Spring, in Passing   Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Photos this week all from the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, except for the first one (above) from the peach tree in my backyard. The gardens looking good, especially considering the bad winter. I expect it will be even better in a few weeks when the flowers outside their greenhouses will be in full bloom.

Half Price Books had a great sale last week, books 40 to 50  percent off. I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of anthologies I probably wouldn't have bought without the discount. I'll be using the anthologies here for the next several week, beginning this week with Unsettling America, An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry. Published in 1994 by Penguin, I looked through it before I bought it and found a number of my favorite poets.

As usual, I have my own work, old and new, and a poem from a poet I connected with on Facebook.

Here are my "gots" for the week.

protecting my constitutional rights

Mary Tallmountain
 The Last Wolf

one or the other and sometimes both

Barry Seiler
Digging in the Streets of Gold

a cold fire

Shirley Geok-lin Lin
Lost Name Woman

just a little, just once  

Martin Espada
Coca-Cola and Coco Frio


Laurie Corzett

I had no idea!

Luci Tapahonso
All I Want


Stanley H. Barkan
Two Grandmas

morning before the night things sleep

Garrett Hongo


Safiya Henderson-Holmes
Friendly Town #1

the first short-sleeve shirt of spring

Introducing Luny
Millie, Billie Lolly, Lou and Lester


Quincy Troupe
In Texas Grass

the season

Today Was a Bad Day Like TB

           among the corpses                
Just a note: Assuming people have seen enough of me to last a while, my avatars for my poems this week are my current and previous furry friends. For the new poems, I have Bella, my near-24-hours-a-day companion and for my old poems, Reba, our princess for nearly 20 years, with us until the end finally came about a year and a half ago.

I feel sorry for people who don't have the pleasure of a dog's companionship and ethical guidance. How in the world do they stay human, is what I wonder, without the influence of a dog on their lives.


This, I think, is from a couple of weeks ago. Don't recall using it here.

protecting my constitutional rights

people tell  me I shouldn't complain
but hell, it's a constitutional  right and like all constitutional  rights
must be exercised if it is to be retained...

but I'm afraid
the constitution might be in  trouble today
since I can't think of anything
to complain  about...

it's not  cold
and it's not  wet, in fact,
the sun threatens to shine upon us

my dog didn't bite the obnoxious kid
for pulling her ear
and the cat didn't throw up on the rug...

my morning egg  was perfectly over
and perfectly easy
and the bacon was crispy
just right...

all my plants
in the recent polar vortex ice event
are showing sprigs of new  green,
proclaiming spring, spring, god-almighty spring
and I'm expecting perfectly proportioned
young women in summer short-shorts,skimpy
tops by Thursday at the latest...

my wife says she loves me
and I talked to my son  and he didn't ask  for money
or advice or present me with unexpected
grandchildren, so,

what could go wrong...

I understand my constitutional right to complain
might be at risk,
but I just don't have anything to  comp*#@##*!

oh, damn!!!

my power cord just blew up


just like that

explosion bright white electrical fire light

could  have blown  off my hand
for christ's sake

lousy rotten ridiculously-expensive-to-replace
American product...


I  think the constitution may be saved for the day
after all

First from this week's anthology, here's a powerful poem by Mary Tallmountain.

Born in 1918 in a village along the Yukon River, the poet was a Native Alaskan who lived for many years in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. She is remembered for her encouragement of budding writers, from inner-city San Francisco to remote villages in Alaska where  she taught poetry to children in her later years.

The Last Wolf

the last wolf hurried toward me
through the ruined city
and I heard his baying echoes
down the steep smashed warrens
of Montgomery Street and past
the few ruby-crowned irises
left standing
their lighted elevators useless

passing the flickering red and green
of traffic signals
baying his way eastward
in the mystery of his wild loping gait
closer the sounds in the deadly night
through clutter and rubble of quiet blocks

I heard his voice ascending the hill
and at last his low whine as he came
floor by empty floor to the room
where I sat
in my narrow bed looking west, waiting
I heard him snuffle at the door and
I watched
as he trotted across the floor

he laid his long gray muzzle
on the spare white spread
and his eyes burned yellow
his small dotted eyebrows quivered

Yes, I said.
I know what I have done.


Here's an old poem, but not that old, March 2013.

one or the other and sometimes both

the yellow light
of a new day
overtakes the
new gray light of dawn

the daily transition
from dark
to bright realities

some choose the one
some the other

choose different
every day

I'm one of those

this morning  I go

but the dark
may pull me in again

I live a life
of sometimes
and sometimes dark

a person like
of the night and
the day

a creature
like you
of moods and dispensations

today I join you

I repeat myself,
for the bright being bright
needs no saying

only the dark assumes
a need


Barry Seiler is my next poet from the Unsettling America anthology

A frequently published and honored poet, Seiler is an editor  of American Book Review.  He taught in the English Department at Rutgers University.

Digging in the Streets of Gold

My parents were fish.
The came from Europe, swimming.

This was before Hitler was invented
when a wheelbarrow of money
got you a loaf of bread.

Twice, they voted for Stevenson,
and he dropped dead on the streets of London.

Mamie was drunk. McCarthy mad.

They did their jobs.
They didn't weep over the Rosenbergs.

They tried  to buy their way
out of history.
The rising elevator was their armor.
The wolf at the door the family crest.

Two weeks before he died,  my father smiled wisely
over murdered Kennedy, and lifted his shovel
and bent his back,
and went to dig in the streets of gold.


Desperate for something different last week,  I ended up here.

a cold fire

unrequited love
is like a place
you yearn to be
but can never go, something
you want
but cannot  think about
for the pain of knowing it will never
be yours

lips never to be kissed,
soft flesh never to  be caressed,
forever  unrealized

a time and place
two worlds, one before to which
you can never
and the other to which you may
never go

it is the agony
of life
without recourse,
lie that will  always never be,
the life,  with all your
you know
you were made for

all  else is cold
of a  fire forever cold...

Next from the anthology, poet Shirley Geok-lin Lin.

Born in Malaysia in 1944 and raised by her Chinese father. Educated in missionary schools, she was able to read English by the time she was six, even though her first languages were Malay and the Hokkin dialect of Chinese. She emigrated to the United States after college and settled in San Francisco.

Lost Name Woman

Mississippi China woman
why do you wear blue jeans in the city?
Are you looking for the rich ghost
to buy you a ticket to the West?

San Francisco China woman,
you will drink only Coca-Cola.
You stir it with a long straw,
sip ss-ss like it's a rare elixir.

Massachusetts China woman,
you've cut your hair and frizzed it.
Bangs hide your stubborn brow, eyes
shine, hurricane lamps in a storm.

Arizona China woman,
now you are in Gold Mountain Country,
you speak English like the radio,
but will it let you forget your father?

Woman with the lost name,
who will feed you when you die?


March, 2013 again.

just a little,  just once

letting my hair
all long and un-
ruly and my beard too
and my eyebrows
flaring out over my forehead
like the spread white wings
of a crane gliding over Oso

it's Tolstoy
I seek to channel,
the great novelist, the Russian master,
the greatest of them all,Tolstoy,
with his cold, winter eyes
and great heart pulsing
beneath his thick fur robes
for love and for his people and for
his land, and I'm thinking
if I can  get the look
maybe some of his genius
will wear off on me
as well - just a little,
a slight kiss on my forehead
as his spirit passes,
just enough for one tiny little

just a little of his

just once

Now, from the anthology, Martin Espada.

A social justice and Latino rights activist, Espada is a poet, essayist, translator, editor and attorney.

Coca-Cola and Coco Frio

On his first visit to Puerto Rico,
island of family folklore,
the fat boy wandered
from table to table
with his mouth open.
At every table, some great-aunt
would steer him with cool spotted hands
to a glass of Coca-Cola.
One even sang to him, in all the English
she could remember, a Coca-Cola jingle
from the forties. He drank obediently, though
he was bored with this potion, familiar
from candy stores in Brooklyn.

Then, at a roadside stand off the beach, the fat boy
opened his mouth to coco frio, a coconut
chilled, then scalped by a machete
so that a straw could inhale the clear milk.
The boy tilted the green shell overhead
and drooled coconut milk down his chin;
suddenly, Puerto Rico was not Coca-Cola
or Brooklyn, and neither was he.

For  years afterward, the boy marveled at an island
where the people drank Coca-Cola
and sang jingles from World War II
in a language they did not speak,
while so many coconuts in the trees
sagged heavy with milk, swollen
and unsuckled


Continuing my search for something different.


lays her cloak
dark  across the hills


under the smoldering moon -


like a moon shadow
she drifts
over barefoot trees


folds the night around her -
curls her bod on  the cusp  of Snake Sling Ridge


her shadow
blacker than  the night,
sleeps in deepest woods


a pile of  dried ebony leaves
stirs in the breeze
of sunrise


Taking a break from the anthology, here's a poem by Laurie Corzett, a poet I met on Facebook.


That luminal curtain between the pain
and screen selection, prescribed feeling. Immersion
distracts from meaning:  what you don't mean;
all the ravaging truth (No, that's not me!)
I was the princess, all the rage - cashing in
on beauty, charm, ambition.
See, my vision, bubbling up in pastel
pinks and blues.
Who were you, back when
the carnival was still in town?
Were you that merry clown,
costumed glee, charismatic spree,
grab it all for free!
And now?
Cloaked in silence, screaming; bravely scheming.
Which face you can allow to smile,
slip through comedic picket fence or crooked style.
Intense desire disguised as disgust.
Social trust misapplied.
How to excavate, extricate all those lies,
(and why should I?) to touch cool, hard stone,
layered experience, polished to magnificence
not mine alone


Another one from last year.

I had no idea!

it's that feeling
of discovery, the new idea,
the concept that will finally explain
love, life,
why a woman can't be
more like a man,
and you shout

then run across a story
in a National Geographic magazine from 1957
that shows your new idea,
the breakthrough insight that will explain
all that has puzzled mankind
since you don't know
that great concept,
that high point of all the intellectual discoveries
your inquiring mind has ever
searched through
the swirling dark of ignorant night to

all that...

scratched on a cave wall
some 37,000 years

well, hell,
you think, why didn't  anyone ever
tell me that

 From the anthology again, Luci Tapahonso.

A Navajo woman born in Shiprock, New Mexico, Tapahonso grew up on the largest Indian reservation in the United States. The poet frequently conceives, writes and sings her poems in Dine, the Navajo language, before translating them into English for publication. She received her BA and her MA in 1980 and 1983 from the University of New Mexico, and has taught at the University of New Mexico, the University of Kansas and most recently, the University of Arizona.

All I Want

All I want is the bread to turn out like hers just once
     brown crust
     soft, airy insides
     rich and round

that is all.
So I ask her: How many cups?
     Ah yaa ah, she says,
     tossing four and salt into a large, silver bowl.
     I don't measure with cups.
     I just know by my hands,
     put a little like this is right, see?
     You young people always ask
     those kinds of questions,
     she says,
thrusting her arms into the dough
and turning it over and over again.
The table trembles with her movements.

I watch silently and this coffee is good,
                                                            strong and fresh.
     Outside, her son is chopping wood,
     his body an intense arc.
     The dull rhythm of winter
     is the swinging of the axe
     and the noise of children squeezing in
     with the small sighs of the wind
     through the edges of the windows.

She pats and tosses it furiously
shaping balls of warm, soft dough.
     There, we'll let it rise,
     she says, sitting down now.
     We drink coffee and there is nothing
     like the warm smell of bread rising
     on windy, woodchopping afternoons.


 And following the last  something  different, something even more different.


he rides rails
of night-churn dreams,
like  first
and last man,
balls like stones
cock tall and straight
like pillars
at  Pharaoh's  gate,
for the hard
sweat-smell  of
erotic abandon, the oasis
where all carnal
thirsts are quenched,
where appetite's wells
are ever-overflowing,
a dream he will not remember
except for the erection
that throbs
when he wakes,,  reaching
for what is wakefully lost
in the
cluttered closet of unrealized
dreams pissed away
in the over-bright
real of hunger-


Stanley H.  Barkan is a poet, translator, editor and publisher of the Cross-Culture Review Series of World Literature and Art which, as of 2011, his 40th anniversary year, published 400 titles in 50 different languages. His own work has been translated into 25 different languages in 15 collections.

Two Grandmas

One grandma
I knew,
the other
I didn't.

This one shopped on
Belmont and
Blake Avenues
from pushcarts.
Took me with her
to the chicken market
where they plucked
and burned their feathers,
took out the whole eggs
and, sometimes
the eiyele
for the chicken soup
filled with necks
and legs
and onions and parsley.
Oh, the griebines
fired in the pan - the scent floating
around the kitchen
throughout the rooms
of our railroad flat
over the furniture store
on Sutter Avenue.

Grandma, forever cooking:
jarring blueberry jam,
boiling apples for sauce,
spicing herring,
chopping pike and carp
for gefilte fish.

We were always hungry,
anxious to devour
the scents
the bits and pieces
of chicken with onions,
the shmaltz
on fresh rye bread.

Grandma stirred
and filled
our hunger.

Even now,
as I remember
her shopping,
cooking, singing:
"Alein,  alein -
alles for meine kinder."


Old again, last year.

morning before the night things sleep

a sky-mugged
the street cloud-
tangled and flat
under  night-icicle
and dank

slippery to the touch

and quiet 
as breath held
till near bursting

in memory shades
of haunted forest,  black,
trees heavy, low,
and reaching

familiar paths
by mythic shadows
of childhood

the low creak
of trees
in sinister


before the night things


 Also from the anthology, a poem by Garrett Hongo.

Hongo, born in 1951 in Volcano, Hawaii, is a fourth-generation Japanese-American academic and Pulitzer Prize nominated poet.


It's Gardena, late Saturday afternoon
on Vermont Avenue, near closing time
at the thrift store and my father's
left me to rummage through trash bins
stuffed with used paperbacks, 25 cents a pound,
while he chases down some bets
at the card clubs across the street.

the register rings up its sales - $2.95,
$11.24, $26.48 for  the used Frigidaire -
and a girl, maybe six or so, barefoot,
in a plaid dress, her hair braided
in tight cornrows,, tugs at the strap
on her mother's purse, begging a few
nickels for the gumball machine.

She skips through the check-stand,
runs toward the electric exit,,  passing
a fleet of shopping carts, bundles
of used magazines (Ebony and Jet)
stacked like pyramids in the rear aisle
reaches the bright globe of the vendor,
fumbles her coins, and works the knob.

My father comes in from the Rainbow
across the street, ten hands of Jacks
or Better, five draw, a winner
with a few dollars to peel away
fro9om grocery money and money to fix
the washer, a dollar for me to buy
four pounds of Pocket Wisdoms, Bantrams,
a Dell that says Walt Whitman, Poet
of the Open Road, and hands it to me,
saying, "We won, Boy-san! We won!"
as the final blast of sunset kicks through
plate glass and stained air, firing through
the thicket of neon across the street,
consuming the store, the girl,  the dollar bill,

even the Rainbow and the falling night
in a brief symphony of light.


 More "something" different from last week.


fine curls
wherein nestle
the most  tender
lips and within their fold,
the pearl,
delicate, peach-pink and waiting
it's perfect mate, a lover's
like a butterfly, nectar full,
silken wings


Back to the anthology with Safiya Henderson-Holmes.

Born in the Bronx in 1950, the poet earned a BA at New York College and an MFA from City College of New York.

Friendly Town #1

 it was august, i was inner city
and ten, on a bus with forty
seven inner city tens; small,
pulsing centers of blueblack

of brownbeige faces as public
as crowded as the schools
we attended. we were leaving
the city quickly, escaping in twos,

going to the country:
- where the grass allowed us
to run, trees allowed us
to sleep and air stretched

across our backs like wings -
at least this is what the counselor said,
as she counted and tapped our seats,
and the bus stood long yellow and green

strips in front of the gray.
we were going to camp:
- friendly town - the counselor said,
her smile, pearly, perfectly even,

her hair: blonde, to her
beaded belt and waist.
she counted us three times
before the bus left the corner.

after each count she smiled.
we were given sandwiches, chips
and red apples in white paper bags.
our names were written in blue

marker on square white labels,
and stuck, ends curling, to our chests:
we were shirley with the thick black  bangs
and blue eyeglasses, maria with thin lips

and long, thin black hair, jose chewing gun
and reading superman, paulette crying,
edward counting trucks, debra eating the apple,
but not swallowing the skin.

i smoothed my name,
wondered about country animals:
cows, goats, pigs, or did friendly
towners have  regular cats and dogs

that fight and regular birds
that never fly? edward exploded
his white lunch bag. the counselor
jumped, her smile popped into a scream,

- my god - she said - i thought
it was a gun. - edward laughed.
i closed my eyes, listening to paulette's
crying, imagining the dogs barking

their teeth chasing our bus.


As it happens, as I write this, just as in this poem from a year ago, and even though it's only supposed to get to about 65 degrees today, I'm wearing my first short-sleeve shirt of the new season.

the first short-sleeve shirt of spring

I'm wearing
this short-sleeve shirt
it's supposed to hit
90 degrees

my wife
bought the shirt
for out son who is built
like a linebacker
and I'm not, a difference
between us
of some inches across the
chest and shoulders
that she has never really
so the shirts she buys
are usually too small for him
but perfect for me
so I end up with them
whether I like them
or not

as with this shirt....

a green-blue checkerdy thing
that looks like a tablecloth at a St. Patrick Day picnic
for the old folks home, a shirt that
look at me, I'm an
old coot setting-out for the home
to play shuffleboard
or horseshoes with all my old fart friends in ugly shirts
just like mine

I'd like to be wearing
one of my Hawaiian shirts today,
but they're all packed away
for winter
and WalMart won't get its new season supply
of Hawaiian shirts
for a couple of weeks
and I recognize the requirements of reality
so that's why I'm wearing this
shirt that makes me feel like
Shuffleboard Sam, an old guy
content to spend his days pushing pucks
from one end of a concrete strip
to the other,
instead of a good, flowery
Hawaiian shirt
that makes me want to pick coconuts
at a quiet beach where pretty girls in dental floss bikinis
hang out all around like coconuts
fallen from their trees and waiting for me to
pick them up, whispering in their small, pink ears all about
the wonders of gerontological
sex, the extreme, lustalicious
that makes up for its

the difference in shirts is obvious,
there being hardly ever smooth-skinned girls
in dental floss bikinis
hanging around the shuffleboard crew
in their checkerdy shirts
at the old folks

I'm skipping out of the anthology again to do two of my old poems, 12 years older, in fact, than the other old poems in this post. Both poems were written in January, 2001, just a couple of years after my first retirement when I returned to writing after about 30 years of silence. In the first poem, I introduced a character that I thought would be good to write a series around.

The second poem came pretty easily and was, I thought, true enough to the character I created in the first poem. After the second poem I hit a wall; everything I started seemed to be moving away from what I wanted and closer to the Beverly Hillbillies. I thought my character as I had first imagined him was too good for that so I put the whole series idea aside, thinking maybe I'd come back to it again later. Never did and doubt I ever will. The inspiration is gone.

Here are both poems, a two-poem series.

Introducing Luny

Luna says,

     Hit's a big sombitch,
     ain't it.

and I nod
because it really is very, very large.

     Seen one like hit onct in Tupulo.

He scratches and spits and scratches again.

     Hit was almost as big as this,
     but not quite.

He takes off his hat and wipes sweat from his head.

     Black, too,
     just like this'un

We circled it in opposite directions,
me at a distance, intimidated
as any normal person would be.

But not Luny.

Luny doesn't give a damn,
he just wants to look.
He walks right up to it, sticks
his face right up to it,
pokes at it with his finger.

     Lookeehere, you ever seen sucha thing?

And I look at Luny, climbing
over all the wonders of the world, sticking
his fingers into every crack in the universal order
off things as they should and always will be, saying

     Well, wouldja look at that!

then moving on to the next curiosity to grab
a hold on his always hungry hillbilly mind..

And I think, nope,  I never did see such a thing.


Here's the second and last in the aborted series, written just a couple of weeks after the first. The closest I had to a third had Luny teaching Sunday School at the Baptist Church, but I never could get it to work.

Millie, Billie, Lolly, Lou and Lester

Luny met Molly on a Sunday evening
in Tuscaloosa at a potluck supper
at the First Corinthian Baptist Church.

I was there, talking to  Luny
when Molly walked in, a slender little girl
in a flower dress carrying a big bowl
of country cornbread dressing.

     Didja see that girl?
     he asked,
     the pretty one in the flowerdy dress?

I said I did.

     Do you know her?

I said I did.

     Can I meet'er?

I'll introduce you, I said,
I think she'll like you.

So I did, and I could tell
right away, she did.

     Pleased to meetcha, Mr. Luny,
     she said.

     Just call me Luny,
     he said,
    most everybody does.

    And you can call me Molly,
     she said.

He did and pretty soon they wandered off,
heads together, talking and laughing,
leaving me to spend the rest of the evening
with Brother Borchuck, talking about
the cane bottom benches out front and the need
to get them restrung before one of
the heavier brothers or sisters of the church
busted through them and sued us all,
including the Lord.

I didn't see Luny again until I was leaving.
He was in his pickup, smoking one of his
roll-your-own Bugler cigarettes,
spitting stray tobacco from
his lower lip like you have to do
when you roll them as  loose as he does.

     That Molly sure is pretty,
     he said,
     blowing tobacco from his lip

I agreed and said,
I think she likes you.

     I know she does,
     he said.

Luny took another drag from his cigarette
and blew it out and pulled on his left ear.

     Says she likes kids,
     says she'd like to have a bunch.

A bunch of kids, I said,
that's a lot of responsibility.

     Yeah, I don't think I'd want more than five.


Now,  the last of the "something different" for a while.



she sits  astride him
for the last
ass tight
on his legs, a few new  tricks
for him
on his  way out the door,
a revenge fuck for
the stallion who jumped the fence
one too many times -

remind  him  what he'll be missing


as she busies herself
the poet searches
for the right lines to start
his newest poem

"don't stop...don't  stop,"
he  finds
is the best he can  do


wholesome sex
is  good for  you, I'm told
by the wholesome  set, except
I'm not sure what that means,
except, just guessing you
understand, sex on the right day
at the proper hour in the proper position
with a partner of the correct gender
and socially acceptable


as sometimes happens
the best poem to complete
this quartet and
this experiment in looking for
"something different"
is a poem already written
and included in my first book
in 2007 -

is about the heat
of rubbing parts together
a function of finely calibrated

some will  say
it makes a big difference
which parts do what to who

I  say

it's a lot 
like chicken nuggets

in the dark
parts is parts

you rub mine
and I'll rub yours
and we'll sort it our
in the morning


Back to the anthology again with a poem by Quincy Troupe.

Born in 1939 in Missouri, is a poet, editor, journalist and professor  emeritus at the University of California - San Diego.

In Texas Grass

all along the railroad
tracks of texas
old train cars lay
rusted & overturned
like new african governments
long forgotten by the people
who built & rode them
till they couldn't run no more
& they remind me of old race horses
who've been put out to pasture
amongst the weeds
rain, sleet & snow
till they die & rot away
like photos fading
in grandma's picture book
of old black men & women, in mississippi
texas, who sit on dilapidated porches
that fall away
like dead man's skin
like white people's eyes
& inside the peeling photos
old men sit, sad eyed
& waiting, waiting for worm dust
thinking of the master & his long forgotten
promise of forty acres & a mule
& even now, if you pass across
this bleeding flesh
ever changing landscape
you will see the fruited
countryside, stretching, stretching
& old black men & young black
men, sitting on porches, waiting
waiting for rusted trains
silent in texas graves


 Here's one last oldie for the week, from, as with the others, from March, last year.

the season

it is the most
holy time
for those of the Christian faith,
the culmination of the birth, the pay-off
for all the pain of his life and theirs,
resurrection and eternal life
on God's right hand...

for a pagan like me,
who finds his faith in trees
and small creeks running clear
and stars and the moon
and the sun
benevolent over all,
it is just another weekend
when all my favorite places
close and I am deprived of the natural
order of my life


Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuila,  Durango,Oxaca,
Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Zacatecas, Chiapas, Veracruz,
Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Campeche,
Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Tabasco,
all the the other 31 states of Mexico,
their license plates lined up
on late-model cars at shopping
malls and hotels and parking
garages, for it is the time for well-
off Mexicans to come to
San Antonio to
& shop
& shop some more

well and modishly dressed
women who talk too loud on their
cell phones and, without their
nannies to intercede,
spoil their

tourists, in other words,
and aren't  we


the time
when dandelions
awake from their warm winter beds
for their annual assault
on my front

little do they know
I like dandelions and will concede
their victory
without a


and the trees
their green
in the varied hues
of their different species

and along my back fence
winter-bared limbs are laden again
with the growth that
for the joys of bare-skinned
moon-gazing at


and the river runs

and the river runs

past the tourist umbrellas
and the hikers and the bikers
and past the six missions
brought to the
to convert the heathen
for all their years before
had found the river sufficient
for themselves
and the
guiding spirits
of their gods and

but the river still runs,
timeless and

for the return
of its near-forgotten
people and their

My last poem from this week's anthology is by Chrystos.

Born in 1946, Chrystos is a poet and Menominee activist. Before being published she worked as an activist for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Today Was a Bad Day Like TB

Saw whites clap during a sacred dance
Saw young blond hippie boy with red stone pipe
     My eyes burned him up
He smiled   This is a Sioux pipe   he said from his sports car
     Yes   I hiss   I'm wondering how you got it
     & the name is Lakota not Sioux
I'll tell you   he said all friendly & liberal as only
     those with no pain can be
     I turned away   Can't charm me   can't bear to know
thinking of the medicine bundle I saw opened up in a glass case
     with a small white card beside it
     naming the rich whites who say they
     "own" it
Maybe they have an old Indian grandma back in time
     to excuse themselves
Today was a day I wanted to beat up the smirking man we4aring
a pack with a Haida design  from Moe's bookstore
Listen Moe's   How many Indians do you have working there?
How much money are you sending the Haida people
to use their sacred Raven design?
     You probably have an Indian grandma too
     whose name you don't  know
     Today was a day like TB
     you cough & cough trying to get it out
                               all that comes
                                           is blood & spit   


As I said in introducing this week's post, all  of the pictures are from the Botanical  Gardens except for the first one which is from the peach tree in my back yard. I  also used the image to illustrate the next poem.

among the corpses

the desolation of the unusually
long and cold winter
in passing, drops a dollop
of  color among  the 

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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