Texas Touring IV - Central HIlls & Southwest Plains   Wednesday, December 18, 2013






My anthology this week is a Bantam Books pocketbook, Room for Me and a Mountain Lion - Poetry of Open Space, published in 1975.

I used to, still  do, love pocketbooks, the precursor to the eBook, literature, good and bad, in a package small enough to fit in your pocket or lunch bucket or anywhere else with just a little space, books small enough to carry that you could read anywhere and anytime you had ten minutes or ten hours. And they were cheap, priced so just about everyone could afford to read. That's the reason I love my Kindle, a return to a time when reading could be for everyone, not just for an elite that could afford the escalating cost of books. Growing up, we were not a well-off family and my mother and father were not highly educated people. My father graduated from high school in the middle of the depression and had to find immediate work, with no money or time for further education; my mother, a widow when my father met her, with a small son, dropped out of school very early to get married, and, like my father, had neither the time nor the money to return. We were all very proud when she finally got her GED when she was in her sixties. But they both read every night before they went to bed, from pocketbooks cheap enough for their budget. And that's the reason my last four eBooks are priced at less than $4.00, the last at $1.99. If my mother and father were alive today, I'd want them to be able to afford to read my books.

I don't want people to hold  my poems between some bound covers, I want people to read them, anywhere they are and anytime they have a few minutes to spare.

My photos this week are from a band across part of Texas beginning north and slightly east of Texas and going west to Fort Stockton at the edge of the big bend, skirting the norther part of San Antonio and up into the deep hill country. It is a geographically diverse area, from wooded hills of mostly oak to more sparse high plains.

Some of the pictures were taken with an older camera that had a light cloud over part of the lens, leaving a cloudy swath on the pictures, particularly noticeable with the process I used on the pictures (called "singe" on Photobucket.com). Too bad. But I like these photos and use them anyway, having developed the ability to look past the splotch of haze. I hope you can do that too, because the pictures are good, I think, and otherwise irreplaceable.

I'll be doing one more "Texas Touring" after this one with pictures from East Texas and the upper gulf coast. Though covered with beautiful, verdant forests, I don't travel much in East Texas, finding still  too much a hint of the Confederacy there, and have few pictures from there. The pictures from the upper gulf coast were taken just a few weeks before the arrival of  hurricane Rita that blew and/or washed away much of what was there. I have no interest at all in the rest of Texas, including the panhandle and, especially, Houston and Dallas to which I hope never to have reason to ever go again.

The rest of the post is as usual, old and new and my library.

Like this:


Me
4 kinds

Galway Kinnell
On Hardscrabble Mountain

Me
clarification

B.H. Fairchild
At the Cafe de Flore

Me
gray day

R.S. Thomas
 Alpine

John Muir
From garden to garden, ridge to ridge...

Me
another crushing disappointment

Deborah Slicer
Pastoral

Me
ice palaces

Two Native American songs
Ayii Ayii...
Glorious it is...

Me
dreams

Jane Kenyon
Bright Sun after Heavy Snow

Me
missed the bus

Rudyard Kipling
The Way Through the Woods

Me
tex-mex

Pamela Uschuk
She waits for Amerigo    

Me
the question is...

William Stafford
Late at Night

Federico  Garcia  Lorca
Half Moon

Me
the master

Margaret Randall
Inhabitants
Accidental. Misplaced.

Me
random boots

Two Native  American  Songs
We will watch the Northern Lights...
There is joy...

Me
the pan dulce factor

Kay Ryan
The Narrow Path
When Fishing Fails     

Me
the shortest poem
while  walking in the neighborhood, late

Walt Whitman
There was a child  went forth

Me
little bits

Mariym Cruz Bernal
Borrowed  Passion

Me
                 geek-alley              
      











Okay, here starts a new week.








4 kinds

atomic...


Micky D's...


Affordable Care  Act website...


Sophia Vergara...


4 kinds of bombs
I am older
than








        

First from this week's anthology, a poem by Galway Kinnell. Born in 1927, in 1982 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and split the National Book Award for Poetry with Charles Wright. From 1989 to 1993, he was Poet Laureate of Vermont.







On Hardscrabble Mountain

     1
On old slashed spruce boughs
Buoying me off he snow
I stretched out on the mountain,
Now and then a bit of snow
Would glide quietly from a branch.

Once a last deerfly came by,

I could see off for about a hundred miles.

     2
I waked with a start,
The sun had crawled off me,
I was shivering in thick blue shadows,
Sap had stuck to to the spruce boughs,

Far away I could hear
The wind starting to rise.

     3
On the way down, passing
The little graveyard in the woods,
I gave a thought to the old skulls and bones lying there,
And I started praying to a ear just shutting his eyes,
To a skunk dozing off,
To a marmot with yellow belly,
To a dog-faced hedgehog,
To a dormouse with a paunch and large ears like leaves
     or wings. 








   
 I really like this poem from January, 2008, mainly because I really like the young woman it's about, even though I never met her.









clarification

young girl
maybe twenty
not much more
fiery
in speech
and manner
says

there ain't no
country
called Hispanica
so how can I be
Hispanic

and there ain't
never been no
country
called Latin
and if there was
they been dead
a couple of thousand
years
anyway

so no way
I'm
Latin

but there is a
Mexico
and that's where
my blood roots lie
so that makes me
Mexican...

you got a problem
with that?








Here is a poem from Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest, a collection of poems by B. H. Fairchild.

The book was published in 2003 by W.W. Norton. The poet, born in 1942 in Houston, was educated at the University of Tulsa and the University of Kansas. A former college professor, he is also a previous nominee for the National Book Award and winner of numerous other awards.



At the Cafe de Flore

           This evening as I am entering the Cafe de Flore to buy some
           cigarettes, I meet Levastine with a half-drunken companion who
           introduced himself as the "abbe defroque surrialiste," He was the
           first surrealist priest.
          
           Micea Eliade, Journal I, 1945-1955



I have anointed boutonnieres and cats,
preached homilies on spectacles and bats,
baptized the morning, evening and full moon,
and blessed both happiness and bloom.
I proclaim the doctrine of broken clocks:
on every hour, remove your shoes and socks,
sing the Marseillaise nine times backwards
and consider, please, the lives off birds
(there are fewer than before the war).
Pere Surrealiste does not wish to bore
with his prayers to orchids and champagne,
the sanctity of wine the uselessness of pain,
but twenty miles from here are flowers
growing from the mouths of boys.
for what I've seen there is no word,
I am the Priest of the Absurd.











I had a couple of rough days this past week. The good news, three diseased days and I lost eight pounds. the bad news, I'm not diseased any more.









gray day

I could write a poem
about a cold, dreary
December day and though
it is, in fact, such a day
today, exactly such a
cold dreary  December
day, my descriptors
would be more about me
than  about the actual day
outside

in the third day
of recovery from a particularly
virulent episode
of food poisoning, I remain
gray of face and lifeless of affect,
empty-bellied, but afraid
to fill  it
for  even  the smallest bite
sets the roils to a-roiling

but
enough about me

it is a gray,  dreary December day,
perfect for sitting outside
by a fire in my chiminea,
which I have done
and felt better doing it,
but as with all life's fires,
the wood burns only as temporary
respite before the fire within
is exhausted

then the gray December hollow
returns...








Here are two short poems from the anthology by two different poets.


         

The first poem is by R. S. Thomas, Welsh poet and Anglican priest. He was born in 1913 and died in 2000. From what I've read, not a particularly happy camper to be around.







Alpine

About mountains it is useless to argue,
You have either been up or you haven't;

The view from halfway is nobody's view,
The best flowers are mostly at the top

Under a ledge, nourished by the wind.
A sense of smell is of less important

Than  a sense of balance, walking on clouds
Through holes in which you can see the earth

Like a rich man through the eye of a needle.
The mind has its own level to find.



        


The second poem is by the great American naturalist John Muir.









From garden to garden, ridge to ridge...

From garden to garden, ridge to ridge,
I drifted enchanted...
gazing afar over domes and peaks, lakes and woods,
and the billowy glaciated fields...
In the midst of such beauty, pierced with its rays,
one's body is all one tingling palate.
Who wouldn't be a mountaineer!








 
Here's another from January, 2008. Following my first retirement, I began working on a project by project basis with a test assessment company. Wasn't a lot of  fun, even though I did get a couple of good poems over the several years I did it. Still...








another crushing disappointment

well,  hell

didn't win the lottery
again,
just checked
and I'd won $2
if I'd  played those same numbers
September 13th

but I didn't then
and I didn't  win nothing
tonight either
so I guess I have-ta
go back to work tomorrow,
gotta  get up
in the goddamn dark
and drive 20 goddamn miles in the dark
and...

well,
it's only a 2  week project,
I can make it

but
I'd rather win the lottery








The next poem from my library this week is by Deborah Slicer. It's from her book The White Calf Kicks, published by Autumn House Press in 2003.

Slicer a poet and philosopher earned her earned both a PhD and an MFA from the University of Virginia and has taught at the University of Montana and at Hawthorne School and has been involved with the Missoula Writing Collective.

This book, her first, was selected by San Antonio poet Naomi Sihab Nye for the Autumn House Poetry Prize.




Pastoral

Let the roadside go to chicory
and gall-
of-the-earth, and the hillside go
to  clover
and everlasting
pea, and the road itself
to the barred belly of the blacksnake
and the tarot belly
of the tortoise,
while burdock and poke
choke the corn
out of the fields,
and morning glories run wild
over the immaculate gardens -
let thistle grow tall
and defiantly purple.
And let there be no noise,
just the pileated woodpecker
screeching
like a wild monkey,
heat,
and the wind stumbling through a long row of pines,
the unabashed turning
of leaves
asking
the wind's blessings, blessings, blessings












After the typical San Antonio cool and clear skies of November we are in the typical San Antonio cold,  gray,  and dreary December. Every interesting thing promised never happens.









ice palaces

mid-twenties
the forecast  said,
as has been predicted
for every night the past week

but every night the past week
cloud-cover
trapped the day's accumulated heat
and the night's temperature
hung at the low
thirties

but last night,
the sky clean as the queen's crystal,
the air so dry that stars
lost their twinkle,
hung above in their real
bright and unblinking state

so I prepared
for the freeze to come
as everything warm about us
fled the earth to join the stars' steady
fires...

beginning with an appreciation
of the clear night that  was
and the cold night
to come, a bright and tumbling fire
in the chiminea until coals red-hot lay even
and flat like a yogi's bed

then the practicalities -


wrap  the faucets, let them trickle
so as not to freeze and bust
the pipe, remember when I was a child
how my father,  on rare frozen nights, would leave
a sprinkle on under a tree so we could wake
in the morning to a backyard
ice palace,
quickly melting, but for an hour
a wonderland to a child of the southern climes

(I was tempted to  do it again, not for a child
since we no longer have one
in the house, but
for myself,
for the wonder of it
that might feed the hungry soul
of another child grown old
in a southern clime)...

a fire lit in the den,
television by firelight,  asleep
by firelight
in the chair by the fireplace, asleep
warm, dreams
of ice palaces past and to be,
asleep  by the fire, 50,000 years past
and still we remember the comfort
and protection of  a fire
at the dark mouth of our
cave, and as the fire burns all our long
evolutionary march is
set aside
and we are our  true primeval self
again...

and we wake in the morning
and see the clouds rolled in again overnight
and our ice castle man is set aside
and we are our modern self
again, as  every morning all week,  late
as usual
to  all the things primeval-self
would never understand








              Next from the anthology, two short Eskimo songs, one Eastern and one Alaskan, and I don't know the difference. No credit is given for translation of either piece.



Ayii, Ayii...

Ayii, Ayii,
I walked on the ice of the sea
Wondering, I heard
The song of the sea
And the great sighing
Of new formed ice.
Go then go!
Strength of soul
Brings health
To the place of feasting.

             (Eastern Eskimo song)



Glorious it is...

Glorious it is
to see long-haired  winter caribou
Returning to the forests,
While the herd follows the ebb-mark of the sea
With a storm of clattering hooves.
Glorious it is
When wandering time is come.

         (Alaskan Eskimo song)









Another from January,  2008. I suppose I not unique in having complete and vivid  memories of  places that I've never been and that, so  far as I know, don't actually exist.

Maybe it has something to do with being  a writer, imagining so  much stuff sometimes it's difficult to separate the imaginary from the real.





dreams

i say
i never remember
my dreams
and mostly I don't
even though I know
some of the things
i remember best
are dreams,
a house,  complete
in every detail,
where no house
has ever been,
a house off many rooms,
a maze of rooms
that take me,always,
to where i  began,
with wood,
lots of  wood,
floors of polished
hardwood
that gleams
in a kind of yellow light,
one wooden chair
in a corner
high-backed
with arms,
old-fashioned lamps
in an old-fashioned house
with high ceilings
and polished wooden beams
and everything is brown,
a house, i have never been inside,
never walked on its polished floor
through every room that
all  lead  back
to the first room,
a room always one door
away from every other room,
i know this place
even though
i know
it does  not exist








Next from my library, this poem by Jane Kenyon. It's from her book The Boat of Quiet Hours, published by Graywolf Press in 1986.

Kenyon was born in Michigan in 1947 and died from leukemia in 1995. Earning both a BA (1970) and an MA (1972) at the University of Michigan, she was both a poet and a translator, translating the works of, among others, my favorite Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova.





Bright Sun after Heavy Snow

A ledge of ice slides from the eaves,
piercing the crushed drift. Astonishing
how even a little violence
eases the mind.

In this extreme state of light
everything seems flawed: the streaked
pane, the forced bulbs on the sill
that refuses to bloom...A wad of dust
rolls like a desert weed
over the drafty floor.

Again I recall my neighbor's
small affront - it rises in my mind
like the huge banks of snow along the road:
the plow passing up and down all day,
pushes them higher and higher...

The shadow of smoke rising from the chimney
moves abruptly over the yard.
The clothesline rises in the wind. One
wooden pin is left, solitary as a finger;
it, too, rises and falls.











Overslept by about an hour this morning last week, seeing things I don't normally see on my regular schedule.









missed the bus

6 a.m.

4 children
bundled
r
       u
              n
                      n
                              i
                                      n
                                             g
in the cold morning dark

l
      a
u
                  g      h
i
       n
                         g

in high-pitched
glee


dog watches...

wants
to g
o
t
o
school
too








      
I think Rudyard Kipling has been give a bad rap as a pro-war imperialist. My reading of him suggests the opposite, that he is anti-war and anti-imperialism.

This poem is also from the anthology.








The Way Through the Woods

The shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath
and the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of horses feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly new
The old lost road through the woods...

But there is no road through the woods.








  

This poem is also from early 2008. I have a photo of the day and place the poem is about. It's several pictures up from here.








tex-mex

it's on the main street
of Bandera, Texas,
which bills itself
as the cowboy
center
of the universe
and you gotta
believe it
today
with their Mardi Gras
parade
down all ten blocks
of that main street
with horses and wagons
and real cowboys
in chaps on big paint ponies
and cowboy clowns
and cowgirl clowns
and little red sports cars
and we just missed
it but it must'a
been great
cause
everyone has
about ten strands
of pretty-colored beads
around their neck
and everyone's laughing
and it's about noon
and, like i said,
it's on main street,
it being the Old Spanish
Trail restaurant
which advertises
itself
as the best tex-mex
cafe in the universe
and i think they
might be right
cause the enchiladas
and tamales
and tacos
and frito pie
with saltine
crackers
sure
is what i remember
as tex-mex
from back when
except
the only mexicans
i seen in the place
are Dee, two town
police officers
and a dishwasher
and i'm thinking
this place sure seems
more like a
tex-no-mex place
to me








Pamela Uschuk graduated with a BA in English from Central Michigan University from the University of Montana with an MFA in poetry and fiction. She has taught at numerous colleges and university and most recently served as 2011 Visiting Poet at the University of Tennessee.

Author of a number of books of poetry, the next poem is from her book One Legged Dancer, published by Wings Press of San Antonio in 2002. The poems are about a long journey she made through the poorer and more remote areas of Mexico.




She waits for Amerigo

Scaling the snowless Sierra Madres
Amerigo drives the Chihauhan al Pacifico
weaving together railroad tracks
and solitary Tarahumara towns.

Without tequila or cervesa, Amerigo
drives the sober train through
all seasons, his engine a black sheen
of sure controlled muscle.

Alert, inside a green cavern
of sheet metal, his body
is fetal and round, shoulders
sloping like cinammoned dough
to the ends of soft fingers
closed around the throttle's blue neck.

Speed runs through his arm,
enters the canal work of his body,
surrounds the spawning flesh
with a net of vibrating motion,
orbiting as regularly as Cassiopeia
does heaven's dark crown.

He shows me pictures of his children,
nine satellites tumbling from his wallet
like the excess credit cards
of the inexcusably rich.
Half-forgotten dreams,
their  names cycle in his memory.

Last, he smiles at  his wife's face,
moon-shaped and lovely, which rises
above the mound of her belly
polishing the jewel of the tenth unborn.
Glowing from the summit
of her massive peak, she waits
as leaves turn to ice, for Amerigo.











The days weren't all dull and dreary last week. There was a couple of really good ones.










the question is...

the question is...

what  do you do
with a cold
day
so  bright and sunny
it blinks your
while your ears go frosty
and  your blood
pumps
through recently comatose
limbs and leaves
freshly fallen make a crackle
on sunshiny
sidewalks
and the dog her fur coat
all blond  and fluffy
wants to run
along the crystal creek's
brown waving
grasses
and for the first time in a long time
you want  to run
with her?

sit inside and write
a poem?

I don't think so...








Again from the anthology, two poems by two poets.



             

William Stafford is the first poet. Stafford, born in 1913, was a poet and pacifist and named twentieth Poet Laureate of the United States in 1970. He died in 1993.








Late at Night

Falling separate into the dark
the hailstone yelps of geese pattered
through our roof; startled we listened.

Those V's of direction swept by unseen
so disorderly that we paused. But then
faltering back through their circle they came.

Were they lost up there in the night?
They always knew the way, we thought.
You looked at me across the room: -

We live in a terrible season.






And the second poet is Federico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet, dramatist, theater director and both revolutionary and victim of his revolution, executed at the age of 38 by Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War.









Half Moon

The moon goes over the water.
How tranquil the sky is!
She goes scything slowly
the old shimmer from the river;
meanwhile a young frog
takes her for a little mirror.

(Translated by  W.S. Merwin)










January 2008 - the cat is no longer with us, a beautiful calico who spent many a cold winter evening warming my lap.








the master

i just let
the cat out
do do her morning
duty

it's 35 degrees
and raining

she was back
at the door
again
wanting in
before
i could leave
the room

she is a master
in the winter Olympic
flash
poop-n-cover
competition








The next poem from my library is from a book I don't think I've ever used here before. I think it may have been one of  several I brought home from the half-priced bookstore that got  stuck in my bookshelf and  forgotten. The book is Their Backs to the Sea, published in 2009 by Wings Press.

The poet is Margaret Randall, writer, photographer, activist and academic. Born in New York City, Randall has lived in Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua and spent time in North Vietnam during the last months of the U.S. war. She has written extensively of her experiences.

In addition to her poems, the book  includes a number of her photographs.




Inhabitants

Again and again they return:
loop of migration
to the old places.
Lifetimes, generations,
where grinding stone
worked childhood corn,
ceramic pots offered polished lips,
a granary known only to the  elders
looked down upon
the log thrown across  entrance
in or out.

Each return tethers the anchor,
rebuilds time on beloved land,
close or  opens a door.


Accidental. Misplaced.

            - Elinor Davidson Randall, my mother
              January 20, 1910 - November 17, 2006 

Days  before she will die she raises
a muscled arm, grabs
the sharp knobs
of surf-drenched lava.
Crab-like, her splayed fingers sure,
bare feet pushing off and up,
she climbs the treacherous cliff.

Ninety-six and never athletic,
this is her dram:
gnarled and slippery
from the comfort
of narrow nursing-home bed.
Nursing home  dream
as window or calling card.

It can't be long now. She is sure:
twentieth-century woman
whose years spill awkward
across the a century's divide.
Long pauses,
desert where memories disappear
behind a rose-colored butte.

Instant information, digital drama,
confusing telephone menus
and sorry patronage.
She is tired
and ready to move on
to whatever confident promise
or nothing at  all.

We do not recognize  the feedback loop
this shore or that
as  we  make the transition:
this body to another, this time
to past or future time,
different millennia or location
unsuspected and unclear.

Now she no longer remembers the dream.
Accidental. Misplaced.









 


New from  last week. One of my mates at the daily-poem forum brought in a challenge to  write poems  about shoes. Well, I tried.









random  boots

bootscootin'
at Floore's Country Store, Willie's place
whenever he wants it
a couple of times
a year

Cotton-Eyed Joe
says it's
so

```

if you ain't  stepped
your boots 
in a fresh cow pie
you ain't a cowboy
and they ain't  real
boots 
yet

that's what
the old cowboy said
and you could believe him
cause his boots told
the truth 
of it

```

dress boots
for sawdust 
floors

fence building boots, cactus
and rattlesnake rattles
and a hard  day's work under a
merciless Texas
sun

rough-sided
hunting boots
for wild turkey dinner
and wading boots
if you like
ducks better

and kick'n
round
the pasture
boots
for chasing  gophers and
throwing sticks
with your
dog

```

shiny black
boots
for cowboy weddings
and cowboy
funerals
outdoors under a wide-open sky
one says I do
the other says he did

whoop  and holler
both ways

```

good old cow leather
soft and saddle-soaped clean,
no alligator
cause alligator hide
looks better on alligators
than  on  a cowboy's
foot,
same for  snakes
and emus
 and lizards and
whatever else
drugstore dudes
skin and
wear
to the cowboy ball

```

finally...

wore my boots last night,
the black  ones
with sharp pointy toes,
dress-up night
for the recital, tiny boys and girls
so  small  you could hardly see them behind
the piano,  and the prodigies,
older, professional  in  their presentation,
and the old man,
my age,
topping off his bucket list,
singing lessons
so  he could sing his wife's favorite song
to her, and he did, his rough Leonard Cohen voice
and the tears in his wife's  eyes, bots
on the floor, standing  ovation

cowboys
leave  their  horses
in the barn,
have a sentimental night
anyway








             Here are two more Native American songs. I enjoy reading these songs and chants as a reminder to me that, however much everything else may change, people do not. It  is the same reason, along  with  their artistry,  I enjoy reading the old Chinese masters.

Again, no translator is credited for the first.      



We will watch the Northern Lights...

We will watch the Northern Lights
playing their game of ball
in the cold, glistening country.
Then we will  sit in beauty on the mountain
and watch the small stars
in their sleepless flight.

               (Abanaki Indian Song)



There is joy in...

There is joy in
Feeling the warmth
Come to  the great world
And seeing the sun
Follow in its old footprints
In the summer night.

There is fear  in
Feeling the cold
Come to  the great  world
And seeing the moon
- Now new moon, now full moon -
Follow its old footprints
In the winter  night

                (Eskimo chant translated by Knud Rasmussen








There was a time when national politics was not as hopeless as it is now, but damned if I can remember it. Early 2008, it seemed for a while that things might actually begin to turn around.

We all know how that turned out.








the pan dulce factor

my normal breakfast
is a kind of Mexican
pan dulce
called in Texas
mojettes
and in other places
conchas

whichever name
you pick,
they are the same thing,
a round sweet bread
with a red, yellow,
white, or brown sugary
icing spread irregularly
in a kind of waffle pattern
on top,
the various colors
for display only,
having no effect on taste

I prefer the mojette
because like most Mexican
sweet breads
it has less sugar
than the standard gringo
pastries, thus increasing
the possibility
that when the time comes
I will die with my feet on

with my mojette
I read two newspapers,
the local and the Times,
and drink one medium latte,
except, of course, if i'm at
Starbucks, I don't have a
medium latte
I have a grande latte
which is what Starbucks
calls a medium latte
hoping to get you to say
to yourself,
holy cow,
I got a grande latte
for the same price as a medium,
I'm going to get all my lattes
from Starbucks from now on

just a trivial example of the
reconstruction of language
that's part of our daily life
now days, like Bush starting
a preemptive war
that only preempts
the continued living
of many Americans
and many more
Iraqis
or the Texas governor's
fast-track plan
to build many new
coal
power plants
described
as an anti-global warming
initiative
or the Republican candidate's plan
to get rid of all the Mexicans
wherever they hide
labeled
immigration reform

we've had eight years
to  learn all these tricks
and the good news is
in less than a year
we can forget all about their
wordsquat
since they'll be
gone

the bad news is
now we're going to have to
learn
all the new democrat
brainbarf
and who knows what that's
going to be

at  least
however the
new
brave
new world
turns out, there will still be
a few Mexican bakeries left
laying out on their shelves
every day
a
50 cent
mojette breakfast
available
in your favorite
of four colors








Born in 1945, Kay Ryan is a poet and educator with seven published volumes of poetry. She was named the sixteenth Poet Laureate of the United States in 2008, as well as a Pulitzer Prize winner and 2011 MacArthur Fellow and in 2012 the National Humanities Medal.

These two short poems are from her book Flamingo Watching, published in 1994 by Copper Beech Press.






The Narrow Path

                One can perhaps please one's self and earn the
                the slender right to persevere.
                                                                   Marianne Moore

No rime-grizzled mountain climber,
puzzled by where to put his fingers next,
knows the least thing about
how narrow work gets
that depends only on pleasure.
When it gets late or he gets depressed,
he can hang in   any long sack,
his whole weight waiting
for the light to come back.
But for people who ascend
only by pleasure
there are no holding straps.
They must keep to the
hairline crack all the time
or fall all the way back.


When Fishing Fails

               "Your husband is very lucky," observed Smithers. "to
                 have ornithology to fall back upon when fishing fails."
                                              Cyril Hare, Death Is No Sportsman

When fishing fails,  when no bait avails
and nothing speaks in liquid hints
and dimpled ponds and silver creeks
go flat and tarnish, it's nice if
you can finish up your sandwich,
pack your thermos, and ford
the small hiatus toward
a second mild and absorbing purpose.










Here are two little pieces from early 2008.










the shortest poem

the shortest
poem
is

the
sign
in a lover's
farewell


while walking in the neighborhood, late

the few leaves
still clinging to the trees
rustle in the breeze
like water over rocks

the cold north wind
bracing -
drinking from a mountain
stream








And then there is Whitman. What would  we do without Walt Whitman? Would there be a specific and unique American poetry without him -  I don't think so.

I've used  this poem before and use  it  again because I think it is, in short form, the essential Whitman.

For  me, there is no better poem written than this one.



There was a child went forth

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look'd  upon, that  object he
     became,
And that object became part of him for the day or  a
     certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning glories, and
     white and red clover, and the song of the
     phoebe-bird,
And the third-month  lambs and the sow's  pink-faint
     litter,and the mare's  foal and the  cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barnyard or by the mire o
     the pond-side,
And the fish  suspending themselves so curiously below
     there, and the beautiful curious  liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads,all
     became  part of him.








  

Here's another series of shorties, also early 2008.









little bits

i
lonely whistle
in the dark
lost
little bird
calls 
home

ii
grizzled
elders  grieve
pale women
dance  
under dim
diminished stars

iii
dogs at
midnight
smell wild
intruder
bark until
first light

iv
no rain
for garden's
growing
faith may
yet
bring rain
 
v
watch 
the robin
danger ranger
calls her
mate
to eat

 vi
 
whale song
ripples
the deep
navy sonar
roils
the tide








Last from my library this week, I have this by Mairym Cruz-Berna l, from her book, On Her Face, the Light of La Luna. The book was published by Provincetown Arts Press in 1997.

Cruz-Bernal, poet and essayist, was born in  Puerto Rico in 1963. She graduated from Loyola University with a BA in psychology and from Vermont College with an MA in creative writing. She lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico where she works as consultant to the International Meeting of Writers, a literary movement for Latin American countries. This information is from a translation from Spanish that doesn't always make a lot of sense in English.




Borrowed Passion

I whisper,
my body pressing yours: "Give me  something."
Coming  back from  wherever your are,
you open  your eyes, turn,
embrace
not me, not the voice who asked your for something,
but the only things you can have in your hands.

You touch me.
Thinking you are exciting me
you excite yourself.
Borrowing passion, instead of giving.
You put your mouth on my mouth
to feel some lips,  any tongue.
You come inside my body
knowing my ova will not be fertilized.
You want to give me a sperm
I can not use anymore,
like the aftershave balm your daughter gave you
for your birthday you won't use to save
you long white and gray beard.
You rest, tired,
pull your body
out of my body.
You lie on the bed
with your back against me
asking me to embrace you.

I move,
embrace you.
I wait some minutes.
I know what I want.

I whisper,  "Give me something."
You open your eyes. Tenderly,
you give me now the front of your body,
you face, your chest,
your abdomen,  the front part of your legs.
You give my your eyes looking at me, more,
staring at me, questioning me.
Easily, like baby-children falling asleep,
I  open and close, open and close,
open and finally I close my eyes.








  


Reminded by someone else's poem of the Mercedes Stock Show and Rodeo, an annual event without much else to brag about.







geek-alley

the fat man
had the saddest eyes

carnival midway
freak-alley
between the tilt-a-wheel
and toss rings
win a prize
games

freaks -
the only one I remember
the fat man
not so
fat 
sitting cross-legged in
his tiny loin cloth
under the dim red light
of a 40 watt bulb...

such sad eyes
that made me sad too...

fifteen years old
then, a sucker
for sad fat men,
bothered when
people laughed at dim-witted
Lou Costello, his chubby face
a mask of innocent
confusion,
embarrassed that I laughed
at him along with the
rest

like the freak-alley fat man
he had sad
eyes
too









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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