Regresar al Mercado   Wednesday, April 30, 2014







As the title proclaims, I return this week to the San Antonio Mercado with photos I used a couple of weeks ago when first we visited. This week I've worked on the photos using the color splash application available on photobucket.com. It's a time-consuming process, thus a somewhat shorter "Here and Now" that usual.

I have the standard new and old poems from me this week, and poems from my library poets. I also have, as I often do, poems from an anthology for the week. This week the anthology is A Day for a Lay - A Century of Gay Poetry. The anthology was published in 1999 by Barricade Books, Inc.


 Me
you'd think they might have mentioned this sort of thing

Wilfred Owen
Storm

Me
sleeping in

Denise Duhamel
I Dreamed I Wrote This Sestina Wearing My Maidenform Bra 

Me
so little promise to it

Frank O'Hara
Homosexuality

Me
coffee with a friend
lost

John Ashbery
Ice Cream in America

Me
you could have told me

Mutsuo Takahashi
Myself with a Motorcycle

Me
fixing the language

C.N. Bialik
8. At Twilight

Me
is it not possible

Allen Ginsberg
Night Gleam

Me
visit Sierra Blanca and other diversions

Yevgeny Yevtushenko
To a Father's Ear

Me
the house whispers

Peter Orlovsky
Someone Liked Me When I Was Twelve

Me
dust the color of water

Ruth Stone
Eden, Then and Now

Me
dry oasis

Me
waiting for the parade
too damn much fun  
                            
     






                                                 

Here it is, my first new poem of the week. It is one of those restaurant/coffee house observational I  like to do.










you'd think they might have mentioned this sort of thing

considering
all aspects of the differential
astropolurgical
pluses and minuses
of the proliferation of petunias
in Patagonia

it's
a dirty job
but someone has to do it

your turn tomorrow...

---

speaking
of astropolurgical
pluses and minuses

there's the tiny old
getting a free  breakfast,
this time
from the blond  lady
who comes here, usually
on weekends, with her husband.
a big bald guy with a crooked
nose and I think shes talking to the priest
about the crooked-nose husband, troubles maybe,
about his renewed interest in sex
with toys and batman and batgirl costumes,
seeking advice of the astropolurgical type
on whether or not  she should
respond
to the bat signal when it flashes
and whether the priest
believes the batgirl costume might
show off her fanny
to the best and fullest advantage...

---

all in the price of a free
meal, thinks the priest, thinking,
you'd think they might have mentioned
this sort of thing at the
seminary








                                                                   



First from this week's anthology, A Day for a Lay, I have this poem by Wilfred Owen. Owen was born 1893, a debunker of the glories of war, wrote his poetry from the trenches of World War I. He was killed one week before the armistice that ended the war was declared.











Storm

His face was charged with beauty as a cloud
   With glimmering lightening. When it shadowed me
    I shook, and was uneasy as a tree
That draws the brilliant danger, tremulous, bowed.

So, must I temper that face to lose its lightning.
    Great gods, whose  beauty is death, will laugh above,
    Who made his beauty lovelier than love.
I shall be bright with their unearthly brightening.

And happier were it if my sap consume;
Glorious will shine the opening of my heart;
The land shall freshen that was under gloom;
And woman hide bleak faces in their shawl,
At those hilarious thunders of my fall?

                                          October, 1916





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                                                          


Here's this week's first old poem from April, last year.










sleeping in

slept late
this morning,
felt like I had earned
an hour of two
of extra sack time...

walked my dog
and my cat
in daylight, a different world
than the dark
when we make  our usual circuit

a quarter to eight,
cars rushing to work,
crowding East and West Rolling Ridge
the streets on either side of Apache Creek

the meadow that borders
the creek lush green, with
wildflowers, pink and white
and  blue, all grown in the week
since the small rain,
less than half an inch but
enough to encourage
the life-force that lies
within us and all around us,
and beneath our feet where seeds
lie in wait for a moment
of opportunity
to grow, to flower...

spring,
but not overpowering,
lying in small places
for its moment

around here,
you have to look for it








                                                                                   


First from my library this week is a poem by Denise Duhamel, taken from her book, Ka-ching, published in 2009 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Duhamel earned her BFA from Emerson College and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence.












I Dreamed I Wrote This Sestina Wearing My Maidenform Bra

In the thirties, A-cup breasts were called nubbins,
B cups snubbins,
C cups droopers, ad D cups super droopers.
In the fifties, a bullet bra could make a bombshell
of most women. Pointy torpedo cups
had every Hollywood starlet hooked.

But Tinkerbell was only a 32-!, flitting past Captain Hook,
Peter Pan admiring her nubbins
as he cupped
her in his hands and snubbed
adulthood. When he dropped a bombshell -
that he wanted to be a boy forever - she drooped

in his palm, wising for a padded bra, her eyes drooping
too
       Snow White was a respectable 36-B, just enough to hook
the prince without being tawdry. Snow was a bombshell,
though, to the dwarves, little nubbins
of me she snubbed
without meaning to, filling their tiny cups

with grape juice instead of wine. A couple
of times she even mixed up their names.
                                                               Cinderella dropped
until her fairy godmother found her the right bra. Snubbing
her flat-chested stepsisters, Cinderella hooked
herself into one study 38-C under-wire and two luscious nubs
emerged through her ragged blouse. The bombshell

of the ball, she was afraid to drop a bombshell
on Prince Charming, that she'd be cupping
well water and cleaning cinders by morning, nubbins
of pollen and  feathers stuck in the straw of her droopy
broom.
            Sleeping Beauty almost looked like a hooker
with those 40-D knockers that seemed to snub
the wicked fairy's saggy cleavage. Sleeping beauty didn't want to snub
the old woman who asked her to help spin, so the bombshell
pricked her finger, fulfilling he fairy's spell. the hook-
up with the prince wouldn't come for one hundred years, but hat was a hiccup
of time to SB, who slept through the century. All the tulips drooped
toward her to whisper into the pink nubbins

of her ears: Never snub your dreams, drink from the cup
of your bombshelled unconscious, where para-droopers
unhook nubbins of meaning as you snooze in your Maidenform Bra.










                                                                    


The poem-a-day poet looking for the snooze alarm.











so little promise to it

a dream-like light
to the new day

everything moves
as it should
under
a solid gray sky

but the movement
on the highway, going fast I know,
but in the morning light
the rush seems slowed, cars
with their lights bright and optimistic
setting out on their morning
commute through grave-gray mercuriously-
heavy not day not
night

the light, such as it is,
mesmerizes, my head drooping
under the weight of it

sitting here,
fingers heavy as lead, resting,
belabored, reaching for each new letter
of each new word I need to finish
this before I crash face down on the keyboard,
lost in sleep
again

---

such a dim-starting day,
so little promise
to it








                                                                    

Here's a second poem from this week's anthology, A Day for a Lay. This one is by Frank O'Hara. The poet was born in 1926 and died in 1966 after being hit by a dune buggy on Fire  Island.











Homosexuality

So we are taking off our masks, are we, and keeping
our mouths shut? as if we'd been pierced by a glance!

the song of an old cow is not more full of judgment
than the vapors which escape one's skull when one is sick;

so I pull the shadows around me like a puff
and crinkle my eyes as if at the most exquisite moment

of a very long opera, and then we are off!
without reproach and without hope that our delicate feet

will touch the earth again, let alone "very soon."
It is the law of my own voice I shall investigate.

I stat like ice, my finger on my ear, my ear
to my heart, that proud cur at the garbage can

in the rain. It is wonderful to admire oneself
with complete candor, tallying up the merits of each

of the latrines. 14th Street is drunken and credulous,
53rd tried to tremble but is too at rest. The good

love a park and the inept a railway station,
and there are the divine ones who drab themselves up

and down the lengthening shadow of an Abyssinian head
in the dust, trailing their long elegant heels of hot air

crying to confuse the brave "It's a summer day,
and I want to be wanted more than anything else in the world."                                                            









                                                            



Here are two short poems from April, last year.











coffee with a friend

coffee
with a friend,
a chance meeting,
morning's
dull routine
broken

sun 
passes from behind
a cloud

lights the
day


lost

pretty yellow-haired
girl
on a red tricycle
peddling
fast
on an uneven
sidewalk

bump!
down
crying
skinned knee
red
like her trike

my earliest memory

only
red and yellow shadows
remain
of the day







                                                                                     




From my library now, a poem by John Ashbery. The poem is from his book, And the Stars Were Shining, published The Noonday Press in 1994.













Ice Cream in America

All of us getting our licks
and then some: the proud with the small,
those who fell off the canvas
and reappeared downstream.

.....always forgets her pills, reverses herself, takes some.
The hen thinks chicks,
the man in the moon, profile: a piece
of the undoctored action.

We wake up, admire the day,
let our shoes take us where they will.
The weather's glorious:
a real shine.

Fill your cap with nuts.








                                                                   

Next, my Easter Sunday contribution, one of my good old patented anti-religion (not anti-religious people) rants, done in good humor as always.











you could have told me

I don't want to write a poem
today

I don't want to be up and out of bed
today

I don't want to spend my day
wallowing
in Christians' bloody resurrection
fantasies

I don't want to hide Easter eggs

I don't want to find Easter eggs

Fuck Easter eggs and the rabbits
that laid them

(another silly piece of Christian hoo-hah,
bunnies laying multi-hued eggs, which
reminds me to ask, why the fellow I know
who talks to invisible spirits is deemed
insane and the Christians and Muslims and Jews
and the whole entire gaggle of seal-of-approval stamped and
certified spirit-worshipers are not;
what's the difference
between the insane fellow's spirits
and the spirits of the religious folks who
are just as convinced as the crazy guy
that the invisibles they pray to are as real
as cauliflower in a garden salad...

I don't get it, but just in case someone knows
where the nutcase might go to get his invisible spirits
certified and seal-of-approval stamped - the poor guy -
the asylum is getting kind of cramped and he'd love
to get to move out to one of the big seal-off-approval
approved palaces of the seal-of-approval
approved spirit lovers...

if you know, let me know
and I'll pass it right along to him  easy enough
since he's right there in the cell
next door, chewing on cockroaches, body and blood
of the spirits he prefers...

---

I told you I didn't want to write a poem
today, and this is what you get
when I don't want to write a po0em
today...

it's your own damn fault

you could of told me I didn't have to...







                                                                                                                                       








Next from the week's anthology is poet Mutsuo Takahashi. Born in 1937, Takahashi is considered Japan's foremost gay poet. The poem was translated by Hiroaki Sato (I think- attribution not entirely clear).












Myself with a Motorcycle

Motorcycle, the vehicle for long-haired young gods.
My god sports a glans-shaped jeweled crown we call a helmet,
sticks his legs with long shins into azure jeans,
puts on heavy boots adorned with many golden studs,
and dashes through the twilight off purple gods.
At the moment, midway on the stone steps behind a theatre, for
           example,
my god is in the midst of a blood-reeking conspiratorial discussion
           with other long-haired gods.
Their youthful conspiracy is too dazzling, too fragrant
for me, passing the foot off the stone steps, to clearly discern.
Below the stairs, only the god's seat made o steel gleams like a living
              thing.
I touch the motorcycle, particularly the part of the seat which was just
              glued to the ass of my god,
still retaining the ass's warmth.
My god eats Kentucky fried chicken, drinks Coca-Cola,
and from the dawn-colored slit off his beautiful ass he ejects shit.









                                                           


Barely literate in one language, I take on the task of trying  to repair another. From last year.











 fixing the language

having
exhausted now
my monthly quota
of atrocititious
assault
on the English
language,
I surrender
to my aspirational urges
to facilitate
improvement
to the other native
tongue
of the region

"Hola, que tal?"
I say, "como estas tu?"

"Muy bien,
gracias," I respond to my-
self, thinking as I did...

how boring!

this Spanish
lingua
is as in need
of pepping up
as English,
I think...

what these Spanish
language arts
artists
need is some imagination
some better sense
of how things
ought to be instead
of fixating
on what the Spanish
Bible off How By God
Things Must Be Said

like 
for example

if your head is your
cabeza
why shouldn't your
butt be your
cabooza

and most of all
why does
a gringo like me
have to think about
this stuff

where's
Borges when this kind
of stuff needs
to be done,
where's Neruda,
where's Allende,
Garcia Marquez,
Fuentes,
Paz, where was
Cervantes
(for this is after all
not a new issue
to be resolved)

---

come on guys,
time to get your heads out of 
your caboozas








                                                                                              

From  my library, here is a poem by C. N. Bialik, from the collection of his work, Selected Poems. The book was published by Overlook Duckworth, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc. in 2004. It is a bilingual book, the poet's original Hebrew with English Translation by David Aberbach.

Bialik who was born in 1873 wrote primarily in Hebrew, but also in Yiddish. He was one of the pioneers of modern Hebrew poetry and came to be recognized as Israel's national poet. He died in 1934.










8. At twilight...

At twilight come to the window,
     lean against me,
envelop my neck with your arms,
     press you head against mine...
cleave to me.

And we'll cleave with silent desire,
     we will  look up
to the awful radiance, let fly our fantasies
     like doves
over seas of light

to vanish in silence on the horizon,
     in yearning flight,
come to rest on purple ridges
     of cloud,
island of splendor.

Distant islands, lofty worlds
     of our dreams,
they made us into strangers
          wherever we went.
They made our lives hell.

Golden islands we thirsted for
     as for a homeland,
all the stars hinted
          at them
with trembling light.

And on these islands we remain
     friendless, like two flowers
in a desert, two lost souls searching
          or an eternal loss
in a foreign land.

                           Summer 1902









                                                                    



On the other hand...











is it not possible

is it not possible
that there is no consciousness
that is to me
as I am to the tiny any
traversing a long-worn trail
across a bushy field

a consciousness
composed
of all the consciousnesses (souls, if you must)
that ever have been,
that ever will be,
including you and me, on temporary leave
from the "Oversoul" as Emerson
named it, the great all that is not material
but yet exists
and under-girds all that is
material,
the animating force
that moves all that moves,
that holds still all that
is still

the force

not God, or even
a god, for this force
cares no more for our temporal journeys
that I care for the trials and struggles of the ant
as it makes its well-trodden way, it's
triumphs are not mine, as neither are its tragedies

so different we are as to live
on different planes of existence,
and the possibility that our place hangs on a plane down as well as up
the well of all creation...

---

can I imagine this, can I
I believe it,  yes, I can believe I can imagine it
because I just did...

though not a person of any particular faith,
I accept mystery and the possibilities
contained within all that is
mysterious

beyond that
I lay my bets on what I ca see and feel

perhaps, as the nest
from whence the tiny ant came
welcomes its return, the Oversoul awaits my return

---

or,
perhaps not,
there is no way to know until I do
or do not get there









                                                                                    



Next from the anthology, a poem by Allen Ginsberg, a central figure in the Beat Generation of poets and an important contributor to the later Gay Liberation movement. Born in 1926, Ginsberg died in 1997.











Night Gleam

Over and over thru the dull material world the call is made
over and over through the dull material world I make the call
O English folk, in Sussex night, thru black breech tree branches
the full moon shone at three AM, I stood in under wear on the lawn -
I saw a mustached English man I loved, with athlete's breast and
             farmer's arms,
I lay in bed that night       many loves beating in my heart
sleepless hearing songs of generations electric returning intelligent
             memory
to my frame, and so went to dwell again in my heart
and worship the Lovers there, love's teachers, youths and poets who live
            forever
in the secret heart, in the dark night, in the full moon, year after year
over & over thru the dull material world the call is made.

                                                                                 July 16, 1973                                                









                                                              
The next, a travel poem from a trip to Cloudcroft in New Mexico last April. Usually, we go further into the state to satisfy our mountain hankering, but we were short on time.











visit Sierra Blanca and other diversions

north
for four days, returning south
today,
mountains in the rear-view,
desert ahead...

---

between Alamogordo
and El Paso,
mounds,
like a sheet of bubble-wrap,
soft, peach-colored sand
with tufts of desert
foliage
at the top of each mound,
desert gnomes,
their pink balding heads
rising
from the arid wasteland

---

La Senora restaurant,
El Paso,
enchiladas, red,
the taste of New Mexican
enchiladas, infiltrating Tex-Mex through the
borderland...

heavyset
young woman
carrying her baby,
behind, carrying all the
paraphernalia
that travels with a young family
and their babe-in-arms, the
young husband and father, the baby, sitting
at the table facing me,
looks at me,
breaks into a wide, toothless smile,
the father turns to me,
wants to make sure I saw it,
"ain't it something," his look says,

"ain't it the goddamndest thing
you ever saw..."

---

the sign on the highway
says, "visit historic Sierra Blanca"

so we do...

three old churches
and an old man tending
his goat
by the highway

and we've visited historic
Sierra Blanca

---


the day sets on us
in Van Horn, just inside the
central time zone, officially back
in Texas

El Capitan Hotel
grand old hotel, restored
several years ago at a cost of
several millions

(a transom over the door
to our room, Dee had never seen one
and had to be introduced
to what it was and what it was for - another
of the hazards of consorting with younger women -
so much to be explained...)

El Capitan Hotel,
Van Horn's oldest and finest,
about the only thing
in the only town
within a hundred miles in either
direction

---

dinner
on the patio by the fountain -

(the dog drinks
from the fountain, is startled
by the large red koi
swimming under her nose)

- a flavorsome step back
in time, the room comfortable,
the beds soft and inviting,
a quiet town...

a good night's sleep and
home
tomorrow

cat, I know,
will be waiting in the
driveway, missing for a week
her morning walk with
her dog...

might say hello
to me
too










                                                                                                          

Next a poem from Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Soviet rock star poet (at least for a while). The poem is from his book, The Face Behind the Face - New Poems. The poems in the book were translated by Arthur Boyars and Simon Franklin.











A Father's Ear
                   
                   To M. & Yu. Kolokol'tsov

The good-cloths had already dried over he bonfire
And two fishermen were listening to the waters of the
                                                                                   Vilyui;
One was, I imagine, over fifty,
While the other was
                                 still too young to own a passport.
The father brushed the breadcrumbs
From his stubble into his palm,
Then washed them down with fish soup,
                                                                thick as honey.
A tooth -
               gold, as it happened -
Clapped against the blackened aluminium of the spoon.
The father was  leaden-faced with fatigue.
On his forehead, as if in layers, receded
War,
        work,
                  employment without end
And apprehension for his son -
                                                  the father's secret cross.
Rummaging for a tear in the net,
The father said,
                         thrusting his hand towards the sun:
""Mishka, just you take a look,
                                                 the mist
Is clearing after all...
                                   It's beautiful!"
The son went on eating with a show of scorn.
A white-gold forelock hid his eyes
With such a haughty overhand of hair
As if to say why should I raise my head for such a trifle.
Then he flicked a fish-eye from his sailor's shirt
And pulled his fishing boots right on,
With their billowing turn-downs, proof of the luxury
Of this life
                  where people know their way around.
The father stamped on the smoking bonfire
And muttered as if completely by the by:
"I can hear from your boots, Miska,
You've left your foot-cloths off again..."
The son responded with a youthful blush
Betraying his humiliation.
Pulling off his fishing  boots,
                                           he pushed his feet into foot-cloths,
Then angrily rammed them back into his boots.
But even he will understand -
                                               too late, it's true,
The isolation of our spirit and our flesh
When there is nobody on earth who hears
The things heard by a father's ear...









                                                               



So here's a middle of the night poem.











the house whispers

the dog snores
behind the recliner where I spend half the night

a safe den
where she can be near me all night...

the house whispers
in its sleep -

or is it rain
whispering through the trees...

awakened,
I want to go back to sleep

but is it rain?
I can't go back to sleep

until I know, so
I climb out of bed

and go outside
to my personal Eden

and breath deep the sweet morning air
beneath a moonless, starless sky...

bare as Adam as he walked his backyard
alone

in the first early days of creation,
just himself in his garden

where all things grew, sleeping,
together, all things sleeping in the innocence of peace,

I step to my night garden
hoping to walk in the rain but it is dry

hoping for rain
to splash on my face, my shoulders, my back

hoping for the feel of wet
on the bottom of my feet as I walk the stone path

I laid down ten years ago, longing for an ooze of mud
between my toes if I step off the path, but

like yesterday and the day before and so many
days before, all is dry...

and back to bed, the house whispers as it sleeps,
the dog snores

and I dream of wet...









                                                                                          

 

The next anthology poet is Peter Orlovsky. Though a key member of the Beat Generation, Orlovsky is best known for his decades-long relationship with Ginsberg. They met when he was just 21 and shortly afterward exchanged vows with Ginsberg at a coffee shop at 3 AM.













Some One Liked Me When I Was Twelve

When I was  kid in summer camp,
around 13teen & one night I lay asleep
in bungalow bed with 13teen other boys,
when in comes one of he camp councilors
who is nice fellow that likes ya, coming to
my bed, sits down & starts to say: now you
will be leaving soon back to Flushing & I may never see you
again - but if there is ever something I

can do to help ya let me know, my father is
a lawyer & I live at such & such a place
& this is my adress - I like you very much -
& if yr ever alone in the world come to me.
so I looked at him getting sad & tuched &
then years latter like now, 28, laying on
bed, my hunney-due mellon Allen sleeping next to me
- I realize he was quear & wanted my
flesh meat & my sweetness of that age -
that we just might have given each other.

                                           April 1962, Bombay                                         








                                                                    

 This is another travel poem from our trip to Cloudcroft last year. The first covered the going home, this one is part of  the time we were there.










dust the color of water

sunrise,
slow rising from the east,
like a long-sleeper stretching,
a gradual lightening, making black
silhouettes of the tall trees
on the crest directly across from me

---

early morning drive
up the mountain to Sunspot
and the Solar Observatory -
old and obsolete now,
underfunded by the government for years,
highest-bid university
will own it in two years,
or it will close

---

on the western edge
of the Sacramento Mountains,
from the first scenic overlook
we can see the desert
and beyond the desert, White Sands
stretching across the horizon
like a massive snowfield in winter

beyond the sands
the next mountain chain smudges
the edge of blue skies

---

Bluff Springs,
the beautiful spring and waterfall
few claim to have seen -

we, committed to being among
those who have seen it,
committed to have washed our feet
in the cold spring water,
take the proper turnoff from the highway
to Sunspot, a small paved road
leading to a gravel road and another sign
pointing us in the right direction, and we drive,
stirring up massive clouds of dust
behind us, doing our part to maintain
the haze that fills the valleys
between mountain ridges, until,
a fork in the road,  not sign to suggest
which road to take, so, being Democrats

we go to the left, travel smaller
and smaller gravel roads,
not sure where we were going,
not knowing if Bluff Springs was ahead
or another closed gate, cattle-guard
after cattle-guard, rumbling beneath our wheels
waking out dog in the back,  normally
content to sleep between stops...

finally,
a national forest sign, Bluff Springs Trail
two and one half miles,
low-landers, we both, though willing to walk
two and a half miles in the
mountains, not so sure we could walk
the two and a half miles
back

so,
we are still,
and probably forever, not
among the few
who have seen Bluff Springs
and washed their feet in the cold spring water

---

in the village,
a barrel of plastic flowers
in front of the bank,
bright in the sunshine,
barrels of dirt and  flower pots
filled with dirt or dead and brittle vegetation
all along the Village storefronts...

spring coming late this year,
green still struggling
to break through its winter crust,
someone at the bank
fights back, not willing to wait longer
for the real thing...

plastic flowers?

it seems folks here do not capitulate
to the whims of overdue nature,
willing to foreclose on spring
if it doesn't make its seasonal
green payments on time

they are bankers
after all

---

an afternoon drive to Tularosa
through the Lincoln National Forest
and the Mescalero-Apache reservation,
tall pines on either side, until,

climbing up the mountain side,
stretches of burned forest, broken, black tree trunks,
half laying on the ground, some still standing,
new trees, green and growing yards
from each other, not like tight-packed
natural forests where new trees grow from
the seeds of earlier generations
still standing...

fire is a cleanser of all things,
eventually making room for new
and more hardy life -
but fire is such a fierce beast, oh so
ugly, in the cleansing

---

walking in early evening from the grand lodge
to our less grand palace where people with dogs
are required to sleep their nights, dark and empty
except for us this  early in the season, a quarter
mile down the hill, tall pines
on either side, and through the pines
to the west, a view out from out higher place
to smaller peaks,  also  tree-covered, that
slip slowly to the desert below

a haze  covers the lower elevations,
a light bluish color
I first took to be a high mountain lake...

dust,
high winds,
everywhere dust, on the car,
on my shoes, dust drifting from the desert
high into the mountains, dry
drifting dust
that I first take for water










                                                                                               


Last from my library this week is this poem by Ruth Stone, from her book In the Next Galaxy published in 2002 by Copper Canyon Press. Born in 1915, Stone was a poet and author, teaching creative writing at many American universities over the years of her life. She died in 2011.












Eden, Then and Now

In '29 before the dust storms
sandblasted Indianapolis,
we believed in the milk company.
Milk came in glass bottles.
We spread dye-colored butter,
now connected to cancer.
We worked seven to seven
with no overtime pay;
pledged allegiance every day,
pitied the starving Armenians.
One morning in the midst of plenty,
there were folks out of context,
who were living on nothing.
Some slept in shacks
on the banks of the river.
This phenomenon investors said
would pass away.
My father worked for the daily paper.
He was a union printer;
lead slugs and blue smoke.
He worked with hot lead
at a two-ton machine
in a low-slung seat;
a green-billed cap
pulled low on his forehead.
He gave my mother a dollar a day.
You could say we were rich.
This was the Jazz Age.
All over he country
the dispossessed wandered
with their hungry children,
harassed by the law.
When the marked broke, bad losers
jumped out of windows.
It was time to lay and elegant table,
as it is now; corporate paradise;
the apple before the rot caved in.
It was the same worm
eating the same fruit.
In fact, the same Eden.








                                                                        

I've done this backwards, but I end my old poems this week with the first of the series of travel poems from our short trip to Cloudcroft in New Mexico.










dry oasis

laving
an hour late
as we are always
behind every careful plan...

a hundred time,
at least,
this way I've driven,
and this time
the hills and the
mountains
and the plains are green,
and even the desert,
even the Chihuahua Desert,
reaching it's parched hand deep
into west Texas,
is for a while green, until the sand
wins out and strong blowing
winds between Van Horn
and Sierra Blanca create billowing dust storms,
closing the sky,
whirlwinds leap-frogging across
the desert, not little diablitos,
 but full grown swirling diablos, the width of
a car or small truck, circling
and blowing

until
we are across the dusty plain
between mountains and rise again
to higher ridges, eroded by the wind
so that nothing remains
but rocks piled one upon another
to make a mountain
where winds still blow, but dust
is left behind...

many more miles
ahead...

always many more miles ahead
when you leave from San Antonio
to cross
into another state,
a day's drive in any direction...

we pick up the hour we lost
as we cross into
Mountain Time and this day's drive
begins to wind down, until, finally,
riding into the orange sunset haze
that welcomes us to El Paso,
we pass through heavy city traffic
to the western edge of the city
where we will spend the night,
as desert dark falls on our
dry oasis for the
night









                                                                   

Last this week, I have two new poems written on consecutive days. The first poem was written late in the evening, the second early the next morning.











waiting for the parade

the parade starts in an hour,
two blocks from where I sit
at the coffeehouse, by the window,
waiting

it will pass here, then continue down Broadway,
to the center of the city, passing eventually
in front of the Alamo  before it ends

it is the second of the three big parades
that are part of San Antonio's annual
three-week-long
Fiesta

the first parade was two nights ago, the river
parade, floats on river barges, passing between the crushingly
crowded banks of the Riverwalk; the second
of the big ones, the Battle of Flowers
is the one that begins shortly, the third, the lighted
Fiesta Flambeau, will follow the same route as today,
only tomorrow night...

and then there are smaller, unofficial parades
all over the city, neighbors
taking young Mickey Rooney to heart, deciding,
"let's put on a parade"

---

grandstands, the expensive seats, began
going up along the parade route
three days ago, in every unclaimed space, pickup
and flatbed trailers, their tails to the street,
folding chairs there, people making their own
high observation posts...

the food tents went up
this morning,
fajitas, cotton candy, hot dogs, corn
dogs, fried pickles, turkey drumsticks, chicken-
on-a-stick, tacos, tamales, funnel cake, all things tasty
and some probably not good for you...

and the gee-gaw charts being pushed by their vendors
up and down the still empty street, selling to the early crowd,
colors everywhere, brightly colored balloon animals, umbrellas,
plastic horns, plastic beads, plastic laurel wreaths, everything
brightly colored, all bright colors under the morning
sun...

---

and an hour ago, the cheap seats, the folding chairs
right up to where the bands will march, hundreds of them,
thousands, put up in minutes by an army of parade helpers, all
the chairs beginning now to be taken as a sea of empty chairs
becomes a sea off men and women and children in high, color hats,
constructed high over the wearer's head, architecture of bright
and varied colors - color color color, an ocean of color
except for the two nuns sitting just on the other side
of our window, black and white codas to the colors
of the day

color and children, one of my guests, a young woman, takes
off her shoes and puts her feet on the ledge against the
window, wiggling her toes, children, who, looking into
the sun-blanked widow, can only see her toes, stop and stare,
and point, and press their faces against the glass and
laugh and call their friends, waiting for the parade, watching
instead the disembodied toes wiggling in the window...

color and children, the the day, color and children,
as befits a Battle of Flowers parade

great fun
and the parade hasn't even started yet



too damn  much fun

as usual
Clint said it best,
a man just has to learn his limitations,
he said,
and I think I learned mine
yesterday...

a very long day, but lots of fun,  good
food, walking  through happy, boisterous crowds
talking to everyone I see, taking
pictures - pretty women in summer dresses,
the young gangster-looking dad, wife-beater tee,
shaved head, tats on every inch of visible skin, holding
his baby, making blubblubblub noises with his lips
to make his baby, so many smiling, happy babies,
boys and  girls in strollers and little red wagons,
friends to sit with when I'm tired, and laughter, and
good music and a chair to rest my weary feet
on...

that was yesterday

this morning,
everything hurts, every muscle
crying out in protest,
aches
and pains
and maybe the kind of revelation
Clint recommended..

it could be I'm too old
for that much
fun...

something to think about, time perhaps
to learn limits, better in the future
it should be bingo in the
morning, a couple of games
of shuffleboard in the afternoon and
an hour of Lawrence Welk
reruns and a glass of warm milk
before I shuffle off to bed as the sun
does the same, while
the moon rises n its own slow and easy
splendor

---

too damn much fun, that just might be
the problem
today









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