Texas Touring II - Big Bend   Wednesday, December 04, 2013







More Texas pictures this week, these from the deserts and mountains of the Big Bend.

And the anthology is The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry, published in 2005 by Wisdom Publications.

Poems from my library and my own poems old and new.

That's the story.

Here are the details.


 Me
a winter morning

Joanne Kyger
 Wide Mind

Me
what  if I'm my own evil twin?

Talvikki Ansel
Voyage
Letter Intercepted

Me
promises I kept

Tsering Wangmo Dhompa
Sun Storm    

Me
the girl in white  stockings

Richard Eberhart
Rumination
Mysticism Has Not the Patience  to Wait for God's Revelation

Me
an ambulance passes, patient cabin lit

Andrew Schelling
Haibun

Me
volver

Ted Hughes
Horoscope

Me
43 years

Sam  Hamill
Reply to T'ao Chi'ien   

Me
the chill of the night

Ai
More

Me
driven

Diane di Prima
For Suzuki Roshi
Travel Poem

Me
reminder
halfway house

Lawson Fusao Inada
A Night in the Valley

Me
I ain't a'scared ah no ghost

Philip Whalen
Hymus Ad Patrem Sinesis

Me
going up?

Julia Alvarez
What Could It Be?

Me
write a poem for my funeral

Shin Yu Pai
from Yes Yoko  Ono

Me
girl at  the coffeehouse with friends

Renny Golden
A Father's Memory

Me
it is the season 








        


Here's my first new poem for the week.








a winter morning

I like
car lights reflected
on cold, wet streets, women
dressed in bulky costs,
boots, the old woman at the doctor's
in her leopard-spotted
cap

the smell of fireplaces burning
in the neighborhood,
pigeons
in the supermarket parking lot,
huddled, chasing crumbs,
waves of pigeons
scuttling in mass for every bite,
normal competition
subdued
by the chill and the geese
flying over the beauty of order
and discipline genetically
embedded,
the sound of cars splashing
puddles,, the crackle of frosted grass
as I walk across the front yard
to get my newspaper, securely dry
in orange plastic wrapper, all the orange
newspapers
in yards as we walk our early morning walk,
a colorful welcoming to the new
day

a winter morning...

I  like these winter
mornings








     

Beginning from this week's anthology, this poem by Joanne Kyger. Born in 1934, Kyger's poetry is influenced by her practice of Zen Buddhism and her ties to the poets of Black Mountain, the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beats.






Wide Mind

       Occupies a wide mind, a wide consciousness,
          front page, editorial page
The winds of spring are cold and keen from the sea
        Can one bring dead people to dinner?
                Constantly opening up those dark arms
                       "I'm having a ball
                                   sleeping with my skeleton"    Allen
                                         before he dies

A harsh hawk-like call from the cypress hedge entrance
          come out      come out!      I am    I am    I am   never
                  been here before   See me? Stellar  Stellar

   Jay jaunty blue black

  "Do you suppose it's him?"
  "I was thinking the same thing"

(Day after A.G.'s passing
Sunday
April 6, 1997)








  

Here, from December, 2007, a brief meditation on evil.








what if I'm my own evil twin?

there's a kind of
Jeckle/Hyde theory
that suggests
we are all twined
in the world, the good
in us and the bad
of our potential
separate into two
beings who live
in contradiction
to each other

if this is true,
it is our nature
to assume
 we must be
the good twin,
maybe that's wrong,
what if I'm the evil
twin who for years
has been fucking up
all the good done
through some other
guy's good deeds,
undermining his life
by being the him
he doesn't want
anyone to see

Holy Moley!
as Jimmy Durante
might say,
the possibilities is
flabbergastin'









            

First from my library this week, two poems by Talvikki Ansel. The poems are from her first book, My Shining Archipelago, published by Yale University Press in 1996. She received an A.B. from Mount Holyoke College and an  M.F.A.  from Indiana University. She teaches at the University of Rhode  Island.






Voyage

On board you fashioned me a clever
workbasket - scrimshaw clothespins,
a spool with our ship sailing
along the rim above the colored thread,
a pie crimped shaped like a horse -
fish, for me to run
along the edges of the pies.

In all our innocence, we prepared
for this - scurvy, the disease when the skin
stays pinched. Five barrels
of  pickled limes, and precautions
from my father the doctor.

Five months into the voyage
I would  lose my two white chickens
of the Cape of Good Hope,
and within a year, you
from the rigging. First the cart-
wheel spinning...


Letter Intercepted

After you left us, we stopped
combing our hair. You know
who we are, we followed
you from rock to rock, learned
to land only seconds
on the loose ones. Alpha dog,
leader. Our hair's matted
at our necks, on our tan arms
a white skim of salt lime.
We've spent days watching plovers
fly up with the foam, never talked
if you'd come back or not,
you were off - boat to bigger boat.
Some mornings we'd stand at the end
of the pier, open arms raised wide.
We know winter will come,
we found a dead bird in the sand,
fried its olive-sized liver
over the fire. Crouched,
we watched the black sticks and coals,
labels melting on the tin cans.








       


Here's  a second new poem, a small consideration of life's changing dynamics.








promises I kept

everyone
I ever wanted to impress
when I was young
is dead
or forever far and gone,
parents,
teachers
the pretty girls, long-legged,
hips swaying
as they meandered through my
midnight dreams

and a friend who could have been
that never was...

(too late I came to recognize the me who could be)

now
he is the shadow I follow
that follows
me

someday
he
too
will fade
me from his memory

too  late

he,  with the rest,  will not know
the promises
I kept
I never made









          


The next poet from the anthology is Tsering Wangmo Dhompa. Born in 1967 and raised in India and Nepal, Dhompa is the first female Tibetan poet to be published in English.







Sun Storm

Like brides behind veils, my people peep from drawn curtains and
feel the air with their fingers. They do not see any use for heat and
are not hospitable to it. Electric fans focus on bare shoulder blades
and erect nipples.

Mosquitoes persist. Hands do not move fast enough.

On arrival, my people were instructed to throw away their black
clothes, then taught to distract the sun. In crisp white pajamas and
Khadi shirts, they walked to the camp till it paled to a canvas of
gathering spirits.

Night led them to the edge of the stream. Feet in the water, they
talked about what they had left to lose.

Some afternoons, old stories were translated into Tibetan.
You are blessed, strangers said. God has delivered you. Such is his
bountiful nature.

Sparrows tattooed the air. Prayer beads clicked as mantras
circulated above the parable of a so who erred and was forgiven.
The story teller's lips bent with crystals of sweat.

Jesus loves you. For many years, F thought Jesus was the president of a
country. He thought he was a rich old man.

He told one story-telling woman she was wrong. Jesus had nothing
to do with it. It was all fate.








    

 From December, 2007, coffeehouse fantasies.








the girl in white stockings

the girl
in white stockings
swings her leg,
her unshod foot,
perfectly arched
instep,
like a metronome

fantasies
ensue

on a snow field
under
bright December sun

in a white room
white walls
thick  white  carpet

popcorn








      


Next from my library, two poems by Richard Eberhart, from his collection, Selected Poems 1930 - 1965. The book was published in 1965 by New  Directions.








Rumination

When I can hold a stone within my hand
And feel time make it sand and soil, and  see
The roots of living things grow in this  land,
Pushing between my fingers flower and tree,
Then I shall  be as wise as death,
For death has done this and he will
Do  this to me, and blow his breath
To fire my clay,  when I am still.


"Mysticism Has Not the Patience to Wait for God's Revelation"
                                                                                                Kierkegaard

But to reach the Archimedean  point
Was all my steadfastness;
The disjointed times to teach
Courage from what is dreadful.

It was the glimpses in the lightning
Made me a sage, but made me say
No word to make another fight,
My own fighting heart full of dismay.

Spirit, soul, and fire are reached!
And springs of the mind, like springs of the feet
Tell all, all  know, nothing wavers there!
All the flowers of the heart turn to ice-flowers,

Heaviness of the world prevailing
("The higher we go  the more terrible it is")
Duplicity of man, heart-hate,
The hypocrite,  the vain,  the whipper, the cheat,

The eternal ape on the leash,
Drawing us down to faith,
Which the Greeks call  divine folly,
The tug of laughter and of irony.








I saw this while merging onto the expressway several nights ago. The driver entering in front of me was going very slow, forcing me to go slow too.

An ambulance passed me, no flashing lights, no siren, as I was trying to get around the slowpoke in front of me. The lighted patient cabin, was a kind of revelation to me, the patient, under her blue blanket lit like from a light above.





an ambulance passes, patient cabin lit

old woman, white hair,
some lying across her forehead
like foam advancing
from and impatient tide,
cheeks sharp-edged, planed
like lave run on the side of a mountain,
asleep, blue
blanket pulled to
her chin, attendant quiet and still beside her,
no lights, no siren, unhurried
passage home,
far-traveled trail-rider
nearing trail's
end








Andrew Schelling is my next poet from this week's anthology. Born in 1953 in Washing D.C., Schelling is a poet and translator as well as an ecologist, naturalist, and explorer of wilderness areas and has traveled in North America, Europe, India and the Himalayas. A graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz where he studied Sanskrit and Asian literature. At Naropa University he teaches Sanskrit, poetry and wilderness writing.




Haibun

Rock is naturalist scripture. The deeper you go the older the story.
Pikas & squirrels scamper over the top, then spiral descent
from gone tooth & twig. Petrified bone sediment myth.
Or psychic fossil? Horsetail & algae glow green again,
come to life in car engines. Fantastic shapes, old as forests.
and now the likelihood we have in the world
as many diverse minds ... "as there are
organisms  capable off perception."

                         Evolution's basic
             job - turning rock
                         to green growth.








  


A dinner in December, 2007, brings memories of many years earlier.







volver

dinner
at Casasol
tonight,
chili con queso,
crispy taco,
margarita
on the rocks,
the stuff I like,
and at the other end
of the room
some kind of party,
with mariachis
playing my favorites -
"Volver" and
"Yo Soy  el Rey" and
"Jalisco" -
reminding me
of the years I spent
working further
south
and the parties
at the end
of every month,
men only,
steaks and lots
of beer
and singing,
always singing
gathered around
Gus, the guitar  player,
full-fed,
some-drunk,
and singing
all those wild
and mournful
Mexican songs
of love,
loss,
and revolution








        
Here's another piece from my library, this one by Ted Hughes, from his book Birthday Letters, published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 1998.







Horoscope

You wanted to study
Your stars - the guards
Of your prison yard, their zodiac. The planets
Muttered their Babylonish power-sprach -
Like a witchdoctors bones. You were right to fear
How loud the bones might roar.
How clear the ear might hear
What the bones whispered
Even embedded as they were in the hot body.

Only you had no need to calculate
Degrees for your ascendant disruptor
In Aries. It meant nothing certain - no more
According to the  Babylonian book
Than  a scarred face. How much deeper
Under the skin could any magician peep?

You only had to look
Into the nearest face of a metaphor
Picked out of your wardrobe or off your plate
Or out of the sun or the moon or the yew tree
To see your father, you mother, or me
Bring you your whole Fate.









I used a larger version of this photo in last  week's post. I walk across it everyday as I walk with my dog. It just seemed to me there was more to say.

After years of procrastination, I am finally trying to find someone to talk to at the city's art's council or historical society who will finance pulling that section of the sidewalk up and saving it somewhere as either classic folk-art or historical artifact or both.







43 years

43 years ago
H.S. and LH. were an item,
a couple, primed for
the prom;
primed for life -

together?

43 years,
who cannot but wonder
about
how it turned out, for the
or for each, part of the turning out,
each or both together

were they blessed with the life the wanted?

was it the life they expected, the life
they thought they deserved?

the dreams
of youth, of hope, of true love...

or at  least true enough
for the time

I wonder...








               

Sam Hamill is co-founder of Copper Canyon Press and initiator of the Poets Against the War movement in response to our invasion of Iraq. Born in 1942, he is a graduate of The University of California. I, as well as just about every poet I know, had poems included on the Poets Against the War website.







Reply to T'ao Ch'ien

June rain drizzles through the heavy boughs
of cedar and spruce and knocks
the blossoms from the cherry trees.
Rhododendron blossoms also fall
as blue irises begin to open.

The bamboo shoots shoot up so quick
I can almost watch them grow.
In the first light of day I sit
in silence, watching one old crow
stalk the borders of the garden.

Whatever truth you told me
in your garden long ago,
it returns, here, now,
in the poem that begins
just beyond its words.








   

Here's an observational  piece from, like the others,  December,2007.








the chill of the night

two women,
one blond,
the other,
long dark  hair
with the sheen
of wet coal,
both
bundled
against  the cold
in identical red coats

their eyes
meet
and the chill
of the night deepens








Vice, New and Selected Poems, A National Book Award Winner by Ai is one of the first books I bought for my poetry library, not because I knew what I was buying but because it has a cool cover. It was published by W. W. Norton 1999.

Born Florance Anthony, in Texas in 1947, Ai called herself half Japanese, Choctaw-Chickasaw, Black, Irish, Southern Cheyenne, and Comanche and changed her name to Ai which means "love" in Japanese. She majored in Oriental Studies  at the University of Arizona and immersed herself in Buddhism. Later receiving an M.F.A. at the University of California at Irvine and taught at the University of Oklahoma until her death in 2010.




More

     for James Wright

Last night, I dreamed of America.
It was prom night.
She lay down under the spinning globes
at the makeshift bandstand
in her worn-out dress
and too-high heels,
the gardenia
pinned at her waist
was brown and crumbling into itself.
What's it worth, she cried,
this land off Pilgrims' pride?
As much as love, I answered. More.
The globes spun.
I never won anything, I said,
I lost time and lovers, years,
but you, purple mountains,
you amber waves of grain, belong to me
as much as I do to you.
She sighed,
the band played,
the skin fell away from her bones.
Then the room went black
and I woke.
I want my life back,
the days of too much clarity,
the nights smelling of rage,
but it's gone.

If I could shift my body
that is too weak now,
I'd lie face down on the hospital bed
this icy water called Ohio River.
I'd float past all the sad towns,
past all the dreamers onshore
with their hands out.
I'd hold on, I'd hold,
till the weight,
till the awful heaviness
tore from me,
sank to bottom and stayed.
Then I'd stand up
like Lazarus
and walk home across the water




Photo by Chris Itz



  


Winter is great, because no matter how cold and nasty, it is not August.





driven

35 degrees
driving rain
driving cold rain
from some high-mountain north
driving Bella stir-crazy
curtain pulled back
eyes intent
as every raindrop

f

a

l

l

s

watching her morning walk
puddle
on the sidewalk
disappear
with floating fallen leaves
down the gut
te
r

l

o

s

t

.

.

.

driving
me 
back to my warm bed

((((((((((snuggling))))))))))








    

 My next poet from this week's anthology is Diane di Prima, with two short poems.Born in 1934 in Brooklyn, di Prima, attended Hunter College High School and Swarthmore College before dropping out to write poetry, first in Manhattan, then with the beats in California.






For Suzuki Roshi

after you died I dreamed you were at my apartment
we ate soba together and you giggled and slurped a lot

you said, "Don't tell them I'm not dead"
& pointed down the street toward the Zen Center
"I don't want them to bother me."
We laughed & drank the broth.

I kept the promise: I think they still don't know.


Travel Poem

For Sheppard

leaving on a ten day trip
I get back into bed
for the warmth & to feel
your leg against mine

when the time comes
how will I ever leave this world
at once & without
looking back?








 

Next, two more winter poems from 2007.







reminder

today
i made
an excellent fire

today
i had charcoal and
lighter fluid

reminding  me
the secret 
to making an excellent life
lies
in the wherewithal
to start it
properly


halfway house

the sky
is full of
stars
tonight;
the moon
bright
and almost full

if i could
throw 
a line from here
to  there
i'd climb
this night

halfway
to those
stars








Next from my library, a short poem by Lawson Fusao Inada, poet, jazz bassist, third generation Japanese-American and fifth poet laureate of the state of Oregon. Born in 1938, Inada spent part of his youth in one of the Japanese Internment Camps, set up by the United States government, one of the great shames of our country, during the World War II.

In his book, Legends from Camp, from which this poem is drawn he speaks eloquently of his camp experience as a young child and of his music and the great jazz musicians he knew and played with during his career. The book was published by the Coffee House Press in 1993.




A Night in the Valley

I always like to keep
some sesame seeds
in my pocket.

They stay there
with coins, keys, sand,
whatever gathers.

You'd be surprised
how long they keep.

On nights like these,
I reach in
and pull out
a fingerful.

I like the grit
of things,
the spark
of flavor,
the taste
of memory -
the close, the far.

I eat the stars.








 

 We can't all be like Bella. That's why God invented TV.








I ain't a'scared ah no ghost

my old dog,
lovely Reba, did not like
dark places,
required wide detours
around storm drains when walking...

my new dog,
bashful Bella,
loves dark  places and little holes
and niches, ever-curious, always wants to see
what there is where she can't
see...

I know people
like Reba, always just a nod
away from a nightmare...

others,
well, I know  a few like Bella

mostly they're the ones you read about,
riding rockets into the deep dark
above, sailing tiny ships
from sea to  sea to sea, all around the world, and some
running or president, taking chances despite all odds,
like bull riders at the rodeo, firemen
and navy Seals, all entertaining
us with feats  that make us shiver...

I'm not one off tthose,
but I'm not one of the other
either...

I'm one of the reasonable ones,
charting the orbits the rocket must traverse,
but never on board for the ride,
watching little boats  berthed
at the marina, bobbing
slightly in the incoming tide, making
queasy my cautious landlubber stomach,
sending my $20 check off
to the candidate I think I might
still like for at least a month after the  election,
assuming he wins,
which I know, the reason my check is $20
and not $200,  political  activism  prudently restrained
to the low double digits...

always shaving the odds, that's what us reasonable
people do, buying the hat but staying
off the raging bucking bull, my wagers always symbolic
placed so I can say I did,  never  laying enough on the line
to make winning or losing a make-or-break
proposition...

I'll  go to the fire
but make no commitment to picking up a hose,
never close enough to the fire
to  feel any heat that singes
the skin or crisps
the hair,
the exact safe distance
pricelely
calibrated,  precise calibration
being that at which reasonable men
are best...

not like Reba,
but not  like Bella either,
an in-between kind
instead

not afraid of ghosts,
I say,
but also not one to knock on haunted house doorrs
at Halloween








Here's a poem from the anthology by Philip Whalen, a poet and Zen Buddhist who was a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance and a friend of many of the Beat poets. Born in 1923, he served in the US Army Air  Corps in World War II and later attended Reed College on the GI Bill, graduating in 1951. An interest in eastern religions led him to begin studying Zen Buddhism in 1970. The following year he became a monk and in 1984 became the head monk of Dharma Sangha in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Whalen died in 2002






Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis

I praise those  ancient Chinamen
Who left me a few words,
Usually a pointless joke or a silly question
A line of poetry drunkenly scrawled on the margin of a quick
                           splashed picture - bug, leaf,
                           caricature of Teacher
            on paper held together now by little  more than ink
            & their own strength brushed momentarily over it

Their world & several others since
Gone to hell in a handbasket, they knew it -
Cheered as it whizzed by -
& conked out among the busted spring rain cherry blossom wind jars
Happy to have saved us all.

31 viii 58








  
Another old poem, thinking of the sadness that progress  can bring when proud people are replaced by soulless  machines.

I wonder  how many of us are left who have any idea what this poem is about.






going up?

uniformed
in epaulets
proud

captains
of their ships
sailing
their vertical
seas

replaced
in their high-rise canyons
by rows of buttons

going up
and  going
down








Homecoming, from my library, published in 1989 by Grove Press, is a early, first collection of work by Julia Alvarez.

Alvarez, born in 1950 of Dominican heritage in New York City, spent the first ten years of her childhood in the Dominican Republic until her father's activities in rebellion against the government forced the family to flee to the United States. Although a prolific poet, she is best known for her novels, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991), In the Time of the Butterflies (1994) and Yo! in 1997.




What Could It Be

Around the kettle of chicken and rice,
the aunts were debating what flavor was missing.
Aunt Carmen guessed garlic.
Aunt Rosa, some coarsely ground pepper.
Aunt Fofi, so tidy she wore the apron,
shook her head, plain salt was what was needed.
Aunt Ana, afraid to be wrong, echoed salt.
Aunt Gladys said parsley never hurt anything.
Aunt Victoria frowned and pronounced,
Tarragon. No one disagreed.

The tarragon dotted the rice in the cauldron.
And now, as if signaled, the spice jars popped open,
unladened their far eastern wonders:
cumin, turmeric, saffron, and endives.
The aunts each put in a shake of their favorites.
The steam unwrinkled the frowns from their faces.
They cackled like witches, sampled and nodded.

Around the table the uncles were grunting,
wolfing their food down, gnawing their chicken bones.
And yet the aunts stopped in the middle of  swallows,
heads cocked at each other as if they had heard
in some far off room their own baby crying.
It needed a pinch more off ... saffron? Paprika?
What could it be they had missed putting in?
The uncles ate seconds and rose in a chorus
of chair scrapes and belches,
falling to slumber on living room couches,
empty plates  glowed like the eyes of the spellbound.



Photo Andre Lamar



   


Here's another new poem from last week - one of those  days when I didn't have anything to write and then suddenly, I did.







write a poem for my funeral

except,
when it comes
it won't be a funeral

my end
when it comes
will not be a funeral
but a wake
a congregation
of friends, whether they be five
or five hundred, with music
and stories and poems,
all loud and affirming
that this guy, me, reached a natural
end, as will all, feared it not,
nor did he consider it an end,
but  another end,  instead,
prelude to another
beginning...

so make your poem
not about
me,
but about life, the universal
flow of what comes
and goes
and comes again,
life immortal in all its changing
forms...

the ashes of me,
the remaining  physical evidence of me,
will be gathered and spread
on a mountain top,
a disposal  symbolic of the tiny
essences of me
that return to the universal
gathering pot of future lives
brought together someday,some place,
as some thing
with a beating heart and shape and level
of consciousness  unique to its own
kind

and some part of me may be there, will be there,
as part of the flow that permeates
the all and ever, some tiny part of the heart,
or if the new  life has  a mouth, perhaps
a smile,  or perhaps a root
embedded
deep in soil unimaginable,
or a bud, bursting from that  soil,
or a bloom of size and color
unique to  its host
time  and place...

this is what I see for my future,
and yours and all that lives,  living anew
in the ever  arching circle
that we do not know
now,
but will  learn when it is our time
to be taught the elegant
lessons that
forever
carry us where we now  never know...

so write a poem
at my passing, not about me,
for I am a  passing
bubble
in the clear stream
of life

write about life
and how it comes and goes
and comes again
forever

```

but
no need to hurry, I'm
not nearly done
yet
as my current gathering
of essence still
abides








         
 Last from this week's anthology, here are several short poems by Shin Yu Pai, author of seven books of poetry, also an oral historian, photographer and editor. She has lived and worked in Southern California, Boston, Boulder, Madrid, Chicago, Dallas,Taipei, and Seattle.








from Yes Yoko Ono

Stones

Remove a stone from an unmarked pile.
Choose one pile to add it to -
a mound of joy
or a mound of sorrow.
Or take a stone from the mound of sorrow
and move it to a mound of joy.


Painting to let the evening light come through

Lift the blind of the bedroom window.
Place a clear glass bottle
on the window sill.
The painting exists when
the stars have risen.


Painting for the wind

Write down your favorite words
on separate scraps of paper.
Leave the paper where there is wind.
The scraps of paper can be lottery receipts,
business cards, or paper napkins.


Painting to hammer a nail

Hammer a nail into a mirror.
Place the pieces
in an abandoned lot
with an unobstructed view of
the sky.


Painting to be constructed in your head

Imagine a painting.
Cut out colors, shapes, and things you like.
Paste them on a blank background.
Cover the whole thing in a wash of white,
or whatever is your favorite color.


Sheep Piece

Burrow a herd of seep,
one hundred in number or more
spray paint their fleece
with your favorite words.
Watch from a distance as the sheep
arrange themselves into poems.








           


Here's my last old poem of the week, again from December, 2007. An observational from a previous coffeehouse.







girl at the coffeehouse with friends

she's
self-conscious
about her slight
overbite
and presses her lips
together
over and over

gives her
a little chipmunk
aspect

but when she
smiles
it's like
opening
the curtains
in a sickroom
bringing
sunlit day
to the gloom
and her eyes
pick up that
light
and it dances
above her
smile









The last poem from my library this week is one many told by Renny Golden in her book The Hour of the Furnaces, published in 2000 by Mid-List Press of Minneapolis. A Dominican Sister for 8 years, Golden co-founded the Chicago Religious Task Force and served in El Salvador during the war years. Later a professor in the Department of Criminology and Sociology at Northeastern Illinois University, she wrote in this book of what she saw while in El Salvador.







A Father's Memory

The road from El Barrillo
to Aguacayo parts a river,
green plumes of trees
fall over clay banks
where peasants dug
bomb shelters in '81 and '82.
At the gnarled Anono trees,
bent forward like choir monks,
we  turn off.

In front of the priest's house,
the old man touches my arm, whispers

                                        "They came though both doors,
                                          He was not ordained  a month.
                                          I warned him."

Torogoses whistle and soar
above the caved roof of where wisteria
spills violet over
a wall pocked
with bullet holes.
A balm of leaves
pours through the caved roof.
From habit the old man
pulls off his sombrero,
enters the casita.
He touches a dusty shelf
bleached gray.
Silence holds everything
awash in the alabaster light.

                                             "On his ordination day
                                               everything was white.
                                              We ate pupusas,
                                               drank guaro.
                                               A marimba  played.
                                               I kissed my boy's hands.
                                               Then he said,
                                               'If they come, Papa,
                                                keep this blessing.
                                                Denounce me.'"








     

And here's my last new poem to end this week of Texas touring.









it is the season

up late,
the sun just bouncing
the first light of day against the bottom
of heavy cloud cover,
not cold,
but cool, damp, uncomfortable,
like wearing a wet shirt
on a breezy day...

cat taking the day off,
nowhere to be seen,  so dog and I
walk alone, sniffing (dog) and seeing (me)
things I don't normally see on this route
in this
half light
of this ever-so-typical South Texas
winter day, cool enough
to remind one
of cold, but not cold enough
to  set  aside memories
of hot

an in-between season,
Thanksgiving to  Christmas,
like the crash between
sugar-highs,
the dread between
a drunk's
weekend binges...

not much promise
to  the season,
to the day

illusions
swept under the rug
until
the last ho, ho,  ho
finally
breaks through our better sense
and for a moment
fairy tales
are allowed...

today, in the light,
is the day I see the bright half-moon
I saw last night in the dark
is really a street light
at the end of the block...

it is the in-between season
for that sort of
thing








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.



I mention it every week and it's  still true, 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)





´╗┐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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