All in the Game   Wednesday, July 17, 2013







Back for another week with mostly the regular stuff, new poems, library poems, and anthology poems and old poems.

The anthology poems this week are from The Defiant Muse, sub-titled "Hispanic Feminist Poems from the Middle Ages to the  Present." The book, bilingual in Spanish and English, was published in 1986 by The Feminist Press at City University of New York.

This is one of a series of "Defiant Muse" anthologies of feminist poets from other cultures and countries, all published by The Feminist  Press.





The irregularity this week is that my old poems are from a book so new it hasn't been published yet. It's my next book, New Days and New Ways, which was planned  to be published this month, but my proof reader disappeared without ever presenting me with her proofed copy. So, before I can publish I have to  start all over looking for a proofreader, which, since I am very cheap - if anyone is interested in how  cheap email me - it is not easy. I'm thinking now the book  will finally be out sometime in the fall. The picture is a sneak  peek of the cover photo.





Here's the list of this week's attractions.


Me
thinking about thinking about stuff

Anonymous (13th -15th century)
 Now That I'm Young
When I Was a Child They Married Me

Me
muffin making and other activities of the long night

Pablo Neruda 
Another
Disasters

Me
it's all in the game

Rosalia De Castro
This One Goes and That One Goes    
Lieder

Me
how  to make a German comedy

Sister Juana Inez De La Cruz
Arguing That There Are Inconsistencies Between Men's Taste and Their Censure When They Accuse Women of What They Themselves Do Cause

Me
adios

Octavio Paz
Night, Day, Night

Me
cute

Gabriela Mistral
Emigre  Jewess

Me
a fan of little things

Bobby Byrd
saying goodbye to Ann Enriques

Me
toothpick legs on parade

Gloria Fuertes
I Don't Know
Not Allowed to Write
I Make Poems, Gentlemen 
The Birds Nest In My Arms   

Me
the thin-lipped woman

nila north Sun
keeper of the fire
sweat  preparation checklist
overtime
 
Me
where are all the  firemen










There's just so many things to think about, how will we ever  think about it all.







thinking about thinking about stuff

was thinking about thinking about
the situation in Egypt, but decided
I don't know  enough about the situation in Egypt
to make it a productive think
so was thinking
about thinking about the depletion of the ozone layer
or the possibility of life on other planets
or why pi are squared
when nobody I  know has ever seen a square pi,
unless maybe you think about peach
cobbler
which is often rectangular, not, in itself square
but closer to square than round
and then there's the whole grammar thing
which everybody knows that if something is "are"
it is a plural something, not a singular something, so obviously
it has to be "pies are square"
which, aside from the squareness thing,
makes a helluva a lot more 
sense

none of which, after thinking about it,
do I know enough to think about
which pretty much
leaves me
with  thinking about squirrels and their nuts
which, considering the obvious
parallels to me and Uncle Pasqualle and Great Aunt
Demidondroum, and the rest of  the familial
crew (which,  so that I shall not  be eternally barred
from their Sunday meatloaf, shall  not be names)
should be something
I know a lot
about








   


First from this week's anthology, The Defiant Muse, I have two short anonymous pieces from 13th to 16th century Spain.








Now That I'm Young

Now that I'm young
    I want my fun,
I can't serve God
    being a nun.

Now that I'm young
    and come of age,
 Why be a nun
    in a convent caged?
I can't  serve God
    being a nun

Now that I'm young
    I want my fun,
I can't serve God
    being a nun.

-Translated by William M. Davis


When I Was a Child They Married Me

When I was a child they married me:
Now I'm ill wedded,
a baby ill bedded.

-Translated by Kate Flores










Here's my first old poem this week from my new eBook, New Days, New Ways, currently in limbo for reasons given above.








muffin making  and other activities of the long night

it's a bright and sunny
Sunday morning
and I'm thinking about sex

now
I can tell
some of you
are surprised that I'm thinking about sex
on such a bright and sunny
Sunday morning,
but I don't know why...

I'm an old get
after all,
a getting-on gent,
a heading-for-the-last-round-up gent,
a drawing-near-to-that- last-hill-rise cowboy

and men
in my particular chronological condition
think about a lot of things,
the weather,
dumb-ass politicians,
uncomplicated bowl movements,
occasionally a poem,
and sex...

mostly sex

cause even though we may not  be  getting
much of it anymore,
sex is still the prime  concern,
at least  for those whose
wilty
whiskariser
has  yet to fall  off,
and since my whiskariser still
abides
I spend  a lot of my thinking time
thinking about sex

that just the way it is,
just ask any whiskariser-intact
old man
and he will confirm
if  he's even the least bit honest
sex beats weather
and dumb-assed politicians
to  think  about
any old
day...

in particular,
this bright and sunny
Sunday morning
I'm thinking about a particular
girl I one knew
a long time back,
in the old days when Ike
was  still  hitting par
with Mamie,

a particular girl
I'm remembering
whose nipples
were in constant confrontation

the one always hard
like a marble,
proudly erect like  a sweet
dark cherry
on a cream-puff  pie

the other lazy
always lying back,
holding back,small and
unobtrusive...

her conflicted  nipples like
her conflicted nature,
the one ever-erect
showing
the wild part of her, the
part always ready
for the next  adventure,
the next sensation -

touch me,kiss me, play
me lightly with your teeth, she'd  say,
lick me like a triple-dip  ice cream 
cone -

(and other  such things
she'd say
I'm much to shy
to  repeat
in a public forum
such as this)

but there was, still,
the other side
of  her,
the Betty Crocker-in-a-white-
frill-apron-muffin-
baker
side,
the nipple so slow to rise
like  reluctant muffins,
so hard to arouse, the nipple
of modesty,
of consequence and restraint,
of look  twice before you leap,
the nipple  of probably shouldn't leap at all,
the nipple of banked fires
and still nights and clouds slowly moving
against dark  and starless skies...

but the fire  was not out,  just laid low,
waiting  for the breeze of soft whispers
to flam again,  to re-ignite  the stars,
to push the clouds and clear the sky,
the fire when it came
as hot and bright as any other,
only slower  to  rise...

and it was in the
conflagration
that the two sides of  her
joined in the end

confusing to me,
sometimes,
leaving me never knowing
which of her two sides
would come with me
though the long night
till dawn...

but the truth is,
while possibilities varied,
there were no bad nights
when sooner or later
her secret identity was
revealed

 






I used work by Pablo Neruda a couple of weeks ago. Here are a several short poems by him from The Yellow Heart, another of several collections of his work I have in my library.

It's a bilingual book, Spanish to English, translated by William O'Daly.







Another

From so often traveling in a region
not charted in books
I grew accustomed to stubborn lands
where nobody ever asked me
whether I liked lettuces
or if I prefer mint
like the elephants devour.
And from offering no answers,
I have a yellow heart.


Disasters

When I arrived in Curacautin
it was raining ash
because the volcanoes willed it.

I had to detour to Talca
whee they had grown so wide,
those tranquil rivers of Maule,
that I fell asleep on a boat
and went to Valparaiso.

In Valparaiso the houses
were falling around me
and I ate breakfast in the wreckage
of my lost library
between a surviving Baudelaire
and a dismantled Cervantes.

In Santiago the elections
expelled me from the city:
everybody spit in each other's faces
and according to the reporters,
the righteous were in the sky,
and in the streets, assassins.

I made my bed next to a river
that carried more stones than water,
next to some serene oaks,
far from the city,
next to stones that were singing,
and finally I was able to sleep in peace
in certain terror of a star
that was watching me and winking
with a certain malignant insistence.

But the gentle morning
painted the black night blue
and the enemy stars
were swallowed by light
while I sang peacefully
with no catastrophe and no guitar.
















I hate the screaming Divas that are so  much of  pop  music.

On the other hand, I  like most of the music that's played on my community college radio station, a real comprehensive  play list that includes almost everything, including  lots  of  music I think younger people will  be remembering  when they're my age.

And I  also like the music that's been  played lately at my breakfast restaurant, 50s music, some of it silly, some of  it beautiful, all  of it  bringing back favorite memories.



it's all in the game

     with thanks to Tommy Edwards and Nat King  Cole

"many a tear has to fall"
he sings

and I wish
I was sixteen again
when I understood the truth of things
long since forgot

I remember thinking,
I should be writing this down,
but I didn't of course,
being sixteen, truth passes quickly,
captured in a moment,
too delicate to keep
in a closed palm,
released,
the memory
seared
forever we think,
forgetting at sixteen
about getting old
when even the plainest memory,
the most obvious truths
of youth
fade

---

but
for a moment
in the music, I see its
shadow







The next poem from this week's anthology is Rosalia De Castro. Born in 1837 in Galicia the illegitimate daughter of a priest and a woman from an established bourgeois family. Her father had no contact with her from birth and she lived a difficult early life, double disgraced as illegitimate and "sacrilegious" child, i.e. the offspring of a cleric.

She published her first small collection of poems in Madrid in 1857, greeted warmly by a journalist whom she later married. Her first poem in Galician was published in 1863, followed by her first collection of Galician poetry, representing the rebirth, since the Middle Ages, of Galician literature. When she died in 1885, her manuscripts were destroyed by her oldest daughter, as she had instructed.

Under-rated as a "provincial" poet in her own lifetime, especially in sophisticated Castillian circles, her work was reappraised in the twentieth century and she has become recognized as a major writer, both in Spanish an in Galician.



This One Goes and That One Goes

This one goes and that one goes
and all of them, all of them go  away,;
Galicia, you are left without men
able to work your soil.
Instead you have orphaned boys and orphaned girls
and fields of solitude,
and mothers who have no sons
and sons who have no fathers.
And you have hearts that suffer
long deathly absences,
widows off the living as well as of the dead
who cannot be consoled.

-Translated by Kate Flores


Lieder

     O woman! Why, being so pure, are the clear rays emanating from
your forehead darkened by the impious shadows of worldly vices?
Why to men pour upon you the filth of their excesses, then detest
you when you fall exhausted, made all the more ghastly by their
debaucheries?...
     After the first flush of your innocent youth comes maturity and
sobriety to spatter with mud the white gowns you wore during
childhood, and blot he images of virtue in your thought -
everything they transmit to you, everything...and all that
notwithstanding, they despise you...

-Translated by Angel Flores and Kate  Flores 











Here's another old  poem from the new, but  not yet, book, New Days, New Ways.








how to make a German comedy

groggy
this morning...

stayed up late
last night -

watched a German  movie
on the  International  Movie

pay-per-view
channel

talk-talk
sex-sex

that's the way
it went

long intervals
of  talk (dubbed)

then long intervals
of sex (explicit)

talksextalksextalksex
and more talksex

pretty boring
after a while,  but

I paid $3.99 for the movie
and wanted to get my money's

worth,
wanted to see the whole thing

wanted to find out  whatever it was about
was  about,

so watched it on triple-speed,
make the talk-parts
tolerable,
made the sex-parts funny,

people  like rabbits,
hippity hop,bumptity bump,fuckity fuck...

look,

I thought to myself,
I made  a German

comedy








James Hoggard is the author of sixteen books, including six collections of his poems, six collections of translations, two collections of stories, a novel, and a volume of nonfiction. He is Distinguished Professor of English at Midwestern State University at Wichita Falls. The next two poems are from Breaking an Indelicate Statue in 1986 by Latitudes Press of Manfield, Texas.






Getting My Sources Straight

Reading serious stuff, I
noticed her noiselessly begging
to share her little book

and smelling the  sweet
wetness of baby shit, I
brought her up in my lap.

We read our things until
she wanted down and slid off me.
Doughty stuff cookied my pants leg.

While I cleaned  us, she kept
as quiet as her stories
of lost toy sailboats

and  now she's bunched asleep
in clean diaper and gown,
a curl of silent angel's mischief.


Running In Place

Cold as mythwind's ache,
the house, settling, sniggered,
its joints popped
            the easeful teasement of collapse
            (the broken heater coughed black gas,
            we kept it off)

and a fire, in the dark finally,
blazed hotly past the hearth.
We played there
while the children watched TV.
We talked about another house,
            huge and broken like old myths
            we wanted to repair
            for repairing's blessed sake.

Like this home's parts, our parts were  close and,
not yet in the grasp of myth,
I kept imagining us naked
         chasing each other
                through the million rooms of age.











Got  to thinking about the old days, good for some, not so good for many, and came up  with this.







white-boy world

when I was a kid
we  crossed the border often,
a place where grown-ups
could get mixed drinks and fine game dinners

and I could explore the market,
wander the aisles of pottery and silver and glass
and herbs and spices and wooden toys, all
amid the sweet smell of leather, leather belts, leather saddles
and the bullwhips we always had to take home,
try to make them crack like Lash LaRue or Whip  Wilson
in the movies on Saturday afternoon

later, teenager, we'd pile into our car
and cross the border to pay our respects
to the bars and whores in Boy's Town, a rite of passage,
naked women, dancing in the hot humid night
so  close we could smell them sweat

and later,  cheap dentists
and hundred pound sacks of sugar, subsidized
on that side of the river, shortage-driven prices skyrocketing
on our side

it was a white-boy world we knew
in those early days, a white-boy border, mythical, subsidized by
white-boy dollars,  tourists in sombreros, night clubs,lions
on leashes roaming between tables, how quaint it all was to the mid-west farmers,
while others too stupid to understand
they weren't in Kansas anymore,
drunk on the main  plaza, pissing in alleys, introduced to the justice
of a beating in a Mexican jail...

it was not  real,
of course,
this white-boy world,
but,  like all who benefit
in ignorant innocence from oppressions they do not recognize
and oppressors they do not know,
we were satisfied with the way we thought things were

until, as was inevitable,
the other world beneath the myths we believed,
the real world, asserted itself
and white-boy worlds in that place and in other places
far and unknown,
would fall to the forces of just reality
with rewards and nightmares of its own...










The next poem, more of an indictment actually, from The Defiant Muse, is by Sister Juana Inez De La Cruz. Born in Tepetlixpa, Mexico in 1651, De La Cruz was a self-taught scholar and poet and a nun of New Spain. She died in Mexico City in 1695 and stands at the beginning of Mexican literature in the Spanish language.






Arguing That There Are Inconsistencies Between
Men's Tastes and Their Censure When They Accuse 
Women of What They Themselves Do Cause

You foolish men, who accuse
Women without good reason,
You are the cause of what you blame,
Yours the guilt you deny.

If you seek the love of women to win
With ardor beyond compare,
Why require them to be good,
When 'tis you who urge their sing?

You break down their resistance,
Then declare quite seriously
That their lightness has achieved
What you won by your persistence.

You seek with stupid presumption
To find her whom you pursue
To be Thais when you woo her,
and Lucretia in your possession.

No woman can you really win
Since even the most discreet
Is ungrateful if she keeps you out
And loose if she lets you in.

So where is the woman born
Who would gain your love,
If an ungrateful woman displeases
and a complaisant one you scorn?

Your amorous labors give
Wings to their indiscretions,
When you have made women wicked
You wish them virtuously to live.

In a passion that is guilty
Who bears the great blame:
She who falls on being entreated
Or he who falls to make entreaty?

When each is guilty of sin,
Which is the most to blame:
She who sins for payment,
Or he who pays for the sin?

Why are you so surprised
At the fault that is your own?
Either prize women as you make them,
Or make them to be prized.

To them no longer urge your suit,
And then with much more reason
Can you blame their affection
When they are in pursuit.

To assert this I have every right;
Your pride has many weapons,
Your persistence and your promises
Devil, world, ad flesh unite.

-Translated by Muriel Kittel













Again, from the book that isn't  yet. 








adios

watch
me now

this
is called killing
time

this slack dumbstruck
expression
on  my face
like a cow facing its
stockyard
executioner is actually
a sign of intense
mental
inschbobulation

from which
will emerge in good time
a poem for the ages
a poem of  the
ages
an old poem
full of old excuses
and yesterday's words
piled
one
up
on
the
other
until  there is  at least
a page
or maybe two
of
time defied
time denied
time murdered
killed in the killing
of it

such an astrophysically
galaxy-shifting
result it is, this killing
of time

much more significant
in this electrophantasmalistic universe
than any little morning
poem
about which the gods would shrug
as time runs out
even
for them
a
dribble
to stasis,entropy
achieved
the end my
friend

adios








Next from my library, another great name in Latin American literature, 1990 Nobel Laureate, Octavio Paz, from the collection The Collected  Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987. The book was published by New Directions in 1987. The poems were translated by Eliot Weinberger.

Paz, born in 1914 in a small village that would later  become part of Mexico City, died, also in Mexico City, in 1998. His father active in the revolution against Diaz, the young Paz was raised by his mother, an aunt, and his grandfather, a liberal intellectual, novelist, and publisher,  who had a great influence on him. It was his grandfather who introduced the boy to literature through his very large library of Mexican and European classics.

I had intended to use several of Paz' short  poems, but reading through the book,  I ran across this longer one that I like very much.




Night, Day, Night

                                   1

Stream of light:  a bird
singing on the terrace.
In the Valleys and mountains
of your body it dawns.

                                     2

Fire asleep in the night,
water that wakes laughing.

                                     3

Under the leafy canopy of your hair,
your forehead:
                         a bower,
a clarity among the branches.
I think about gardens:
to be the wind that shakes your memories,
to be the sun that clears through your thicket!

                                    4

At the foot of the palm tree,
tall as a savage,
rippling green against the warrior sun,
you rest.

            Your body
a backwater in the shadows.
Stillness. Vast noon
barely throbs.
Between our legs time, stubborn, flows.

                                5

A vein of sun, living gold,
grooves, crosses, spirals,
green constellations:
the triangular insect
moves though the grass
at three or four millimeters an hour.
For an instant  you held it
in the palm of your hand
(where fate traces its arabesque secrets):
it is a living jewel, a creature
fallen, perhaps, from Titania,
- and reverently you let it go,
back to the Great All.

                                  6

The day,  ultimate flower,
hour by hour it burns.
Another flower,black,  sprouts.
Imperceptibly you cross
the shadows and enter,
lady of night.
Barely a wave,
barely aroma, white,
you stretch out on my bed.
And become a woman again.

                                  7

Plain of sheets
and night of bodies,
tide of  desire
and grotto of dreams.

                                   8

An intangible village
sleeps  under  your eyelids:
avid whirlwinds,
children of touch become flesh,
drink blood,  are the changing
forms of desire
and are always the same:
face after face
of the life that is death,
of the death that is life.









 Here's another new poem,  inspired by a old  picture.







cute

found a picture
of my son, 6 to 8 months old,
held  up high for inspection by my mother,
a happy little smile on his face

used the photo on my most  recent
blog post




my son after  seeing it
commented on what a cute baby
he was
after which I reminded him
that though cute
at  the time, it didn't  
last...

makes me think
what a shame that the cute of  baby boys
has such a limited
shelf life,
something that passes with the years
as maturing coarsens even
the cutest
cute

then thinking
how fortunate that cuteness
returns with advancing
age, even the ugliest of men
turning a weathered kind of cut within
the folds and wrinkles
and toothless  smiles that come in time

thinking
of myself, in my seventieth year,
poised to be cute
all over again
someday
soon








Next from The Defiant Muse I have a poem by Gabriela Mistral. Mistral was the pseudonym of Lucila Godoyb Alcayaga,  a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat and feminist who was the first Latin American (and so far the only Latin  American woman) to win the Nobel  Prize in Literature  in 1945. Her portrait appears on the 5,000 Chilean peso note. Born in 1889, she died in 1957.





Emigre Jewess

Farther than the west wind I am going,
farther than the stormy petrel.
I stop, I ask, I walk,
and do not sleep in order to walk!
They sliced the Land from under me,
I am left with only the sea.

Left behind in my village
houses, customs, and tutelary god.
Past linden trees, reed-fields
and the Rhine which taught me to speak.
I do not press to my breast the mint
whose fragrance would make me weep.
I carry only my breath
and my blood and anguish.

My back is one person,
another is turned toward the sea;
my nape seething with farewells,
and my breast with anguish.

The river of my village no longer
speaks my name as it flows,
and in my land and air I am effaced
like a footprint in the sand.

With every stretch of the way
I am losing my fortune:
a whiff of resins,
a tower, a grove of oaks.
My hands let go the gestures
of making cider and bread,
and stripped of my remembrance
I shall naked reach the sea!

-Translated by Kate Flores










Another old poem from the new book,  New Days, New Ways, that will be as soon as I find a non-disappearing proofreader.







 a fan of little things

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

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







The next poem from my library is by Bobby Byrd and it's taken from his book, White Panties, Dead Friends (& other bits & pieces of love). The book was published in 2006 by Cinco Puntos Press.

Byrd, a poet,  essayist and publisher, grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He went to Tuscon in 1963 where the attended the University of Arizona. In 1978, he and his wife - novelist Lee Merrill Byrd - moved to El Paso, where they continue to live and call home. Recipient of numerous poetry awards and honors, including an international fellowship to study in Mexico, as well as awards for Cinco Puntos Press which is owned by he and his wife.




Saying Goodbye to Ann Enriquez

It's the Sunday night three days after you died.
I keep remembering you inside your body.
Like a ghost.
Little glimpses here and there,
like running into an old friend in Albertson's -
the aisle where they stock the sandwich spreads and the jellies.
I'm supposed to pick up a jar of peanut butter,
a loaf of bread, a nice bottle of wine, one or two other things.
But you are waiting for me
gray and tired but your eyes are radiant.
Gaspar, you say, is at home, staring at a blank canvas.
He is lost, but what can you do?
You tell me  the cancer simply asked you into another room.
The bright lights of commerce tremble in your shade
and I become embarrassed - your death
was a random event, like
a drive-by shooting or a freak accident on I-10.
Our lives disappear like so much white noise.
You kiss me on the cheek and whisper goodbye.
Your lips are cold.
A woman looking for a jar of mayonnaise
pushes her cart with its load of food and a screaming kid
between us, and you are gone.
I'm left alone, sad and uncertain.
I should have had a gift for you to take on your journey.
A flower perhaps.
A Mexican woman had been outside the store
standing in the cold and selling beautiful gardenias
she had smuggled across the river.
Two dollars each and gardenias smelled so sweet.
I should have bought you a Mexican gardenia.
Oh well.
I proceed to the checkout.
A pretty girl named Estela scans my groceries.
$27.43 worth of life's wheel.
Just the way life is, one day to the next.










What ever happened to the  dignity of old age,  I was thinking, as I wrote this last week.






toothpick legs on parade

big-bellied
old men in short  pants,
toothpick legs
sticking out beneath their knees

a dozen of them
with their white-haired sensibly shod
wives
waiting for breakfast
as their big table in the back
is prepared for them

---

remembering
my first  pair of long  pants
and how  proud
I was
to wear them

I refuse to believe
I went through all the pain and passion
of growing up and
growing old
just to turn into one of these big-bellied
old men in short pants,
toothpick  legs, fish-belly white, poking out above
knobby knees

just not me...

I earned my long pants,
goddamn it,
and I'm going to wear them
until  I die

---

(and my Hawaiian shirts
as well)







Last from The Defiant Muse is these poems by Spanish poet, Gloria Fuertes. Born in 1918 in a modest neighborhood in Madrid, her mother was a seamstress and a maid and her father a janitor. She attended the Institute of Professional Education of Women, but her interest were different from those of typical Spanish women of her time. Interested in literature at a very early age, she wrote and illustrated her own stories at the age of five, was writing poetry at fourteen, reading them on Radio  Spain in Madrid and, at seventeen wrote her first book of poetry, eventually published, but not until 1950. She died in 1989.







I Don't Know

I don't know where I'm from.
I wasn't born anywhere;
I was here already
before that business about the apple,
that's why I'm apolitical.
None the worse that I'm a woman,
and will not give birth to martinets
nor will my hands be soiled
with the smell of guns,
so much the better that I'm this way...

-Translated by Kate Flores


Not Allowed to Write

I work for a newspaper;
I could be the manager's secretary
and I'm only the cleaning woman.
I know how to write, but  in my town
women are not allowed to write.
My life is nothingness.
I don't do anything naughty.
I live poor.
I sleep at home.
I ride the subway.
For supper, broth
and a fried egg, so let them talk.
I slip into saloons,
also into streetcars,
I sneak into theaters
and dress on bargain sales.
I lead a strange life.

-Translated by Robert L. Smith and Judith Candullo


I Make Poems, Gentlemen

I make poems gentlemen, I make poems,
but I do not like to be called poetess.
I like wine the same as bricklayers do
and I have an assistant who talks to herself.
This world turns out funny,
things take place gentlemen I cannot explain,
they make cases though never houses,
for the poor who can't give back what for.
Spinsters go walking heir dogs,
married me go walking their girlfriends,
to the tough tyrants nobody says a word,
and we read that there are dead and turn the page,
and they step on our necks and no one gets up,
and people  despise us and we say: "Such is life!"
This happens gentlemen, and I have to say it.

-Translated by Kate Flores


The Birds Nest in My Arms

The birds nest in my arms,
on my shoulders,  behind my knees,
between my breasts I have quails,
the birds think I'm a tree.
The swans think I'm a fountain,
they all come down and drink when I talk.
The sheep nudge me going by,
and the sparrows eat from  my fingers;
the ants think I'm the earth
and men think I am nothing.

-Translated by Kate Flores








Here's my last old piece this  year from New Days, New Ways, the new, not yet book whose story I will not tell again here. As I look through the book for the first time in a year or so,  it strikes me that I really wrote a bunch of long poems in 2011 (the year from which all the poems in the book are taken)








the thin-lipped woman

the thin-lipped
woman
and the wide-eyed man
stare at me from across the room

disapprovingly
it  seems

and I'm thinking oh
what the hell  did I do now
cause they don't
look like anyone I know
except
maybe from the dark shadows
of the very distant past
but I don't look at all like I looked
in the dark shadows
of the very distant past
so
unless  I  did something
exceptionally
grievous to  them  in the dark
shadows
of the very distant past
something that imprinted indelibly
and forever in the frontal
or maybe backal
cortex or middle cortex
or in whatever  cortex where there
resides
those memories
that survive unto death
and possibly
beyond
into eternal haunting
in the dark shadows of dead
of night but I'll be damned
(it  could be, you know)
if I remember
whatever it was I did to  produce
such a deadly stare
as though the dark shadows
of a dim night
nestled glowingly behind
their eyes...

but...wait,
I think it's not me
they're after...they stare
the same flaming laser star
at everyone
not just
me...

I think  they must just be
people with issues
that's
all
maybe just bad people
who hate everyone
and not just me...

making me feel much better now
knowing
it is not my fault
and I will not  be eternally haunted
in the dark shadows
of dead of night
and that I can go on with my morning
and finish my biscuits
and gravy
free of trepidation
and future haunting potential







The last poet from my library this week is nila north Sun with three poems from her book A Snake In Her Mouth - Poems 1974-96.

Sun (north Sun?) was born of Chippewas-Shoshone descent in Nevada in 1951. A graduate of the University of Montana, she lives on the Stillwater Indian Reservation where she is director of a teen crisis center. A member of the Native American literary renaissance of the 1970, she is widely published.





The Keeper of the Fire

anytime you want to sweat
it's ready
how do you want it?
red  hot?
you want to be rare, medium, or well done?
how about the china syndrome special:
the big melt down?
we go a lotta wood
hot rocks made to order


sweat preparation checklist

no alcohol 24 hours before sweat
being a towel
wear a bathing suit underneath clothing

any additional food
or special food if you're a vegetarian
or have special needs is appreciated

contacts may become uncomfortable
jewelry may become hot

women if you're on your moon
(your period) you may not enter the sweat
nor prepare food
but may be present to watch goings-on
and participate after

sweats go in four rounds
when the flap is lifted
and you're getting claustrophobic
or just can't take it anymore
it's no shame to ask to exit

anybody can come earlier in the day
to chop wood
to prepare the sweat
to prepare the fire
to help cook
is appreciated


overtime

another stress-filled week
in the life of a social worker
the job description failed to mention
wanted: somebody whose brain will race
until they fall fitfully to sleep
how to save the world
how to save the world
eventually sleep to dream
the client's dream
though i've never been beaten by a
husband
or sexually abused by a relative
i'll dream their dreams and
awaken once or twice asking
what's the answer
by morning i'm already exhausted
then i go to work
and the real thing walks in the door
it's no longer brain racing
it's no longer a dream
the reality alarm clock rings

when i sleep
i should be paid
overtime








And here's my last piece for the week.

It's not that I'm dissatisfied with my life, it's just that something to look forward to beyond the new TV season of "NCIS" and "Bones" would be nice.





where are all the firemen

I don't eat
stale bread

faded colors
do not catch my eye -

dark days
and starless nights

movies
that don't have stories

tuneless songs,
bland and purposeless  poems -

all these things
dim the light and impede

the eclectic  currents
of my mind,all are made

to dull the wit
ad coat the delights off life

like wax
on your tongue

makes even the finest dinner
tasteless

---

it's my life
I'm talking about

with all my clumsy
metaphor

my white-bread life
that so rarely feels  life

kicking
in my belly, my life

a stillborn infant
seeking the fire of a life-saving  kiss...

---

where are all the firemen
and all the fire when
we need
them









  

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 diligent seller of books, specifically these and specifically 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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