Catching Up   Friday, November 30, 2012



Peruvian Landscape
Vincent Martinez

For my photos this week, I'm using art from my print book, Seven Beats a Second, published in 2005 by Homemade Creatives (that's me) and Cyberwit.com. All my books since have been eBooks (published by bookbaby) so it's my only print book and the only one of my books  that is illustrated.

The artist Vincent Martinez, a senior  art major  at Texas State University at the time and a good friend of my son's, which is how we hooked up for the project. Most of the paintings are his alone, though a couple are collaborations.

The book includes all of the paintings, presented in full page, as well as pieces of the paintings I cut and pasted to use as illustration for specific poems.  It is available at Amazon as well as  several coffeehouses in San Antonio (International Academy of Music and the Arts [and coffee] on the corner of Broadway and Pearl and La Taza on Brook Hollow).

As for poetry, well, here's what I've got.

 
Me
I say
 
Thomas A. Smith
Anniversary Poem
March Winds
Me
walking in the very early morning
 
Dan Cuddy
Poem with a Declaration Maybe
Me
put on a happy face
 Diane Wakoski
Some Pumpkins
Seeing Robert in the Crystal Ball
The Man Who Slurps His Drink
Me
a weather note - blue
fog
morning slips in, almost unnoticed
 
Heather Sellers
When Lost Was Better
 
Me
turkey trot
 
Tajihi Kasamaro
On his journey to Tsukushi
Me
a minor poet explains it all
 
Cynthia Zarin
On a Mild  Day in Early Spring
Wildlife
 
Me
notes in passing
 
Alma Luz Villanueva
In the Fire
Desire
Me
mocamuddymacarooniepunietoonies
Brian Turner
Two Stories Down
Ashbah
Eulogy
Me
there was a boy who knew secrets
Elizabeth Seydel Morgan
Singapore Art Museum in the Rain
Watching the Weather Channel
 
Me
naked rolling, parts rubbing
Sid Gold
Nice
 
Me
I had imagined further places
 
From
In the Trail of the Wind - American  Indian  Poems and Ritual  Orations
 
Me
flapjack ruminations
 
Jimmy Santiago Baca
from Meditations on the South Valley
Me
a foggy morning’s memories of foggy mornings
real and natural night
a fence I cross
 
From
Dances for Flute and Thunder - Praises, Prayers and Insults - Four classical Greek poets
 
Me
winter night
like a morning, slow  starting
 
Adrienne Rich
Sunset, December, 1993
And Now
Me
walking my cat on the morning of December 2nd






Float
Vincent Martinez
 
 
 
This short piece is from last week, our first really chill  day, strong north winds blowing in a norther.
 
 
 

I say
 
 a pearl,
bright orb,
soars in the western sky

north winds
blow,
fallen leaves
scramble in swirls
on the street,
bare limbs
cast Watusi-dancing
shadows
under quiet-glowing
streetlights

leaves
have fallen,
I say,
and nippy winds
blow

winter
has landed





Peruvian Landscape #2
Vincent Martinez
 
 
 


Here are a couple of poems by Thomas R. Smith. The poems are from Smith’s  book, Horse of Earth, published in 1994 by Holy Cow Press.
Born in 1948 in Wisconsin, Smith majored in English at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. In the 1970s and 1980s, he taught poetry in rural communities of western Wisconsin through the CETA-funded organization, Artspeople of Wisconsin, for which he also served as director. Since 2000 he has taught highly-regarded poetry classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, most recently as an advisor to the Loft Master Track Program. He also leads poetry workshops at the annual Minnesota Men's Conference founded by Robert Bly.

In the fall of 2008, he gave his first poetry workshops in England, as well as lecturing at the Temenos Academy in London.  He delivered a talk at the University of Minnesota's symposium on Robert Bly's work in April, 2009.


 

 
Anniversary Poem

Fallen juniper  berries
bring a second summer,
as if chicory and asters
have returned to meadows.
They are blue stars
still cloudy with creation,
as the first man and woman
must have seen them.
By those stars we two set out.

The boat leaving the harbor
seems hesitant
to let the wind move it.
the fabric ripples, then
goes slack. Years pass,
driving each life toward
the emptiness of the acorn cap
on its branch in October,
the fringed cup downed
and filled again with memory
and triumph.

                                  After two years
I  touch you, still amazed.
Our small boat follows
the water’s curved ache,
a strong breeze billowing its  sails.

 

March Wind

Across the channel of the Minnesota River,
a long shiver passes through the body of a pine grove.
Scaly ice shelves up along the waterline,
the walker beside it easily lost in the great silver day of spring.

I walk with you on a sandy path on the island.
In the maple trunks a slenderer sweetness rises and falls.
The nights are sill cold. Maple sap boils dark and heavy.
I catch the clear drops, almost flavorless, on a torn branch in
                 the wind.



It Is What It Is
Vincent Martinez
 
 
 
Another poem from a couple of weeks ago - the story of a man and his (new) dog.
 
 
 
walking in the very early morning
 
 the moon a splinter
behind sea-foam clouds
in a sky
fresh
as dairy milk

walking Bella,
the new dog, along the roundabout loop
that Reba and I used to take
in the morning

our first morning walk
yesterday
was like a marathon run,
Bella walking very 
fast
eyes straight ahead,
intent, I’m thinking, on escaping
the strange house where 
she had spent her first, scary
night…

different this morning,
more like Reba (poor Reba,
toward
the end, walking her was like 
walking an old lady down
a church aisle,
tiny, slow steps, each carefully
considered)…

but today
is like the old days,
a leisurely stroll, 
sniffing at ever tree,
stopping to graze on some grass
by the creek, finding
a couple of suitable spots
to make her mark for all creatures
in the neighborhood
that might be
interested
to find…

when we get home,
I go to my office to pack up my computer
and she goes to the bedroom
and jumps on my bed,
meaning, I’m guessing, that I passed
whatever tests she had in mind, having
proven I am morally fit
to share a bed 
with…

~~~

later, I prepare to take her with me
to my breakfast hangout 

(for the next several days 
as we bond,
she will go with me wherever I go)

opening the front door enough
to reach out and feed
the cat,
but foolish me, too open the door, 
the door with a cat right outside
too great a temptation,
and Bella roars past me, across the street,
across two more yards, chasing the yellow cat
who steals my cat’s food, and
I’m thinking I’ve really
screwed up now and prepare for the dog chase, but
struck by an idea, I belay the chase
and open the back door to my little SUV
instead 
and quickly
the presumed-lost dog returns,
running,
jumping into the car and sits,
looking at me,
panting,
tongue hanging over her drooly chin -

so what are we waiting for 
it seems she says,
let’s go see about that 
breakfast!





Chicken Wings and Pretty Things
Vincent Martinez



My next poem is by my poet friend from Maryland, Dan Cuddy.

Dan is currently an editor of the Loch Raven Review and in the past has been a contributing editor with the Maryland Poetry Review, and with Lite: Baltimore’s Literary Newspaper. He has been published in many small magazines over the years, e.g. NEBO, Antioch Review, Connecticut River Review and online at Praxilla, The Potomac, and L‘Allure des Mots. In 2003 his book of poems “Handprint On The Window” was published by Three Conditions Press.


 
Poem with a Declaration Maybe
I think I’m wrong
Always
Un-American the inner washing
The attempt to be the blank slate
On which the New can write itself
But I doubt whether I can know
The New
Even if it has horns, whistles, wagging tails
Because so much does already
And society has been steered wrong
Without a doubt
The pennies left falling in the dust
Tarnishing
Buried
Like old buttons
The Emperor’s New Clothes are always
Grotesque
And we, my neighbors and I,
Pretend the parade of stupidity is
A starting point
But I doubt even that
In my own watery thoughts
Not American and Bull-headed


Words Like  Birds
Vincent Martinez

This, from a couple of weeks ago, explaining one of the many reasons  getting old suck.


put on  a happy face

the future
mysterious to me,
and beyond my control,

a situation i have fought against
all of my adult life,
and now I must be resigned

to it -
the worst of being old,
others will decide

and I will go along
with it,
put on a happy face

they will say
and i will put my clown's mask
over a seething

heart



Vieja
Vincent Martinez



The next several poems are by Diane Wakoski. They are from her book The Rings of Saturn, published by Black Sparrow Press in 1986.


Some Pumpkins

lie
on our patio brick

Robert says
now
I can read
each autumn morning
by pumpkin light.



Seeing Robert in the Crystal Ball

He's in the corner,
a figure like a crow
with one long shoe, like a tree reaching over
water.
An upside down lighted lamp
floats on the other side of the room,
like a cow grazing in a field.
There are three other people
in this room,
but none in the ball. Only crow-Robert,
on his cottonwood shoe, with his
lighted-cow,
that once as a room.



The Man Who Slurps His Drink

Education
for the football player
who's smart as an eagle
but a big messy bird, whose stinking nest
you'd never want to visit,
convinces me               
                                                      Is it possible,
I ask myself,
for a man to be sensitive to words
when he slurps his drink? Can what
comes out
of the mouth have fineness
when it goes in so offensively?
Perhaps I need more anthropology
to giev me wisdom/perspective?

I know the Chinese are trained
to belch and  slurp
to show satisfaction over a good meal.                
                                                               Did this man's
Chicago slum life
teach him to slurp his drink
in my house
to show his appreciation?
                                      Am I a
hopeless prig,
or is it just hard for me to dismiss
language I don't believe,
unless some bodily condition seems
to reinforce
my view.
                What would you think
if you heard someone
slurping
a bloody mary
in your
living room
                          Would you really expect him
to be a poet?




Sketches
Vincent Martinez



Here are several short poems from 2010.



a weather note - blue
a norther,
blue
they call'em

blue cold
wind

under
cold blue sky
 



fog
shy
curtain mist

disperses light
in crystal halos

souls alight

souls aloft
rising
to meet
low-searching
clouds

 

morning slips in, almost unnoticed

sunrise
through scattered fog
like golden rain

a quiet morning

birds still
sleep

no rustling
in the trees

morning slipping in
almost
unnoticed

until
the neighbor’s rooster

announces the
day





Kristi
Vincent  Martinez
 
 
 
Here's a poem from  a book I think  I  bought some time ago and never used here, I don't know why.
 
The poet is Heather Sellers and the book is Drinking Girls and Their Dresses, published in 2002 by Ahsahta Press of Boise State University.

Sellers was born in Florida and received her Ph.D from  Florida Sate University in 1992. She received an NEA grant for fiction writing in 2001 and is the author of Georgia Underwater, a collection of short stories which won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award.



When Lost  Was Better

I was  seven, into
pinafores, pickles and
keeping my hair
wet, a fussy swimming
girl, bad with numbers,
happy marrying words,
making them  basic desserts.
I lost my cross, my good
gold cross, in the yard,
maybe in the sink or at
the grocery store, in the green
tile aisles. My mother thought
I lost it in church,  on the patio
outside  Father Stephen's office.
Nope, I said I was never  standing
there. Then April I lost
my pet  bird Miss Kelly Green,
my report card,  my abilities
to  stay quiet for hours at a stretch.
I lost my temper, enjoyed
flailing. I  lost my brother's doll,
my mom's plaid jacket, her house keys,
a dollar and my sleeping bag.
I turned eleven, lost everything.
Now strong, tan, long-legged,
blond as batter,  tall
heaven and my arms
thin as tails, I found, shining
in the thick new mowed
backyard tarzan grass, my cross,
the tiny grooved piece
of metal, lawnmower chewed and spit
out, my cross in the shape
of an asterisk. I said to myself:
Heather, you are a martyr in shorts
and white sandals at Cherokee Indian
Junior High in Orlando.
I kept  the chewed-up cross in my
jewelry box,  on a cushion.
But I wish the cross was still lost;
I  liked the years looking, missing better.
Lost is lost.
And is like faith, because broken
kept longer and more dearly, in the  pink
box in the girl bedroom opposite the
memory of the grandmother,  with coins.
And pearls. You don't lose the dead,
they lose you.



Barbacoa
Vincent Martinez w/ Dennis Hodges
 
 
 
 
It  was a great Thanksgiving dinner,  just a long way getting to it, a journey through most of my life and the places where I lived.
 
 
 

turkey trot
 
up at 5 a.m.
breakfast, walk the
dog, shower, shave,
pack (not much, just one night,
an extra pair of everything
and a plastic bag
for the drugs
that keep my boat
afloat)...

cross the San Antonio River
on the far south side
of the city
at 8...

287 miles to go
for my annual
portion of
turkey...

Pleasanton
Three Rivers
Oakville
George West
Nancy
Mathis
Odem

Interstate 37

first,
low hills
that roll down
from the hill country
to the coastal plains
and the coast

green pastures
surrounded by century -old
oak, fat cattle, occasional sheep,
first signs
of the fracking boom
that is turning villages into
towns and towns
into little cities, all boom,
workers living in
travel trailers and tents,
no housing available, no motels,
that aren’t full, no rooming
houses, bedrooms
in private homes renting
for twice their monthly mortgage
payment, the boom
booming, and
i worry
because i’ve seen it
before
both the boom and the
bust...

but a new generation
doesn’t know
and the old one that does,
certain to leave the backdoor
unlatched,
their escape pod
for the first
sign
that the day of the next bust
can be seen
edging
over the horizon- the wildcat
warriors who lost it all
last time, ready to make it back
this time, determined not
lose it again, a second chance
for some, last chance for others, for most
the illusion of good times that will
last forever

i know
better, but when good jobs
and big pay checks
are gushing across a region,
who cares what I
know...

In Corpus Christi,
the right fork to Hwy 77
is the way...

Robstown
Driscoll
Bishop
Kingsville

The Coastal Bend -

sorghum, cotton, refining,
stacks on the horizon
belching steam and red and blue flare
against the horizon,
a sign the refining mix isn’t quite right,
gas by-product flaming, money burning up
in the sky as the operators see it...

all along the ship channel, tankers
bring the crude in, tankers take the finished product
out, a free-port, the largest collection
of refining capacity on the Gulf Coast, all foreign product,
off-shore in - off-shore out,
lingering in this country only long enough
to be processed,
creating the best jobs
in the state for workers and riches for
the Koch brothers
and other multi-nationals

oil and gas
a world market,
interactive and interdependent...

Ricardo
Riviera
Sarita
Mifflin
Armstrong
Norias

the old King Ranch -

before, one ranch,
a country of it's own,
the Running W brand
on everything, their own workers,
descendants of the Kinenos,
cowboys from Mexico
generations ago along with the
longhorns the ranch was built on,
children educated in ranch schools,
brought up to be proud to be
Kinenos, the mythical
TexMex cowboys who were prototype
for the American cowboy...

the old days...

on ranch,
76 miles across then
by the most direct highway route,
still large now,
but reduced,
no longer the largest,
generations pass
each taking a part for themselves
when the time came,
the daughters and their husbands,
ranch foremen trusted by the founders,
who became part of the family,
to become the new
founders

creating their own breed of cattle
to withstand the heat and
and harsh living on the coastal prairie
and bringing grasses
from Australia to survive and spread
on that dry, sand and caliche
prairie....

today,
all the grass is brown,
the ponds that stretch across the pastures
like a network of ink blots on tissue paper
all dry, the sand dunes beneath
the grass beginning to show
again like during the great drought
of the 1950’s when we, coming this way,
would talk about crossing the
desert....

Raymondville
Lyford
Sebastian
Combes
Harlingen
San Benito
Olmito

The Rio Grande River Delta -

fertile years ago
from generations of seasonal river floods,
plentiful water from the river,
anything could be grown and everything was,
citrus, winter vegetables, papaya, avocado,
tropical and semi-tropical
gardens for anyone who wanted to plant
one...

Now mostly grain, cotton, sugar cane,
and, in the last 30 years
tourist - “worth more than a bale of cotton,”
the old timers used to say, “and easier to pick.”

And today, i notice an even newer crop,
electricity, the giant windmills
catching the damp ever-blowing gulf winds
and turning them into the power
that powers our life

the old American-way
in the refineries 100 miles north,
the future in the windmills
turning here on the edge of the Gulf,
an old and often neglected
part of the state
helping build the new world...

the windmills
and their electric product
worth more than even a tourist
and even easier
to pick...

And finally Brownsville...

Stand on the southernmost edge
of the campus of Southmost College,
on the banks of the Rio Grande River,
and you are at the southmost place
you can stand in the State of Texas, and,
except for a space in Florida the width of a line
on the map, the southernmost place
one can stand in the continental
United States...

A fair-sized city, capitol of the great State of AmeriMex,
the fifty-first state...

A poor city, one short bridge span
from Matamoros,
a much larger city with even
more poor people, people so poor
they would risk their lives
to enjoy the poverty on this side
of the bridge...

Six hours from its beginning,
my trip today ends here...

Tomorrow,
the same in reverse...

But today, years from my last time
in this city of two worlds,
i am fascinated again, just as i was
many years ago, walking its
strangely, but familiarly, foreign
downtown streets, and
i am captured again

and I commit myself
to coming back
soon,
when I have more time,
and turkey
dinner
will not be required

a rediscovery





Cloud Exits
Vincent Martinez




Next, I have a poem from Japanese Love Poems - Selections from the Manyoshu. The poet is Tajihi Kasamaro, about whom no information is given.

The Manyoshu is Japan's most significant early anthology of poetry, dating from the eighth century and earlier. Many of the poems in the Manyoshu have, like this one, a short verse at the end of the poem that restates a major point of the poem. These verses are called "envoys."



On his journey to Tsukushi

By the sea-shore of Mitsu, that reminds one
      Of the mirror standing on a girl's comb-case,
I linger, longing for my wife, and sleep alone,
My scarlet sash untied.
I can but weep aloud like the crane crying
In the morning mist at the twilight hour of dawn.
Seeking to  relieve me of my sorrow,
If only by a thousandth part,
I go out to gaze toward my home,
Which is - alas! - lost in the white clouds,
That trail across the green mountain of Kazuraki.

I journey onto the far-off land -
Passing Awaji Island now lying before,
And leaving behind me the island of Awashima.
I hear the shouts of sailors in the morning calm,
And in the calm of evening the splash of oars.
Labouring over the waves,
Circling about amid the rocks,
And past the beach of Inabizuma,
I wander on like a bird
Till  Ie-no-shima,  the "Home Island," comes into sight,
Where  thick and swaying on the stony shore
Grows the weed men call "Speak-not" -
Ah,  why have I  come away from my wife
Without a word of farewell?

                                                 Envoy

Would that my wife and I,
Unfastening our girdles for each other
And with our snow-white sleeves overlapping,
Had  reckoned he day of my return
Before I came away upon my journey!


Bacon
Vincent Martinez





This one is from 2010, an explanation for, among other things, the mysterious movements of the universe. Well, maybe not all that.



a minor poet explains it all
i’m eating
breakfast north-faced
today,
unusual,
because normally
i sit at the booth
at the other end, the one
next to the electric plug,
where i face south
as i eat

this morning
that booth was taken
by another south-faced,
keyboard clicking
diner,
leaving me
at this end, in the
only other booth next
to an electric plug
where i now face breakfast
facing north

i’m not sure
what effect this will have
on the gastro-dynamics
of my egg over easy
and extra-crispy bacon
but it does
present a subtly different
view which, could have far-reaching
psychological effects on

those, like me,
who normally eat breakfast
facing toward the south
face the oncoming traffic on the
interstate,
as well  as those, like me today,
who eat breakfast
facing north
face interstate traffic
going away…

this different orientation

a reason,
i believe, why
south-facing diners
are usually
highly motivated people
with the supreme confidence
required
to write meaningless, totally
trivial, poetry
while
north-facing diners
often suffer from abandonment issues
and are frequent victims
of depression



Myth Melt
Vincent Martinez


The next couple of  poems are by Cynthia Zarin, from her first The Swordfish Tooth, published by Knopf in 1989.

Zarin, born in 1959, graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude, and Columbia University with an M.F.A.

She teaches at Yale University and has written for many magazines, including, for a period of time, as a staff writer for the New Yorker.



On a Mild  Day in Early Spring

On a mild day in early spring my love
made coffee in the copper pot, and we
two sat our on the porch, and, humming

watched the locusts in their winter skins.
On a mild noon in early spring, knee-deep
in the waking pond, we counted ourselves

lucky that our troubles, like the little pigs,
could be counted on the fingers of one hand,
and watched the fish clear eyelet for their spawn.

In the mild gloom of  early spring, my five
fingers, cupped over the pooling lamp, loomed
in the light and filled the room: a ringing

phone; an oxygen mask; a burn from where
a skillet caught its lip and slid; a flue
that needed jockeying, an asterisk.

and then it took our other hands, the graces
in a gold knot, to unclench that whitened fist -
on a mild night in early spring my love.


Wildlife

Head smaller than my fist, ,pin teeth,
the frightened chipmunk clutching the screen
frightens me - quick movement not my own
faring a rainy, eerie afternoon, in a  week
of enforced solitude, as though my heart leapt out.

Time inchoate, meaningless. Two birds,
trapped all night inside the porch, arch and din
against the gird, A day equals
a black year - motor of the blood a drill gone mad.
At dawn we found them, wooed them out.

And then, last night, a mole: visitant friar
at the garbage can. Alone, I stamp my foot,
but, bold in company, one guest terrified, become
benign  protector of  dim habits,  earthly
of unearthly scrounging, in or out.




Breath Felt
Vincent Martinez



Here's another poem from last week, memories brought back by Thanksgiving trip.


notes in passing
 
Mexican shoppers,
rich people
on holiday from a poor  country,
crowd the stores,
even Rudy’s way out I10,
a long way
for good Texas BBQ
but worth it and
duty-free
 
***
crossing the ranch two day ago,
a flock of scavengers
having Thanksgiving dinner
alongside the road,
buzzards I thought, but not so
not ugly,
with black bodies, white necks,
red heads, trim and
not ungainly
pretty even
 
***
used to see
lots of animals
along the ranch road,
back when it was a narrow
two lane - deer, javelinas,
snakes, big snakes, ran over
a rattlesnake once as long as the VW
I was driving, fat, like a rolled up Sunday newspaper,
a big bump in the
road…
usually,
if you saw one rattlesnake
crossing the road, you’d see another
about a quarter mile or so
further down the road
mates, I was told,
the teller unclear as to if
the distance between was due
to reptilian caution
or problems in
the family…
don’t know the facts of that,
being as how 
I don’t like snakes
and don’t care to know
anymore about them past
where they are
so I can be else-
where
***
hawks, still,
lots of hawks,
perched atop fence posts
and telephone poles,
watching for prey, beautiful
when soaring above,
the kind of sight
that made us
early
want to  fly…
deadly on the
ground
***
I visited
the ranch once, a long time ago,
saw their triple-crown winner
grazing, a large,
studly looking horse,
retired to race
no more - now, at his leisure,
a real money-maker
in the privacy of
his barn
pretty little fillies
from all over
came to
visit
***
detoured
through town
to drive past the house
we bought
when first married,
our first house,
small,
a huge covered courtyard
between garage
and backdoor, inside, a high ceiling
open to the roof
above...
 
afternoon delights
under the patter of rain
on the roof overhead…
progress
in our world, leaving
behind times and places
you would take back
in a minute if you
could




Orange Gray
Vincent  Martinez




Here are two poems, one long and one short, by Alma Luz Villanueva. The poems are from her book, Vida, published by Wings Press in 2002.

This is Villanueva's eighth collection of poetry. She has the author of three novels.

Of Yaqui, Spanish, and German heritage, she was born and raised in the San Francisco Mission District. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College at  Norwich University. At the time of publication, she taught in the low-residency MFA creative writing program at Antioch University.



In the Fire

My sixteen-year-old son wrote,
"We all burn in the fire
called time," in an
essay for English -

a friend of his has
died - a sixteen-year-old
boy who never  grew
larger than a four-year-old,

confined to a wheel-chair,
stubby legs that never
held him  up as he ran,
jumped or simply walked -

hands that looked more
at home in the sea,
finlike and soft -
a large  head for his

body,and he was black -
when he looked at you he didn't
mess around, he looked for
truth, and this was son's

friend - my son, perfect
of limb, eye, foot and
hand,taller than me,
he runs steady as

an autumn wind,
blowing every ripe
leaf free -
he runs smoothly,.

sweetly, as spring
and summer winds
coax the spiraling
leaf, then give

cooling, loving shade -
and I wonder, truly
wonder, how he
learned to love

so young, so well -
I remember going to
pick him up at his friend's,
finding  them on the couch,

his friend in his arms,
like a baby, watching
cartoons - as they both
turned to smile at me,

simultaneously, I saw
two old men,
two old Buddhas,
who had found the

secret of life: love
and friendship. They were
ten years old. My son's
friend will grow up,

grow tall, become a fully
grown man, have lovers,
children - suffer, know bliss.
In the fire of my son's

heart.

                    To Bobby Easley (November 1997)


Desire

The God
caresses
the Goddess
with a small

white snake, then
puts it in a pouch to sleep -
The Goddess sets it
free.

                      Dream, May 1999


Finger Tips On An Inca's Back
Vincent Martinez


I'm thinking  it's not  too early for my Christmas  poem. This one from 2010.




mocamuddymacarooniepunietoonies
Elvis
with a blue blue blue Christmas
overhead, strange table, strange people,
strange place, strange echoes
of barristas laughing and strange languages
of mocamuddymacarooniepunietooniess and “talls”
that are short and “grandes” that aren’t so
grand…

Starbucks on Christmas Day

and trying to write a poem
in the midst of all that “strange” is..well…
STRANGE! - it’s the curse of a holiday
when none of the places, activities, people
who normally bring the pleasure of regularity to my regular
every-day day are not available, lost in stockings
hung on the mantle with care and
JC Penny gift cards lost in piles
of torn Xmas wrapping and
hot cocoa by a roaring
fire

instead,
I have to do with joy to the whole darn world
and Christmas cookies
and fat old bearded men who smell like reindeer
and in the middle of it all
I am a traveler who forgot his visa, a sailing ship
lost
in unfamiliar currents,
a train who has skipped its track, a homing pigeon,
orphaned and ignorant of home

I hate to be a self-designated
Scrooge
but I will be so glad when this day is over
and the world returns
to its customary
orbit



Jazz Splice
Vincent Martinez


Next I have several poems by Brian Turner, from his book Here, Bullet, winner of the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award. It was published by Alice James Books.

Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving for seven years in the US Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and Infantry Division. Prior to that he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division.



Two Stories Down

When he jumped from the balcony, Hasaan swam
in the air over the Ashur Street Market,
arms and legs suspended in a blur
over palm hearts and crates of lemons,
not realizing just how hard life fights
sometimes, how an American soldier
would run to his aid there on the sidewalk,
trying to make  sense of Hasan's broken legs,
his screaming, trying to comfort him
with words in an awkward music
of  stress and care, a soldier he'd  startle
by stealing the knife from its sheath,
the two of them struggling for the blade
until the blood grove sunk deep
and Hasan whispered to him,
Shaukran, sadig, shukran;
Thank you, friend, thank you.


Ashbah

The ghosts of American soldiers
wander the streets of Balad by night,

unsure of their way home, exhausted,
the desert wind blowing trash
down the narrow alleys as a voice

sounds from the minaret, a soulful call
reminding them how alone they are,

how lost. and the Iraqi dead,
they watch in silence from rooftops
as date palms line the shore in silhouette,

leaning toward Mecca where dawn wind blows.


Eulogy

It happens on a Monday, at 11:20 A.M.,
as tower guards eat sandwiches
and seagulls drift by on the Tigris River.
Prisoners tilt their heads to the west
though burlap sacks and duct tape  blind them.
The sound reverberates down concertina coils
the way piano wire thrums when given slack.
And it happens like those, on a blue day of sun,
when Private Miller pulls the trigger
to take brass and fire into his mouth:
the sound lifts the birds up  off the water,
a mongoose pauses under the orange trees,
and nothing can stop  it  now, no matter what
blur of motion surrounds him,  no matter what voices
crackle over the radio in static confusion,
because if only for this moment the earth is stilled,
and Private Miller has  found what low hush there is
down in the eucalyptus shade, there by the river.

                                                          PFC B. Miller
                                           (1980 - March 22, 2004)      





Katherine, Jenny, Jackie, Lisa & Tony
Vincent Martinez w/ Mark Taylor & Dennis Hodges



This one  from a week  or so  ago.



there was a boy who knew secrets

a box of old photos
taken from a mother's closet
when she died...

ages ago
it seems, artifacts
from a time long past,
a past imaginable only to people
who remember
days
so different from today, relics
of some other time,
some other
place...

the photos,
shades of gray,
like clouds from a dim
and overcast
past,
a few hand-tinted,
grotesque
in their colors, like the work
of an apprentice
mortician...

the people, young people,
mother, father, aunts and uncles
in uniforms of the last
world war, vibrant, in the midst of the best days
of their lives, long dead now,
everyone, mouldering in the graves
they, in their vitals, never imagined
would be dug for them...

and the boy,
sitting in a cooking pot
on a sandy
beach...

the boy,
school picture, in the Roy Rodgers
shirt, a hand-me-down from
a slightly older cousin...

the boy,
sanding on a porch
with his mother and father
and older brother,
just back from his war...

the boy,
same porch,
with his younger brother...

the boy,
such a quite looking boy,
solemn, like he knows secrets
no one else can see...

the boy who never smiles...

he don't much remember
this boy,
but he knows the boy's secrets,
now his secrets
and yet, unlike the boy,
he can smile

because
he has practiced
until
he got it almost right

 

Machupichu
Vincent Martinez


Next, here are two poems by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan. The poems are from her book, Without a Philosophy, published in 2007 by Louisiana State University Press.

A native of Atlanta, Morgan was The Louis D.Rubin Writer-in Residence at Hollins University at the time of publication. This was her third collection of poetry.



Singapore Art  Museum in the Rain

More than a century of sticky boys
and Christian Brothers sweating in long robes
raised their faces to the open arches
when a hot wind blew down the Straits
rattling he palm fronds that clicked
like marbles in a bag,  or bamboo sticks  played
down louvered shutters by students out
to make a clatter.

Now the boys and the brothers gone,
the old  verandas have been  glazed
with ultraviolet-blocking windows
that in this gallery protect the replica
of Leonardo's flying man.

A guard barks twice, a black-eyed child
from Thailand withdraws his starfish hand
from an invention of the man of Vinci
who couldn't keep his hands off anything.

Suddenly outside the graygreen glass
the famous rain of Singapore
spills down the afternoon,
pours through listening frets of palm leaves,
glazes the black taxis on Bras Basah Road.
And where the gutters meet the corners,
water arcs like fountains.

Inside,  the priceless Leonardo  painting
flown  over the Red and Arabian Seas,
the tip  of India,the Bay of Bengal:
John the Baptist as  a Youth,
a curly haired Italian with a secret smile,
the boy who could  be gazing out the window
contemplating water.


Watching the Weather Channel

Is it raining on you, Linda,
down in San Antonio -
raining too much?
Here in Virginia
the grass breaks
under out feet; the creek's
left stones for cows to lick.
The TV screen shows us cracks
in the earth where there used to be hay,
simulated systems massing
and fading over the globe.
We say we pray for rain
but what do we know
about asking for what we need?
We pray for the hurricane
to go around you - but send us its fringe,
the way we pray for the hand of Death
to pass on to another geography.




Chente's Hente
Vincent Martinez

From 2010:



naked rolling, parts rubbing
a slow Sunday
afternoon
and we were trying
to decide what to do

and I suggested we get
naked
and roll around on the grass
in the backyard,
rubbing
body parts together
fiercely

but there’s a bit of a chill
in the air,
probably to much chill
to be rolling around outside
naked
no matter how fiercely we
rubbed together

so
I was thinking
well we could go down to
the art museum
and take a look at the
impressionist
exhibition,
settle down naked
in front of the Monet
and give him an impression -
rolling around
on the carpet rubbing
body parts together
impressionistically -
that might make the old guy forget
all about water
lilies...

but they have these guards
down there,
that follow us around from room
to room
and I don’t know why
except
maybe they can read minds
and don’t abide
with
people rubbing naked parts
together
in front of the Monet -

maybe
if we moved over
in front of the
Duchamp,
he did a lot of his own
naked parts-rubbing, as I
understand it, and what’s
that nude going to do after
descending the staircase
but some parts-rubbing, cause
why else go downstairs
naked as a jaybird
if there weren’t some parts-
rubbing
intentions…

but the guards
are so guardedly attentive
the museum is out
and I was thinking we might take a drive
in the hill country - the way the leaves are changing
in our backyard, there must be piles
of red and orange and yellow and gold
leaves laying on the ground
under some of those big hill country
oak trees, ripe for some good old rustic naked parts-
rubbing rolling around, but it is even
colder in the hills than it is here
so there’s the chill factor to consider,
plus all those rattlesnakes
who love to hid in leaf piles
on these chilly days, or maybe
up in the trees - they do like to climb
oak trees to sleep through the winter -
and I think they might not welcome
people waking them up, rolling around
naked in the leaves, rubbing parts
together with sylvan abandon, despite
the fact it was a snake in a tree
that started all this naked rolling about
and parts-rubbing in the first place…

or, we might just do what we always
do
on lazy Sunday afternoons, could
just take a Sunday afternoon
nap
you in the easy chair
and me on the
couch

just
like we always
do




Pork Chop Reflected
Vincent Martinez w/ Mark Taylor


From Hungry as we are, an Anthology of Washington area poets, I have this poem by Sid Gold.

The anthology was published in 1995 by The Washington Writers Publishing House.

Gold hails from New York City, and, at the time of publication was, or had, taught writing at George Washington University, the University of Maryland, Bowie State University and other area schools.



Nice

it's nice to have
a beer
in the middle of the afternoon
say about 3:30
as if you had noti8gn
better
to do   nothing
to lose
thinking about all
those poor  stiffs working
the loading dock who'll be
too beat after years
of it
to get stiff anymore
until they're laid out   stiff
a phony peace painted
on their mugs with rouge
thinking about maybe
what you'll do for dinner
read the paper real slow
coffee & pie
it feels
so good
dreaming about that beer that paper
while you're stacking those
damned crates & checking them
against the bill
of lading
it almost makes you
horny
if you don't watch out




Like White Furry Cat
Vincent Martinez w/ Mark Taylor

This is another new one from last week. Like the poet said, you really can't return home again and, after  a  while, you quit wanting to.




I had imagined further places

 Saturday morning,
back at the old home stand,
breakfast
where i always have breakfast,
toasted biscuit and lumpy gravy,
and a single turkey sausage patty
for Bella, waiting in the car
for her second morning walk,
a trail of familiar sniffs
after two days of discovery,
a whole new universe of sniffs
laid out for her
and she was so excited,
curiosity aroused
and with curiosity, it’s inevitable
by-product - intelligence, for
incurious creatures, and that goes
for you and me and other creatures like
you and me, cannot be intelligent,
and intelligent creatures
cannot help but be curious,
and so it is with Bella, each day
of discovery walks
and she becomes a smarter dog

- and i get thinner, by 6 pounds so far,
and certainly healthier,
making it a creature to creature win/win,
one gets smarter while the other
can button his favorite coat, unbuttoned
by structural necessity for the past
five years -

---

breakfast
where i always have breakfast
and where morning poems
have been written, for better or worse,
for several years -

and now it’s time for another one...

---

the journey of the previous two days
a return to the place from whence
i came,

leaving at 18,
succeeding over the course
of 50 years only to this near retreat,
300 miles north, a partial day’s travel,
which doesn’t seem like much of an escape
for the better part
of a lifetime

i had imagined further
places...

---

no family left for me
in that place,
but for those in graves,
but Dee has family to visit,
which she does often and i do
this one time a year

and that time
was yesterday and the day
before

---

i visit
the little town that was mine
and those graves
that are what remains there for me,
and then enjoy breakfast
at the restaurant
mid-way between the towns
two stop lights

and my part of the annual
tour
is done




Roof Top
Vincent Martinez


Next I have selections from  In the Trail  of the Wind - American Indian Poems and  Ritual Orations. The book was published in 1971 by Farrar,Straus and Giroux.

The pieces in the book are arranged  around a variety of subjects, with pieces by various peoples under each subject.



from "The Beginning"


Then He Descended

Then he descended
while the heavens rubbed against the earth.
They moved among the four lights,
among the four layers of he stars.
The world was not lighted;
there was neither day nor night nor moon.
Then they perceived that the world was being created.
Then creation dawned upon the world.

          (Maya)


Thus It Is Told

Thus it is told, it is said:
there have already been four manifestations
and this  one is the fifth age...

The first Sun or age which was founded,
its sign was 4-Water,
it was  called the Sun of Water.
Then it happened
that water carried away everything.
The people were changed into fish.

Then the second Sun or age was founded.
Its sign was 4-Tiger.
Then it happened
the sky was crushed,
the Sun did not follow its  course.
When the Sun arrived at midday,
immediately it  was night
and when it  became dark,
tigers ate the people...

The the third Sun was founded.
Its sign was 4-Rain-of-Fire.
It happened then that  fire rained down,
those who lived  there were burned...

Its sign was 4-Wind
when the fourth Sun was founded.
It was called the Sun of Wind.
Then everything was carried away by the wind...

The fifth Sun,
4-Movement its sign.
It is called the Sun of Movement...
That was when there was light,
when dawn came,
the Sun of Movement which now exists.
4-Movement  is its sign.
This is the fifth Sun which was founded,
in it there will be earthquakes,
in it there will be hunger.

          (Aztec)


Now We Come Southwards

Long ago in the north
Lies the road of emergence!
Yonder our ancestors live,
Yonder we take our being.

Yet now we come southwards
For cloud flowers blossom here
Here the lightning flashes,
Rain water here is falling!

          (Tewa)


"In the Tail  of the  Wind"


It Was the Wind

     It  was the wind that  gave him life. It is the wind that comes
our of our mouths now that gives us live. When this ceases to
blow  we  die. In the skin at the tips of our fingers we see the trail
of the wind; it5 shows us where the wind blew when our ancestors
were created.

          (Navajo)


Breathe on  Him

Breathe on him!
Breathe on him!
Life you alone can give to  him.
Long life,we pray,  O Father, give  unto him

          (Pawnee)


The Wind Blows From the Sea

By the sandy water I breathe in the odor of the sea.
From there the wind comes and blows over  the world.
By the sandy water, I breathe in the odor of the sea.
From  there the clouds come and rain falls over  the world.

          (Papago)


"Home"


The Lands Around My Dwelling

The lands around my dwelling
Are  more  beautiful
From the day
When it is given me to see
Faces I have ever seen before.
All is more beautiful,
All is more beautiful,
And life is thankfulness.
These guests of mine
Make my house grand.

          (Eskimo)


"Of Death"


We Spirits Dance

Down west, down west we dance,
We spirits dance,
We spirits weeping dance.

          (Winto)


Wailing  Song

The sky will weep,
The sky,
At the end of the earth;
The sky will weep.

          (Fox)


"Dreams"


Dream Song

as  my eyes
search
the prairie
I feel this summer
in the spring

          (Chippewa)


Dream Song

Where will  you and I sleep?
At the down-turned jagged rim of the sky you and I  will  sleep.

          (Wintu)


"Of Rain and Birth"


Butterfly Song

Butterfly,  butterfly, butterfly, butterfly,
Oh, look, see it hovering among the flowers,
It is like a baby trying to walk and not knowing how to go.
The clouds sprinkle down the rain.

          (Acoma)


"The Words of War"


War Song

clear the way
in a sacred manner
I come
the earth
is mine

          (Sioux)


Song of  Reproach

soldiers
you fled
even the eagle dies

          (Sioux)


"The Arrival of the Whites"


The Surrender Speech of Cuauhtemoc

     Ah, captain,I  have done everything within my power to defend
my kingdom and deliver it from your hands.  But as fortune has
not favored me, take  my life;  it will  be most fitting; and in so
doing you will bring an end to the Mexican kingdom, for
already you have ruined and destroyed my city and my people.

          (Aztec)


"We Shall Live Again"


Come All!

Come all! Stand up!
Just over there the dawn is coming.
Now I hear
Soft laughter.

          (Papago)









Abuelo
Vincent Martinez

A breakfast consideration (from 2010).



flapjack ruminations
the fella
right down from me,

the bald headed fella
with the handlebar mustache,

is having a flapjack,
normally i would say he’s having

a pancake, but men
with handlebar mustaches

(women, too, i guess)
don’t have pancakes, they

have
flapjacks

i had a handlebar mustache
long ago

and i can tell you it’s just the way of the
handlebars...

reminding me of the movie
“machete”

when the super-tough
hero, Machete,

an elemental man
whose bells and whistles

do not include eletronica,
responding

to the sexy chica's invitation, says
“machete don’t text” -

neither do Superman, Batman,
Aquaman and the Flash,

but Spiderman,
he might

wimpy
little arachnomorphoid...

having nothing to do
with the kid at the table

right over from me, eating
one of the restaurants famous

hugemongous pancakes

(not a whisper of whisker yet
on the kid

so certainly no handlebar
mustache

so no flapjacks to him today)

his mother bet him $2 he couldn’t
eat the whole thing

and from the size of his father
it’s clear

his mother
must keep a lot of $2 bills

around the house
to pay off bets like that one...

it seems from the conversation
that the family, mother, father, son,

are in the city to day to watch their
older son

graduate from basic training
at Lackland Air Force Base

a ritual i completed
nearly 45 years ago, on a

cold, cold early January morning
in 1966,

a few days into the new year and
a bare month before my 22nd birthday

~~

i had neither handlebar mustache
nor hair

at the time,
but made up for it later




George Zupp
Vincent Martinez


I have several poems by Jimmy Santiago Baca. They are from his book Martin & Meditations on the South Valley, published by New Directions in 1987. The book is two long poem series. In the past I have concentrated on the "Martin" series. This  week I'm going to the shorter poems in "Meditations  on the South Valley." The poems are numbered I through  XXVIII. I'm using poems from near  the middle of the series.



XII

I am remembering the South Valley.
Rain smacked tin-roofs
like an all night passenger  train,
fiery flames of moon flashing
from the smoke stack.

Beneath the rain shaded sky,
faint surge of rain pulsing down my windows,
rain's blue month curling around everything
                                  I dream

myself maize root
swollen in pregnant earth,
rain seeping  into my black bones
into earth's hungry mouth.

I am part of the earth


XIII

Antonio, you want to say something
with your polished brown-wood eyes.
Your legs bend to steady you
on the unseen horse. You turn your back
to see me, then go
into red hills of sunlight
in the backyard, down curving paths
of moss and fire,
awake the sleeping Goddess of Dirt,
to plant  your yellow flower soul
in her mouth
with a stick.

My son,
                                     your eyes

are music storms,
filled with the black song of earth,
your heart's reddened eye
peers at a blue alfalfa flower,
glowing with your destiny.



XVII

I love the wind
when it blows through my barrio.
It hisses its snake love
down calles de polvo,
and cracks egg-shell  skins
of abandoned homes.
Stray dogs find shelter
along the river,
where great cottonwoods rattle
like old covered wagons,
stuck in stagnant waterholes.
Days when the wind blows
full of sand and grit,
men and women make decisions
that change their whole lives.
Windy days in the barrio
give birth to divorce papers
and squalling separation. The wind tells us
what  others refuse to tell us,
informing men and women of a secret,
that they move away to hide from.







The Magic Toof
Vincent Martinez


Here are several of my own shorter poems from the  last couple of weeks.




a foggy morning’s foggy morning memories
 
foggy morning,

the world
a universe of shrink-wrapped
sound…

buying gas,
the deep-throat rumble
of a diesel engine
at idle
nearby…

on the street,
the hungry mew
of a black cat
lost
in the gray…

walking
by the bay, fish
jumping, the slap
of their tails
on the water,
a shot in the dark…

by the Coca Cola
bottling plant
near my grandmother’s
house, clackity-clack, clickity-
click of empty bottles
on the conveyor…

in the harbor,
the lighthouse moans,
the Russian tanker
groans,
nets jumble-jangle,
rising
on shrimp boats
preparing
to voyage to their
fishing grounds…

the dog,
sniffing the rustle
in the bushes,
jumping
when the bushes
rustle back…

by my window,
garbage cans pulled
to the curb…

foggy morning,
the silence
of the mist broken
by singular sounds, rising
as from the
deep


real and natural night
the moon
shines silver-bright
over the trees and rooftops
on this winter night

like
a pale stallion
radiant among those of its kind
destined to pull plows
and hay wagons
and elderly ladies in rickety buggies,
it diminishes
the streetlights
and porch lights
that seek to deny the dark

how I wish
those other lights
would lose finally their fight,
their competing smoulder
of human fears
extinguished, leaving
only the ordinary shadows
of ordinary night

so I could walk in the black
of real and natural night,
alone,
bathed in the reflected glow
of the soft princess
who shines high above
me
 
 





a fence I cross

near-frost
temperatures last night
and tonight,
midnight,
one night later,
I can hear the leaves
falling
in the dark,
almost like rain,
but dry,
like Corn Flakes
falling in small sprinkles
on a hardwood floor

it is the sound
of a season changing,
a crackling, brown and dry,
under a cold sky,
the moon brightly seen through
slowly denuding
trees

acorns
falling on the roof
from the tree up front,
a sharper sound,
percussive
against the lighter rattle
of falling leaves
on the dry
grass
here in the back

this slight sound
a fence I
cross
to winter’s first
leaf blowing
winds







Chanalito
Vincent Martinez


Next, I have several short pieces by ancient Greek from the anthology, Dances for Flute and Thunder, Praises, Prayers, and Insults. The book was published in 1999 by Penguin Books.

The poems were translated by Brooks Haxton.


The first poet from the book is by Bakchylides, a fifth century B.C. poet about whom I could find nothing in English.


Praise and Lamentation

     Eudemos built this altar on his farmland
thankful that he spirit  of the west wind gave
     in answer to his prayers swift help
at the winnowing of barley from the sun-split husk

---

Our sweet child,  lifeless, woke
     in us the woe that none may speak.


The next two poems are by Meleagros, poet of the second century B.C.


Idea of Beauty

Shy, he stepped off into the cornfield. I could see
     his back muscles under the damp shirt quiver and go slack.
Turning again to face the shade,  he smiled at me, not
     squinted, smiled, and finished tugging shut his fly.
Now when the cornstalks  in the night wind slide
     like fire, I see him. He steps closer in my dream.
I don't know, where he sleeps, if sleep refreshes him,
     but here it works me like hot  metal over a flame.


Funeral

Cremate me, what's left, my dear.
Pour into the ashes in my urn
a fifth of sour mash,  stir well,
and bury. Let my stone say,
Love gave death a snot.


Next,  here are two short pieces by first century B.C. poet Zonas.


Charon

You who pull the oars, who meet the dead,
who leave them at the other bank,  and glide
alone across the reedy marsh, please take
my boy's hand as he climbs into the dark hull.
Look, The sandals trip  him, and you see,
he is afraid to step there barefoot.


Earthenware

     Let me  drink, my sweetness,
from the clay cup, I who come forth
         out of the same clay,
under trhe same clay so to lie forgotten.


This short piece classical invective is by Ammiaus, poet of the second  century A.D.


In Memory

So  may the dust lie light upon Nearchos,
that, with ease,  the  dogs may drag him out.




 
Untitled
Vincent Martinez




I finish off my old poem for the week with these two from December, 2010.

 
winter night
winter night,
in the last moment
before dusk falls
the sky is clear,
light blue,
like the "it's a boy" blankets
you get at the hospital
to warm
a new born son

thin,
almost transparent blue,

moon bright
in the soft sky,
not full,
flattened a little
on one side like a globe.
flattened
at the South Pole,
so it won't role off your desk

Antarctica folded in on itself

a chill wind
blowing from the top of the hill,
raising a shower
of golden leaves
from trees along
the creek

light winter-home taste
of chimney smoke in the air

ten degrees
cooler
than the numbers on the thermometer reads

very quiet

 





like  a morning, slow starting
barely a hint
in the dark
that it’s 7 a.m.

a reflected shadow
of orange
against the tree line

to the east -
an overcast sky, but no fog,
passing car lights, needle

sharp,
prick the dark morning -
the morning

before the morning
before Christmas day, frantic
on hold, like everyone’s

fed to full
on all the frantic in the fridge
and they’ve reached, already,

a post-feast stupor,
shoes off, on the couch,
that kind of day

ahead,
if we’re lucky
and think to live well,

like a morning,
slow starting, sets
the rhythm for the day







Gloria & Brian Ciravino
Vincent Martinez
 


Last from my library this week, I have two poems by Adrienne Rich. The poems are from her book, Dark Field of the Republic, Poems  1991-1995.

It was published in 1995 by W.W. Norton.


Sunset, December, 1993

Dangerous of course to draw
parallels.   Yet more dangerous to  write

as if  there were a steady course, we and our poems
protected:    the individual life, protected

poems,ideas, gliding
in mid-air, innocent

I  walked out on the deck and every board
was luminous with cold dew   It could freeze tonight

Each board  is different of course but each does gleam
wet, under a complicated sky:   mounds of swollen ink

heave gray unloading up the coast
a rainbow  suddenly and casually

unfolding its span
Dangerous not to  think

how the earth still was    in places
while the chimney's  shuddered with the first dischargements

1993


And Now

And now as you read these poems
-  you whose eyes and hands I love
- you whose mouth and eyes I  love
- you whose words and minds I  love -
don't think I was  trying  to  state a case
or construct  a scenery:
I tried to  listen  to
the public voice of our time
tried to survey our public space
as best I could
- tried to remember and stay
faithful to details, note
precisely how the air moved
and where the clock's hands stood
and who was in charge of definitions
and who stood by receiving them
when the name of compassion
was changed to the name of guilt
when to feel with a human stranger
was declared obsolete.

1994



 
 
 

Lime Grape
Vincent Martinez
 



This is the story of walking my cat in the morning. It's from a couple of days ago,  illustrating how  all of my pets often need counseling.


 
 
walking my cat on the morning of December 2nd
 
I walked my cat this morning,
not that I meant to,
but cats happen…

it started a week ago
after Bella
chased off an intruder cat
who was threatening
our front-porch cat, hissing
and eating the food
I had put out…

since then,
front-porch cat
has developed a serious
dog-crush,
following along with us
as Bella and I take our morning
walk - the two of us
on one side of the street
while front-porch cat,
observing propriety, walks
quietly on the other side

(also insuring plausible
deniability
should we meet up with
a gathering of her feline kind -
who me, I can hear her say,
walking with a dog, never happened,
pure coincidence that we were just going
the same way
at the same time)

obviously a serious
misunderstanding, a mis-reading
of the situation,
as she just happens to be walking
on the same street
as the dog, stopping
to sniff
when the dog stops to sniff,
stopping to scratch
when the dog stops to
scratch, clearly into the same moment
as the dog, a cat moment
in a dog moment and the dog
doesn’t understand it anymore
than I do and cares even less -

though it was difficult
the first couple of days, it
being hard to get anywhere
when the dog stopped every twelve
feet to check the cat’s
relative position,
but she has on this day
at last accepted
that she does not
walk alone, that she has a cat
accompaniment in her morning
aria and so what, though she, too,
will deny any such thing
if mention is made
of it…

(the cat, a feral female,
fixed
so that she might
enjoy a more cosmopolitan lifestyle
rather than her previous life
constantly under the eye of horny
Toms, lives on our
front porch, waiting for me
several times a day, displaying
her willingness to accept food
from my hand, tribute to her tire-
less work porch-guarding, and
other than that, we have no
relationship, refusing to be touched
by me -though we do exchange several
meows every morning - so it’s not like
she doesn’t recognize my existence
as part of her world)…

but, let’s face it,
she never followed me around before,
so it has to be all about
her hero, the
dog

not that there’s anything wrong
with that
 




detail
from Jazz  Splice
Vincent Martinez
 
(The artist's representation of my son and his friend, Andres Londono, who, as the Ray-Gunn Show Choir, created "chimeras, ideals, errors," a CD of electronic (mostly) and jazz improvisations, originally sold with the book "Seven Beats a Second.) 
 
 



And so, finally caught up to where I'm supposed to be and when I'm supposed to be there.

Nothing's changed - everything in the post belongs to the people who created it. My stuff is mine, too, but you borrow it. If you do, please properly credit "Here and Now" and me.

And I'm still allen itz, owner and producer of this blog, and purveyor of fine books made by me.

Go here and buy them all - they're cheap.






Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, Kobo, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, and eBookPie.


Poetry

Places and Spaces


Always to the Light





Goes Around, Comes Around



Pushing Clouds AgainstWind
And, for those print-bent, available
at Amazon
and several coffeehouses in San Antonio

Seven Beats a Second


Short Stories
Sonyador - The Dreamer


 

1 Comments:
at 10:50 AM Blogger L.P. Jones said...

A good collection as always Alan. I particularly enjoyed Poem With A Declaration Maybe and the ancient Japanese sailor poem. I wondered whether your clever Thanksgiving poem described an actual vulture. There's some strange metaphor on humanity inside -- perhaps that even flesh eaters (metaphorically speaking) can appear perfectly normal, acceptable, even attractive. Good stuff.

Post a Comment



Archives
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
Links
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Tryst
Poems Niederngasse
BlazeVOX
Eclectica
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
zafusy
The Blogging Poet
Poetsarus.Com
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
The Writer's Block Poetry Forum
The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
Gary Blankenship
The Hiss Quarterly
Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
Arlene Ang
The Comstock Review
Thane Zander
Pitching Pennies
The Rain In My Purse
Dave Ruslander
S. Thomas Summers
Clif Keller's Music
Vienna's Gallery
Shawn Nacona Stroud
Beau Blue
Downside up
Dan Cuddy
Christine Kiefer
David Anthony
Layman Lyric
Scott Acheson
Christopher George
James Lineberger
Joanna M. Weston
Desert Moon Review
Octopus Beak Inc.
Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet