Good for Now   Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A lot of me this week, new and old, not planned, just the way it turned out. The "me" for the week includes a story that I wrote in 1966 and continue to fool with for reasons that are a mystery to me.

Determined to  stick to new photos but not having a reservoir built up, I rushed around last minute to get photos for the post. I started over on the river by the Pioneer Flour Mill and the Gunther House, built in 1859, original home off the founder of the mill, who came from Germany during the period of great German immigration into the hill country in mid-19th century, shortly before Texas exchanged it's republic for statehood. Gunther came as a young man, his trade a carpenter. He began by building a lumber mill north of San Antonio, deep in the hills, then, over time, moving closer to San Antonio, building grist mills instead of lumber. I ran across an old book several years ago, a collection of letters  he wrote to his father in Germany, borrowing money to finance each step of his success. He ended up with his largest mill in San Antonio on the San  Antonio, which still produces flour under the brand names Pioneer and White Wings.

German immigrants were very important in the early development of San Antonio, and Gunther became one of the most important of them. If you visit San Antonio, stay at the Gunther Hotel, one of the grand old hotels of the city, directly across the street from the equally grand Majestic Theater, another city landmark.

Not getting all the photos I needed at the flour mill, I walked a couple of blocks downtown  to get the rest  for this  post.

My library poems this week are all from one book, an anthology, Poetry Nation, the North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry. The book was published in 1998 by Vehicule Press.

This week's poet posse:

the fog downtown

Cindy Goff
Appalachian Flood
The First Sober Morning

above the yellow sea

Barbara Tran
Love and Rice


Sky Gilbert
Romantic Possibilities of the Telephone

an unscientific answer to the mystery of the disappearing ancients

Nick Carbo
For My Friend Who Claims He Can't Dance and Has a Severe Case of  Writer's Block

I want to go deep

Mickie Siegel
Skin Tones

celebrate the light

the difference between free will and the will to be free


Evert Eden
Big Breasts

how many ways to describe

Evelyn Lau
Vancouver Public Library Opening Gala, May 24, 1995

Slow Dancing on a Rainy Day

that kind  of day   


This extended winter has brought us some great foggy mornings in the past couple of weeks. Especially impressive, downtown under a blanket of gray in its valley as seen from the heights where I live.

the fog  downtown

from the heights
the  city's skyline seems to
float on gray clouds

at street level, the fog
coils like  a snake  between the buildings,
drifts  down the city's twisting
colonial-era streets, curls around
river bridges, and below the bridges
the murk lies quiet and calm, only inches
above the green, slow-moving water, here
and there  green-shelled turtles
surface, separate themselves from the green water
to raise their heads into the mist
for gulps of damp air...


I  have walked these  streets
in years past,
like the turtles
keeping my head down
as I walked along the river
at midnight...

it was not a safe place to be
in those days, mysteries
sheltered in each dark
doorway, under each bridge
at the water's edge, knife-fighters,
razor-mouthed whores, thugs, and the generally
insane, wandering
through ghosts known only
to them...

the dense morning fog
reminds me of those nights,
misty shadow-things
lurking but benign,
pale remembrances of dangers


the greatest danger this morning,
collision with a park policeman cruising
the Riverwalk on his bicycle -

a better place to be now,  but lacking
the drama of low-living
nights before


My first poems from  the  anthology, Poetry Nation, the North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry, is Virginia poet Cindy Goff.

Appalachian Flood

Rats scramble vertically on bricks.
A limp  fox turning over and over
flats by clothing
caught in young dogwoods.

Windows are still windows
but with unrestricted access.
A wedding gown and a water snake
curl around a chandelier.

Beneath the water, objects move
but don't float: dictionaries, brass beds,
trampolines, tractors.

Beneath the flood, the earth is full
like it never had a backbone.

The First Sober Morning

No one is awake in the campgrounds
off the dismantled carnival. The hermaphrodite sleeps
with the levers of her rollercoaster.
The nymphomaniac is curled up in a Ferris wheel seat.
The fat lady sleeps sitting up in front of a carousel mirror.
And the young college student, who just wanted to earn money
for Europe, is middle-aged now. She snores on a straw bed
in the geek pit.
I'm so afraid of telling them
we will not be moving o a new town.


This is an old poem from March, 2012.

above the yellow sea

the broad banks
on either side of creek
are hip-deep in tall yellow flowers
some variety of sun flower
I'm guessing
but a much smaller bloom
and mixed with them,
closer to the ground
and  barely seen, pink petunias

and the wind blows strong,
warning of the storm that darkens the sky
to the west and southwest,
and on both sides of the creek
it is like a yellow surf
as the flowers bend and blow
in the wind

above the churning, yellow sea,
the hawk, wings spread
to full span,
holding steady,
tacking with the gusts,
for pink flesh
beneath the surface below

the storm
before the storm coming


Next from the anthology,  a poem by Barbara Tran. Born in New York City in 1968, Tran is a graduate of New York University with a MFA from Columbia.

Love and Rice

He jumped off the water buffalo and I knew we'd be married.
He turned it easily, pushing its head to the side.
The orange diep trees were like blazes of sun
just hanging in the air below the clouds.
Untainted masses spread across the sky.

I told Mother that night he was my lover.
He knew nothing of it.
I thought of nothing else I wrung the sheets.
That he was my cousin didn't matter,
there was no room for shame.
Grandmother would notice the sun setting
and know her clock needed winding,
know she had missed her bananas and rice.

The first  time I touched him, I thought of nothing but fruit.
There was no electricity then; night came early.
I took a long bath pouring water
gently over my body, watching it  drip
between the wooden slats.
Soon, I'd be carrying
a weight inside me.


Responsibilities and promises, real guilt inducers.


i  deny all guilt

whatever it  was
i didn't do it

didn't ever think about
doing it

wouldn't  do that sort of  thing
in a thousand years

never have
never will, unthinkable 

not that kind of guy

but she doesn't believe me

says i promised...

but it's cold outside
i say

doesn't matter
she says

you promised


those big brown

seeing deep
past all my evasions

not evasions, she says,

you promised
she says
and you can't  lie away

the brown eyes
dig deep

i say, let me get my shoes

we'll go  for  a

paw bump
she says as she raises
her foot


 Next from Poetry Nation, a poem by Sky Gilbert.

Gilbert,  a Canadian writer born  in 1952, is a poet, novelist, academic, actor and drag performer.

Romantic Possibilities of  the  Telephone

If you think I ever went and put on speed-dial
you are sadly mistaken
A boy has to last longer than three months
which you didn't
Boy am I glad I put your name at the back of the phone book
It's EASILY erasable
there beside guys from  Wisconsin and San Francisco who I haven't called for
and it doesn't take up too much space
(thank god)
I might not even erase it!
the fact that you were able to find fifteen minutes on your
fucking break
to call and break up
was not  lost on me
I tried to hurry
Wouldn't want you to waste some half-baked croissant
and there's nothing like cold coffee
Did you put down the phone and sigh
"Oh my God he's SO neurotic!"
to one of your co-workers
at that fucking telemarketing place?
They're all a  bunch of drunks and  has-beens who work there anyway
I didn't enjoy being invited to their stupid parties
I only pretended that vulgar woman was exciting
No, telemarketers are not fascinating
contrary to your twenty-three year old pseudo-artistic romanticization of
And there's only one fucking I will  miss
one fucking thing
and it will  take awhile
to get over
Turning the phone off at  night
will not be easy
There is perhaps nothing sadder
after all
than a phone you expect nothing of
There it sits
still as vinegar
I guess I'll watch a late movie
Who is Betty Hutton anyway?


Of the many mysteries of Mesa Verde, the most intriguing, where did the ancients go, leaving all behind, just, it seems, one day and gone.

Another old poem from 2012.

an unscientific answer to the mystery of the disappearing ancients

a dark night
high atop a mountain

the closest I've ever been to the night sky

and the stars
deep and bright
in the clear, dark sky,
seen this night
from more than ten thousand feet
above earth smog
and lazy-drifting surface fog

and I feel
like a space creature,
visitor from one of those bright
sharp pricks of light above,
marooned, perhaps, on this muddy bog
of a tiny world in a flyspeck system
on the poor side off the galactic tracks
of the universe

a space creature,
struggling in its last days
to get here,
high above the stark below
for one last look at his brilliant overhead

the Anasazi, natives
of this dark-night under wide-open sky region,
their disappearance a mystery to those
who have never seen the stars
from here, the stars those ancients saw,
an impenetrable mystery
to those who never felt the power
of the heavens seen
through this thin mountain air, who don't understand
the draw of home, who don't understand that though
they are called the first peoples in myth
they left behind, they were really the last peoples
of their kind, gone

leaving us
in our dark-caved fears


From the anthology now, Nick Carbo, who seems to show up in just about every other one of my anthologies.

For My Friend Who Complains He Can't Dance and Has a Severe Case of Writer's Block

Then, take this tambourine
inside the sheep barn,

listen to the anaconda's intestines,
the shark's walking stick,

learn the river insect's secret
neon calligraphy,
swim through Freida Khalo's hair
and come out smelling like orchids,

lift your appetite
towards the certified blue turtle,
feast on Garcia Lorca's leather shoes
and taste the sun, the worms of Andalusia,

don't  hesitate in front of a donut,
a ferris wheel, the crab nebula,

excavate diamond-eyed demons,
Chaucer's liver, Minoan helmets,

paste Anne Sexton's  face on a $11,000 bill
and purchase a dozen metaphors,

be4were of the absolute scorpion,
the iguana with the limping leg,

permit in dwelling, with words around the eyes,
the confrontation of window,

never feed your towel to the alligator,
he will eat you and  eat you and eat you


Tired of all  the light, fluffy-puff poems I've been writing, I decided the other morning I need to get away from that kind of work and go deep. I'm sorry to say that most of the time when I hope to go deep  I end up just  going long instead.

Like here.

I want to go deep

I want to go deep,
find that far-down place
available only to true spelunkers
of souls abiding
in cosmic


when the conversation
in the next booth
is so interesting

a woman,  a teacher I'm thinking,
talking to an attorney,
the teacher
trying to convince the attorney
that a child, a three-year-old,
is in danger,
being abused by his parents,
and she marshals her arguments,
one after another, a catalog of  observations ,
a teacher's intuitions,
but the attorney objects to each one,
you're being such a defense lawyer,
she says to him,
I'm having nightmares about this
she says,
but the attorney is unmoved...

such a strange discussion over breakfast,
I think,
breakfast business
commonplace in these  parts,
but  usually a boss type
giving  sales updates, handing out attaways,
describing bottom lines  past
and expectations
pretty standard, an exercise
in power, getting people out of bed early
to  listen, on their own time,
to the latest pin stripe

lots of business meetings
I've been to, meetings I've called or been called to,
meetings I've listened in on from here
at my corner table,  but never a meeting  this intense,
even when  it was  lovers meeting,
trying to build a relationship, or, sometimes, with tears
and angry words, trying to put a dead relationship in  its grave,
people in extremis, but this meeting, this impassioned defense
of a child at risk, ultimately failing, ultimately a casualty
of a lawyer's disbelief, the intensity of the meeting
and the ramifications of its inconclusive

how in  the world am I supposed to plumb the depths
of my soul when this kind of stuff
is going on
around me, my spelunking blocked
at the cavern's entry, like giant stones  rolled
from the side of the hill,  blocking...


don't  bother  trying to roll  the stones away...

I just won't get down there today

A little note to accompany the poem. when I started the poem my intent was to demonstrate how my shallow poetic impulse could be so easily overridden  by real events around me. I didn't really pay much attention to the issue between the teacher and the lawyer. That does  not reflect any light view I might have when it comes to child abuse. I  served for a period of time  on a County Child Welfare Board and understand the problem between the teacher and the lawyer completely. The teacher, relying on her instinct and observation knows there's a problem but the lawyer, since this  is  not a case of physical or sexual abuse which,  by its nature, leaves physical evidence on the child, but of psychological and emotional abuse,which leaves no such evidence, instead, knows that he can not make a case against parents based only on a teacher's unverifiable feelings. In Texas and  everywhere else parental rights are not easily circumscribed without convincing  evidence of  abuse or endangerment.

A tough situation for both teacher and attorney, but especially for the teacher, who, whether her intuitions are correct or not, will  be living with the conviction that they are and that she is helpless to do anything. If you were to talk to child welfare workers, you would discover that many of them, with many more cases then they can possible serve, feel that same helplessness.

I've felt that helplessness as well, the reason I served one term on that Board and declined reappointment.

Micki Siegel, a poet I've never read before, is in the anthology with these two short poems. I had a problem in finding a picture of the right Micki Siegel, there begin several to chose from. I chose this Micki Siegel to picture based on a an appreciation of her after her death which mentioned her flaming red hair.

Skin Tones

Your skin is warm gold
mine pale pink
what do  we look  like
lying together
still and quiet after love
arms and legs entwined
like a stature
so finely sculpted
to find the seam
between the two figures


You make love to my words
my words are dreaming
though a hole in the sky


Again from 2012, March.

celebrate the light

it is said
by the people
who are presumed
to know
such things
that we creatures
of the light and all that is apparent
to us make up less than five percent
of the universe -
the rest is dark matter
mysterious and unseen, swimming
in a roiling sea off dark enigmatic energy
unfelt by us

(as far  as we know
but there is
so much
we do not  know)

I  read this yesterday
and determined today to fight
the dark and celebrate
the light

I'm not sure how to do that,
the dark being absent from any means
of our knowing and the light

how does one rebel
against the unseen
and forever unknowable...

how does one celebrate
that which cannot
be  embraced...

but I do what I can

I smile and nod to all I meet
on the sidewalk,
and wave with a friendly
thumbs up
to the cars that pass
and the unseen
and shake hands
with all I know and say
to  all I don't, making a friend
of all kinds
present in the

I know
the dark will be fading
all  around
as the light casts
a widening

it is a faith,

I know,
and   seek to sustain it

I was going to post a new poem here bemoaning the obvious fact that my old poems are better than my new poems.

A kind of penance for my disrespect to the poetry gods.

But I can't find the poem. I don't know if I've already used it or if it just self-destructed on the shelf in a flash of sulfur smoke or what. I don't care which. It was a piece of crap and I'm just glad to be rid of it.

Here's another old poem instead that reminds me of the un-dearly departed piece of crap poem.

the difference between free will and the will to be free

I spent the bulk of yesterday
doing something
of no consequence, something
the doing of which would bring me only minimal
pleasure or profit,
doing it
simply because,
by god,
once started in the doing
it is not in my bones
to quit before it is

so much for intelligence
and free

It's not just that this winter has been long and cold, which it has been, unusually long and unusually cold, but that there has been no continuity to the weather, one day 85 degrees and sunny, the next 25 degrees and icy. We react psychologically and emotionally to weather and pop up and down weather like we've had leaves us popping up and down too. It is a beautiful day today, about 50 degrees, bright and sunny. But when I wrote the next poem it was the opposite, and with the weather, I was pretty far down.

The poem is to some degree about the people we lose along the way, but more simply and more commonly about the hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach when you turn around and an accustomed thing, maybe just a favorite restaurant, is gone, no more to be enjoyed.


thinking last night
of all that's

the thirty years of my life
I spend questing
for grace and excellence and value
gone at the snip of legislators and their academic toadies,
ignorant shears in the hands off ignorant
careerist,  seekers after

and people
oh, so many people,
memories remaining, making the void
off absence even deeper...

places, too...

the house where I grew up,
still standing,
but nothing like it was,
the pens in the back where we kept chickens,
and later, when I was twelve, where I started a boarding kennel,
my first and most successful-ever business start-up,
the business gone the pens gone, the trees
we planed pulled up, turned to

almost all the schools I attended
before college, the playgrounds where we played chase
and marbles and dodge ball and where girls
outlined little houses in the dust
against the back fence, where they wanted to play wife
and wanted us to play husband, the schools
I don't miss so much, but the playgrounds,
those playgrounds, I'd so like to play in them

the little town where  grew up,
now a place of unfamiliar
geography, the buildings still standing,
the single stoplight
by two,  but everything inside the buildings,
everyone stopping at the lights,
devoid  of anything I can see and say,
look, this is where I  grew up, that drugstore
where I drank 5 cent cokes after the movies,
that grocery store where I worked, bagging groceries,
dusting shelves, sweeping and mopping at closing time,
(the buildings are still there, but there is  no drugstore,
no grocery store in them), that street corner
where I stood, hung out, on hot, summer Saturday
afternoons, presenting my well-oiled ducktails
to passing winds passing, now everything was passing
and I  didn't  even know...

and all still passes, and we are left without a history
we can call  our own...

but, i know, watching all around me, watching
our disappearing past as it eats even our present
as well, wondering what part of now
will not be there next time I pass,
wondering if all I pass also  watches me,
wondering if this pass will finally be my
last, wondering if  I will be next in the void,
keeping track
of me as I keep track of all outside me,
 wondering about
the next loss,, what else dear to me will be,
if it will be me,
hoping I will be missed
as  I  miss all that's gone  before

Here's an interesting poem from the anthology. It's by slam poet Evert Eden and I must say it strikes a chord with me. When I was young I got a copy of Playboy (for reading, of course) every month, had a subscription, and at one point, had back issues all the way back to the early sixties. Now, I haven't looked at one in years. All that  silicone bouncing around (of course, the opposite is the problem, silicone is inert, doesn't bounce around or move in any discernible way, instead just sits there on the chest like something from a jello mold, except with no jello jiggle) - any way, the manufactured boobs got so large and intimidating I felt like there wasn't any room in the magazine for me anymore.

Big Breasts

I detest big breasts
I'm not talking about those milkless  udders
on Arnold Schwarzenegger
or the flopped-out titties flapping from the hairy chests
of old men on the beach
like emaciated rats hanging from bared wire

I'm talking about those Playboy antheaps
those Penthouse dungbundles
those alabaster orbs of high-blown high-flown high-tech headlights
those airbrushed planets
that look  like they've spun in from another solar system
to land on on soft launching pads
I hate 'em

nobody's born with them
the Department of Agriculture can't grow them
they're made
for manhandmaidens

I think I've given up on bre3asts entirely
the last public breasts I liked were Anita Ekberg's
La  Dolce Vita
1904 or something

what kind off an adult comes from a baby that sucks silicone?

I detest big breasts
as for big butts
aha! that's the size of truth


Another oldie.

how many ways to describe

how many ways can you describe
a sunrise red and raging
through early morning
a green pasture,
a herd of deer
and their long shadows
the sleepy-eyed
hell-bent to crack
his daily egg
of labor,
the waitress
at the diner, coming
in for her morning shift,
feet already sore,
smile still
in the making,
thick-wrapped against the too-early
chill of a night like a horse,
skittery and
not yet full broken

many ways
to describe the fade
of pale night shadows,
the moon, white like a button,
in decline, big sister sun
still but a hint of the fierce light to come
soon, the full force of its
exploding atomic pile still
banked by the blazing
horizon, our world afire
on its eastern margin,
again, again,
as day life stirs and night life

how does one describe all this again,
the magnificent everything again,
like yesterday,
like the night before,
like tomorrow, we hope,
but cannot know/

is this one way?

if not,
I'll try again tomorrow


 Last from this week's anthology, Poetry Nation, a poem by Evelyn Lau.

Vancouver Public Library Opening Gala, May 24, 1995

I live in the house where I did not say
I love you.  Every night I repeat it
as prayer, penance, incantation. I sit
in the black armchair to taste the memory of you.
The green couch. The burnt-orange floor.  This  wall
where the streetlight shines at 11 p.m...

Parties remind me of you.Tonight a man
said your name, and the room swam with grief.
The speaker smelled of Pierre Cardin. I leaned
into the staple of his elbow, to feel the flesh
and bone of the person who knew you, who once
shook your hand, shook your wife's hand.
Around us men and women tumbled
like chips at the bottom of a kaleidoscope.
Gowns like fish scales, tuxes like funerals.
Again, I whisper, say it again. Love...

but nothing more happens, though there are
performers on stilts, Shakespeare actors in velvet,
red vodka, quail pierced by bone, though
we slide swizzle sticks into our purses for souvenirs,
laugh subversively. Though a man I once saw on his knees,
weeping, his back candy-cane striped,
his face a pomegranate of lust,
his penis a nub, a slug, a tuberous potato
is here tonight, splendid in his suit,,
chin cocked, glass raised, wife stalwart by his side.
Say it again, I yell, Love, but the diva
opens her throat, and no one hears.


I wrote this next, semi-strange (at least) short story in 1966.  I very clearly remember writing it in a frenzy in pencil on a yellow legal pad, sitting in a corner of the  library at Indiana University - Bloomington. Originally a long poem, I've gone back to it a number of time, the last time in 2012, when I turned it into a short story (as it always should have been).

I can't see anything in the piece to justify this year after year return to to it for more than 50 years. Maybe I'm trying to find again that 22-year-old's writing frenzy, maybe just trying to find again the 22-year-old.

Slow Dancing on a Rainy Day


      I woke  to her slow breathing beside me, then turned on my side to watch her sleep, a study in brown on a gray day.

     A brown dress I had seen her wear a hundred times, small on her, high-necked and tight to the waist
where it flared out to end above her knees. The color of the dress a match to her hair and a shaded contrast to her tanned skin and yellow-flecked eyes, cat's eyes, closed now in sleep.

      I  brushed a wisp of hair from her forehead, traced the path of her eyebrow and ran my finger down the line of her nose; passed my fingertips over her closed mouth and chin and down the curve of her neck, then back to the pale whisper of down on her upper lip.

     She laughed  in her sleep and ran her tongue over her lips, her teeth a flash of white in bedroom shadows.

     I cupped her chin, then kissed her  lightly.  Her eyelids fluttered and she opened her yellow eyes, bright in the tangled dim of our bed.

     She raised her hand and began to speak. but I stopped her,  kissed the palm of her hand and her eyes, sealed her lips.Then lay back beside her and closed my eyes.

     I felt the bed move as she got up; heard the bathroom door close, then open. I felt her beside me again. I turned and opened my arms  to her.

     The rain came again,  louder against our tin roof, as I pulled her close.


     It was still raining when I woke again in late afternoon. I  walked to the window and opened it,  pressed my face against the wet screen. I drew in the cool damp air as fine droplets of rain passed through the screen. I passed my tongue over the screen, swallowed the rusty rain.

     I turned my back to the window and to her, asleep atop the covers,  watched  the slow rise and fall of her small breasts. I passed my hand over them, over the warm rise of her belly, back again to the tiny freckles that ran across her chest and up her throat.


     Outside the rain stopped and for a moment, sunlight glared through the window.

     But it passed and it was dark again.

     With a distant rumble of thunder, the rain began again, soft and slow, like lovers consumed by sad passion on a rainy afternoon

     Together, we had agreed, this was to be our last afternoon, and with that came our first peace in months.

     Together, she insisted.We should do this together.

     I did not  tell her I  had decided different, that I would seek my own peace without her.

     I circled her pale throat with my hands, crushed the freckles there as she slept.


You got your lousy, dreary days that turn everything lousy and dreary.

Then you have your really great days.

that kind of day

what's to do
on an early-spring, sun-shinning day
but open your big mouth

w    i    d    e

as Sugar Smack Canyon

like a monkey
up a banana tree

like a horse,
an Arab stallion,
in knee-deep clover

like Bossie
on a blind date with Big Buck Dick,
Grand Champion rodeo
bull of the year,
romance on the menu 

it's that kind of day

and I'm smiling
my ears hurt

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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Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Poems Niederngasse
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
The Blogging Poet
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
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The Hiss Quarterly
Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
Arlene Ang
The Comstock Review
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Pitching Pennies
The Rain In My Purse
Dave Ruslander
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Clif Keller's Music
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Beau Blue
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Layman Lyric
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Desert Moon Review
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Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet