Snow is the Only Word I Know for Snow   Wednesday, January 30, 2013





Been down with the flu most of this week, feeling a little spacey.

Have more of  the same, even the same anthology as last week, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. It's a huge book, with hundreds of poets and poems. Also, I noticed  that my random selection  of poets last week only produced one female. Not representative of the women outlaws in  American poetry, so  I went back for this week and  selected only women poets.

The photos this week are from  at least two visits to Colorado over a couple of years. The picture above  was taken from Red Rocks and the city in the distance is Denver.

Nothing unusual  in the rest.

Here it is:

Me
if originality fails
 
Maura O'Connor
At the End
 
Me
business breakfast
 
Siri von Reis
Lawrence Singleton Lives in a  Trailer
 
Me
charcoal cat
bright day
medicated meditation
 
Patti Smith
Notebook
 
Me
maybe some  duct tape
 
Pablo Neruda 
Leaning into  the Afternoon
 
Me
melancholy morning
 
Diane DiPrima
from Revolutionary Letters
 
Me
I used to  wonder about the purpose of life
 
Su Tung Po
Looking from the Pavilion Over  the Lake
The Southern Room Over the River
Epigram
At the Washing of My Son
 
Me
gloomy day
 
Amy Gerstler
A Non-Christian on Sunday
 
Me
the very proper lady in the black Sunday dress
 
Ralph Angel
Like Land Crabs
 
Me
diorama
 
Eileen Myles
I Always  Put My Pussy...
 
Me
chaos management
 
Sonia Sanchez
A Poem for  Jesse
On Passing  thru  Morgantown,  Pa.
 
Me
the good old  days of mid-life crisis  management
 
Me
I  dissemble convincingly









I  wrote  this last week, desperate to find my poem for the day, finding nothing in the bait bucket.



if originality fails

lacking
originality today
or any hint of elaborated thinking
I  search through the husks
of bits and pieces I fumbled with before, then discarded but never quite
threw away
hoping to find something from my past
that I can  push of on the present
as  today's holy cow moment,
finding instead all the good reasons
the bits  and pieces
were, at their earlier fumble-date, discarded
and all the even better reasons
they should have been dropped into the infernal pit
of punky putrid poetry
before they could
breed
to  such gargantuan proportions
that they might force-feed
Cincinnati or Fargo,
North Dakota
or Isleta,  Minnesota
with its own cavern-bred
puky, punky poetry

it is a lesson I must
learn

conscientious
poets
must fumigate
after  each  session
of  inadequate poetization
or  be  prepared to explain their
reckless  behaviour
to the gagging, retching residents of
Cincinnati, Fargo, North Dakota
and Isleta,  Minnesota
and, to be  safe,
lots  of places in between

---

this is the lesson  I learned
today

if  originality continues  to hide
behind  the pitted stones and fiercely towering  trees
of you-can't-make-me-do-it
I might  have to write a poem about it
tomorrow









My first poem this week from The Outlaw Bible of American  Poetry is by Maura O'Connor, author of The Hummingbird Graveyard.



At the End

You sold your  computer without backing up the hard dis
              losing a novel in progress

You set fire to the wall in your room by nodding out
             with a candle  lit

Those last days you tried to convince m you had it under
              control, were only shooting a little bit, and
              the next hospital trip you'd clean up for good

I found you wasted naked body in a filthy room after
              you didn't come to the phone  for three days
The coroner asked if you had cancer, I said, "No,  he just
               stopped eating

You spent your life chasing a moment  without pain -
With steaks and Ben & Jerry's
               12 step meetings and bottles ofSnapple
               with Vicodan and Jack water back
               with dreams  as  big as Africa
As you lay alone in your room, 300 pounds of insolent child
With three herniated disks
                hemorrhoids that bled so much you actually needed
                                a transfusion
                peripheral neuropathy, sciata,
                pounding headaches no pill could cure
                a painful twisted wrist  broken in a manic blackout

and days where you were working for  God and he wanted
                you to  take a fifty-dollar cab ride to  some burnt-out
                East Oakland neighborhood where the pharmacy was
                crooked

and days where getting out of bed was like taking the  last
                four steps to the guillotine

and a scar where the pharmacist shot you
                a scar where a crack  pipe burned you
                a scar burned so deep it was a secret even to yourself

Yet somehow you believed in a sip from the Holy Grail,
                a best-selling novel that would buy you a house  full of
                Himalayan cats with a yard dotted with flowers or
                one  of your poems sparking a  revolution of beautiful
                misfits in black or
                the kind of fame where you read your work in electrified
                stadiums with a famous rock band  as the opening act\

and that hopeless hope made you
                beautiful as Aphrodite in a giant  seashell
                lovable  as a basket of kittens
                intense as a jeweller inspecting a diamond  that's
                        going to make him rich

In the end it wasn't the wine that went to your head









As I mentioned earlier, I'm continuing this week with poems from my next book, New Days and New Ways.

Here's the first one.



business breakfast

there is a large crowd,
ten diners
on several tables pushed
together

a breakfast business
meeting
it  seems, for  a congregation
of insurance agents, (my guess,
they look like insurance people) mostly
men
in dress shirts and ties
and a couple of women
frantically
over-compensating
for lack of male genitalia

at the end of the table
a very large
red-faced man
who appears to be the boss,
pontificating
with the assurance of a person
genetically in the dark
most of the time,
telling sleep-deprived staff
all about the Shinola
he don't know
sit
from, and beside him
a mid-thirties blond, well-put-together,
who has a 17-year old daughter
at home
who's driving her nuts
with skimpy dresses and good-for-nothing
boyfriends,
all this exposed to the world
before the meeting started, and now that
has, reveals herself to be
the boss carry-on brain, taking over
his Shinola punditry
to put the meeting to order
providing such business  as there
was scheduled to be
at this early morning business meeting

apparently
the other eight at the table
know
who knows
what needs to be known
because their droopy-eyed attention
to the boss's Shinola
is immediately replaced by edge-
of-the-seat attention
when she starts talking, chewing
reduced from a roar,
petite and silent little chomp chomps
as eggs and bacon and toast
slide quietly and respectfully down
alert and thoughtful gullets

I have been
to -
convened even -
many such meetings,  sat
and the head of many such tables
spouting my own Shinola,
killing time
until
my nearby brain finishes
her poached egg and fat-free milk
and sets herself
to take care of business -

my job done for
the day











Next, a poem from my library. The poet is Siri von Reis and the poem is from her book, The Love-Suicides at Sonezaki. The book was published in 2001 by Zoo Press.

von Reis received her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1961 and has  an entire career as an ethnobotanist, producing four books on the subject. In addition, she has published widely as a poet.

What a quiet little horror story.



Lawrence Singleton Lives in a Trailer,

tending his yard in a remote corner of the San
Quentin compound. He keeps a nighttime curfew,

visits a psychologist weekly, "We hardly know
he's out there," says Parole Officer David

Langerman. "When he needs to shop, he lets  us
know. Technically,  we escort him, but anyone on

the streets has more to fear from the unknown
than from this little burned-out guy."

In three weeks, Mr. Singleton will be given
early release for good behavior and will be under

no obligation to tell officials his whereabouts
nor  to  take any longer the medication that

would sicken him if he drank alcohol.
According o Langerman, Singleton is wholly

defused and says he doesn't even need the drug -
he doesn't lose that much control. "I never

live in the past", says Mr. Singleton. After ten
years in prison, the once burly 60-year-old

still  maintains he was mistaken from someone else.
Miss Mary Vincent says she still fears

the man  who raped her and cut off  her arms.








I  was down with cold or flu a good part of  this  week and met my poem-a-day requirements  with  these little squiggles.



charcoal cat
 
charcoal cat
a shadow in  the dark,
her  plush gray
coat fades into the night,
shifting between  trees, picking
her hidden  way
between
bushes,
finding all the dark pools
along her way,
a mysterious early-hour specter,
a presence unseen
until she  steps to  close to the light
and I see her choose her soft lurking way
behind
 
she  is so surprised
 
 
bright day
 
bright day
morning clouds
burned away; sunshine
folds itself  around
afternoon shadows
 
 
medicated meditation
 
drifting
 
a small boat
on calm  seas, ripple
suggests, but forgotten,
lulled by soft tides
that rise and fall  such a very
little bit, day to  night, night
today,  drifting
 
small boat calm
seas
day to night
night to
day
 
drifting
 
a tiny whirlpool
of  nowhere
soon













The next poem from The Outlaw Bible of American Poets is by musician, singer/songwriter, poet Patti  Smith.



Notebook

I  keep trying to figure out what it means
to be american. When I look in myself
I see arabia, venus, nineteenth-century
french but I can't recognize what
makes me american. I think  about
Robert Frank's photographs - broke down
jukeboxes in gallup, new  mexico...
swaying hips and  spurs...ponytails and
syphilitic cowpokes. I think  about a
red,  white and blue rag I wrap around
my pillow. Maybe it's nothing material
maybe it's just being free.

Freedom is  a waterfall, is pacing
linoleum till dawn, is the right to
write the wrong words. and I done
plenty of that.








Here's another from the soon-to-be book of poems from 2011.



maybe some duct tape

it  was about
1:30 in the p.m.
and I'd had my lunch

-tomato  soup
and a grilled cheese sandwich
with a side of Fritos -

and I was thinking, jeez,
I can't think of a damn thing to do
this afternoon,
having watered the
flowers
and taken my daily dose of mid-day sun
and washed the dishes
and swept
and vacuumed
and planned the menu
for dinner tonight

-that
being not a big issue, involving
only a quick
check
on the computer
to find the shortest route
to the nearest Popeye's -

and there I was
in the bathroom, trimming my beard

-having
decided a couple of weeks ago
to cut it down
to  bristle level every three
or so days,
it doesn't involve taking
up a major portion of a dead
afternoon -

and looking at my near-naked face
in the mirror
the thought came to me
that I hadn't seen my head,
that is,
the shape
and curvature of it,
and the various bumps and hollows
usually hidden under my hair,
since the first day of basic training
at Lackland Air Force  Base in San  Antonio
a little more than 45 years ago

and the thought occured to me
that a fella ought to see
his head,
size
and shape
and bumps and so forth
more than once every 45 years
and
having done all my chores
with nothing else to do,
it only made sense
to go down and get all my hair shaved
off

and so I did

and now I can say it's
positively true
that there's absolutely nothing especially
interesting
about my head
except for all the skin
showing through
which I don't remember
from 45 years
ago
and I'm already suspecting
I
really don't like my head
all that much
at all...

but I figure,
what the hell, hats are cheap

-free,
actually,
in many places if you tell 'em
you're thinking of buying
a John Deere
tractor
next time  you need a farm implement -

of course,
the hat won't do anything
about the ears...

maybe
some duct tape...










Now I have a poem by Pablo  Neruda, from  his small book, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. The small book is a Penguin Classic, reprinted in 2004.



Leaning into the Afternoons

Leaning into the afternoons I cast my sad nets
towards your oceanic eyes.

There i the highest blaze my solitude lengthens
   and flames

I send out red signals across your absent eyes
that move like the sea near a lighthouse.

You keep  only darkness, my distant female,
from your regard sometimes the coast of dread emerges.

Leaning into the afternoons I fling my sad nets
to that sea that beats on your marine eyes.

The of night peck at the first stars
that flash like my soul when I love you.

The night gallops on its shadowy mare
shedding blue tassels over the land








Here's another poem from under the influence of brain freeze disease. When flu is done eating my brain I'm hoping it  leaves a  little behind.



melancholy morning

something
about  a dense morning fog
that suggests
all that is missing
in my life

clarity

that's what I miss
the most

the days when I knew
the answers,
knew how all the mysteries
could be  solved
with a simple accusatory finger
pointing
at the butler,
or  the corporations, or the unions,
or the commies,  or the fascists,
or the despoilers, or those who hinder
the  despoilers, or  the priests, or the anti-religionists,
or our mother/father/6th grade teacher
the other under  whatever  guise

I just cannot  help  it

I am of a people
who like it when things
work out, simple
answers
and painless conclusions

imagining clarity
where the  fog  is thickest,
real answers
lost  in shrouds of  ambiguity

but I have lost the faith,
finding no answers, instead,
only melancholy
mornings
in  the  dim shifting
fog
of days like today








The next poems from the anthology  are by Diane DiPrima, one of the founding poets of the beat generation.



Revolutionary Letters
Dedicated to Bob Dylan

#1

I have just realized that the stakes are myself
I have no other
ransom money, nothing to break or barter but my life
my spirit measured out, in bits, spread over
the roulette table, I recoup what I can
nothing else to shove under the nose of the maitre de jeu
nothing to  thrust  out the window,  no  white flag
this flesh all I have to offer, to make the play with
this immediate head, what it comes up  with, my move
as we slither over this Go board, stepping always
(we hope) between the lines

#4

Left to themselves people
grow their hair.
Left to themselves they
take  off  their shoes.
Left to themselves they make love
sleep easily
share blankets,dope & children
they are not  lazy or afraid
they plant  seeds, they smile, they
speak to one another.The  word
coming into its own:  touch of love
on the brain, the ear.
We  return with the sea, the tides
we return as often as leaves, as numerous
as grass, gentle,  insistent, we remember
the way
our babes toddle barefoot through the cities of the universe

#12

the vortex of creation is the vortex of  destruction
the vortex of artistic creation is the vortex of self destruction
the vortex of political creation is the vortex of flesh desgtruction
          flesh is in the fire,  it curls and terribly wraps
          fat is in the fire, it drips and sizzling  sings
          bones are in the fire
                      they crack  tellingly in
                      subtle hieroglyphs of oracle
           charcoal  singed
           the smell of your burning hair
for every revolutionary must at  last will his own destruction
rooted as he is in the past he sets out to  destroy








And now another from the next book.



I used to wonder about the purpose of life

I used to
wonder about
the purpose
of life
and my place in
it...

now
I wonder
why I'm standing in front
of the Frigidaire
at 6:30
in the morning,
door open,
refrigerated light illuminating
all  the staples,
ketchup
mustard
Miracle Whip
Stubbs BBQ sauce
liver  sausage and
punkmunster cheese
along with  a week's worth of
leftovers
in varying shades of green...

then I see them...

my keys...

and now I wonder
how my keys got into the
refrigerator
and why I knew
to look
for them  there
in the first 
place

and thus begins
another week
in a life of
mystery,
my purpose in it
clearly
to appreciate the ever-expanding
horizons
of my
confusion








Next, from the book, One Hundred Poems from the Chinese, edited and translated by Kenneth Rexroth, I have several short  poems by Su Tung Po who was born in 1037 to a family of literati, he was a poet, writer, painter and statesman during China's Song dynasty. He died in 1101.



Looking from the Pavilion Over the Lake
27th, 6th month, written while drunk

Black clouds spread across the sky
Like ink. I can no  longer
See the mountains. Hailstones rebound
From the roofs of the boats.
A whirlwind sweeps out from the
Shore and is suddenly gone.
From the pavilion over
The lake the water has become
Indistinguishable from the sky.


The Southern Room  Over the River

The room is prepared, the incense burned.
I close the shutters before I close my eyelids.
The patterns of the quilt repeat the waves of the river.
The gauze curtain is like a mist.
Then a dream comes to me and when I awake
I no longer know where I am.
I open the western window and watch the waves
Stretching on and on to the horizon.


Epigram

I fish for minnows in the lake.
Just born, they have no fear of man.
And those who have learned,
Never come back to warn them.


At the Washing of My Son

Everybody wants an intelligent son.
My intelligence only got me into difficulties.
I want only a brave and simple boy,
Who, without trouble or resistance,
Will  rise to the highest offices.








Still battling the tail end  of  the flu.



gloomy day

a gloomy day,
starts  gloomy
stays gloomy,
dark
look of might-rain
which means nothing
except that it might be a gloomy
day where it might have have rained
but didn't

doesn't
mean a thing about
whether
it's gonna rain or not

---


listening
to Johnny Cash
at Folsom Prison,
the "Man in Black"
on a black day,
how in his later years
the man could reach into
your soul, make a believer out of you,
at least as long as he sang
his songs

such American stories
he  told,
such old  stories
retold

---

near 10 a.m.
cars pass on Broadway,
lights on
in the dim...

---

a devil-day
some might say
looking into the dark,
Armageddon just over the hill,
down the street
three blocks
on the  right near the Tidy Suds
washateria

---

first day in a week
on my unmedicated own

dreams trip over
shards of
real
like shattered  glass
on cracked  side-
walks








The next poem from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry is by Amy Gerstler, poet, novelist, and journalist.



A Non-Christian on Sunday

Now we heathens have to town to ourselves
We lie around, munching award-winning pickles
and hunks off coarse, seeded bread smeared
with soft,  sweet cheese. The streets seem
evacuated, as if Godzilla had been sighted
on the horizon, kicking down skyscrapers
and flattening cabs. Only two people
are lined up to see a popular movie
in which the good guy and the bad guy trade
faces. Churches burst  into  song. Trees wish
for a big wind. Burnt bacon and domestic tension
scent the air. So  do whiffs  of lawnmower  exhaust
mixed with the colorless  blood of clipped hedges.
For whatever's about to come crashing down
on our heads, be it bliss-filled  or  heinous,
make us grateful. OK? Hints of the savior's
flavor   buzz on  our tongues, like crumbs
of a sleeping pill shaped like  a snowflake.








A breakfast observation from the next book.



the very proper lady in the black Sunday dress

the very proper
lady
in the black Sunday dress
and jeweled necklace and dangly earrings
blows her nose
into a tiny lace handkerchief

and her eyes
bulge
like a bug's or maybe like
a big spotted frog caught wide awake
on her lily pad
at midnight
thinking silverfish thoughts

and
her ears
I swear they're flapping
and I'm thinking
holy shit
her  head's gonna explode
like the bad guy's
at the end of the Indiana Jones movie

and I don't know
if I should watch
or shield my eyes from the sight
so I compromise
and peek through my fingers
and watch
as the pressure slowly eases
and her head shrinks
back to regular size and her ears
like again supine at rest against her head
and her  eyes slink back
into mean little slits like when she came
in
but I didn't notice them
like I do now
that is is one evil woman
in her proper black dress and jewelry
and hanging earrings
and by gosh
I'm glad she didn't blow u[
or I'd probably have evil debris
gunk dripping all over me

a pretty scary experience
for this early in the morning
but it is one of the reasons
I like to have breakfast here -
you meet the most  interesting
people
and other creatures
one
can't be entirely
sure
about










Now I have a poem by Ralph Angel from his book  Neither  World, winner of the 1995 James Lauglin Award of The Academy  of American Poets. It was published by the Miami University Press.



Like Land Crabs

skittering sideways
when the moon drives by, the blank stare
of the boulevard and everyone carrying something.

Eating a double-dog chili burrito
seems like a perfectly natural thing to do.
Nothing much matters because
so much turns into a face

that looks back at you. Blundering,
I think. It's out of the question, the night.
Out of the hands at the ends of my arms
on the hips of the lush who's undressing me.

Everyone keeps getting in
and out of cars. I'm electrified
by earth shoes, a solitary goat dance,
the weird expanse of parking lots,
glittering, peopled with loneliness.

Past news racks and policemen, past
all-night doctors carving up corners
in bedsheets of torn light, I follow a friend
who swears I know where I'm going
among headless palm trees
and other fences.

"Bring on the coffee," I hear myself
say as you reach over and turn on
the radio, "I didn't know I was already driving,"
I brake for a stop sign.
The earth speeds up a little.








Still getting over  the flu. No really sick, just disassociated, like I'm not fully present and accounted for.



diorama
 
morning
 
north wind
blows hard against  me,
cold  hand
on the nape of my neck.
trickles under my coat
down my back
 
clear blue  sky
sharp as a diamond's cutting edge
 
bright sun
like broken glass  falling
 
long night's sleep
waking
to a  five-year old's
diorama
world,
construction paper
city
construction paper
world
bright colors
sharp corners










Next from The Outlaw Bible of American  Poets is Eileen Myles, who writes about art and literature in a number of national magazines. Winner of the Lambda Book Award for her collection School  of Fish, she was also co-editor of The New Fuck You/Adventures in Lesbian  Reading.



I Always Put My Pussy...

I always put my pussy
in the middle of trees
like a waterfall
like a doorway to God
like a flock of birds
I always put my lover's cunt
on the crest
of a wave
like a flag
that I can
pledge my
allegiance
to.This is my
country. Here,
when we're alone
in public.
My lover's pussy
is a badge
is a night stick
is a helmet
is a deer's face
is a  handful
of flowers
is  a waterfall
is a river
of blood
is a bible
is a hurricane
is  a soothsayer.
My lover's  pussy
is a battle cry
is a prayer
is lunch
is wealthy
is happy
is on teevee
has a sense of humor
has  a career
has  a cup of coffee
goes to work
meditates
is always alone
knows my face
knows my tongue
knows  my hands
is  an alarmist
has lousy manners
knows  her mind

I always put
my pussy in the middle
of trees
like a waterfall
a piece of jewelry
that I wear
on my chest
like a badge
in America
so my lover & I
can be safe.







Here's another from the sometime-to-be New Days and New Ways book.



chaos management

"I am not afraid of chaos  because chaos is the womb of light and life. What
I don't like is mismanagement of chaos."
          - Franketienne,Haitian author, poet, playwright, painter

there are patterns  to the
universe,
from the orbits of galaxies
to  the circling
of  the  tiniest electron
around it's mother-neutron
anchor
to the greening and falling
of leaves
to the daily commute
of bankers and painters
and donut makers
to the soft  sleep of babes and the long
dry nights
of old and time-worn men
all circling

all circling
each circle a world within itself
inter-acting with its  fellows in shadows
of confusion,
lie looking  at the color  patterns
of gumballs
encased in glass,
patterns seen only through a one-eyed
squint from some great distance, the further  away
the clear becomes the organization
red upon green next to blue under yellow,
each placed in a structured chaos,
indestructible unalterable manageable
only through the indirection
of unseen hands
that mus never fumble
or chaos will  solidify and all the circles
will stop their spinning
and fall to the lethargy of inertia stilled
and all that is will,  like Lot's  wife,
turn to salt crumbling on a silent plain
in a steady wind of never-
again








Last for the week from The Outlaw Bible  of American  Poetry, I have two short poems by Sonia Sanchez, co-founder of one of  the first African-American studies  university programs in the United States.



A Poem for  Jesse

your face like
summer lightning
gets caught in my voice
and i draw you up from
deep rivers
taste your face of a
thousand names
see you smile
a new season
hear your voice
a wild sea pausing in the wind.


On Passing thru Morgantown, Pa.

i saw you
vincent  van
gogh perched
on those  pennsylvania
cornfields communing
amid secret black
bird societies. yes,
i'm  sure that it was
you exploding your
fantastic  delirium
while in the
distance
red indian
hills beckoned.









Now, last this week from the next book, New Days and New Ways.





the good old days of mid-life  crisis management
 
having
deep thoughts
this morning about
"Duck Soup" the Marx bros
classic,
or was the that Stooges
epic
"Duck, Soup"
or was it Soupy Sales'
big hit
collaboration with Pinkie Lee;
"Pink Soup"
or was it the John Waters'
thing
about pink flamingos
or  is that a cocktail at the
gay bar
at the corner
of Smith and Wesson,
downtown
 
I
think that might be
the reason
nobody takes me seriously,
I"m always forgetting little things,
great on concept
but lacking in  details...
 
like the fellow and the girl
in the booth
in front of me, middle-aged
man, mid-life crisis
in cowboy boots, longish hair
well-moussed,
curly in the back
bald on top
and the girl, pretty,
blond, 15, maybe 20 years
behind him
in the chronological sphere,
probably
has a pink poodle
named Fluffer
or Poots
 
I get the concept,
but the details, will,  I  don't know,
leaving me to  wonder,
should I pity the poor fool
or envy him...
 
or should I just admit
he reminds me of me
when I try to go to sleep at night,
minus the boots
and the hair
and the convertible (did  I forget
to mention the convertible)
and the young blond
and with an extra 20 years
added to the old tick-tocker, victim
of the longest  continuously
running
mid-life crisis since
Genghis Kan
 










I wrote  this thing right at  the  beginning of my not-quite-over flu experience. I  didn't intend to use it, but, lets face it, it's time to post and I'm a poem short.




I dissemble convincingly
 
been up
for  nearly three hours now
and the bug
says
time  to get your  acey-duecy ass
back to bed
 
but
work to  do
I protest
 
commitments
to keep
 
maybe
I can get all  that done  this
afternoon
I dissemble convincingly
to my own  self
 
until  then
my acey-deucy ass
is going back to bed









That's it.

Everything belongs to the ones who made it.

If you want my stuff, take it. Just properly credit "Here and Now" and me.

I'm allen itz, owner and producer of this blog.



I have books for sale (haven't run out yet). Here's what they are and where to get them.


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

highly reputable places all

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


Salvador - The Dreamer




 

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Candygram   Wednesday, January 23, 2013





Rushing to finish this. After bragging  about how I haven't  had a cold or flu in two years, today I'm  coming down  with one or the other. This done, a two-day nap in store.

Don't  ask  me to explain  the  title of  this  post...because I can't.

I  mention somewhere  in the post my intention  to go  to the coast to get new pictures. That  didn't  work out, so  I'm using  old photos  from there,  Corpus Christi, about mid-way of  the Texas Gulf Coast. I lived there for fifteen very good  years, in fact,  some of the  best years  of my life, both personally and professionally.

 The time  frame on  the pictures range from about five years ago to just a couple of  months  ago.

In addition  to the pics, I have the regular menu of  excellent poems from an  anthology, excellent  poems from  my library, and okay poems  from me, new and old from  a book  I have planned for later in  the year.

Specifically,  these:


Me
harvest
 
Jack  Hershman
Haiti
 
Me
bang
 
Pat  Mora
Chuparrosa: Hummingbird
 
Me
you must remember this
 
Jim Carroll
Facts
 
Me
who needs it
 
Sidney Wade
Rejected Mafia Nicknames
What Kind of Cars They Drove
This Mind is Buddha
Tozan's Pretzels
We Have Chocolate  Pudding
 
Me
a fan of little things
 
Vandana Khanna
Bowl
 
Me
finding  my book in a second-hand bookstore
 
Joe Brainard
Van Gogh
Sick Art
Art
 
Me
beacon
watching rain
 
Charles Harper Webb
Weeb Dreams He's Thrown in Jail for Becoming Discouraged  in Public 
 
Me
gone  forever
 
Joan Jobe  Smith
Aboard the Bounty
 
Me
the cootie conundrum
 
Robert Bonazzi
A Stray Arrow  from Chaos
 
Me
morning after
 
Alan  Kaufman
The Saddest Man on Earth
 
Me
Monday notes
 
Brian  Chan
by Wicklight
 
Me
no end to  it
 
Kathleen Wood
The  Wino,  The Junkie and The Lord
 
Me
squashed armadillos and other mythic creatures of the Texas plain
 
Me
turning
 
Me
stuff about stuff
 
Me
concrete gardens
 








harvest
 
a great morning
after10 days of  cold
 
sun
bright and yellow
 
pasture fresh mowed,
golden  grass
fresh cut
and thrown from the tractor in rows
 
deer
graze along the rows
 
little holes dug
around the base of oaks
 
holes
like those doodlebugs
make  in fine, loose
earth
 
holes made by squirrels
retrieving
their bounty of acorns
 
winter sustenance
earned earlier in the labors
of summer and fall
gathering
 
I,
nearing another in a  long line
of birthdays,
gather my own, right here
right now
 
here...
 
let me share my harvest
with you 
 
 
 
 








Here's the first poem from my anthology of the week, The Outlaw Bible of  American Poetry.

The poem is by Jack Hershman. His books include A Correspondency of Americans, Black Aleps,
Lyripol, and The Bottom Line.



Haiti

One day in the future these sounds are seeds of,
there will  be a moment when not even the monkeys chirp in the
     trees,
when burros will hold their brays,
when the coconut-milky clouds will not  stir in the sky,
when the thatchwork of huts will not  be gossiping,
and there is no breeze or sweat between you body and your rags.
One day when that moment lived for years, for centuries, is here
and everything is still
like death
or zombie bread holding its breath,
a drum will begin sounding
and then another and another, multiplying,
and the voices of the simidors will  be heard in every field.
And the backs,
those backs with everything written on them,
which have bent like nails hammered into the wooden cross
of the land of ages,
will plunge their arms into the ground
and pull out the weapons they've planted.
For the drums aren't an invitation to a voodoo ceremony.
The voices of the simdors are singing another song.
The lambis are growling lions of Africa.
and it isn't the cranium of a horse hung on the wooden cross
braided with limes;
it isn't a wooden cross at all that's planted in the good earth
of new Haiti.

On the night of that day of the taste of a mango will be
a rapturous fireworks bursting and dying into
the ecstasy of the simple truth in our mouths.
Our acres will sleep with their arms around each other.
The child freed from terror and death will bound with
the boundless, and the maize amaze the sky upon waking
for as long as humanity is.









Here's the first this week of poems from my next book, New Days, New Ways.



bang

i believe
we are all children

of the big bang
and that nothing truly new

has been added to the mix
since.

and while I don't know  what came before
the bang

I'm guessing we'll figure it out
before the end...

multiple bangs, maybe;
bangs withing bangs;
bangs bouncing off bangs
like a six bank corner pocket
hustle;
perpetual bang,

one bang banging another
like steel balls hung from strings

banging one after the other
in forever and ever progression;

bangs banging out here, banging in
somewhere else -

that's one to imagine,
creation in reverse, the Garden of Eden

returning to unplowed field -

or it could be a single, once-and-only
bang -

that would make us really something,
us and all the universe we know or don't,

our stars,
the only stars anywhere...

somehow,
I just don't feel that special









Here's a poem by Pat Mora. The poem is from her book, Chants, a Southwest Book  Award winner first published by Arte Publico Press in 1984, with funding from grants by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Texas Commission on the Arts.



Chuparrosa: Hummingbird

I buy magic meat
of a chuparrosa from a toothless  witch
who catches it as it sips flower-wine.
She fills her palms with blooms,
and the bird dives into  perfumed petals for the last  time
The with claps her hands hard
and blossoms float away,
but the small body is still,
as the bruja plucks the ruby and emerald feathers:
soft pillow for her  grandchild's head.
She  dries the meat, magic meat,
which I buy to sprinkle in your wind
so you will see me, only me.
And you do.
You hover.
Your eyes never wander.
More and more
on hot afternoons
I sleep
to escape your gaze.








Netflicks subscribers should check out "The Molly Maguires," an old and very good movie starring Sean Connery between Bond movies.


 
you must remember this
 
I  remember
both things  that are
and  things  that aren't
 
I remember Holmes
in the "Hound of the Baskervilles"
deducing from scratches around a keyhole
that a character drinks too much
and too often, comes home
drunk and has trouble fitting his doorkey
into the keyhole
 
I remember  that
every time  I have difficulty
unlocking my door in the dark, feeling a need
to  reassure the neighbors
that, no, I am not 
drunk
 
I also remember
a middle  section in the book,
a  subplot  that is author's feint, suggesting
a motive for the nefarious affairs
afoot, a  subplot that provides a backstory
on Holmes' client, Sir Charles Baskerville,
who, it turns out, was a detective in his earlier life,
infiltrating the Molly Maguires,
then being discovered eventually,
becoming convinced
of the rightness of their cause....
 
but it turns out, no  matter how clearly
I remember it,
this is not found anywhere in the "Hound of the Baskervilles,"
being instead from another book, (the last Holmes book) "The Valley of Fear"
which I do not remember ever  reading, or even ever
knowing of before...
 
such is the memory of an elder poet, content
to make  up memories when the annals of real life
do not sufficiently amuse, an entertainment
for long days and nights, but a danger
when the made-up becomes the better part
of reality...
 
leaving a fear  that persists, like that of falling, in knowing
that much of the most interesting parts of my life,
places I've been, people I've known
could well  be only the remembered dreams
of a poet with too much invention
in his life















The next poem from the anthology, The Outlaw Bible  of American Poetry,  is by Jim Carroll, the poet, musician and diarist, best known for the memoir of his turbulent youth, The Basketball Diaries.



Facts

Its own wisdom has
Left Holland in ruins.

If you repeat the words
                                      "Medulla Oblongata"
Long enough over and over you will
Collapse to the ground and hear the sound
Of the first drum developed by homo erectus man.

When Oscar  Wilde lay on his death bed,
Penniless and disgraced,
In a cheap boarding room in France,
He  stared dimly to the window and muttered:
"Those curtain are absolutely horrendous;
One of us simply has to go."

He then sank into the pillow, shut his eyes and died.

If Angela Lansury sneezed
While swimming underwater
It would take exactly one second
For the sound to travel one mile
And be heard by, say, a sea otter or a pilot whale.

Though they have tried to squash the facts
There is enduring evidence
That when Wallace Stevens died
An unspecified number of blackbirds
Flew through the windows
Of the mortuary where he lay
Removed his eyeballs with their beaks

And flew away, carrying both eyes
To the Florida Keys, depositing them
Softly into the green waters above the coral  reef.








Here's another 2011 poem from New Days, New Ways, the next book, due sometime this summer.



who needs it

the truth is
I'm 67 years old
diabetic,
eyes and feet
on the road to ruin
at  about the same
pace
as the gray cells of remaining
intellect
keep on popping like
microwave
popcorn...

the truth is
I'm an increasingly creaky
cog
in an unimportant machine,
long past warranty,
subject
soon to recycling
by some eight-year-old
radiation mutated
child
in some poor slum in
Brazil...

the truth is
sooner rather than later
I will  die,
probably a lingering
death
given the miracles
of  modern medicine,
tubes sprouting,
plugs plugging, intricate
machines of terminal torture
wheezing
night and day by my bed...

the truth is
if I'm right about the absence
of God
in this universe
I will, once the machines are silenced,
dissolve into the realm
of atomic particles
too small to be seen with anything
but the strongest microscope;
and if I'm wrong
and there is a God out there,
who, if his literature is to be believed,
is a bloody, vengeful cat with hostility
issue regarding those who did not believe
in his ever-powerful, ever-present
presence,
I'll be whole and intact, heading
head over heels
to the fiery boundaries of hell
where I will burn and burn and burn...

the truth is
I could write a better story than that
any day before the sun rises
complete
with five and dime crayon
illustrations...

the truth is
who the fuck needs the truth
when the truth
offers no good ending to
anything

and the truth is
I'll take all the lies
I can life with and mostly can't
live without...

you tell me yours,
and
I'll tell you mine










Next I  have poems  of a unique sort by Sidney Wade. The poems are  from her book, Stroke,  published in 2007 by Persea Books. Wade, a Professor  of  English at the University of Florida, has published  four collections of her own poetry, as well as translations from Turkish in  various periodicals.



Adam and the Snake Prepare to Recite Some Verse

Snake
says

let's
go
mesmerize
some
pomes

Adam
says

I
prefer
to 
mammarize
them


After the Flood, Frogs

assemble,
whirp
and
fart,
dissemble,
delve
and
throng,
prolonging
the
agglutinant
song
of
themselves


Stroke of Genius

windfall
display
of
art

playing
a
signal
part

flaying
the
heart

of
indignant
enigma

prol










This was the plan for the weekend on the coast mentioned earlier that didn't work out because of really  lousy weather. The  poem also almost didn't work out, accidentally deleted, then recreated as best I could remember. I think, like fish, the best version got away.



old homes left behind

taking
a little trip
in a couple of hours

a two-hour  drive
to the coast,
to Corpus Christi first,
the city where I lived for fifteen years
before ambition drew me to the hills
twenty years ago

I'll see if any old haunts
remain - it seems
every time I visit, a few more are gone,
the old city slipping away, a whole new city
grown up on the south side where
grain and cotton
were the only cash crops before...

I'll wander around downtown, called now
in my hotel  brochure
"the downtown entertainment district"

(which some years ago it was, until the folks
at the old folks home complained about the noise

we'll see, I guess,
maybe all the old folks died
or have become accustomed to noise with their oatmeal)

breakfast
tomorrow morning
at the top of the Omni,
the bay and bayfront laid out,
the water rippling
in early morning tide,
shinning orange and red
under the rising sun,
the lights of the shipyards
tiny pin holes through dim early morning
on the other side
off the bay...

---

taking the long way home tomorrow,
across the bay bridge
to North Padre and Mustang Island,
stopping for pictures of the beach
and the fishing boats
in Port Aransas,
then the ferry across the ship channel,
back to the mainland, first Aransas Pass,
then down the coast to the little cities
that lap the water's edge,
Ingleside by the Bay,
Rockport,
Fulton, with lunch
at Charlotte Plummer's,
pictures  along the way if  I can find anything
I haven't  snapped before...

after lunch,
west to the flat highways of the coastal  plains,
plowed fields on either side, fields
settled in for winter, awaiting
early grain, and the wind farms, new,
spread along the coast,
facing southeast to catch the constant gulf winds,
winds converted to electricity,
the sustenance that  feeds our civilization,
then, pasture and old oaks
spreading wide across low hills
that grow over the miles to the curves
and up  and down highways
of hill country
highways,
just past my home in my little divide
between rolling ridges and
the creek
that runs alongside it...

home
at the end of day,
old homes left behind
again









Next, from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, these (I'm not sure what to call them - except funny) by Mike Topp. Born in Washington, D.C., top, Topp, at the time of  publication lived in New York City and was a member of the Unbearables, described  as a loose collection of noir humorists, beer mystics, anarchists, and debunkers.



Rejected Mafia Nicknames

Vanilla
Kitty
Jughead
Senor Wences
Marcel Duchamp
Archilochus
Tony the Logical Positivist
X-15
Gideon
Achilles Fang


What Kind of Cars They Drove

Albert Einstein                                        1955 Buick Century
Delmore Schwartz                                  1958 Mercury Montclair Phaeton
Norman Mailer                                       1960 Plymouth Fury
Ian Fleming                                            1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria
Cardinal Richelieu                                 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood
Sitting Bull                                             1962 De Soto Firedome Convertible
Jackie Robinson                                     1962 Chevrolet Impala
Gertrude Stein                                         1962 Chevrolet Impala
Ramses II                                               1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
Ludwig  Wittgenstein                            1960 Chevrolet Impala
Santa Claus                                            1960 Ford Falcon
Richard Wagner                                     1960 Ford Thunderbird
Mr. Ed                                                    1960 Dodge Dart Station Wagon
Flipper                                                    1964 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
                                                                (with water)


This Mind is Buddha

Two monks were arguing about whether their train was moving. One
    said:
"Our train is moving."
             The other said: "The train on the tracks next to us is moving."
              The sixth patriarch happened to be walking down the aisle. He
asked them: "Would I look good in short shorts?"


Tozan's Pretzels

A monk asked Tozan  when he was eating  some pretzels: "What is
    Buddha?"
            Tozan said: "These pretzels are making me thirsty."


We Have Chocolate Pudding

When Banzan was walking through the Union Square greenmarket he
overheard a conversation between a vendor and his customer.
         "Do you have chocolate mousse?" asked his customer.
         " We have chocolate pudding," replied the vendor.
          At these words Bazan became enlightened.

              








Here, from the next book, a paean to all the little better things..



a fan of  little things

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

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










Next, I have this poem by Vandana Khanna, from her collection, Train to Agra. The book was published by the Crab  Orchard  Review and Southern Illinois University Press in 2001.

Khanna, born in New  Delhi, has lived most of her life in the U.S. She attended the University of Virginia and received her M.F.A. from Indiana University.



Bowl

My head in the basket of her folded thighs,
she rubbed my hair, fingers thick from kneading
wheat bread that sold quickly at Sunday markets.
Flat cushions firm on my scalp, wrists that smelled
of vanilla and coconut oil.

She left my father in the hospital, left  his breath
falling through the air, and slipped under the hot
sheets of my bed. It was then she let her bones
sigh against the painted wall of my room, her spine
like the trunk of a mango tree, curving.

Sometimes she spoke of things that could not be touched,
told stories I could eat, burning my throat
as the words went down.

Mostly, she cupped my head like a bowl asking
to be filled, listened to car horns and cicada
through my window, undid he braid  in her hair.
It fell around sharply -
silver-black  as rain under streetlights.









Finding the book in a second-hand bookstore was a something new, but I have before sat in a coffee shop  watching people read my book, not knowing who  I was or that I was watching.

It was very strange to watch them read to each other, laughing; the almost  overpowering urge to rush over to see what poem they were laughing at - to see if the poem they were laughing at was a poem that was meant to be funny or if it was my incompetence they were laughing at.



finding my book in a second-hand bookstore

so I found my book
in a second-hand bookstore
in a city far from home

do  I think:

oh, wonderful someone read my book
and brought it here
so that it might be purchased
and enjoyed by a second reader...

or:

oh, woe, this book, this labor of love,
discarded,done,old news, no
leaves pressed between the pages.
no careful preservation for poetry-minded
progeny, a  remembrance forgot,
not to be cherished and saved for another generation,
or maybe for a current lover
who will hold it as dear  as
they hold you,
oh wonderful and sensitive  people
who sleep every night with a book of  fine
poetry tucked beneath their pillow
never to sleep over
mine...

or, simply,

oh, look, someone bought my book, money
in my pocket,  easy-earned cash from a few
small scribbles

on  the road to riches now,
let's go out for
dinner...

---

taking in the sights
in a new city, finding
the familiar
where never expected









The next poem from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry is by Joe Brainard. His books include I Remember and Bean Spasms.



Van Gogh

Who is Van Gogh?"
    Van Gogh is a famous painter whose paintings are  full  of inner turmoil and
bright colors.
     Perhaps Van Gogh's most famous painting is "Starry Night": a landscape
painting full of inner turmoil and bright colors.
     There are many different sides to Van Gogh, the man.
     When Van Gogh fell in love with a girl who didn't return his love he cut off
his ear and gave it to her as a present. It isn't hard to imagine her  reaction.
     Van Gogh's portrait of a mailman with a red beard is probably one of the
most sensitive paintings of a mailman ever painted.
     It is interesting to note that Van Gogh himself had a red beard.
     When Van Gogh was alive nobody liked  his paintings except his brother Theo.
Today people flock to see his exhibitions.
     Van Gogh once said of himself: "There is something inside me - what is
it."


Sick Art

Mona Lisa's smile often causes observes to overlook the fact that she has no
eyebrows.
     One skin specialist offered the suggestion that Leonardo da  Vinci's model was
suffering from a skin disease called alopicia. Alopicia is a skin disease in which
one has no eyebrows.
     On the other hand, many women in those days shaved their eyebrows and
Leonardo da Vinci's model may have just been following the fad.
    There is no doubt however, that Rodin's "The Thinker" had bunions on both
feet.
     Today, with modern art, it is not to easy to spot disease and physical dis
orders.
    Many doctors, however, have noticed a strong relationship between various
skin diseases and the paintings of Jackson Pollock.
     Fungus infections are very common in the art of the Middle Ages and the
Renaissance.


Art

Looking through a book of drawings by Holbein I realize several moments of
truth. A nose (a line) so nose-like.  And then I think to myself "so
what?" It's not going to solve any of my problems. And then I realize that at
the very moment of appreciation I had no problems. Then I decided that this is
a pretty profound thought. And that I ought to write it down. This is what I
have just done. But it doesn't  sound so  profound  anymore. That's art for you.









Here are a couple of shorter things from the next book, New Ways, New Days, a selection of poems from 2011.



beacon

tall  girl
with very white teeth
comes in

and, on this sun-shining
blue-sky day,
her smile is a beacon

of reflected light,
like crystals tossed into the air,
like diamonds

against
a  cloudless winter
sky

like
the  sun
rising high ad bright


watching rain
 
the rain starts
dry
with a mighty gust
of northwest wind;
then the rain,
sheets of cold, mountain-born wet...
 
on the  patio,
I shiver, step bare-fleshed
out to the grass, stand
flat-footed
against the blowing
rain, arms out-stretched,
soaking,
 listening to our no-name creek
roar
in a roiling flow
to Apache Creek and,
some days hence,
the Gulf of Mexico...
 
I watch the  puddles
form the grass turn
brown
to green even as the rain
falls











Next,  from  Charles Harper Webb, one of many funny poems in his book, A Weeb For All Seasons,  chronically the life  of  the poet's alter-ego, Weeb. The book was published by Applezaba Press in 1992.



Weeb Dreams He's Thrown in Jail  For  Becoming Discouraged in Public

I sit on a straw-stuffed bunk
and think "Jail's not so bad."
My social-worker  girlfriend
has  exaggerated. Through a crack
in the door, I see the sheriff's
office. He strides in,
swinging an iron key on a ring.

The phrase "toying with my freedom"
jumps into mind; but I forgive him.
He's tall, so clean-cut,
so well-built with such honest
eyes, he's sure to set everything
right. Except he leaves,
and in stumbles his deputy -

a wizened brown man with a twisted
leg, who trips over his  cane,
and curses with a hick accent.
I laugh. This beats Gunsmoke.
Then all at once the brown man
is leering through my bars.
"Looky out that winda, bo'ah."

I hear  fierce hammering
and sawing,  note the gallows
sprouted like  a magic beanstalk
outside my cell window.
"At's fer folks'et makes funa
m'laig." He spits tobacco
in my face and limps away

while, drenched in sweat,
I struggle to remember
if it's ACLU or UCLA
that I need, and what
the number is, and how,
in 1881, I'll never reach
a telephone by dawn.








This is the other half  of a trip to the coast excitement, the not so good half.



gone forever

return
after 30 years
and discover you knew
the people many streets are named for

and they're mostly
dead

still,
you think,
had I stayed here
I might have a  street
too

but you never think
you might be dead, too...

---

45 degrees
at 5 a.m. - wind from the north
blowing 40 miles  an hour

no sunny beach
today

---

eating breakfast
in front of wide, high windows,
waiting  to watch the  sun
rise,  instead a gray, sullen sky,
daylight
easing over
a gray, sullen bay,
water lapping
furious and frantic
at the seawall

but no sun
no shining disc
rising red over green waters

that  was another day

---

crossing the Oso causeway
high over the white-capped water,
th4e wind blowing
from high distant passes
like through  a five-mountain
funnel

the car  wants to fly
with the cold
wind

---

the  ferry will not run today,
all the little bay-side
villages
will be bundled up against the cold
and closed...

no pictures anywhere,
even on the beach, just dim sky,
dull water, nothing on the horizon
but more dim and more dull
sand from  the dunes behind me
blowing against my neck,
the grit of it
stinging,
suggesting it's time to go
home...

---

homeward
against the wind  that fights me,
pushes me back,  a longer
drive  with it in my face than at my back

lunch at Oakville, half-way home,
bar-b-cue sandwich, potato  
salad, and pinto beans with peach
cobbler chaser...

---

and the week-end's over,
Dee still down with a cold,but the dog
happy to see me, thought I had  left
forever

that's the way dog's think,
sometimes smarter than we are...

because that's the message here
if thee is one -

once a place is left, no matter
how dear, that  place is  gone
forever,
old  home  just old now,
never the place you remember

teaching you,
if you're willing to  learn,
that home  has to be where you are today
or you will be forever
homeless










My next anthology poet is Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl. She worked as a go-go dancer for seven years while completing here MFA from the University of California at Irvine. At the time the anthology was published she had published seventeen collections of poetry.



Aboard the Bounty

Onto the bar I walked, my first day on the job,
a go-go girl in the raw, onto the bar from the
dressing room where I'd shakily painted my face
with pink and gloss, combed my hair high and
brown, straightened my black stockings smooth,
onto the bar from the dressing room from my
apartment where I'd kissed my kids goodbye,
showed the nanny how to warm the baby's formula,
onto the bar from my dressing room from my
apartment the week after my husband left me,
the rent two weeks past due and I looked around
the bar at all the men drinking beer and laughing
and smoking cigars and cigarettes and watching
Robin whose name I didn't know yet dance some
dance I didn't know how to dance yet to the
Rolling Stones singing a song about a stupid girl
on the jukebox playing as loud as it would go
and a man waved to me to come here, he wanted
some beer, so I wont to him and he pointed up
at Robin, Robin who l I yet did not know, did not
know her stepfather raped her, one of her kids'd
been born brain damaged and the drunken man
pointed up at Robin's crotch and asked me, the
first thing a drunken man in a beer bar ever asked me
my first day on the job, a go-go girl in the raw:
Is that chick up there on the rag or is she really
a fag with her balls tied up in a jock?








Another from the next book.



the coot conundrum

From The New Time Book of Timely Definitions:
Cooties - The aura and essences of all living things;
That which follows behind all creatures large and small,
as well as immobile creatures such as trees and bushes and
rutabagas and carrots; The air breathed in and out, throught
left hanging incomplete; An insubstantial substance like the ghosts
of muddy footprints on a kitchen floor after scrupulous
mopping; a conceit of the dictionarily challenged.

so here's
the dilemma;

Kitty
the blind cat
loves dog cooties

while Reba
the deaf dog hates
cat  cooties - so

the dog-cootie
loving
cat

likes to sleep
on the dog's bed
because of all the readily available

dog cooties,
leaving behind
a surfeit of cat cooties

in the process, making
the dog's bed
entirely unacceptable

to the cat-cootie-hating
dog,
so the dog makes her self a bed

elsewhere,
which, in the course of a week or so,
accumulates a full helping

of
dog cooties,
which draws the cat to the new bed

having, in due course,
depleted
the original supply of dog cooties

in the old be,
leaving Reba the dog
once again out on a search

for a new cat-cootie-free
bed,
and, both of these animals

being highly intelligent, old,
and good-natured
homebodies,

I am concerned
that this constant shifting,
living like Gypsies

from tent to tent,
might harm them, being,
like I said, old,

well past the age
where they have any illusion
about change being their friend,

believing, as I do, that that kind of
change-is-your-friend baloney
is what we tell old people

as we begin
to repossess their home of fifty years
and nothing more












Next, I have a sequence by Robert Bonazzi, from his book, Maestro of Solitude, published by Wings Press in 2001.



Stray Arrows from Chaos

    I am every man
    Man wounded by nobody knows what
    By a stray arrow from Chaos
             - Vincent Huidobro


I

You inhabited endless evenings
in that single room
in no room
in no

I praised your  proud rituals
performed that ambivalent dance

Despair
you were my muse
my drug

II

What appeared as the abyss
now opens this wilderness

To know the old life exhausted
in labyrinths of memory

To express the spiritual
as thought creates the logical
equation for beauty

Only the transparent can be
one in form and content

III

Web on the ceiling -
would not  notice
except I stare
could climb a ladder
or stand on  a chair
(I do not move)

Textured web of a drab utopia -
electric Hamlet - Why a
void this?
                    (I leap to revise)

I have not  seen the spider in years

IV

O coffee bean of pure intelligence
this smoke a prescient intuition
yet no two mushrooms
are alike

The potted plant images the forest
the caged bird  recalls the jungle

I  learn to  live with stones in my mouth

V

Nocturnal  lope attentive in repose
everything moves to a staring eye

Flesh freshly sculpted breathes
in shadow reshapes insomnia
on the ceiling

Reality never perceived
without a moon

VI

The mirror invents dichotomies
knows silence reflects
on nothing

Mere  roar of your image
O tyger of symmetry

Your moon an absence
O muse of memory

Within  cells wander
withing  images wait

VII

I had  a dream
of wise Chuang Tzy

There is no me
there is no you

Windows in mirrors
mirrors in windows

I without focus and
you a parchment

VIII

Seeing trees
rooted in clouds
we evolve beyond
the figure of one
habitation

We say poetry is feeling
     feeling out way
feeling as fingers  feel
with casual certainity -

Yet the thumb is doubt

IX

The page opens an unread tree
light leaf of pleasure in shadow's  desire

Leaf  sails healing waters
refines shape
floats

X

By the way I've seen
The Tasman Sea by map
with a cheap fan for weather
near the eye of becoming
a variation on vision
by the way it moves












Sometimes I have a  problem sleeping due to back pain.  And sometimes when I  have  a problem  thinking, I take something  to help  me sleep. And every time I  do, I feel terrible  the next day.

You'd think I'd learn.



morning after
 
a little red pill
at bedtime
and now  the night
will not leave
me
 
the sun
risen and a pot of coffee downed
and still the world
is just a slit seen through  heavy
drooping
eyes
 
but
it is day
and the world waits
for me to do
the things it expects of me
 
so I will do  my
best
but offer
no guarantees
 
for it is,
for certain, the morning
after a red pill
night








Next from The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry is Alan Kaufman, whose books include Who Are We, American Cruiser, Before I Wake and an anthology, The New Generation: Fiction For Out Time From America's Writing Programs.



The Saddest Man on Earth

The saddest man on Earth...

ignored how  the rain felt
as he left home
for the last time

Wore down
his boot heels
searching for the woman
of his dreams
but never understood
that life is a woman

Lived in a town
where sadness was illegal
and where grinning
cops ticketed his face
so often
that he lost his license
to cry

The saddest man
on Earth
tuned guitars
but couldn't play them
cheated the IRS
of his own refund
fathered a child
who thought she saw
him in perfect strangers
yet didn't recognize
him face to  face

I met him once
in a bar
toasting the mirror
with is stare
He had come
south to start
life over

He was a
Mozart of silence








This is a  new poem, from Monday, this week.



Monday notes

overcast day
today

too bad

I  found my sunglasses
I couldn't find
yester-sunny-day

---

45 at sunrise
60 by noon, great for squirrel chasing
at the park, mostly Bella
chasing
while me, mostly I'll be watching

she'll never catch a squirrel
but she doesn't know
and I'm not telling


ambition -
it's important
even in a dog's life

---

hired a proofreader
for my next book, a young English major
and part time dance teacher, reminds
me of my niece, thin, long-legged and gawky,
bright-eyed, a believer in life

told her I'd have a clean copy
for her to proof
by next Saturday afternoon

work to  do...

---

homeless fella
walks past as he does every several days
about this time, older  fellow, my age
or almost,  portly,  stops to sit for a short spell
on the bench outside the restaurant, sets his backpack
on the bench beside him, a large, packed backpack, looks
heavy, a Teddy Bear tied to the back of the pack,
a grandpa, maybe, lost, a grandchild somewhere,  maybe,
waiting for  her Teddy

he moves on,
as do we
all

---

a little girl
across the way, a tiny little girl
could be three,  maybe
four, struggles to tie the drawstring
at the bottom of her little
coat...

wonder  if she needs another
grandpa, wonder if she would mind
if he smells and has  fat,  tired
feet...

she will move on
as  do we
all...

she
much further
than her might-could-be grandpa
and me









 
 





This next poem is from the anthology, Crossing Water, a collection of contemporary poetry of the English-Speaking Caribbean. The book  was published by the Greenville Review Press in 1992.

The poet is Brian Chan, a musician, painter, photographer,  movie-maker,  and writer born in Guyana.



By Wicklight

All texts shut,open all windows,
I am a glass of liquid flame,

dreaming a time when breadless books -
spires imposed on thatched roofs,

cathedrals  fashioned  over  an  abyss -
give way to books of timeless bread.

The piano locked, its fingers muse
a music where no dance is, beyond

the choked gold of measured strings,
the voices of  night returning

with its standard lights.  No mine,
this hand, this  page of  fading fire.

Drained my glass, smoke the oil.
A dark camel crosses the dry moon.









Sometimes, too much exposure to current events, and you have to wonder  how the human kind will ever survive in the long  run, or, even  why it bothers to  try.


no end to  it

so  tired
of living in a world
so full of stupid people

fools  every day, impossible
to live  a full life without exposing
oneself to them,  caves and hermits  and mountain tops
not  appealing to  one
not yet  ready
to  do without the rest of his kind...

politics
in general, whatever the current debate...

this time, guns - on one side slime people
willing to facilitate murder
for profit,
on the other  side hapless liberals
who flutter and flitter
and wail and moan
about the  injustice of rule
by the corrupt winners
of corrupt games
played in  the name of poor dead and debased
democracy, justice,  "the people"

the people,
dim,  compliant victims
off  their own thirst for the comfort
of lies
and well-paid liars, sellers of soap
who soft-soap the murder
of children

---

there will  be no  change
to it,
no end
to it,
no matter how tired I am
of it










And, finally this week, the last poem from the week's anthology, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. The poet is Kathleen Wood, author of The Wino, the Junkie and the Lord.

I chose the title poem from that collection to finish off the anthology.



The Wino, The Junkie and The Lord

I was on a bench at 18th and Val
Talking to a wino who said he believed in the Lord.
He said he needed money for dinner at McDonald's.
He said he wasn't asking for much.
I gave him a dollar.
He said he'd protect me whenever I was in the
neighborhood.
Because he always looked out
For the people who helped him.
He said he had good reasons
     for  being an alcoholic.
I told him I used to have good reasons for being an addict.
He asked me where I was going.
I said to an NA meeting on Eureka Street.
He said his daughters lived on Eureka Street.
And he hoped they turned out okay.
He wanted to know which drug I was addicted to.
I said several.
He said he wanted to know where the meeting was
Because the streets were dangerous at night.
He asked God to protect me
From the crazies in the dark.
He turned to a yuppie who stood nearby.
"I've got good reasons to be an alcoholic!"
The yuppie smiles at me and shook his head.
The bum asked the Load to keep us all.
Then he stumbled off down Valencia.
The yuppie muttered something about crazies.
Our bus arrived.









Here's a political poem from 2011. It will  be in the next book where it  will, unfortunately, still seem relevant.



squashed armadillos and other mythic creatures of the Texas plain

I know people
who are so far out
on the right fringe of ideology
they make Genghis Khan
look like a daisy-smoking, fire-spitting,
girly-walking, socialist liberal anarchist freak;
people who are like black holes,
ever circling
circling
circling
rightward into another dimension
where the rules of everything from gravity
to the basic laws of mechanics
and motion
are altered; where sunshine shines up
from the earth to the sun;
where dry rain falls
from arid skies;
where Glen  Beck makes  sense and
Sarah Palin
is a rocket scientist;
a place where 
tennis balls
and clouds never break to the left -

that kind of people,
people for whom I am a kind of token  lefty
among their circle of other true
believers...

on the other hand,
I know other people so reflexively left wind
they take forever to get to the supermarket because
they won't make right turns
and can only go places  they can get to
by making a series of left-turn boxes,
moving squared block by squared block
closer too their goal...

from their perch
high in the clouds of gooey-gooey
relativism
they bemoan my troglodyte tendencies,
my insistence on evolutionary theories of
gradual things-getting-betterism;
my understanding that the government is a creature of the people,
including people
who  care more about their next paycheck
than they do  about
academic theories of the casual effects
of meat-eating on
interpersonal  relationships between
prairie  grasses and endangered insects,
people who want things  to work
and don't  care
if a few cockroaches  get stepped on
in the process...

people
who my left-winger friends
care about
only after they're a hundred years dead
and can be re-configured
as working  class heroes
instead of just-plain folks living
just-plain lives
they find rewarding in their own bourgeois way...

my left-winger friends
for whom
I am a kind of token rightist,
good at parties
for the amusing of their ivory-tower friends
who luxurate in the dirty words
they were too prissy to use
before -
I'm a mean motherfucker,
they say,
now pass the brie
and hold the ammunition...

meanwhile
I often feel like the squashed armadillo
a former Texas politician
maintained
was the only thing ever in the middle of the road -

white stripe
ahead, white
stripe behind, it's an uncomfortable
way to live in these times










 No matter how much I look forward  to winter (and I do, a lot), I begin to look forward to spring the day after winter starts.



turning
 
winter
settles in
after autumn
settles  accounts
then spring
when a new book
opens
and we begin the story
of another turning
of the wheel
 
and it
turns
and it turns
until our story ends
and accounts
are settled
and
the fields
are fallow
and
the wheels
settle
and  wait
for another  spring
and
another turning
for another
story








Now, not last for the week, but last for the week from my next book, New Days, New Ways, due out this summer.



stuff about stuff

I got people
trying to tell me stuff
about stuff
they don't know no stuff
about

regular stuff, like
revealed religion  and secret rites of Masons
domestic and international politics
Siberian cookware
the birth and death of stars
tax laws regarding home office  deductions
the circulatory system of human beings and other mammalians
the secret socialist agenda of Barack Obama
the sex life of the Cantonese termite
and weight loss
made cheap and easy
amidst a bevy of buxom blonds in
bikinis

stuff like that

and I don't believe
people ought to be telling me stuff
about stuff
they don't know stuff about

having  an opinion,
it seems to me, ought to be predicated
on knowing stuff about the stuff
one is opinionating about

so
though I don't like to be rude,
from now on
instead of politely listening to people
pontificating
about stuff they don't know stuff about
I'm just going to tell them
that if they don't have the right stuff
they should just

stuff it!






 

Here's what I got to close the week.



concrete gardens

with age,
we come to accept
the limited future of our own
corporal self

harder
to accept, no matter how long our life,
that all  the works
of our kind
are equally limited
to their own moments in time,
longer  moments than our own, but still
all passing fancies, like us, that begin and end
on a schedule unknown  to us,
inevitabilities unknown to us until their moment
of denouement,
the whens and the whys,
the mystery lying before us, clues aplenty
all around us, the how-we-will-end
surely a final l play like those of all who ended  before us,
most all, some version
of suicide, a product of an aggressive, explosive nature
or just the weariness of existence overtaking the will to continue,
unrecognized until  the final  of the kind lifted its head
and  realized it was the last and no more
would follow...

it might be there are no examples
for us to study,
maybe all kinds find their own way
to kill themselves,
all inevitable ends reflecting the truth
that we are all  part of a universe of both births and deaths,
both equal and appropriate
to the  machinery
that keeps all  the universal wheels
turning









That's it.

Everything belongs to the ones who made  it.

If you want my stuff, take it. Just  properly credit "Here and Now" and me.

I'm allen  itz, owner and producer of this blog.



I have books for sale (haven't run out yet). Here's what  they are and where to get them.


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

highly reputable places all

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


Salvador - The Dreamer





 




 

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Who Tolls the Bells at Truth's Execution
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