Dark Matter Matters, They Say   Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My anthology poems this week are from Signals, the Winter  Solstice 2005 issue of Runes, A Review of Poetry. The journal is published by Arctos Press of Sausalito, California.

Photos are pretty random, just brought to the dark side like last week.

Poems from my library, this week's anthology and my own new and old altogether pretty good stuff.

Here's the stuff.

thank you, Jesus

Lonnie Hull Dupont
it was the day she stumbled upon a flock of wild turkeys

not my fault

Robert Hass

the truth shall make you free...or not

Sarah J. Gardner
Now, You Also, Sparrow


Cynthia Cruz
The Going Home Song
Strange Gospels

"Sunday Morning Coming Down"

George Wallace
falling rain

the role of squirrels in heaven

Bill Shields
the impressionistic mystery story of the war in Vietnam   

riders of the setting sun

Sandra Cohen Margulius
Women and Birds  

pictures from an American lynching

Belle Waring
What Hurts
Children Must Have Manners 

huddle up

Carley Sachs
The Beginning of Cubism

it's complicated

Kevin Young
The Boss

watching as the lights pass

Julie Connor
m(other) tongue

oatmeal and one bran muffin

Norman Stock
Thank You for the Helpful  Comments
The Wallace Stevens Method for Selling Insurance
Wallace Stevens Sleeping

lunatics - a short morning inventory

Candace Pearson
Sleight of Hand

yesterday, two younger women     

In passing, and as explanation, I mention here that I am pissed at my web host. Posting author pictures, up until last week, was a 15 second one step process. Since last week it's a five minute process that may or may not present an acceptably formatted photo and text. The biggest problem is that what I see when I transcribe and past may not be what appears on the final post. So, if you see something weird, blame it on blogger.com, not me.
And I had nothing to do with the crash of the Hindenburg either, in case questions are ask.


 Here's  to  a new week.

thank you, Jesus

I am thinking this Sunday morning  of Sundays
past,  when I was  a kid, in the back seat
of whatever beat-down Plymouth
we had at the time, going the eight miles
to the Lutheran church in the next town
over for a boring sermon by an intense, boring
pastor, a middle-aged man with a little
mustache like a gray-haired caterpillar on  his upper lip,
an old-fashioned hellfire and damnation preacher
who taught us in confirmation class that
fossils were left buried in the earth
by Mr. Devil,crafty fellow, left there
for us to find so as to tempt us away
from the literal truth of the seven
days of creation...

half-asleep  in the car, half-
asleep during the sermon, except
when the singing started,  for  despite the fumble-fingered
organist, an ancient woman in a modest hat, butcher
of music religious and profane,
I  loved the singing...

the woman did her best, and was a volunteer, worth
all the nothing she was paid, so everyone sang  loudly, in hopes
I suspected, of drowning out the organ, including my mother
who had a fine  high voice, and my father whose deep
baritone vibrated the dark,  varnished timber of the pew

I sang along too, trying to imitate my father's voice,
coming out,instead, more-like the crackling growl
of a coon chased by the dogs up a hackberry tree...

me and the old woman at the organ, we did our best,
preserved, despite the pounding we were giving it
the glorious old hymns, the beautiful, joyous
music of faith and affirmation
and although I haven't  passed through
the doors of a church except for weddings
and too many funerals in at least 50 years,
music I still love to hear...

"haven't passed the  doors of a church,"  I said,
because I enjoyed the benefits of an excellent education
in the religion of my youth and later in other religions, becoming
an atheist, as do so many well-educated in the mysteries
of gods and their disciples,, the transition  from  believer, to  skeptic,
to  the intellectual wakening of certain  non-belief,
coinciding,  not entirely serendipitously with my discovery
of the pleasures of  slow Sunday morning coffee
and a copy of the New York times,  my alternate sermon
of all the truth that's fit to print...

it's a long and not so interesting story, this passage
from Pastor Westerman, earnest and determinedly ignorant
for the sake of his faith, the the New York Times, but I am reminded
of it this Sunday a week from Easter Sunday, remembering
that my favorite church services were the sunrise
services, the faithful gathered on the church parking lot on Easter Sunday
as the sun rose on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God and Man, Bringer
of the gift of eternal life to all who believe in his holy name and cause...

it wasn't so much the revelations that brought me
pleasure, because, in fact, I slept through most of it

it was the pancake breakfast that followed...

thank you, Jesus, I would think, for delivering us unto these pancakes,
and can we do this again next year?


First from Signals this week, here's a poem by Lonnie Hull Dupont.

Dupont is a teacher and author, primarily of books for children and young adults.

It was the day she stumbled upon a flock of wild turkeys

and they all flew up and away
except one tom who faced her
and fanned his tail feathers out like a poker hand.
It was the same day she found a sparrow's nest
blown from a yew tree by the wind
and make entirely of her own hair.
It was the day things turned for the better,
always she would see that day as
her very own dove holding green in its beak,
showing that the rain was done,
that there was dry land somewhere.


Here's the week's first old poem, this and the rest from April, 2012.

not my fault

off to a bad start,
and I just want  to make it clear
it's not my fault,
this declaration is important so as to aggregate
suitable sacks of
for I am the victim here
and not the perpetrator
(or prep, as  Lenny used to say on "Law and Order"
and thinking of that makes me sad
cause I miss  Lenny)

but that's not  my fault either

and the only good thing so far
is that the interstate is closed west off me
because of a major acid spill
on the highway - not my fault, either -
and traffic is backed up  for miles going west
and looking out from my large  window here
I can see the cars and trucks all lined in a row
and frustrated drivers - and I want to assure them
it's not my fault - even though I'm going east from here
and will not be required to participate in their
west-not-going traffic going nowhere - going extravaganza
cause I'm going east (ha ha) - and though that sounds
malicious it's the best thing that's happened to  me so far today
since I'm almost  never on the right side of  the road
in situations such as this, usually among the fumed fuming
and it's not  even my fault

and though the day started for me late and
it will get better I know because I'm assured by the sight
of all the misfortune of all the stranded  drivers
fuming right outside
my window

and none of them are me
and though that might sound so malicious
and mean-spirited
not my fault
being so entirely human
as I  am,
finding so often  my fortune
in the misfortune
of others

it's just what we humans
and it's not even a little bit


From  my library this week, I have a poem byRobert Hass. It's from his book Sun Under Wood, in 1996 by ECCO Press.


Because yesterday morning from the steamy window
we saw a pair of red foxes across the creek
eating the last windfall apples in the rain -
they looked at us with their green eyes
long enough to symbolize the wakefulness of living things
and then went back to eating -

and because this morning
when she went into the gazebo with her black pen and yellow pad
to coax and inquisitive soul
from what  she thinks of as a reluctance of matter,
I drove into town to drink tea at the cafe
and write notes in a  journal - mist rose from the bay
like the luminous and indefinite aspect of intention,
and a small flock of tundra swans
for the second winter in a row was feeding on new grass
in the soaked fields; they symbolize mystery, I suppose,
they are also called the whistling swans, are very white,
and their eyes are black -

and because the tea steamed in front of me
and the notebook,, turned to a new page,
was blank except for a faint blue idea of order,
 I wrote: happiness! it is December,very cold,
we woke early this morning,
and lay in bed kissing,
our eyes squinched up like bats


Well, today's truth is....not wait, that was yesterday's.

the truth will make your free...or not

my wife said
I have an ugly head -

hell of a thing
for a wife to  say
to a loving and faithful husband
who just shaved his

it is another example
of that age-old  dictum
that the truth can set you free,
right before it reaches around and shoots you
right in the ass...

a powerful weapon,
this truth, a danger to the world
weaponized truth serum
in underground bunkers in secret places
throughout the wilds of Denmark
and Sweden...

a special danger to poets
who make things
up.  seeking the truth
through lines of un-truth, a good  story,
after all,, trumping pale and sickly
truth every time, in there somewhere,
we say, lies the truth in our web
of fiction,  but we don't
mean it and, if it were to happen
some dark  day in the future
when were are overcome by green
sticky clouds of truth serum
gas and have to tell the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing much
but the truth, we might even  admit
that we don't care since we  know
the plain and simple truth
that the plain and simple truth never sold a damn
book - it's the fantasy fiction we twist
around the truth, subdue it
to the gods of war and romance, not to forget
sex, heaving breasts of the damsel in distress,the
studly chest of the hero, the  slick  pointy
mustache of the villain, Rocky and Bullwinkle,
avatars of our kind of truth in our kind of
days, making bestsellers, making poets
rich and famous - there it is,
more lies, rich and famous poets,
fantasy we poor-and-struggling choose to believer,
the fiction that sets our pens  to scribbling,
seeking the kind off truth that will set  people
we don't know  to buying books
we  write - trying each day to find the truth
each reader wants and will spend
good money
to get

it's why we don't do our scribbling
on stone tablets - our target demographics
keep changing the truth
they want,
making erasing and re-writing the most essential 
of our art...

so we poets seek the truth,  or at least
a version that will pay the rent for a tux for the Nobel


Next from Signals, this poem  by Sarah J. Gardner. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Gardner has published two chapbook and has appeared in numerous journals. She lives in Iowa and is editor for Radish magazine.                                                                        

Now, You Also, Sparrow

Seven leaves left  on the sweetgum and one flock
                  of drab finches - eleven, twelve birds? As crows,
         this would signal something, false riches, or the brazen thievery
of time. As finches, they stand only for what they are:
              quick eyes, hollow bones, the restless hunger
              of even the smallest lives.  Watch how they tilt
their attention to the wind, intent on its lush pronunciations
of SOUTH. One strong gust and they'll depart, at once, together:
                yellow gloried from the tree
                        in every winged direction. Of course,
we always knew it would come to this. Of course, we alone
feel emptied. The barren branches, or the branches, laden,
              do not falter from the spiral trance.

I wrote this next poem in 2012, twenty two years after my father's death. The memories never leave us, lucky that is, for they are all we have left. I am now five  years older than my father died. Healthy, while his last  years  were spent mostly in misery, I feel very fortunate.


thinking of my father
near his end,
his knowing that death
was around the corner,
unknown only
how long and how hard
it would be, calling
my brothers and I together
to talk about the end, to
talk about my mother
and how hard it would be
for her, sobbing once,
as he talked about
how desperate he felt
to be leaving her behind,
how like a deserter he felt,
so much undone, so much
to tell her, time
with too much undone,
too much unsaid...

and I think
of myself, several years older now
than the was when he died, and about
how little time there ever
is for any of us,
how there's always
so much
left undone, the only
in life that it will end
and we will not ready
when it does,
our lives unfinished
but incomplete,
so much left
to be done,
so much left to be said


comes to us unbidden,
leaves us at the end
scratching for 

                                         After every Here and Now post, I reboot my library. That is, I take all the
books I used in that issue and move them to the bottom of the larger of my two bookcases and advance the next books up from the other bookcase for the next post. With as many poetry books as I have, this kind of random selection cycling is the way I guard against using books I like the most over and over again, ignoring others.

In the middle of this last rebooting, I ran across this book, The Glimmering Room, a collection of poetry by Cynthia Cruz. I don't remember buying the book or using it or the poet in Here and Now.

So now, here and now, are two poems, possibly for the first time by Cynthia Cruz. Born in Germany, the poet grew up in California. She earned her BA at Mills College and her MA at Sarah Lawrence.

The Going Home Song

I'm going home

To my trailer parked
In the car lot
Covered by my father's dust.

What you call reparation,
I call animal.

The American dream
Is piss-stained, anyway.

I've got my father's power

And he got his
From dreams.

Come and take me

If you want, you can
Bury me, singing

In father's military garb, with no
Ribbons or badges. His mother's

Dresses: rainbow-list red and blue
Wool, bear hide, saved
Thread, spots, and sinew.

That there

Is the tree we blessed.

With Wonder Bread and

Strange Gospels

Billy is dead.

They found her
In a car in the lot behind the Mab.

Chinatown street corners
At thirteen in Redd Kross
Tank top and silver-glitter platforms.

Billy's dead.
But I carry her
Black fur
Bear in my arms -

(There many "Strange Gospel" titled poems in the book, nothing in the title differentiates one from the other. Kind of a strange approach.)


This next new poem from last week comes with a photo, the photo that suggested it.

"Sunday Morning Coming Down"

5:30 a.m.

greet the fading dark
and the advancing  morning light -
bare  as Adam,
communion, the same dark sky as his
as the first light
of first day
crept upon him from far away
and never been before...

6:00 a.m.

coffee and newspaper
at  Jim's,
banter with the waitress 
who has brought my first coffee in the morning
for years now

7:00 a.m.

a light breakfast and the morning poem
at the Egg,  outside table, in
the brisk breeze and overcast light
of a rain-promising
day - the servers all know  me here too,
and also know, do not disturb when the  lap top
comes out, a rule relaxed for the elderly couple who, like me,
come every morning, met in a nursing home then
moved out together to  an apartment
they could share, always sitting close, holding hands
as they walk, he, always bandaged, in a constant battle
with potentially cancerous lesions  on his bald head,
she, who always smiles at me, but vague
as she looks at the world from a place known only to  her,
in the early stages of Alzheimer's, 
both retired psychiatrist, vastly educated
and  interesting to talk to, but  fading fast, she
the fastest...

10:00 a.m.

meeting Dee  for  brunch at La Cantera,
Belgian waffle,  split  between us,
half still  enough to
good dietary intentions...


walk the dog, a long  race
from tree to bush to tree, to bush,
from sniff
to sniff,
find a large rock to  sit on,

12:30 p.m.

to the coffeehouse for more
work, poet as a publisher, never
ending, respite from
and old man's  empty days
and  nights, work
a reason to carry on for another

no question
which part of the day was the best -
golden Bella, who works 
not and cares  not for any morning distraction,
but only me... 

thank you Kris Kristofferson for the poem's title

This poem from Signals is by George Wallace. Wallace's Wikipedia  entry doesn't say much except that he was born in New York in 1949  and that, as a poet and poetry organizer, he has developed a venue for poetry readings throughout the country.

falling rain
          for Philip Lamantia

a blind man walking in a city is a black bird flying through a burning 
forest. a black bird flying through a burning forest is a street map to a
blind man. a blind man is a black bird flying at night through a burning
forest who recognizes the smell of rain.

in fact it is night. in fact it is raining. in fact a black bird flying through a
burning city is a street map of rain to a blind man. in fact a blind man at
night in rain recognizes the streets of a city like the back of his hand.

in fact a blind man who recognizes the tender smell of rain in a burning 
forest is a black bird. i fact the back of a blind man's hand is a burning
forest when a black bird is flying through it.

a black bird is instinctual.  a blind man stepping off a curb  into the
streets of a city is instinctual. raining falling in a burning forest at night is

a blind man walking through a city is rain falling in a burning forest.

a tattoo of a black bird on the back of a blind man's hand is falling rain.


This piece from 2012, asking the question that must be asked.

the role  of squirrels in heaven

as I often do
about the effects
of squirrels in the after-

I have set myself to think
ing of after-living
and how it must be, attending
to the chores of celestial chorusing
and how the squirrels
and their bushy tailed cousins, chipmunks,
might fare if left out in the heavenly choral
with the horses and donkeys
and other such critters off the barnyard and verdant forested areas,
intellectual inferior and creatures of large piles
of poop in inconvenient places when compared to
squirrels and their bushy-tailed recording star
cousins who have superior survival intellect and instincts
and tiny, discreetly deposited (have  you ever seen any?) poop,
completely unlike horse hockey and cow pie and donkey
dunk and who would ever allow themselves to be choralled
with a bunch of horses and donkeys and the like no matter
how warm and cozy it might be to be among such congenial, if
somewhat retarded,company, horses after all are possessors
of such infectious laughter and donkeys,well what would one do
at parties if there were  no one around for tail-pinning-on,it's
not like a squirrel (or its bushy tailed cousin, etc) can just go out
on a Saturday night and get some tail, so even the lower creatures,
as is so often demonstrated, have their uses, which takes me back
to my original question about squirrels in the afterlife
and what effect they would have on the quality of my
after-living and whether heavenly squirrels, etc. would continue
their thieving ways when it came to birdseed, so diligently
laid out for the heavenly sparrows and doves and cardinals
and other non-angelic wing-ed creatures every day
by the She-Who-Runs-The-Show who might or might not
put up with the kind of squirrel nonsense those of us in non-heavenly
environs endure when it comes to trying to keep plumb and happy
our non-heavenly birds who inhabit our tree-endowed backyards
and the bigger question which occurs to me
now as I  writhe in confusion,
since squirrels by nature are thieving varmints
how is it they get to heaven in the first place, complications
once there, put aside for the moment, is it by faith
they are saved for the heavenly sing-along or is it the coincidence
of their familial relationship  to their musically-gifted
chipmunks for whom there is always great demand in the heavenly
musicale or is it, that, just by being true to their thieving nature
they have met the design and original intent of
and is thereby guaranteed a place in the silver-leafed halls
of for-ever-after

and what does that mean to your and me who don't have
and are unlikely to ever find a clue to our own original intent or purpose
and whose transport to the eternality of for-ever-and-for-ever-amen
would seem to be completely unlike that of the true-to-their nature thieving
squirrel, etc. and how much like the weekly lotto, purely a matter of random

The next poem is another from my library. The poet is  Bill Shields, a former Navy Seal, according to the book, who served in the Vietnam War for three years. The poem is from the book Lifetaker, third in the poet's series of poems supposedly inspired  by his war and post-war experiences. The first two books in the series are Human Shrapnel and The Southeast Asian Book of the Dead.                                                                                                                                I could not find a photo of Bill Shields and, here's the kicker, what I did find was several reports that Shields was a fraud, never a Navy Seal as he claimed, never in Vietnam. The most credible accuser, refers to the authentication site VeriSEAL and its "Wall of Shame." I found the website, but couldn't find a wall of shame, leaving me making any kind of declaration as to Shield's authenticity, 
other than as a poet                                                                                                                                                                     So, what to do with the poetry, so immediate and strong it kicks you right in the face.                                                                                                                                                                     I decided to use it, for even if the author is a fake, the poetry is not. Does it lose anything by being not the actual memories of a man who claimed the suffering of a soldier, which he may not have been, during and after a brutal war. I don't think so.

the impressionistic mystery story of the Vietnam war

A small rooster ate the white worms as they fell; the child
finished, pulled up her black pants and grabbed her mother by
the leg.

An old woman spat betel juice between her squatted 

Two fires. Twelve grass huts. Old crippled people, young
mothers, younger kids - a full cemetery.

I know who killed them all.


Evenings were quiet together. They finished each other's
sentences. No kids, but a phone. Housework was ripped
up the middle of the apartment.

She was stable, working the same job for years. Paying
bills on time and actually had an IRA; her parents visited
regularly. His history was too quiet and his family was
dead before his eyes.

Three days before ever stinking payday she would help
him out with gas and a few folding dollars.

It wasn't perfect, but it worked for a lot of years.

The bedroom wall is still dented from the bouncing of
tennis balls against the plaster. Her hair is in the cracks.


From last week, a memory poem.

riders of the setting sun

the sun sets
beyond plowed fields
behind lines of tall palms
that border country roads, sentinels
of the day, poised against
the coming dark

this is the way the sun sets
where I grew up, a flat land
of farms, country roads lined
by high palms, roads with elaborate
stone sculptures on either side of the smaller
roads where they turn off from a larger 
highway, survivors from the time
nearly a century ago when the farms
were brush covered vegetation as thick as
a wall, too thick for horses and riders
unprotected by leather chaps, undeveloped
rich farm land nurtured over centuries
by floods from the Rio Grande, ready then
for exploitation, investors from the east,
brought in on special, luxury-appointed trains
to see  beautiful gardens prepared for them,
brightly colored flowers. a semi-tropical land
where anything could grow,
the sculptured gateways
and the tall palms arrayed
against the sunset,
a paradise, better than Florida,
no swamps, no alligators...

the same tall palms,  the same sunset
I saw as a child 60 years ago, 
but the palms mostly dead and rotted away,
though some still  stand, spindly giants, survivors,
like the green, lush garden where my parents
are buried, reminders of another time...


I remember two baby pigeons, rescued from
the leafy top of a palm  by tree trimmer, given
to my father who brought them home to me to raise,
with us until well into pigeon adult-hood
before one  flew away and the other,  the one
who stayed, the one who perched on my mother's
shoulder as she hung the wash, who sat on the window
ledge outside watching as she washed dishes,
perched usually on one leg, balanced,
until she was caught by the neighbor's cat
and killed, beautiful pigeons,
multi-hued coats of  black and white
and gray and blond feathers,
I remember...

and I remember the palm fronds blown down
by the wind, long, bushy at the end, the front
curved down like a horse's head,  my make-believe
horse, my silver six-guns low on my belt,
my Roy Rogers cowboy hat, chasing rustlers
of my mind...

grown up among fields of vegetables, little
came from the store when I was a child

we made do mostly with what we could find or make
with our own hands imagination...


but the tall palms,
riders of the setting sun,
most beautiful of my

This poem from Signals is Sandra Cohen Margulius. I didn't find much of anything on the web about Margulius except that she is an active poet who writes often of women caught in the Holocaust. The tiny picture is the only one I could find except one other that was even smaller.

Women and Birds

My grandmother didn't talk
much about Hitler, the camps,
or life before Milwaukee.
Quiet like a secret, she told me
Dachau had little color, the gray
sky  overwhelmed with ashes of Jews.

Often the women would search the sky
for birds, search for the butterfly yellow
of wings, with eyes wide hungry
for anything to fly:

Once she whispered to me
about the time she found
a tiny bird    dead in the snow -
how later she would finger-dig
its small grave in the frozen soil -

but not until she held the sweet
weight, the still warm body,
up to her  face,  breathed feathers,
and the bittersweet hope of flight.


I wrote this next poem about ten years ago, after seeing an exhibition of photographs taken at lynchings in the south in the 1930s and 1940s.

I bring it back because I am reminded of the photographs by a lot of the far right rhetoric in out country today.

pictures from and American lynching

it is not the hanging black bodies
that chill me,
it's the smiling white faces below.

so familiar, those faces

the white man standing
under the swinging body
of the young black girl,
beer  in one hand, hat cocked  to one side
like he was a movie star...

the two pretty girls
arm in arm beneath the carnage,
posing for the camera
like for a picture at the county fair...

the child
in dusty overalls
standing at his mother's side,
holding on to her dress
with one  hand,
point with the other
to the bare feet of the black man
dangling over his head.

so familiar these  faces,

like from the family albums
I looked at as a child,
seeking among the pictures there
the story of how I came to be

so normal

so damn familiar


The next poet from my library is  Belle Waring, from her book, Refuge. She is the author to two collections of poetry, this one which won the 1989 Associated Writing Programs Award and was cited by Publisher's Weekly as one of the best books of 1989 and Dark Blonde, which won the 1998 Larry Levis Prize.

What Hurts

Is waking up flung cold across
the bed, right where I left myself, these eyes
spooked,  like my father's after a binge.
Just what the hell is he doing in my face?
I don't booze. I'm not like him.
But the scared and blowzy stare
I recognize after the stark dream of looking
for Max, my hopeless ex. world without end.
Some nights my father spent stripped in a cell
to sober up. I learned to sleep in my clothes.
Sentry. Night watch. Mother by a sickbed.
Doctor on call. No surprise. Ready for
a shit storm. Praying for a good sunrise.

Children Must Have Manners

Not morals. Manners. Grist for the guests.
They suck up the Scotch. Daddy
rattles my school report under their snouts.
See. I'm his prize piggie.
But soon they exit,
he slaps my fat face
'cause I dropped a whole fifth.
Twelve years old.
The praise must have gone
to my head, Daddy says.

"Pig," he spits.
But when the company's here,
pig's to smile till it splits.
One jangled day I'll forget
this face. Show up for breakfast
pig scraped to the bone.
Nights, alone, with my face,
I peel it away, wring out the grin,
rinse it in pilfered rosewater.
While I sleep, let it work its roots.


Some days one must work to find the sunshine.

huddle up

the world
hangs heavy on me today

a day,  it seems, when the Huns approach from yonder hills
and the gates are at risk...

things occupy me that are not for poems,
things that sap the sunrise of its glory, bleed dry

the new day of optimism,
the vibrancy of its color and beauty

drained like rose water
from a cold and unused bath


I have no cure for this,
like a seasonal disease that comes and goes,

like ill-winds blown across first-light pastures
raging for their time, until  done...

there is no cure for what ails
this day

and woe would surely be unto me
where I the type

to  surrender, instead
I huddle close within myself

that this day is just a day

and that tomorrow
will be another

                                                                                                                Carley Sachs is my next poet from Signals. She is a poet, fiction writer, journalist and yoga teacher.

The Beginning of Cubism

         1. The painter

He takes her apart. It is April.
That which is vertical, that which has edges,
that which is not recognizable.
A torso is a line. The baby is in the corner.
It has not yet been born.
The way it bends means nothing.
He pulls the shapes from her skin.
This is your heart in the center,
where it tricks the eye into believing

          2. The model

She dreams he is touching her,
the way his hand moves up and
down the canvas, t5he way his stare
breaks her open. She imagines him
gutting a papaya, reaching up inside her,
pulling the seeds out. The way he will devour
her nipples, the tongue kiss of his brush
as he flecks them with pearls, how she will walk
off the canvas, her image burning into
the smaller canvasses of the mind.

In the darkness of sleep, she will ignite
every man's fantasy.
How they will circle around her
wondering what it would be like
to draw the blush from between her legs,
run their fingers along the contour of her hips,
the subtle hunger of her body, the first peach
of summer.

          3. The canvas

When she looks at the canvas,
she will not recognize  herself,
the way he has cut her up.
They will not understand
that I was beautiful,
she tells him.


My feelings on the issue have changed since I wrote  this two years ago. If anything,  I'm more so today than back then.

it's complicated

thing is
I don't do complications
very well any more,
not like I used to,back in the day
when I reveled in  complicated
detail, complicated decisions, complicated
personal  relations, now,
I don't know
if it's age, or dementia, or mental
fatigue,but, I see an "A" I expect to see
a "B" right around the corner
and if a "P" or a "G" or  a "Z" tries
to cut in line, or in any other way
tries to take its turn
out of turn, I get really pissed,
by god, "A-G" is just too complicated
and there's no excuse for it
when "A-B" is simple, natural,
and requiring no complicated re-booting
of alphabetic protocols

the thing is
I know the things I know
and find what I know quite
serviceable in navigating the shoals
of every day life and see no reason
to confuse myself by having to deal with
something I don't know and have
to learn, or, in simplest  terms
I know what I know anything else
so I would be very happy
and at peace with the universe
if all  you complicators
(you know who you are)
would just leave me the hell alone.

                                                                                                                      The next poem is from Black Maria, the book by Kevin Young. The book is great fun, a long story, told in noir style through individual poems. Because it's one long story, it's hard to use here. So what I decided to do is give you a taste by using the poem that sets out one of the main characters, the villain of the piece, in fact. The voice changes off and on in the different poems as the different characters are given their time to speak. Speaking in this poem is the "Moll."

The Boss

Even his walking
stick was crooked.

He didn't need it,
or me, he'd say - let me

know he kept us both
for shoe. His hands

clean as a cop's whistle,
nails filed

to toothpicks. Slick -
he taught me

to kiss, & silence,
how to tell tons

just from the eyes.
His were ice

picks, raised,

or icebergs rearing 
into the berth

of some Titanic.
Watch em sink.

He was never in between -
either gargantuan

or tin
as a lie. He sharpened

knives on other men's spines.
He hated losing

even a dime, would bet
the farm, then steal

the till. Weed em
& reap.

He treated me
like his money - took me

out only
when he needed something

& fast.
Even his toupee -

imported, real
human hair - was one-sided

& levitated
above his head like a light bulb

burned dim.
No wonder when

that detective stumbled in -

smelling of catharsis
& cheap ennui,

begging to be
given an extra week

with is knees -
I wanted him like nobody's

business. His
blown kiss.

Never laundered
like money, that dick's suit

stayed rumbled like the pages
of a paperback dropped

in the tub, drowned, the end
you read first to find out

whodunit, never
mind why.


As another poet on my poem-a-day said, I suffer today from some road-hankering.

watching as the lights pass

I like
watching car lights
pass at night

I am passing with them,,
going somewhere

the pleasures of the road

the pleasures of passing
through the lives
of people I don't know

stopping now and again
to rub my own life
against theirs, feel the silk of their lives
and how it feels to live them

roadside parks,
some beautiful, some just
the bare  necessities, a water fountain
and a pace to pee;

homemade memorials,
plastic flowers faded in the sun,
placed with love
to  mark the spot where
a beloved victim
of the road met  the road's

historical  markers,
something here,
maybe you read about it in 8th grade,
maybe not

highway stops to break the ride,
to  stretch cramped legs

all interesting
but  not like waking in a small, unknown town
at 5 a.m.
eating breakfast in a strange restaurant,
listening to the talk of strangers,
finding connections
with them
even as they live unsuspecting lives...

feeling the hustle and vitality
of places you have never been

will never be again

it's a way of life,
pursing those lights down the road

a great life  to live,
but only for a while

for as the lights pass,
they pass me, comfortable me,
in a town I know, having breakfast
where I am known, where,, with the others
whose place is here,  I watch the strangers, travelers
of the dark and light, as they settle in and try to find the us they seek
to engage, we, for a while a chef's special  sauce
bringing new flavors  to their
passing night...

meanwhile,the night does pass,
and passing lights dim
as the night sky


Here's a poem by Julia Connor, once again, from Signals. Conner, a widely published poet was Poet Laureate for Sacramento, California in 2006.

m(other) tongue


                                 when moon and stone
                                              were the bulwark
                                 against which          everything pushed
                                              and blood
                                                           the first syllable
                                 in the body's cup

                                when the pulse
                                              at the base of the spine
                                                           was a seahorse

                                 before Raven
                                               tore open history's bag
                                or the equines rode
                                             the rock face of Lascaux

                               when time was the mind of the stars
                                                        as Pythagoras says
                                and the bright arms off motion
                                               our first song


 Here's another breakfast observational from  2012.

oatmeal and one bran muffin

pink old man
having breakfast
with wrinkled old woman

and one bran muffin

skinny old pink
and skinny old wrinkled
didn't start that way
fifty years
when first they woke
to breakfast together

but spare now
and lean
like their breakfast
less need for talk
or for food,
they have their way
of living now
and oatmeal
and one bran muffin
all they need to say

My last library poem this week is by   Norman Stock and it comes from his book, Buying Breakfast for my Kamikaze Pilot. The book was published in 1994 by Gibbs Smith Publishers and was winner of the Peregin Smith poetry contest.

A funny poem and an explanation why you'll never find me anywhere close to a poetry workshop.

Thank You for the Helpful Comments

I sit quietly listening
as they tear my poem to shreds in the poetry workshop
as each one says they have a "problem" with this line
           and they have a problem with that line
and I am not allowed to speak because that is the
           etiquette of the workshop
so I sit listening and writhing while they tear the guts out
           of my poem and leave it lying bleeding and dead
and when they're finally finished having kicked the
          stuffing out of it
having trimmed it down from twenty lines to about four
          words that nobody objects to
then they turn to me politely and they say well Norman
           do you have any response
response I say picking myself up off the floor and brushing
            away the dirt while holding on for dear life to what I
            thought was my immortal poem now dwindled to nothing
and though what I really want to say is can I get my money
            back for this stupid workshop what I say instead is...
            uh... thank you for your helpful comments...
            while I mumble under by breath motherfuckers
            wait till I get to your poems.

Since I think I might have used the above poem before,  here's one I haven't, a kind of  homage to  Wallace  Stevens.

The Wallace Stevens Method of  Selling Insurance

Wallace Sevens, famous magician and comedian
has come to town to talk about insurance

but nobody wants to buy they want poetry
I don't know from poetry says Wallace Stevens

and he pulls a rabbit out of his shirt
and he tells the one about the traveling salesman

and he farmer's daughter and we laugh so hard
he's such a card this Wallace Stevens that finally we
         even buy his insurance.

That was short. Here's another short one.

Wallace Stevens Sleeping

There is a commotion in the parlor
The couch is covered with green silk

A black suited figure slouches in it
A cigar dangles from his hand

He is dreaming of the sea that surrounds us every day
He is thinking: the winds rise, and no one notices

Do not wake him,  let him lie
Lost in his dreams, soon he will think of us.


This is  from last week. I do love the early morning, and the early morning people.

lunatics - a short morning inventory

ovoid moon
behind a lacy curtain
off thin, translucent clouds

a lunatic bird
sings alone
at the roundabout


a lone cowboy
limps in through the door

sharp-toed boots
a hat with
a silver band
and a mustache
thick and wild

settles slowly
in his chair, like a good cowboy
takes off his  hat
and stores  it under his chair

like the bird
he would prefer
to be alone,  howling
at the night sky
as it  slips away to another

he  welcomes the ovoid moon
with a smile
and a sip
of morning sasparilla...

hard-faced woman
across the room, once a beauty,
now a mask of cold indifference,
glares at  her eggs,
has no interest in the  ovoid  moon
even  as it stirs  the tide
of her discontent...

fella in the corner booth,
fingers a-fly
on his laptop keyboard
as his coffee gets cold

another solitary lunatic
obsessed with
and ovoid moons

 Here's my last piece this week from Signals. The poet is Candace Pearson. The poet, who lives in the Los Angeles hills, is author of Hour of Unfolding, winner of 2010 Liam Rector First Book prize for  poetry. Her work appears frequently in journals and anthologies.

Slight of Hand

Boys in high school hurt so bad,
they said, You're giving me blue balls,
that's how much they wanted to touch you.
After a while, you took pity, couldn't stand
being called a tease or you liked the boy.
You'd find him beneath white cotton
with hands somehow twice normal size,
ready to enter new terrain, Just for a minute, baby,
as though fingers had clocks, tick-tocking away,
impossible to  believe at that moment a boy's hands
had only twenty-seven bones and sixty muscles,
same as a girls.

In the locker room, Miss Hildebrand warned us
about Roman hands and Russian fingers,
but no one paid attention, mesmerized
by the movement under a pristine bra, while
you pretended you didn't know it was there -
the touch that turned you from good girl
to bad so fast you figured, why not everything?
The way Lewis and Clark must have felt,
arriving at the Mississippi: If we cross this divide,
we might as well go on to the end.
They waved, hands beckoning,
urging the others to take a chance.


Here it is, last new poem of the week.

yesterday, two younger women

two friends, significantly younger
women, referred to me as
and not, I think, in the hipster
sense, not like my son
who calls me "Pops," his reference
to Louie, the inventor of jazz,
which is pretty hip,
I  think,, being in a way, a conjunction
between me and the hippest
man I could imagine in 1955, proposed
by my jazz-loving son, which
makes me feel like the cool cat I imagined
I was or at least thought I could be
if I ever got old enough
to  finally get my driver's license
and so could, at least periodically, flee
the suffocating bonds of parental
disdain for cool of every sort
except for watermelons
cooling off in the bathtub before

being called dad by two younger women
on the same day, even though spoken with affection
does not make me feel
like a  cool cat, but more like an old neutered tom,
which, let's face it, is not too far
off the mark, more like, in fact, a bull's  eye
and something I have long come to

but acceptance of it
does not necessarily mean
it's something I welcome hearing
from two younger women
on the same day


I mean I could have called them "babe,"
certainly in both cases
a well earned appellation, but, being
a sensitive, eminently cool cat of a certain age, I

but regardless of my own sensitivity,
I suppose at my age
the time has come to get used to this
kind of thing...


at last they didn't call me

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,brick and motar retail booksellers all across America and abroad)
Additional word came today that my publisher, BookBaby.com, has added two new retailers to their line-up. The first, Oyster, a Netflix type operation that offers access to it's entire catalogue of, at this point, over 200,000 books for $9.95 a month.
The other new dealer is Flipkart, the leading destination for online shopping in India, commanding over 80% of the eBook market in the largest English-speaking country in the world. I have  sold India in before, with my print book, published in India and appearing in Amazon, India before it appeared anywhere else, including Amazon, Great Britain and Amazon, US. Even before, in fact, it appeared on my own website.


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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