Back to Work   Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A short post this week, which would have been as I planned, even if I hadn't lost two days to illness.

My photos this week are a random sampling of photos last randomly sampled from older files in 2010.

My anthropology is In These Latitudes, a small collection of ten contemporary poets published by Wings Press of San Antonio in 2009.

My new poems are new and my old poems are from November, 2010. Not much more to say but that.

Except,  here's what  I have for you this week.


how to  make friends in Texas

Wong  Sui-Yung (aka  Susanna Wong)
A Snapshot
A Magical Moment

a good way to start is all I'm saying

Catherine Bowman
Pot Roast

The Shining

Laura Quinn  Guidry
Angel Story
Old  Song
Love Poem

finding my place in line

Sheila Ortiz  Taylor

damn lefties

Marian Haddad
Driving from El  Paso  to San Antonio

Zulabula land

Marina Tsvetaeva
Poems for  Akhmatova

universal constant

Tony Zurlo
The Mind Dancing
Dao: The Eternal One

naked rolling,  parts rubbing

Langston Hughes
African Dance

why not

Robert  Pinsky
If the Dead Came Back

new moon tonight

Here's my first new  poem of the week.

Lots of people moving to  San Antonio from all over the place. Was thinking a little advice might be helpful to them.

how to make friends in Texas

if it's a man,
admire his dog

if he doesn't have a dog
congratulate him on his choice
of firearm

if it's a woman
tell her you  like what she did
to her hair

if she has no hair, tell her you think she has great
boots and you're thinking
of getting a pair
for your

(being careful to enunciate


possibly this advice is pertinent
but Texas is where I have the most
direct experience
and it is with that stipulation
I offer it

First from my brief anthology of ten poets, I have two short poems by Wong Siu-yung (aka Susanna Wong). Wong directs the technology enhanced  learning development and support at the University of Texas, Austin, where she had been on the adjunct faculty since 1998. Born in Hong Kong, she arrived in Austin in 1973. Widely honored and widely called up internationally as a guest speaker, she is a pioneer in the field of desktop publishing.

I won't bore with the details, but the only picture photo related to her work was a picture of a man reading her work on youtube. So I settled for a picture of one off her books, I think.

A Snapshot

White mountains reflect green pine.

Sheets of clouds,
            Drifting powder,
                         Quicksilver on the ground,
                                        Sparrows bathe in snow.

Travelers by the fireplace looking out.

A Magical Moment

Clouds gather, rain drizzles, water pearls drop.

Framed by the windshield
                                          egrets hop in and out of green pastures.

A trace of red wine, warm breaths and the sound of Tennyson
                                                                                        fill the air.

One glance locks the heart.

                  A sigh, a giggle, a burst of laughter -
                                 echoes of the sparks in two little people
                                    without suspicion.

Here's an old poem from November, 2010. Chilly days beginning here, I figured  it was a good poem for the times.

a good way to start is all I'm saying

it's chill
that's what I'm saying -

went out  to feed the critters
and froze my jelly-belly


but the sun's

and old man's hoosit

when  memories strike
with tent-pole-city

dreams off that pretty girl
from 1954, all bobby-

socked and whooshy skirted
rising all the way to her holymoses

she twirled

to the beat of her rocker-roll feet

like Hermione Gingold
peddling her  pettifogs

through the roses of  the
Sangre  de Chevalier...

I  was saying

it's a chill-bill day
but the sun's arising

an all-together encouraging

I'm saying
to  kick-off the day

First  from my library  this week is this poem by Catherine Bowman. The poem is from her  book, 1-800-Hot-Ribs, published in 1993 by Gibbs-Smith Publishers of Salt  Lake City.

Born in El Paso,  Bowman has received  many honors and  awards for her  poetry. She is the director of  creative writing at Indiana University in Bloomington and teaches at the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown.

Pot Roast

Uncle Bubba's joke hardly ever bombs. He knows
to  wait until after supper, till all our buttocks
start  to roost or waltz or rub around, till  all
our Bordeaux-stained incisors have ground away
all that's left  off Great Aunt Jane's pot roast.

That's when he gets up from the table and drops
his gigantic drawers and just below the waistband
of his boxers he presses parts of his belly  together
and makes a series off smiley faces out of the pink
incision he earned in the last  World War.

He just loves to jaw about the war. The strategies,
the table wine, the Atomic Bomb, Little Boy and Fat
Men, funny names, he says, for the 40,000 tons of TNT
dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Nag-a-sack-ee,
he says) a flash of boiling light, birds ignited
in mid-air. He dramatizes the whole  event in farts.

Marilyn  Monroe, now there's a piece of engineering,
he likes to say. America's Blonde Bombshell, she blew
herself away almost seventeen years to the day they dropped
those bit  ones. I stood right  next to her  once.
I was certain she was all light and curves until I saw
a tiny drop of water hanging from her left earlobe.


I am at my best early in  the morning, before  all the stuff that bombards us every day muffles creativity. Even better than an early morning is an early morning with rain  falling.

the shining

from the patio roof

stepping stones
in the dark night

I stand
under the hidden moon,
my bare body to the
cool north
like the patio,
from tiny raindrops
widely scattered,
the gathered
from my shoulders
and down my

not much,
but it's nice
to hear the drip,
to feel the drip;
nice to see the  shining stones,
to stand on the shining
feeling the shine
welcoming it into my body
so that I might

Here's another poet from this week's anthology, In These Latitudes.

The poet is Laura Quinn Guidry. Born in Baton Rough, the poet grew up in New Orleans. Since 1980 she has lived and and near Houston.

Guidry began writing poetry after the death of her son and published her first poem at the age of 52. She has been published in several anthologies and a number of literary magazines since.

Angel Story

Don't talk to me about angels guarding
their earthly charges -
how they swoop down to intercept
Destiny, how their great wings enfold
the chosen and whisk them to safety.

Angel stories are all the rage now.
I'll tell another, about the one
who hovered over the bed where
my child slept and, this time, to placate
Fate, folded his wings and walked away.

Old Song

A song on the radio,
and old, dreamy-sweet song,
serenades the girl I was.

Tonight in words and melody
the woman I am
grieves for that girl

who sang along with the radio
whose dreams were sweet
and all happy possibility.

Love Poem

My husband is driving
his tractor on the side of the hill.
Only his head and shoulders are visible,

his wide-brimmed hat.
He is fifty-four
and the sun has become unfriendly.

He cuts the wheel sharply.
The tractor bumps along the ridge.
He is the boy

 in the photograph on the bookshelf
standing tall
on the pedals of his bike.

My husband disappears
down the hill.
The boy pups the pedals hard.


Here's another old poem from 2010.

 finding my place in line

looking at pictures
from a 50-year high school
I didn't get to go  to,
recognizing hardly
and the ones I did know
were mostly men
who looked like their fathers
looked like 50 years ago

left me thinking how,
after 50 years
of looking at myself in the mirror
every day, I never really
saw the person I was becoming,
until referenced
by the sight of others,
worn  through years unseen
by the eroding winds of time
and circumstance, sharply contrasted
to the fresh and shining
holding fast among my memory's
comfortably assuring
lies -

it's not about them,
of  course,
but about me - it's old folks day
at the rodeo
and I'm surprised
to see I have a place
in line

sun sneaking
on a damp day -
like a coastal morning,
birds flying like pasted-on
cut -outs
against the wet sky, low fog,
from a southerly breeze
blown across the coastal plains
from the rolling gulf,
glistening with morning dew -

a thousand thousand
like this from all the years
living on the coast,
my escape 16 years ago
to  dry winter hills
of cactus, oak and mesquite,
yellow-blossomed huisache
grown stubborn between granite rocks,
bluebonnets, cardinals,jays
woodpeckers and coyotes,
cedar on hillsides, and
Indian paintbrush fields and
clear-running creeks

by this pre-Thanksgiving
of coastal miasma,
preparing me, maybe,
for the trip back to the coast
later in the
a fast -n-and-out, fade-away
dodge'm drive,
5 hours down, kiss the babies,
eat the turkey,
8 hours sleep, the 5 hours
pushing all the way
against the arctic front
that will meet me at the door -

30 degrees
crisp and clear,
ice in the birdbath,
time to sleep
under a warm blanket
in a flickering orange
fireplace glow,
dog by my side, cat in my lap...


Here from my library is Shiela Ortiz Taylor, with two poems. The poems are from her book, Slow Dancing at Miss  Polly's. The book was published by The Naiad Press in 1989.

Born in 1939, Taylor earned her M.A. in 1964 and her Ph.D. in 1973. Initially interested in American literary realism and 20th century American literature, as a teacher she developed an interest in Women's Studies, 18 century English literature and contemporary Chicano literature and creative writing.

She continued to work for women's and gay causes and 1990, when she and her partner were refused housing in a Florida retirement community, she fought back and set precedents against such discrimination.


Now I know
I am crazy.
Sliding a blind hand down
this dark hall
moon in Capricorn
3 AM
feeling my way
around the queen size
sofa bed
plump with sleeping guests
past the puzzled dog
one eye open
in my study
without spectacles
without light
I write
this poem.


This poem is a camera.
Pick it up
and fit it to
your face.
Let your eye
walk through
the view
and frame
your scene.

Check for light.
Verify distance.,
Focus with are.
Press the button.
I am the film.


Not much here, just a funny scene from our stay in Santa Fe.

damn lefties

old man
with shorts, and old-man shirt,
and sandals, gnarly toes
exposed too the fresh mountain air...

small bistro,
sandwiches and coffee and wine
for those who imbibe,
corner of  Old Santa Fe Trail
and something else,
across from one of the churches,
two blocks from the plaza...

on the patio with Dee and Bella
under a yellow umbrella,
enjoying lunch and the sun and the air
and just about every other damn thing
within sight, smell and hearing...

old man with knobby
knees and gnarly toes stops
by our table to chat...

I'm from Fort Worth,
he says, come here four or five times a year

I'd move here, he said, but if I did
I'd have to go to Fort Worth
on vacation...

n o fun in that,  he said,
and having  been to Fort Worth,
I laugh...

really like this place,
he said,
but there's too damn many lefties...

and he moves on to another table...

I'm from Fort Worth, he says,
and so  on, ending
with his observation regarding  excessive

and so on...

watching him, I think what a perfect example
he  is of the  successes  of leftie
walking around in his  shorts and old-man shirt,
and sandals  and knobby knees and ugly toes,
in his eighties, I think, taking four or five vacations a year,
forgetting it seems,as so many do,
where his social security and medicare came  from...

damn lefties...

Next, I have a poem by Marian Haddad. The poem is from this week's anthology In These Latitudes."

As an MFA and manuscript consultant, Haddad has worked with award-winning poets and writers; often judging writing contests nationally. She has lectured widely and taught creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University, Northwest Vista College, as well as literature at St. Mary's University, all in San Antonio.

Driving from El Paso to San  Antonio

There's a sad part
of the afternoon.

I love the first
light - and the whiteness
of the desert then.

And I love
the high noon
hour - and the sun
that beams.

and becoming.
Even the few 
hours after that
are livable

I am in the stream
of the given day,

But then
it comes -
the hour
after that -
before the darkness -
the end of day -
the end of light -

It says something
the sadness
of endings.
Things that leave us,
the lost beginning.

And when that yellow
hue has trailed
its final sad note -
there is still
light -

a post-light
not yet sunset -
light outside
light - sadness
past - and me
in the middle
of that short hour.

And now
in my rearview,
a strong white sheath
spreads itself out
across the sky
- white again -
no sadness here.

I ride alongside
a semi  -
following the same
blue sky
that leads  us
into the night.

This cool 
evening -
and the windmills
blow - just past

The sun behind me -
easting its orange,
its lavender light.

And I wait
the evening
sky - 
coming closer
to home.


 An old one, 2010, late fall, on my way to my favorite coffeehouse, since closed.

Zulabula land

9 a.m.
and i'm heading

for my new coffee

occasional creations

of a poetic nature,
one of those  Presbotarianist

where you get a blessing

with each cup of coffee
and an  invitation

to donate 
to  their mission 

in Zulabula land,
and nice art on the walls

and old furniture
and chairs

upon which a person
of my substantial substance

can find adventure
in intermittent

creaks and groans -

i  was driving

to this place of occasional
poetic creation

when two yuppie-puppie

raced right through
a red light

right in front of me
and if i hadn't slowed down

two blocks  earlier
to get  a better look at a house

i'm going to buy
after  i win the lottery tonight

they'd have creamed me,
as we used to say,

having  nothing to do with
cows or milking machines

or haystacks
on Sylvan pastures of green,

just plain old run right into me,
leaving me in a bloody twist

of metal
and flesh formerly known

as me,
pretty bad for the flesh

formerly known as

but not so bad
for the wife of the flesh

known as me,
said flesh,  worth more

in such mangled an dead

then unmangled
and alive

making it possible
she can move into that house

i was looking at without
counting on lottery winnings,

such are the economics
of  life and death


another sign
of the craziness

all about
these yuppie-puppie

in their yuppie-puppie vans

driving  around like Bonnie and Clyde
running from the

after a bank job

i'm telling you
there is no  safe place

for us sane people
when  yuppie-puppie moms

are driving yuppie-puppie vans
through yuppie-puppie neighborhoods

like Steve McQueen
chasing bad guys

through the hills
of San Francisco

too damn many people
seeing too many movies

they're not psychologically
prepared for

is what I think
is going on


Next from my library, I have a poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, from the collection  Maria Tsvetaeva, Selected  Poems.  Born in 1892, Tsvetaeva lived through and wrote about the 1917 Revolution and the harsh life afterward, including the death of her  child by hunger and the execution of her  husband. Considered one of the greatest of the poets of her time and place, she committed suicide in 1941.

Tsvetaeva wrote no short poems, so what I'm using this week are the first and last parts of an homage to Anna Akhmatova, one of my personal favorites among the Russian poets who lived through the difficult period and beyond.

All the poems in the book  were translated by Elaine Feinstein.

Poems for Akhmatova


Muse of lament, you are the most beautiful of
    all muses, a crazy emanation of white  night:
and you have sent a black snow storm over all Russia.
     We are pierced with the arrows of your cries

so that we shy like horses at the muffled
     many times uttered pledge - Ah - Anna
Akhmatova - the name is  a vast sigh
and it falls into depths without name

and we  wear, crowns only through stamping
     the same earth as you, with the same sky over us.
Whoever  stats the pain of your deathly power will
     lie down immortal - upon his death bed.

In my melodious town the domes are burning
     and the blind wanderer praises our shining Lord.
I give you my town of many bells,
     Akhmatova, and with the gift: my heart.


You block out everything, even the sun
     at its highest, hold  all the stars in your hand!
If only through - some  wide open door, I
     could low  the wind to where you are,

and starting to stammer, suddenly blushing,
     could lower my eyes before you
and fall quiet, in tears, as
     a child sobs to receive forgiveness.

Sometimes, I fall into the trap of thinking, looking for a rational  orientation to  a seemingly irrational universe.

universal  constant

about the  here and now,
the universal
constant, everywhere where
there is a here there is a now and across all reaches
of the universe they are the same; "there
only a here we  haven't been to yet
and "now" - well it's  true, though the stars
we see, so bright across  the midnight sky, lie not in our present now
but in a "now" way back when, it is,like the "heres"
we cannot see, just another "now," a party
we missed  in the "now" of our most ancient "whens"


I apologize for this digression
but do hope this clarifies
the complexity of here and now, so that when
you have occasion to consider
your own place and time, you will also
consider the magnitude
of all the other "heres" and "nows" that swirl around
our own little here and now
adrift an oh so much wider

The last poet this week from the week's anthology, In These Latitudes is Tony Zurlo. A fiction,  non-fiction and poetry writer, Zurlo has traveled extensively, beginning with the Peace Corps in Nigeria. He has taught literature and composition in China and in Arlington, Texas,where he teaches English.

The Mind Dancing

To love China is to love not
     the thing itself,
     but the idea of loving,
     and never knowing.

Lover will be charred
     by the Dragon -
     ashes into dust,
     the  yellow earth.

Born in turmoil and nurtured
     by mystery, China
     is the vapor trail
     of newborn stars.

China reveals itself
     to no one -
     China is the
     mind dancing.

Dao: The Eternal One

Dawn shed her night clothes
and bathes in a snow-melt brook.
Blossoms perfume the air.

Buttered layers of sun
glaze fields with jellied primrose.
Sun sets, exhausted.

Frost paints meadows
with afterthoughts of summer.
Winter's sleep descends.


Here's another from 2010, late in the year.

naked rolling, parts rubbing

a slow Sunday
and we were trying
to decide what do do

and I suggested we get
and roll around on the grass
in the backyard,
body parts together

but there's a bit off a chill
in the air,
probably too much chill
to be rolling around outside
no matter how fiercely we
rubbed together

I was thinking
well we could go down to
the art museum
and take a look at the
settle down naked
in front of the Monet
and give him an impression -
rolling around
on the carpet rubbing
body parts together
impressionistically -
that might make the old guy forget
all about water

but they have these guards
down  there,
to follow us from room
to  room
and I don't  know why
maybe the can read minds
and don't abide
people rubbing naked parts
in front of the Monet -

if we moved over
in front of the
he did a lot of his own
naked parts-rubbing, as I
understand it,  and what's
the nude  going to do after
descending the staircase
by some parts-rubbing, cause
why else go downstairs
naked as a jaybird
if there weren't some parts-

but the guards
are so guardedly attentive
the museum is out
and I was thinking we might take a drive
in the hill country - the way the leaves are changing
in our backyard, there must be piles
of red and orange and yellow and gold
leaves laying on the ground
under some of those big hill country
oak trees, ripe for some good old rustic naked parts
rubbing and rolling around, but it is even
colder in the hills  than it  is here
so there's the  chill factor to consider,
plus all those rattlesnakes
who  love to hide in leaf piles
on these chilly days, or maybe
up in the trees - they do like to climb
oak trees to sleep  through the  winter -
and I think they might not welcome
people waking them up, rolling around
naked in the leaves, rubbing parts
together with sylvan abandon, despite
the fact it was a snake in a tree
that started all this naked rolling arourn
and parts-rubbing in the first place

or,  we might just do what we always
on lazy Sunday afternoons, could
just take  a Sunday afternoon
you in the easy chair
and me on the

like we always


I have three short poems by Langston Hughes. The poems are from his book, The Dream  Keeper and Other Poems,  first published in 1959, my edition by Alfred A. Knopf in 1994.

African Dance

The low  beating of the tom-toms,
the slow beating of the tom-toms,
   Slow...low -
Stirs  your blood.

A night-veiled girl
   Whirls softly into a
   Circle of light.
   Whirls softly...slowly,
Like a wisp of smoke  around the fire -
   And the tom-toms beat,
   And the tom-toms beat,
And the low beating of the tom-toms
    Stirs your blood.


Little snail,
Dreaming you go.
Weather and rose
Is all you know.

Weather and rose
Is all you see,
The dewdrop's


O, sweep of stars over Harlem  streets,
O, little breath of oblivion that is night
   A city building
   To a mother's song.
   A city dreaming
   To a lullaby.
Reach up your hand, dark boy, and take a star.
Out of the little breath of oblivion
   That is  night,
   Take just
   One star.

Here the last poem this week from 2010. For the curious, the black thumb was followed by a white which, in turn was followed by a black and white horizontally striped thumb. I had intended to do next a black thumb with a large white dot in the middle, but that turned out to be too difficult and that time I was bored with the whole exercise anyway.

why not?

I painted
one thumbnail black
as a kind of Halloween joke

but then,
after Halloween,
I decided
the Great Thumb of Blackness,
GTOB, as I named it,
both looked kind of cool
and served a community purpose -
an existential
manifestation of the universal
desire to explode
in cosmic swells and gravity wells,
a kind of tattoo, a totem
for those who wish to be
with the latest in skin art,
those who ride wild
in their daydreaming
but hesitant
when the moment comes
for fear of needles

that was my socially acceptable reason
for having a black thumbnail, my duty
to serve
as surrogate
for the multitudes
pining to be painted but
by fear
of sharp objects

less socially acceptable,
but in accordance
with my credo - first expressed
by Bobby Kennedy who said we should
quit asking "why"
and ask, instead, "why not?" -
the truth is
I have a black thumbnail
for the reason
that I couldn't think of any reason
not to have a black thumbnail
and so now
I do


The last piece from my library this week is by  Robert Pinsky. It's  taken from his  book Gulf Music, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

If the Dead Came Back

What if the dead came back not only
In the shape of your skin your mouth your hands
The voice inside your mouth the voice inside
Your skull the words in your ears the work in your hands,
What if they came back not only in surnames
Nicknames, names of dead settlement shterl pueblo

Not only in cities fabled or condemned also countless dead
Peoples' languages pantheons stupidities arts,
As we too in turn come back not only occulted
In legends like the conquerors' guilty whispering about
Little People or Old Ones and not only in Indian Angles
Of the cowboy's eyes and cheeks the Dakota molecules

Of his body and acquired antibodies, and in the lymphatic
Marshes where your little reed boa floats inches
Above the mud of oblivion O foundling in legends
The dead who know the future require a  blood offering
Or your one hand accuses the other both lacking any
Sacrifice for the engendering appetites of the dead.

 I'm finishing up this short post with two new poems, early morning poems. Early morning  - prime poem time  for me.

rain-slick morning -
all that have life in them
raise their heads
to drink

new moon tonight

new moon  last night
round and bright on the dark sky

oh, how I wish for a blackout
on nights like this,
when the movie and stars
would be laid out above me,
undiminished by my neighbors' fear of the dark,
lights everywhere, keeping the devil's work
at bay...

they are the devils
it seems
to me,
stealing the dark,
so fearful,
building their little sanctuaries of light,
hiding the stars
that call me,
all the little so-far-away stars
I presume to call
my own


large oak,
forked low, two long branches
reach to the sky

its back to the such,
from my view a green silhouette
against western-sky dark

a lesson, enlightenment
comes not to all at the same time,
patience  required
as even those in most-dark
will come into the light
of our ever-turning world
when their time

if we are religious
we pray for

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, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, eBookPie, and Kobo (and, through Kobo,retail booksellers all across America and abroad)


Places and Spaces

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

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

Seven Beats a Second

Short Stories

Sonyador - The Dreamer


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