Tea Time in the Garden   Wednesday, September 19, 2012




A caution before anything else: my spell  check refused to check the whole middle section of this blog soall my typos are laid  bare. Be kind.

Also, sorry about  the font irregularities. I've tried everything I can think of to fix it but it won't be fixed.This is about the fourth week  in a row when  my template  does strange stuff. None of this appears in my draft, only in the posted blog, which means all the fixing is done blind.

Anyway, my problem. Just enjoy the poetry.


My photos this week are from the San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden.
San Antonio has a record of finding practical uses for the abandoned limestone quarries in and around the city, including a major shopping center, a large golf course, Fiesta Texas - San Antonio theme park and Japanese(originally called the Chinese) Tea Gardens, opened in the early 20th century in an abandoned mid-town quarry, and the associated Sunken Gardens natural amphitheater. The garden is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The Garden sits next to Brackenridge Park from which I used photos in “Here and Now” several weeks ago. It was developed on land donated to the city in 1899 by George Brackenridge, who also donated the land for the park named for him.
The ground was first broken as a quarry around 1840 by German masons, who used the readily accessible limestone to supply the construction market. Many San Antonio early buildings were built with the stone from the quarry.
In 1880 the Alamo Cement Company was incorporated and produced cement for 26 years in the kiln, the chimney of which still stands today. Supporting the workforce of the quarry was a small "village", populated primarily by Mexican-Americans who worked the site. They and their families became popular with tourists, who purchased pottery, hand woven baskets, and food.
Building of the oriental-style garden began in 1918 utilizing prison labor to shape the quarry into a complex that includes walkways, stone arch bridges, an island and a Japanese pagoda.
The garden was renamed the Chinese with the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment  during World War II. In 1984, under the direction of Mayor Henry Cisneros, the city restored the original “Japanese Tea Garden” designation in a ceremony attended by representatives of the Japanese government.
I first visit to the garden was on a visit to San Antonio when I was about 8 years old, probably around 1952. (My next visit was about two weeks ago when I went back to take these  pictures.
For the years in between my two  visits, the garden grew to be neglected and in disrepair, becoming a target of graffiti and vandalism. Due to limited funding, the city threatened to close the garden, but the community and parks supporters rallied and lobbied to keep the park open.
Beginning in 2005, the City has put in more than $2 million for repair of the facilities and restoration of the ponds and waterfall.
In 2009, the San Antonio Parks Foundation and the City of San Antonio dedicated another million to further restoration to a restaurant and tea house that had been part of the Garden since its initial opening

The Sunken Garden amphitheater (which I did not go to)is located to the south. It currently comprises 872 permanently installed seats and has the option of adding folding chairs for a total general admittance of 2,700. The general admittance (standing room) to the fenced grounds of the theater is 6,000 spectators. The Parks and Recreation Department’s Cultural Program assumed management of the theater in the early 1970s.
The day I visited to take these pictures it was in the neighborhood of 102 degrees. Still  it was a beautiful and serene place to visit right in the middle of one of the busier parts of the old city.
I took about 80 pictures,  but could only use these few here. I hope you enjoy them.

~~~

And, going back to the poetry part of our presentation, my anthology this week is A Mind Apart: Poems of Melancholy, Madness, and Addiction. The book, published by Oxford University Press in 2009, includes several hundred poems by poets from the classics to modern.

And along with these poems, I have my own, old and new, and I am pleased to say the new stuff is some of my  best in a while, with several consecutive early morning writing sessions producing work that will,for certain, find a place in a future book.

Here they all are.



Me
flitter and tug

Robert Lowell
Visitors

Me
a poem that should be read on September 11 along with all the rest

Gerard Malanga
Some Things to Know about Tri-X

Me
he pretended not to know me

Isaac Watts
The Hurry of the Spirits, In a Fever and Nervous Disorders

Me
about the politics of grumpity crappity old men

Virginia Cereno
of asian men
my man is wood
for T.J.

Me
footprints

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Sorrow
I know a hundred ways to die

Me
don’t  feel like writing a poem today

Wang Wei
Autumn
Twilight Comes
Deep in the Mountain Wilderness
Bird and Waterfall Music

Me
the night sky

Philip Larkin
Neurotics

Me
a grand time

Wislawa Szymborska
Bodybuilders’ Contest
Sky

Me
The Fall

Allen Ginsberg
from Howl

Me
green and purple pills

Barbara Evans Stanush
Tortilla Leap
Eureka

Me
clear-sky bright

D. H. Lawrence 
Figs

Me
relief

Me
again, as always










My first poem for the new week.

flitter and tug

waiting for the wifi
to present
itself
on
a
delay, delay.
day
as all is internal mix masters
whirl-a-tug at
it’s little widgets and gidgets
that flitter and flash
and,
meanwhile,
my island of accessible
humanity
grows smaller and smaller
but I suppose,
worse case scenario,
I could talk to the bald-headed cowboy
with the big cowboy moustache
or the fat lady with
Halloween hair
or the not-so-fat lady
with the long black Cruela Deville
dress, but they’re speaking
a language of indecipherable origin
and probably would think I was
gibbering like a monkey
in coconut tree
if I tried to speak to them in
my mother-tongue,
Hillbilly-Redneck,
southwest, with a hint of
Tennessee,
which was my mother’s mother-tongue
and which she passed down
in bits and pieces
to me

so
not much choice
but to wait for the wifi
and I’ve notified
the wifi
shepherd that his little fleecy flock
has stayed
and his working on it
so I’m sure it’ll be back up soon

~~

in the meantime
maybe
I’ll write a poem









My first poet from this week's anthology, A Mind Apart, is Robert Lowell.

Lowell was born in 1917 and died in 1977, which seems strange to me since I always think of him as an old man, when, in fact, he was nearly a decade younger than me when he died.


Visitors

To  no good
they enter at angles and on the run -
two black verticals are suddenly four
ambulance drivers in blue serge
or the police doing double duty.
They comb  our intimated, messy bedroom,
scrutinize worksheets
illegible with second thoughts,
then shed them in their stride,
as if they owned the room. They do.
They crowd me and scatter -  inspecting
my cast-off  clothes for clues?
They are far beyond the call of duty -
with jocose civility,
they laugh at everything I say:
"Yesterday I was thirty-two, a threat
to the establishment because I was young."
The bored woman sergeant
is amused by the tiger-toothed samurai
grinning on a Japanese hanging -
"What would it cost? Where could I buy one?"

I can see through the moonlit dark;
on the grassy London square,
black cows ruminate in uniform,
lowing routinely like a chainsaw.
My visitors are good beef, they too make
one falsely feel the earth is solid,
as they hurry to secretly telephone
from their ambulance, Click, click, click
goes the red, blue, and white light
burning with aristocratic negligence -
so much busywork.

When they regroup in my room, I know
their eyes have  never left their watches.
"Come on, sir." "Easy sir."
"Dr. Brown will be here in ten minutes, sir."
Instead, a metal chair folds into a stretcher.
I lie secured there, but for my skipping mind.
the keep bustling.
"Where you are going, Professor,
you won't need your Dante."
What will I need there?
Is that a handcuff rattling in a pocket?

I follow my own removal,
stiffly, gratefully even, but without feeling.
Why has my talkative
teasing tongue stopped talking?
My detachment must be paid for,
tomorrow will be worse than today,
heaven and hell will be the same -
to wait in foreboding
without the nourishment of drama...
assuming, then as now,
this didn't happen to me -
my little strip of eternity.








September  11, again.

I wrote this several years ago. I think it should be read every year at that time, as a reminder - we who suffered did not suffer alone.


a poem that should be read on September 11along with all the rest

2,979 people were murdered on
September 11, 2011,
by evil men
in an evil, unprovoked
attack

a tragedy
great in itself
and even greater in the excuse
it gave stupid, vengeful men
to initiate tragedies of their own

as many as one hundred thousand
to one million dead since,
depending on whose number
you count

many, many men, women and children -
whoever you believe -
non-combatants
no less  innocent than those
of our own
who died
on American soil

giving lie
to the vain hope
that good can come from evil

laying bare the truth -
evil's offspring
is always and only
more evil

one hundred thousand
to one million -
names waiting to be read
along with our
own







Next, I  have a poem by Gerard Malanga, from his book No Respect (New and Selected Poems 1964-2000. The book was published by Black Sparrow Press in 2001.

Malanga was born in 1943 in the Bronx, the only child of Italian immigrant parents. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry spanning a 35 year period and his work has appeared frequently in the best journals.

He worked closely with Andy Warhol during the artist's most creative period in the mid-Sixties.


Some Things to Remember about Tri-X

                                  for Virginia Vincent

...but not everything is that predictable:

The wet heat of an armpit, for instance

handsome breasts rising

fingers that touch

slope of back, shoulders

caressing the feet, the hands

the smell of all that goes
        into memory of self

hands resting on thigh

ankles crossed, naked eyes

Sound of wind through tops of trees
       in Reineke's yard

and there were birds this morning
early and a bit of rain too

the secret parfum

the questions are not wrong

And there are magical differences too.
She smokes. I don't. Cigarettes,  that is

And someone hold her face up
                    for a kiss

and days later someone
can't quite get to sleep - wonder who that is?

Finally the stars
flicker and go out.

A dream is waking

        So
it's not very strange
that the photo is always there
when one looks out the window, it
being morning

and to see the clouds and mountains
in the motionless distance...

                                   I am back at my "spot"

not the Weesperzijde. 2 AndersonStreet.

time is racing.

What time is it  now?

The cats move quietly  about the house.

A wind comes in from the north
         but softly.

The mountains fade into light.

Old hawk-eye circles above

I rise early

coffee, my first cup of the day,

stare out at East Mountain

Try not to think. Laugh inside.

What do all these things
        have to do with photography?

What do all these things have
         in common?







Another newbie for week. Politics seems to just slip in everywhere. I'll be glad when it's over and the right-wingers are back in their cage.


he pretended not to know me    
journeyed
to H&R Block
yesterday, to do my long
overdue
taxes

as expected,
the Titanic
sunk

again

and I’m swimming
in the seas
of its bubbling,
debris spewing sink,
my Daffy Duck
life vest
orange and leaking

psssss,
I can hear the air escaping,

pssss,,
that sound known
to seafarers
from ancient times
as the most attractive of all sounds
to sharks

but it’s not so much
the psssss sound, it is my theory,
instead,
it’s the bubbles in the water, which
to sharks, known for their love of Lawrence Welk
and his champagne-music-boys,
is an invitation to party hardy, we hardies
being the party snacks R us
as all the fishy
feasters
do the shartusi sushi
and spit out the
bones

I tried to explain
all this
to the H&R Blockers,
but they didn’t
care,

so I called Mitt,
tried to explain to him
how I admired
his theories on taxation and
relaxation of rules
as they apply to worthies
like us
but he pretended not to know me








The next poet, Isaac Watts, is one of the earlist poets from this week's anthology, A Mind Apart, one  of the earliest whose English I can read.

Born in 1674 and died in 1748, Watts' family was subject to religious persecution. When his father's preparatory school was closed and he was arrested, the family moved from Southampton to London where they lived for two years.

Watts began to write poetry at the age of eight and at sixteen returned to London and studied at a nonconformist academy in Newington Green. He became a minister at age twenty-four, though his work was often hampered by serious illness. Following one bout of illness, he was invited to recover  at a country estate in Hertfordshire, then ended up living for thirty-six years, commuting to work in London when able, dying at age seventy-five after several weeks of delirium.


The Hurry of the Spirits, In a Fever and Nervous Disoders

My frame of  nature is a ruffled sea,
And my disease the tempest. Nature feels
A strange commotion to her inmost centre;
The throne of reason shakes. "Be still, my thoughts;
Peace and be still." In vain my reason gives
The peaceful word, my spirit strives in vain
To calm the tumult and command my thoughts.
This flesh,this circling blood, these brutal powers,
Made to obey, turn rebels to the mind,
Nor  hear its laws. Theengine rules the man.
Unhappy change! When nature's meaner springs,
Fir'd to impetuous ferments, break all order;
When little restless atoms rise and reign
Tyrants in sov'reign uproar, and impose
Ideas on the mind; confus'd ideas
Of non-existants and impossibles,
Who can describe them? Fragments of old dreams,
Borrow'd from midnight, torn from fairy fields
and fairy skies, and regions of the dead,
Abrupt, ill-sorted! O 'tis all confusion!
If I but close my eyes, strange images
In thousand forms and thousand colours rise,
Stars, rainbows, moons, green dragons, bears and ghosts,
And endless medley rush upon the state,
and dance and riot wild in reason's court
Above control. I'm in a raging storm,
Whre seas and skies are blended,while my soul
Like som light worthless chip of floating cork
Is tost from wave to wave: Now overwhelm'd
With breaking floods, I drown, and seem to  lose
All being:L Now high-mounted on the ridge
Of a tall foamiing surge, I'm all at  once
Caught up into the storm, and ride the wind,
the whistling wind; unmanageable steed.
And feeble rider! Huried many a league
Over rhe rising hills of roaring brine,
Thro' airy wilds unknown, with dreadful speed
And infinite surprise; till some few minutes
Have spent the blast, and th;en perhaps I drop
Near the peaceful coast; some friendly billow
Lodges me on the beach, and I find rest:
Short rest I find; for the next rolling wave
Snatches me back again; then ebbing far
Sets me adrift, and I am borne off to sea,
Helpless, amidst the bluster of the winds,
Beyond the ken of shore.

Ah, when will these tumultuous scenes be gone?
When shall this weary spirit, tost with tempests,
Harass'd and broken, reach the port of rest,
And hold it firm? Wkhen shall this wayward flesh
With all th'irregular springs of vital movement
Ungovernable, return to sacred order,
And pay their duties to the ruling mind?







I wrote this next thing a couple of years ago, and I'm pleased to say I'm even smarter now then I was then.

about the politics of grumppity crappity old men

was exchanging
some political contentions
this morning
with a very conservative
young woman
who prefaced her remarks
by saying she was part
of the Reagan Youth Movement
of the 1980s, a matter of evident
pride with her though I find it strange
that people might show such
pride in not learning anything since
they were children - as for myself
when I was the age she was in the
1980s I loudly and passionately
proclaimed the truth of some really
stupid ideas, but not just stupid ideas,
some pretty good ones as well, and
at least my ideas, good and bad, were
the ideas my generation, not tthe
preoccupations of a bunch of
grumppity crappity old men who claimed
to solve the world's  problems over coffee
every morning without ever demonstrating
any personal knowledge
of the difference between shit and shinola
and now that I, myself, am among the
legion of grumppity crappity old men
saving the world over  coffee in the
morning I, at  least, have, despite
a few remaining shit and shinola issues,
the comfort  of knowing I have lived now
for 66 years in the wild and wicked
gales that are the real world, the gales
that over the years blew away most
of my stupid ideas and reinforced
my confidence in the good ones
and I'm sorry my dear but the idea
that I might be as clueless now
as I was 40 years ago is not an
outcome I would wish
to boast about








Here are three poems by Virginia Cerenio, frrom her book, trespassing innocence, published by Kearny Street Workshop Press in 1989.

Born in 1955 in California, Cerenio is a second-generation Filipina-American. She grew up  in San Francisco and obtained a B.A. and an M.A. in Education from San  Francisco  State University. She is a long-time activist in the cause of elderly Filipinos.

The book includes a  selection of very good photogaphs by Tony Remington.


of asian men

like a tranquil buddha
he sleeps warm
brown jade are his cheekbones
his blook like drumbeats
into the curve of my palm
eyes closed seashells
whos black pearls luster
only in sunlight

when he speaks
he will not forget to tell you his story
of his place in the earth
the spirts that move him
grandmothers and grandfatehrs
tapping tales in the window of his mind.

his hands grow hard into beauty with the tide
planting dreams deep in the hearts of his children

in the warm brown jade of his face
he is carving a song
the music will echo from generation to generation


my man is wood

my man
is wood.
a wooden chair.
a rocking hcair.
he holds me
in his arms
and i fit myself
to his burnished curves.
i finger the well-woorn
scars, memories scratched carelessly.
and rest quiet in his strength.


for T.J.

drifting though a fog of too much wine and memories
your voice plays a deep saad melody
from a Spanish guitar
i swallow your song, sad notes and all
cradle its fullness close to my heart
and still want more
the warmth and vibrancy of your words
weaving meinto the blanket of your sorrows
echoing against the dark hollow of the empty night







This is from last week. It's always a question in my mind why I'm so drawn to my back yard hill late at night. This might explain it. It's a place where I  can be alone,  but never  alone.


footprints

it is a typical
Central Texas hillside,
thin soil over a solid limestone shelf
in some places, broken rock
the size of a large man’s
fist in others

and it is my backyard

at the bottom of the hillside's sharp slope
a creek runs, has run continuously
for the nineteen years we
have lived here,
never run dry, even in the worst years
of drought, fed by a spring
somewhere in the rolling ridges and neighborhoods
around my little divide

and I think
of the miracle of constant water
in a land frequently dry
and how such a dependable source
must have been, for millions
of years, a welcoming refuge for animals,
this place where they met in relative peace
whether they walked, flew
or slithered on the rocky ground,
and,
for tens of thousands of those years
a place welcoming,
just the same,
to men

and I stand on my backyard
hillside late at night
and hear,
in the rustle of the trees
and the bubble of the slow, shallow creek,
the whisper of all those who stood
before me
right there where I stand
on those long nights,
and
I understand
as many do not
that life is not a single, discrete thing,
but a continuing story
of lives intertwined, each life leaving
for the future to find,
the footprints
of their lives and their times

and I stand among the whispers
and understand
that I am part of this old, old story
that will continue
even as my chapter ends,
even as I leave my own footprints
for the next to stand on this hillside
to find








From A Mind Apart, my anthology for the week, I have two short poems by Edna St. Vincent  Millay.


Sorrow

Sorrowlike a ceasless rain
    Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain, -
Dawin will find them still again;
This has neither wax or sane,
    Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to  town;
    I  sit in my chair.
All  my thoughts are slow  and brown:
Standing up  or sitting down
Little matters, or what  gown
    Or what shoes  I wear.


I know a hundred ways to die

I  know a hundred ways to die.
I've often thought I'd  try one:
Lie down beneath a motor truck
Some day when standing  by one.

Or throw myself from off a bridge -
Except  such things must ebe
So hard upon  the scavengers
And men that clean the sea.

I knowsome poison I could drink.
I've often thought I'd taste it.
But mother bought it for the sink,
And drinking it would waste it.






Back to my rejects. Don't  know when I wrote this  one.



don't feel  like writing a poem today

don't feel
like writing a  poem today

don't have the time
for it
don't have the passion
for  it

don't have the words
for it

listening to some music
instead

tapping my feet
to it

snapping my fingers
to it

whistling a little  bit
to  it

a little Scatman
shubbie doo  be  doo be doo
to  it

that's fun too...

~~~

having
a high old time today

don't  want to  mess it up
with a lousy poem









Next, I have poems from One Hundred More Poems From the Chinese - Love and the Turning Year. All  the poems in the book were selected and translated by Kenneth Rexroth.

For this week, I have chose four short poems from one poet the book, Wang Wei, one of the masters of the Tang Dynasty.


Autumn

It has turned cold.
the mountains grow more vast and more lue.
The Autumn watrerfalls arelouder.
I  take my cane and go out the gate for a walk.
I can hear the last  crickets
Singing in the chilly evening.
I am happy. The rays  of  the setting sun
Shine through the evening smoke
that hovers over the village.
I throw back my head,
Drunk with beauty,
And sing rhe "Willow Song"
At the top  of my lungs.


Twilight Comes

Twilight comes  over the monastery garden.
Outside the window the tdrees grow dim in the dusk.
Woodcutters sing coming home across the fields.
The chant of the monks answers from the forest.
Birds come to the dew basins hidden amongst the flowers.
Off through the bamboo someone is playing a flute.
I am still not an old man,
But my heart is set on the life of a hermit.


Deep in the Mountain Wilderness

Deep in the mountain wilderness
Where  nobody ever comes
Only once in a great while
Something like the sound of a far off voice,
The low rays of the sun
Slip through  the dark forest,
And gleam again on the shadowy moss.


Bird and Waterfall Music

Men sleep. The cassia  blossoms fall.
The Spring night is still in the empty mountains.
When the full moon rises,
It troubles the wild birds.
From time to time you can hear them
Above the sound of the flooding waterfalls.










Here's another night poem from last week. I am beginning to feel more and more that my most lucid and aware moment are late at night, staring at the sky.

night sky

the night sky
is clear as a blown glass bowl

the moon,
shaved on one side,
hangs
over the cloudless night

and with it,
dozens of stars
where most often
only the two brightest
can be seen

dozens of stars
shining tonight, even in a sky
dulled by reflected city lights,
street lights, porch lights, lights
from downtown where
rarely in the dark
does life not bustle in neon-lighted pools

dozens of lights
responding to the paranoia
of our time
where every dark corner,
every shadowed refuge for night creatures,
must be lit, must be shown secure
from all the black and bloody
monsters of our imagination, like
the small child we still are
in so many ways who cannot sleep
without a parental peek
under the bed
and a nightlight in the corner

I am a creature
of the night, not the darkest night
for I am too much a victim
of our time, imagining threat
wherever I cannot plainly see, but
a creature of the moonlit
night, when the great white orb shines
to cast my shadow, too, among
slow shadow-dances of wind-blown
trees

a creature of the night,
like last night

I am a creature of soft nights
like last night,
where the neighbor’s porch light
is the unwelcome intruder,
the thief that steals
the tranquility of virgin night










Here's a poem by Philip Larkin from this week  anthology.

Larkin, a British poet, was born in 1922 and worked most of his life as a librarian. He died of cancer in 1985.


Neurotics

No one gives you a thougth, as day by day
You drag your feet, clay-thick with misery.
None think how stalemate in you grinds away.
Holding your spinning wheels an inch too high
To bite on earth. The mind, it's said, is free:
But not your minds. They,rusted stiff, admit
Only what will  accurse  or horrify,
Like slot-machines only bent pennies fit.

So year by year your tense unfinished faces
Sink further from the light. No one pretends
To  want to help you now.  For interest passes
Always towards the yuoung andmore insistent,
And skirts locked rooms where  a hired darkness  ends
You long defence against  tthe non-existent.







This is a reject from, probably a couple of books before.



a grand time

feeling deprived
of my annual

yuletide
poking and prodding

by fat women
in flip-flops

I went to Walmart
yesterday

to  buy a set
of folding chairs

for the big Christmas dinner
we have planned for

tomorrow -
14 dinners we're expecting

and our dining room table
is only good for 8

without crowding
so some satellite tables

will be required -
it will be a fun occasion,

bringing family together
for a Mexican Christmas -

tamales, mole, fajitas,
rice, beans, and the works -

all prepared by my son,
yes, a grand time

on a day i haven't  paid
much attention to in a while -

a grand time on a bright winter day,
even if  conversation

may sometimes require
yelling

between tables
in adjoining rooms









My next poems are by one of my favoites, Wislava Szymborska, Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel  Prize in Literature. The poems are from her book, View with a Grain of Sand, which was published by Harcourt i 1995.

Born  in 1923, Szymborska died early this year, working almost up to her last day on new poems for a book scheduled to be published later this year.

I enjoy the lyricism of her poems, as well as the humor she seems sometimes to pull out of nowhere, as with the first of these two poems.

The poems were translated from  Polish by Stanislaw Baranzcak and Clare Cavanugh.


Bodybuilders' Contest

From scalp to sole, all muscles in slow motion.
The ocean of his  torso  drips with lotion.
The king of all is he who preens and wrestles
with sinews twisted into monstrous pretzels.

Onstage, he  grapples with a grizzly bear
the deadlier for  not  really being there.
Three unseen panthers are in turn laid low,
each with one smoothly choreographed blow.

He grunts while showing his poses and paces.
His back alone has twenty different faces.
The mammoth fist he raises as  he wins
is tribute to the force of vitamins.


Sky

I should have begun with this: the sky,
A window minus sill, frame, and panes.
An aperture,  nothing more,
but wide open.

I don't have to wait for a starry night,
I don't have to crane my neck
to get a look at it.
I've got the sky behind  my back, at hand, and on
    my eyelids.
The sky binds  me tight
and sweeps me off my feet.

Even the highest mountains
are no  closer to the sky
than the deepest of valleys.
There's no more of it in one place
than another.
A molel  is no less in seventh heaven
than the  owl spreading her wings.
The object that falls in an abyss
falls from sky to sky.

Grainy, britty, liquid,
inflamed, or volatile
patches of sky,specks  of sky,
gusts and heaps of sky.
The sky is everhwhere,
even in the dark beneath your skin.
I eat the sky, I excrete the sky.
I'm a trap within a trap,
in inhabited inhabitant,
an embrace embraced,
a question answering a question.

Division into sky and earth -
it's not the proper way
to contemplate this wholeness.
It simply lets me go  on living
at a more exact  address
where I can be reached promptly
if I'm sought.
My identifying features
are rapture and dispair.






Here's another morning poem I did last week.


The Fall

he’s
a pretty standard old man,
a little taller than most,
but still,
the straw hat, the loose hanging
faux leather jacket,
the clatter of pills in his coat pocket
when he stood up, a pretty standard old man,
much like me, except I don’t wear straw hats and
I don’t have a faux leather jacket l and
wouldn’t wear it even this late in the summer
if I did and I leave all my pills on a kitchen
shelf at home so the pocket of the coat
I don’t wear wouldn’t rattle
with pills
but
other than that
we could be twins,
that pretty standard old man
and me

~~~

but I digress,
even before I start I digress
because the standard old man almost like me,
sitting in front of me at the diner,
was just a target of opportunity, not the intended target
for this morning’s poem
which is about standing in my backyard
at 5:13 this morning when the first cool breeze
of autumn cracked the back
of summer, the endless season too long lingering, finally set aside
for a day and night or two under the whisper
of wind-rustled trees and the bamboo chimes hanging
from those same trees, clock-a-clock, clock-a-clock, they sing
in their hollow-cane way, their sound
a welcome to the north-smelling morning…

I throw wide my arms
and embrace the beginning of the beginning
of a new season change

~~~

that was supposed to be my poem this morning,
until the standard old man
almost like me
jumped the line,
with his straw hat and faux leather coat
and pill-rattling pocket,
pushed ahead,
as if to remind me that autumn,
though welcomed for its fresh, cool nights,
is still sometimes called
“The Fall”









Next from the anthology I have this piece by Allen Ginsberg from his poem Howl.

I am of varying opinons as to whether or not, "Howl," with all its great  elements  is one of the most overrated poems of the last half of the twentieth century. There is no doubt though that, outside off Hiawatha, it inspired some of the worst imitator-poems ever. I should know, since I wrote some of them. 



from Howl

  I
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
   starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn lookin gor
   an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient havenly connection to
   the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smokin gin
   the supeprnatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across
   the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven und eht El and saw
   Mohammedan antels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,

who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes halucinating
   Arkansas an dBlake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,

who were expelled from the academics for crazty & publishing  
   obscene odes on the windows of the skull,

who cowed in unshaven rooms in undersear, burning their money
   inwastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,

who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with
   a belt of marijuana for New York,

who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turbentine in Paradise Alley,
   death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night

with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock
   and endless balls,

incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the
   mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterrson, illuminating all
   the motionless world of Time between,

Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns,
   wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of
   readhead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree
   vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings
   and kind king light of mind,

who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery
   to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children
   brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered
   bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the dear light of Zoo

who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's floated out and  sat
   through the stale beer  afternoon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to
   the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,

...

who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop
   kabbalah beause the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet
   in Kansas,

who loned it through the streets of Idaho seekng visionary indian
   angels  who were visionary indian angels,

who thought they wre only mad when Baltinore gleamed in
   supernational ectasy,

...

who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & were
   left with their insanity & hands & a hung jury,

who threw potato salad at CNNY lecturers on Dadaism and
   subseqently presented themselves on the granite steps of the
   madhouse with shaven headsand harlequin speech of suicide,
   demanding instantaneous lobotomy,

and who were given instead the concrete  void of insulin Metrazol
   electricity hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational therapy
   pingpong and amnesia,

who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong
   table, resting briefly in catatonia.

returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears
   and fngers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the
   madtowns of the East,

Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid halls, bickering
   with the echoes of the soul, rocking and rolling in the midnight
   solitude-bench dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare,
   bodies turned to stone as heavy as the moon...

... 










This is another old  reject, dated  by it's reference to  an election in Iran, although I don't  remember it it's the last  Iranian  election that wasn't really an election or the Iranian election that wasn't really an election before the last one.


green and purple pills

for some reason
i woke up this morning
thinking of Ray Stephens,
specifically
his song about A-hab the A-rab
which is probably pretty insulting
to Arab  peoples
unless they have a senseof humor
which
from what i read in the papers
isn't allowed
in many Arab countries

i'm not  sure why this was the morning
of A-hab the A-rab
except  maybe it was the disappointing election
in Iran
but that doesn't make sense
since Iranians, including the Abbarabadaba guy,
are Persians,  not Arabs
so everything i'm thinking about this morning
is just plain stupid

(it amazes me how other people can write
whole poems without saying something stupid
while it seems i have to say something stupid
at least once in every poem - oh well,can't
allow periodic stupid storms intefer with  the
full expression of my art
or whatever)

anyway
they're rioting in Iran today
which demonstrates hows they're
such a primitive country
while we're so much more  advanced
and how they could look to us
for guidance
on how to  deal with stolen presidential
elections
since we had one of our own a few years back
and we didn't go rioting in the streets
and causing trouble

we just wrote nasty poems
and fiery letters
to mostly uninterested newspaper  editors...

stuff like that

or, the Iranians could, maybe,  just zone out,
meditate,
seek their center,
remember that from adversity
comes strength...
someday...
some say...
or just listen to some good music,
find relief in Stephen's recommended
rememdy for mental and physical  distress -
"Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated
Quick-Dissolving
Fast-Acting
Pleasant-Tasting
Green and Purple Pills"

worked for me







Next, I have two poems from the book, Stone Garden, by Barbara Evans Stanush. The book was published by Pecan Grove Press in 1992. Apparently it was reissued in 1997 according to a  listing on Amazon.

The biography included in the original publication of the book noted that,  after her first thirty years living on the East Coast, she and her husband, Claude, also an author, moved to South Texas where she worked as an educational consultant, a poet-in-the-schools, a newspaper columnist, and a writer of both poetry and Texas history.

I could find no additional information beyond the original biography, other than a mention in 2011 as a surviving family member in her husband's obituary.



Tortilla Leap

and cover the sun.
Wraparound that
red hot pepper
and cool it down.
Keep that orb in
bounds so only
burning trickles
trail across
our face.

The sun's rays stab and
lose themselves in soil.
Fondle  seeds of bedded
corn,  soak kernels
in serape heat glowing
with colors of sunset.

The underground
swells to bugles,
trumpets pathways
back to sky,
swiings green, new
shafts of stalk.
Silver tassels
swaddle baby ears.
Kernel clones,
a white milk of bitrs
too tiny for teeth,
huddle a thousand eyes
bent on straightening
rows on rose.
Green corn,
soft gold.

Souls dance.
Mortals dry the host,
preserrve the promise.
To soak, to grind,
to pat, to clap,
to make a cake
a circle like the sun
to wrap aournd that
red hot pepperr
with rays dripping fire,
fire.


Eureka!

After all  these years
Not  blue, nor somber brown,
it's yellow. I never had
a yellow dress, a yellow car,
a yellow rug. I merely wrote
"in the yellow kitchen" to warm
a northern memory. The words
flooded me with light.

I alk through the house affirming.
Dots of butter leap out
of carrot pans, cereamic planters
glow. Sunset flares from a child's
stitchery.

On my desk a Faber Castell #2. Yellow
peelings swivel bold as I prime
the pencil point.

Doors  crack yellow in the night.









Another hint this morning of the onset of seasons changing. Can't happen too soon for me.


clear-sky bright  
70 degrees,
the sun this morning
clear-sky bright


and if you can find a cloud up there,
you get to name it, maybe after
your Aunt Eglich or Uncle Rooster,
or whatever you want to call it,
Grandpa Fern, you’re second cousin’s first kid,
Scramble -
it’s your cloud
after all
so it’s up to you...

it was 65 degrees
when I went out at 3
for my first-thing-in-the-morning check-around,
shrivelish weather, with that north wind
blowing - sending me out more man than when
I came back in…

the neighbors across the creek
having retired their fight for the night,
all was quiet, except for a rustling in the creek,
maybe a raccoon or a possum, probably
not a bear or a wallaby, though it is dark out there by the creek
and things unforeseen and unusual do lurk
when darkness falls

(and those neighbors, by the way,
lovely people, I’m sure they are, unfortunately forced
to cohabit with the spousal demon
their mother/father always warned them about -
listening to their nightly set-tos
imagining them on the other side of a wall
rather than across the creek,
causing me to rethink my long-time goal
of selling the house and moving
to an apartment downtown, that factor
and the other, the lost of my bare early morn
appreciation of the night
and its accompanying sky, likely since
I understand that kind of behavior is not authorized
on Durango Street or even on Main)

and while all this is interesting, I’m sure you'll agree,
it is, yet again, another digression
from the main point of the morning, which is,
for the next several days, summer is sent
to cowering in the corner and as long as it lasts
someone ought to be out frolicking
naked in the wood,
hallelujah chorusing as they twirl-around-twirl-around
and i suppose it’s just going to have to be
me, though
you’re welcome to come along if you
wish,
just bring good shoes
since ever reckless abandon has its rules
and the rocks are sharp in these rocky woods
and we don't want to ruin these lovely days
with a covey of broken toes

otherwise, pack
light...
 









The next poem is by D. H. Lawrence taken from his Selected Poems, in a revised edition in 1986 published by Penguin Books.

I remember buying a paperback edition of Lady Chatterly's Lover at City News and Drug next to the Arcadia Theater in the larger town about five miles down the road from mine, and reading it on the bus on the way back home. My intoduction to "John Thomas" - holy cow, never read anything like that in a book before.


The time was late 1960 or early 1961, when I was 15 or 16, very soon after the full an unabridged version by Penguin was first openly available for sale in the United States.

As to this poem - never was a fig-man myself, but if I was I'm sure if I was I'd be eating them differently after reading this poem.


Figs

The proper way to eat a fig, in society,
Is to split into four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy,  moist honied,
     heavy-petalled four petalled flower.

The you throw away the skin
Which is just like a four-spalled calyx,
After you have taken off the blossom with your lips.

But  the vulgar way
Is just to put your mouth to the crack, ad take out the flesh in
     one bite.

Every fruit has its secret.

The fig is a very secretive fruit.
As you see it santing growing, you feel at once it is symbolic:
And it seems male.
but when you come to know it better, you agree with the
     Romans, it is female.

The Italians  vulgarly say, it stands for the female part; the
     fig-fruit
The fissure, the yoni,
The wonderful moist conductivity towards the center.

Involved,
Inturned,
The flowering all inward and womb-fibrilled;
And but one orifice.

The fig, the horse-shoe, the squash-blossom.
Symbols.

There was a flower that flowered inward, womb-ward;
Now there is a fruit like a ripe womb.

It was always a secret.
That's how it should be, the female should always be secret.

There never was any standing aloft and unfolded on a bough
Like other flowers, in a revelation of petals;
Silver-pink peach, venetian green glass  of medlars and
    sorb-apples,
Shallow win-cups on short, bulging stems
Openly pledging heaven:
Here's to the thorn in flower! Here is to Utterance!
The brave, adventurous rosacae.

Folded upon itself, and secret unutterable,
And milky-sapped, sap that curdles milk and makes ricotta,
Sap that smells  strange on your fingers, that even goats won't
     taste it;
Folded upon itself, enclosed like any Mohammedan woman,
Its nakedness all within-walls, its flowering forever unseen,
One small way of access only, and this close-curtained from
     the light;
Fig,fruit of the female mystery, covert and inward,
Mediterranean fruit, with your covert nakedness,
Where everything happens invisible, flowering and
     fertilization, and fruiting
In the inwardness  of your you, the eye will never see
Till it's finished, and  you're over-ripe,  and you burst to give up
     your ghost.

Till  the drop of ripeness exudes,
And the year is over.

And then the fig has kept her secret long enough.
So it explodes, and you see through the fissures the scarlet.
And the fig is finished, the year is over.

That's how  the fig dies, showing her crimson through the
     purple slit
Like a wound, the exposure of her secret, on the open day.
Like a prostitute, the bursten fig, making a show of her secret.

That's how a woman dies too.

The year is fallen over-ripe,
The year of or women.
The year of our women is fallen over-ripe.
The secret is laid bare.
And rottenness soon sets in.
The year of our women is fallen over-ripe.

When Eve once knew in her mind, that she was naked
She quickly sewed fig-leaves, and sewed the same for the man.
She'd been naked all her days before,
But till then, till that apple of knowledge, she hadn't had the
     facto on her mind.

She got the fact on her mind, and quickly sewed fig-leaves.
And women have been sewing every since.
But  now they stitch to adorn the bursten fig, not to cover it.
They have their nakedness more than ever on their minds,
And they won't let us forget it.

Now, the secret,
Becomes an affirmation through moist, scarlet lips
That laugh at the Lord's indignation.

What then, good Lord! cry the women.
We have kept our secret long enough.
We are a ripe fig.
Let us burst into affirmation.

They forget, ripe figs won't keep.
Ripe figs won't keep.

Honey-white figs from the north, black figs with scarlet inside, of
     the south.
Ripe figs won't keep, won't keep in any clime.
What then, when women the world over have all bursten into
     affirmation?
And bursten figs won't keep?

  








I cut all my hair  off about a year ago, so I"m thinking this must be a reject from a book I haven't gotten  around to publishing yet.


relief

cut
all  my hair off yesterday

do it
twice a year

whether
needed or not

January
and July

it's important
to  be regular  with such

hygiene
issues...

July's
not so bad

but
January

well
let's just say

my neck feels
refrigerated...

but
it's for a good cause...

i ship all the clippings
to the society for relief

of bald-headed men in
Bangladesh...

world peace
will surely ensue








From last week, another Monday, sometimes,  for no particular reason, a down day for me.

again, as always

there are days
like today,
eating
breakfast in the semi-dark,
when I feel very old
and all the plans I still make
seem like silly
exercises of a worn
and delusionary
mind…

but then the sun
rises
and night shades fade
into the orange light
of a clear-day
morning
and my spirits,
arisen,
push me, again,
to find that place
set aside for
me

and that is my morning
delusion

believing there is a place
set aside for me,
or,
if there is not,
that I have the fit in me
to make another one
like the ones I made before

but
still I am encouraged
for the orange glow of new day, once again
as always, has returned
to push away the dark,
leaving the rest, once again
as always,
to me









Here  we go again, another week complete.

Everry thing here belongs to its creators. My stuff is, as usual, yours for the price of proper credit for me and for "Here and Now." I'm allen itz, owner and producer of this blog and a poet with books to sell.

Here are places where you can get my books, and with them,  this is not a  promise, but a definite maybe, a possibly life-defining opportunity:

Amaxon, Barnes and Noble, Sony eBookstore, most all of the Apple stuff, as  well as Kobo,Copia,Gardner's, Baker & Taylor, and eBookPie.


  
Places and Spaces




Always to the Light





Goes Around, Comes Around


 
 
Pushing Clouds Against the Wind


And,  for  those  print-bent, available
at Amazon
and several coffeehouses in San  Antonio
 
 
Seven Beats  a  Second










 
 




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