Wet   Tuesday, May 21, 2013




This is about the place  last week where I accidentally deleted this post. But I'm back, either a week late or a day early,take your pick, having discovered  how much time I lose  trying to decide what to do next and  how much faster it  goes when I  know what I'm going to do, having already done it once before. In fact,  it goes so much faster that I have actually had time to add several poems to what was already a fairly long post.

So, having done it again, here's what I did.

My photos  for the post celebrate all things wet, an appreciation for the wonderful rain we had  near the end  of April.

I also have my usual  anthology poems, using the same anthology, Crossing the River, Poets of the Western United  States, that I  used in my last completed post. It has  a bunch of really good  stuff that I wanted to use before,  but couldn't due to time and space considerations. It was published by The Permanent Press of Sag Harbor, New York, in  1987.

Plus, I have my usual  supply of poets from my personal library, including, this week, several poets I haven't used before.

Also,I have my new poems from my poem-a-day routine as usual, and, after using old poems from my first ebook  last week, I've gone to my second ebook, Goes  Around, Comes Around, for old  poems this week.

 
 
 
There's information at the end of the post as  to where you  can  get this and all my other ebooks as well.


Meanwhile here's the who's up for this week.
 
 
Me
moonless night
 
Robert Burlingame
Great River in Arid November
 
Me
post-it-notes
 
Charles Simic
Modern Sorcery
Ship of Fools
 
Me
the fella in the booth across from me
 
David Romtvedt
Moon
 
Me
bones-jumping  blonds and their place in poetry
 
Otomo No  Yakamochi
Selected from  One Hundred Poems from the Japanese
 
Me
goodness grapejuice
I hate it  when...
 
David Chorlton
The Mormon Chronicler
 
Me
throw in a hole in the ground
 
Rainer Maria Rilke
The Spanish Dancer
 
Me
question time
 
Charles Behlen
On the Plains, in West Texas
 
Me
a chance meeting in the rain
 
Carmen  Tafolla
Si se puede!
 
Me
perk
 
Alberto Rios
What a  Lemon Teaches
 
Me
flying
 
Claire  Kageyama-Ramakrishnan
7. Death at Manzanar,  1943
 
Me
red embrace
 
Jane Kopp
Farm Wife
 
Me
diddlysquat
 
Cathy Song
A Dream of Small Children
 
Me
thousand  mile  per our  winds
 
Linda Hogan
Small Animals at Night
 
Me
the rain falls,  the sun rises - the mind watches  and wonders
 
Janine Pommy Vega
Yourself
Letters to the Edge of  a Field
Third Visit  to Yeats's Grave
 
Me
lover's lament
 
Barbara La Morticella
Horsetail Rush
 
Stanley Noyes
The Dream  Painter
 
Me
a  beginning in search of an acceptable  end









Here's my first poem of the week. I wrote it a couple of  weeks ago.

 
 
moonless night
 
moonless night
 
dark
and lonely
 
like a black envelope
between
the  furthest star
 
shadowland
 
charcoal cat
and
pebble-eyed birds
 
black
as the space between
the furthest
stars
 
their song
a machine gun  chatter
from the trenches
on the other side of
happening








Here's the first poem from this week's anthology, Crossing  the River - Poets of the  Western United States.

The poem is by Robert Burlingame.

Educated at Brown University, at the time of publication, he taught literature at the University of Texas at El  Paso.



Great River in Arid November

this cloudless morning we walk into the  river's
Bed sucked dry to its middle by November drought.
Only the ripple marks, rounded scars of old flows,
Announce that deep water raged here once.
The waved and scalloped sand shines like a small Sahara.
It tells secrets about the furious underbelly
Of melting snow and how it swirled silt to shape -
Rain-rasped from shoulders of Colorado rock.

Everywhere smooth disdainless mounds
     and valleys cradle
And seduces light. All  is bleached and frail.
All is order shaped by formlessness - brittle peace
Lapped and havened beneath the sun's bland watch.
And yet so much perfection - and poise - disconcerts.
The very stillness says "no wet, no life." Far off,
High, we hear the cronks of equatorial geese
And begin to wish this way might suddenly roar
With spring. The prim sandy scrolls beg savage birth.

But to be drowned to life is a fearful thing.
So  quickly we turn toward the grassy bank, climb
Back into our world of fixed stumps and cracks. Then we
Look down once more and pray this dried pelvic place,
Earth's lavish cup, will fill again, but stay its course.








I  included some of these  "post-it notes" in  my last "Here and Now" post. They were from my first ebook, Pushing Clouds Against the Wind. Here are a few together from my second ebook, Goes Around, Comes Around.



 
post-it notes
 
 
i  am lost -
have you loved me lately
 
---
 
to late -
i'm going back
to  hating
you
 
---
 
if only i
believed
you -
i would surely love
you
 
---
 
don't mind me -
i'm just your backseat
lover
 
---
 
without  my pussy
cat
i'm just a dog without
a bone
 
---
 
when i'm gone
you'll wish
i'd never told the
truth
 
---
 
i said never -
and i'll  never say that
again
 
---
 
i watch always not
the place
you left me behind
 
---
 
you asked
for the truth -
i should have known
better
 
---
 
you said you'd be
back
but never said when -
i  wait still









Next, from my library, I have two poems by Charles Simic, from his book, Jackstraws. The book was  published by Harcourt in 1999.

Simic was born in Yugoslavia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1954. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1990. Winner of many awards and honors, he lived in New Hampshire at the time of publication.


Modern Sorcery

You could have been us another maggot
Squirming over history's roadkill.
Instead a witch took pit;y on you,  luck fellow,
Made you say abracadabra, and much else
You didn't understand
While you held on to the hem of her skirt.

You know neither the place nor the hour
Of your transfiguration.
A kitten lapping a drop  of milk
Fallen from the Blessed Virgin's breast
In a church at dawn. That's how it felt:
The two of you kneeling there.

Outside, there was a flash of lightning
Like a tongue passing over a bloody knife,
But you were safe.
Hexed once and for all in her open arms,
Giddy and tickled  pink with her sorcery.


Ship  of Fools

I'm  the stowaway in the crow's nest.

My old love letters are the sails,
The ones full of sighs and kisses.

At the Captain's Table a moonfaced nun
Is eating a June bug.

In the sky, a flock of white shirts
Are flying to laundry line in Africa.

The Captain sets his beard on fire.

Through the Spying glass, I can see the florist on  the
     back of a shark
Bringing a dozen bouquets of white roses.







Next, I  have  another new poem from a  couple of weeks  ago.



the fella in the booth across from me

the fella
in the booth
across from me
is a fair-sized guy, but
his feet are enormous,  I mean,
I bet he couldn't get blown
over
in a hurricane even if he tried...

I know a big-footed fella
is not the thing most people
would notice
so  early in the morning, and
even though the moon this morning,
a crescent hook in a velvet black
sky,  is beautiful and worthy of pause
and a neck-stretching look
up, so bright and silver, just hanging up there
with no visible means of support,
all of that and still
it was not nearly as interesting as this fella's
big feet....

now I notice
he has finished his breakfast and is leaving...

I wonder how many eggs it took
to fill those
feet







Next from this  week's  anthology, I have a poem by David Romtvedt.

Romtvedt, a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, had published two books at the time of publication, a collection of poetry and a collection of short prose. He divided his time between Washington and Wyoming.



Moon

     If  you are a man
who loves women please now look
at the nipples of the woman you love.
Turn to her in this very moment and begin.
Do you think a poet or anyone else
for that matter can say that a nipple
is somehow like a moon, say that
nipples swell and rise like dark moons?
I think not. Nothing is really like
nothing else. In beginning
some of you will want to tear  her shirt open.
I will say to  nonviolently unbutton
her shirt that that is my personality.

Look at  her round nipples. If your lover
is not here or if you have no lover ask
the woman seated nearest to you if she would
like you to look at her nipples. She may
say no. Do  not press the issue, perhaps
you will sneak a glance when she doesn't  see.

     If you are a woman
who loves other women look at your female
lover's nipples. Ask her to look
simultaneously at your own. You will
notice each other's breasts. Let your
four nipples touch. do not think
the four breasts are any more four moons
than your four nipples. You may be envious
of your lover's large breasts if they are large
or of her small breasts if they are that.
Remember we are here addressing nipples
so do not let breasts distract your attention.

The two of you can look at  each other in mirrors
or upside down or in showers. If you are now
beginning to show your nipples to your lover
please do not be angry with the lonely man
who sneaks a glance your way.

     I  you are a woman
who loves men that too is alright. You
can look at your own nipples or you can
look at the man you love as he looks
at your nipples or you can look at
the man's nipples for they will harden
and rise. And just as your nipples are not
like moons so his are not at all
like cold nickles and dimes.

If by some sad and cruel blow of fate
your male  lover has no nipples and you are disgusted
by the narcissistic pleasure of yourself you man
go and look at the moon rising, trying
to look only at the moon. Now I have come to that
for which some of you have been waiting.

     If you are a man
who loves men, you who some will  call
cursed, which in some ways many do not
understand are blessed, you too must now
open your shirts to each other groping along
in the way you do. Like everyone else
you have no parts like moons, you are, of course,
nothing like nothing  else. We are all here
together  now, I hope,  with our shirts in our hands.







Here's a second old piece from  Goes Around, Comes  Around.



 
bones-jumping blonds and their place  in poetry
 
it's
not
like I have some
holy
obligation
to  write a poem today
 
not
like
I swore on a stack of bibles
I would write a poem
every
day
 
not
like
the powers of poetry
are  holding hostage my first born
and my collection of Batman comics,
threatening
to shred the one
and trade the other
for  tattered and smudged Archie &
Veronicas
unless I write  a poem right now
this minute
 
not
like
there's a bomb
tick-tocking under  the Tower of London
and set to go  off if I don't release a poem
into the atmosphere
within 45  minutes
 
not
like
the president
is being held hostage
by a band of killer republican literary
super-agents
demanding an immediate  poem from me
 
or else
 
not like
someone's going to give me a bunch of
money
if I get that poem written
and that wouldn't work anyway
since
as a true poet
I know not  much of money or other
material reward
for the scribbled dribblings of my soul on
paper
 
(ahhh,
the horror the horror
of poets bound by the chains of materialism)
 
and it's not like
some blond with generous curves and
giggly breath
is going to jump my bones
if I write a poem right now -
though
that does seem  like a damn good reason
to write a poem  right now
 
in  fact,
I'm going to try real hard
right now,
really, really hard,
to  write a poem
just in case there's a blond
in the neighborhood eager to jump  a
poet's bones
 
the secret of creativity
 
one third perspiration
one third dedication
and three thirds bones-jumping
blonds
with generous curves
 
I  await,
bones atremble









Next from my library, I have several short poems by Otomo No Yakamochi, from the book One Hundred Poems from the Japanese. The book was first published by New Directions  in 1955. The poems in the book were selected and translated by Kenneth Rexroth.

Yakamochi was born in  the year 718 and died in 785.



The wind rustles the bamboos
By my window in the dusk.

---

Mist floats on the Spring meadow.
My heart is lonely.
A nightingale sings in the dark.

---

The frost lies white
On the suspended
Magpies' Bridge.
The night is far gone.

---

Now to meet only in dreams,
Bitterly seeking,
Starting from sleep,
Groping in the dark
With hands that touch nothing.

---

We were  together
Only a little wile,
And we believed our love
Would last a thousand years.







Here's a couple of short little things I did a couple of weeks ago.


 
goodness grapejuice
 
walking
Bella in the early dark
 
45 degrees
 
expected high
for  the day
 
70 degrees
 
May 3rd in South Texas
 
goodness grapejuice,
as grandma always said -
 
if this is global warming,
I'm in favor
 
 
I hate it when...
 
I hate  it
when I leave home
with a poem in my head
 
then lose it
in the fly-over lane
connecting Loop  410
and I-10
 
and open my laptop
at the restaurant
to a empty
brain
 
70 years passed
at my next birthday
 
is this part of that
or was it just
a lousy poem not worth
remembering






David Chorlton, my next poet from Crossing the River, was born in Austria and grew up  in Manchester, England. Author of numerous books of poetry, at  the time of publication he lived in Phoenix, Arizona.



The Mormon Chronicler

William  Clayton is counting factions
of a mile from the Mississippi
to the Great Salt Lake. He walks

beside a wagon wheel
on which a cloth is tied
to mark each revolution. Clayton whispers

number like a prayer
along the road to Zion. He describes
the streams and dust, the depth

of soil and water
and the distance from one camp  to the next,
writing as he goes

directions to a valley blessed
and waiting. His eyes are fixed
on the terrain

as a new sun arcs
above the train. The edges of America
turn from grass to rock

and the sky lifts
with the miles until
the space  between earth and heaven

is enough for a new religion.
the red cloth keeps rising at Clayton's shoulder.
He is faithful

to every detail of the trail.
As he records the journey
he threads a rosary of stones.







And here's another from my second ebook, Goes Around, Comes Around.



throw in a hole in the ground
 
thinking about all the  people
who don't know their ass from a hole
 
in the ground and thinking ho  i'd like
to  write a poem that wasn't about
 
and thinking about
how  i don't know how
 
to do  that, don't  know how to write
a brain-free poem...
 
maybe start with  random phrases
and images
 
throw in a kitchen sink;
throw in a cat in the kitchen
 
throw in a wet cat
in the kitchen sink
 
throw  in
a pissed-off wet cat
 
yowling
fully extended claws
 
scratching at the porcelain
throw in a porcelain
 
urinal
(why the hell now - gets
 
me away from the
pissed-off  cat);
 
throw in a porcelain
urinal
 
in a bus station restroom;
throw in a bus station lobby,
 
people sleeping,  people  talking,
babies crying, old me coughing,
 
spitting, farting in plastic chairs,
pinball machines clattering
 
and whistling and clanging
and  pin balling
 
kathunka kathunka kathunka
pinballs bouncing off the rubbers
 
thacka  thacka thacka
pinballs scoring
 
whanga whanga whanga
thunk - free game
 
echoing
off  concrete walls
 
echoes echoes echoes...
stone wall  echoes
 
throw in a rock band
guitars and drums echoing
 
in a tiny room
of sweaty people jumping
 
Saturday night
on 5th street; throw in sweaty people
 
on the fourth of July, walking
 
dancing, jumping
a little drunk some, mostly
 
drunk others, having a
good time mostly not remembered
 
tomorrow
but why the hell not
 
there'll be another tomorrow
after  tomorrow
 
for  most of us,
odds are for you and me
 
well,
me anyway maybe who knows -
 
throw in a box;
throw me in the box
 
throw in a hole  in the ground;
throw in people who don't know
 
their ass
from my hole in the ground
 
and i'm back where i
started








From the Faber Book of 20th Century German Poems, I have a short poem by Ranier Maria Rilke. The book was published by Faber and Faber in 2005. Rilke's poem was translated by Robin Robertson.



The Spanish Dancer

The audience in the cup of her hand,
she is a struck match:sparks,
darting tongues, and then the white flare
of phosphorus and the dance ignites
a charm of fire, uncoiling, spreading fast.

And suddenly she is all flame.

She is brazen: glancing round and shamelessly
setting her hair alight, turning her  dress
to a seething inferno, from which she stretches
long white arms, and castanets,like rattlesnakes
woken,  startled to their ratcheting and clack.

And just as  quick, as if constricted
by the sheath of fire, she gathers it up
and cast it off in one high gesture,
and looks down: it lies there raging on the ground,
shed flame stubbornly alive.
Radiant, chin tilted in salute, she dispatches it
with a steely fusillade of feet:
stamps it, pounds it, stamps it out.






I wrote this a couple of weeks ago.



question time

when four people
sit in a booth in a restaurant,
why do the two largest people
always sit on one side the the two
smallest
on the other

that's just one
of the questions that occur to me
in the morning, especially
when,
like today,
it is a bright and cool springish
day that encourages
one's mind
to seek out expanded territories,
answers
to life's persistent questions

the "fat  people on one side
of the booth
and the skinny people on the other"
is just one such...

why doesn't air
leak out into space, for example -

there's probably an extensively researched and proven
scientific answer to that
but it's probably complicated
and boring
and the problem with
running up against such questions
on a cool and clear, blue-sky, springish
morning is  that the answers
are never congruent with the moods
engendered by such mornings,
discouraging,
as the do, things
that approach com-
plicated
and boring...

and then
there's the whole chicken
and road
thing,
but I don't want to get into that,
believing that such things
should not be
discussed
among friends with possibly
divergent
religious affiliations...

better to stick
with the fat people, skinny people
booth conundrum






The next poem from the anthology is by Charles Behlen, who, at the time of publication, worked as a house painter in San Antonio while  doing workshops for Poetry-In-The-Schools in Texas, New Mexico, and Arkansas.



On the Plains, in West Texas

the deer hung from the wellhouse rafter
where it  twisted,frozen  and alone
through the long push of  wind,
the prairie winter.

When the white geese threaded out of the sough;
when the chain on the flagless school house pole
broke free, whipped the cool air warmer; when
the ragged windbreaks of ugly elms rashed mint-green
and the March gusts burned the dust to the air,

I was given this:

to pry the wellhouse open with a hoe.
If the carcass was cold there was meat for three weeks;
if the neck-stump dripped maggots on the floor
I cut the deer loose, dragged it to the field
     and doused it with gas.

While the body burned open
I stood among the broken-necked stalks,
felt the sky change course, as the
geese trawled softly for a darker home.







Next, another old poem from my second ebook, Goes Around, Comes Around.



a chance meeting  in the rain
 
I have taken this
summer
 
to taking
a few minutes of sun
 
every day in a private
corner of my backyard,
 
an attempt to resolve
the old man's lily-white ass
 
syndrome which has afflicted
me for some time now,
 
making me look
in light of the dark
tanliness
of the rest of my body
 
like a one-striped zebra
in a freak show zoo -
 
and, even though
this condition, I expect, will remain
 
a secret
between me and my wife and the three or four
 
people who read my poems,
it is unpleasant in my own mind
 
to think of myself
as a one-striped zebra
 
in a freak show zoo -
all by way of explanation
 
for why, yesterday
i was lying naked on the grass
 
when my sun-time
was interrupted by a dark cloud
 
from which began to  issue
large and persistent rain
 
d
r
o
p
s
 
which,
under normal circumstances,
 
would have sent me
high-tailing it, or, in my case,
 
lily-white tailing it for cover,
but I did not do that, having
 
read just that very morning
two of my favorite poets
 
singing in praise of rain
and its natural power of renewal -
 
so,
instead of lily-white tailing it
 
I stayed on my little blanket
on the grass
 
getting gloriously wet
and meeting, as I soaked
 
a tiny hummingbird
perched on a blossom
 
mere inches from my nose,
wings at rest,
 
long thin bill held up to the rain,
enjoying, like me, nature's cleansing -
 
hello,
little bird, I thought,
 
we must keep meeting
like this... 
 







Now, from my library, I have a poem by Carmen Tafolla, from her book, Sonnets and Salsa, published in 2001 by Wings Press of San Antonio.

Tafolla, recently named San Antonio Poet Laureate by Mayor Julian Castro, is a poet, short story writer, television and screenwriter, children's author, and performer and lecturer. Recipient of the 1987 National Chicano Literature Prize, she has a Ph.D. in Bi-lingual Education from the University of Texas.

Tafolla first read this poem in 2003, at El Mercado, San Antonio, on the occasion of the unveiling  of  the U.S. postage stamp honoring Cesar Chavez.



Si se puede!

a sixty-two-year-old woman,
her back permanently humped,
bending to strike with a short-handed hoe,
groaning in pain each time she bends,
the sun leaning hard on her aching waist

          (it was  for her you spoke)

and for the fourteen-year-old boy
who leaves school every March and doesn't
return till November,
who can pick almost as fast
as his mother, but can't
add as fast as his Dad
(who had  two years of school en Mexico)
the fourteen-year-old who's proud
of looking sixteen
and has already started thinking
about how much money
he can add to the family budget after
he quits school

          (it was for him you spoke)

and for a six-year-old child fading
daily into cancer
("a very rare form among children,"
the doctor had shaken his head,
"except in the Valley,where we've seen
sixteen cases already this fall.")
whose Mother wonders whether
the child will ever get to see
the puppy she's requested
from Santa for Christmas,
as she looks out the torn screen window
and sees another red dragonfly
of a small plane fly low,
spraying the adjacent fields

          (it was for that child
                           and that mother
                                                  that you spoke)

and the seventy-year-old man
who's  worked in these fields
the last  fifty-five years of his life,
but owns no papers to show
he has a right to stand on this ground...

and the nineteen-year-old girl
dreaming of study and college
and futures but knowing
it's no closer to her than a fairy tale...

and the young white businessman,
with a promising career, dying
of a disease that young girl
could have cured
had she been allowed
to get an education...

and the rest of us in the grey cities
and the purple mountains
and the steaming deserts,
and in the universities - still
learning to speak -
and the professions and the races
and the religions and
the genders still
trying to be heard,
the nations still struggling
to reach that oh-so-simple yet
oh-so-difficult
justice for all,
the factory workers and the doctors,
the sales clerks and the grocers,
the construction workers and the teachers
and all of us still trying to be human
and at peace...

          it was for us and for them
                      for her and for him,
                                    for me and for all
                                                 those generations
                                                             yet to inherit...

it was for us you spoke and wrote and marched
and believed and prayed and fasted
                                                           and died

for us... for all of us,
that You of the ready smile and the patient eyes,
the respectful ear and the gentle word,
with your insistence on non-violence
and your insistence on humanity,
that You,  Cesar Chavez,
lived.








I  wrote this a couple of weeks ago, back when I thought this would be posted last week.



perk

my dog, Bella,
is my alarm clock
and she went off at four-thirty this morning,
her jingle-jangle collar
jingle-jangling by my head
with the news
that
by god
the road awaits,
time to take
it, indulge ourselves
in the pleasures of the dark
morning walk.
she says,
so early the cat
still sleeps and doesn't join us,
waiting for us instead
when we return,
that patented cat look
of annoyance,
as with a sniff of disapproval
she turns on her four
heels, goes to her food place
on the patio and waits for me to do my
proper job as curator of cat, no
mutual sniffing
or body-rubs with Bella...

but it was a marvelous walk,
cat absence notwithstanding,
and I entered the day in the daylight
of perk and squirrel-eyed anticipation
of the next nut
to be thrown my way...

the dog,
meanwhile,
is asleep in the car






My next poem from Crossing the River is by Albert Rios.

Teaching at Arizona State University in Tempe at the time of publication, his first  book of poetry won the Walt Whitman Prize. His first book of fiction received the Western States Foundation Award.



What a Lemon Teaches

Lemons. I  like them. Light, and green.
Gardener's green,golfball shapes.
In summer, some days,  I sip them
Tenderly through,  take their insides
Into my idle, my ice-numb mouth,
Their meat amusing, making my face
Fall to the floor, or farther still,
My sugar saved, for sucking,  or for horses.

Lemons. I lick them,  like the bitter
Biting of their  borders,whose breath suggests
A jumping, aging,  juxtapositions, folded
fists,  fire's phlegm as it  lingers.

Limon. Mama, que amarga la limonada!
Another name names me.
My mother's mother, mama, speaks
Her special sounds,  secret in my ear:
I hear bees, ease my way
Toward the woman, and wait for more.
I move my mouth, mimicking hers:
How heavy, how full
It feels, and afraid:  of failing, of not
Having knelt enough,not like her legs.

Lemons, I  live them, el limon,
the meat. My mother's mother's  scream:
The sour skin - her sweat - for what
One winter wildly would be
A baby.A boy.Alberto. Albertito.
You take your time tonight, she says.
Be sad. Suffer. Shake in your bed.

Be brave in biting lemons.
Love to take a long,   a longtime.
Tomorrow, tomorrow,tomorrow remember
This moment; me; remember how
I hold your hand, and Hurt you, you
So young: all,the yellow lemons,
Like them less. Love me.
Make me the marrow in your bones.

I bite.It's bitter.I break a skin
Of celebration. suck the seeds, and spit.








Here's another poem from my book, Goes Around, Comes Around.



flying
 
a cold mean
day
 
rain blown
like bullets
by a hard
north wind
 
on the road
I enter
an underpass
and pigeons
 
a flock of ten
or twelve
 
fly down
from the girders
 
fly in front of me
 
and
for a moment
I am in the cold
rainy sky
 
flying with them







From my library, I have this poem by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan. It is from her book, Shadow Mountain. Winner of the Four Way Books Intro Prize  in Poetry, the book was published in 2008.

The poem is from series of poems titled "Shadow Mountain" in the book.



7. Death at Manzanar, 1943

Did anyone tell you
     he walked barefoot through ticks?

            He filled ground holes with marbles.
            He touched the South side fence
            when the guards weren't looking.

He heard coyotes upset the chickens,
       saw veins spread over the desert.

             He liked pears more than apples.
             His favorite color was blue.
             He liked high places.

Did anyone tell you
        he reached for an apple?

               Poison spread through his ankle.
               He never felt the bite
               or heard the rattle

Did anyone tell you
           he loved Pleasure Park,

                the bridge over the stream?
                He kept a bird-tip  arrowhead.
                He was an orphan at the Children's Village.

He though Heaven lurked behind,
           in the shade of a mountain.

He thought he'd see

            his mother and father again.
            he thought  he'd say good-bye
            to everyone in camp.

He believed Heaven a place
            without barbed wire.







Here's another new poem from a couple of weeks ago.



red embrace

so many lights in the neighborhood...

porch lights
area lights
motion sensor lights

the battle of human
against night and the dark
continues with every downing of the sun

thus it was, always so -

fire,
freedom from the black travelers
of night, held at bay
at the flickering red edge
of the campfire

always waiting
for the fire
to die...

still they wait today
those shadow things always
there on the black edges
of our imagination

and still we push them back,
from the falling to the rising sun
we make our circles
and build our
fires,
wrapping all we love
in the fire's
red
embrace






Next, another poem from the Crossing the River anthology.

This one by Jane Kopp, co-publisher of the Red Earth Press in Denver.



Farm Wife

the earth so hard
no nail could be driven in
above whitened grass
air dims

too hot to weep
and no use
but  her  cheekbones  ache
lying across the bed

through rusty screen wire
blackberries die
okra and
the very trees
drop leaves

two days ago
in the afternoon
a light rain
fell
minutes on end

all that wealth of dust
was briefly fragrant






Next,  another poem from my book, Goes Around, Comes Around.



diddlysquat

I already wrote
a poem
this morning
but it's another
rant
and it's too nice
a day and too early
in this new year
to  rant

but
goddammit
I want to rant

and so I will

I'll rant about
all the birds singing
and the sun shining
and the blue sky
and the clean clean air
and the good night's sleep
that left me refreshed
and re energized
and my nice house
and my pets
who follow me around
with great brown eyes
dripping with love and
adoration
and my wife
who seems to like me ok too
and the fine dinner
she made for me last night
and my good prospects
for a long and productive life
and my computer
and my fingers and my toes
and my social security check
and the tree I sit under
when I feel my nature-boy self
pining for the smell  of squirrels
and fragrant flowers
and tickling blades of grass
on my bare feet
and my hair that hasn't
fallen out yet
and the dried-beef sausage
in the fridge and the
false teeth that make it
possible for me
to eat the dried-beef sausage
in the fridge
and the Levis that fit tight
and keep my butt
from sagging
and...well..

I could just go  on and on
and on some more
with all the things I have
to rant about,
I could rant about
the cows coming home
and the cow farmers
waiting for them at home
and I could rant  about the cows
and their moon-jumping-
milkshake-making
shenanigans
and I could rant about words
like shenanigans
that I have to look up in the
dictionary
cause I can't spell diddlysquat
and I could rant about diddlysquat
and often do...

I could even rant about
you, and if I can, I do,
so I do,
I  rant about you
who
got sucked into reading this
on the false assumption
I had something
to say







From my library, I have this poem by Cathy Song, from her book Picture Bride, winner of the 1982 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition.

The poet, born in Hawaii in 1955, received a B.A. from Wellesley College in 1977 and an M.A. in creative writing from Boston University in 1981.



A Dream of Small Children

Toast crumbles in my mouth.
The walls of the house
curve like bare ribs
through which light traces,
opaque and milky. I skim
over these loose foundations
as if in a fish bowl - hemmed in,
haunted.

The sky is bandaged with white gauze.
A jet slits open the belly of clouds.
I mistake the trembling for thunder
and race out to  snatch laundry,
your clean, square handkerchiefs.
I wring them into diapers and knots.

Somewhere, I suppose, there are still
Eskimos who skin wales
quickly but gently,
submerging their ice blue hands
into warm  sacs.
Eat the ripe ovaries like fruit,
wasting nothing,

while I mourn
and dream of small children;
what their noises
and hunger would be like
to this unleavened silence.

Having already decided on what must be done,
what we cannot have right now,
you turn back to your medical pages,
learning how to suture and save
the failing;
how to cut skillfully and neatly
the unwanted.








Here's a poem from last week,  one of the one's I'm adding to what I had planned to post last week.



thousand mile per hour winds

thousand mile per hour
winds
sweeping from the hills

hail
the size of a 1967 Pontiac Roadmaster

thunder to break your eardrums

lightning like God's pitchfork's
on fire

rain

lots of it
lots and lots and lots
of  it

---

but you know how those TV  weather guys
exaggerate...

turned out to be
a clear

night
and morning so far,
clouds  sent south, the sun
freed to rise
unencumbered,
squirrels chitter-chatter
in the trees,
birds sing to each other
songs of magical
worms
on the corner of Wilson and Wang,
the neighbor's rooster
entranced by the fresh morning light,
appreciates it with a
mighty
cockadoodle wowser,
a great day, he calls, for some passionate
egg-making, get them chicks
out her for some dirt-scratching,
dirty-chicken-boogie-sex,
some wild rooster-rutting sex
under the rhododendrons
out by the back fence

---

happy campers all, the squirrels
and the birds and especially that sex-freak-rooster
and maybe a couple of hens if the rooster
is  all to the ladies he claims  to be

and me, too,
happy with this beautiful morning,
and thank you pusillanimous
weather guys
without whose hysterical prognostications
last night
we would probably be not nearly
so pleased with the
unexpected reality
of the morning that graces
our daylight
waking








Here's another poem  from Crossing the River, this one by Linda Hogan, a member of the Chickasaw Tribal Nation and author of several books. She received an NEA  grant in fiction in 1986 and, at the time of publication, lived in Colorado.



Small  Animals at Night

Surprised in sleeping flesh
they wake up
the boundaries of sleep.

The crow  settles wings
in with the hands
and quiet cattle have gone their way.

Compadre,  I say to the stray dog.
Nino, the bridled raven
waiting for night
with dancing feet
and finger bones about its neck
like the ones men fashioned
from the hands of slaves.

Even the air is a judas goat
air that flies birds
in from the sky,
air snakes glide beneath
with eyes,  red diamonds,
and the moon  at their backs
drifting like sand.

Dark hills move
through  wire and highways
and the soft black leaves
that slip  through our eyes
to  trees growing at the edge of the world.

citizens move about,
a does curls in
spine against  spine.
Silent,
but hear them.

They sing in their own heads
in the shivering blue bones of an ear
the voices here in grace
in the hollows of the body.








Here's a last poem for this week from  my ebook, Goes Around, Comes Around.



the rain falls, the sun rises - the mind watches and wonders

        first light
        everything in the room
        was already here
        .....Christopher Herold

believing
the reality of only
what I see

and living as we all do in the
dark obscure,
seeing less than there is,

much that is real
is beyond
my ken

leaving me
to only imagine
the contours of life

that escape my lighted view -
but how am I to believe
in the reality

of what I imagine
when I can imagine so many
fantastical things,

like the Christians who say there is
a light, the light of Christ,
that illuminates all,

revealing
all that has always been there
unseen -

but why should I imagine the truth
of their imagining
any more than my own -

perhaps
best
to accommodate the dark

accept the reality
of dark ignorance,
hope

for clarity
in some lucent future
like a child

tossing pennies
into a fountain
of bright and Innocent wishes

eyes closed,
fingers crossed,
belief a luminous glow about him








Last from  my library  this week, I have  several short  poems  by Janine Pommy Vega. The poems  are from  her  book, Mad Dogs of Trieste - New & Selected Poems, published in 2000 by Black Sparrow Press.

Vega went from Union City, New Jersey to New York City at age sixteen in search of the Beat Generation whose books she had been reading. In 1962 she traveled for three years through Israel and Europe, returning in 1965 upon the death of her companion. She  published her first book in 1968 and spending time with the Diggers, Hell's Angels, and North Beach writers, losing, in the process, four successive manuscripts for her second book. In 1971, she left the U.S. again, living for the next four years in Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia. Returning to New York in 1975 with two new books, she began to teach poetry to English-speaking and bilingual children in public schools and to prisoners in the New York Prison System. Traveling again for a number of years during he 80s and 90s, she  completed three new books.

At the time of publication of this book, she was director of Incisions/Arts, an organization that brings writers into prisons.



Yourself

I've become a cream puff, a pushover
a  patsy. In my dream
we understand each other perfectly
I rake the fields and bring up
hen's eggs, orchids, hearts of gold
Your step becomes buoyant
you stalk the heron, the icy stream
and bring back feathers

I watch you when your gaze goes out,

the wanderer tracking icy steppes
snow mountains, the animal soul
exultant in his skin
A hesitant opening out of gates
on iron hinges
in the garden is a lake, the moon
inside it deep as it is high.

                     Willow, NY, December 1978


Letters to the Edge of a Field

I notice
Perseus holding the road up ahead
swallows circling their holes
at twilight
Algol under the hill

I notice (are you listening field?)
dark  spaces in the Milky Way
synchronized with bullfrog
plucked bass string
the bow at full tilt saw-tooth hum.

                   Lake Hill, NY,  July 1980


Third Visit to Yeats's Grave

Clouds not moving
red eye sun sits in the water
old tower and cross stand  at the highway
nothing  happens
raucous wheeling crows
carry away the oak trees

ancient fire slips into and out
of every day
to go through the deaths
leave them behind you
the honest sound of a woman
at  her shears at sundown

and to walk away now
to the stablest valley floor
the sun ironing the grass in place
and stand, the  body
part of what it worships
wholly.

                    Drumcliff,  Ireland,August 1980








Here's a short piece I wrote last week, thinking of a young friend with some romance difficulties.


lover's lament
 
the one
who got away
 
chose a safer course
than me
 
but the times
she'll  remember
when she's old and gray
 
will be
the times she  spent
with me








Next, I have a final two poets from Crossing the River.



The first poet is  Barbara La Morticella,  editor and poet who  lived outside Portland, Oregon at the time the anthology  was published.


Horsetail Rush

All winter
the horsetails
have been lying under
                             the ground.

polishing their heads
and doing        shrinking
               exercises.

Armed only with the
tiny blades of cells,
they rush through asphalt
at the sun's knock
                           on the stone.

Ancient tribe
that knows the wisdom
                   underneath
our roads:

Pebbles  roll
like prayer shawls
around the females
as they

              emerge
stout as  clubs,
phallic and
                  fertile;
while the males spin,
frothy and
                    frilly,
though they are
                 bristling


The second of these final two anthology poets is Stanley Noyes. At the time of publication, Noyes had published three books of poetry and  worked as Literary Arts Coordinator  of the New Mexico Arts Division in Santa Fe.


The Dream Painter

He paints sheep of the Sierras, or elsewhere,
each ewe and lamb in the flock
el rebano, in its blue meadow
but whiter, cleaner than in life, as if

ram had been scrubbed, valued
as a unique shape, plain sheep
as if each had an importance, and next
sketches in the sheep herd,  el  pastor,
brushes his dark blue shoulder

in watercolor  but leaves incomplete
the hand that dangles, white, in pencil
lines, that hand which later will  draw
the knife along the throat of the lamb.









And here's  the last of the week.



a beginning in search of an acceptable end

after 12 hours of waiting for it
the storm came -
high  winds, lightning,
gushes and gushes and rivers-falling-
from-the-sky rain

just as  I was
pulling into my parking place
at my coffeehouse,
just as my dog was throwing up
in the back of my car,
all together
now
ah one andah two andah three
and the downbeat
all
at
once
the bubble machine goes
haywire,
throwing out big rainblops
instead of bubbles
and the show was on the  road
but not for so long,
unlike Lawrence Welk who was somewhere
on TV most off my life,
past even his own demise,
approaching in these  later years
even  my own...

the storm is over in fifteen
minutes
leaving lakes for ducks and other water
fowl to  preen, for bedrenched
street-dogs and corner-sitters
who  get their first bath in months
beyond the counting
of our abused olfactory senses...

where previously
were
streets and parking lots,
draining
even  as I watch
to the placid flowing river
and ever-so-eventually to San Antonio  Bay
and the Gulf  of Mexico,
soaking in along  the way
to  our soon-to-be dry and cracking
stony earth and home
foundations,
putting off the inevitable
further droughting
for several  days, maybe even
a week

---

and
to the west,
blue skies and sun
shine

a warning
of what  will soon
become
of us

August
on  the horizon
glistening  fiercely
in the temporary wet

---

but
at  least the dog wasn't throwing up,
just choking for a minute
on the plastic
water
bottle I told her to  leave alone
which she,
stubborn as the weather,
chewed on anyway

---

and
as  Porcillius
said,
how I do  go on

my poor poem, like the drain
in a porcelain bathtub, its
beginning lost
in a swirl of divergent
ends








Back on schedule, that's all for a week.

As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and me.

And I haven't mentioned it lately, but I'm allen itz, owner and  producer of this blog.

And selling books as well, right here:

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



 

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


Sonyador - The Dreamer



 

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