Return to Grapecreek Road    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pictures from one of favorite little roads in the hill country.

My anthology for the week is Everywhere is Somewhere Else, published by Plain View Press in 1998. Since Plain View Press is and Austin publisher that has done several anthologies of Austin poets, I initially thought this was another one o those. Turns out it includes poets from all over.

The rest o the post is normal stuff, a little shorter than usual.

Here's the line-up.

man walking dog

Valerie Bridgeman Davis
The Preacher

Cynthia Cruz
The Going Home Song
Strange Gospels
Ohio Darling

C.P. Cavafy
December 1903
At the Theater

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #8

Valerie Bridgeman Davis
Death by Sleep

I have a secret
the woman weeps

Leonard Cohen
Time Slipping, the Dark Lady

Gail Teachworth

sullen sun

Michael Blumenthal
Civic Leaders

all is lost, alas

Bradley Earle Hoge
A Dog Contemplating a Stoplight

alive, alive-o

Living Near the Great Buddha
Mountain Village Fog
Field of Wild Flowers
Autumn Rain
Insects Chirping in the Morning

winter waits
I will take pictures today

the fine art of avoidance

Here's my first poem for the week, about my morning routine, which I share with a couple of four-footed friends.

man walking dog
poor little buds
showing on the trees
in the still-dark
by several weeks,
is the young
who are sacrificed
in every season
in the culvert
damn, look at the
big squirrel
let's chase
shadow gray,
sometimes follows
sometimes leads
sometimes waits patiently
for dog to take care of her
cool morning
until we get to Apache Creek
stretching in both directions, "Wind
Tunnel Creek"
they ought to call it
no longer
now it's cold
half-way across the footbridge,
the gurgling and rippling
of water
cascading over limestone
on the corner
start to bark when
we're still half a block away
three dogs
three different barks
little bark;
big bark;
bison bellow
it we pass early
they still sleep
we pad quietly
on soft little cat,
dog, and human feet
so as not to wake them and pass
fog settles in
the way home
crossing the bridge
on busy Evers Street
as out of place
as a tiger under Broadway
but she is self-possessed
and does not care
for the opinions of others
she is a cat
after all
turning the corner
we cross the yard
of the house
that has been vacant
for six months,
saving 57 steps
some day the house
will sell
and we will be 57 steps healthier
every morning
our first morning walk
dog jumps into the back of the car
and I toss the newspaper into the front seat
goes to her spot on the porch
and waits to be fed
her morning
neighbor tom
until I throw a rock
to chase him away
but I will leave
and tom will return
and steal so more
cat waits
she'll get hers
when I come home at noon
and tom is off
settles down
as we drive off to breakfast
she knows a reward,
a piece of turkey
sausage and another walk
is coming
after I finish my breakfast
knows she has things under
for she is an accomplished

This is the first poem from my anthology. The poet is Valerie Bridgeman Davis.

Davis grew up in Alabama and moved to Texas in 1981. She earned a BA degree in 1986 from Trinity University in San Antonio and an M.Div. degree in 1990 from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. At the time the anthology was published, she was working on a Ph.D. in religion at Baylor University, worked as a professor at Huston-Tillotson College, as part-time chaplain for Hospice Austin and as pastor at Banah Full Community Church.

The Preacher

That preacher, she said,
and I knew she did not know I was she;
she having seen no icon or likeness
to which to compare this stranger,
but whom she sincerely wanted to impress
with knowledge of he preacher to come.

Can string some words, she said,
and I dropped my head
to listen intently for the oncoming praise
given behind my back
not ever intended for my face,
since people don't compliment you
so as to help you stay humble.

I mean can talk! she said.
and I said ummmmmmm, to egg her own
determined to milk the moment
of all affirming in it
and hear the conclusion of a good word spoken,
however unintentional.

Just then Deacon Crane
ruined the moment with an introduction
and as I walked away from my benedictory sister
she said, but I'm not impressed.

My first library poet this week is Cynthia Cruz, with three poems from her book The Glimmering Room. The book was published by Four Way Books in 2012.

Cruz was born in Germany and raised in Northern California. A recipient of fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, as well as a Hodder Fellowship from Princetown University, she is the author of one book and publishes her poems frequently in journals like The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Poetry Review.

The Going Home Song

I'm going home

To my trailer parked
In the car lot
Covered in father's dust.

What you call reparation,
I call animal.

The American dream
Is piss-stained, anyway.

I've got my father's power

And he got his
From dreams.

Come and take me

If you want, you can
Bury me, singing

In father's military garb,with no
Ribbons or badges. His mother's

Dresses: rainbow-list red and blue
Wool, bear hide,saved
Thread,spots,and sinew.

That there

Is the tree we blessed.

With Wonder Bread and

Strange Gospels

Billy is dead.

They found her
In a car in the lot behind the Mab.

Chinatown street corners
At thirteen in Redd Kross
Tank top and silver-glitter platforms.

Billy's dead.
But I carry her
Black fur
Bear in my arms -

Ohio Darling

O dream star, Atari
Wonderland,black-haired, almost

Child. Christ-
Like saint, and ancient

Bewilder, your eyes
Are not broken.

You can still see. We

Are unacceptable. Except for
Criminal. And you

Got me.
Real good.

You have no idea.

Here are three poems by Greek poet C.P. Cavafy from his Collected Poems published in 1992 by Princetown University Press, with translation by Edmund Keely and Philip Sherrard.

Cavafy, born in 1863, lived a quiet and relatively uncloseted life as a gay man in Alexandria until his death in 1933. Although he lived in obscurity, with the first collected edition of his poetry not published until after his death, he is considered now to be the most important figure in twentieth century Greek poetry and his poems as among the most powerful in modern European literature.

December, 1903

And if I cannot speak about my love -
if I do not talk about your hair, your lips, your eyes,
still your face that I keep within my heart,
the sound of your voice that I keep within my mind,
the days of September that rise in my dreams,
give shape and color to my words, my sentences,
whatever theme I touch, whatever thought I utter.

On the Stairs

As I was going down those ill-famed stairs
you were coming in the door, and for a second
I saw your unfamiliar face and you saw mine.
Then I hid so you wouldn't see me again, and you
hurried past me, hiding your face,
and slipped inside the ill-famed house
where you couldn't have found sensual pleasure any more
than I did.

And yet the love you were looking for, I had to give you;
the love I was looking for - so your tired,
knowing eyes implied - you had to give me.
Our bodies sensed and sought each other;
our blood and skin understood,

But, flustered, we both hid ourselves.

At the Theater

I got bored looking at the stage
and raised my eyes to the box circle.
In one of the boxes I saw you
with your strange beauty, your dissolute youthfulness.
My thoughts turned at once
to all they'd told me about you that afternoon;
my mind and body were aroused.
And as I gazed enthralled
at your languid beauty, your languid youthfulness,
your tastefully discriminating dress,
in my imagination I kept picturing you
the way they'd talk about you that afternoon.

Here's my next to last poem in the Chekhov series.

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #7
If they have talent they respect it. They sacrifice to it rest, women, vine, vanity...They are proud their talent.

(Facebook version)

I'm the gol-darndest punkin pie-
eater you ever did see

and it ain't easy

you have to suffer
for your art
or you can't call yourself
any kind of

don't let anyone
tell you punkin pie-eating
isn't no art

it is,
by damn,
and I'm an artist at it
and at 438 pounds no one can say
I haven't suffered
for my art

I've been thinking 'bout
my artistic endeavors to pecan pie-
eating, but I don't know...

it being a different milieu
offering different kinds of aesthetic

it's all them little pecan pieces
you got to chew up; punkin pie, hell,
you can darn near swallow
one of them things

I'm thinking I might outht'a stick
to the art I know, you know like that Van Gogh
guy, wasn't no good at all
on the tuba
and the Spanish guy who drew
all them funny pitchers
of screwy women
could barely
his way
through chopsticks
without embarrassing
his whole family (all them wives)
and the whole Spanish

Normally I would use a second poem from a poet when doing anthology, but the twist on this one spoke to me. It is by Valarie Bridgeman Davis.

Death by Sleep

I know of a woman
who died of gang violence
in her sleep - a bullet
ripped past the safety bars,
landed in her skull.

A drive-by bullet
gone astray, looking
for another target.
Bullets don't come
with names, though.

She died instantly,
the corner said.
She never felt a thing.

But she did feel it,
felt it coming
for years, felt
the horror growing
every day.

Waited for this bullet.
Expected it for her son.
Died, anticipating.

Here are two poems from early in 2012, the first, looking forward to the near future and my 68th birthday, especially appropriate since it will post three days from my 69th.

The second, an observation from a funeral which seems to at least partially confirm the observations of the first.

Both poems are possibles for the book after the next book.

I have a secret

I mentioned
Ma and Pa Kettle
in a crowded room
and not one knew what
I was talking about

as in a couple of weeks
I complete by 68th and begin
mu 69th year on this earth,
a reminder of the things I know
that those still struggling with the
challenges of youth
do not

important things
not restricted to Ma and Pa Kettle
and the Bowery Boys
and Boston Blackie

important things,
i can see,
for better or worse,
the string of my life fraying
and know the string that fray will someday

an epiphany
denied to the young of 28
or 38 or 48 or even
who never notice
the string of life
they traverse
in the humdrum of their daily
until the day
its sorry state is made clear to them

until then,
death is an unfortunate event,
affecting others,
never them in all their glorious

not that they ever think in those terms

and immortality,
issues, like the price of potatoes
in Cambodia,
that just don't apply to them
no matter how many they see
laid out cold and still in a box,
no many how many they follow
with their eyes as the unfortunate
are lowered into the earth, no matter
how many losses of those they know and those they love
they experience in their lives -

the idea of one day it might be them lost,
them cold and still,
their physical essence beneath a mound of fresh-turned earth

an abstract
like the collision of galaxies in a faraway star system

the relevance of death to all living creatures,
the inevitability of decay's deconstruction,
is the shock that comes unbidden
on a birthday like the one I have coming,
the unwelcome candle that flutters and dies

this flesh and blood recognition of the fate
of our own flesh and blood
comes only with the fatigue of age,
it cannot be imagined before the dues are paid -
innocence must be lost
before the loss of innocence can be known

this is when
like me, begin to face
the all we still want to do
and the uncertain time we have to do it

the woman weeps

the woman weeps

the coffin lowered slowly into the open grave

women all around weep as well,women
who have sat where the weeping woman sits
and women who someday will

the men watch, knowing
there is a box waiting for them
and a hole being dug
a little deeper
each day
to contain it

Here's a poem by Leonard Cohen, fro his collection, Book of Longing. The book was published in 2006 by ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins.

First of All

First of all nothing will happen
and a little later
nothing will happen again
A family might pass by in the night
speaking of the children's bedtime
That will be the signal
for you to light a cigarette
Then comes a delicate moment
when the backwoods men
gather around the table
to discuss your way of life
Dismiss them with a glass of
cherry juice
You way of life has been over
for many years
The moonlit mountains
surround your heart
and the Anointed One
with his bag and stick
can be picked out on a path
He is probably thinking of what
you said
in the schoolyard 100 years ago
This is a dangerous moment
that can plunge you into silence
for a million years
Fortunately the sound of clarinets
from a wandering klezmer
drifts into the kitchen
Allow it to distract you
from your cheerless meditation
The refrigerator will go into
second gear
and the cat will climb onto the
for no reason at all
you will begin to cry
They your tears will dry up
and you will ache for a companion
I will be that companion
At first nothing will happen to us
and later on
it will happen to us again

This was my poem-of-the-day for February 14th.

this is not a Valentine Day poem

it being February 14th,
this poem should be a Valentine,
but I'm no good at that lovey-dovey
smoochy, smoochy stuff,
so this is not a Valentine Day poem

this poem is about...

well, I'm not sure yet
what this poem is about
but I'll work it out as I go

while I'm thinking about
what kind of poem this is, I'm
also thinking about how we met -

a work-related romance, you
a counselor for a job training program
and me trying to find jobs
for young, minimally-educated draftees
just returning from the Asian jungle, their pre-draft
employment mostly in the fields or standing
on street corners smoking
funny cigarettes -

no pull for these guys, no big-wheel daddies
in Washington, no college
or pro-football coaches,
no deep pockets
to buy a slot in the Texas Air National Guard

but no, this is not that kind of poem
either -

my guys
had none of those advantages,
drafted at 18, then
home after a long tour of
VC sappers and every kind of poisonous insect
and lizard and fungus rot that ever lived
in a jungle

and they weren't interested
in the only kinds of jobs they were qualified for
so I found training slots for them,
meeting you, visiting you daily
(all for official purposes of course)
ending with more young Veterans in training
than anyone else in this very large
and sometimes great state...

and that makes me think of our first date -
you,, 22, a flower of youth waiting,
me, 32, the two of us
separated by my extra ten years
of been there, done that living,
hesitant, finally making the phone call,
a movie (something with Liza Minnelli and
Burt Reynolds and someone else
that I remember nothing else about)
and fries and a malt at the Sonic Drive-in
near where you lived,
and I picked up my dog at my parent's house
on the way home, warned her, Sam,
I said, things might be changing

and I could go on and on about my great
pal, Sam, but this is not that
kind of poem later

which reminds me of the first time
I told you I loved you
and you said you would have to think about it,
which I did not find encouraging...

reminding me of the first time

wait, this is certainly not that kind of

remembering when we met
with our parents to ask for their blessing
(young Hispanic girl living at home - weddings
do not happen, easily, without parents' consent),
your translated for me, and I don't really know for sure
what you said, but it worked out, since 36 years later
they haven't said "no" yet...

and remembering the arrival of our child,
adopted, a 24-hour pregnancy,
called at 10 a.m. one morning to be told there was a baby
for us to pick up the next day, same time, meeting
at our favorite restaurant that same day
to decide on our new son's name,
Benjamin or Christopher,
walking the baby aisle at Target that night, trying to figure out
what our baby would need, and our family
that came up to be with us the next
day to be with us for the adoption ceremony,
and I remember them living right after
and our moments of panic
when we realized we were
with our baby we didn't know anything
about just two days before...

I remember lots of things like that,
and more,
and if this was a Valentine Day poem
I'd probably write about all of it...

but this is not a Valentine Day poem,
so I won't...

Next, I have two poets from this week's anthology, Everywhere is Someplace Else.

The first poet is Susan Bright, author of fourteen books of poetry and editor of Plain View Press which published the anthology. A poet, publisher, activist and educator, she has been recipient of Austin Book Awards and honored by the Texas Senate for her literary and community work.

Time Slipping, the Dark Lady

could pack a great deal into a small space, one life,
for instance, could hold marriages, divorce, children
war and again war,betrayal of every kind, friends gone,
new life kicking up its' heels, as if there would always
be hope. Time slipping she could find her way into
another instant,someplace less grueling,as if sudden
there was a reason to continue, besides the obvious.
Time slipping there were moments she could have
said, This is why I exist, or I am glad to take this breath.
Time slipping she could possibly be mistaken for
the beautiful and proud woman she had been once,
graceful and joyous and not aggrieved almost to stone.
Times slipping she could become on of a thousand
women, invisible, fluid,ever present and finally essential.

The second poet from the anthology is Gail Teachwoth. At the time of publication,Teachworth was President of the Florida State Poets Association and the Sunshine Poets of Crystal River, Secretary of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and her local amputee support group. Her work has appeared in many well known journals.


This china bowl is chipped and old,
the lone survivor of a set
that Grandma used to have and hold.
Its story isn't over yet.

The lone survivor of a set
passed down to Mother, then to me.
It's story isn't over yet,
antiquity, its destiny.

Passed down to Mother, then to me
as if it were a treasured thing,
antiquity its destiny,
more precious that a diamond ring.

As if it were a precious thing
that Grandma used to have and hold,
more precious than a diamond ring;
this china bowl is chipped and old.

Here's a couple of my old poems, from early last year, prospects for the book after the next book.

Two poems, different moods.

sullen sun

a sullen sun
through urine-yellow mist

slithering through high grasses,
winding around wet-hanging trees
like a snake in the garden

the morning
and darkly

a morning

another one
to add to all the ones

a morning

victory over dark conclusions
one more time


at my back yard,
thinking of last summer

the drought,
bare dirt everywhere

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

it's all
very green,
hugely, lushly 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

Here are two poems by Michael Blumenthal, taken from his book, No Hurry, Poems 2000-2012. The book was published in 2012 by Etruscan Press of Wilkes University.

Blumenthal is the author of seven previous books of poetry, a novel, and a memoir. Formerly Director of Creative Writing at Harvard, he is currently Visiting Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law. He lives alternatively in West Virginia and Hungry.

Civic Leaders

So much virtue in a single room!
The very walls tremble
with the thought of it.
Just think: the weight
of all that goodness!
Ad such beautiful denials!
Yet everywhere, even here,
life has it's way:
somewhere beneath the table
a living hand
reaches out
in search of a knee.


Paris, May 2005

Let's just say I seem to be enjoying these three chicken drumsticks
far more than the young man doing sit-ups just across the lawn

beside his girlfriend here at the Jardin de Reuilly is enjoying himself:
After all, he's huffing and puffing, and I'm sitting here,devouring

my chicken, basking in the spring sun, but now he's rolling over,
it's push-ups he's doing, push-ups right on top of his girlfriend,

and the push-ups are getting slower and slower, just as my chicken
is disappearing, and, before long, the push-ups stop altogether, he's

merely lying there on top of her, and he seems,even from a distance
much happier then when he was doing push-ups, then he suddenly

sits up,looks up at the heavens, and stares (with an expression
of pure longing) over at me. Oh, he seems to be saying,

I sure wish I had some chicken.

Sometimes a poet just has to step back and punt, like me, last week.

all is lost, alas
I have this poem I wrote
that is not a very good poem at all
but as a poem-a-day-poet
I have to either post it or write another poem
it's like spending your last $8.99 on a shirt at WalMart,
not realizing how ugly it is until
you get home
but you have to wear it because
you paid for it
I'm thinking
that surely is a pretty peach-colored sky
to the west, a reflection
of the sun cresting the horizon
to the east, and I'm thinking
so what
this peach-colored sky thing
happens every day so how is that better
than an ugly shirt from
I'm thinking well
look at the pigeons
peck pecking on the pavement
in the parking lot
isn't that worth a nice poem
but I'm thinking
what's the big deal
about pigeons peck
on the pavement in the parking
lot, has anyone ever seen
a pigeon not
on something
somewhere, so
I'm thinking
look at that big bus
passing on the interstate
taking someone somewhere
while I sit here peck pecking on my computer
like a pigeon
and, besides, I'm thinking
who cares about buses going somewhere,
last time I was on a bus back in 1967,
I got off in Atlanta
and flew the rest of the way
to my destination
and I bet buses are no better
than they were then,
and that was
I'm thinking
look at that huge oak tree,
bet it's full of
but I'm thinking, I've done squirrels
recently and aside from their bushy tails
they're basically rats
in trees
and who wants to read more about
in trees
I'm thinking
now I'm stuck with two lousy poems
and I'm going to have to post
one of them
for my poem-of-the-day
and I'm thinking
I wrote a really good poem
I wonder what's happened
since then
that leaves me with two lousy poem
that I have to choose from
the glory of the day before
all lost
like Richard
who lost his horse
and ended up buried in a parking lot
with British pigeons
right over his head

Next from this week's anthology I have two poems, both by Bradley Earle Hoge. At the time of publication, Hoge was an at-home dad for his three sons and a global change scientist at Rice University.

A Dog Contemplating a Stoplight

A teacher of mine once asked, if a dog
looked at a stoplight would it comprehend
its meaning. And are we, like the dog, not
limited in our knowledge? I contend
not at all, because human consciousness
creates its own reality, setting
quantum attributes into existence.
We are capable of understanding
our universe. He then argued that we
cannot know a quantum particle's place
and properties simultaeously
so cannot prove that they exist. I say
fear not, for every possibility
exists within its own reality.

Red Dog

As I travel back home to a dark and bloody ground,
I reminisce an Appalachian song:
O will there be red dog in heaven?
(Is it on earth that heaven is found?)

Where will these red roads through Appalachia lead?
Will our future from the past its lessons read?
O will there be red dog in heaven,
Or have the mountains truly begun to bleed?

Like the red dirt tinged tears in a wise man's eyes
Running down the crevices of his faces' lines:
O will there be red dog in heaven,
Or are the mountain's red roads blood from wise men's lives?

Ma constructs endless roads from strip mined land
Where Gaia had built the mountains by time's hand.
O will the red dog in heaven,
And who is the greatest architect, earth or man?

This poem is about my old dog, Reba, who, after nearly 20 years, we finally had to put down. My new dog, Bella, is good dog, loving, smart, and obedient. But Reba was an extraordinary dog, a saint among canines, a combination of Einstein and Gandhi.

Reba inspired many poems, as I'm sure Bella will, too. In fact she already has, our morning walks inspired at least one of the poems this week.

But this one is about Reba, another prospect for the book after the next book.

alive, alive-o

I was walking
my dog yesterday
(this being another dog
poem so all you cat people
and snake people and gerbil people
and lizard people and bird people
and cricket people and centipiggler
people can just accept
that it is not, except
maybe indirectly, about you
and your choice of furred, finned,
scaled,or feathered creature)

this is a dog poem
about Saint Reba about whom
I have spoken before
and our walk yesterday
down by the creek, still high from
several days of rain, scrubbed
by fast-running water all the way to its
pale, flat limestone bottom, the water
clear as freshly Windexed glass

and i was walking across
a little dam that holds the water
from passing too fast
further down the creek bed,
a tiny little dam about a foot
and a half across and
instead of doggedly following
me, Miss Reba decided to go
around me which ended her up
asplash in the creek

white-eyed panic
at first as she dog-paddled furiously,
then a gradual relaxation of her eyes
as she found sufficient purchase on the bank
to allow a sloshy clamber out of the creek
with the realization that
this splash-splash thing
even at 40 degrees is fun
and she climbs up the bank
jumping and running and leaping
about, let's-do-it-again, let's-do-it-again
as clear in her leaps as if she were yelling at me over
her shoulder, let's-do-it-again

and when I finally got her home
and dried off, she,
this old lady who can hardly
get out of her bed in the morning
because of all her aching bones,
was running circles in the back yard,
alive, alive, alive-o
like she was six months old again
with vim and vinegar
and life, a-live-o

like a good morning swim
to get the old

Here are several short poems by Rengetsu. The poems are taken from Lotus Moon, The Poetry of Rengetsu. The book was published by White Pine Press in 2005. The poems were translated by John Stevens.

At the age of thirty-three, Otagaki Nobu (1791-1875) renounced a world that had meant mostly tragedy for her - the deaths of two husbands and three infant children - and was ordained a Buddhist nun, taking he name Rengetsu, which means "Lotus Moon." In 1832, she began to make pottery which she inscribed with her own waka (31-syllable classic poetry) which she sold to support herself. The combination of beautiful poetry, calligraphy and pottery were as highly prized in her day as they are now.

Maybe as you read some of these you might imagine them written in elaborate calligraphy on the side of a pot or vase.

Living Near the Great Buddha

My night: autumn chill,
A steady drizzle
Of cold rain, and
The flicker of
Lonely shadows.


Amid the
Crimson maples
Mountain chestnuts
Ripe with burrs:
The munificence of autumn!

Mountain Village Fog

Overgrown kudzus vines,
Not a visitor for ages;
Along the hedge
Autumn fog wells up
In the mountain village.

Field of Wild Flowers

Rather than cutting them down
To spread out or gather up,
Let the wild flowers of autumn be
And enjoy the field
Just as it is...

Autumn Rain

The sun sets,
And the shadows deepen
Around the pines of Irie -
Lonely memories
In the autumn rain.

Insects Chirping in the Moonlight

From a crack in the wall
Of my mountain hut:
Katydids announce themselves
And moonlight too
pours in.

Here are two more possibilities for my book after my next book, both from about this time a year ago.

winter waits

just a trip and a fall
and no winter yet

oh, we've had some chilly nights all right
and one or two almost-cold days,
but of the sharp cut of winter
we've seen no sign

well, sure
the leaves let loose their hold
on the branches of drought-burnt trees,
but it was habit only, their sap fooled by the genetic history
of their kind into believing that, the required number of moon cycles being complete
it was time to head for the warm moist of their below ground roots

saps to history

unnoticed by them, the refusal of mountain frost to leave its crested home
for the lower regions where trees wait, naked, bare branches like lovers' arms
extended - sap sleeping soft and warm at the root, all above unrequited

frost lying in snowy crags, lying in wait for an early spring buffing
when well-slept sap begins to rise,
bring early buds
to bloom

then, at last, the canny, coldest winter winds will pounce, nature
making the fool of nature
and us as well

I will take pictures today

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

the wind blows
hard from the north,
picking up
as light overcomes dark,
like the sunrise was sucking
all the cold
from the mountains
against the back of my neck
like icy spider
pushing hard for a leap
to the next
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
between past winter and advancing spring

I think
I will take pictures

Here's another poem from last week.

the fine art of avoidance

a cool,
bright, glorious day,
the kind of Saturday morning
that pulls all the weekday slug-a-beds
up and out, off to their favorite breakfast restaurants
for a dose of fried chicken and pig
product with maybe a bowl of grits
and a short stack...

crowding out all of us who
so rise every day, those who threaten
chicken progeny and hog parts
on a daily basis

including those like me who perform
their daily ritual attack
on fowl and swine beasts
while writing their poem
of the day...

crowding us (meaning me, specifically)
out, sending me, before my poem is written,
to my normal coffeehouse where I am designated
Resident Poet, so-called because
I'm a poet and I'm always there, a joke,
but it gets me a reserved table, and a pointing-out
to coffee customers who express even passing interest
in my book, presented for sale
by the cash register, an all-together beneficial
arrangement as it has contributed
to the sale of a couple of books a week,
giving me some hope that someday
in the foreseeable future I will create
sufficient space in my closet
for a couple of new
the old shirts ready for retirement
and replacement,
and I can feel that fine moment
have to sell a few more
books, maybe in time for the Hawaiian shirts
they have at WalMart every

all this
to explain
why I am not writing from my usual
post, but here at the coffeehouse/music academy
which is my home away from
most of every day

and I tell you all of this
in support of my thesis that a poem
is in part a product
of the environment in which it is
and I am quite sure that, even
had I not told you, you would have sensed
that this poem was the product
of an alternative creative
to my normal poetic presentation
at least
I hope you would sense that
if you didn't
this would have been
an extended wasted exercise,
meaning I should have avoided this poem
all together
and just posted that lousy poem
I didn't post yesterday
but which I suppose some day
will have to expose its mongrel self
to the world, since, as this poem
so well illustrates
my facility at the fine art
of avoidance
is fading
and I'm running out
of ways to avoid
posting it

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. Here's where they are and where you can get them.

They're cheap, which is the whole idea behind ebook publishing.

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

still reputable places all


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

Sonyador - The Dreamer


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Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Poems Niederngasse
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
The Blogging Poet
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
The Writer's Block Poetry Forum
The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
Gary Blankenship
The Hiss Quarterly
Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
Arlene Ang
The Comstock Review
Thane Zander
Pitching Pennies
The Rain In My Purse
Dave Ruslander
S. Thomas Summers
Clif Keller's Music
Vienna's Gallery
Shawn Nacona Stroud
Beau Blue
Downside up
Dan Cuddy
Christine Kiefer
David Anthony
Layman Lyric
Scott Acheson
Christopher George
James Lineberger
Joanna M. Weston
Desert Moon Review
Octopus Beak Inc.
Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet