The Morning After   Wednesday, November 07, 2012










This post will appear the day after the election. It is being prepared beginning a full week before the election.

I don't know how  its  going to  turn  out, just hoping it isn't a disaster.

In the meantime, will pretend everything  is normal. (Except for the huge storm in process  in the east, which makes it anything but for the people in it right now.)

So, having nothing better, my photos  this week  will be from a walk we took on  the Riverwalk,  last weekend on an absolutely beautiful Sunday. (Those who might me contemplating a visit to San Antonio, should aim for October or November when the city is waking up from one of our typically miserable summers.

We began south of  downtown at a little natural  garden near the Caesar Chavez bridge and the beginning of the King William District and walked to the Main Street bridge near  the central tourist section in the center of downtown.

My anthology this week is not an anthology. I picked up a book, The Poems of Catullus, at my half-price book store a couple of days ago and really like his sharp and pointed wit about the society and people of his time. So, instead of an anthology this week, I've sprinkled his poems throughout the post. The book was published by Penguin Books in 1966. The poems in the book are numbered and otherwise untitled.

All the poems in the book were translated by Peter Whigham.


Here's who I have for you.



Me 
a winter  sky

From The Poems of Catullus 
#8



Me 
who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop

Vicente Aleixandre 
Limits and Mirror
Face Behind the Glass (An Old Man’s Gaze)
We Wait
Raining

Me 
how it is

From The Poems of Catullus 
#41
#52
#53
#54

Me 
roadside attractions - mid-October

Michelle Boisseur 
Tariff

Me 
I’m not a hard-hearted man

From The Poems of Catullus 
#10

Me 
about the politics of grumpity, crappity old men

Ibrahim al-Awaji 
The Source

Me 
Max

From The  Poems of Catullus 
#97
#98
#100
#101

Me 
the natural order of things

Lily Brown 
To Left from Right
The News
Experience

Me 
on the first long day of another long month

From The Poems of Catullus 
#66

Me 
skin and bones
coconut cream pie


A selection of haiku from Haiku Mind


Me 
it’s a shallow pool today

From The Poems of Catullus
 “#103
#104
#105
#106

Me 
1/1/11

Jeanette Lozano 
Linden 197
Cold Flame

Me 
poets on every street corner

Me 
lesson plan for slow learners











My daily poems are from where my mind is at the time  I write them. And since I'm still  processing the loss of my companion (as told last week), that, I expect, is what my poems will  be returning to for a while.





a winter sky

a winter sky
like a gray smoke
blanket
wrapping the moon
and stars
in cold embrace
the night
tossed in a thin sheen
of troubled 
sleep
the morning
bright and clear,
cold,
but not so cold
I cannot write outside,
here between the trees
under a baby-blue
sky
across the way
deer
emerge from the trees
to feed with me
under the same blue sky
and the world
has turned again,
from dark to light, from
from sorrow to acceptance, from
troubled to serene
and though I see her sometimes
when there is a flash
of movement 
in the corner of my eye,
the world has turned again
as it always does,
and I breathe
with the deer
the morning
of this wondrous 
wondrous 
day









Here's my first poem by the poet Catullus.

A Roman poet of the Republican period. Although there is no existing biography from his time, it  is though he was born in the year 87 B.C. and died at age 30 in 54 B.C. Just about all of what is known of him came from his own work and the works of others from his time. He came from a leading family of  Verona in Cisalpine Gaul. The family was prominent enough for his father to entertain Caesar when he was proconsul of both Gallic provinces. And though the poet complained about his poverty he owned a villa near the fashionable resort of Tivoli and clearly belonged to one of he richest families of the area.


Catullus appears to have spent most of his young adult years in Rome. His friends there included many of the poets and orators of his time. A number of them appear in his poems, including Cicero, Caesar and Pompey. According to an anecdote preserved by Suetonius, Caesar did not deny that Catullus's lampoons left an indelible stain on his reputation, but when Catullus apologized, he invited the poet for dinner the very same day.

It was probably in Rome that Catullus fell deeply in love with the "Lesbia" of his poems, who is usually identified with Clodia Metelli, a sophisticated woman from the aristocratic house of patrician family. In his poems Catullus describes several stages of their relationship: initial euphoria, doubts, separation, and his wrenching feelings of loss.

Catullus's poems were widely appreciated by other poets. He greatly influenced poets such as Ovid, Horace, and Virgil. His poems were lost for nearly a thousand years and after their rediscovery in the late Middle Ages, Catullus again found admirers. His explicit writing style has shocked many readers. Indeed, Catullus was never considered one of the canonical school authors, although his body of work is on the reading lists for American Ph.D. programs in the classics, and is still taught at secondary school level in the United Kingdom.



    
-8-

Break off
              fallen Catullus
                             time to cut our losses,
bright days shone once,
             you followed a girl
                             here and there
loved as no other
              perhaps
                             shall be loved,
then was the time
              of loves insouciance,
                              your lust as her will
matching.
              Bright days shone
                                on both of you.
Now,
              A woman is unwilling.
                                 Follow suit
weak as your are
              no chasing of mirages
                                   no fallen love,
a clean break
              hard against the past
                                   Not again,Lesbia.
No more,
              Catullus is clear,
                                   He won't miss you.
He won't crave it.
               It is cold.
                                   But you will whine.
You are ruined.
               What will your life be?
                                    Who will  "visit" your room?
Who uncover the beauty?
                 Whom will you love?
                                      Whose girl will you be?
Whom kiss?
                 Whose lips bite?
                                        Enough. Break.
Catullus,
                  Against the past.  















Here's a poem from about this time last  year. A deep  question, that I don't recall as being answered.







who put the bop in the  bop shoo  bop shoo bop

I used to listen
often to National Public
Radio,

learning
many new things
every time I did - now

I  listen hardly ever,
not wishing
for new things to learn,

wishing , instead, for plain
and simple  reassurance
of all the things I  used to know that

now seem in question,
like
who put the bop in the bop  shoo bob shoo bop?

the first  entry
in reply to a Google search
references Barry Manilow,  which is absolutely

unacceptable
because I was there at the time
and there is no bop shoo bop bop

in Barry Manilow’s
plain vanilla  past and saying
he put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop,

you might as well say
I put the ram
in the rama lama ding dong

and
though frequently influenced
by a variety of chemicals

at the time
I’m pretty sure that’s just  not
true

myself, as I recall it,
being,
more of a bebop a lu la guy…

National Public Radio,
in the meantime,
has nothing to say about important stuff

like this, choosing instead
on the news of the day,
fantasy squash and rancid politics…









Next, I have several  short poems by Vicente Aleixandre. The poems are from his book, A Bird of Paper, published by Ohio University Press in 1982.

Aleixandre, born in Seville in 1898, began to write poetry at an early age. After illness forced him to quit his job with a railway company, he dedicated his life to writing. He won the National Prize for Literature in 1934, and was admitted to the Spanish Royal Academy in 1949. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977. At the time this book was written he lived on the outskirts of Madrid.


He died in 1984.


His poems were translated for this book by
Willis Barnstone and David Garrison working together and separately on the various poems.

Limits and Mirror

          I

Don't insist. Youth doesn't deceive. It shines alone.

In a naked chest the day is dying.
It is not the words that fool me.
but the pure silence being born here.
At your borders. The quiet outline limits you.
But it doesn't diminish you. Your truth throbbing here
     in space.

          II


Only a naked body shows borders.

Whoever limits himself is. You on the earth.
How differently earth expands
and draws together and shines and, finally, takes fire,
flesh or resin, or lofty body shivering
with fire. O if to live is to burn, then die!

          III


But whoever dies is born, and here you still  exist.

The same woman? A face is not a mirror though
     it repeats
her expression. Perhaps her voice. In the mirror an image
     of a sound
freezes. On the glass her lip left imprints!
Only the vapor of what you loved.

Face Behind the Glass  (The Old Man's Gaze)

Late or soon or never.
But there behind the glass the face persists.
Next to some natural flowers the flower itself appears
in the form of color, cheek, rose.
Behind the glass the rose is always a rose,
but doesn't smell.
distant youth is precisely that.
But here it can't be heard.

Only light pierces the virgin glass.


You Wait

A city in the depths waits for a wind.
You walk in it. Whoever sees is fooled,
whoever doesn't look understands.
To look long was the light: your eyes, blind.
Hush. The shadow moves on. It's the sleeping city in still
     deeper sleep.
Nocturnal dust, and eyes,
eyes in the dark mist. Above, night.
Hush. solitude lying down is also sleeping.
Alone, naked,
you wait

Raining

Raining this afternoon and your image
rains purely. The day opens up  in my memory.
     You came in.
I don't hear. Memory gives me only your image.
Only your kiss or rain falls into my remembrance.
Your voice rains, and a sad kiss rains,
a profound kiss,
kiss drenched with rain. Moist lip.
Moist with memory the kiss cries
from gray delicate
skies.
Your love rains wetting my memory
and falls ad falls. A kiss
falls into depth. And gray rain, still gray,
is falling.











Here's  another from last week.



how it is


I try to learn
from events in my life
and this time I learned
the fragility of life,
and how fast death can 
overtake it - second to second,
life to death, how all life’s tensions
that keep the structure 
standing
in the mortal state
can so rapidly
ease,
how life is a light
and in the second of death
how that light is gone,
how you can hold life
in your hands 
and feel its departure,
how an essence that was in the room
leaves the room
with a sigh of departure
and how for a moment 
the air
is hollow and at the same time
dense and how life fills a void
and how death leaves
a void
and how it happens 
in a second, how, in the blink of an eye
the store of universal life-force 
is diminished, 
how life, a cloud, a state
of diaphanous being, 
dissipates into
the nothing
of all nothing 
and how it’s passage
rends the cosmos,
how it leaves
a 
scar











This next several short poem are my second entry from the book, The Poems of Catullus. The poet  wrote with a sharp-edged pen.



     -
41-

Formianus's whore,
                                long-nosed
well-stuffed Amena,
claims that I owe her
"a cool thousand" - for  services!

Gather round, friends & relations

call in the medical practitioners
assemble your kinsfolk
and place the girl under analysis.
Why?
          She is clearly the victim of hallucinations
          (an advanced case of psychosis).


      
-52-

Drop dead,Catullus,lie right down where you are & die.
that  blister Nonniius occupies a magistrate's chair;
Vatinius commits perjury - & collects a consulate.
Drop dead,Catullus, just drop right down (& die)


      
-53-

I  laughed, Calvus I laughed today
when someone in the courtroom crowd, hearing
your quite brilliant expose of 
the Vatimian affair lifted his hands up
in proper amazement, and cried suddenly:
"A cock that size...and it  spouts!"
I laughed, Calvus,Iaughed.


      
-54-

If not  by all that his friends boast,
at  least by pin-headed Ottos unattractive pate
by loutish Erius's half-washed legs
by Libo's  smooth & judicious farts
by Sufficio's old man's lust turned green
may great Caesar be duly revolted. Once more
my naive  iambics strike home...
                                                    unique general!













Here's a poem I wrote this time of the year in 2010.







roadside attractions - mid-October

7 pretty young 
women

in skimpy Halloween
costume

at the restaurant
door 

at 6 a.m.
leaning on one another,

laughing, flashing shapely parts,
ready for post-festivities breakfast -

pretty witches
after an all-night prowl,

reminding me

i never get invited
to the good parties

anymore

~~

i take a look
at People magazine

every couple of weeks,
proud to stay up-to-date on 

the whip and whirl
of popular culture, feeling

an obligation
as a poet and commentator

to be in-the-know
on the world all about,

finding, instead, 
this morning

that i don’t have a clue
and the only names i recognize

are dead
or on the way there

~~

I heard the guy 
order,

big guy, tough
looking,

like a let’s go out
toss the old pigskin

around guy,
maybe run some patterns

guy -
white chocolate

something
he says,

quad something,
no foam,

70 degrees -

i’ve bought houses
with less stringent requirements

than that...

what’s wrong with
a good old cup a’ joe -

worked for me for
66 years now

and i don’t ever
even want to throw

the old pigskin
around

~~

religiosos barbosos
arrive,

late,
i’m already ready to go,

can’t stay to listen in,
but it might be good since

the tall one, the one who looks like
an Episcopalian bishop

is back, been gone all summer,
probably off in an African jungle

looking for Livingston
or something else equally Episcopalian -

their regular table next to mine
is taken

so they’re sitting all the way across
the room

so i wouldn’t be able to hear them
even if i stayed -

too bad, 
but someone needs to tell them

when the shepherds stay slug-a-bed
the sheep go their own way and

late with the word
is the same as no word at all

~~

first red shadows of sunrise
bath the soft green hill across the way -

the day
part of the day beginning

the night part
winding down - as i become

more and more
a habitue of the dark

i feel my day slipping away
even as it begins

for everyone else











Next, I have a poem by Michelle Boisseau from her book, Trembling Air, published in 2003 by The University of Arkansas Press.

Boisseau teaches poetry and poetics a the University of Missouri,  Kansas City. She has published widely, with numerous awards and honors, including the Samuel French Morris Prize, the Lucille Medwick Award, and the Cecil Hemey Award, as well as an NEA fellowship. 




Tariff

It takes time to appreciate how I once
made a  friend so unhappy the next night
on the road from Chauncey to Amesville, Ohio,
she steered her Fiat Spider had on
into an on-coming truck. Her boyfriend
identified her waitress uniform.
She's been dead now for more than twenty years.
What I did to hurt her I won't tell you -
so you're free to imagine any vicious,
self-indulgent, hapless blunder or crime

while I go about turning this into a poem again,

turning over heavy marl, the garden
in spring, and the wind picks up, flinging soil
against my neck, behind my ears, into my teeth.
You have to get dirty: what appreciate
means is to price. After living a while
you understand the ways you have to pay.









Okay, I'll admitted it. This election has left me walking around almost continuously pissed-off and hoping that on the day this appears (the day after the election) I will not have to be even more pissed-off than I have been for the past six months. 

I'm just tired of being  pissed-off.




I’m not a hard-hearted man



I’m not
a hard-hearted man

but I find it hard to forgive

offenses against
nature

like the farm boy
with excessive affection
for his favorite ewe
or rich republican candidates
who claim an affection
for people like you
and me…

baaaaaaaaaa…

gonna get screwed again,
I fear,
legitimate - well, I doubt
it…

best we kick the barn door down
now
and head for higher grasses
to protect our
asses

or
we can not forget
to vote
and send that farm boy
back to his
stable
where he an Old Nellie
can have a fling
on their
own









Here's another  piece from The Poems of Catullus. This one's a little longer than the last  several.



      
-10-

Alfenus Varus
buttonholes me
in the forum
where I'm lounging,
drags me off to
view a girl  who
seems at  first a 
not unlady-
like young lady,
of obvious "charms".
The small talk turns 
on how Bithynia
stands - my luck there.
I answer (which is 
true) that neither
locals, praetors,
nor  their aides
make money, that
palm-greasing's out,
that Memmius,
our praetor, greased
his aides elsewhere.
"But you," they said
"were not  so poor 
"you couldn't run
"to litter slaves  -
"they come from there."
And I, because 
of her,  said lightly:
"Things were bad,but
"not as  bad as
"that -  I'd  eight stout
"porters." (I, who've
no  one, here or
there, even to 
lift the foot of
my split pallet.)
And the girl, in
character, at
once cooed:  "Lend me
"our porters for
"an hour of two
"this afternoon -
"I feel like doing
"what girls do,
"at Serap's shrine."
"My dear," I said,
"of course, but  act-
"ually they're Gaius
"Cinna's - not my own
"- he lets me use
"them when I want.
"It's all the same...
"You really mustn't
"take your friend's  friends
"at their word,
                        young lady,
"it's common as
"well as comic."










Here's another poem from this time of the year, this one from 2009.




about the politics of grumpity crapity 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 is 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 of my generation, not the
preoccupations of a bunch of
grumpity crapity 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 grumpity, crapity 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
or boast about










Next I have a longish poem by
Ibrahim al-Awaji, a leading contemporary Saudi Arabian poet, taken from his book The Tents of the Tribe. The book was published by Echoes in 1996.

al-Awaji holds an MPA in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in Public Affairs (Government) from the University of Virginia. He has published several collections of poetry in Arabic and one in French. This book is the first of his works to be translated into a bilingual Arabic/English edition. The English translation was provided by
Maryam Ishaq Al-Khalifa Sharief.

I like this poem for many reasons, one, but not the only one, being that it seems like a poem I would write. 





The Source

A million years ago,
Before I ever was
Before you ever were
We were the source of love itself
residing in the poems sung by whales
and by shepherds.

A light we were

Crimson in color.
Companion to the winds,
t the stars and
to the clouds.
Hiding in a smile
that dwelt in eyes.

We were symbols

for the-ecstasy and
the mystery.
Which unveiled to Qays
the reality of his love
His melancholic love for Laylah.
And revealed to all that
Love is a kind of madness.

A million years ago,

Before I ever was
Before you ever were
we were landmarks
of live itself
over the stretching expanse
of unfolding years.
In dreams, as in nostalgia,
We were the rosy dew
Over the dryness
of this grieving planet.

A million years ago,

Before the planet's birth
And after it
We shall go on being
an ever-rosy tale.
Inscribed with letters
of purity and immorality
Perched on the crown of
unfolding years.
Perched on he crown of
unfolding years.


When did I begin?

When did you begin?
How did I come to be?
How did you come to be?
And how did we both happen to be
Love itself in this vessel of centuries?

A million years to come,

We shall remain
that tender poem of lovers
And of friends
nocturnally confabulating,.
That melody,
which dispels all lamentations
From denial's bosom
Or from plaintive stirring
which arises in the soul.

I add here that I transcribed this poem as it appears in the book, despite instances of what appears to me editing and proofing problems. It is my practice always as the text is presented, even when, as in this case, the text appears to me to include errors. I don't take it as my place to second guess what the poet intended, even when it appears to me someone else already has.












It's true, there'll never  be another like my late, lamented Reba. But they are all special  in their own special way.






Max

Max,
in the newspaper today,
her picture on the last page
of the local section…

golden lab retriever,
short hair,
73 pounds, intelligent
eyes and
a happy smile,
available today
at the Animal Defense League

too soon, too big,
probably needs more exercise
than I’m able to give,
but I love Labs
and the temptation
to a dog junkie
like me
is almost overwhelming…

we will wait
until tomorrow to decide…

with any luck
he will be gone by then









Here a couple more short  pieces  from
The Poems of Catullus. Again, he wields his sharp  pen.



      
-97-

As God is my witness, where is the difference between
the smell of Aemillius' mouth & that of his arse?
The cleanness of  one equals the filth of the other. Actually
his arse is probably the cleaner & nicer of the two:
there he's without teeth,  while the teeth in his mouth
are half a yard long, stuck in the gums like an old wagon
behind them the cleft cunt of a she-mule pissing in summer.
And this Being copulates.
                                         A fit dolt for the treadmill.
considers himself an object of elegance.
Whatever  woman handles this  man is equally
capable of  licking the arse-hole of a leprous hangman.


      
-98-

The same can be  said of you, Victius
as of any open-mouthed bore
                                                suffering from halitosis.
With that tongue of your one can actually credit
your licking, at will, besmeared boots & buttocks.
If you wish to prostrate the company -
                                                              gape:
you will  efficiently accomplish your  purpose


      
-100-

Undone or  done up with love
Caelius for Aufilenus
                Quintius for Aufilena
that for the brother
              this for the  sister
each the flower of young Verona,
something  beyond "brotherly love"
which should I favor,  Caelius, but you
who showed me such friendship when
the irrational flame seared me
in Rome? Be happy, Caelius.Thrive. 
                Be potent in loving.


      
-101-

Journeying over many seas & through many countries
I come dear brother to this pitiful leave-taking
the last gesture by your graveside
the futility of words over your quiet ashes.
Life cleft us from each other
pointlessly depriving brother of brother.
Accept then, in our parents' custom
these offerings, the leave-taking
echoing for ever, brother, through a brother's tears.
                                                - "Hail & Farewell."









Here's another old poem. I wrote this one in 2008, this time of the  year, of course.







the natural order of things

it is the morning 
after 
the first morning 
of DST 

while 
others scurry 
to change clocks 
jump forward 
fall back 
whichever the correct course 
for the season 

i take a more 
benign 
approach 
don’t 
change anything 
just remember 
to add 
or take away an hour 
when i look at the clock 

whichever might be required 
for the season 

this means 
that 
without any action 
by the human hand of 
intrusion 
all my clocks 
are correct half the year 
and 
through the other half 
of the year 
are equally correct except 
only 
set slightly akilter 
by the human need to fuck 
with the natural order of things 
correctable - 
since 
correction is always required 
when humans 
surrender 
their need 
to fuck with the natural 
order - 
by the simple addition or subtraction 
of 1 

thus 
my clock 
unaffected by the human need 
to fuck with the natural order of things 
reads 10:06 a.m. 
though 
being sufficiently proficient in math 
i know that 
1 whole hour unit subtracted from (now) 10:07 
means that it is actually 
(now) 
9:08 a.m. 

meanwhile 
i got up this morning 
at the normal time i always get up 
the only change being that 
because of the human need to fuck 
with the natural order of things 
had to kill an hour 
waiting for the rest of the world 
to catch up









Here are several poems by
Lily Brown, from her book, Rust or Go Missing. The book was published last year by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center.

Brown, who was born and raised in Massachusetts, holds degrees from Harvard University and Saint Mary's College of California. She has published chapbooks and in various poetry journals. She lives in Athens, where she is a PhD student at the University of Georgia.




To Left from Right

Lift up and enter the body

from above. Be the window

that lowers to wall,

in houses on bays,

where glasses are ships. Sink


by sleight of water

and not by wreck 

     *


conversation's cobbled

from complaint. When none remain

I am a case complete. The difference between people

and drakes is ee paint ourselves.

     *


Waves are greyhounds

that out-shoulder one another.
The seal's not stopped. Surface

breaching is more than we manage.


     *


I found the secret -



Don't  tell

him what he sees.We can't  see

from his mammalian eyes.


There's one question.

The name we will give

it's an apparition.


     *


The seal's whiskers sense something


above and to the side.


     *


When I say we I don't mean

we're the same. I mean

we fall on each other.



The News

Embarrassed by the contents
of the mouth the filing
and its forms, one  fights to keep
from telling teeth and ruckus.

We use autos for artillery.

the way white diminishes,
costumes are the faithful
and graveyards pound down.

The bug stalls

along the creek.
Dear sediment. Dear
collateral. Dear traces.


Experience

I copy my hands
to look through them. Expose

my insides! I scream

at the lyric maker and everyone

in the quadrangle cars. I want

to know who sees me drop

hair from the window

I open only a hint.












Everyone yesterday was writing Halloween poem, so I though I should too.


Oh well....





on the first long day of another long month


Halloween night,
full moon
obscured by heavy, tumbling clouds
and somewhere
in my part of town
a werewolf
hangs
his head in despair,
semi-transformed, furry,
but not yet fanged and ferocious,
waits for the clouds
to part,
to reveal that full gleaming orb
that permits
that baser side of him
to emerge, 
to howl,
to chase and dismember
early morning
paper throwers
and semi-clad 
peasant girls frolicking 
between the trees
with horny little boys,
running
for their life
as best they can
with their pants at their knees
white, furless butts gleaming
in the moon-bright night…
but there'll be no such fun
tonight...
as the dark lightens
to dim
and the absent, empowering moon
completes its journey across
the Halloween sky
unseen
and
howling
at the loss
of his monthly werewolfing
as the sun begins to rise 
and the incomplete
transition
is reversed and pink skin
from beneath the matted fur
emerges and Harvey,
recognizable to his customers again
as teller number three
at the First Soylent Green State Bank
on the corner of East Wiggims
and Wam,
prepares for work
on the first long day of another long
month










Here's another longer poem from
The Poems of Catullus.



      
-66-

Who  scans the bright machinery of the skies
& plots the hours of star-set & star-rise,
this or that planet as it earthward dips,
the coursing brightness of the sun's eclipse,
who knows the dreams that fill Endymion's heard
& shy Cynthia to his Latmian bed -
place astronomer, whose gaze is set
more earnestly on Heaven than on Debrett,
by you this soft effulgence first was seen
who knew  at  once the ringlets of the Queen,
those  ringlets Bernice with bridal care
pledged when  the King left for the Syria war
(the suppliant Queen with tender arms outspread
the King still  swollen from the marriage bed),
who carries with him marks  of sweeter strife,
the night's clear traces of a virgin wife!
           Are brides  averse to Venus (as they show)
or are their  tears transparencies of woe
brilliantly shed amidst the wedding scene
effective bar to you know what I mean?
their tears are  false. I  saw a bride's  tears shed
when wartime took her husband from her bed.
Still wedded to the Queen's resplendent hair
I witnessed Berenice's crude despair.
And does she wail a so-called "brother" gone,
or tat she  lies in bed at  night alone,
her  body wasted with intensive fire,
her soul devoid of all save one desire?
The proof is here,  for virgin she displayed 
a spirit commoner in man than maid.
When her betrothed preferred her mother's charms
she saw him slain, couched in Apame's  arms,
procuring by such resolute dispatch
her present Kingdom (with a King to match).
Then why this gale of wife-forsaken sighs,
the trembling tears brushed from the brimming eyes?
What God is this, unless the God of Love,
who cannot brook his servant's long remove?
For  ptolemy, all Egypt's altars smoke
and hecatombs of bullocks loose their yoke,
while I, a ransom from a loving head,
secure a husband's swift return to bed,
who conquers Syria , the Euphrates crosses,
views India & returns with trifling losses.
Whisked hence by Venus, lo! these few  hairs  set
in starry payment of the royal debt!
     And yet with grief, O Queen, I left your hair,
a grief attested by your  own coiffure,
by which I vow, (& none vows there in vain)
no hair  exists that scissors  can't obtain.
Scissors & hair? Before the touch of steel
Athos itself, the Guardian of the Coast,
whereat the Thian forbears of your crown 
watched a  fleet passing & a mountain drown.
For woman's locks what help, when such as these
yield to the metal of the Chalybes?
A plague on smithies,be they crude or fine,
cursed be  the smelter,  cursed the teeming mine!
     My loss was freshly mourned, when Venus sent
black Memnon's brother with Divine intent.
the winged familiar mounts;  he fans the air;
he bears me  upward through the darkening sphere
until in Heave he  lays me safe at rest
in the chaste dove-cote of Cytherea's breast.
Translated thus, at Queen Arsinoe's word,
I join (though wet with tears) the golden horde.
No more shall Ariadne's crown alone
gleam from the threshold of the heavenly Throne:
these holy spoils (with hers) must share from now
th' immortal honors of a mortal brow.
The lodestars make  room. The Gods  declare
the' apotheosis of a lock of hair,.
     Shielding the Virgin from the Lion's wrath,
(below the Bear that glistens in the north)
trampled by night upon the Milky Way
to  kindly Tethys then restored by day,
westward I wheel,  leading slow Bootes on
loath  to sink seawards e'er the night has gone.
Unlooked-for Fate! 'Tis ill to tempt the Maid -
more abject still to  leave the Truth unsaid,
or, fearful of a God's offended smart,
forbear to lend expression to the heart.
Know:  less a source of gladness than of  sighs
my elevation to the brilliant skies,
my heavenly lustrous shine (to me) less clear
than those that hung from Berenice's ear,
who used to smooth me with sweet oils & scent
though not with myrrh, nor married ornament.
     Pour then for me, upon your bridal night,
before you doff your silks & quench the light,
before your eager bosom you yield up,
the mingled fragrance of the onyx cup.










Here are two poems from 2007 both dealing with a solution to the weight-loss problem (assuming, that is that your problem is that you're losing weight and don't want to). Both were written about this time of year, the eat-to-much season.










skin and bones

229.5
at  seven this morning,
down from the peak 280
a couple of years
ago

that's
a whole big lotta
Moonpies released
unharmed
to run
free
in the wild







coconut cream pie



we had guests over 
for dinner 
yesterday evening, 
family, for 
a little 
celebration, 
Chris, 
back from Colorado 
for a couple of days 
cooked, 
tortilla soup, 
beef and chicken 
fajitas, 
rice and beans, 
guacamole, 
pico de guillo 
and a coconut 
cream pie brought 
by a guest 

great meal, 
but my sugar level 
has been extra high 
lately and I’m not suppose 
to even think about things 
like a coconut cream pie, 
but I had a piece 
anyway, 
maybe two, 
well, actually, 
three 

fixed lunch today 
of leftovers, 
fajitas 
beans 
soup 

but no pie, 
just an empty 
pie pan 
in the sink 

looks like my 
mate and protector 
took the rest of the pie 
to her office today 

what 
a sweet 
and thoughtful thing 
to do 

damn!









Next,  I have a selection of modern and ancient haiku taken at random from the anthology,
haiku mind, published by Shambhala Publications. Patricia Donegan, a very well known haiku poet selected the poem for the book.



by
Shuson Kato

in the deep fires
I saw the way
a peony crumbles


by
Kristen Deming

migrating birds -
field of pampas grass
show the way

Kusato Nakamura


along with spring leaves
my child's teeth
are coming in


by
Larraine Ellis Harr

The time it takes -
for snowflakes to whiten
the distant pines.


by
Masahisa Fukuda

my birthday -
yellow dust  blows in
from China


by
Robert  Aitken

the sun glitters
on the path 
of  a snail


by
Kyorai Mukai

cherry tree watchmen
with their white heads
together.


I love haiku for the way a good one stops time so that a reader can look deep at a moment that would otherwise pass in an unstudied flash of lie. I was very proud early one (early 2000s) to publish a haiku in a British Journal of short verse called
Still. Unfortunately, I lost track of the poem and the publication and no longer know which of my short poems the published poem was. They are such tiny things.

But I do remember it was a good one, getting better with each passing year.











Like the poem says, sometimes the inspiration pool gets pretty shallow. But that's part of the game too.





it’s a shallow pool  today


shallow in the inspiration pool

this morning, 
I’m sitting outside my coffeehouse
hoping to catch some
as it passes…

and it’s 
a dim overcast morning,
The Tower of the Americas
a shadow in the slow-shifting fog,
a dark, still morning,
a preamble 
to a wet Saturday and Sunday,
the weather 
taking a three-day weekend,
going to the coast
maybe, I don’t know,
maybe a bed and breakfast
on the town square
in one of those little towns in the hill country…
meanwhile,
me and mine, we’ll be toughing it out
here in the city,
Dee probably washing carpets
that in Reba’s last months
needed almost weekly cleaning,
poor girl, always so proud
of her control, lost in the end,
she would make it too the door
but seldom all the way out…

and me,
I’ll continue my fence replacement,
three or four boards
at a time…

(I figure in a year or two I’ll have
a whole new fence,
except
for the part that falls down 
in the meantime)

and then I’ll take the old boards
pulled from the old fence
and saw them into foot-long
pieces
and burn the pieces, a nice fire
in the chiminea, watching the flames
dance, a cup of hot chocolate,
maybe read a book,
nothing serious…

and if it rains like 
it’s supposed to, well, I can watch
rain as well as I can watch a fire,
and I can drink hot chocolate as I watch the
rain, and I can read a book on the patio
while it rains -

not a bad weekend, but
it would be more fun to be on
the beach with the our absent weather,
maybe a secret agent on the beach
with tiny-bikinied ladies
of less-than-virginal
reputation,
or with our absent weather
in the hill country, prowling all the art and crafts
shops, an agent from Interpol, searching out
counter-band collectibles,
or having bratwurst and a mug of thick, brown beer
at Wurstfest in New Braunfels, 
a connoisseur of fine weenies sampling
all the best of processed pig parts…

lots of stuff…

or I could just sit here 
in the still and stagnant air,
listening to that bird or the wire,
watching the oak trees in not-moving droop,
smelling the buses and weekend traffic
passing me on Broadway…

maybe write a poem
about all this,
maybe,
if I concentrate
a better poem that this
one…

maybe not












Here's more from Catullus' prickly little pen.




    
-103-

Either give  me my hundred pounds back,Silo
and persist in our boorish, surly behavior, or
if as a guide to tarts the money tempts you
simply give up you boorish, surly behavior.


    
-104-

Do you really believe I could blacken my life,
the woman dearer to me than my two eyes?
if I could
           I  could not be sunk in this way in my lover for her -

who performs a  zoo of two-backed beasts,

daily with Tappo.


    
-105-

O'Toole
       attempting an entry of the mons Parnassus
is pitchforked by the Muses out of their (very) private
     regions.


      
-106-

If, by general consent,  it  should be decided
Cominius, to cut short your reverend age
fouled by obscene habits,
                I envisage your tongue
inimical to the good
                extracted & cast upon the crows,
your gouged eyeballs 
                 gulped down the black gullet of a raven,
entrails offal for dogs,
                 your limbs to the wolves.


         











Jumping ahead  a couple of months, this is how I greeted the new year, 2011.








1/1/11

when i was a kid
i was disappointed
every year

when i’d wake up
and nothing had changed -
despite all the hoopla

the night before -
i’d crawl out of bed,
put my bare feet on the

cold morning floor,
ready to welcome all 
that was new and wonderful

in the new and wonderful year,
only to discover nothing was new,
same old places, same old people,
same old sharp-nosed teachers

and piety-pounding preachers and 
schoolyard bullies, with their premature
growth spurts, and pretty little girls

with mean little teeth
and my rusty old bicycle and the lump
in my mattress and....

this was back in the day,
when,
i was sure change was my friend,

now i know better -
now i know that change is a scuzzy
old bitch with a dirty mind and evil intentions

who’ll screw you every
time,
twice in the morning and three times after the sun goes down...

but still i hold out hope,

for still i remember the year 
i got my own growth spurt and the
school-yard bully peed his pants when he saw me coming -

so just wait until next year,
i’m thinking
on this cold new year’s morning -

just wait until next year -

it’ll all be different
then











Next I have tw0 poems by
Jeanette Lozano, from her beautiful, Life Magazine sized  book, 
The Movement of Water/Los momentos del agua. The book was published in 2006 by Ediciones  Poligrafa of Barcelona. It  is a bilingual book, Spanish, with English translation by Ron Hudson.

Lozano, in addition to being a poet and translator, has spent many years teaching and studying about the ancient philosophy and religion of Pre-Hispanic cultures.


Linden 197

The sea is alone, like us, the newly born, in water.
In it, the night sinks beneath the waxing moon
(its power on our faces)

Spring is the season of death.


We inscribe the epitaph on high our names,

to make believe to the denuded skies that at least a wise word
slipped from our narrow mouths,near a  few flowers.

We come to pluck the petals, not to take a count of heartbeats.


Our heads entangled,

our bodies mistreated
return; to voracious melancholy.

Cold Flame

As if it would beat out a silence
the gold of the fireflies between  spruces
was impassioned.

The light was  falling on the water and you were moving away

like on who exits a scene
without one's body.

Fire amidst the water,

was tracing a wake without knowing
that the sun was looking at you

for the first time.













Apparently I was feeling about the  new  year in 2010, feeling that  if  they would turn  the new year over to  me  i could fix it all  up. 








poets on every street corner

i was going
to write a poem

about what i would do
if i could run the world

but
sitting here now

i realize
i don’t know what to do

either

except
i’d like to see rain

every Thursday
and sunshine and blue skies

the rest of the week
except

in the winter
when there should be snow

and blue skies
and children skating

on iced over ponds
and cows in the fields

blowing clouds
through their noses

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

shade
and big waves for the surfers

and clear clean streams
slow moving

between tall green trees
for us who prefer to float

and people learning to shake off
bad times

like dogs shaking off wet
a big shake

beginning with flapping ears
passing on down to big

shimmy shakes
of their rear

butts like a Mixmaster
in overdrive

and no icky things
in dark corners

no snakes
and no spiders and no

poison lizards
or animals who like to eat

people

and no fatherless children
or old people

rotting in isolation
and inattention

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

cure
and no backaches or migraines

or rashes
in hide-away places

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

as much as they need
and no drunkards or drug addicts

or gangsters
who shoot children from their cars

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

instead
poets on every street corner

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

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

and return their love
and maybe throw money

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

instead of here
at the

bottom









I wrote this last week. It started out being one kind of poem, then ended up another.


Way too preachy, but the questions about our exaggerated sense of self-regard. Certainly a bad thing in the way it convinces us we should have dominion over all other things, but,  on the other hand, who would want to get up in the morning if we clearly understood our real place in the scheme of all things.






lesson plan for slow learners



the sun east to west
and the moon
the same
and the stars
as well,
and in our arrogance
we say, look,
look at all this grandeur
moving at our command,
giving us light
when light
is what we need
and dark when it is sleep
we crave
and beautiful diamonds
in the sky above us
to inspire us,
their beauty a gift revealed to us
as our blessed night falls…

it is the hubris of man 
to think that all moves for us
when it is in fact, along with the majesty
of the ever-circling universe,
we who move as well,
our little earth 
picking its way through the universe
of light and dark

while
like the fool walking,
so pleased to have the earth
move right when
it is right he wishes to go, or left
when he picks another 
course, or to stop
entirely
when he becomes tired
and needs a rest,
an afternoon sleep
under great trees grown for him,
lying beside a brook 
that flows for 
him, sipping a refreshing drink
of clean water
fallen from the sky for him…

we, so smug, live in a universe
that barely tolerates us
and think we are its master…

until we are reminded
of our true status in the all,
as we huddle in wild storms
of crazed wind and crashing rain
and rising waters,
as we dodge trees tossed like toothpicks,
or as we flee when the burning mantle of the earth
escapes from deep below us to
flow red from mountain
tops far above,
and how we scatter when the ground 
begin to shake
and crack beneath
our scrambling
feet

and then we learn…

and then,
so soon, we forget again
as we have 
forgot
so many times before











Election's done and I will be  celebrating with large glasses of chocolate until I am a sloppy chocolate mess. It's just the way I ride.


In the mean time, all the regular stuff goes here, I'm allen itz, owner and producer of this blog and so on - cutting it short so I can get to my chocolate milk.

As usual, I'm selling my eBooks here.








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Poetry


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