
ever speak English
are bouncing balls of their heads
and calling it
football

i mean
this is no time
for jokes
and silly faces









Now here are three more poets from the luminous things anthology.


The first of the poets is Tadeusz Rozewicz.

Born in 1921, Rozewicz is a Polish poet and writer. He belongs to the first generation born and educated after Poland regained its independence in 1918. His youthful poems were published in 1938. During the Second World War, like his brother Janusz (also a poet), he was a soldier of the Polish underground Home Army.

Unlike his brother, who was executed by Gestapo in 1944, Tadeusz survived the war and by the time of his literary debut in 1960, he was the author of twelve highly acclaimed volumes of poetry. He has since also written over fifteen plays.

Różewicz is considered one of Poland's best post-war poets and most innovative playwrights.

The poem was translated from Polish by Czeslaw Milosz.


A Sketch for a Modern Love Poem

And yet whiteness
can be best described by greyness
a bird by a stone
sunflowers
in December

love poems of old
used to be descriptions of flesh
they described this and that
for instance eyelashes

and yet redness
should be described
by greyness the sun by rain
the poppies in November
the lips at night

the most palpable
description of bread
is that of hunger
there is in it
a humid porous core
a warm inside
sunflowers at night
the breast the belly the thighs of Cybele

a transparent
source-like description
of water is that of thirst
of ash
of desert
it provokes a mirage
clouds and trees enter
a mirror and water
lack hunger
absence
of  flesh
is a description of love
in  a modern love poem


The next poet from the anthology is Robinson Jeffers, the California poet, born in 1887 and died in 1962.


Cremation

It  neatly cancels my fear of death, my dearest said,
When I think of cremation. to rot in the earth
Is a loathsome end,  but to roar up in flame - besides, I
     am used to it.
I have flamed with love or fury so  often in my life.
No wonder  my body is tired, no wonder it is dying.
We had great joy and my body. Scatter the ashes.


Also from the anthology, the next poet is Chinese master Wang Wei. Born in 701, Wang  died in 761.

The poem was translated from Chinese  by Tony and Willis Barnstone and Xi Haixin.



Dancing Woman, Cockfighter Husband, and the Impoverished Sage

The woman  from Zhao sings  dirty songs
and does dances of Handan
while her husband knocks about, puts on cockfights
for the king of Qi.
With yellow gold he buys songs and laughter from
    a whore.
He never  counts his coins.

Xu and Shi, relatives of the Emperor,  often come
     to his house.
Their high gates are crowded with four-horse carriages.
A scholar lives in their guest house,
bragging about his rich patron, Lou Iu.
For thirty years his meals are the books he eagerly
     consumes
but his waist belt has no money in it.
His is the way of Scholars, of the sage.
All his life he is a poet.









A new poem, a summer poem even though it's only May. The heat  befuddles me.



sleepy head
my brain slept,
sloshing
happily
in its warm cranial
tub,
content to float
in the froth
of the lunar tide…

just like that
yesterday,
like living in the blurred
soft edges
of a sleepwalker’s
dream…

I struggled
under the clouds
and gloom
of an overcast morning sky,
for the sharp that would
wake me -

finally
I gave up, joined
the dream, slept all day,
wrapped
in the warmth of home
all around me,
my dog,
daily bemused
by the ever-shifting fog
of a life nearing its conclusion,
asleep at my feet








Luis Cabalquinto was born in the Philippines and first came to the United States in 1968. He studied writing at Cornell University, the New School, and New York University and writes in English and two Filipino languages. His many awards include a poetry prize from the Academy of American Poets and the New School's Dylan  Thomas Poetry Award.

I have several short poems from his book, Bridgeable  Shores - Selected Poems 1969-2001, published by Galatea Speaks in 2001.



Safari

Half-lit in the forest of our rented room
Your naked body lies, reverent in the need.

Just as naked, I, the witchdoctor, stand grandly
At your feet, uplifted beyond holy conviction

Now a neighbor's soap opera pierces the wall. A tub
Flushes. A baby's cry joins African drumbeats.


Angelus

Below a cabin by the  river
I stood one late afternoon
on a grassy knoll just off
the water.
I watched the green and blue hills
gather the sun with trees.
The current bristled in the shallows.
A trout surprised no one with its jump.
The rest of the earth lay quietly,
I stood there bare: I had been swimming.
Unashamed,
I felt the world and nature's downy hand
run its fingers over my nakedness.
Aroused,
and wanting the moment's celebration,
I reached down for the gesture
of a pleased participant.


Love Poem With Almost No Adjective

ill
for
your
riches
i
lie
in
bed
eating
a
wall


Poem composed One Morning  While Passing Women Disrobing by the River

The fall of skirts -
revelation -
bestowes hair,  pores,
the pale secret  skin
to the eyes: the
hills & gullies exposing
geography:
                            the promise of much
                            country.








From my eBook, Goes Around,Comes Around, in a softer  mood.


notes from slower regions of  the universe

the first time
we made love
I carried you like

a leaf on the tide
to my bed

---

Sunday afternoon
in the apartment  on Santa  Fe

lying in bed
watching it rain
through a damp
window screen

watching the rain
in soft sheets
advance
across the gray waters
of the bay

---

the house
on G Street

open ceiling

rain on the roof pattering

banana plant by the window
weaving
green patterns
in the wind

like sleeping in the rain
dry

---

the first  night home
from the agency

crib at the foot
of our bed

we  sleep lightly

listen in our sleep
for his
breathing

---

we slip  into  sleep
flesh to flesh
spooned
skin on soft  skin

my rough hands cupping
your small breasts

---

i
sleep
my leg between yours,
your arm across my chest

the fire banked
the embers still glow








Next, two more poets from the anthology A Book of Luminous Things.



The first  poet is Zbigniew Machej.

A Polish poet born  in 1958, Machej is a poet and translator  of Czech and Slovak literature.
He graduated from Polish Studies  in 1982 and Religion  in 1987 at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He worked as a teacher, a freelance journalist, diplomat, and a cultural manager, including stints as Deputy Director of the Polish Institute in Prague and director of the Polish Institute in Bratislava. He currently works as Deputy Director of the International Visegrad Fund in Bratislava.

His poem was translated from Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Hass.


Orchards in July

Waters from cold springs
and glittering minerals
tirelessly wander.
Patient, unceasing,
they overcome granite, layers
of hungry gravel, iridescent
precincts of clay. If they abandon
themselves to the black
roots it's only to go
up, as high as possible
through wells hidden
under the bark of trees. Through
the green touched with gray, of leaves,
fallen petals of white
flowers with rosy edges,
apples heavy with sweet redness
and their bitterish seeds.
O, waters from cold
springs and glittering
minerals! You are awaited
by a cirrus with a fluid,
sunny outline
and by an abyss of blue
which has been rinsed
in the just wind.


The next short poem is by W.S. Merwin.


Dusk in Winter

The sun sets  in the cold without friends
Without reproaches after all it has  done  for us.
It goes down  believing in nothing

When it is gone I hear the stream running after it
It has brought its flute it is a long way








From earlier this week.



about the possum that  fell off  the garbage truck
the possum
that fell off the garbage truck
scurried
in stiff-legged possum fashion
across the busy street,
a juvenile,
high arched back, long
skinny legs, short patchy fur,
not grown yet
into the fullness of body
and softness of fur
of its adult future,
assuming
it has one, walking stilt-legged
in traffic, heading toward
the apartments from which
comes, at that exact moment,
a young woman with a very large dog,
bred, by its look
to swallow possums, especially
small and naive ones,
in a single snarling
gulp

as I watch,
the possum skittles one way,
into the thick foliage
of the apartments’ landscaping,
the large dog
another,
off to pee
and poop according
to the design
and expectations
of the human he has
on the other end
of his leash

the whole thing boiling
down to the happy news that
nature
still gives breaks some days
to the confused
and scrawny innocent


***

or maybe not

the question
arose
when this poem
was read at the third annual
quarterly meeting
of the High Cotton Fine Cotton
Poetry
and Historical Society
in mid-March of the preceding
year

to wit:

is this poem a grand exercise
in symbolism
seeking to better
illustrate
and explain
the struggle of our
kind as we seek
to escape the debris
of our own
creation,
a skittle-legged flight in survivor
panic
from the consequences
of our low nature
to the unsullied garden
from which, as our fondest
lore posits, we have
come…

or is it just a story
of a scrawny juvenile
possum
whose day ended
much better than it began,
the whole event probably meaning
nothing to the possum
in any spiritual,
philosophical, or
intellectual
sense
because,
like the chicken,
all he ever wanted to do
was get to the other side
of the road









Next, I have a number of short poems by Sonia Sanchez, from her book Like the Singing Coming Off  the Drums - Love Poems, published by Beacon Press in 1998. 

Sanchez, born in Alabama in 1934, is an African-American  poet often associated with the Black Arts Movement. She has authored over a dozen books of poetry, as well as plays and children's books. She was a 1993 Pew Fellowships in the Arts.

Sanchez taught 5th Grade in NYC at the Downtown Community School, until 1966. Since then, she  has taught as a professor at eight universities and has lectured at over 500 college campuses across the US. She advocated the introduction of Black Studies courses in California and was the first to create and teach a course based on Black Women and literature in the United States. Sanchez was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University, where she began working in 1977, where she held the Laura Carnell chair until her retirement in 1999. She is currently a poet-in-residence at Temple University.


Haiku

mixed with day and sun
i crouched in the earth carry
you like a dark river.


Haiku

my womb is a dance
of leaves seating swift winds
i laugh with guitars


Poem

1.
i am dreaming
i have spread my dreams out like  wings
i  have selected today a dream
about flying and i take off
sailing on your blue smile.
for today it is enough

2.
all this year
i have heard
my pores
opening.

3.
i have gold
you my name
so there is
tomorrow.

4.
see me through
your own eyes
i am here.

5.
let us be one with
the earth expelling anger
spirit unbroken.

6.
we are
only passing
through let
us touch.

7.
come again inside
me let us take another
turn at loving.

8.
i hear your smell
running across my threshold.
shall i hold your breath?


Sonku

I feel your
mouth on my
thighs immac
ulate tongue.


Sonku

i hear the sound of love
you unstring
like purple beads
over my breasts


Haiku

i am who i am.
nothing hidden just black silk
above two knees.


Blues Haiku

this is not a fire
sale but i am in heat
each time i see ya.


Haiku

i am you loving
my own shadow watching
this noontime butterfly.


Blues Haiku

is there  a for rent
sign on my butt? you got no
territorial rights there.


Haiku

derelict with eyes
i settle  in a quiet
carnival of waves.


Haiku

i taste your sweet salt come
your face a revelation
of bedtime fairy tales.


Tanka

woman without  heat
blankets herself with eyes
avoiding the cock's walk.
a woman in seclusion
dreams  of secreting milk.


Tanka

to  surround  yourself with
arms that  will not hold you
to  dream yourself home
where the road is dust
and dissolves in purple.








Again, from my book, Goes Around, Comes Around.



poets on every street corner

I was going
to write a poem

about what I would  do
if I could run the world

but
sitting here now

I realize 
I don't know what to do

either

except
I'd like to see rain

every Thursday
and sunshine and blue skies

the rest of the week
except

in the winter
when there should be snow

and blue skies
and children skating

on iced-over ponds
and cows in the fields

blowing clouds
through their noses

and palm trees on beaches
for those who don't like

shade
and big waves for the surfers

and clear clean  streams
slow moving

between  tall green trees
for us who prefer to  float

and people  learning to shake  off
bad times

like  dogs shaking off  wet -
a big shake

beginning with flapping ears
passing on down to big

shimmy shakes
of their rear

buts  like a Mixmaster
in overdrive

and no icky things
in dark corners

no snakes
and no  spiders  and no

poison lizards
or animal who like to eat

people

and no fatherless  children
or  old  people

roting in isolation
and inattention

and no one dying
of diseases they couldn't afford to

cure
and no backaches or migraines

or  rashes
in hide-away places

and no people who eat too  much
or people who never get to eat

as much as they need
and no drunkards or drug addicts

or gangsters
who shoot children from their cars

and no priests, preachers, ayatollahs,
rabbis or other parasites on the human

soul

instead
poets on every street corner

proclaiming truth and love and silly
songs
for  all who will listen

and  people who will listen to all the
poets
on all the street corners

and return their love
and maybe throw money

and no Republicans -
that should be at the top of my list

instead of here
at the

bottom








Next from the anthology, I have several short poems.


The first of the poems is by Francis Ponge.

Born in the south of France in 1899, Ponge was a essayist and poet heavily influenced by the Surrealist movement of his time.

He studied in Paris at the Sorbonne and the École de droit where he read law.  In 1918–19 he served in the French army and in 1919 joined the Socialist Party. Ponge worked for Parisian publishing companies and, before the outbreak of the Second World War, was briefly an insurance salesman.  His earliest poems were published in 1923, and he established a reputation in French literary circles. During the 1930s he was for a short while associated with the Surrealist movement, influenced by which he joined the Communist Party in 1937.

During the Second World War, Ponge joined the French Resistance. He also worked for the National Committee of Journalists, 1942–44 and was literary and artistic director of the communist weekly L'Action 1944–46. He left the Communist Party in 1947, and, from 1952 to 1965, held a professorship at the Alliance Française in Paris. In 1966 and 1967 he was a visiting professor at Barnard College and Columbia University in the US.

In his later years Ponge was a recluse, living at his country house. He died in Le Bar-sur-Loup at the age of 89.

His  poem was translated from French by Beth Archer.


The Frog


When little  matchsticks of rain bounce off drenched fields, an
amphibian dwarf, a maimed Ophelia,barely the size off a fist, some-
times hops under the poet's feet and flings herself into the next pond.
     Let the nervous little thing run away. she has lovely legs. Her
whole body is sheathed in waterproof skin. Hardly meat, her long
muscles have an elegance neither fish nor fowl. But to escape  one's
fingers, the virtue of fluidity joins forces with her struggle for life.
Goitrous, she starts panting....and that  pounding heart, those
wrinkled eyelids, the drooping mouth, move  me to let her go.


Next,  I have two short poems  by Kenneth Rexroth.

Rexroth, born in 1905 in South Bend,  Indiana, was known to me as a translator. I don't think I had  ever  read even one of his original works, nor did I  know of the his prominent place in modern poetry.

Orphaned at fourteen, Rexroth moved to live with his aunt in Chicago, where he was expelled from high school. He began publishing in magazines at the age of fifteen. As a youth, he supported himself with odd jobs--as a soda jerk, clerk, wrestler, and reporter. He hitchhiked around the country, visited Europe, and backpacked in the wilderness, reading and frequenting literary salons and lecture halls, and teaching himself several languages.

He moved to San Francisco in 1927, publishing  his first poems in a variety of small magazines, while also pursuing an interest in eastern mysticism and leftist politics. He kept company with like-minded left-wing poets and with them aimed to rescue poetry from its supposed downslide into formalist sentimentality. They organized clubs to support struggling writers and artists.

By the early 1930s, Rexroth was introduced to James Laughlin of New Directions press, who included Rexroth’s poems of in the second volume of Laughlin’s pivotal annual, New Directions in Poetry and Prose in 1937. Rexroth’s first collection, In What Hour was published by Macmillan in 1940. In 1944 another collection, The Phoenix and the Tortoise, continued his exploration of the natural and the erotic, presented his pacifist stance on World War II, incorporated references to the work of classical poets from the East and the West, and expanded his tonal range with poems touching on world religions and the history of philosophy.

An activist, during the war Rexroth aided Japanese-Americans in escaping West Coast internment camps.

By the late 1940s, Rexroth was laying the groundwork for what would become the San Francisco Renaissance. He promoted the poetry of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Whalen, Denise Levertov, William Everson, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), and many others on the radio station KPFA. He organized a weekly salon and invited friends and other poets to come and share their philosophical and poetic theories. Among those in attendance were Robert Duncan, Richard Eberhart, and, eventually, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and other Beat poets.

He organized and emceed the legendary Six Gallery reading on October 7, 1955, at which Ginsberg introduced the world to "Howl." Rexroth’s work was composed with attention to musical traditions and he performed his poems with jazz musicians. Nonetheless, Rexroth was not wholly supportive of the dramatic rise in popularity of the so-called "Beat Generation," and he was distinctly displeased when he became known as the father of the Beats.

By the 1960s, Rexroth’s appeal reached far beyond San Francisco. He was devoted to world literature and brought public attention to poetry in translation through his "Classics Revisited" column in the Saturday Review and through his anthologies, One Hundred Poems from the Japanese and One Hundred Poems from the Chinese. In 1964 he was given an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He went on to publish collections of his shorter poems and longer poems in 1967 and 1968, respectively.

Rexroth moved to Santa Barbara in 1968 and from then through 1974 he taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1974, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study in Japan, and in 1975 he received the Copernicus Award from the Academy of American Poets in recognition of a poet’s lifetime work and contribution to poetry as a cultural force.

A life-long iconoclast, Rexroth railed against the dominance of the east-coast "literary establishment" and bourgeois taste that was corrupting American poetry. While he refused to consider himself a Beat poet, his influence as champion of anti-establishment literature paved the way for others to write poems of social consciousness and passionate political engagement. His greatest contribution to American poetry may have been in opening it to Asian influences through his mystical, erotically charged poetry and superb translations.

Rexroth died in 1982 and is buried in Santa Barbara on a cliff above the sea.

And it  seems with every week of doing "Here and Now" I learn something new.


from The City of the Moon

Buddha took some Autumn leaves
In his hand and asked
Ananda  if  these were all
The red leaves there were.
ananda answered that it
Was Autumn and leaves
Were falling all about them,
More than could  ever
Be  numbered.  So buddha  said,
"I have  given  you
A handful of truths. Besides
These there are many
Thousands of other truths, more
than  can ever be numbered."


This next poem was  written at the end or Rexroth's life and is considered to a kind of last  testament.


A Long Lifetime

A long lifetime
Peoples and places
And the crisis off mankind -
What survives is the crystal -
Infinitely small -
Infinitely large -


Then next piece is a song credited to anonymous Southern Bushmen


The Day We Die

The day we die
the wind comes down
to take away
our footprints.

The wind makes dust
to cover up
the marks we  left
while walking.

For otherwise
the thing would seem
as if we were
still  living.

Therefore the wind
is he who comes
to blow away
our footprints.


And here's a two line poem by another Polish poet, Ryszard Kbynicki.


I Can't Help You

Poor  moth, I can't help you,
I can only turn out the light.














A poem from yesterday about the end of  things - inspired by a poem, also from yesterday, by my poet friend and Blueline housemate, Alice  Folkart.



pretending
with a bow to Alice Folkart

a poem reminds me
of the fragility of beauty,
how it comes upon us
unbidden
then passes on, like life,
no one asks to be born
but when we are,
we hang on to life
like a vain woman chases
beauty…

knowing the rules
of death
and aging, the end
always on the periphery
of our vision, but always denied
until it’s our own throat
circled by the gray,
stinking hand
of fate’s forever
embracing…

we pretend
we do not notice
the shadows
approaching -

the pretense that keeps life
worth living until
the very
end,
when pretense
can no longer hold back
the black curtain’s
closing

as dark night overtakes us

the darkest night ever
forever









Next from my library, I have two poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, selected and translated from Urdu by Aga Shahid Ali. They are from the book The Rebel's  Silhouette - Selected  Poems. The book was published  in 1991 by The University of Massachusetts Press. This  book, which I just bought, is my first exposure to this poet.

What wonderful poems he wrote!

Faiz was born  in Indian in 1911 and died in 1984. Considered the leading poet on the South Asian subcontinent, he was a two-time Nobel nominee and winner of the 1962 Lenin Peach Prize whose readings in Hindi/Urdu speaking regions drew thousands of listeners. Associated with the Communist Party in his youth, he became an outspoken poet in opposition to the Pakistani government and spent time in prison because of it.

He was also a professor of English literature, a distinguished editor, and a major figure in the Afro-Asian  writer's movement.



A Prison Evening

Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so close
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon - lovingly, generously -
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.

This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment  anywhere on this earth.


A Prison Daybreak

Night wasn't over
when the moon stood beside my bed
and said, "You've drunk your  sleep to the  dregs,
your share  of that wine  is finished for this night."

My eyes tore themselves from a dream of passion -
they said farewell to my lover's image, still
lingering in the night's stagnant waters
that were spread, like a sheet, over the earth.
Silver whirlpools began their dervish dance
as lotuses of stars  fell from the moon's hands.
Some sank. Some rose to the surface,
floated, and opened their petals.
Night  and daybreak  had  fallen desperately
into each other's  arms.

In the courtyard,
the  prisoners emerged slowly
from a backdrop  of gloom.They were shining,
for the dew of  sleep  had washed, for that moment,
all grief for their country from  their eyes,
all agony of separation from their lovers.

But there's a drum, far off. A siren wails.
The famished guards,  their  faces pale,
begin their reluctant rounds, in step
with stifled screams from torture rooms.
The cries of those  who'll be  broken on the rack  awake
just as light breezes intoxicated with sleep awake.
Poison awakes. Nothing in the world is asleep.
A door opens in the distance, another is shut.
A chain rasps, then shrieks.
A knife opens a lock's heart, far off,
and a window begins to break its head,
like a madman, against the wind.

So it is the enemies of life awake
and crush the delicate spirit
that keeps me company in my barren despair
while the prisoners and I wait, all day and night,
for a rebel prince of legends to come
with burning arrows,  ready to pierce
these tyrant hearts of stone and steel.










Again, and last for the week, from Goes Around, Comes Around, my book available for $5.99 or less wherever eBooks  are sold.




dead is dead

"Death poems
are mere delusion -
dead is dead"

Death poem by
Japanese haiku poet Toko


intelligent minds
seek mystery always

so how can we not
think often

of death
for what is more mysterious

than the unraveling
of the intellect into the

cosmos - all it's billion bits
of thought and emotion

and memory
scattered to far  and dark

and even more
mysterious places than

we in our living
could ever imagine -

if God
is the giant tick-tocking

clockworks
of the universe, we might join him

then,
sit on his lap and watch the pieces move

but perhaps
that makes too much of us

this vision of us,
watchers from the lap of God -

perhaps that  which we are
is only physics manifested in

a temporary illusion of flesh -

perhaps in the end

we make too much of it,
death

only a passing game of speculation
to those of us still

on the bloody side of the veil,
truly important only to the dead,

whose mourners live on
and get over it

while those who die
do not












Next, my last two poems for this week from the anthology, A Book of Luminous Things.


The first  poem is by Robert Creeley.

Born in Massachusetts in 1926, Creeley was the author of more than sixty books of poetry. He attended Harvard University from 1943 to 1946, taking time out from 1944 to 1945 to work for the American Field Service in Burma and India. In 1946 he published his first poem, in the Harvard magazine Wake.

Creeley's honors include the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Rockefeller Foundation grant, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation. He served as New York State Poet Laureate from 1989 to 1991 and as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of poetry and humanities at the State University of New York, Buffalo. He was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1999.

He died in 2005 at the age of 78.


Like They Say

Underneath  the tree on some
soft  grass  I sat. I

watched two happy
woodpeckers be  dis-

turbed by my presence. And
why not, I thought to

myself, why not.


And my last  anthology poem is by Mary Oliver.

Oliver   Oliver was born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio. As a teenager, she lived briefly in the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay, where she helped Millay's family sort through the papers the poet left behind.

In the mid-1950s, she attended both Ohio State University and Vassar College, though she did not receive a degree. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, her honors include an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, a Lannan Literary Award, the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001.


The Kingfisher

The kingfisher rises out of the black wave
like a blue flower, in his beak
he carries a silver leaf. I think this is
the prettiest world - so long as you don't mind
a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life
that doesn't have its splash of happiness?
There are more fish than there are leaves
on a thousand trees, and anyway the kingfisher
wasn't born to think about it, or anything else.
When the wave snaps shut over  his blue head,  the water
remains water - hunger is the only story
he  has ever heard in  his life that he could believe.
I don't  say he's right. Neither
do  I say he's wrong. Religiously he swallows the silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and easy cry
I couldn't  rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life  depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.








I finish this week with a tribute to the last Neanderthal, and a remembrance.This is another poem from my book, Goes Around, Comes Around, published  last year.



imagine you are almost one of a kind

imagine
you are almost one of a kind

one
of just a few of your kind
remaining

brute,
the other kind
call you,
but you have dreams

and you can  see your dreams
and all the dreams
of your kind
fading
until there is no more like you
to dream them -
no more  like you
to fear you gods, no more like
you to hold a loved one close,
to hold  a blood-fresh child,
no more like you to dance as new day
breaks the sky

no more like
you

but you have planted your seed
so that some part  like you
can carry on

you have planted your seed
among the other kind,
the ones almost  like your kind,
the ones who hunt you, kill you,
break your bones to suck the marrow,
to suck from the bones the sustenance
of your life, to leave your bones
to be covered with tens of millennia
of dust,  until your are forgotten

imagine
you are he
the last off the circle,
all others  gone like rocks
on a hillside

imagine
lying naked
in summer grass,
a pale shadow
under the full bright eye
of the moon - listening
to the sounds of a flowing creek,
the water,
the mating frogs,
sounds of the trees
and the wind

imagine
a time
when these are the
only sounds of
night -
the water, the trees,
the wind, the call of a predator,
hungry,
howling in
the hills

the only sounds of life
around you

and you are otherwise
alone

imagine all this

the final nights of another kind of man -
a kind of man with dreams and inner life
much like our own, another kind of man
who knows time is
ending

a man who lives now
only in stories
of  trolls
and other ogres

and in some tiny part
of ourselves

descendants,
most of us, of the keeper
beneath the
bridge













That's it for this week. This issue actually posted a week before originally planned, but a dating error would have buried it behind previous posts if I hadn't posted it now.
But  all the old requests apply. The material presented in the post belong to those who created it. My stuff, as well, though  I have no object to it's use if properly credited.
Having experienced no recent secret identity change, I remain allen itz, owner and producer of "Here and Now," well as persistent hawker of my books, most  generously listed below, prices ranging from $5.99 to $3.99 or  less depending on where they are bought.
And where they can be bought is here:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony eBookstore and Apple iBookstore for iPad,iPhone, i-etc, as well as  Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, and eBookPie



Places and Spaces




Always to the Light








Goes Around, Comes Around

 
 
 

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind



And

For those of a print-bent, available on Amazon (both new and used)

Seven Beats a Second




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