Champion of Those Who Ride the Slower Horses   Wednesday, March 26, 2014






My anthology this week, The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poets, is one of several I bought a couple of weeks ago at a 50% off book sale at the used bookstore. It's a huge book, whose Table of Contents runs 15 pages. It was published by Farrar Staus Giroux in 2011.

My photos are usually selected and in place before any text. This week, for a variety of reasons, I didn't start putting the photos together until the text was almost complete. About half way through gathering them I decided the photo-theme for the week would be places where the human spirit is exercised, beginning with a couple of photos from an art and music event at IAMA coffeehouse, then a stop at the Shrine of the Little Flower west of downtown, then visits to two of San Antonio's three catholic universities with interesting architecture, beginning with the University of the Incarnate Word then on to Our Lady of the Lake University on the city's west side. OLLU is the most beautiful and grandiose campus with steeples and towers (with the added attraction the day I visited of its annual Anime Convention, with hundreds of young people running around the university costumed as their favorite anime character).  I finished the spiritual tour for the week at the place where the greatest crowds gather to worship, a mall. In this case the mall was laid out as a very large open-air Disneyesque village with nothing but high-end stores (no Walmarts or Targets or  other such crass commercial ventures as that allowed), in other words a church/village I couldn't afford to live in but only visit to admire the beautiful landscaping and fountains. I'm going to have to go back to the tile-work on the fountains sometime when I'm doing color.

My poems, of course,  old and new are here as well.


Me
mid-March, waiting for the sun to rise

Natalio Hernandez Xocoyotzin
Our Existence is Sad  

Me
coffeehouse shorts, six to a cup

Gonzalo Rojas
The Literati

Me
growing up

Delmira Agustini
Fiera de Amor

Me
 24/7

Octavio Paz
The Key of Water

Me
expectations

Ricardo Jaimes Freire
The Dawn

Me
anniversary thoughts on a winter night

Oswaldo de Andrade
National Library
Advertisement
Funeral Procession

Me
so we have seen it  now

Humberto Ak'abal
The Dance
I Took Your Name Out of My Mind

Me
exile

Odi Gonzales
Umantuu

Me
thinking small

Paulo Leminski
Pauloleminski

Me
flashing

Elsa Cross
The Lovers of Tlatelolco

Me
blink

Nancy Morejon
Analysis of Melancholy

Me
Mr. Wonderful just does the best he can

Gabriela Mistral
The Sleep-Wave

Me
dream weaver

Dario Jaramillo Agudelo
Love Poem 8
Vengeance

Me
a literary evolution   


Just  noticed that in identifying my pictures for the week, I forgot to mention the big old folks retirement home near downtown that in the old days was one of the most expensive and luxurious apartment houses in the city. (I love the stone balconies.)

I also forgot the stop I made at tiny Woodlawn  Lake on the way to  the Shrine of the Little Flower (seen in the background). Tiny lake, but not so tiny that it doesn't have it's own lighthouse.   







Here's my first new poem from last week.

I'm from South Texas, so I'm used to weird weather, but the weather this winter has been extra in that direction.









mid-march, waiting for the sun to rise

storm blowing in
from the northwest,
chilled wind gusting strong
on my bare back, involuntary
shiver as the trees toss their green-budded branches
overhead - all this early morning
rush under a sky
streaked
with long, stringy clouds racing
in ridges
across a clear easel
of brightly glittering morning stars

clouds
like tattered black crepe
drape across the catafalque moon,
round and bright,
full
as it's rhythms demand,
while the seasons struggle to assert their own cycles
below








First this week from the anthology, The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry, is Natalio Hernandez Xocoyotzin.

Born in 1947 in Naranjo Dulce, a small settlement in Veracruz, Hernandez is a Mexican Nahua intellectual, poet and founder of the Association of Writers in Indigenous Languages.










Our Existence Is Sad

Our existence
is joyous and sad
because at times our hearts laugh
and at others they explode like a river,
like the sea itself.

Our existence
is joyous and sad
because at times our hearts are happy
and at others they swell with rage
like a storm.

Our existence
is joyous and sad
because at times our hearts are happy
and at others they are furious
like a hurricane.

(Translated by Donald Frischmann)







Here's a poem from April, 2007.

These years later, I still find my inspiration at coffeehouses.







 coffeehouse shorts, six to a cup

1
wouldn't it be cool
to read the poems
the giants
chose to never write
and compare
them
to mine

mine
I bet
are just as fine

2
the vastly
pregnant
woman
rubs her belly
imagining
with her fingertips
the slight
vibration
of a sigh

3
all the pretty girls
say
"hi"
to me

good father
figures
I guess
are hard
to find

4
the south Texas
girl
born and raised
wears a fur hat
and a fur coat
and fur boots
and though
it's fifteen degrees
above freezing
imagines
snowflakes
landing softly
on the open palm
of her fur-lined
glove

5
a broad
broad
round
woman comes in
with a trim and handsome
young man
like from the cover
of "GQ" or such

she laughs
in peals
like bright balloons
and all is explained

6
everyone
has a story
but rare
are those
I have the skill
to tell

still
I keep looking
listening
searching
collecting
anyway

satisfied to find
just those few
I can








                                           




Born in 1917, Gonzalo Rojas was a Chilean poet whose work is part of the continuing Latin American avant-garde literary tradition of the twentieth century.

The poet died in 2011.










The Literati

They prostitute us all,
waste their spirit on circumlocution,
explain it all. They ramble on
like machines full of oil,
and slobber metaphysics on everything.

I would like to see them  on the southern seas
on a night of royal wind, their heads
emptied into the cold, sniffing
at the world's loneliness,
with no moon,
and no possible explanation,
smoking, helpless, terrified.

(Translated by Christopher Maurer)










Next from my new poems, a little exercise in nostalgia.










growing up

growing up
in way-South Texas,
a few miles from the Rio Grande River,
on the edge of a very small town,
streets deep mud
in the winter, blowing dust
in the summer, country-side
out the back door, fields, river-valley land,
millennia of floods leaving behind
nutrients form mountain runoff
more than a thousand miles away,
and from all the river long between those peaks
and its final gush into the sea

near where I lived, fertile land, with ample water
where anything could grow, orchards - orange and grapefruit,
lemon, lime, tangerine, avocado year-round - in other fields
vegetables in the winter, the land always producing
more than the market could absorb, unsold remains rotting in the field,
more costly to harvest than the price in the market, the stink of
cabbage rotting beside the road, and weather, winter freeze
every several years, fruit frozen
on the trees, vegetables turned to slush in the ground,
farmers, another crop  lost,  driving school buses
to make what living there was until they could get money
from the bank for their next
planting...

and in the summer, cotton, hard work, but usually
priced to cover costs, maybe make a profit - in the early years,
Mexican braceros, fanned across the fields, dragging
their long sacks behind them, picking, filling their sacks
for a few cents a pound - later, no need for the Mexicans,
a few harvester operators, following the crop north
as it readies for picking in the cooler climate zones where planting
began months after first planting in South Texas -
machine-picking, giant green pickers crossing snow white cotton fields in columns
like prehistoric herbivores grazing, blowing cotton like a blizzard
onto truck, carried  to the cotton gins where the trucks waited for their turn
at the great suction pipes that pulled the cotton into the gin, compressed
and baled it, first bale of the year, always a prize-winner
for the farmer who grew it - farmers at the coffee shops in the early morning
first topic o discussion, price-per-bale if harvested
today, rumors of rain that would leave the cotton
rotting in the field...

and roads, networks of dirt roads stretching twenty miles in every
direction, to and from and all around the fields
and the irrigation canals, roads where a boy on his bicycle
could find afternoons and weekends of adventure, and were
an older boy, but not yet old enough for a license, could drive
his parents' car for miles, visit friends in nearby towns
without ever touching a paved road where
lack of license could become an issue...

all those roads I remember as if I had driven them
yesterday, gone, leaving no trace,
wiped from the map as if they only ever existed
in my memory, gone, like the citrus orchards, mostly
travel  trailer parks now, and the vegetables, rotting no longer
beside the roads, cotton and grain leaving and sugar  cane
leaving no trace, no smell except for the brief smell
of smoke when the cane fields are burned...

most everything there I remember as important to me - gone...

it is the way of life and time, always erasing the board
clean...
it is the reason I go back now only for brief visits
to my parents'
graves,
their headstones the closed thing
to continuity that
remains









                     


Now, from the anthology, a poem by Delmira Agustini.

Born  in 1886, Uruguayan poet Agustini is  considered one of the greatest female Latin American poets  of the early 20th century. She died in 1914.












Fiera de Amor

Beast of love, I suffer hunger for hearts.
Of pigeons, vultures, roe deer,, or lions,
There is no more tempting prey, no more gratifying tastes,
It has already strangulated my claws and instincts,
When erected in an almost ethereal plinth,
I was fascinated by a statue of antique emperor.

And I grew in enthusiasm: through the stone stem
My desire ascended like fulmnous ivy,
Up to the chest, seemingly nurtured in snow;
And I clamored to the impossible heart...the statue,
A custodian of its glory, pure and serene,
With its forehead in Tomorrow and its feet in Yesterday.

My perennial desire, the stone stem
Has been suspended like bloody ivy;
And since then wile dreaming I bite a statue's  heart
Supreme prisoner of my beautiful claw;
It  is neither flesh nor marble: a star paste
Bloodless,with neither warmth nor palpitation...

With the essence of superhuman passion!

(Translated by Ilan Stavans)








My next poem is from last year, a celebration of the good sense of our calico cat, arrived over the fence one day and  stayed for twelve years, reaching her end about a year and a half  ago.







24/7

I'm trying to find
an idea
that will grow
into my next  poem,
something worth keeping,
something with depth
that can bring that moment
to a reader when it's like
a dark day turns bright with the light
of an idea or an image or
a sense of the inner workings
of of a poet's mind and heart

and all I can think of
is how damn tired I am,
which leads me to think about
sleep and what a gift it is
and how the life we lead
spurns that gift
as if it was a cheap  plastic
doodad we receive in the mail
as some kind of promotion
for a product even
cheaper...

watch how a cat sleeps

mine does it so well, finding
a place next to me at night
that she'll keep through the night
and most of the next day, arising
for just a few hours during the day
to do what cats do
when out of sight of man

how intense her short waking life
and how drab is mine, stretched over
the greater part of my life -
how deep and uncomplicated her  sleep
and how short
and unsatisfying is mine








                                       

Next from this week's anthology, Mexico's  incomparable Octavio  Paz.

Winner of the 1990 Nobel  Prize for Literature, Paz was born in 1914 and died in 1998.











The Key of Water

After Rishikesh
the Ganges is still green.
The glass horizon
breaks between the peaks.
We walk upon crystals.
Above and below
great gulfs of calm.
In te black spaces
white rocks, black clouds.
You said:

                Le pays est plein de sources.

That night I dipped my hands into your breasts.


(Translated by Elizabeth Bishop)










This piece from last week, on a morning when I very nearly set aside my practice of predawn rising.











expectations

sleepy-eyed morning
dawning
expectations  expected
and I don't have
none
so might as well
go back to bed, 'cept
if I do I won't wake
till ten when then
I'll remember all the stuff
I wanted to do
I can't remember now

---

and will have missed the orange sun
rising
and the breeze whispering Louise
and the birds in the trees
tweeting
good morning sunshine
and have a happy
day
they'll say
and I won't know it
so I might
not
do it so best
I give this sleepy-eyed morning
a shake
and a dose of
get-your-butt-out-of-bed
and face the world
on whatever
terms
it has to offer

---

better than missing the orange sun rising
and the breeze whispering
and the birds
tweeting
how-do-you-do
in 12-part
disharmony
that shakes the bugs out
from between your
ears
and pops you sleepy-eyes
like ping pong balls
or Eddie Cantor
you do remember
don't your or if you don't
think of the pop-eyed Igor in "young Frankenstein"
who was not Eddie Cantor
but whose own name I can't remember
and if neither of those ring a bell...

---

just go back to bed, can't
think  of anything
to do with
you








                               

Here's a poem by Ricardo Jaimes Freire from this week's anthology.

Born in 1868 in Peru, Freire spent much of his life in Argentina, where he died in 1933. His use of symbolism and free verse forms was important in the development of Latin American modernism.









The Dawn

    Colorless dawns,
born among mysterious penumbras,
carry shreds of darkness with them
tangled in the fringes of their cloaks;
they illuminate the mountains,
the crests of the mountains, reddish;
they wash across the proud towers,
which salute their silent manifestation
with the sleepy and hoarse
voice of their bells;
they laugh through the drowsy
streets of the crowded city
and disperse across the fields
where winter honors the yellowing leaves.
the dawns continue
perfumes of the Orient,
having gathered them, in passing, from the secret forests
of an unfamiliar flora.
They bring a rhythmic, harmonious music,
for they have heard  the trills and warbles
of exotic birds.
When suddenly an earthquake shades the old houses,
and the people kneel to pray in the streets and apartments,

    half-naked, crying: "Dear God! Powerful God!
Immortal God!" The earth trembles each moment,
as if it were shaken by some invisible and apocalyptic hand -

    The air is heavy as lead. There is no wind.
And it could be said that Death has passed this way
under the impassivity of the firmament.

(Translated by Victor Tulli)









                        
How about a good old fashioned love poem from 2007.









anniversary thoughts on a winter night

the cold night seeps
through the window
beside our bed,
damp, coastal  cold
that makes midnight fog
fall to the ground,
frozen,
reflecting in the pale light
like the tiny sparkles
of broken glass
you see scattered
on the street
after an accident...

the window,
when I brush against it,
is a cold jolt
that pushes me across the bed
to lie closer to you,
to wrap myself around you,
embracing your warmth
like an animal
drawing tight around itself,
seeking the internal fire
of its own beating heart
to protect itself
from the cold hand
of  night

you
are my fire tonight
and nights past
and nights to come,
the warm next that saves me
from cold and loveless nights,
the light that  sustains me
through dark and lonely days

you
are the center of life and warmth for me

you are
and so I am








Next, three short poems from the anthology by Oswald De Andrade of Brazil. All three poems were translated by Jean R. Longland.

Poet and polemicist, De Andrade was born in 1890 in San Paulo where he spent most of his life. His collection, Cannibal Manifesto, published in 1928 became the seminal text in Brazilian modernism/nationalism. His anti-colonial thesis was that Brazil's greatest strength was the way it cannibalized other countries/countries, digested them, then spit them out as something entirely new.

The poet died in 1954.








National Library

The Abandonment Child
Doctor Coppelius
Let  Us Go with Him
Miss Spring
Brazilian Code of Civil Law
How to Win the Lottery
Public Speaking for Everyone
The Pole in Flames


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I consider pretty tint the complement
of a woman's feminine toilette
for its agreeable odor
and as a tonic for the boyish bob
All women - deal with Mr. Fagundes
sole distributor
in the United States of Brazil


Funeral Procession

The Veronica extends her arms
and sings
The baldachine has stopped
All listen
to the voice in the night
full of lighted hills

(Translator's note: "Veronica," a woman who carries the holy sudarium in the procession of the burial of Christ; "palio," a portable baldachine carried in processions, covering the honored person or the priest who holds the monstrance.








This poem written last week in response to reading the news that the "big bang" has been seen and theories of the expanding universe confirmed (with the added nugget that the bang had been even more massive than imagined and the resulting expansion faster even than the speed of light).








so we have seen it now

so
we have seen it now,
the beginning, not the beginning
of everything,
only the part of everything

and we see our place,
a tiny, unimaginably tiny, mite
in an unimaginably huge
ocean, one of many oceans,
made of stuff of time and space
riding with the expansion
of our everything, a bubble, a balloon,
pick your metaphor
that helps you hold the unholdable
in your hands, wondering
where it will end

for we know that, while some things
maybe universal, no thing
is eternal and that even the biggest
strongest balloon will some day
either burst or deflate
and if it happens to deflate,
what happens then, as time
slowly leaks back to the beginning,
time running backwards,
the everything we know
slipping back to the time
of creation, or if it doesn't deflate
but bursts instead
how many new everythings will be
created out of the debris -
how often has this been going on,
we must ask ourselves, how many other
everythings are there beyond
our own,
and among these other everythings,
how we might find
ourselves
like ourselves in them
riding our own
multiple bubbles in them
waiting for the new
whatever
and will any of ourselves
ever be invited
to join the balloon parade
from now to then, from now to now,
from then to then and forever
ever forever...

how small it makes us seem
in our little place  in all of this,
but ow large and lucky
must we be to be
a part of
it

and what need for gods
when
by our very existence
we can, for a time, surf
such mighty
waves











The anthology this week is arranged from oldest to most current poets. The next poet, Humberto Ak'abal, is from near the end of the book. A K'iche' Maya poet, Ak'abal was born in 1952 in Guatemala. In addition to K'chi' and Spanish, his books have been translated into a  number of European languages as well as Arabic.








The Dance

All of us dance
on a cent'[s edge.

The poor - because they are poor -
lose their step,
and fall

and everyone else
falls on top.


I Took Your Name Out of My Mind

I took your name out of my mind
and lost it on the mountain.

It was picked up by the air
and found its path
through the ravine.

I began to forget.

Suddenly
it crashed against the cliffs
and bounced back:

rain made it sing
and your name reached me while crying.

(Translated by Ilan Stavans)








                                            
Speaking of cats as I  was  a couple of poems ago, here's poem with both a cat and a dog, together in one place though each prefers to believe the other does not exist.








exile

my cat
is not speaking
to me
all because
at the time
of  the dread
quarterly
flea collar exchange
I was the villain
holding her

she
does not  forget
these things

being
a conservative cat
she does not  welcome
change
finding every variation
in her daily routine
and every instance
when her pillow  is moved
from one side of the  room
to  another
and even the best intentioned
cat food brand change
as threats
to  the natural order
as defined
in the kingdom of the
cat

as it happens
I am a trans-border
migrant
between cat
world
and the more laid-back
realm of the dog

so I'll just swim
the river, so to  speak,
and  spend  some time
with the dog  regime
until she gets over it

dogs,
they'll put up  with
anything
you know
as long as you
scratch
their hairy belly
and don't
disturb
their naps
without good reason
like for example
a new chew toy
or a walk in the park

cats
should take notice











Even closer to the end of the book is poet, Odi Gonzales,  born in 1962 in Peru. Growing up learning Spanish and Quechua, he writes his poetry in both languages. He is a lecturer in Spanish, Portuguese literature and the Quechua oral tradition at the Center of Latin American and Caribbean studies at NYU.










Umantuu

wherever it is your go,
my rainbow siren
with your tenacious tambourine
call my soul that wanders frightened
wild, silent
since first its hair was cut

lure it, diva of the depths,
with your wiles and your caresses

revealing, perverse,
your fertile breasts
of turbid milk

whatever it is that your encounter, invisible
flower of the mist,
harness my spirit that flees
with its asthma and its imaginary armies

guide it now, sleepless siren whistling
by the narrow street of goldfinches by the path
of the cliffs

wherever it is that you arrive, wanderer
nymph of the stormy gales, lead my stray soul
companion of pristine air,
drag it if it does not want to come
to my deathbed

(Translated by Alison Krogel and Jose Ramon Ruiz Sanches)








                      
This poem in response to the poem I wrote the day before on the news of seeing the big bang. This about all the little bangs in a satisfied life.










thinking small

having spent
a full page yesterday
on the vastness of space and time...

today
I want to think about the tiny,
the little bitties that make life
so much bigger and better
than nature designed
it

and I'm not talking
about atoms and neutrons and protons
and quarks and quacks
and xenarons and nylons that create the illusions
of hard and soft and deep
and wide and you
and me

 I'm talking about the other little things,
like the look n a child's eyes
when they do something, take their first step, find
their first Easter egg, hit their first
home run, something they've never done before,
the doing of something that is life-0expanding
to a child's eager mind,or something like a lover's smile
from across a crowded room, or something like a mother's kiss at bedtime,
these little things and so many more, too many
to enumerate...

those little things that make it possible
for ignorance to be bliss,
that allow us to look at a night sky
and see not its vastness, but the twinkle of a single star,
a star that holds us as we hold  it close,
so small and so close, to understand  that the small
and the close is enough, that the vastness of all we are not
may welcome us, but does not, in its grandness
require our participation,  vastness that can expand our happiness
but is not required for it

tiny things,and close, the basics of our lives,  what allows us
to live without the stars if we want
and still be
happy...









                                 
Moving back in time and in the book to someone from my generation here's a short poem by Paulo Leminski of Brazil. Born in 1945, Leminski was proud of his Polish and African ancestry.

Sometimes compared to e.e. cummings, he was a prolific experimental poet and writer, occasional song writer and a social agitator. A kind of Brazilian beat poet, he died in 1959.










Pauloleminski

pauloleminski
is a mad dog
that must be beaten to death
with a rock and a stick
by a flame by a kick
or else he might very well
the sonofabitch
spoil our picnic

(Translated by Regina  Alfarano)










                
How about a little mid-afternoon perversion. From 2007.









flashing

watch her  walk

with each step
the rear of her foot  rises
as weight shifts from her heel  to her  toe
while her  shoe lags behind
and between the shoe
and the bottom of her foot
the soft pale flesh
of her instep flashes
like a lover's wink
across a crowded room,
this most beautiful, unseen  place,
inviting a caress,
a kiss,
flashing like a secret
across a crowded room











                                         

Also from my generation, Mexican poet Elsa Cross was born in 1946. A contemporary Spanish-language writer, she is best known for her poetry. She has a doctorate in philosophy and letters from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and is currently Professor on it faculty.

I notice from her web information that she appeared at SXSW in Austin this year.










The Lovers of Tlatelolco

                   for  Teresa Franco

They barely emerge from their shadow.
Their murmurs
                        raise gentle signs
at the foot of the foundation.
Their white tennis shoes gleam.

Far from those stones,
returned to one another,
they forgot in their lips
the scream of the massacres,
chests opened by dng of obsidian
                                                   or bayonet -

Indifferent to the shadow that covers the,
the young lovers murmur
                                       or stay silent,
while the night grows over the ruins,
bolts down the plinths of the temples,
the inscriptions.

And over there, the urn
with two skeletons embracing
in their dusty deathbed,
beneath the crystal where the flowers
                                                            of an offering are dying

(Translated by Forrest Gander)








Here's another old poem from early 2007, a series of short poetry bites. Like we say in Texas when passing through a small town, don't blink or you might miss it.



blink

listen
to the wind
it whispers
but it does not tell

**

gather
sand
castles
in repose

**

the sea
roars
at shell-white
beaches
takes tiny
bites
and spits them
back
with every
wave

**

moonlight
on green
meadows
seeps
to roots
below

**

the hawk
flies
but not for
pleasure
despite the grace
of  its descent

**

without
the sun
there would be
no shadows
to  tell us
there is a sun-bright
day








                                         



Cuban poet Nancy Morejon was born in 1944 graduated with honors from the University of Havana. Fluent in French and English, she is highly regarded as translator of work in both language, especially Caribbean writers. Her own work in Spanish has been translated into numerous other languages as well.











Analysis of Melancholy

Hours passing
                       like a breeze.
Shadows of a living world,
passing like a breeze,
they bring me to speak with you.

Disjointed, brief,
tinged the color of rage,
hours come to me
and you also,
express yourself,
honoring me with them.

Stepping into a river. Skipping
over puddles. Jumping
over wall. Reading
the day's news. Discovering
rain. Walking under the leaves
of the silk-cotton tree. Singing
in the afternoon.

                              Beating
with its exotic pulse; quiet and pure melancholy.

(Translated by Kathleen Weaver)







                       


Here's a bit of whimsy from last week.










Mr. Wonderful just does the best he can

the Wonderful Wizard
of Oz
wasn't so wonderful
but he wasn't a bad guy 
either, just a piss-poor wizard

though good enough in the end
to keep Oz safe in his so-un-Kansas world
with witches lurking at every point 
of the compass and flying
monkey-monsters, and rusty tinmen,
and highly-flammable straw men,
and lions who could never, ever
be counted on when the chips were
down, and munchkins, don't forget 
the munchkins, everywhere under
foot with their lousy singing, always
their lousy singing in their  fingernail-on-a-chalkboard
squeally voices (how is a wizard ever supposed
to get a good night sleep so to be wide-awake
and prepared for the next day's wizardry)...

I mean, it takes a maybe
not so necessarily wonderful
but still
a pretty good wizard
to keep the gears of that
kind of place running, keeping
Oznians happy and content
and not having riots in the streets
and such, and, not to forget,
the inflationary spiral since the devaluation
of gold bricks, simple things like
Oz-bread going from two gold bricks
to two and a half in just six Oz-months, not to mention
the resulting increased cost of road maintenance...

you pretty much have to have
something on the ball
besides blowing curtains and a projector screen
and a booming, scary voice
to frighten Oz-children who might venture
into the wonderful palace of the
Mighty Oz with mischief in 
mind...

I mean you try it,
even without that pesky girl
and her vicious mutt
it ain't easy
being 
the Great & Mighty 
Wizard of anywhere, especially
a cockamamie place like
Oz








                                       


Going back nearer the beginning of the book, this poem is by Gabriela Mistral. The Chilean poet was born in 1889 and died in 1957.

Mistral was the pseudonym for Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, a poet-diplomat, educator and feminist who, in 1945 became the first (and so far, only) Latin American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.










The Sleep-Wave

      To Queta Regales

    It's rising now,
the tide of sleep
from the sacred south
and the final sea.

    It comes straight
to whistle and call,
climbing the world,
a white animal.

    It's passed Taitao,
Niebla, Chanaral,
at your door, your cradle
it's going to fall.

    It rises from the ancient pole
mortal and eternal,
from the Antarctic sea
it comes, and sinks again.

    The lofty wave
breaks on our door.
It seeks us, finds us,
and silently falls.

    As it covers you
you cease murmuring,
when it's up to my breast
I cease to sing.


    Where the house was
it is no more.
Where you were
nobody's there:

There's only the sleep-waves
salt foaming flood
and the innocent Earth
without evil or good.

    It's rising now,
the tide of sleep
from the sacred south
and the final sea.

(Translated by Ursula K. LeGuin)








                                            
 A coffeehouse observational from early 2007.








dream weaver

the boy
in the yellow
shirt
with dark
Latin
eyes
looks for the girl
in the yellow
dress
with broad brown
shoulders
and hair
black 
and flowing

he dreamed
of her last night
and knows
she will soon dream
of him









My last two poems from this huge anthology (more than 600 pages) is by Colombian poet, Dario Jaramillo Agudelo.

Born in 1947, Jaramillo is recognized as one of the best poets of his country in the last century. He studied for his BA in Medellin and later graduated from the Javeriana University of Bogota as a lawyer and economist. For years he held important positions in state cultural institutions.

Both poems were translated by Ilan Stavans.







Love Poem 8

Your tongue, your wise tongue that invents my skin,
your fire tongue that burns me,
your tongue that creates the instant of insanity, delirium
of the body in love
your tongue, sacred whip, sweet ember,
invocation of fire that takes me out of myself,
that transforms me,
your tongue of unmodest flesh,
your tongue of surrender that demands everything from me,
your very mine tongue,
your beautiful tongue electrifying my lips, making yours the body
    you have purified,
your  tongue exploring and discovering me,
your gorgeous tongue also knowing how to say it loves me.


Vengeance

Now you, turned into a poem,
imprisoned in verses naming you,
beautiful, unnameable, luminous,
now you, turned into a poem,
your body, brightness,
frost, word waste,
the poem almost your  body
imprisoned n the poem,
turned into verses read in the living room,
your body that is past tense
and is this poem,
a poor vengeance.







                        

Here's my last new poem of the week.









a literary evolution

when I was about nine or ten
I read the Book of Knowledge encyclopedias
because we had a set
and when there wasn't anything else to read
there they were
so I knew the pharaoh's of Egypt
and the kings of England
and all the important figures
of the French Revolution...

I didn't have much interest in presidents
at the time but when I was older, driving a taxi cab
many of the streets in the city where I worked were
laid out on an east-west axis in order of their tenure
until they ran out of presidents at Eisenhower
so I ended up know presidents
pretty well
even the lesser lights
like Fillmore and short-termers like Garfield,
both of which were very nice streets
and the first not a half-bad president and the second
a president of great promise had he not been murdered
which you would know if you looked
into it,which I did, because driving on the presidents
for a 12-hour shift stirred my interest
and even today I have a chart with all the presidents
to Obama tacked to the wall in my little office
at home so I can contemplate
our history just by looking up from my
desk...

some people  are just natural list keepers
I suppose, and I used to be
until I go a little older and stumbled
on my parents' historical romances, pirates
and such, my first  exposure
and then lasting allegiance to the
three B's of literature - Bombs, Boobs and Bullets,
an allegiance I have carried over to this day into other
forms of literary exercise, like movies and TV, where
not being such a deep person, plot developments
that don't  involve a good dose of T&A
mostly leave me snoozing...

and there you have it -
the literary evolution of a 70-year-old man, from
pharaohs, kings and bloody
revolutionaries
to Charlie's Angels,
all in all, a better class of people,
those Angels...

I call it, for what it's worth, my moral
awakening









As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and me.


I mention it every week and it's  still true, I'm Allen Itz owner and producer of this blog, and diligent seller of books, specifically these and specifically here:


Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, eBookPie, and Kobo (and, through Kobo,retail booksellers all across America and abroad)




´╗┐Poetry




Places and Spaces





Always to the Light






Goes Around Comes Around





Pushing Clouds Against the Wind





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




Seven Beats a Second






Short Stories



Sonyador - The Dreamer





































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