Candygram   Wednesday, January 23, 2013





Rushing to finish this. After bragging  about how I haven't  had a cold or flu in two years, today I'm  coming down  with one or the other. This done, a two-day nap in store.

Don't  ask  me to explain  the  title of  this  post...because I can't.

I  mention somewhere  in the post my intention  to go  to the coast to get new pictures. That  didn't  work out, so  I'm using  old photos  from there,  Corpus Christi, about mid-way of  the Texas Gulf Coast. I lived there for fifteen very good  years, in fact,  some of the  best years  of my life, both personally and professionally.

 The time  frame on  the pictures range from about five years ago to just a couple of  months  ago.

In addition  to the pics, I have the regular menu of  excellent poems from an  anthology, excellent  poems from  my library, and okay poems  from me, new and old from  a book  I have planned for later in  the year.

Specifically,  these:


Me
harvest
 
Jack  Hershman
Haiti
 
Me
bang
 
Pat  Mora
Chuparrosa: Hummingbird
 
Me
you must remember this
 
Jim Carroll
Facts
 
Me
who needs it
 
Sidney Wade
Rejected Mafia Nicknames
What Kind of Cars They Drove
This Mind is Buddha
Tozan's Pretzels
We Have Chocolate  Pudding
 
Me
a fan of little things
 
Vandana Khanna
Bowl
 
Me
finding  my book in a second-hand bookstore
 
Joe Brainard
Van Gogh
Sick Art
Art
 
Me
beacon
watching rain
 
Charles Harper Webb
Weeb Dreams He's Thrown in Jail for Becoming Discouraged  in Public 
 
Me
gone  forever
 
Joan Jobe  Smith
Aboard the Bounty
 
Me
the cootie conundrum
 
Robert Bonazzi
A Stray Arrow  from Chaos
 
Me
morning after
 
Alan  Kaufman
The Saddest Man on Earth
 
Me
Monday notes
 
Brian  Chan
by Wicklight
 
Me
no end to  it
 
Kathleen Wood
The  Wino,  The Junkie and The Lord
 
Me
squashed armadillos and other mythic creatures of the Texas plain
 
Me
turning
 
Me
stuff about stuff
 
Me
concrete gardens
 








harvest
 
a great morning
after10 days of  cold
 
sun
bright and yellow
 
pasture fresh mowed,
golden  grass
fresh cut
and thrown from the tractor in rows
 
deer
graze along the rows
 
little holes dug
around the base of oaks
 
holes
like those doodlebugs
make  in fine, loose
earth
 
holes made by squirrels
retrieving
their bounty of acorns
 
winter sustenance
earned earlier in the labors
of summer and fall
gathering
 
I,
nearing another in a  long line
of birthdays,
gather my own, right here
right now
 
here...
 
let me share my harvest
with you 
 
 
 
 








Here's the first poem from my anthology of the week, The Outlaw Bible of  American Poetry.

The poem is by Jack Hershman. His books include A Correspondency of Americans, Black Aleps,
Lyripol, and The Bottom Line.



Haiti

One day in the future these sounds are seeds of,
there will  be a moment when not even the monkeys chirp in the
     trees,
when burros will hold their brays,
when the coconut-milky clouds will not  stir in the sky,
when the thatchwork of huts will not  be gossiping,
and there is no breeze or sweat between you body and your rags.
One day when that moment lived for years, for centuries, is here
and everything is still
like death
or zombie bread holding its breath,
a drum will begin sounding
and then another and another, multiplying,
and the voices of the simidors will  be heard in every field.
And the backs,
those backs with everything written on them,
which have bent like nails hammered into the wooden cross
of the land of ages,
will plunge their arms into the ground
and pull out the weapons they've planted.
For the drums aren't an invitation to a voodoo ceremony.
The voices of the simdors are singing another song.
The lambis are growling lions of Africa.
and it isn't the cranium of a horse hung on the wooden cross
braided with limes;
it isn't a wooden cross at all that's planted in the good earth
of new Haiti.

On the night of that day of the taste of a mango will be
a rapturous fireworks bursting and dying into
the ecstasy of the simple truth in our mouths.
Our acres will sleep with their arms around each other.
The child freed from terror and death will bound with
the boundless, and the maize amaze the sky upon waking
for as long as humanity is.









Here's the first this week of poems from my next book, New Days, New Ways.



bang

i believe
we are all children

of the big bang
and that nothing truly new

has been added to the mix
since.

and while I don't know  what came before
the bang

I'm guessing we'll figure it out
before the end...

multiple bangs, maybe;
bangs withing bangs;
bangs bouncing off bangs
like a six bank corner pocket
hustle;
perpetual bang,

one bang banging another
like steel balls hung from strings

banging one after the other
in forever and ever progression;

bangs banging out here, banging in
somewhere else -

that's one to imagine,
creation in reverse, the Garden of Eden

returning to unplowed field -

or it could be a single, once-and-only
bang -

that would make us really something,
us and all the universe we know or don't,

our stars,
the only stars anywhere...

somehow,
I just don't feel that special









Here's a poem by Pat Mora. The poem is from her book, Chants, a Southwest Book  Award winner first published by Arte Publico Press in 1984, with funding from grants by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Texas Commission on the Arts.



Chuparrosa: Hummingbird

I buy magic meat
of a chuparrosa from a toothless  witch
who catches it as it sips flower-wine.
She fills her palms with blooms,
and the bird dives into  perfumed petals for the last  time
The with claps her hands hard
and blossoms float away,
but the small body is still,
as the bruja plucks the ruby and emerald feathers:
soft pillow for her  grandchild's head.
She  dries the meat, magic meat,
which I buy to sprinkle in your wind
so you will see me, only me.
And you do.
You hover.
Your eyes never wander.
More and more
on hot afternoons
I sleep
to escape your gaze.








Netflicks subscribers should check out "The Molly Maguires," an old and very good movie starring Sean Connery between Bond movies.


 
you must remember this
 
I  remember
both things  that are
and  things  that aren't
 
I remember Holmes
in the "Hound of the Baskervilles"
deducing from scratches around a keyhole
that a character drinks too much
and too often, comes home
drunk and has trouble fitting his doorkey
into the keyhole
 
I remember  that
every time  I have difficulty
unlocking my door in the dark, feeling a need
to  reassure the neighbors
that, no, I am not 
drunk
 
I also remember
a middle  section in the book,
a  subplot  that is author's feint, suggesting
a motive for the nefarious affairs
afoot, a  subplot that provides a backstory
on Holmes' client, Sir Charles Baskerville,
who, it turns out, was a detective in his earlier life,
infiltrating the Molly Maguires,
then being discovered eventually,
becoming convinced
of the rightness of their cause....
 
but it turns out, no  matter how clearly
I remember it,
this is not found anywhere in the "Hound of the Baskervilles,"
being instead from another book, (the last Holmes book) "The Valley of Fear"
which I do not remember ever  reading, or even ever
knowing of before...
 
such is the memory of an elder poet, content
to make  up memories when the annals of real life
do not sufficiently amuse, an entertainment
for long days and nights, but a danger
when the made-up becomes the better part
of reality...
 
leaving a fear  that persists, like that of falling, in knowing
that much of the most interesting parts of my life,
places I've been, people I've known
could well  be only the remembered dreams
of a poet with too much invention
in his life















The next poem from the anthology, The Outlaw Bible  of American Poetry,  is by Jim Carroll, the poet, musician and diarist, best known for the memoir of his turbulent youth, The Basketball Diaries.



Facts

Its own wisdom has
Left Holland in ruins.

If you repeat the words
                                      "Medulla Oblongata"
Long enough over and over you will
Collapse to the ground and hear the sound
Of the first drum developed by homo erectus man.

When Oscar  Wilde lay on his death bed,
Penniless and disgraced,
In a cheap boarding room in France,
He  stared dimly to the window and muttered:
"Those curtain are absolutely horrendous;
One of us simply has to go."

He then sank into the pillow, shut his eyes and died.

If Angela Lansury sneezed
While swimming underwater
It would take exactly one second
For the sound to travel one mile
And be heard by, say, a sea otter or a pilot whale.

Though they have tried to squash the facts
There is enduring evidence
That when Wallace Stevens died
An unspecified number of blackbirds
Flew through the windows
Of the mortuary where he lay
Removed his eyeballs with their beaks

And flew away, carrying both eyes
To the Florida Keys, depositing them
Softly into the green waters above the coral  reef.








Here's another 2011 poem from New Days, New Ways, the next book, due sometime this summer.



who needs it

the truth is
I'm 67 years old
diabetic,
eyes and feet
on the road to ruin
at  about the same
pace
as the gray cells of remaining
intellect
keep on popping like
microwave
popcorn...

the truth is
I'm an increasingly creaky
cog
in an unimportant machine,
long past warranty,
subject
soon to recycling
by some eight-year-old
radiation mutated
child
in some poor slum in
Brazil...

the truth is
sooner rather than later
I will  die,
probably a lingering
death
given the miracles
of  modern medicine,
tubes sprouting,
plugs plugging, intricate
machines of terminal torture
wheezing
night and day by my bed...

the truth is
if I'm right about the absence
of God
in this universe
I will, once the machines are silenced,
dissolve into the realm
of atomic particles
too small to be seen with anything
but the strongest microscope;
and if I'm wrong
and there is a God out there,
who, if his literature is to be believed,
is a bloody, vengeful cat with hostility
issue regarding those who did not believe
in his ever-powerful, ever-present
presence,
I'll be whole and intact, heading
head over heels
to the fiery boundaries of hell
where I will burn and burn and burn...

the truth is
I could write a better story than that
any day before the sun rises
complete
with five and dime crayon
illustrations...

the truth is
who the fuck needs the truth
when the truth
offers no good ending to
anything

and the truth is
I'll take all the lies
I can life with and mostly can't
live without...

you tell me yours,
and
I'll tell you mine










Next I  have poems  of a unique sort by Sidney Wade. The poems are  from her book, Stroke,  published in 2007 by Persea Books. Wade, a Professor  of  English at the University of Florida, has published  four collections of her own poetry, as well as translations from Turkish in  various periodicals.



Adam and the Snake Prepare to Recite Some Verse

Snake
says

let's
go
mesmerize
some
pomes

Adam
says

I
prefer
to 
mammarize
them


After the Flood, Frogs

assemble,
whirp
and
fart,
dissemble,
delve
and
throng,
prolonging
the
agglutinant
song
of
themselves


Stroke of Genius

windfall
display
of
art

playing
a
signal
part

flaying
the
heart

of
indignant
enigma

prol










This was the plan for the weekend on the coast mentioned earlier that didn't work out because of really  lousy weather. The  poem also almost didn't work out, accidentally deleted, then recreated as best I could remember. I think, like fish, the best version got away.



old homes left behind

taking
a little trip
in a couple of hours

a two-hour  drive
to the coast,
to Corpus Christi first,
the city where I lived for fifteen years
before ambition drew me to the hills
twenty years ago

I'll see if any old haunts
remain - it seems
every time I visit, a few more are gone,
the old city slipping away, a whole new city
grown up on the south side where
grain and cotton
were the only cash crops before...

I'll wander around downtown, called now
in my hotel  brochure
"the downtown entertainment district"

(which some years ago it was, until the folks
at the old folks home complained about the noise

we'll see, I guess,
maybe all the old folks died
or have become accustomed to noise with their oatmeal)

breakfast
tomorrow morning
at the top of the Omni,
the bay and bayfront laid out,
the water rippling
in early morning tide,
shinning orange and red
under the rising sun,
the lights of the shipyards
tiny pin holes through dim early morning
on the other side
off the bay...

---

taking the long way home tomorrow,
across the bay bridge
to North Padre and Mustang Island,
stopping for pictures of the beach
and the fishing boats
in Port Aransas,
then the ferry across the ship channel,
back to the mainland, first Aransas Pass,
then down the coast to the little cities
that lap the water's edge,
Ingleside by the Bay,
Rockport,
Fulton, with lunch
at Charlotte Plummer's,
pictures  along the way if  I can find anything
I haven't  snapped before...

after lunch,
west to the flat highways of the coastal  plains,
plowed fields on either side, fields
settled in for winter, awaiting
early grain, and the wind farms, new,
spread along the coast,
facing southeast to catch the constant gulf winds,
winds converted to electricity,
the sustenance that  feeds our civilization,
then, pasture and old oaks
spreading wide across low hills
that grow over the miles to the curves
and up  and down highways
of hill country
highways,
just past my home in my little divide
between rolling ridges and
the creek
that runs alongside it...

home
at the end of day,
old homes left behind
again









Next, from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, these (I'm not sure what to call them - except funny) by Mike Topp. Born in Washington, D.C., top, Topp, at the time of  publication lived in New York City and was a member of the Unbearables, described  as a loose collection of noir humorists, beer mystics, anarchists, and debunkers.



Rejected Mafia Nicknames

Vanilla
Kitty
Jughead
Senor Wences
Marcel Duchamp
Archilochus
Tony the Logical Positivist
X-15
Gideon
Achilles Fang


What Kind of Cars They Drove

Albert Einstein                                        1955 Buick Century
Delmore Schwartz                                  1958 Mercury Montclair Phaeton
Norman Mailer                                       1960 Plymouth Fury
Ian Fleming                                            1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria
Cardinal Richelieu                                 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood
Sitting Bull                                             1962 De Soto Firedome Convertible
Jackie Robinson                                     1962 Chevrolet Impala
Gertrude Stein                                         1962 Chevrolet Impala
Ramses II                                               1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
Ludwig  Wittgenstein                            1960 Chevrolet Impala
Santa Claus                                            1960 Ford Falcon
Richard Wagner                                     1960 Ford Thunderbird
Mr. Ed                                                    1960 Dodge Dart Station Wagon
Flipper                                                    1964 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
                                                                (with water)


This Mind is Buddha

Two monks were arguing about whether their train was moving. One
    said:
"Our train is moving."
             The other said: "The train on the tracks next to us is moving."
              The sixth patriarch happened to be walking down the aisle. He
asked them: "Would I look good in short shorts?"


Tozan's Pretzels

A monk asked Tozan  when he was eating  some pretzels: "What is
    Buddha?"
            Tozan said: "These pretzels are making me thirsty."


We Have Chocolate Pudding

When Banzan was walking through the Union Square greenmarket he
overheard a conversation between a vendor and his customer.
         "Do you have chocolate mousse?" asked his customer.
         " We have chocolate pudding," replied the vendor.
          At these words Bazan became enlightened.

              








Here, from the next book, a paean to all the little better things..



a fan of  little things

just finished
breakfast, thinking
best damn super-extra-crispy bacon
of my whole doggone life
on this planet, which I thank
for creating the corn or whatever
that fed the pig
that became the best damn
super-extra-crispy bacon
of my whole existence on this planet
not counting the times
I might have been the corn
or the pig
or whatever else was involved
in creation
of the best damn super-extra-crispy
bacon ever, thank you, God,
if you exist and if you had anything
to do with it
and I'm thinking, damn
I wish I could wake up again
and  come here again and order
my breakfast again
and eat the best damn super-extra-crispy
bacon
all over again,
enjoy the super-extra-crispy
crunchy pleasure
all over again as it it had never ever happened
before and the super-etcetera pleasure
was completely new to me,
experienced
for the very first time

but
that's the way I am,
a fan of little things,
the little atomic thingies
that come together to make up bigger
and bigger things, like stars, that in turn
come together
to make galaxies and constellations
and ultimately a whole damn universe
laid out before me as I lie in the grass at night, looking up
at it all, thinking of the teensy-tiny things that came together
to make wondrous things like  stars
shining against a universal backdrop of dark somewhere/nowhere
and pleasurable things
like cool breezes in the summer, cold water splashing
on my droopy-morning  face, little girls
who  giggle
when I wink at them
and, as you guess by now,
super-extra-crispy-crunchy
bacon, the best I ever had, just this
morning










Next, I have this poem by Vandana Khanna, from her collection, Train to Agra. The book was published by the Crab  Orchard  Review and Southern Illinois University Press in 2001.

Khanna, born in New  Delhi, has lived most of her life in the U.S. She attended the University of Virginia and received her M.F.A. from Indiana University.



Bowl

My head in the basket of her folded thighs,
she rubbed my hair, fingers thick from kneading
wheat bread that sold quickly at Sunday markets.
Flat cushions firm on my scalp, wrists that smelled
of vanilla and coconut oil.

She left my father in the hospital, left  his breath
falling through the air, and slipped under the hot
sheets of my bed. It was then she let her bones
sigh against the painted wall of my room, her spine
like the trunk of a mango tree, curving.

Sometimes she spoke of things that could not be touched,
told stories I could eat, burning my throat
as the words went down.

Mostly, she cupped my head like a bowl asking
to be filled, listened to car horns and cicada
through my window, undid he braid  in her hair.
It fell around sharply -
silver-black  as rain under streetlights.









Finding the book in a second-hand bookstore was a something new, but I have before sat in a coffee shop  watching people read my book, not knowing who  I was or that I was watching.

It was very strange to watch them read to each other, laughing; the almost  overpowering urge to rush over to see what poem they were laughing at - to see if the poem they were laughing at was a poem that was meant to be funny or if it was my incompetence they were laughing at.



finding my book in a second-hand bookstore

so I found my book
in a second-hand bookstore
in a city far from home

do  I think:

oh, wonderful someone read my book
and brought it here
so that it might be purchased
and enjoyed by a second reader...

or:

oh, woe, this book, this labor of love,
discarded,done,old news, no
leaves pressed between the pages.
no careful preservation for poetry-minded
progeny, a  remembrance forgot,
not to be cherished and saved for another generation,
or maybe for a current lover
who will hold it as dear  as
they hold you,
oh wonderful and sensitive  people
who sleep every night with a book of  fine
poetry tucked beneath their pillow
never to sleep over
mine...

or, simply,

oh, look, someone bought my book, money
in my pocket,  easy-earned cash from a few
small scribbles

on  the road to riches now,
let's go out for
dinner...

---

taking in the sights
in a new city, finding
the familiar
where never expected









The next poem from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry is by Joe Brainard. His books include I Remember and Bean Spasms.



Van Gogh

Who is Van Gogh?"
    Van Gogh is a famous painter whose paintings are  full  of inner turmoil and
bright colors.
     Perhaps Van Gogh's most famous painting is "Starry Night": a landscape
painting full of inner turmoil and bright colors.
     There are many different sides to Van Gogh, the man.
     When Van Gogh fell in love with a girl who didn't return his love he cut off
his ear and gave it to her as a present. It isn't hard to imagine her  reaction.
     Van Gogh's portrait of a mailman with a red beard is probably one of the
most sensitive paintings of a mailman ever painted.
     It is interesting to note that Van Gogh himself had a red beard.
     When Van Gogh was alive nobody liked  his paintings except his brother Theo.
Today people flock to see his exhibitions.
     Van Gogh once said of himself: "There is something inside me - what is
it."


Sick Art

Mona Lisa's smile often causes observes to overlook the fact that she has no
eyebrows.
     One skin specialist offered the suggestion that Leonardo da  Vinci's model was
suffering from a skin disease called alopicia. Alopicia is a skin disease in which
one has no eyebrows.
     On the other hand, many women in those days shaved their eyebrows and
Leonardo da Vinci's model may have just been following the fad.
    There is no doubt however, that Rodin's "The Thinker" had bunions on both
feet.
     Today, with modern art, it is not to easy to spot disease and physical dis
orders.
    Many doctors, however, have noticed a strong relationship between various
skin diseases and the paintings of Jackson Pollock.
     Fungus infections are very common in the art of the Middle Ages and the
Renaissance.


Art

Looking through a book of drawings by Holbein I realize several moments of
truth. A nose (a line) so nose-like.  And then I think to myself "so
what?" It's not going to solve any of my problems. And then I realize that at
the 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.









Here are a couple of shorter things from the next book, New Ways, New Days, a selection of poems from 2011.



beacon

tall  girl
with very white teeth
comes in

and, on this sun-shining
blue-sky day,
her smile is a beacon

of reflected light,
like crystals tossed into the air,
like diamonds

against
a  cloudless winter
sky

like
the  sun
rising high ad bright


watching rain
 
the rain starts
dry
with a mighty gust
of northwest wind;
then the rain,
sheets of cold, mountain-born wet...
 
on the  patio,
I shiver, step bare-fleshed
out to the grass, stand
flat-footed
against the blowing
rain, arms out-stretched,
soaking,
 listening to our no-name creek
roar
in a roiling flow
to Apache Creek and,
some days hence,
the Gulf of Mexico...
 
I watch the  puddles
form the grass turn
brown
to green even as the rain
falls











Next,  from  Charles Harper Webb, one of many funny poems in his book, A Weeb For All Seasons,  chronically the life  of  the poet's alter-ego, Weeb. The book was published by Applezaba Press in 1992.



Weeb Dreams He's Thrown in Jail  For  Becoming Discouraged in Public

I sit on a straw-stuffed bunk
and think "Jail's not so bad."
My social-worker  girlfriend
has  exaggerated. Through a crack
in the door, I see the sheriff's
office. He strides in,
swinging an iron key on a ring.

The phrase "toying with my freedom"
jumps into mind; but I forgive him.
He's tall, so clean-cut,
so well-built with such honest
eyes, he's sure to set everything
right. Except he leaves,
and in stumbles his deputy -

a wizened brown man with a twisted
leg, who trips over his  cane,
and curses with a hick accent.
I laugh. This beats Gunsmoke.
Then all at once the brown man
is leering through my bars.
"Looky out that winda, bo'ah."

I hear  fierce hammering
and sawing,  note the gallows
sprouted like  a magic beanstalk
outside my cell window.
"At's fer folks'et makes funa
m'laig." He spits tobacco
in my face and limps away

while, drenched in sweat,
I struggle to remember
if it's ACLU or UCLA
that I need, and what
the number is, and how,
in 1881, I'll never reach
a telephone by dawn.








This is the other half  of a trip to the coast excitement, the not so good half.



gone forever

return
after 30 years
and discover you knew
the people many streets are named for

and they're mostly
dead

still,
you think,
had I stayed here
I might have a  street
too

but you never think
you might be dead, too...

---

45 degrees
at 5 a.m. - wind from the north
blowing 40 miles  an hour

no sunny beach
today

---

eating breakfast
in front of wide, high windows,
waiting  to watch the  sun
rise,  instead a gray, sullen sky,
daylight
easing over
a gray, sullen bay,
water lapping
furious and frantic
at the seawall

but no sun
no shining disc
rising red over green waters

that  was another day

---

crossing the Oso causeway
high over the white-capped water,
th4e wind blowing
from high distant passes
like through  a five-mountain
funnel

the car  wants to fly
with the cold
wind

---

the  ferry will not run today,
all the little bay-side
villages
will be bundled up against the cold
and closed...

no pictures anywhere,
even on the beach, just dim sky,
dull water, nothing on the horizon
but more dim and more dull
sand from  the dunes behind me
blowing against my neck,
the grit of it
stinging,
suggesting it's time to go
home...

---

homeward
against the wind  that fights me,
pushes me back,  a longer
drive  with it in my face than at my back

lunch at Oakville, half-way home,
bar-b-cue sandwich, potato  
salad, and pinto beans with peach
cobbler chaser...

---

and the week-end's over,
Dee still down with a cold,but the dog
happy to see me, thought I had  left
forever

that's the way dog's think,
sometimes smarter than we are...

because that's the message here
if thee is one -

once a place is left, no matter
how dear, that  place is  gone
forever,
old  home  just old now,
never the place you remember

teaching you,
if you're willing to  learn,
that home  has to be where you are today
or you will be forever
homeless










My next anthology poet is Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl. She worked as a go-go dancer for seven years while completing here MFA from the University of California at Irvine. At the time the anthology was published she had published seventeen collections of poetry.



Aboard the Bounty

Onto the bar I walked, my first day on the job,
a go-go girl in the raw, onto the bar from the
dressing room where I'd shakily painted my face
with pink and gloss, combed my hair high and
brown, straightened my black stockings smooth,
onto the bar from the dressing room from my
apartment where I'd kissed my kids goodbye,
showed the nanny how to warm the baby's formula,
onto the bar from my dressing room from my
apartment the week after my husband left me,
the rent two weeks past due and I looked around
the bar at all the men drinking beer and laughing
and smoking cigars and cigarettes and watching
Robin whose name I didn't know yet dance some
dance I didn't know how to dance yet to the
Rolling Stones singing a song about a stupid girl
on the jukebox playing as loud as it would go
and a man waved to me to come here, he wanted
some beer, so I wont to him and he pointed up
at Robin, Robin who l I yet did not know, did not
know her stepfather raped her, one of her kids'd
been born brain damaged and the drunken man
pointed up at Robin's crotch and asked me, the
first thing a drunken man in a beer bar ever asked me
my first day on the job, a go-go girl in the raw:
Is that chick up there on the rag or is she really
a fag with her balls tied up in a jock?








Another from the next book.



the coot conundrum

From The New Time Book of Timely Definitions:
Cooties - The aura and essences of all living things;
That which follows behind all creatures large and small,
as well as immobile creatures such as trees and bushes and
rutabagas and carrots; The air breathed in and out, throught
left hanging incomplete; An insubstantial substance like the ghosts
of muddy footprints on a kitchen floor after scrupulous
mopping; a conceit of the dictionarily challenged.

so here's
the dilemma;

Kitty
the blind cat
loves dog cooties

while Reba
the deaf dog hates
cat  cooties - so

the dog-cootie
loving
cat

likes to sleep
on the dog's bed
because of all the readily available

dog cooties,
leaving behind
a surfeit of cat cooties

in the process, making
the dog's bed
entirely unacceptable

to the cat-cootie-hating
dog,
so the dog makes her self a bed

elsewhere,
which, in the course of a week or so,
accumulates a full helping

of
dog cooties,
which draws the cat to the new bed

having, in due course,
depleted
the original supply of dog cooties

in the old be,
leaving Reba the dog
once again out on a search

for a new cat-cootie-free
bed,
and, both of these animals

being highly intelligent, old,
and good-natured
homebodies,

I am concerned
that this constant shifting,
living like Gypsies

from tent to tent,
might harm them, being,
like I said, old,

well past the age
where they have any illusion
about change being their friend,

believing, as I do, that that kind of
change-is-your-friend baloney
is what we tell old people

as we begin
to repossess their home of fifty years
and nothing more












Next, I have a sequence by Robert Bonazzi, from his book, Maestro of Solitude, published by Wings Press in 2001.



Stray Arrows from Chaos

    I am every man
    Man wounded by nobody knows what
    By a stray arrow from Chaos
             - Vincent Huidobro


I

You inhabited endless evenings
in that single room
in no room
in no

I praised your  proud rituals
performed that ambivalent dance

Despair
you were my muse
my drug

II

What appeared as the abyss
now opens this wilderness

To know the old life exhausted
in labyrinths of memory

To express the spiritual
as thought creates the logical
equation for beauty

Only the transparent can be
one in form and content

III

Web on the ceiling -
would not  notice
except I stare
could climb a ladder
or stand on  a chair
(I do not move)

Textured web of a drab utopia -
electric Hamlet - Why a
void this?
                    (I leap to revise)

I have not  seen the spider in years

IV

O coffee bean of pure intelligence
this smoke a prescient intuition
yet no two mushrooms
are alike

The potted plant images the forest
the caged bird  recalls the jungle

I  learn to  live with stones in my mouth

V

Nocturnal  lope attentive in repose
everything moves to a staring eye

Flesh freshly sculpted breathes
in shadow reshapes insomnia
on the ceiling

Reality never perceived
without a moon

VI

The mirror invents dichotomies
knows silence reflects
on nothing

Mere  roar of your image
O tyger of symmetry

Your moon an absence
O muse of memory

Within  cells wander
withing  images wait

VII

I had  a dream
of wise Chuang Tzy

There is no me
there is no you

Windows in mirrors
mirrors in windows

I without focus and
you a parchment

VIII

Seeing trees
rooted in clouds
we evolve beyond
the figure of one
habitation

We say poetry is feeling
     feeling out way
feeling as fingers  feel
with casual certainity -

Yet the thumb is doubt

IX

The page opens an unread tree
light leaf of pleasure in shadow's  desire

Leaf  sails healing waters
refines shape
floats

X

By the way I've seen
The Tasman Sea by map
with a cheap fan for weather
near the eye of becoming
a variation on vision
by the way it moves












Sometimes I have a  problem sleeping due to back pain.  And sometimes when I  have  a problem  thinking, I take something  to help  me sleep. And every time I  do, I feel terrible  the next day.

You'd think I'd learn.



morning after
 
a little red pill
at bedtime
and now  the night
will not leave
me
 
the sun
risen and a pot of coffee downed
and still the world
is just a slit seen through  heavy
drooping
eyes
 
but
it is day
and the world waits
for me to do
the things it expects of me
 
so I will do  my
best
but offer
no guarantees
 
for it is,
for certain, the morning
after a red pill
night








Next from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry is Alan Kaufman, whose books include Who Are We, American Cruiser, Before I Wake and an anthology, The New Generation: Fiction For Out Time From America's Writing Programs.



The Saddest Man on Earth

The saddest man on Earth...

ignored how  the rain felt
as he left home
for the last time

Wore down
his boot heels
searching for the woman
of his dreams
but never understood
that life is a woman

Lived in a town
where sadness was illegal
and where grinning
cops ticketed his face
so often
that he lost his license
to cry

The saddest man
on Earth
tuned guitars
but couldn't play them
cheated the IRS
of his own refund
fathered a child
who thought she saw
him in perfect strangers
yet didn't recognize
him face to  face

I met him once
in a bar
toasting the mirror
with is stare
He had come
south to start
life over

He was a
Mozart of silence








This is a  new poem, from Monday, this week.



Monday notes

overcast day
today

too bad

I  found my sunglasses
I couldn't find
yester-sunny-day

---

45 at sunrise
60 by noon, great for squirrel chasing
at the park, mostly Bella
chasing
while me, mostly I'll be watching

she'll never catch a squirrel
but she doesn't know
and I'm not telling


ambition -
it's important
even in a dog's life

---

hired a proofreader
for my next book, a young English major
and part time dance teacher, reminds
me of my niece, thin, long-legged and gawky,
bright-eyed, a believer in life

told her I'd have a clean copy
for her to proof
by next Saturday afternoon

work to  do...

---

homeless fella
walks past as he does every several days
about this time, older  fellow, my age
or almost,  portly,  stops to sit for a short spell
on the bench outside the restaurant, sets his backpack
on the bench beside him, a large, packed backpack, looks
heavy, a Teddy Bear tied to the back of the pack,
a grandpa, maybe, lost, a grandchild somewhere,  maybe,
waiting for  her Teddy

he moves on,
as do we
all

---

a little girl
across the way, a tiny little girl
could be three,  maybe
four, struggles to tie the drawstring
at the bottom of her little
coat...

wonder  if she needs another
grandpa, wonder if she would mind
if he smells and has  fat,  tired
feet...

she will move on
as  do we
all...

she
much further
than her might-could-be grandpa
and me









 
 





This next poem is from the anthology, Crossing Water, a collection of contemporary poetry of the English-Speaking Caribbean. The book  was published by the Greenville Review Press in 1992.

The poet is Brian Chan, a musician, painter, photographer,  movie-maker,  and writer born in Guyana.



By Wicklight

All texts shut,open all windows,
I am a glass of liquid flame,

dreaming a time when breadless books -
spires imposed on thatched roofs,

cathedrals  fashioned  over  an  abyss -
give way to books of timeless bread.

The piano locked, its fingers muse
a music where no dance is, beyond

the choked gold of measured strings,
the voices of  night returning

with its standard lights.  No mine,
this hand, this  page of  fading fire.

Drained my glass, smoke the oil.
A dark camel crosses the dry moon.









Sometimes, too much exposure to current events, and you have to wonder  how the human kind will ever survive in the long  run, or, even  why it bothers to  try.


no end to  it

so  tired
of living in a world
so full of stupid people

fools  every day, impossible
to live  a full life without exposing
oneself to them,  caves and hermits  and mountain tops
not  appealing to  one
not yet  ready
to  do without the rest of his kind...

politics
in general, whatever the current debate...

this time, guns - on one side slime people
willing to facilitate murder
for profit,
on the other  side hapless liberals
who flutter and flitter
and wail and moan
about the  injustice of rule
by the corrupt winners
of corrupt games
played in  the name of poor dead and debased
democracy, justice,  "the people"

the people,
dim,  compliant victims
off  their own thirst for the comfort
of lies
and well-paid liars, sellers of soap
who soft-soap the murder
of children

---

there will  be no  change
to it,
no end
to it,
no matter how tired I am
of it










And, finally this week, the last poem from the week's anthology, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. The poet is Kathleen Wood, author of The Wino, the Junkie and the Lord.

I chose the title poem from that collection to finish off the anthology.



The Wino, The Junkie and The Lord

I was on a bench at 18th and Val
Talking to a wino who said he believed in the Lord.
He said he needed money for dinner at McDonald's.
He said he wasn't asking for much.
I gave him a dollar.
He said he'd protect me whenever I was in the
neighborhood.
Because he always looked out
For the people who helped him.
He said he had good reasons
     for  being an alcoholic.
I told him I used to have good reasons for being an addict.
He asked me where I was going.
I said to an NA meeting on Eureka Street.
He said his daughters lived on Eureka Street.
And he hoped they turned out okay.
He wanted to know which drug I was addicted to.
I said several.
He said he wanted to know where the meeting was
Because the streets were dangerous at night.
He asked God to protect me
From the crazies in the dark.
He turned to a yuppie who stood nearby.
"I've got good reasons to be an alcoholic!"
The yuppie smiles at me and shook his head.
The bum asked the Load to keep us all.
Then he stumbled off down Valencia.
The yuppie muttered something about crazies.
Our bus arrived.









Here's a political poem from 2011. It will  be in the next book where it  will, unfortunately, still seem relevant.



squashed armadillos and other mythic creatures of the Texas plain

I know people
who are so far out
on the right fringe of ideology
they make Genghis Khan
look like a daisy-smoking, fire-spitting,
girly-walking, socialist liberal anarchist freak;
people who are like black holes,
ever circling
circling
circling
rightward into another dimension
where the rules of everything from gravity
to the basic laws of mechanics
and motion
are altered; where sunshine shines up
from the earth to the sun;
where dry rain falls
from arid skies;
where Glen  Beck makes  sense and
Sarah Palin
is a rocket scientist;
a place where 
tennis balls
and clouds never break to the left -

that kind of people,
people for whom I am a kind of token  lefty
among their circle of other true
believers...

on the other hand,
I know other people so reflexively left wind
they take forever to get to the supermarket because
they won't make right turns
and can only go places  they can get to
by making a series of left-turn boxes,
moving squared block by squared block
closer too their goal...

from their perch
high in the clouds of gooey-gooey
relativism
they bemoan my troglodyte tendencies,
my insistence on evolutionary theories of
gradual things-getting-betterism;
my understanding that the government is a creature of the people,
including people
who  care more about their next paycheck
than they do  about
academic theories of the casual effects
of meat-eating on
interpersonal  relationships between
prairie  grasses and endangered insects,
people who want things  to work
and don't  care
if a few cockroaches  get stepped on
in the process...

people
who my left-winger friends
care about
only after they're a hundred years dead
and can be re-configured
as working  class heroes
instead of just-plain folks living
just-plain lives
they find rewarding in their own bourgeois way...

my left-winger friends
for whom
I am a kind of token rightist,
good at parties
for the amusing of their ivory-tower friends
who luxurate in the dirty words
they were too prissy to use
before -
I'm a mean motherfucker,
they say,
now pass the brie
and hold the ammunition...

meanwhile
I often feel like the squashed armadillo
a former Texas politician
maintained
was the only thing ever in the middle of the road -

white stripe
ahead, white
stripe behind, it's an uncomfortable
way to live in these times










 No matter how much I look forward  to winter (and I do, a lot), I begin to look forward to spring the day after winter starts.



turning
 
winter
settles in
after autumn
settles  accounts
then spring
when a new book
opens
and we begin the story
of another turning
of the wheel
 
and it
turns
and it turns
until our story ends
and accounts
are settled
and
the fields
are fallow
and
the wheels
settle
and  wait
for another  spring
and
another turning
for another
story








Now, not last for the week, but last for the week from my next book, New Days, New Ways, due out this summer.



stuff about stuff

I got people
trying to tell me stuff
about stuff
they don't know no stuff
about

regular stuff, like
revealed religion  and secret rites of Masons
domestic and international politics
Siberian cookware
the birth and death of stars
tax laws regarding home office  deductions
the circulatory system of human beings and other mammalians
the secret socialist agenda of Barack Obama
the sex life of the Cantonese termite
and weight loss
made cheap and easy
amidst a bevy of buxom blonds in
bikinis

stuff like that

and I don't believe
people ought to be telling me stuff
about stuff
they don't know stuff about

having  an opinion,
it seems to me, ought to be predicated
on knowing stuff about the stuff
one is opinionating about

so
though I don't like to be rude,
from now on
instead of politely listening to people
pontificating
about stuff they don't know stuff about
I'm just going to tell them
that if they don't have the right stuff
they should just

stuff it!






 

Here's what I got to close the week.



concrete gardens

with age,
we come to accept
the limited future of our own
corporal self

harder
to accept, no matter how long our life,
that all  the works
of our kind
are equally limited
to their own moments in time,
longer  moments than our own, but still
all passing fancies, like us, that begin and end
on a schedule unknown  to us,
inevitabilities unknown to us until their moment
of denouement,
the whens and the whys,
the mystery lying before us, clues aplenty
all around us, the how-we-will-end
surely a final l play like those of all who ended  before us,
most all, some version
of suicide, a product of an aggressive, explosive nature
or just the weariness of existence overtaking the will to continue,
unrecognized until  the final  of the kind lifted its head
and  realized it was the last and no more
would follow...

it might be there are no examples
for us to study,
maybe all kinds find their own way
to kill themselves,
all inevitable ends reflecting the truth
that we are all  part of a universe of both births and deaths,
both equal and appropriate
to the  machinery
that keeps all  the universal wheels
turning









That's it.

Everything belongs to the ones who made  it.

If you want my stuff, take it. Just  properly credit "Here and Now" and me.

I'm allen  itz, owner and producer of this blog.



I have books for sale (haven't run out yet). Here's what  they are and where to get them.


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

highly reputable places all

Poetry


Places and Spaces




Always to the Light




Goes Around Comes Around





Pushing Clouds Against the Wind



And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio


Seven Beats a Second





Short Stories


Salvador - The Dreamer





 




 

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