What I Saw From My Yellow Submarine   Saturday, February 18, 2012





I feature this week the anthology New European Poets, published by Graywolf Press in 2008. I also have my own poems, of course, as well as other poets, including a very nice series of pieces by a poet who choses to remain anonymous.

Here's the list.


Guy Goffette
From The 99 Yale Stations

Me
my home is a bridge

Bruce Cohen
Voyeur Voyager

Me
January 1, 2009

Sigurbjorg Thastardottir
And Your Tears

Nachoem M.Wijnberg
I Am a Doctor

Me
how many ways to describe

Gary Snyder
So Old
Talking Late with the Governor about the Budget


Me
praise God from whom all blessings flow

Anise Koltz
From The Fire Eater

Me
so special

Anonymous
From an iPod found in Canal Park; Duluth, MN

Me
watching through the window at the drift of morning

Seyhan Erozcelik
Here It’s Coming

Me
I watched the stars

Lorna Dee Cervantes
Meeting Mescalito at Oak Hill Cemetery
For Edward Long


Me
Obama-lover

Edvin Sugaev
Liminal Moments

Zoran Ancevski
What’s Slouching

Luljeta Lleshanaku
Fresco

Flora Brovina
The Year 1981

Me
the man on the moon

Hung Sheng
Passing the Night at the Monastery of Eternal Peace

Li E
South Lake in the Rain

Ho Shao-Chi
Mountain Rain
A Contrary Wind


Me
very large men gone to seed

Gintaras Grajauskas
The Night Watchman

Inga Gaile
The wind smoothes out all the wrinkles and light beacons in our eyes,

Me
well, it’s like this…









My first poem this week is from the anthology mentioned above, New European Poets. It is by French poet, Guy Goffette.

Born in 1947, Goffette lives in Paris and is a poet and editor. He has published six collections of poetry and books on Bonnard, Verlaine, and Auden. His book Charleston Blues,translated by Marilyn Hacker, was published in the United States by the University of Chicago Press in 2007.



From The 99 Yale Stations

1.

At the century's sill
Holderlin's finger
is a singing cicada

2.

In the town the bells toll
with both hands he grabs the tocsin
which does not shake his bones

3.

In the factory's breath
he hears the call to prayer
overthrowing the recumbents' stelae

4.

Arcs and columns of Andalusia
enclose the temple of the brothers
where the treasure shimmers

5.

He flies on the green carpet
the shell opens in the light
at sky's end he tracks the pearl

6.

The yellow bus flies over the gulls
he dives into the foam and washes
his mud-stained handkerchief

7.

The squirrel scurries along the cable
the leaves turn red
a passerby from Asia burns up

8.

The town is a closed pot
day gnaws at the lid's joint
his cut finger drips into the rumor

9.

The desert inside the body
no fruit to squeeze water from
thirst is a white swan with black neck

10.

Under the stone shelter with open book
memory's envelope cracks open
and the birth place reenters day

11.

On the dream's wings the sirens sing
along the hillside the flowers of forgetting
the sea offers him a salver of figs

12.

Between the languages between the races
nomad erring among the continents
he discovers himself the name of dusk

13.

The echo of his voice crosses the ocean
the waves carry away the bodies of the Blacks
whose laughter bellies out the sails

Translated from French by Pierre Joris








Here's a poem I wrote last week, one of my poem-a-day desperate inventions.



my home is a bridge

my father
always knew where home was -

to the end of his days,
forty-five years after he left
never to return, home
was the place where he grew up...

to me
home is the room
where my old recliner sits,
waiting to bring me comfort
at the end of my day

this is not to say
I don’t have fond memories
of the many places I have lived

but in the end
it is the chair that’s been to those places
with me
that offers the homely comfort of place
and fit,
serving not
as a repository for old pleasure, for past nights
of comfort and grace, but as a nest for the night
to come, the night I need, having no use
at night for nostalgia, that breeder
of discontent, that bringer of dreams
of times lost, chances squandered, failures
of will or imagination…

who needs any of that…

I just want a good night’s sleep, a promise
of a new day to be faced rested and ready for
new times, new chances, the new life
that starts with every rising
sun

it a bridge, this recliner-home of mine,
between
that day and this,
today,
a better day every new day
is the promise
my home provides me
creating nostalgia forward,
new-sweet memories
there,
from the night unfolding








My next poem is by Bruce Cohen, taken from Volume 5, No. 1 of Hotel America, publication of the English department of Ohio University. I don't think it publishes anymore.

At the time of publication (2006), Cohen was Director of the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes at the University of Connecticut. His poems have appeared in numerous publications.



Voyeur Voyager

I had worn this parasitically invisible suit since
August & took minuscule bites from lemons I
Smuggled in each pocket so I wouldn't come down
With scurvy. I had not had a conversation all
Autumn that did not resemble a curse or chain mail.
I came to a spiritual epiphany with the doctrine
That I am ugly but have not always been so.
My face has only violated its molecular treaty.

I am very American now which means it is more
Likely I'll die without my gall bladder & I drift
In the night toward jazz, naming the stars'
Illegitimate children. The monotonous days fill
With color the way a mouth fills with blood after
An unexpected punch. It's nothing personal: the world
Is nothing personal: it just wants to pretend to belong.
I recognize how few people I like & who talk to me.

Each morning I watch the ferry import my neighbors
To the city to their boring jobs & wish I was one
Of them. Often I walk past their apartments at night.
Table lamps are too bright of course. I see the wife
Setting the table & children horsing around.
Some even seem to be helping. Sometimes I can
Smell the pumpernickel or see a few wisps rise
From casseroles. I have not idea what I'm doing.

I walked into a department store & hundreds
Of televisions were turned to the same movie.
All those TVs & just one sluggish story, but
The color was not exactly the same in any two.
I have a neighbor who hates human intimacy
So he married his television after a rocky courtship.
He confesses to it & sometimes allows it
To speak long after he has gone to bed.








Here's a poem from 2009, my New Year's Day poem, 2009.



January 1, 2009

sun came up this
morning -
same one as
yesterday

went out to my car

backed into the street

passed the pile of leaves
beside the driveway

same car
as last year,
same street
same leaves blown
into our yard
by the neighbor’s yardman
as well

drove to Jim’s
for coffee
and morning paper

very familiar,
like i’d been there
before

finished my coffee
drove home

almost ran over a
squirrel
that ran across the street
and up a tree

same tree

different squirrel

change -
the best part of a
new
year








Next I have two shorter poems from the European poets anthology.



The first is from Iceland. Sigurbjorg Thrastardottir was born in 1973. She is a columnist for the Icelandic newspaper, Morgunbladid and is the author of three poetry collections, four theater pieces, and a novel. Her bio in the book says she lives and works on the road and in Reykjavkik.


And Your Tears

The bed stands
in the middle of the floor
the sheet sweeping cold tiles
I know you're thinking of her
day and night
that's why I"m lying still as the grave
beneath the white ceiling
which soon will blossom
for you are dying from me
night and day
I promised to lie
in the middle of the island
in the deepest valley
dearestdarling
and your tears glide down on parachutes of tulips
onto my quilt
that I may sleep

translated from Icelantic by Bernard Scudder


The second of the shorter poems is by Dutch poet Nachoem M. Wihjnberg.

Born in 1961m the poet studied law and economics in Amsterdam and received a doctorate in management from Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He is a professor of management at the University of Amsterdam and has published eleven poetry collections and four novels.


I Am a Doctor

I let the rain destroy my clothes
and stay awake at night and then fall asleep
on the back seat of my car, on my horse.
When I find a dead body in the street
I look for letters and keys in the clothes
and IU try to find someone who recognizes the body
(sometimes it's the dog or the horse).

Look at me. I'm a doctor.
Give me your hand. I'm a doctor.
Let me through. I'm a doctor, not a policeman.
No, a doctor and a policeman were walking down the street.

Here are two envelopes.
In one there's a joke that's twice as good as in the other.
You can keep one of the jokes.
Pick an envelope, open it, and read the joke.
the joke in the other is twice or half as good.
If I let you switch, would you?

What's it about, I asked whom I found,
and they all told the same joke on themselves
and gave me lists of their character traits
as if they wanted a place in a better one.
It's me. Talk to me.

I'm a doctor, they called me to be sure.

I'm going to make a joke that will last ten years.
I have all the ingredients.

Translated from Dutch by Alissa Valles








This is from last week, having breakfast by my large restaurant window, watching a new day start, trying to find a new way to describe what I have seen written about so many times before.



how many ways to describe

how many ways can you describe
a sunrise red and raging
though early morning
fog,
a green pasture,
a herd of deer
and their long shadows
grazing,
the sleepy-eyed
commuter
hell-bent to crack
his daily egg
of labor,
the waitress
at the diner, coming
in for her morning shift,
feet already sore,
smile still
in the making,
thick-wrapped against the too-early
chill of a night like a horse,
skittery and
not yet full broken

how
many ways
to describe the fade
of pale night shadows,
the moon, white like a button,
in decline, big sister sun
still but a hint of the fierce light to come
soon, the full force of its
exploding atomic pile still
banked by the blazing
horizon, our world afire
on it’s eastern margin,
again, again,
as day life stirs and night life
retires…

how does one describe all this again,
the magnificent everything again,
like yesterday,
like the day before,
like tomorrow, we hope,
but cannot know?

is this one way?

it not,
I’ll try again tomorrow








I have two poems by Gary Snyder, from his book, Ax Handles, published in 1983 by Shoemaker and Hoard.

Born in 1930 and an American poet of the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance, Snyder is, as well, an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist (frequently described as the "poet laureate of Deep Ecology". He is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and, for many years, a faculty member at the University of California, Davis. He also served for a time on the California Arts Council.

The first poem describes about as big a dose of paradise as I can imagine.



So Old -

Oregon Creek reaches far back into the hills.
Burned over twice, the pines are returning again.
Old roads twist deep into canyons,
   hours from one ridge to the next
the new road goes straight on the side of the mountain,
   high and with curves ironed out.
A single hawk flies leisurely up,
   disturbed by our truck
Down the middle fork-south fork opening,
   fog silver gleams in the valley.
Camptonville houses are old and small,
   a sunny perch on a ridge,
Was it gold or logs brought people to this spot?
   a teenage mother with her baby stands by a pickup.
A stuffed life-size doll of a Santa Clause
   climbs over a porch-rail.
Our old truck too, slow down the street,
   out of the past -
It's all so old - the hawks, the houses, the trucks,
   the view of the fog -
Midwinter late sun flashes through hilltops and trees
   a good day, we know one more part of out watershed,
And have seen a gorge with a hairpin bend
   and followed one more dirt road to its end.
Chilling, so put on jackets
   and take the paved road out
Back to our own dirt road, iron stove,
   and the chickens to close in the dusk.
And the nightly stroll of raccoons.


Talking Late with the Governor about the Budget

            for Jerry Brown

Entering the midnight
Halls of the capitol,
Iron carts full of printed bills
Filling life with rules,

At the end of many chambers
Alone in a large tan room
The Governor sits, without dinner.
Scanning the hills of laws - budgets - codes -
In this land of twenty million
From desert to ocean.

Till the oil runs out
There's no end in sight.
Outside, his car waits with driver
Alone, engine idling.
The great pines of the Capitol grounds
Are less than a century old.

Two A.M.,
We walk to the street
Tired of the effort
Of thinking about "the People."
The half-moon travels west
In the elegant company
Of Jupiter and Aldebaran,

And east, over the Sierra,
Far flashes of lightning -
Is it raining tonight at home?








A "found" poem from 2009.



praise God from whom all blessings flow

(a found poem)

a man
on a motorbike
pulled alongside
her
asked
what seemed an ordinary question

“Are you going to school/”

then he pulled her burqa
from her head
and sprayed her face
with burning acid

17 years old
and bravely back in school
she says

“They want us to be stupid
things.”

(New York Times, Front Page, January 14, 2009)

praise God...

in all his cruel and hideous
forms

amen








Next from the new European poets anthology, I have this poem by Luxembourg poet, Anise Koltz.

Born in 1928, she founded the "Journees de Mondorf" (biannual international writers' and poets' festivals. She writes in three languages.



From The Fire Eater

III
In the church's slaughterhouses
we are transformed
into vultures

We devour
the body of Christ
thrusting our necks
into his blood
with unavowed violence

- -

I am looking for a baptismal font
to hand back my name
to drown it
in its holy water

I take original
sin upon me
once again
like a force
a carapace
that makes me invulnerable

- -

None of our complaints
will be heard

God is a deaf-mute
No one has taught us
sign language

- -

The fallen angel
who looked at herself
in the water
drowned
in his image

- -

On the seventh day
God fell asleep

The earth is still trembling
from his snoring

- -

God
lights a fire
in the darkness
to discover
in the blue of the flames
another darkness

- -

I no longer believe in God
henceforth
He has to
believe in me

- -

Wasn't it written
that he who'd drink
the blood of Christ
and eat his flesh
would be reborn like Him

But his blood coagulated
in our mouths
his flesh spoiled
under our eyes -

We will live on
dust
and rain

Because our death
will be a death
that lasts

Translation from French by Pierre Joris








Here's a little thing from last week, welcoming the new day in my own way.



so special

little
cotton candy cloud
alone on a skyscape of fluffy bedsheet white brethren

pink
as a plastic front-yard
flamingo

little
cotton candy cloud
such good fortune to be so special
on this plain
and every-day morning








The next piece is by a poet who chooses to remain anonymous, part of what he calls his "message in a bottle project." His idea, as it understand it, is to create poetry that will be read as found treasure, rather than as brand name product.

I understand the idea and am pleased to get and read the poetry however it comes to me, but I write to publish. Publishing includes cost that can only be recouped through sales of what I publish. I think that can better be accomplished with my name attached then with no name. I certainly hope so, anyway.

But then, it's true, this poet is a much better poet than me and a lot more adventurous.



From an iPod found in Canal Park; Duluth, MN


Table of Contents

Shuffle

Playlists

Artists

Albums

Songs

Genres

Composers

Photos

Settings

Extras




Shuffle

6AM Hot love; T Rex: the furnace hasn’t kicked in yet. 1978, laying in the backseat
with a girl I just met; on our way to the hospital. Today it would be called active
suicide ideation with plan & intent.

7:02AM Where have all the good times gone; Van Halen: sent an email to her. No,
not her, the other one; the one who throws little bombs. Scar on her back. 1982, Felicia,
dyed red hair and motorcycle boots. She wanted to fuck. I couldn’t remember her name.

8:45AM Space [I believe]; Pixies: I check mail, change the radio station, turn the radio
off, check mail, turn the radio back on. 2012, smoke willows between the clouds; grey
roots of a forlorn and empty heaven.



Playlists

Dylan/Waits/Cave: remember the Arena; kids a line of blue smoke, waiting
to be messiah-ed. You take my hand. Tell me you played piano for years;
never mention how easy it is to lose balance on water.

Exiled: Mesabi Avenue was impassable in winter, rear-wheeled tanks slide
stuck; we bombed our way top to bottom. The Lift Bridge chops the lake
in two a dozen times a day; manmade rain shiny on the hoods of cars.

Radio K: We are cursed to wanting; winter to spring to summer to fall
to east to the wrong side of the tracks. The wind cracks 24/7, a barista
smiles, waits for my order; I hear the short quick snap of a pop top.




Artists

Modern English:

I was 17, she was 16, strawberry blonde; prostitute. I didn’t
believe in god then either. You lie next to me, curled in a dream; I am nothing
more than your skin, light that changes color with your every breath.

Ray LaMontagne: downtown Duluth: Glass Block’s, Musicland’s, pre-porn
NorShor Theater; we huddled in cigarette shelters, bored out of time. Let’s
find a little place on Park Point; plenty of room to paint the lake forever.

Tokyo Jihen: You put your hand in my back pocket; the future, like heaven,
exists for those who can’t live in the present. There is only this: bare limbs,
the dust of feathers, your trigger finger in the small of my back.



Albums

Beautiful Freak: she was the new girl from Chicago; kids laughed because
she wanted to be the knife-thrower’s wife. I lied when I lost my virginity;
too afraid of being, and knowing, and not knowing, and being anyway.

Drums & Guns: she turned 18 and ran away with The Thomas Shows, wanted
to see Canada; wanted a guilt free alibi. We talk, we drink, we fuck. I walk, let
go, forget the scent of your voice; rinse wash repeat, rinse wash repeat.

This Year’s Model: Everywhere everyone and everything can see god ride high
and distracted my arm tight around your waist we’re ready and loaded hanging
on the last hope the last thread of our story tucked neat like an angel’s wings



Songs

Big, Big Sky; Screaming Blue Messiahs: she wore a knee length skirt hair pulled
back no makeup one busted taillight two doors close no U-turns the common
denominator here is rain; look over your shoulder, watch her turn to stone.

Wonderful World; Sam Cooke: there is cold followed by warmth followed by dry
spells and unrelenting sleet mixed with snow a winter trick wrapped in a summer
conundrum and the lake the lake; the wet sky drowning on its shore.

Crying Sun; Radio Birdman: the image of the moon on the retinas of our eyes
is the same and you tell me love is always and eventually all pain becomes
affordable; remind me you’ve carried the cross to prove it.



Genres

World: Huddled under an awning out of the rain she gave me a look that meant
she’s ready to ditch him. [Today] your hand is empty; we are moving; maybe
together we shine, maybe together we are a seed.

Soundtrack: Track 1: a slow burn then crescendo. Track 2: a catchy bass line,
quiet, LoUd, quiet. I already know how it ends: one rough edge, an unsent
package. I’m a push pin on a map of Africa.

Unclassifiable: [Dylan disowned us] we are golden, torch lit and humbled. Second
doors become our only chance. [We are born in caves] we make our way to water;
crawl until our sins are drowned pure.



Composers

Mrs. John Murphy: You say you are an orphan; pale eyes in a fuck-
if-you-say-so squint. We stroll into the land of nod; tell the infidels
to save their prayers for the bored and non-believers.

Lucien Ginsburg: It’s pastoral. It’s cold in that easily forgotten
way. It’s the last call sacrament; your foot slides up my leg, slip
of a bra strap. What’s left we spread into roots; save for later.

Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler: she was a landmine; fierce. I wanted
to ruin her, replace her name with narrative. It was the year Superior
Street flooded. The sky broke. We were cotton-mouthed; unborn.



Photos

And this is where it began; in rabbit holes, in chalked circles and squares, how to break-
your-mama’s-back. It began in woodpiles and with fireflies; that sour taste of homemade
soda opened too early. It began in open fields, the middle of a street, under lights, under
covers with flashlight and faded porn. It began with astronauts and fighter pilots, bomb
shelters and stacked blonde babysitters. It began here. It began then. It begins innocently
enough; soft and low; everyone summer drunk and expectant; the first play of the season
a lazy fly ball to left for out number one.



Settings

Let’s go back. To being stripped bare. When the earth was buried in sea;
when every thread that covered us was lightly lit and green. We’re brown
and black’s, muted primary’s with blends of winter and fall. The wind
storming off the lake is a soldier. We are remnants, cobbled together,
shells and sand; no defense against this rushing grave.



Extras

We weep for broken wings; for tulips, daylilies and purple flox. We speak
to the dead, call it prayer. To fill the cold skeleton of winter we name shades
of grey. We are accidental; fugitives who wear the last of summer sun on our
skin. We are live wires who hear no sound but the rush of water. When we die,
our bones will burn, ashes scattered while it snows. We’ll remember how to live








Earlier, I had a poem from New Years Day, 2009. Next is a poem from very near the end of the year.



watching through the window at the drift of morning

watching
through the window
at the drift of morning fog
i’m
reminded
of days twenty-five
years ago, driving to
early meetings at the university,
slowly, carefully,
on the narrow road that separates
Corpus Christi Bay on one side
and Oso Bay on the other,
a swirling, shifting
gray cocoon of gulf coast fog
hiding everything
but the patch of
yellow light
i cast ahead of me as i drive

near isolation
from the world of the new day,
nothing to see,
the only sounds breaking
through the gray mist, the faint call
of a gull, the slap of jumping fish
breaking the water on either side,
until,
faintly,
the lights of the university
like small lace curtains
show along side the road,
so close, unseen until
i’m nearly passed

outside, today,
i see little lights passing
on the interstate, like lightning bugs
flickering in the gray -
if i was outside
i could probably hear a dove
coo
from a tree
i could not see

like this,
each day brings
memories of days
long gone
and not to return, only remembered
on new days
that will pass as well,
leaving us,
eventually, with only memories
of memories remembered








Also from the new European poets anthology, this poem by Turkish poet, Seyhan Erozcelik.

Born in 1962, the poet studied psychology at Bogazici University and oriental languages at Istanbul University. Since university, he has worked as an advertising editor, publishing along the way a number of books of poetry and winning several poetry prizes in Turkey.



Here It's Coming

Nothing can make us roll down the wall
neither our being kids
nor navy suits
not ever out curly hair
if one must talk of an equation.

As for our shadow, as if lost in the wall
with the candle expired in your lantern
one night after feeding the kids
and putting them to sleep
opening the door, if,
standing before us,
basket on your back, with two signs on your chest
which today I would kid you about,
that was not the shadow.

A rose, if you saw a pillow before you,
a sheep, a sheep if you lay down on a grave stone.

The ambassador of our belly, the rose
we are saluting it with a hand
here it comes
we see those kneeling and saluting
kneeling and saluting.

Translated from Turkish by Murat Nemet-Nejat








Here's a little Sunday morning ditty I wrote last week.



I watched the stars

I
watched the stars
last night,
rising
in the black and bottomless sky;
below them
the moon,
slipping
silver bright
through the hours
of deepest night

I
fell asleep last night
beneath a canopy of sprinkled stars
dreaming









Here are two poems by Lorna Dee Cervantes, from her book,Emplumada, winner of the 1982 American Book Award, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1981.



Meeting Mescalito at Oak Hill Cemetery

Sixteen years old and crooked
with drug, time warped blissfully
as I sat alone on Oak Hill.

The cemetery stones were neither erect
nor stonelike, but looked soft and harmless;
thousands of them rippling the meadows
like overgrown daisies.

I picked apricots from the trees below
where the great peacocks roosted and nagged
loose the feathers from their tails.
I knelt to a lizard with my hands
on the earth, lifted him and held him
in my palm - Mescalito
was a true god.

Coming home that evening
nothing had changed. I covered Mama on the sofa

with a quilt I sewed myself, locked my bedroom
door against the stepfather, and gathered
the feathers I'd found that morning, each
green eye in a heaven of blue, a fistful
of understanding,

and late that night I tasted
the last of the sweet fruit, sucked the rich pit
and thought nothing of death.


For Edward Long

                There are some who are not of this world.
                Take what you need.Covet.
                The child is one. They will comfort her soon.

                          E.L. (In a letter to my mother
                          from the Atascadero State Hospital,
                          Fall, 1965)


Pardner, you called me
that first morning my grandmother
found you drunk, homeless, and you stayed
long enough to give me my voice.

You taught me to read all those windsongs
in the verses of Stevenson.
You'd pay me a quarter to sing on your lap
beneath the dust storm of your scruffy chin.
In those still nights your wine breath
sweetened the air for me.

You were father, grandfather, the man
who dug ditches for the county
and knew a code so secret
the locked it away.

Pardner, doctor,crazy
mathematician and sometimes
wizard to the child I still am,
I still believe you.
I still gaze at the fall winds
you once taught me to describe.
I still shadow you. I know
wherever your are
you'll be reading poems
and this is how
I'll find you.








It's another discouraging political season, with the usual lunatics all rounded up
and braying, so maybe an old political poem from early 2009 fits the day.



Obama-lover

i’m hearing
from the right-wing circle
jerks that people like me
who are not at all like them
are Obama-worshipers,
if not Obama-lovers, a milder
version of an epithet heard on occasion
from right-wing racists
where i grew up when i grew up

forcing me to write a political poem,
even though i hate it
when i do that sort of thing

so anti-poetic
such poems are

but...

first,
let me be clear,
being a skeptic of all things,
it is not within me to worship
anyone or anything, least of all
politicians, worthy as some of them are,
as they are more likely to be heartbreakers
and, like the sweetest milk
from the most contented cow,
they all have an expiration date
and limited shelf life

that said,
i do enjoy having a leader
who is intelligent, someone
who does not believe the world
is run on frat-boy rules

one who does not surround
himself
with lunatics

one who looks to the future,
not to the past

one who sees the problems
of the next half century
and seeks to solve them before
they overcome us

one who seeks out
dissenting opinion, one
whose self-confidence allows them
to face unfavorable facts
without flinching

one who understands
the humanity
of both friend and foe

but who will take the most extreme actions
when a foe makes it necessary,
without lies and bluster

a leader, in short,
who does not regularly insult
my intelligence
and moral standards

is it necessary that i love such a leader,
no,
but it makes me damn happy
when one appears in
our time of need








Next, I have several poets who, due to their geography, tend to be lesser heard.



I begin with Bulgarian poet, Edvin Sugarev.

Born in 1953, Sugarev was a dissident samizdat published in the 1980s who became a prominent political figure during Bulgaria's transition toward democracy in 1989. He served as a member of the Bulgarian parliament and as ambassador to Mongolia and to India. The first English translation of his work, titled Secret Sense was published by Ivy Press Princeton in 2005. A second collection, Kaleidoscope, is pending.


Liminal Moments

the light languishes
fades

as if someone scraped
ancient church frescoes with a rough stone
as if a shroud was draped over the colors
or a crazy monk dipped his brush into black ink
and the shadows grew denser
more visible and solid than the real things

dusk falls
the warmed earth is scented
with walnuts and wine
and the bats
in slanting flights
glance off
the secret little lakes

Translated from Bulgarian by Ludmilla G. Popova-Wightman.


The next poet, Zoran Ancevski, is from Macedonia. Born in 1954, Ancevski is a professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje and is the author of five books of poetry.


What's Slouching

What's slouching like stagnant air
through these Balkan corridors?
Eroded erudites,
plague-ridden radicals,
communists, nationalists,
bloodthirsty ecologists
with milk teeth,
descended from the national parks
with conserved views,
reserved
for outbursts of tribal passion,
freudian complexes of minimal difference,
for random reservists
and condoms of all different colors too.

Whatever is slouching
will never reach Bethlehem or Jerusalem
nor Mecca or Medina
but hurrying and scurrying
down different European corridors
in red crescent or red cross ambulances
will enter a wilderness of mirrors,

in Versailles,
where terrible tailors
cut out new corridors
and a well-turned verse
is reversed to a stammer.

Translated from Macadonian by Graham W. Reid,Peggy Reid, and the author.


This poet, Luljeta Lleshanaku is from Albania.

The poet was born in 1968 and studied literature at the University of Tirana and works as an editor for periodicals. She's published four books of poetry, of which one, Fresco, was translated into English and published by New Directions in 2002.

I assume this next poem is the title poem from that book.


Fresco

Now there is no gravity. Freedom is meaningless.
I weigh no more than a hair
on a starched color.
Lips meet in the ellipsis at the end of drowning
confession; on the sand, a crab closes its claws hermetically
and moves one step forward and two steps to the right.
It was long ago when I first broke into a shudder
at the touch of your fingers;
no more shyness, no more healing, no more death.
Now I am light as an Indian feather, and can easily reach the moon
a moon clean as an angel's sex
on the frescoes at church.
Sometimes I can even see the asteroids dying like drones
in ecstasy for their love, the queen.

Translated from Albanian by Ukzenel Buchapa and Henri Israeli.


Also from this week's anthology, I have this poem by Flora Brovina.

Born in Kosovo in 1949, Brovina worked for many years in the pediatrics ward of Pristina General Hospital. In 1999, she was kidnapped by masked Serb gunmen and spent the next year and a half in a Serbian prison before international pressure prompted her release. She has published three volumes of poetry.


The Year 1981

The stench and clank of metal spread,
The music of the streets has taken refuge in the suburbs,
The little girl has scraped her knee, off with you now and don't cry,
Wide-eyed he emerges from the crowd,
Entering the race,
The unseen arena, toreador and bull,
ole ole ole,
He rushes forth
and grasps it
By the head,
Covering it
With a red cloth,
The machine, now blinded by the eagle,
Is dazed
And disoriented,
What black beauty,
Empty flowerpots
Cascade down from balconies,
Rakatak, rakatak,
Rakatak, rakatak
Flowerpots hurtling through the air
Know nothing of the curfew,
Rakatak, rakatak,
You in the midst
Plant artificial flowers,
The policeman screams and takes down your address
While guarding the shattered flowerpots
And tank treads in the asphalt.

Translated from Albanian by Robert Elsie.








Another bit from earlier this week.



the man on the moon

the man on the moon
was full of himself last night,
but for a shadow
on the edge
of his left cheek

a lipstick bruise,
mark
perhaps of a
kiss
by a barebottomed
star nymph
just passing by,
marking the path
of her lonely orbit,
enamored
of his shining, silver face,
so bright and welcoming
in the dark

I wish I was a moon in the sky,
bright and silver
shining,
kissed
by a passing star nymph,
barebottomed
and lonely

charmed by my
crisply luminant
gaze









Next, I have three poets from Waiting for the Unicorne: Poems and Lyrics of China's Last Dynasty, 1644-1911. The book was published in 1986 by Indiana University Press.



The first poet is Hung Sheng, who was born in 1645 and died in 17804. He first came to Peking qas a student in the Imperial Academy and quickly became friendly with some of the most important poets of the day. He was dismissed from the academy in 1689 after there was a special dramatic performance in his honor during a period of imperial mourning. He returned home and lived the rest of his life as a retired scholar.


Passing the Night at the Monastery of Eternal Peace

In darkness I sought lodging at a mountain monastery,
Where the vapors of the rocks brushed my garments cold.
In the faintness of a breeze, crickets intone autumn;
With the chill of dew, cranes take warning.
As the bell's tolling faces, monks chat together;
As the night grows long, my heart is more at peace.
And just when one would glimpse the glow of the luminous moon,
The seep-set pines spill out their scattered shadows.

Translation by Paula W. Kroll


The next poet, Li E was born of a very poor family in 1692. Orphaned early in his life, his was a true case of a "self-made man." Working and studying very diligently while cultivating important friends, he gather fame as the foremost landscape poet of his time. Despite his fame his fame as a poet and his many important friends, he never seriously sought and never received an official appointment which meant that it was only through his own hard work that he supported himself throughout his life.


South lake in the Rain

Blossoming peach trees among the bamboos: patches of moistened
   red.
fish traps adrift in a rising tide, half hidden by the reeds.
Spring scenery at South Lake has nobody in charge,
Except for the slanting wind and fine rain from everywhere.

Translation by Shirleen s. Wong


The last poet from the anthology this week is Ho Shao-chi. Ho was born in the Hunan province in 1799 and died in the city of Soocho in 1873. He pursued an official career at Hanlin Academy and in numerous local government positions all over China, until 1852 when he was removed from his official post in Szechwan province for criticizing the central government, then went to Soocho to supervise a publisheing firm.

During his lifetime, Ho was more famous as a calligrapher than as a poet, considered today as one of the greatest of day.


Mountain Rain

In my bamboo rainhat, I avoid tree branches dripping with dew;
The first cool weather, just right for a country excursion.
Mountain torrent clouds gather everywhere by themselves,
And mountain rain arrives suddenly before you know it.
Riding on horseback, I let my hat and robe get drenched;
Melons and beans by the village side are scattered, scraggly.
The weather clears, peaks and crags emerge;
Myriad waterfalls fly in unison, just one more miracle!


A Contrary Wind

A cold rain beats the river, the wind's contrary,too;
The boatmen get mad at me for constantly opening the door:
"Listen, if it weren't for the green mountain hues,
Why would I be bouncing around midst the white waves?"

Both poems translated by J.D Schmidt








Here's another poem from 2009, another coffeehouse observational.



very large men gone to seed

a mother
brings her 5 kids,
4 of them under 5-years-old,
into the coffee shop
leaves them at a table -

then disappears for 20 minutes

poetic
intentions lost
i watch the kids, wishing -
shh, don’t tell anyone -
i could administer a good
parental slap on the bottom
to each of them, especially
the little blond 3-year-old girl
who hits and screams at each
of the rest of them

when,
finally,
mom gathers them up
and takes them out the door,
there is an audible sigh though out
the premises as everyone gets their head
back on whatever it was they were thinking
before the cacophonic herd came crashing in,
an anarchic wave of over-indulgence

me,
i can quit thinking about beating children
and get back to thinking about my poem

which reminds me
that some time just about every day
this week, i’ve seen in my daily passage
very large men gone to seed

i’m talking about big guys,
6’6” or taller, 350 pounds,
guys
who in their prime
could clear a room with nothing more
than a seriously hard look

now
they sag where once they were taut
and dangerous, gray hair like a haystack,
belly hanging over their belts and i wonder
if they miss the dominance that used to come
just from their physical presence - and i wonder
if they, having fallen so much farther than me,
rue their age and rot anymore than i rue mine

so the day continues

the sun’s out,
pushing aside the damp, grey skies
that made the morning
pleasant,
but the damn kids
are gone
and i’m in somewhat less a ruin
than the very large guys i saw
last week and
while
none of us are what we were, i’m closer
to it than
them
and i guess that’s kind of
comforting








Here are my last two poets from New European Poets.



The first poet is Gintaras Grajauskas. Born in 1966, he is from Marijampole,Lithuania. He is the author of several books of poetry and a collection of essays.


The Night Watchman

in a room warmed
by sleeping breath
the night watchman leans
his shoulders against the wall.

he watches the dark,his head
cocked, so he can see better,
winds a thread, torn
from his jacket about his fingers.

he smokes: the flame at the tip
of his cigarette crackles.
someone turns over.
someone talks in his sleep.

don't answer,watchman,as long
as they dream, you needn't worry. time,
like an eighteen-wheeler, doesn't chase
after you in their dreams.

and when the wall clock strikes
four,don't jump, watchman.
hold on to the edge with your nails,
crumbling bones, cracked teeth.

it is yours: the dreamers
the name in the dark, it isn't only your
dream that i'll never enter,
watchman, poor night watchman.

Translated from Lithuanian by Laima Sruoginis


And my last poem this week from the anthology is Latvian poet Inga Gaile. Born in 1976, her first two collections were both honored for their excellence.


The wind smoothes out all the wrinkles and light beacons in our eyes,

the wind smoothes out all the wrinkles and light beacons in our eyes,

we are on deck, we are on track; we find

the well and begin to live, we will survive, in order to say

"we love," we will survive, in order to say "we are coming," because

only at the very crest is it apparent that this is simply and solely

the beginning,sparrows chirp,the well's windlass turns, from green
grass the dew vanishes, a child comes through mist heading home

and only looks over where someone gathers berries, in the morning the kitchen

smells of autumn, and sheepdogs bark to bring in the day, over fields
a man wades, he has a woman in his head, a girl sits

alone on the shore, with wind-tossed hair, with
pebbles and desire to live, with great hope, with great

obstinacy, with wide eyes and love.

Translated from Latvian by Inara Cedrins.








Last poem for the week, written earlier this week.



well, it’s like this…

well, it's like this...

I had this poem I wrote last night
that I was going to use
this morning
but I really don’t like it
so I was going to come up
with something else
but there seems to be
no “something else” lurking
so I was going directly
to my ever-reliable
last resort
and pull out
an
old joke
that might work as a poem
if appropriately positioned line breaks
were plac
ed
in
a
poetically appropriate
man
er
likethembeatguys
did
and I could be a neo-
beat
guy and be the hero
of all the dead beat-guys
in San
Francisco…

and I had this great
joke
in mind
and was all ready
to give it a whirl but damned
if I didn’t forget
the
flappitygablitt
joke

so
I guess
the joke’s
on
me








The end, and the usual stuff - everything belongs to who made it; my stuff to, but you can have it if you properly credit "Here and Now" and me.

I'm allen itz, owner of producer of this blog, and merchant of books fine and dandy.

Like these:


Available for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony eBookstore and Appple ibookstore -


"Always to the Light"




"Goes Around, Comes Around"




"Pushing Clouds Against the Wind"




And
For those of a print-bent, available on Amazon


"Seven Beats a Second"


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From a Place Far From Home   





I was fooling around on Facebook with this series of pictures a week or so ago and decided, since I know where they are (not always the case with my photo files), I ought to use them in a blog. The original versions of the photos were taken in and around Uvalde, Texas, on Highway 90 about 70 miles from San Antonio, a place not actually so far from home as it might look.

So...

Giving special attention this week to poems from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, details follow.


Here's the whole package for the week.


Me
I didn’t want to do this…

d.a. levy
Reality Jew

Me
the pan dulce factor

Jessica Helen Lopez
Beauty

Me
I will take pictures today

Bob Kaufman
Jail Poems

Me
this being the 68th anniversary of my birth

Bobby Byrd
A Brief Description of What Goes On in Streater's Pub on Galveston Island
This Poem I’ll Sell for $100


Me
doodlebug dust

Patti Smith
Notebook

Frank T. Rios
Invocation

George Tsongas
The States

Paul Landry
Displaced Poet

Me
big dinner

Dennis Cooper
First Sex
Ed Hong


Me
spoke to God last night - thought I should pass it on

David Gollub
As for Us

Me
is poetry necessary?

Dilruba Ahmed
Dhaka Dust
Southern Ohio
Fable


Me
Sunday breakfast at IHOP

Jack Wiler
It’s About the End of the World Stupid

Klipschutz
America

Joe Brainard
Art

Hal Sirowitz
Thursday Night in the Park

Me
tussling with "Tannhauser"

Susana H. Case
The Cost of Heat

Me
on reading "Cow" by Federico Garcia Lorca

Walt Whitman
Poets to Come

Me
green









This is the kind of poem I really don't like to write, but, once it gets in my head, I have to write through it to get to the other side.



I didn’t want to do this…

I was
thinking
about this last night
and was hoping that
by this morning
I’d have
something better
to write about
but here it is
6:37 a.m.
and this is all I have

it’s a poem about
religion,
which is very different from
a religious poem,
because
I don’t write
religious poems,
being a practicing non-religionist
myself,
and I hate to write poems
about religion
because many people
who have
fallen
into a religious
state of mind
consider anyone
who hasn’t
had such a revelation
an affront
to the higher
powers
of the universe,
of whom
they believe they have direct
you might even
say
inside
knowledge

but I am a tolerant man
and try to polite and non-dismissive
of others’ beliefs,
because,
after
all,
a man is nothing more than a
composite
of his beliefs and the better nature
one hopes
ensue
from a strong and secure
belief system…


the problem I have
is not with belief,
strongly held,
buy mostly has to do
with
the limitations of
my own virtue and intellect,
a problem
with belief
when it is based
solely
on blind faith,
such,
being
in my own opinion,
a form
of mental and spiritual
castration
and it seems no matter
how hard I try
that impolite
dismissive opinion
bleeds through
whatever I say,
especially when I might
accidently,
when caught up in
the flow of thought,
point out
to all and sundry
that all blind faith
is equal
and that blind faith is blind faith
is blind faith
and if one argues in discussion
that belief in a god
is provable
as an article
of such blind faith
then I feel I,
as a liberal
and tolerant person
must accept that opinion
of belief through faith
as valid even though I don’t feel
a necessity
to share
the
faith….

ideally
the validity of blind faith
as the basis
for belief in a god
being acceptable to me,
I would hope
others
might understand
that the
standard of proof
they have established
for themselves
must also be the standard of proof
for all believers
of all things and that
faith being
the only proof required,
their belief in God
must stand on equal footing
with someone else’s belief
in Peter Pan
and
Tinkerbill…

it would be
at about that point
that I lose those
who don’t appreciate it
when their evidence
for the existence
of their God,
true
and real,
as proven,
by their own argument
and standard
of proof
can equally be applied
to establish
the true
and actual
existence of
Peter Pan
and Tinkerbell
or
as Wendy
educated us
all you have to do
is believe…

of course
this has nothing to do
with anything
except I read in the paper yesterday
that some
very large percentage of Americans
believe in the Devil,
which surprised me at first
since almost none of the people I know
believe in the Devil
and neither do I, though
I do believe in evil
(though I am certain evil is a product of man
and not some faith-based-being)

but on reflection,
if God and Peter Pan
and Tinkerbell
can exist, then surely
there must also be a Devil
for nature abhors
imbalance
and will insist on a good
for every bad
and a bad for every good
and anyway,
if you set aside belief
and examine the question
on an evidentiary basis
it’s clear
that there’s a lot more evil in the world
than good,
meaning there is a lot more
evidence in the record
supporting
the existence of the Devil
than there is for God
or Peter Pan and
Tinkerbell
as well

and that, certainly,
is the tragedy
of this whole thing -
if there is a god, as some say,
it is hard to believe he is
winning









This week, I'm paying special attention to poets from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. It is huge anthology of over six hundred pages (in addition, the contributor list runs to 21 pages) published in 1999 by Thunder Mouth Press.

The first of my poets from the antholody is d. a. levy, a champion of free-speech who endured much police harassment in Cleveland where he grew up and lived, was much better known abroad and to a hard core avant garde fan base than to the general poetry public at large when he committed suicide or was murdered (still undetermined) in 1968 at the age of 26.



Reality Jew (1964)
(or what it's really like to be the angel of death in Cleveland


When i was a little kid
my parents never told me
i didn't find out until
i for our of high school
then when they asked me,
I ASKED THEM,
"Nationality or Religion?"

When i was a little kid
my parents brought me up as a christian
that when i discovered,
i was different
i wasn't THAT sick!
so at sixteen
still being a virgin forest
i decided
i must be a buddhist monk,
Then when people asked me
I TOLD THEM, i told them
"Not me, man, I don't belong to No-thing

In the navy
a swabby once asked me,
if i wanted to go to the
temple with him
i told him
"Not me, man, i'm the last
of the full-blooded american indians."

it became confusing
so after a while
when people inquired
"Hey...ah...aren...are you?"
I answered
"with a name like levy,
what the hell do you thing i am?"
A Ritz Cracker? A flying bathtub?
An arab                    etc.

But now it's getting pretty hip
to be a jew
and some of my best friends are
becoming converted to halavah,
even the crones who suddenly
became World War 2 catholics are
now praising bagels and lox
i still don't feel on ethnic things like
"Ok, so we all niggers so lets hold hands."
&
"OK, we're all wops so lets support the
mafia,"
&
Ok, we're all jews so lets weep on each
others shoulders."
so now when people smile and say,
"Hey, you're one of us,"
i smile and say,
"Fuck you, man,
i'm sitll alive."








Here's a poem I wrote early in 2008, after the election, but before Obama took office.

Too bad, it seems I was too optimistic about the future.



the pan dulce factor

my normal breakfast
is a kind of Mexican
pan dulce
called in Texas
mojettes
and in other places
conchas

whichever name
you pick,
they are the same thing,
a round sweet bread
with a red, yellow,
white or brown sugary
icing spread irregularly
in a kind of waffle pattern
on top,
the various colors
for display only,
having no effect on taste

I prefer the mojette
because like most Mexican
sweet breads
it has less sugar
than the standard gringo
pastries, thus increasing
the possibility
that when the time comes
I will die with my feet on

with my mojette
I read two newspapers,
the local and the Times,
and drink one medium latte,
except, of course, if I’m at
Starbucks, I don’t have a
medium latte
I have a grande latte
which is what Starbucks
calls a medium latte
hoping to get you say
to yourself,
holy cow,
I got a grande latte
for the same price as a medium,
I’m going to get all my lattes
from Starbucks from now on

just a trivial example of the
reconstruction of language
that’s part of our daily life
now days, like Bush starting
a preemptive war
that only preempts
the continued living
of many Americans
and many more
Iraqis
or
the Texas governor’s
fast-track plan
to build many new
coal
power plants
described
as an anti-global warming
initiative
or the Republican candidates’ plan
to get rid of all the Mexicans
wherever they may hide
labeled
immigration reform

we’ve had eight years
to learn all these tricks
and the good news is
in less than a year
we can forget all about their
wordsquat
since they’ll be
gone

the bad news is
now we’re going to have to
learn
all the new democrat
wordbarf
and who knows what that’s
going to be

at least
however the
new
brave
new world
turns out, they’ll still be
a few Mexican bakeries left
laying out on their shelves
every day
a
50 cent
mojette breakfast
available
in your favorite
of four colors








The next poem is by Jessica Helen Lopez. It's taken from her book, Always Messing with them Boys, published by West End Press in 2011.

Lopez is a three-time member of the City of Albuquerque Slam Team and 2008 National Champion UNM Lobo Slam Team. I think this is her first book. Whether it is or not, this book is the first of her's I've seen. I like her work very much and will be looking for the next ones.



Beauty

Beauty,I can't promise
you much but the hard
kind of love made soft
by my own pair of hands -
the splitting of my thighs
like the cleft of nectarine
and the muted blood of motherhood

the early morning of your birth
colored the sky a certain shade of rose
I will never see again
and I labored the whole night away
like a lone train in the dark

the months you spent inside of me
crafted a name - Mia, Mine

you were a river that spilled from within
born praising Spring you split the air with your cries
my body bled announcing your arrival -
a dark ribbon inside me, unfolding

yielding
to your soft coiled body,
and my skin was alive with you

your father shed his ego
on the day you were born and I never
saw him so naked and pure

I should have known then
we were a bit to possessive,
calculative, mechanical things
the way good parents can be,
the way we change,
the way the tendrils of our scars wrap
around the ankles of our children

Beauty, this was years before
I became enamored with the
fanfare of divorce, before we
spoke through lawyers and angry-lipped
phone calls

before we lost
track of you, our mangled
voices seeping into the walls of
your sleeping bedroom

our bent voices
brutal to your ears
red sickle-shaped words
we hurled at one another

how we suffer our little children
with our flint-rock tongues,
how we split hairs over money,
the cold bread of the dead

I blame him
for that knife in the back
he brought to our bed,
my shameless groveling
the secret closet where he
choked me
while I was nine months
swollen with you

I blame me
all those wrap-around thoughts
only a manic depressive knows
form my bitter tongue, my acidic love
the dumb pretty
poems I wrote
in the shadow of this sadness
I remember the small pale face of my mother
and red threats my father's mouth made -
their desperate and clumsy attempts towards happiness

Beauty, forgive us
we were rough-hearted, children-turned-parents
young once and in love with the world,
we became old so fast -
ten shades of grey we fell
tumbling and tangled

You were conceived in the bluster of a winter desert
sand in our eyes, we were two bull-headed lovers
who groped for one another in the darkness

we held you
so we wouldn't have to hold
onto our own shapeless loneliness

but this is how we get by, right?
on a morsel of regret and what we
think we know of love -

this is how
we say
we are
sorry








A very nice morning unfolding - from last week.



I will take pictures today

as I was sitting
here,
day edged away night,
light creeping
onto
the scene
like an old dog
easing tentatively around shadowed
corners

the wind blows
hard from the north,
picking up
as light overcomes dark
like the sunrise was sucking
all the cold
from the mountains,
blowing
against the back of my neck
like icy spider
toes
pushing hard for a leap
to the next
anchor
of their sky bridge
to morning light

the north wind
will ease
in an hour or so
as the new cool air
settles over the city
and it will be a bright
and lovely day,
a bridge,
like the spider’s silk
construction,
between past winter and advancing spring

I think
I will take pictures
today








Next from "the outlaw bible" I have this longer piece by Bob Kaufman.

One of thirteen children, Kaufman was born in New Orleans to a respected, high-achieving Black Catholic family. His mother was a school teacher and his father was a Pullman porter and was involved in the creation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first Black union to successfully organize.

In 1945, at age eighteen, Kaufman joined the Merchant Marine and became active in the organizing of several overlapping maritime unions. He became an orator for the militantly leftist Seaman's International Union, then was purged from the union in the 1950s when the AFL and the CIO merged in the middle of the time's anti-communists crusades.

One of founding architects of the Beat Generation as a literary and historical phenomenon, he was overshadowed for years by white and college-educated contemporaries like Ginsberg and Kerouac.



Jail Poems

1
I am sitting in a cell with a view of evil parallels,
Waiting thunder to splinter me into a thousand me's.
It is not enough to be in one cage with one self;
I want to sit opposite every prisoner in every hole
Doors roll and bang, every slam a finality, bang!
The junkie disappeared into a red noise, stoning out his hell.
The odored wino congratulates himself on not smoking.
Fingerprints left lying on black inky gravestones,
Noises of pain seeping through steel walls crashing
Reach my own hurt. I become part of someone forever.
Wild accents of criminals are sweeter to me than hum of cops,
Bust battening down hatches of human souls; cargo
Destined for ports of accusations, harbors of guilt.
What do policemen eat, Socrates, still prisoner, old one?

2
Painter, paint me a crazy jail, mad water-color cells
Poet, how old is suffering? Write it in yellow lead.
To lead through this atmosphere of shrieks and private hells,
Entrances and exits, in...out...up...down, the civic
    seesaw
Here - me - now - hear - me - now - always here somehow.

3
In a universe of cells - who is not in jail? Jailers.
In a world of hospitals - who is not sick? Doctors.
A golden sardine is swimming in my head
Oh we know some things, man, about some things
LIke jazz and jails and God.
Saturday is a good dayt to go to jail.

4
Now they give a new form, quivering jelly-like,
That proves any boy can be president of Muscatel.
They are mad at him because he's one of Them.
Gray-speckled unplanned nakedness; stinking
Fingers grasping toilet bowl. Mr. America wants to bathe.
Look! On the floor, lying across America's face -
A real movie star featured in a million newsreels.
What am I doing - feeling compassion?
When he comes out of it, he will help kill me.
He probably hates living.

5
Nuts, skin bolts, clanking in his stomach, scrambled.
His society's gone to pieces in his belly, bloated.
See the great American windmill, tilting at itself.
Good solid stock, the kind that made America drunk
Success written all over his street-streaked ass.
Successful-type success, forty home runs in one inning.
Stop suffering. Jock, you can't fool us. We know.
This is the greatest country in the world, ain't it?
He didn't make it Wino in Cell 3.

6
There have been too many years in this shot span of time.
My soul demands a cave of its own, like the Jain god;
Yet I must make it go on, hard like jazz, glowing
In this dark plastic jungle, land of long night, chilled.
My navel is a button to push when I want inside out.
Am I not more than a mass of entrails and rough tissue?
Must I break my bones? Drink my wine-diluted blood?
Should I dredge old sadness from my chest?
Not again.
All those ancient balls of fire, hotly swallowed, let them lie.
Let me spit breath mists of introspection, bits of me,
So that when I am gone, I shall be in the air.

7
Someone whom I am is no one.
Something I have done is nothing.
Someplace I have been in nowhere.
I am not me.
What of the answers
I must find questions for?
All these strange streets
I must find cities for,
Thank God for beatniks.

8
All night the stink of rotting people.
Fumes rising from pyres of live men,
Fill my nose with gassy disgust,
Drown my exposed eyes in tears.

9
Traveling God salesmen, bursting my ear drum
With the fullest part of a good sexy book,
Impatient for MOnday and adding machines.

10
Yellow-eyed dogs whistling in evening.

11
The baby came to jail today.

12
One more day to hell, filled with floating glands.

13
The jail, a huge hollow metal cube
Hanging from the moon b y a silver chain.
Someday Johnny Appleseed is going to chop it down.

14
Three long strings of light
Braided into a ray.

15
I am apprehensive about my future;
My past has turned its back on me.

16
Shadows I see, forming on the wall,
Pictures of desires protected from my own eyes.

17
After spending all night constructing a dream,
Morning came and blinded me with light.
Now I seek among mountains of crushed eggshells
For the God damned dream I never wanted.

18
Sitting here writing things on paper,
Instead of sticking the pencil into the air.

19
The Battle of Monumental Failures raging,
Both hoping for a good clean loss.

20
Now I see the night, silently overwhelming day.

21
Caught in imaginary webs of conscience,
I weep over my acts, yet believe.

22
Cities should be built on one side of the street.

23
People who can't cast shadows
Never die of freckles.

24
The end always comes last.

25
We sat at a corner table,
Devouring each other word by word.
Until nothing was left, repulsive skeletons.

26
I sit here writing, not daring to stop,
For fear of seeing what's outside my head.

27
There, Jesus, didn't hurt a bit, did it?

28
I am afraid to follow my flesh over those narrow
Wide hard soft female beds, but I do.

29
Link by link, we forged the chain.
Then, discovering the end around our necks,
We bugged out.

30
I have never seen a wild poetic loaf of bread,
But if I did, I would eat it, crust and all.

31
From how many years away does a baby come?

32
Universality, duality, totality....one

33
The defective on the floor mumbling,
Was once a man who shouted across tables.

34
Come, help flatten a raindrop.


            Written in San Francisco City Prison
                    Cell 3, 1959









Happy Birthday to me.



this being the 68th anniversary of my birth

this day,
being
68th
anniversary
of my birth,
I’m taking extra time
to ponder over the perfect,
appropriate, and not unnecessarily gloomy
poem
to mark the occasion

paradoxical
in a way, since taking time
is the one most rapidly diminishing
luxury that accompanies the being of 68 years
of venerable
or at least not too ill-reputable
age

time,
that thing which flashes
as it passes
(never crawling
no is it did through years
of my lesser, school- going age)
being the thing
everyone wants more
of, the thing that even bored-
to-the-gills people
want
more of, even though it would seem
bored-to-the-gills types
might want less of it, but it seems
there is no life so boring
that the bored want less of it, it being
the un-bored, lives filled with non-boring
trial and tribulation,
who seek to escape it’s daily, hourly, moment by moment
bite,
leading one,
perhaps,
to the conclusion that
instead of suicide, we should council
those so distressed to seek
a higher grade of boredom to make their life
seem more worth living,
maybe
daily consecutive hours
of afternoon
TV
like hour after hour
of "Wheel of Fortune"
or Wolf Blitzer
relating
the latest celebrity
news
without break


but I digress

on this my 68th birthday
I am not bored
nor
am I distressed, though disappointed
maybe, that I am required to be such an age
before I have completely finished
being 16, which, though I have been working on it now
for 52 years, is not quite done
the way I’d like to see it
done
for
there is that cheerleader,
old as wizened
as she now must be,
who occupies the more interesting
corners
of my dream world,
a project
never completed
in real life
and not even
now
in my dreams

I expect a new
outbreak
of pimples any minute,
symptom
now as then
of my unrequited romantic
ambitions

nothing
every really changes,
I guess,
no matter how many years
you add to the
tally









Here are two poems by Bobby Byrd, from his book On the Transmigration of Souls in El Paso, published by Cinco Puntos Press in 1992.

Byrd, a poet, essayist and publisher, grew up in Memphis,Tennessee during the golden age of that city’s music. In 1963 he went to Tucson where he attended the University of Arizona. Since then he has lived in the American Southwest. In 1978 he and his wife, novelist Lee Merrill Byrd, moved to El Paso. The city and the border region has become their home.

He is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the NEA, a D.H. Lawrence fellowship, and an international fellowship to study in Mexico. In addition to this book, he is the author of numerous books of poetry including Pomegranates, Get Some Fuses for the House, The Price of Doing Business in Mexico, and his most recent, White Panties, Dead Friends & Other Bits & Pieces of Love.

He and his wife are publishers and owners of Cinco Puntos Press. In 2005 they received the Lannan Fellowship for Cultural Freedom.



A Brief Description of What Goes On in Streater's Pub on Galveston Island

            "Now we can live in hope."
                  - the father of Anne Frank


The Nazis banged on the door.
They came to get Anne Frank,
innocent girl,
who,
holding onto her boy friend
and looking up to the sky,
said

   "I think the world is going thru a phase
   It'll pass."

      but

   Beverly the Barkeep
asked Henry, the one with the toothache,
what about the red snapper
that Al caught that afternoon?
"He forgot to put it on ice
until just an hour ago," she said.

"Does it stink yet,
you know,
that sort of sweet smelling fishy stink?"
Henry asked and winked at me.
It was some kind of dirty joke.
I sucked at my Lone Star Longneck
and smiled at Henry
like I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Anne Frank had already disappeared.
they didn't show the Nazis
breaking in and muttering -

   filthy fucking jews
   dirty asshole kikes.


Henry said that the best way to cook snapper
is to lay it in a pan and cut a big X in its side,
then stuff the cuts with hunks of garlic and butter,
pepper it up real good, maybe some
Louisiana Hot Sauce and bake it until it's good and done.
"Oh, it's so good that way," he told Beverly
who had an icepick in her hand.

the the fat woman from Chicago
a real goddess
still fresh and damp
from swimming in the warm ocean,
wanted me to understand
precisely
about the synchronicity of Streaters Pub
so she bummed two quarters
and played Janis Joplin on the jukebox.
This fat woman, suddenly
the muse that she had become
wore a blue beach towel for a skirt
and a red halter
in which her enormous breasts
like globes
hung.
She looked at me and laughed.
"Don't worry, Buddy,
I'm not going to screw you," she said.
rolling her giant hips
while dead Janis burst out -

   Freedom is just another word
      for nothing else to lose.



This Poem I'll Sell for $100

I went to a party last night.
Carol the old lady
anthropologist told me that
she was heading for Brazil,
the rain forests on the amazon
before
they're gone forever -
in fact, before
we're all gone forever - she wants
to meet the perfect man, she
wants to get laid,
she wants the darkness
of the jungle. Mosquitos
and sweat she can live with
as long as the natives
don't steal her teeth.
I poured her another glass of red wine.
I poured myself one.
My buddy Richard, meanwhile,
was selling art
to the highest bidder,
some black and white
monoprints of the dry desert world
disappearing into
the wilderness
of pure rock, the stems
and roots of mesquite trees,
an apocalyptic wind blowing
bitter cold
into our collective faces.
God hides out in such places.
I wanted to cry out, but
Richard had a smile on his face.
He put his arm around my shoulders.
He gave me a big Jewish kiss.
He told me not to worry. He said,
Money is okay if you know what to do with it.
Work is okay if you know what to do with it.
I went home at eleven o'clock, I wanted
to get up early and write
some poems, but Carol and Richard
stayed drinking the red wine.
The told me that after I left
they were going to break out the expensive stuff.








This is another poem from 2008, this one from February.

The drought we hope we have just broken was on the horizon, but we didn't know it yet.



doodlebug dust

we started the day
with a promise
of rain,
squalls
blown in off
the gulf
as tropic currents
blew northwest,
but west texas winds
pushed back
and rain that
should have been ours
hugged the coast,
going northeast
instead, soaking
Corpus Christi Bay,
Mustang Island
and all the little
shrimping towns,
all the boats
secured against the weather
in little harbor coves,
then swinging along
the coastal arc
past Port Lavaca
to Galveston
where the pirate Lafitte
took his winter rest,
spreading
a few miles inland
to clean rinse
the stink
of Houston smog
and beyond,
all the way
to Louisiana
and, finally,
sometime tonight
to dampen some
fallow cotton field
in Mississippi

after a wet
summer and fall
that turned
our brown hills
green, letting us
forget for a while
the truth of where
we live, there has been
no rain beyond the
early mists
that soften some
mornings, sometimes
till mid-day

with no real rain,
the ground hardens
like the caliche
only inches below
the surface, then
breaks down
into a fine dust,
doodlebug dust,
where you can see
the inverted cones
the little insects
made in their
burrowing, for
what purpose
I have never known
for sure but suspect
it has something to do
with finding relief from
heat in the arms
of cool dark earth
below the surface

instead of rain,
the sun was out
this afternoon
and warm
and like the doodlebugs
I've burrowed into
my little air conditioned
nest to wait it out








Next, I have several shorter poems from the outlaw anthology.



The first of the poems is by poet, songwriter, singer Patti Smith


Notebook

I keep trying to figure out what it means
to be american. When I look in myself
I see arabia, venus, nineteenth-century
french but I can't recognize what
makes me american. I think about
Robert Frank's photographs - broke down
jukeboxes in gallup, new mexico...
swaying hips and spurs...ponytails and
syphilitic cowpokes. I thinking about a
red, white and blue rag I wrap around
my pillow. Maybe it's nothing material
maybe it's just being free.

Freedom is a waterfall, is pacing
linoleum till dawn, is the right to
write the wrong words. and I done
plenty of that...


This poem is by Frank T. Rios, author of seven books of poetry and recipient of the Joya C. Penobscot Award and the Tombstone Award for poetry in 1988. From the Bronx, he became a part of the beat scene in the 1950s.


Invocation

My muse burns
a holy candle
to the nite
as she lies
quiet
in the other room

the space
between us
a mystery
like walking
on air

what I know
fits
in my closed hand

the rest
a vision
& my muse
guiding me


The next poet is George Tsongas. All the book has to say about Tsongas is that he lives in San Francisco.


The States

It's an
amazing
place, where
no one enjoys

life

but they
all want
to live

forever


And also from the anthology, Paul Landry, a North Beach poet who composed his poems by hand set letterpress.


Displaced Poet

I go to the country
and while there
I can't write
about trees
or turnips.
Sunlight seems like
a steel car
falling off a hill.
Trees?
What names should
I give to these girls
in green dresses
prom queens
who will never know
I exist at the edge
of their gowns?
I go nowhere
going out of my mind.
And the city arrives.
And the city sits down
and the city wants
the country
to serve tea
and pork chops
simple as that
unconfused
green light already
shining on top
of the hill.








A report on a happy occasion last week.



big dinner

last night, with family,
eleven of us gathered around
bar-b-que brisket - chicken - sausage,
creamed corn, potato salad,
Dee's special arroz y boracho beans,
tortillas (flour and corn), wine
for those that do that,
ice tea for me
and the youngest, my niece,
18, on the glide path from high school
to the next step, trying
to choose from among the several colleges
that want to give her money
to join them in educational
adventure - the ocassion
of the event, multiple, my birthday,
my son's birthday (29) and our anniversary (35),
all occuring within the space of a week, celebrating
done all at once - a good time had by all,
the dinner, boisterous family
discussion over cake and
three rounds of Scattagories, the game,
with my son and my two nephews at the table, all
about the same age and fierce competitors,
gladiators for the cause of supremacy,
a Roman Circus around the just cleared table...

by far,
the oldest at the table,
i try, in the midst of the circus
to pass on some of my age-earned wisdom
about life and it's meaning,
especially to the new generation
of my son and his cousins
and find that everyone at the table
is more interested
in the gathering up their own earned-wisdom
than in listening to mine and I'm not telling it too well
any way, so I let it pass, simplify it as best i can
by telling to look around the table
and see in the gathering a successful life
assembled through patience and living not alone
and apart, but in the folds of family, so that whatever
the unwrapping of their life might bring, whatever thorny
or sylvan path they follow, there will be always
someone walking with them, always someone to pull the thorns,
always someone
to share the sunrises and meadow flowers, whichever
comes as all will come in its time

live not alone,
is the simple message, face life
with love
as your constant and never under-valued
companion








Here are two poems by Dennis Cooper. The poems are from his book Idols, published by Amethyst Press in 1989.

Cooper, born in 1953 in Pasadena, California, is a novelist, poet, critic, editor and performance artist. He is direct and explicit about his homosexuality in his poetry, to the point that I was very selective in which of his poems to use. It's not the homosexuality that concerns me, but his near pornographic, artful to be sure, use of sex as a motif.

Concerned that I might offend many "Here and Now" readers, I have chosen to stay on the more bland side of his work. If you want more, check out the book.



First Sex

This isn't it.
I thought it would be
like having a boned pillow.

I saw myself turning
over and over in lust
like sheets in a dryer.

My style was reckless,
wood dry. Other than mine
there were little or no arms.

I would whisper anything
into an implied ear
and praise would rise
like a colorless, scentless gas.
Then I would breathe to sleep.

But my lover moves.
And my lips grow numb as rubber
before I capture half the ass
that roselike Atlantis
from my dreams.

I try to get his shoulder blade between my teeth.
He complains, pillow in his mouth.
Doesn't mean it.
Means it.

He rolls onto his back,
race raw and wet as fat,
like it has been shaken from nightmares.
I don't know how to please this face.

Tomorrow when he has made breakfast
and gone, I will sweep
the mound of porno from my closet,
put a match to its lies.

I will wait in my bed
as I did before, a thought ajar,
and sex will slip into my room
like a white tiger.


Ed Hong

When they snapped his picture
he was on LSD
and flunking everything.
You would have said:
"beautiful loser,
good for a rape and an O.D."
You would have jerked-off once
and been done with him. His friends did.
But you should have seen him
when a Christian smile
licked these lips.
Four months after this photo
his fists softened like swallowed pills.
His harangue calmed to lectures,
the Word, the Book
tucked in an underarm.
Hair fell to his shoulders
and filled with hands,
girls', friends', parents', God's.
We let him blather about love,
a world one thought beyond us,
the day we would float.
We didn't argue or contradict.
His chin rose like the hour hand.
We listened. We let
him have whatever made him
this way and this good.








Really need to be careful who I talk to. Lots of strange characters out there.



spoke to God last night - thought I should pass it on

I
spoke to God
last night
and this is what he had to say:

believe
none who claim
to speak to me, he said,
for it is only my evil twin
with whom they converse
and he is devious
and untrustworthy,
a mighty tempter
bringing
not truth, but merely
arrogance
and false pride…

holy men,
ayatollahs of every stripe,
priests, preachers,
popes, politicians -
I speak to none of them
for they would exploit my word
for power
for they are not worthy
of either power
or my word…

listen
to the meadow,
instead,
said he who is empowered
to create poetic
cliché,
listen to the rising
setting
sun,
to the full moon
high overhead,
to the clouds
and the wind that moves them,
to the exploited,
murdered to extinction
animals that I created
and that those who claim my power
claim the right to
destroy

(they will feel the heat
of true destruction
some day,
death and fire and
brimstone
they know not the least of
but will someday be taught
by my angels
of retribution - those who
in this world
usurp my word and spirit
will know someday
the fact of my indignation
and all it contains
for I am the meanest
toughest, most unforgiving
sonuvabitch in the hood
to those who mock me
and demean me
through false claims
of intimacy
with my intentions
and interests
and they will be so properly
instructed)

so
don’t be standing
too close
to such poseurs
and imposters, is all I’m saying,
their time is coming

stand apart

listen
instead to the truth
that is all around you
in the world
I made
(and, by the way,
I made it for my own enjoyment,
not for you,
so don’t get too full of yourself,
for I am
after all, God,
better even than the elephants
that I also made at not
forgetting)…

that what he told me,
anyway
and though
I’ll admit
I was a little surprised
to get the call,
I thought I should pass it on









The next poem from the outlaw anthology is by David Gollub, editor of Bullhorn,described as "the official poetry broadside of the Barbarians."



As for Us

As night falls like a blade we are
seated on benches again
goggling at each other;
lenses bend our eyes crutches of light
Hair streams out of our heads like smoke
of thoughts
from brains on fire; our faces get
stretched to caricature
each in the other's mirror, finding each other
sweating
on the spot, forced to dot
dark exclamations
even before we speak. Rage stretches the
rein we keep on our voices taut
near to breaking,
as if our very words were
horses lacerated toward a stampede
into chaos, desperate to shed
their meanings, pulling the thunder of those
empty wagons
over badlands with even more
panicked resentment.
Whose symptom is it,
that unrelenting spur? Look at the world,
people starve, and receive
from those with food in houses
and hands in pockets
warm smiles. Cruelty
not even for pleasure,
pleasure is punished.
Look at us: drunk, furious, with a strong back suddenly
broken, with a twisted leg,
with muscles rotting on green bones,
drug-sick, rule-sick, work-sick, 86'd,
homeless, hungry,horny,choked in bed
by the intolerable burden
of another body's muscular love,
choked in the dust
of the blossoming acacia,
longing for love and frightened of it,
wheezing, sad, pissed off,
broke. Delivering
ourself the last wound
with knife, spike,prick,sharp
sorrow
just to be on the side of the sharp sorrow that seems
always to win. Look at us,
each with the identification badge
of a conspicuous personally tailored
mortal wound
held closed by enchantment.




,



A little bit of musing from the latter part of 2008.

We do seek to justify ourselves, don't we.



is poetry necessary?

i wrote two
poems
yesterday
which makes this poem
unnecessary
under my poem a day
regimen
but
then
is any poem
necessary
and i think
at first well
no
you cannot eat
a poem
you cannot drink
a poem
you cannot hold a poem
over your head
as shelter
from
a storm
you cannot
from a poem
make a club to beat
back those who would
do you harm
and i think again
poetry -
for what purpose
poetry?
survival?
lizards survive
cockroaches survive
so what is necessary
for us to survive
that goes beyond
survival
needs
of lizards and cockroaches
and i think
of our first poets
the shaman
the witch doctor
the monk the priest
the rabbi the imam
or whatever you choose
to call those poets
of the soul
those poets of memory
and history
and myth
these creators
of humanity
who made us more
than the lizard
or the cockroach
or any of the lesser beasts
who while they have
their own spark
have
not
the fire of
humanity
and decide
that while this poem
may be
unnecessary
poetry
is
not








Next, I have three poems by Dilruba Ahmed, from her book, Dhaka Dust, published in 2011 by Graywolf Press.

Ahmed, with roots in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Bangladesh, holds degrees in Creative Writing and Instruction and Learning from the University of Pittsburgh and is a graduate of Warren Wilson's MFA Program for Writers.

She is winner of a Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize for Poetry awarded by Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

I begin with her book's title poem.



Dhaka Dust

Can't occupy the same space at the same time
unless, of course, you land in Dhaka, rickshaws

five or six abreast. They are all here:
studded metal backboards ablaze with red flowers,

Heineken boxes, a Bangladeshi star with blue eyes,
peacocks, pink fans of filigree. The drivers sweat

and strain in their plaid lungis, and each face
seems to say Allah takes and Allah

gives
. A woman breathes into her green shawl
against the dust on the road's median. A man

with a plaid scarf (surplus from The Gap)
slaps the rump of a passing gray car

as thought it's a horse or a dog. You are there, too,
you maroon sleeves begin to stick

despite your deodorant. Under your orna,
a laminated map and digital camera

cradled in your lap. One strand of silver
wiry by your ear. Bits of children's songs

snag in your windpipe. Other words surface:
sweatshop and abject poverty, and you let them.

They mix with the low rumbling that began
on the plane, ms and bs tumbling, amplified

in the streets: the rickshaw bells' light metal,
the nasal peal of horns. On this continent,

the ocean's giant tongue has swept away
miles of coastline, and bodies flood the water.

Dust sifts into your longs and sinks - feline,
black, to remain long after your leave.


Southeastern Ohio

In stuffy gyms that passed
for mosques, my sisters and I
parroted words without grace
Allah hu akbar. Salaam
alaikum
. then the prayer-song broke
and we mimicked instead
lyrics thrumming from
somebody's Walkman: I want
your sex
. The station wagon crawled
from house to house where
driveways spilled
with brown kids, where a friend
flashed herr thabees as though
casting a hex.

            In another country
we'd have fasted and fasted in a
month of sunset meals,wearing
gifts of new dresses. Instead,
I took salt in my mouth
with our neighbors, brothers
from Egypt who passed the ball
and dribbled and spit all month
on the court, avoiding
their own saliva.


Fable

Soon, I will arrive at a house aglow
with lights and an endless meal, plate
after steaming plate to feed all
who enter. And if my feet are muddy,
my hands cold; if I have stumbled,
as I will tell you,now, I have stumbled -
with my faith returned to me like a pouch
of broken bones - I hound my face
among the villagers. I haven't walked
here alone. And now the night holds my name
in the thicket, the sky the ribbed scales
of a fish, phosphorescent, backlit.

Behind the house, I'm told, there's a river
full of minnows, now drawn together, now
drawn apart. Beyond that is a woods
dark enough for disappearing,
and at each root, a dirt
soft enough to knead.








Here's another of my pieces from 2008.



Sunday breakfast at IHOP

from the booth
behind me
a voice
with youthful lilt
and a full and jolly
laugh
that turns heads,
including mine,

to see
an old man
sharp-nosed
with trembling fingers,
and liver spots
on his bald
shining
head,
wearing a porky pig tie
that matches his laugh,
holding
the pale, still hand
a dead-faced woman
in a wheel chair
beside him








Next, I have two more short poems from the anthology.



The first poem is by Jack Wiler.

The book provides no information on Wiler beyond his poem.


It's About the End of the World Stupid

I always seen the hills of Persia as brown and fading.
the processions winding through the streets of Moscow
The crack of gunfire in Sarajevo
The sound of Allen Ginsberg's voice
in the cobbled rooks of Prague.
I'm putting on the veil.
I'm remembering my place.
I'm thinking of jobs long neglected.
I watching for signs.
Fractals dancing in the hills.
Whirling
Sufis
Singing all the praises to the lord
Transfigured
melting

We've lit the last big Roman Candle
It's late on the Fourth of July
We're turning out the lights
Come inside while you still can.


The next poem is by Klipchutz, a San Francisco poet and songwriter.


america

I want all the women
all the money
and all the fun

I want every rainbow
all the marbles
and a personalized introduction to God

I want a death list
transparent skin
and a cat with no fur

I want everything
I have nothing
I will negotiate


Next, a little piece of fun by Joe Brainard, an artist born in 1942 in Arkansas and raised in Oklahoma. In 1961, after a few months of study at the Dayton Art Institute, he moved to New York and had his first solo exhibition of his work in 1965. From there he went on to many other successful shows, as well as designing sets and costumes for theater and covers for a number of poetry books and magazines. Also a writer, he published a number of books. He died in 1994.


Art

Looking through a book of drawings by Holbein I realized several moments of truth. A nose (a line) so nose-like. So line-like. And then I think to myself "so what?" It's not going to solve any of my problems. And then I realized that at that very moment of appreciation I had no problems. Then I decided that this is a pretty profound thought. And that I ought to write it down. This is what I have just done. But it doesn't sound so profound anymore. That's art for you.


And here's another little piece of fun; this one by Hal Sirowitz.


Thursday Night in the Park

From this distance I couldn't tell
whether he was kissing her
or just taking a bite out of her pizza.








Radio brings back fond memories.



tussling with "Tannhauser"

tussling with “Tannhauser”
driving
to my coffee house
yesterday afternoon,
some very boring thing on NPR
drove me to the classical music station

in time for
Wagner’s most sublime,
his overture to “Tannhauser,”
listening in the car,
transfixed,
the repeated refrain,
the sweet cry of French horns,
then passing around the orchestra,
through the low brass
and back around to French horns
before slipping
down the register
to where the low brass arrives
for the final say,
huge and ponderous,
like the earth turning
slowly
on its axis,
the grandeur
of the planet’s regal orbit,
thunderous grieving
as it seems to tear itself apart,
where it splits atwain,
its howling, fiery
core
released
with a roar like the universal
fundament
breaking…

slipping then again
to the dark side
of the moon…

and I am transported
to a time
more than fifty years past when
those of us in the bass section
looked forward every year
to the chance to play the piece again
because
it was one of the few times
we were given official
sanction
to “blow our guts out”

and we did
and,
by God,
I wish I could have that much fun
again today








Finally, from my library, I have the title poem by Susana H. Case, from her book, The Cost of Heat, published by Pecan Grove Press in 2010.

Case was born in New York City and is a professor at the New York Institute of Technology. She has published widely in many poetry journals.



The Cost of Heat

What I'm surprised to miss: cramps,
the fusty smell. Men
who pull away in prissiness
are not worth loving. Love draws gore.
Despite the blood,
the sweat, the tears - in their thick,
you never pulled away.
Leach of us a fountain.

In the bathroom, you try to quell fierce
bleeding from a cut on your thumb. A sharp
widget on the radiator
fiddled with because the room
I work in is so cold. Not

as chilly as the ground:
we'll lay down together
in the cold cold ground
.
Each leaking gap contains surprisingly
good color for lips and nails and ambivalence
at the inevitability of blood's drying.








Here's a last piece from 2008.



on reading “ Cow” by Federico Garcia Lorca

i am reminded
of how often i worry about the meat i eat,
not because i’m a vegetarian
or because i think it is necessarily
immoral to eat other creatures
but because of the way these other creatures
come to become an entree on my plate

if you’ve ever been to a slaughter house,
you know what
i mean

no respect
for the life being taken
and
in the end
no respect
for the life being eaten

so
if i continue to eat meat
which
i almost certainly will continue to do
i will endeavor to remind myself
of the creature whose living essence
sustains me

no more hamburgers for me

from now on
when i go to McDonald’s
it’ll be ground cow on a bun to go

no more BLT

instead
lettuce and tomato
on toast
with mayo
and crispy slices of
pig

chickens
never got enough respect
for us to disrespect them
so we eat up our chicken breast
without thinking much about it

i haven’t decided yet
how to deal with that

possibly

breast of feathered fowl
or maybe
leg
of feathered fowl
dusted
with secret spices
and fried
crispy

will have to think
a bit more
about chickens
i think








And, finally, this final piece from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, the final poem in the book is by the outlaws' preeminent hero, Walt Whitman. It is the editors' end note, a final tribute to outlaws past and an entreaty to outlaws not yet known.



Poets to Come

Poets to come, orators, singers, musicians to come!
Not today is to justify me and answer what I am for.
But you, a new brood, native, athletic,continental,greater than
    before known.
Arouse! for you must justify me.

I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future,
I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the
    darkness.

I am a man who saunters along without fully stopping, turns a
    casual look to you and then averts his face,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.








Suburban angst - from last week.



green

looking
at my back yard,
thinking of last summer

the drought,
bare dirt everywhere

now,
a fair winter of rain,
and weeds are mid-calf high,
some kind of sticky vine
in the flower beds, easy to pull up
but even the smallest sprig
left behind spreads again in a day or two
like sin on a Saturday night

but
it’s all
very green,
hugely greenly green
and if you squint your eyes
all you see is the verdant expanse
of green

life is often
like that, sometimes
you just have to squint your eyes
and take what you can get







The end, and the usual stuff - everything belongs to who made it; my stuff to, but you can have it if you properly credit "Here and Now" and me.

I'm allen itz, owner of producer of this blog, and merchant of books fine and dandy.

Like these:


Available for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony eBookstore and Appple ibookstore -


"Always to the Light"




"Goes Around, Comes Around"




"Pushing Clouds Against the Wind"




And
For those of a print-bent, available on Amazon


"Seven Beats a Second"


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It's True, Pigs Can Fly (but only on Air Force One...
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Who Tolls the Bells at Truth's Execution
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