Summer Colors   Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Okay, new week, standard stuff, pretty good pictures, my poems and poems from my library. The only thing different, I intended to use one book for all my library poems this week. Turned out, I got halfway through and didn't like any of the poems I was finding. It was too late to change what I had already done, so just carried on, switching to other  books from my library.

Here's what  I ended up with:

the way it ought to be
Richard Wilbur
Under a Tree
Wyeth's Milk Cans
A Shallot
some people do their religion
To  Madam du Chatelet
Sunday morning
Guillaume Apollinair
Mirabedeu Bridge
saying what must not be said
Richard Wilbur
Boy at the Window
a  peculiar dialogue
Alex Lemon
the role  of squirrels in heaven
Michael Gushue
Norman and Mrs. Bates Speak of America
oh, that again
Kevin McFadden
A Dance Theater of Mutts
there's a million billion bits of me
F.J. Bergmann
Great Horned
a human morning in spring
Yehuda Amchai
Bedouin in Love
Pity,  We Were a Good  Invention
about the bird singing in my backyard at 4 am
Arlitia Jones
Shit Job
the Walking Frootloops who roam among us
two pieces re-visoned by Robert Bly
country roads
Editing to mention that some of this week's photos will  be available very soon as signed framed prints at IAMA coffeehouse and music academy. If you're from the San  Antonio area and like anything here, stop by. IAMA is on the corner of Broadway and Pearl, at the entry to the new Pearl re-development.´╗┐

Here's a little bit of anticipation. Made this  little jaunt  last week (see the last poem in this post).

Even better, setting out for a drive in the mountains in a couple of weeks.

the way it ought to be

planning a wildflower trip
next week,
out in the hills, even though
I know it's been so dry there will be no flowers
and I'll have to do with admiring the sheep and goats
and donkeys and cows and horses
we'll see
along the way instead

but that's okay,
any excuse to drive the hills
is good enough for me
and I even like
to seek
sheep and goats and donkeys and cows and horses
cause there are none of them
in my neighborhood
and it's nice to go out where they live
and see them relaxing
in their bushy, rocky, hilly

and besides
it might be my last chance
if there's no rain in the next couple of months
there won't be anything left but
skeletal remains
and seeing skeletal remains
is hardly worth the price
of gas

which reminds me
don't ask me
that they found a new cave
in the hills last week,
digging a hole
for some human reason,
they broke through to the cave,
400 feet long, with 40 foot tall dome ceilings
and stalagmites and stalactites
rising up like garden gnomes on the floor
and hanging like thin spaghetti
from the ceiling

all the cave spelunkers
are heading out for a quick look,
since, even though at 400 feet there's not a lot
to spelunk,what there is, is supposed to be beautiful
and it's kind of sad, but maybe not,
that very soon they will seal off the cave
and it will be left to its own coll and quiet dark
as it has been for all its tens of thousands years
without interruption from the likes of
us,  which is a pretty good deal
for all things real and unprocessed by our eyes
and probing fingers and heavy footsteps and Kilroy was here
attentions - a refutation to the human arrogance
that says all beautiful things were made
for us to see and that no trees fell in the forest
until we came along to hear them

"real," being like the wildflowers, not sown by any one's hand,
but a natural celebration of Spring
by all the creatures and forces to whom to us own no
allegiance, sometimes there for us to see
and sometimes not, and whether there or not
not an event or absence of event
subject to us or created
by us or
for us

and that, by god, is the way it ought
to be

As I said in the introduction, I have one library book this week. The book is by Richard Wilbur,
and it includes both his original work and his translations.

These short poems are his original work.

Under a Tree

We know those tales of gods in hot pursuit
Who frightened wood-nymphs into taking root

And changing them into a branchy shape
Fair, but perplexing to the thought of rape:

But this,  we say,  is more how love is made -
Ply ad reply of limbs  in fireshot shade,

Where overhead we hear tossed leaves consent
To take  the wind in free dishevelment

And,answering with supple blade and stem,
Caress the gusts that are caressing them.

Wyeth's Milk Cans

Beyond them, hill and field
Haredn and summer's easy
Wheel-ruts  lie congealed.

What if these  to bells tolled?
They'd make the bark-splitting
Music of pure cold.


A woman I have never seen before
Steps  from the darkness of her town-house door
At just that crux oftime when she is make
So beautiful that she or time must  fade.

What use to claim that as she tugs her  gloves
A phaeton heraldry of all the lov3s
Blares from  the lintel? That the staggered sun
Forgets, in his confusion, how to run?

Still, nothing  changes as her perfect feet
Click down the walk that issues in the street,
Leaving the stations of her body there
As a whip maps the countries of the air.

A Shallot

The full cloves
Of  your buttocks, the  convex
Curve of your belly, the curved
Cleft of your sex -

Out of this corm
That planted in strong  thighs
The slender  stem and radiant
Flower rise.

Even those of us who don't believe in the unnatural magic of religions know well  the magic of the natural universe of which we are a part. Too bad most of us don't pay attention to it.

Here are two  poem that explore, a bit, that idea.


the spirit
is a creation of  the shell
that  holds together the meat that is me

electrical impulses
and chemical reactions  that cease
when  the meat  ceases
and the electricity and chemistry fades

the best of us,
the diaphanous interweaving of grace and hope
that makes us wish
we were a thing  apart,
lives and dies,  makes its place
for its  time,  then  dissipates like a cloud of smoke
in a summer  breeze

the least of us
the meat  in all  its constituent parts
is eternal

in all their bright  essences
live and die;
and, as creatures of stars,
inheritors and progenitors
of  the is that is,
we  should expect neither more
nor less

this the part
no  one
wants to believe
but it is one explanation
of our  mysterious
in the dark

some people do  their  religion
some  people
do their religion
in churches with big steeples
and  pews and pews
set in rows for the faithfully
I prefer the night sky
who  needs some  petty little  god
when you have the whole  universe  of stars
and all you have to do to  know them
is lift your head
from the dirt
and look

This poem is by Voltaire, as translated by Wilbur.

To Madam du Chatelet

If you would have my heart love  on,
Grant me such years as suit the lover,
And teach my twilight to recover
(If but it could) the flush of dawn.

Time takes my elbow now, in sign
That I must bow and turn away
From gardens  where the god of wine
Divides with  Love his pleasure sway.

Let us from rigorous Time obtain
What timely blessing may assuage.
Whoever will not be his age
Knows nothing of his age but pain.

Leave then to sweet and giddy youth
Those ecstasies which youth can  give:
Two moments only do we live;
Let there be one for sober truth.

What! Will you leave me thus forlorn,
O tenderness, illusion, folly -
Heavenly gifts whereby I've borne
Life's bitterness and melancholy?

Two  deaths we suffer.To forgo
Loving, and being loved in turn,
Is deathly pain, as now I learn.
Ceasing to live is no such woe.

Thus did I mourn the loss of all
Those years when I was young and mad,
My slow heart sighing to recall
The furious beat which once it had.

Friendship, descending from above,
Came then in mercy to my aid;
She was as kind, perhaps, as Love,
But not so ardent, and more staid.

Touched by her charms,  so fresh they were,
And by her radiance calm and clear,
I  followed her; yet shed a tear
That I could not follow  none but her.

Sunday is always a problem for me, when all the places where I  normally spend my day are closed. I get  a lot of naps on Sundays, my personal response to boredom.

Sunday morning

Sunday morning
down like an old man
on a spaghetti

a harsh appraisal
of this holy day of our lord
but my knees hurt
and I have a raging case
of  flatlandia
(with apologies to Mr. Sibelius)
too long deprived of lofty heights
and birds singing in higher keys and it's not
that birds don't chirp here,
but they seem low and discouraged that their songs
cannot fill a higher atmosphere -
and I can understand
being as I too can chirp much better
when I have a mountain under me and great pines
above me and leftover traces of snow
beneath my feet

and it's not that the place I am
is so bad,
I know that, for I have lived in places
much worse, it is only that I have been wrapped
and bound in its familiarity
for too many months
and need a bit of strangeness
in my life
before I dissolve into the vanilla pudding
of everydayness
that I feel jelling around me

The next poem is by Guillaume Apollinair, once again, translated by Richard Wilbur.

I've read a lot  of Apollinaire's poems, and never one like this rhyming and in this form. Which leaves me wondering how many liberties Wilbur might have taken with Apollinaire's original.

Mirabedeu Bridge
Under the Mirabeau Bridge there flows the Seine
                 Must  I recall
           Our loves recall how  then
After each sorrow joy came back again
                   Let night come on bells end the day
                   The days go by me still I stay
Hands joined and face to face let's stay just so
                    While underneath
            The bridge of our arms shall go
Weary of endless looks the river's flow
                     Let night come on bells end the day
                     The days go by me still I stay
All love goes by as water to the sea
                     All love goes by
               How slow life seems to me
How violent the hope of love can be
                     Let night come on bells end the day
                    The days go by me still I stay
The days the weeks pass by beyond our ken
                     Neither time past
                 Nor love comes back again
Under  the Mirabeau Bridge there flows the Seine
                      The night come on bells end the day
                      The days go by me still I stay

The people of Israel, for the most part, are our friends. The government of Israel I fear is not.  What else can you  say about  a "friend" who asks too much and gives too little.

The arrogance of that  government  is fed  by large sections of the evangelical community in this country who, caring not a bit for Israelis, worry much about the existence of  Israel because all their "end times" mythologies depend on its continued existence in the region.

It is  truly tragic that the fate of Jews and Muslims in the mid-east can so afflicted and urged to war by a small Christian minority in this country.

saying what  must not be said
so a poet writes
the truth
about a nation
that uses history
as  a bludgeon
to silent  critics
who suggest  that
evils of  the past
do  not excuse abuse
of subjugated peoples
in the present; that do not
excuse imperialistic
based on religious
mythology; that do not
excuse theft of the
property of honest
farmers and merchants;
that do not excuse doing evil
to some as evil was done
by others to you;
that do not  excuse,  even in the face
of  real threat,  belligerence
against innocents
as well  as those  who
threaten; that do not
excuse holding innocents
as hostage against
enemies enemies  real  and imagined;
that do not excuse
against  truth-tellers
because truth  is not
an acceptable response
to your myth
of moral superiority
there is no excuse
for self-delusion
or insistence that
your own  self-serving
must be accepted as truth
by all others
if the truth  disturbs you,
the problem is not
in the truth but
in you

This two poems from his book is an original by Richard Wilbur.


      Piecemeal the summer dies;
At the field's edge  a daisy lives alone;
    A last shawl of burning lies
       On a gray field-stone.

        All cries are thin and terse;
The field has  droned the summer's final mass;
     A cricket like a dwindled hearse
         Crawls from the dry grass

Boy at the Window

Seeing the snowman standing alone
In dusk and cold is more than he can bear.
The small boy weeps to hear  the wind prepare
A night of gnashing and enormous moan.
His tearful sight can hardly reach to where
The pale-faced figure with bitumen eyes
Returns him to such a god-forsaken stare
As outcast Adam  gave to Paradise.

the man of snow is nonetheless, content.
Having no  wish to go inside and die.
Still, he is moved to see the youngster cry.
Through frozen water is his element,
He melts enough to drop  from one soft eye
A trickle of the purest rain, a tear
For the child at the bright pane surrounded by
Such warmth,such light, such love, and so much fear.

So many people of faith are so aggressive in that faith that being around them is like being under constant siege, there being only so many times being told I'm going to hell before I lose interest in the conversation.

But it's an interesting question, this whole faith thing, so it's a pleasure to have someone to talk to about it without feeling that the gates are being breached.

a peculiar dialogue

I have a friend,
a relatively new friend,
who is a deeply true person of faith,
the kind of believer in Christ
who might have walked the streets
of Rome with Paul speaking of her faith,
a believer in Christ before there was Christianity,
before there was a church,
before the Church became an institution
built around an approved version
of the faith, before the constraining vision
that channeled faith in the ways approved
by the politics of the Council of Nicaea,
before the set of rules that made then Church one and whole,
faith from before the faith,a free and open faith
from a time when there was a multitude
of faiths and believers, some sequestered in caves high above the desert,
some on street corners
of the great cities of that time,
some believing in Jesus, the revolutionary prophet, some
believing in Jesus, the Jewish Philosopher King of Israel, some
worshiping Jesus as the Christ, Son of God,
and every variation of belief between,
centuries before the institutions that define the terms of faith today,
before such days as today when for so many
bible-worship has replaced

this person of deep and true faith
I have called my teacher,
as we talk often about faith,
with respect, about her faith
and faith in general,
each understanding the other,
she, a person whose faith will never be shaken,
and me, a person who has no faith and never will,
and though I have no idea what, if anything,
she has learned from me,
I have learned from her a deeper understanding of faith
and people of such faith,
and, most important in these days of such pretense,
the difference between those, like her, who truly
have it, and those, though they most loudly proclaim it,
do not and, like me, most likely never will...

it  is a peculiar dialogue of
unlikely friends

I committed myself early on to the Richard Wilbur book for this week, but I must say, I haven't  liked anything I've done  so far.  So, watch out mid-stream. I'm switching horses.

I have to face it. I basically don't like rhymed poetry. It  makes me think of all the opportunity for deeper meaning and insight lost to the demands rhyme scheme.

My next poem is by Alex Lemon, a frequent reviewer  for The Bloomsbury Review and assistant editor for LUNA: a Journal of  Poetry and Translation. He was  awarded a Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005 and was a recipient of a 2006 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. He teaches at Macalaster College in Minnesota.

The poem is from Hotel Amerika, previously a quarterly publication of the Department of English  at Ohio University. This was  the Fall, 2006 issue. I understand that it has since been replaced at the university by another publication.


After these blizzards
an  air  like moth-eaten  sheets
Swells my lungs - keeps me
Pacing. Branches and bluegrass
From the windows. And there is
Breath's utter failing. Midnight
Pulls and so each night I tap
The frigid glass -
Is this touch-frozen
Or the last thought
I'll have? I watch cars
Shake past -
Faces hard and green
In the radio light.
I know each driver is dreaming
About how  their name might
Ring in another's mouth.
This is below zero
And the engine  in my chest
Catching. I cannot  get
My head around
This  impossible-light.
In this wreckage
Of  ice I can do nothing
More  than rake my fingertip
Across  my collarbone
Each time the red tenderness
In the oil-slick  sky pulses
On and off - on and off.

Continuing my unintended examination of  spiritual issues, this.

the role of  squirrels in heaven

as I often do
about the effects
of squirrels  in the after

I have set myself to think
ing of after living
and how it must be, attending
to the chores of celestial chorusing
and how the squirrels
and their bushy-tailed cousins, chipmunks,
might fare if left our of the heavenly choral
with the horses and donkeys
and other such critters of the barnyard and verdant
forested areas,
intellectually inferior and creatures of large piles
of poop in inconvenient places when compared to
squirrels and their bushy-tailed recording stars
cousins who have superior  survival intellect and instinct
and tiny, discreetly deposited (have you ever seen any) poop,
completely unlike  horse hockey and cow pie and donkey
dunk and who would never allow themselves to be choralled
with a bunch of horses and donkeys and the like no matter
how warm and cozy it might be to be among such a congenial, if
somewhat retarded, company, horses after all are possessors
of such infectious  laughter and donkeys, well what would one do
at parties if there were no one around for tail-pinning-on, it's
not like a squirrel (or its bushy-tailed cousin, etc.) can just go out
on a Saturday night and get some tail, so even the lower creatures,
as is so often demonstrated, have their  uses, which takes me back
to my original question about squirrels in the afterlife
and what effect they would have on the quality of my
after living and whether heavenly squirrels, etc. would continue
their thieving ways when it came to birdseed,  so  diligently
laid out for  the heavenly sparrows  and  doves and cardinals
and other  non-angelic wing-ed creatures every day
by the She-Who-Runs-The-Show who might or might  not
put up with the kind of squirrel nonsense those of us in non-heavenly
environs endure when it comes to trying to keep plump and happy
our non-heavenly birds who inhabit  our tree-endowed  backyards
and the bigger question  that occurs to me
now as I writhe in confusion,
since  squirrels  by nature are  thieving  varmits
how it is  they get to heaven  in the  first  place,complications
once there, put aside for the moment, is it  by faith
they are saved  for the heavenly sing-along or is it by coincidence
or  their familial relationship with the musically-gifted
chipmunks for who  there  is always great demand in the heavenly
musicale  or  is  it , that, just by being true  to their thieving
they have met the design and original  intent of
and is thereby guaranteed a place in the silver-leafed halls
of for-ever-after

and what does  that mean  to you and me who don't  have
and are unlikely to  ever find a clue to our  own  original intent or purpose
and whose  transport to the eternality of forever-and-forever-amen
would seem to be completely unlike that of the true-to-their-nature thieving
squirrel, etc., and much like the weekly lotto, purely a matter of random

Here's another poem from Hotel Amerika.

The poem is by Michael Gushue, poetry editor for the Washington Spark and coordinator of the Brookland Poetry Series. He was  nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2003. Living in Washington D.C., his day job is in international development.

Norman and Mrs. Bates Speak of America

It's all highways and automobiles
these days, each car  like an iron lung
of speed, each driver floating inside with
no though but go, unaware that the roads
are like flames: they hold you in. You're not
getting away. On either side you move
where the road wants. You can't  turn off,
not really. If you try, you'll disappear.

Nobody understands taxidermy,
how sawdust becomes pure substance
and fills the body cavity like light,
how a glass eye looks into your soul.
It's all about arrangement, order,
the truth of skin,   gestures of fight or flight
that turn into your whole  life. Since nothing's
deeper than surface, you are what you look like.

What's freedom? Being yourself or
becoming who your are? We metamorphose
from one to the other; start  out as Clemens,
end up as Twain. Changing your name is no
better than running away or being  rich.
Money answers question you ask when
you've forgotten ho to be free. Your name
shows how much thread to use, where to secure.

Television is like a road, a friend,
your gulp it down like milk before bed.
Let  it lull you to sleep, that jellied gray
eye, then click yourself off until morning.
When you check in I see your deprivation.,
I can smell it on you like musty clothes:
I'm nervous, you're nervous. Everybody's
nervous. But nobody is nervous enough.

Same-o, same-o.

I suppose that's good, but how boring!

oh, that again
it only takes me
about 3 minutes to read the local paper,
though the New York Times
may take 5
each headline I see, my mind
"oh, that again"
and I move on to the next
being an informed human being
used to be a  lot more
thank god there's still
the comics

The next poem is also from Hotel Amerika. After deserting Wilbur, it's the only book I have with me this morning.

The poet is Kevin McFadden. Frequently published in the highest quality poetry journals, he is the associate Program Director  for the Virginia Festival of the Book.

A Dance Theater of Mutts

Call it what you will
                                                   Canis americanus
what goes on all fours
                                                   and in the neighbor's  tulips.
(Diversion at  work,
                                                   such slights of
and; here go in both
                                                   "wander" and "piss")

Here anything goes.
                                                   Here I've wandered.
Now you're pissed
                                                   We leap three rings:
canis is "dog" in Latin
                                                   and "you sing."


                                                   And you sing
of a land where
people pick up
after mutts. We
                                                   - snap at the strange.

                                                   - like shiny coats.
                                                   - bring and get.
                                                   - bury our bones.

Words don't mean
as much as tone.
We envy the dog,
it goes without
                                                    saying. There
                                                    it goes again.


                                                     It goes again

to show the leash
                                                      has more than one end.
They've picked up
after us, after all.
                                                      (ever watch one lick up
                                                      it's own sick? It does.
                                                      It's something  to chew on.)

In his three-ring
                                                      circus I must beg you
to call a poem,  call it
Killers, call  it Cuddles
                                                      we call it home.
Call it  what you will.

I  appear  to be in a contemplative mood this week, as I apparently was when I  wrote this  last year.

there's  a  million billion bits of me

there  are a
million billion
parts to  me
and upon my death
and deconstitution
they will all fly off and away
and I will  be so many things
in so many places

some piece  of me
will  fly to the sun,  become
fuel for  its burning, other parts
will settle like a tiny wafer on the dust of the moon;
parts of me will  join the  red remains of Mars,
others will circle with the rings of Saturn
and a  few will drift  in Jupiter's clouds,become a shade,
perhaps,in its great  red circling eye

some bit will make an even further  journey,
off  on an intergalactic  homecoming  voyage  to the nearest  and furthest
stars,  journey completed  in a  time  I cannot even imagine,
for, while I will and  must  die, the parts of me
are eternal,  soaring in the great all-nothing,
slipping between black  energies and elements
until the expansion stops and the universal contraction
begins,big bang cycling to big suck and all
that will not die will  die, only to be born even again
as a new eternity bursts upon the scene...

and other bits  of me will stay right here, at  home on the  world
that  assembled me, then broke me apart like Legos
in their resting corner of a child's toy box, the raw materials
of new essence, the essences
of rock or sand on a desert plain,
or  essences or a dog, someone's dear companion,
or of  a tick in the dog's ear
or a  hog or  a log
crossing a slow dribbling stream,
some of the bits  of the used-to-be-me
in the dog,in the  tick's bloody snout, in the  bristle
on the hog's back, or in the log, or in a bump on  the log
or a bubble in the  stream, or, perhaps, another  person I'll be,
or a penguin or a pineapple  on an island in the  Pacific  where
beautiful women  dance and tell  stories of  ocean voyages
and great  waves, each one a new construction of elements
just like you and me,  created then pulled apart so that the next wave
can  rise  and roll on  the  sandy beaches of time forever
until  the world ends
and time  ends
and all we know or suspect
or have never imagined ends
and starts

Before I go home for lunch, here's a last poem from Hotel Amerika.

It's a short poem and it's by F.J. Bergmann, who wrote her own very funny bio. Unfortunately it's longer than her poem and, fittingly, I'm very hungry.

Great Horned

All day I go hungry
listening. My feathers ruffle
in gusts of muted wind.
At nightfall I drift
out over the prairie
like the ghost of a last breath,
scanning the black fields
for  faint stars of warm flesh.
I count my nights
in vole skulls, my days
in the muffled rustle of leaves,
my years in empty nests
tiled with broken shells.
Sometime  I am nothing
more than an appetite
with wings.

Sometimes it would really be great to just stop and watch a pasture's  grasses blow in the wind.

a human morning in  spring
cover the hillside
across from where I have breakfast
overnight, the hill
in  this  early morning light
has shifted through some prestidigitous trick
of spring
from green to blue
the deer haven't been out
on the hill
for some time
maybe this new carpet of
morning sky
will bring them out
to graze and
if only I could stay
and watch
and maybe join in their play
but it is a human
I face now
and they would not
if I were to start,
then leave them
before the play
is done

Now back home where my books are, I can expand my repertoire to include these two poems by Yehuda Amichai,  from the collection, Yehuda  Amichai:  A Life of  Poetry, 1948-1994. The book was published in 1994 by HarperCollins.

Born in 1924, the poet died in 2000. Considered by many, both in Israel and internationally, to be Israel's greatest modern poet, he was the first to write in colloquial Hebrew.

The poems in the book were translated from Hebrew by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav.

Bedouin in Love

No house accepted us.
Like a tent I stretched myself above you,
Like a straw mat,
I spread myself beneath you,
Your red dress opened like a chalice to the sky.
When you sat on me erect as on a saddle
To save your thighs from the hard ground.

"Meshugga," you said in your foreign tongue:
His dog died on the leash.
His friends are far away.
His son dreams of saying Kaddish.

Pity, We Were a Good Invention

They amputated
Your thighs from my waist.
For me they are always
Surgeons. All of them.

They dismantled us
One from another. For me they are engineers.
We were a good and loving

Invention: an airplane  made of man and woman,
Wings and all:
We  soared a it from the earth,
We flew a bit.

Here's another from last year.

about the bird singing in my backyard at 4 am

4 o'clock in the morning
and a bird is singing
in the backyard
and it's still three hours
before sunrise
and the damn bird
is singing in the backyard
singing in the dark
in the backyard even though
it's damn near the middle of the night

and that's the way it's all going to end,
I think,
some lousy damn bird singing
in somebody's back yard
at 4 am,
the somebody being the somebody
who's in charge of quality
at the whizzerbidget factory
who will be drowsy and inattentive
when defective unit number 405,735 passes
on the
assembly line
and the whizzerbidget inspector
will not catch the defect
and the unit will be sent to
where a child slave labourer who
would rather be playing baseball
or plotting the overthrow
of his slave master government
will put the defective whizzerbidget unit
into the quzzequacker module
(slave labor being not  highly motivated
when it comes to Dr. Demmings'
quality control rules for quality customer
which will be sent to Wastlandia
for final assembly of the whosamagatzit
that controls the whizzbanger
portal to the God-relay which controls
all  the various and complicated functions of the
mechanical, electronic, and moral
systems which sustains civilization, so that,
seven days after the collapse of it all
we will be out hunting our next meal
with big rocks and sharp sticks
and human dominion
of the world and all its interrelated parts
will become a thing of the past
as the cockroach masters, waiting in the wings
for lo these billion years, take over

we will blame the inattentive
whizzerbidget for the fall
of human civilization,
but, in face,
it's the damn bird
singing in my backyard
at 4 am in the pre-dawn
that fucked up  all the
works of man
ruined my day

The next poem is from The Bandsaw Riots. Published in 2001 by Bear Star Press, it is by Alaskan butcher and butcher's daughter, Arlitia Jones.

Shit Job

The machine sucks
and blows in and out
like a yes-man courting money
and all day your catch
what falls out the other end -
meat Cryoovac-ed in shiny plastic
pouches you separate out and stack
on racks - the bright red roasts
and beef stakes, the chops and chops,
the cops, the chops. All day.
This. And the warning sign:
above the hydraulic knife
that slices the film. You read it
a thousand times every day,
each time your hand knocks
against the plastic guard
protecting it. Read again
and make of it what you can:
otherwise you'd go nuts
and, god forbid, tell the boss
to fuck himself when
the sarcastic sonofabitch sidles up
real friendly like one of the boys
when you enter the dark of the freezer.
He catches the smirk on your face.
Anything to keep from hearing
when he leans into your ear
to remind  you: I'd get
a monkey to do your job,
if I could just keep it
from shittin' on the floor.

I  hate  political poems,  but sometimes as you innocently walk along you step right into a  pile of right-wing stupidity and it's like having dog poop  on your shoe. You just can't ignore it.

the Walking Frootloops who roam among us

I  don't know
if  it's a good thing
or a bad thing the way
Facebook allows us to watch
in real time
the full flowering
of  stupidity
and envy and sloth
and whatever  else is included
in the list of the greater sins of mankind...

but especially stupidity -

like the post I just read
that alerted us to  the parallels
between Hitler's universal health care
which  led to forced sterilization and euthanasia
of people judged to be unfit
for the grand and  glorious Third Reich
and Obama's universal health care
which, given the Hitlerisque nature of Obama
in the deepest reaches of his secret Commit, Kenya-tainted soul
is sure to lead to the same kind of
despotic and un-Republican
kind off things

and, you know,
there are people who believed
these imbecilic ravings
and, to make it worse,
they walk freely and un-institutionalized among us,
Walking Frootloops roaming the streets,
sucking natural intelligence and any trace of moral discernment
from all  who pass too  close to them...

oh how I miss
the good old  days
when it was only the Walking Dead
we had to watch
out for

Last from my library this week I have two short pieces by Kabir, as re-visioned by Robert Bly.

The book is Kabir: Ecstatic Poems, published by Beacon Press in 2004. 


Clouds grow heavy;  thunder goes.
Rain drives in from the east, its patter falls on
     the sides of houses.
Rain can be destructive, wiping out boundary marks.
But the soil  needs care - ecstatic love has sprouts,
     now, and renunciation.
Let the rain feed both.
Only the farmer with intelligence actually brings his
     harvest back to the farmyard.
He will fill the granary bins and feed both the wise
     men and the saints.


How hard it is to meet the Guest!
The rain bird is thirsty; she cries and whistles,
"Where is the rain?"
But she refuses all water but the rain...

The deer comes out of her kind thickets when she
     hears music...
she does, she loves music,
and somehow knows she will die...

The widow sits alone by her husband's body.
Soon the fire will be around her, and she is not
Don't have fears about his unimaginative body.,

I had a nice little  drive-around yesterday with a friend.

country roads

driving country roads,
blue plate specials in roadside cafes
in little country towns
where everybody comes in for lunch
when the noon whistle  blows,
everybody knowing everybody,
calling out to them, hey, Woodrow, one might say,
howdy, Mitch, would reply another,
old men and old women together,
then separating, women talking woman talk
at one table, men making manly conversation at another,
old men in straw hats, old women in
print dresses, hair done  up for seeing  people...

little cafes
with old gas pumps
out front
that haven't  worked
since the main road moved 218 miles
east 40 years ago,  the rusted metal sign
with the dinosaur, regular 17 cents, premium 21,
hanging by the road, clanking in
sweet country breezes
blowing down from the hills...

little cafes, with homemade apple pie
and coconut pie and chocolate and lemon pies
and a  waitress called  Phyllis
and a cook named Milo rattling
pans in the kitchen and singing
Ernest Tubbs songs
in a high and quavering voice
just like Ernest did on the radio...

little country roads
winding  up and down around the hills,
through tunnels of  tree  limbs
hanging low over the  road,crossing glass-clear creeks
trickling over low-water bridges, frogs on lily pads
croaking and  flicking flies with Lash LaRue tongues, sheep
in the meadow, cows in the corn, a donkey
nibbling grass while a pair  of horses
watch the road passing,
and me  driving by yesterday,
driving  the country roads with my friend,
making me feel like a country boy
on the loose, driving the little roads,
the closest  I'll to come to being  a country boy

That's it for the week.

All the usual cautions apply. All material included in the post remains the property of those who created it. My stuff, though mine, is available for your use if you want it. My only stipulation, please give proper credit to me and to Here and Now.

My next book, New Days and New Ways, is being edited and proofed with an expected publication date of mid-summer. Thinking about an audiobook after that.

In the meantime, I still have these books to sell.

And here's where I sell them:

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


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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