The Shortest Stories Fill the Days   Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I return to Blaise Cendrars for more of his travel poetry instead of the customary anthology (which, come to think of it, hasn't been so customary for the past several weeks.) As I've said before, there's nobody in the world I would rather travel with than Condrars who seems to make himself at home no matter where he is and who sees all with wide-open and sympathetic eyes.

The book is Blaise Cendrars Complete Poems, first published by the University of California Press with translation by Ron Padgett, in 1992.

My photos for the week are mostly from the same places as last week's snow pictures, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, in just a different season, with a few ringers from Texas. The other exceptions are a couple of pictures taken in Germany in 1967, uploaded from a 35mm print as were several photos from the 1980s.

And, as usual. poems from my library and my own old and new poems.

Here they are:

 discussing the true nature of things with my dog

Blaise Cendrars
from Islands

I have a secret

Edna St. Vincent  Millay 
Three Songs of Shattering

good old joe

Blaise Cendrars
more from Islands

the woman weeps

Tony Hoagland
Dear John

cold facts of life and death in black and white

Blaise Cendrars
from The River
a great tree
M.S. Merwin
One  Valley

remember me the story of it

Blaise Cendrars
from Elephant Hunt

a sullen sun

Naomi  Shihab Nye
Brushing Lives
Morning Paper, Society Page
For the 500th Dead Palestinian, Ibtisam Bozieh

Animas in the a.m.

Blaise Cendrars
from travel notes

alive, alive-o

Gregory Orr

caution and commitment

Blaise Cendrars
more from Travel Notes

I hate it

Page Richards 
Looking Ahead
Folk Festival

               how is it possible?              

My first poem of the week, inspired by a picture of our dog Reba and my  wife, sitting together in the back yard in intense discussion. This was at least 5 years ago.

discussing the true nature of things with my dog

the true nature of things
with my dog
on a brisk winter's day

I find she and I have
only a few areas off agreement
but in those areas our agreement is
intense, like, for example,
the issue of birds' nests hanging
high and alone at the top
of winter bare trees which to both
of us is a lonely sight, yet equally a sign
of hope, for though the home
is vacant during these months, it remains,
waiting for the spring and spring's
new chicks, hanging there in their
bushy bed, protected and fed by their mother,
singing, preparing them for their life's  first flight

dog and I both see  life lessons
in these empty nests and the certainty
that in their time they will be filled again
with new life,  persistent life, coming
again in good time,  not deterred  by
the difficulties of a passing season...

dog knows that while there may not be
a soup bone today, the power that governs all
is preparing her bone for tomorrow, that is her lesson
taken from today's empty nests,
for me, I am reminded that tomorrow
is not yet  lost,
only waiting for me to find it,
to fill it again with
like a mother bird coaching
flight out of her chicks,
like her chicks,  finding the courage
to  take mother's advice to defy
the seemingly insurmountable force of
gravity, to confront the inertia of fear and
soar among the high clouds
according  to creation's grand


As I explain in this week's introduction, I'm putting aside the regular anthology section again this week to return to the travels of Blaise Cendrars.

from Islands

I. Chow

The little port is very busy this morning
Coolies - Tagals, Chinese, Malays - are unloading a big junk with a
    golden stern and sails of woven bamboo
The cargo is china from the big island of Japan
Swallow's nests harvested in the caves of Sumatra
Sea cucumbers
Pickled bamboo shoots
All the merchants are very excited
Mr. Noghi pretentiously dressed in an American-made checked suit
    speaks very fluent English
Which is the language these gentlemen use in their arguments
Japanese Kanaks Tahitians Papuans Maoris and Fijians

III. The Red-Crested Adder

Using he hypodermic needle he administers several injections of
    Doctor Yesin's serum
Then he enlarges the arm wound making a cruciform incision with the
He makes it bleed
Then he cauterizes it with a few drops of lime hypochlorite

IV. Japanese House

Bamboo stalks
Thin boards
Paper stretched across frames
There is no real heating system

VI. Rock Garden

In a basin filled with Chinese goldfish and fish with hideous mouths
A few have little silver rings through their gills

VII. Light and Delicate

The air is balmy
Amber musk and lemon flowers
Just being alive is true happiness

I hate to write introductions to my poems since it makes me feel  like I'm tell people what to think before they read the poem.

So starting right now, I'm not going to do it anymore. Instead, I'll just say "this is a new poem" or "this is an old poem." If it's an old poem, I'll say how old.

This poem was written in January, 2012.

That's it.

I have a secret

I mentioned
Ma and Pa Kettle
in  a crowded room
and no one knew what
I was  talking about

as in a couple of weeks
I will complete my 68th and begin
my 69th year on this earth,
a reminder of the things I know
that those still  struggling with the
challenges of youth
do not

important things
not  restricted to Ma and Pa Kettle
and The Bowery Boys
and Boston Blackie

important things,
I can  see,
for better or worse,
the string of  my life fraying
and know the  string which frays will  someday

an epiphany
denied to the young of 28
or  38 or 48 or even
who never  notice
the string of life
they traverse
in the humdrum of their daily
until the day
its sorry state is made clear to them

until then,
death is an unfortunate event,
affecting others,
never them in all their glorious

not that they think in those terms

and immortality,
issues, like the price of potatoes
in  Cambodia,
that just don't apply to them
no matter how many the see
laid out cold and still in a box,
no matter how many they follow
with their eyes as the unfortunate
are lowered into the earth, no matter
how many losses of those they know and those they love
they experience in their lives -

the  idea of one day it might be them lost,
them cold and still,
their physical essence beneath a mound of fresh turned earth

an abstract
like the collision of  galaxies  in a faraway star system

the relevance of death to  all living creatures,
the inevitability of decay's deconstruction,
is the  shock  that comes unbidden
on a birthday like the one I have coming,
the unwelcome candle that flutters and dies...

this flesh and blood recognition of the fate
of our own flesh and blood
comes only with the fatigue off age,
it cannot be imagined before the dues are paid -
innocence must be lost
before the loss of innocence can be known...

this is when
like me, begin to face
the all we still want to do
and the uncertain time we have to do it

I picked up a couple more books for my library last week. The first one was Early Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The book was published by Dover Publications in 2008.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, Millay was born in 1892 and died in 1950.

Three Songs of Shattering


The first rose on my rose-tree
    Budded, bloomed, and shattered,
During sad days when to me
    Nothing mattered.

Grief of grief has drained me clean;
    Still it seems a pity
No one saw, -it must have been
    Very pretty.


Let the little birds sing;
    Let the little lambs play;
Spring is here, and so 'tis spring -
    But not in the old way!

I recall a place
    Where a plum-tree grew;
There you lifted up your face,
    And blossoms covered you.

If the little birds sing,
    And the little lambs play,
Spring is here; and so 'tis spring -
    But not in the old way!


All the dog-wood blossoms are underneath the tree!
    Ere spring was going - ah, spring is gone!
And there comes no summer to the like off you and me, -
    Blossom time is early, but no fruit sets on.

All the dog-wood blossoms are underneath the tree,
    Browned at the edges, turned in a day;
And I would with all my heart they trimmed a mound for me.
    And weeds were tall on all the paths that led the way!


Like I said,  this is a new poem.

good old joe

this morning as I luxuriate in my first cup of coffee
the days when you could get a good cup
for the price of a nickel

sorry that those days are gone
and you can't hardly get a cup of just plain old joe
for less that two bucks fifty

that I'm old enough to remember
when good old joe
went for a

it's the worst part
of aging...

all those good old days
remembered, but
forever out of


Here's more from Blaise Cendrars, picking up again from where I left off.

more from Islands

X. Hatuara

She doesn't know anything about European styles
Her frizzy blue-black hair is swept up Japanese-style and held in place
    by coral pins
She is naked under her silk kimono
Naked to her elbows
Strong lips
Drowsy eyes
Skin like light copper
Small breasts
Opulent hips

The way she moves is alive and direct
The young look of a charming animal

Her specialty: the grammar of walking

Se swims the way your write a 400-page  novel
Beautiful sustained prose
She catches tiny fish which she holds inside her mouth
Then she dives straight down
Gliding between the corals and multicolored seaweed
Soon to reappear
Holding two big sea bream with silver bellies

So  proud of her brand new silk dress her houseshoes with gold
    embroidery her  pretty coral necklace given to her just this morning
She brings me a bucket of spiny and weird crabs and some of those
    tropical jumbo shrimp known as carrack that are as long as your hand


And this is an old one, another from January, 2012.

the woman weeps

the woman weeps

the coffin lowered slowly into the open grave

women all around weep  as well, women
who have sat where the weeping woman  sits
and women who someday will

the men watch, knowing
there is a box waiting for them
and a hole being dug
a little deeper
each day
to contain it

Also new to my library this week is What Narcissism Means to  Me by Tony Hoagland. Born in 1953, Hoagland is widely published and honored. The book published by Graywolf Press in 2003 was a Finalist for the National Book Critic Circle Award.

Dear John

I never would have told John that faggot joke
                     if I had  known that he was gay;
I really shot myself in the foot with that Neanderthal effort
to make a witty first impression

I thought he was just a skinny guy from New York City
with clean hands and allergies, come to Vermont
he knew mainly from the pictures on the side
                    of a gallon can of Log Cabin maple syrup.

I could tell he was  nervous about how real the maples really were,
and the guys in their flannel shirts and dirty hiking boots,
so I made my tasteless remark to put him at his ease.
That was before male idiocy had been

officially recognized as a chemical imbalance
but he forgave me and let me be his friend,
and I can say so without  sounding patriotic about myself,
there's something democratic

about being the occasional asshole -
you make a mistake, you apologize -
                and everyone else breathes easier -
John helped me through the whole lesbian thing

when Margie decided to take her feminism
in a recreational direction, and I got him a recording
of simulated gunfire and police sirens
to help him sleep through the towering
             old-growth silence of the Vermont night.

He still calls sometimes when his phone and memory
are working at the same time.
I don't know what he does for  sex or money
but it's taken me a decade to recognize the I love John,

- not for  his cuteness (he is)
or for his endearing manner of being always on the brink
          falling apart,
but precisely because he doesn't  ever threaten to love me back.

On someone like that you can lavish your affection
in perfect safety -
that's nothing to be proud of, I suppose -
and yet,  obscurely, I am.

 A new poem, beginning of a series, maybe.

cold truths of life and death in black and white

atop a rise
a mound of earth
an ancient burial mound
looking out over
a  snowed-over field
white field
black skeleton of  a winterized tree
thin black line of a frozen creek
five black horses
led by a white horse
ghost  against the snow
legs lifted high
above the snow

(Colorado, February,  2008)


Now, more Blaise Cendrars.

In the poet's turn of the century day, anyone who traveled as much and as far as Cendrars spent a lot of time in boats of various kinds, mostly powered by steam, as the traveled across oceans and seas and up and down rivers. As here.

from River

The Bahr el Zeraf

There isn't any tall grass along the banks
Great flat stretches of lowlands fade away into the distance
Islands almost flush with the water level
Big crocs warming in the sun
Thousands of big birds cover the muddy or sandy banks

The country changes
Now there is some light brush with a sprinkling of stunted trees
There are some beautifully colored small birds and coveys of guinea
Now and then in the evening a lion roars and his silhouette is  seen on
    the west bank
This morning I killed a varanian a yard and half long

Still the same landscape of flooded plains
The Arab pilot has spotted some elephants
Everyone is excited
We go to the upper deck
For each of us it's the first appearance of the emperor of animals
The elephants  are about three hundred yards off two big ones a
    medium-sized one three or four babies
During lunch ten big fat hippo heads are seen swimming ahead of us

The mercury hardly moves
Around 2 in the afternoon it's  usually 90 to 100 degrees
The dress is khaki good shoes leggings and no shirt
One does justice to the good cooking on board and  the bottles of brown
In the evening, one simply adds a white jacket
Kites and vultures graze us with their wings

After dinner te boat moves out into the middle off the river to elude the
    mosquitoes as much as possible
The banks drift by covered with papyrus and gigantic ephorbia
The trip follows its slow meandering way down the river
We see a lot of rather tame antelope and gazelles
Then an old water buffalo but no rhinoceros


An old poem, January, 2012 again.

a great tree

this tree
when Christ's cross
was virgin timber

to grow as millions
have come to life
and died

false gods
and their believers
from the lists of the living

the true God
if she exists
lives here


Next from my library I have a poem by W.S. Merwin. The poem is from his book The Shadow of Sirius, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2008.

One Valley

Once I though I could find
where it began
but that never happened
though I went looking for it
time and again
cutting my way past
empty pools and dry waterfalls
where my dog ran straight up the stone
like an unmoored blame

it seemed that the beginning
could not be for then
as I went on through the trees
over the rocks toward the mountain
until I came out in the open
and saw no  sign of it

where the roaring torrent
raced at one time
to carve farther down
those high walls in the stone
for the silence that I hear now
day and night on its way to the sea

New, last week.

remember  me the story of it

she had wanted to see this
most of her life

imagining it
from the backseat
for fifteen hundred miles
on our way there...

but age brought great fear
of heights
wouldn't get out of the car
to  see it

so afraid
the solid earth
would sink away from her
would be gone
the minute she put her foot on it

wants me  to describe it
for her
wants me
to tell her  the story
of  it...

so I can remember
having been here,  she said,
so I can remember it
and what it was like

(Grand Canyon, 1988)


 Again, from the travels of Blaise Cendrars.

I recommend, by the way, reading a Cendrars' biography. He was an  extremely interesting man, reinventing himself several times over, a close friend and associate of many of the leading  avant-garde writers, artists, and musicians of is time.

from Elephant Hunt


There are elephants in the plantations
The strident noise of branches broken ripped off is succeeded by the
    duller sound of big banana trees turned over with a slow push
We're coming right up on them
Climbing a rise I see the front of  the nearest animal
With the moonlight coming straight down on him he's a handsome
His trunk in the air pointed toward me
He's caught my scent there's not a moment to lose
The shot
Immediately a new bullet goes into the Winchester's breech
Then I light my pipe
Te huge animal looks as if it's sleeping in the blue clearing


On a big plain to the north
At the edge of a forest  big female a little male and tree young
    elephants of different sizes
The height of the grass keeps me from photographing them
From the top of a termite hill I watch them a long time through my
    Zeiss field glasses
The elephants seem to be having their desert with an amusing delicacy
    of touch
When they smell us they clear out
The brush opens up to make way for them and closes again like a
    curtain over their gigantic forms


An oldie, but not that old,  2012,  February. Spent most of  January writing the 31 stories that became my book, Sonyador, the Dreamer, not so many January poems.

a sullen sun

a sullen sun
through urine-yellow mist

slithering trough high grasses,
winding through wet-hanging trees
like a snake in a garden

the morning
and darkly

a morning

another  one
to add to all the ones

a morning

victory over  dark conclusions
one more  time

Now from my library, my favorite San Antonio poet, Naomi Shihab Nye, with poems from her book, Red Suitcase,  published in 1994 by BOA Editions.

Born in Missouri in 1953 to an American mother and a Palestinian father, Nye lived in Ramallah, Palestine, the Old City in Jerusalem and San Antonio where she later received her BA in English and world religions at Trinity University. An internationally known poet of her own work and editor of books of mid-east poetry, she travels around the world and still calls San Antonio her home. 

Brushing Lives

In Alexandria a waitress skimmed between tables
in a black sheath skirt, her jaw precise and elegant,
hair waving out from a definite scalp like 1942 -
I saw the most beautiful woman of my life that day.
She held herself brilliantly, one gracious arm
balancing a stump Coke bottle on a tray.
Said "yes" and "thank you" in a deep, dazed voice.
And the men went on talking. And the cars outside
were not headed toward her door.

Later my father appeared with a husky voice.
In a shop so dark he had to blink twice
an ancient man sunk low on his stool said,
"You talk like the men who lived in the world
when I was young." Wouldn't say more,
till my father mentioned Palestine
and the gentleman rose, both arms out, streaming
cheeks. "I have stopped saying it. So many years."
My father held him there, held Palestine, in the dark,
at the corner of two honking streets.
He got lost coming back to our hotel.

Who else! They're out there.
The ones who could save or break us,
the ones we're lonely for,
the ones with an answer the size o a
pocket handkerchief or a shovel,
the ones who know the story before
our own story starts,
the ones who suffered what we most fear
and survived.

Morning Paper, Society Page

I can never see fashion models,
lean angular cheeks, strutting hips
and blooming hair, without thinking of
the skulls at the catacombs in Lima, Peru.
How we  climbed down from the blurred markets
to find a thousand unnamed friends smiling at us
as if they too could advertise
a coming style.

For the 500th Dead Palestinian, Ibtisam Bozieh

Little  sister Ibtisam,
our sleep founders, our sleep tugs
the cord of your name.
Dead at 13, for staring through
the window into a gun barrel
which did not know you wanted to be
a doctor.

I would smooth your life in my hands,
pull you  back. Had I stayed in your land,
I might have been dead too,
for something simple like staring
or shouting what was true
and getting kicked out of school.
I wander stony afternoons
owing all their vastness.

Now I would give them to you,
guiltily, you, not me.
Throwing this ragged grief into the street,
scissoring news stories free from the page
but they live on my desk with letters, not cries.

How do we carry the endless surprise
of all our deaths? Becoming doctors
for one another, Arab, Jew,
instead of guarding tumors of pain
as if they hold us upright?

Some in other countries speak easily
of being early, late.
Some will  live to be eighty.
Some who never saw it
will not forget your face.


Here's another moment from last week.

Animas in the a.m.

5 a.m.
walking main street

dog impervious to the cold

not me

across the railroad tracks
past the hotel

slick sidewalk
alongside the Animas River

snow deep  on both sides
river iced at the bank

solitary duck
climbs frost-glistened


no other sound
but the rustle of the river
as it eddies and curls and slides
over rocks

across the river
five  deer gather
in a clearing

silent as the morning

a car crosses
the bridge at the end of the block
lights reflecting on snow
all around
tire scrunching froze-crisp ice shell  on the road

and the deer
flipping their tails
high leaping

(Durango, Colorado, 1997)


These are some of my favorites from among Cendrars travel poems.

from Travel Notes

Waking Up

I always sleep with the windows open
I slept like a man alone
The foghorns and compressed air whistles didn't bother me much

This morning I lean out te window
I see
The sky
The sea
The dock where I arrived from New York in 1911
The pilot shack
To the left
Smokestreams chimneys crane arc lamps against the light

The first trolley shudders in the icy dawn
Me I'm too hot
Good-bye Paris
Hello sun


The ship tangos from side to side
The moon the moon makes circles in the water
As the mask makes circles in the sky
Pushing with its finger to the stars

A young girl from Argentina leaning over the rail
Dreams of Paris while gazing on the lighthouses that outline the coast of
Dreams of Paris which she's hardly seen and misses already
Those turning fixed double colored intermittent lights remind her of the
    ones she saw from her window over the Boulevards and which
    promised she'd come back soon
She dreams of going back to France soon and living in Paris
The sound of my typewriter keeps her from going all the way with her
My beautiful typewriter that rings at the end of each line and is as fast
    as jazz
My beautiful typewriter that keeps me from dreaming port side or
And makes me go all the way with an idea
My idea

La Pallice

La Pallice and  the Ile de Re are set on the water and painted
Like those awnings on little Breton bistros around the Gate
Or those ghastly watercolors sold on te boulevard de la Madeleine by a
    hirsute dauber dressed in velvet whose hands have been gnarled since
    birth who paints with his elbows and lays his spiel on you through his
Real true-ism

La Coruna

A compassionate lighthouse like a giant madonna
From outside a pretty little Spanish town
On shore it's a dungheap
Where two or three skyscrapers are growing

En Route to Dakar

The air is cold
The sea is steel
The sky is cold
My body is steel
Good-bye Europe which I leave for the first time since 1914
I am no longer interested in you not even the emigrants in steerage the
    Jews Russians Basques
Spaniards Portuguese and German saltimbanques who miss Paris
I want to forget everything and no longer speak your languages and sleep
    alongside black men and women and Indian men and women
    animals and plants
And take a bath and live in te water
And take a bath and live in the sun wit a big banana tree
And love the big buds of that plant
To segment my own self
And become hard as a rock
Drop straight down
Sink to the bottom

35/57 North Latitude
15/16 West Latitude

It happened today
I'd been waiting for it  to happen since we set sail
The sea was beautiful with a heavy groundswell tat made us roll
The sky had been overcast since morning
It was four o'clock in the afternoon
I was playing a game of dominoes
Suddenly I yelled and ran out on deck
That's it that's it
The ultramarine blue
The sky a blue top gallant sail
Warm air
No one knows how it feels or how to define it
But everything increases one degree in tonality
The evening gave me four proofs
The  sky was now pure
The setting sun like a wheel
The full moon like another wheel
And the stars bigger and bigger

That proof lies between Madeira on the starboard and Casablanca on
    the port side

This is an old poem, February, 2012.

Reba appears in many of  my poems. As I've mentioned  before, after being with us for nearly 20 years, she became the victim of constant and severe pain that could not be eased in any way, leading to the very hard decision last year that the only relief we could give her was to put her down. I held her head in my hands as the vet  administered the fatal injection, looking into her eyes as the life-light immediately faded and was gone.

alive, alive-o

I was walking
my dog  yesterday
(this being another  dog
poem so all you cat people
and snake people and gerbil people
and lizard people and bird people
and cricket people and centipiggler
people can just accept
that it is not, except
maybe indirectly, about you
and your choice of furred, finned,
scaled, of  feathered creature
to befriend)

this is a dog poem
about Saint Reba about whom
I have spoken before
and our walk yesterday
down by the creek, still high from
several days of  rain,  scrubbed
by fast-running water all the way to its
pale, flat limestone  bottom, the water
clear as freshly Windexed glass

and I was walking across
a  little dam that holds the  water
from passing too  fast
further down the creek bed,
a tiny little dam about a foot
and a half across and
instead of doggishly following
me, Miss Reba decided to go
around me which ended her up
asplash in the creek

white-eyed panic
at first as she dog-paddled furiously,
then a gradual relaxation of her eyes
as she found sufficient  purchase on the bank
to allow a sloshly chamber out of the creek
with the realization that
this splash-splash ting
even at  40 degrees is fun
and she climbs up the bank
jumping and running and leaping
about, let's-do-it-again,  let's-do-it-again
as clear in her leaps as if she were yelling over
her shoulder, let's-do-it-again

and when I  finally got  her home
and dried off, she,
this old lady who can hardly
get out of her bed in the morning
because of her aching bones
was  running in circles in the back yard,
alive,  alive, alive-o
like she was six months  old again
with vim and vinegar
and life, a-life-o

like a good morning swim
to get the old

Here's another poem from my library - this one by Gregory Orr, from his book City of Salt. The book was published in 1995 by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Orr, author of ten collections of poetry, was born in Albany, New York in 1947 and grew up in the Hudson Valley. He has a BA from Antioch College in 1969 and an MBA from Columbia University in 1972. He teaches at the University of Virginia where he founded the MFA Program in Writing in 1975.


If you wander into the market
you'll find little signs
of infiltration - a certain crudeness
in the carving of a ladle
or a mask whose features
differ subtly from the temple god's.
I'm not saying the  trader
is himself a barbarian;
it's more elusive than that.
Maybe he merely passed
some time among them, yet
his wares have changed
the way a lake in sun is not
the same lake when a cloud comes
or the way your wife smells
different after a party
when she's talked with other men.


 New again from last week.

caution and commitment

fine-looking woman
dark hair, dark eyes,  shapely,
dressed to  kill, or, at least,
draw serious attention

here for the second day
in a row

obviously lonely,
wants to talk, to sit and talk
and talk...and more, it seems

and for a moment,
an oh-so-brief
caution  and previous

but do  no break

(Reno, Nevada, 1981)


Here are my last bits from Blaise Cendrars for this week. I may come back to him in a few weeks for some of his longer work.

still from Travel Notes


Never again
I'll never drag my ass into another one of these colonial dives
I want to be this poor black man I want to be this poor black who stands
    in the door
Because the beautiful black girls would be my sisters
And not
And not
These stinking French Spanish Siberian German bitches who furnish
    the leisures of gloomy functionaries dying to be stationed in Paris and
    who don't know how to kill time
I want to be the poor black man and fritter my time away


Everyone talks about sunsets
All travelers are happy to talk about the sunsets in these waters
There are hundreds of books that do nothing but describe the sunsets
The tropical sunsets
Yes it's true they're wonderful
But I really prefer the sunrises
I wouldn't miss one for the world
I'm always on deck
In the buff
And I'm always the only one there admiring them
But I'm not going to describe the dawns
I'm going to keep them for me alone

Cabin No. 6

I  live here
I should always live here
I deserve no praise for staying shut in and working
Besides I don't work I write down everything that goes through my head
Well not really everything
Because tons  of things go through my head but don't get out into the
I'm living in a breeze the porthole wide open and the fan whirring
Not reading


It is Sunday on the water
It's hot
I'm in my cabin as if trapped in melting butter


The coast of Brazil is strewn with round bare little islands we've been
    sailing through for two  days
They're like speckled eggs laid by some gigantic bird
Or like volcanic dung
Or  like vulture spincteroids


It's odd
For  two days now that we've been in sight of land not a single bird has
    met  us or followed in our wake
On the other  hand
At dawn
As we were entering  the Bay of Rio
A butterfly as big as your hand came fluttering all around the steamer
It was black and yellow with big streaks of faded blue

(New ship after long stops along the way.)

Cabin 2

It's mine
It's all white
I'm going to like it
All alone
Because I have a lot of work to do
To make up for 9 months in the sun
The 9 months in Brazil
The 9 months with friends
An I must work for Paris
That's why  already like this jam-packed sip where I see no one to
    chat with

Cape Fria

I heard tonight a child's voice through my door
Rising and falling
It did me good


Last oldie of the week.

I hate it

I hate it
when I read a really good poet
who makes clear by her example
what a sloppy, slapdash gurgitating
of words I do
and call it poetry

I have no shame
in moments like this
when my own incapacity
is held, squirming beneath the light of actual
craft and sensitivity

my stuff?

this is what I did today and this is what I think
of this or that, safely espoused on paper,
but if I tried to corner a stranger on the street
and so emote
I would be whisked away
in a nonce (now there's a poet work for you)
to some highly-fenced facility
where white-coated
guard their charges
from the attack of killer carrots
or whatever

I'm just lucky I write this stuff
and never say it
out loud

I flatter myself
and say I am of the ancient Chinese
poetry convention,
art, maybe or maybe not, but precious
for persons interested in the lives and times of ancient
lives and times
while you read this and say
what a waste of time that was,
I am assured
that in millennia hence
te Pletomanians
freshly arrived from the Pletamania galaxy
will discover my trove
of daily musings
and say

what a bunch  of crap,
but how very interesting
were these ancient  peoples
before their inevitable reduction
through kaboom  and kabash
to the bone and ash
of those lost and  forgotten

and by the way
as an unserious wordsmith
I insist upon the right
to use words like gurgitate
instead of regurgitate because it is not possible
to re-anything until one as done the thing referenced first

this kind of logical approach
will greatly impress the Pletamanians
I am assured
is another way of saying
I don't care what critical thinkers might think
because my time in the Pletomanic sun
will surely someday come

Last from my library this week, I have a poem by Page Richards from her book Lightly Separate published in 2007 by Finishing Line Press.

Richards has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Boston University and a Ph.D. in English and American  Literature and Language from the Harvard University. She directs post graduate studies in creative writing at the University of Hong Kong School of English.

Looking Ahead

I, late to  arrive and lean, finish
by eight with rehearsals. A girl
to be sure I climb the rails, stare
at a woman catching her breast
in the poster. My flamboyant man
is made to wait. Someone's  there.
The folds of  rain beyond the door
reveal a careful girl who wants in.
She remembers a place  on the floor
where with me she danced with him.

Folk Festival

It was when the rains came
and Judy Collins took off her shoes
I put my head way back
to look for you ahead of me

and the stars suffered
a heave and a ho on our strained behalf
but for a minute
while I packed up our things.

Clear sheets of water bristled
and broke into lousy thousands
thumping our heads as though
we'd won something back.

In a quiet moment
when our towels lagged brown
behind us, wet and full,
you finally turned to me

the way and abandoned box car
settles into funneled desert sands.
I knew it was our last year, last month,
I saw it happening, and I shiver.


Last new for the week.

how is it possible?

how is it possible
that I  do not remember them
after four years of being
with them?

not just individuals I do not remember
but almost none of them
are there in my

even though
they were there
in fact

is this  the ultimate segregation?

separation so complete
that the Other
seem displaced from time and space,
become ghosts,
invisible at the time,
invisible even in memory
of the time

how is this possible?

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)


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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