What If the Universal Constant Is Just Another Black Licorice Stick?    Wednesday, May 07, 2014





I have an anthology this week, A Book of Luminous Things - An International Anthology of Poetry, edited by Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz and published by Harcourt Brace & Company in 1996. As I skipped around in the book looking for poems I could use this week, it seemed that every poem I read I wanted to use. I finally decided that I would not go to other of the books in my library this week but this one.

I took kind of a similar shortcut this week with my photos. Instead of trying to take new photos, I would just go to my oldest pictures and pick out a few to use that I particularly like for one reason or another.

Still have my stuff, as usual, new and old.

Here it is:

Me
finding the right place to start

Zbigniew Machej
Orchards in July

Me
old man coming

Galway Kinnell
Daybreak

Me
pretty blond cheerleaders with guns

D.H. Lawrence
Mystic

Me
float

Li Po
Ancient Air

Wang Wei
Song of Marching with the Army

Tu Fu
South Wind
Clear After Rain

Me
high priest of the godless truths

Gary Snyder
Late October Camping in the Sawtooths    

Me
up the banner; up the flag

Emperor Ch'ine-Wen of Liang
Getting Up In Winter

Me
comfort

Steve Kowit
What Chord Did She Pluck  

Me
morning  glory

Louis Simpson
After Midnight

Me
rocks and rolling

Walt Whitman
I am the Poet

Me
4barku4u

Wislawa Szymborska
In Praise of Self-Deprecation

Me
day trip ramble

Aleksandre Wat
A Joke

Me
my to-do list
division of labor

Joanne Kyger
And  With March a Decade in Bolinas

Me
the stories you can hear    


I'll be taking my laptop in for some needed repairs as soon as I get this posted. It could take as much as a week, which will mean the next Here and Now post will be delayed. 


In the meantime, I return to my ink-stained-wretch status of years past.
 
                    
   







                                                        




Here the first of my new poems from last week, an appropriate place to start, I thought.












finding the right place to start

finding the right place
to start -
like the squirrel
out by the rose bush
such a beautiful rose bush
red blooms
covering - red flag
of blood victory
in the thin strip of soil
between parking lot and
road - how like lost sailors
overboard in rough seas
our hopes hang on
such slim strips
of beauty in a world
that prefers
asphalt








                                                         


My first poem from the week's anthology is by Zbigniew Machej. Born in 1958, Machej is a Polish poet, cultural activist and translator of Czech and Slovak literature.











Orchards in July

Waters from cold springs
and glittering minerals
tirelessly wander.
Patient, unceasing,
they overcome granite, layers
of hungry gravel, iridescent
precincts of clay. If they abandon
themselves to the black
roots, it's only to go
up, as high as possible
through wells hidden
under the bark of fruit trees. Through
the green touche with gray,  of leaves,
fallen petals of white
flowers with rosy edges,
apples heavy with sweet redness
and their bitterish seeds.
O, waters from cold
springs and glittering
minerals! You are awaited
by a cirrus with a fluid
sunny outline
and by an abyss of blue
which has been rinsed
in the just wind.

Translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Hass








                                                          





Going back  to  2007, here's a poem from May of that year.














old man coming

if an apple
fell
on my head
I'd say
cool
and eat it
and the whole
rigmarole
of Newtonian physics
would have been avoided

but not
you

for you,
every yin
has a yang,
every issue
an issue
with connections
and ramifications,
multiple
consequences
that must be
considered
as well as lessons
that must be learned

I used to be
that way

then I looked
in a mirror,
saw an old man
coming,
and went
sane








                                                                                            


Next from the anthology, Galway Kinnell. Born in 1927, Kinnell won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his 1982 Selected Poems was co-winner for the National Book Award for that year. From 1989 to 1993, he was Poet Laureate for the state of Vermont.








Daybreak

On the tidal mud,just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect  stars
moved across it slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity they sank down
into the mud, they faded down
into it and lay still; and by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.








                                                                            




Here's another new poem from last week in which I admit to a major moral/social error.












pretty blond cheerleaders with guns

the police officer
across the room is in is mid-thirties,
I'd say, his partner, barely more than half his size,
mid-twenties, blond, the kind of clean lines to her face
photographers look for in a model, bright red fingernails,
her hair wrapped tight would reach the mid-point of her spine
if set loose, a beautiful woman,
a woman many men would die to be arrested by
just for the thrill of the
pat down...

a cheerleader
packing heat, bringing some of her  own

her utility belt, with all the tools of her profession,
her gun, her radio, her baton, her handcuffs, and all the rest.
all the hidden secrets that civilians don't get to know
until the time comes for their use, is obviously
heavy, and it's wide as it wraps around her,
almost as wide as she is above and below the belt,
makes her look a little awkward as she walks
with her partner to their patrol SUV

but still, the long (I imagine) blond hair, and the clean lines
of her face and those red fingernails, well, who cares
about a little awkward walking...

---

now, before you say anything, I know  that, through a small
part off might be  pleased, she would hate this poem,
seeing it as  a denigration of her  hard-earned and exercised
police skills,, just another man, she would say, who sees
just a woman's beauty, sees  a woman as just another sex object
despite all her other attributes of intelligence and determination,
and in this case, the courage off a small, beautiful woman
to take on a cop's world, more courage, certainly than that is required
of any man, especially an ugly man who has a face built for
authority and intimidation...

and this is all I can say in my defense -

I'm old and in my day, cops were born with a cop face, large men,
broad shoulders, craggy faces with deep set eyes and a bushy mustache
beneath broad-brimmed Resitol hats, no utility belt pistol
that hung low on their hips and kick-your-ass-if-you-give-me-any-lip
looks that would shut our mouth before you even thought
of saying anything that might question their view
of the proper ways of the world and its normal rotation
around the law as they saw it...

so, see, it's not disrespect I'm meaning, just anther  example
of my own slow adjustment to a world I didn't grow up in...

pretty blond cheerleaders with guns...

I have to admit that the more I think about that,
the more I like
it...








                                                                   


Next a short piece of D.H. Lawrence, from the anthology. The English poet, born in 1885 and died in 1930, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter was best known for his novels.











Mystic

They call all experience of the senses mystic, when the experience
           is considered.
So an apple becomes mystic when I taste in it
the summer and the snows, the wild welter of earth
and the insistence of the sun.

All of which things I can surely taste in a good apple.
Though some apples taste preponderantly of water, wet and sour
and some too much sun, brackish sweet
like lagoon water, that has been too much sunned.

If I say I taste these things in an apple, I am called mystic, which
        means a liar.
The only way to eat an apple is to hog it down like a pig
and taste nothing
that is real.

But if I eat an apple, I like to eat it with all my senses awake.
Hogging it down like a pig I call the feeding of corpses.









                                                             





Here's another from May, 2007.














float

float a check...

float an idea...

float
my boat...

float
down the river
we call our time,
through the shallows
and the deep,
through slow and lazy
days
and through rapids,
rocks
either side,
splash foam
cold on our faces,
warm in our eyes

going, always
where
the river goes

the true condition
of life
no matter how
we fight it

up a creek
without a
paddle








Next from the anthology, several short poems by my favorites among the old masters.



                                                          




First, by  Li Po, great poet of the T'ang Dynasty, the Golden Age of Chinese poetry. Born in 701, he died in 762.









Ancient Air

Climbed high,  to gaze upon the sea.
Heaven and Earth, so vast, so vast.
Frost  clothes  all things n Autumn,
Winds  waft, the broad wasts cold.
Glory, splendor, eastward flowing  stream.
This world's affairs, just waves.
White sun  covered  its dying rays.
The floating clouds,  no resting place.
In lofty Wu-t'ung trees nest lowly finches.
Down among he thorny brush he Phoenix perches.
All that's left, to go home again.
Hand on my sword I sing, "The Going's Hard."

Translated from the Chinese by J.P.  Seaton



                                                                            
Next among the masters, Wang Wei. A painter  and a poet of Taoist and Buddhist inspiration, Born in 701 and  died in 761, Wang lived during one of China's many periods of internal wars and served as a government official, traveling, usually unwilling, through the vast spaces of China's borderland territories. My poets and artists similarly served the government as soldiers and officials and suffered the same hardships of travel (not an easy thing in those days) and often wrote of it.

  






Song of Marching with the Army

Horns blow the travelers into  movement.
Noisily they get under with with the sad sound
of reed pipes and chaos of neighing horses
as everyone struggles to ford Gold River.
The border sun settles in the desert
while sounds of war rise in smoke and dust.
We'll bind the neck of every chieftain
and bring them as presents for the emperor.

Translated from the Chinese by Tony and Willis Barnstone and Xu Haixin







                                                                                                                    



Last of the great Chinese masters (at least for now), here are two short poems by Tu Fu. Born in 712, Tu (Du) died in 770. Like the previous two  poets, he lived during the T'ang Dynasty's Golden Age,   and like the previous two is on the shortest list of China's greatest poets.

Tu Fu  best illustrates what I like best about the old Chinese masters, their immediacy. As the translator says, the poet's poems are written as if the invisible word "now" lies at the beginning of each line.











South Wind

The days grow long, the mountains
Beautiful. The south wind blows
Over blossoming meadows.
Newly arrived swallows dart
Over the streaming marshes.
Ducks in pairs drowse on the warm sand.


Clear After Rain

Autumn, cloud blades on the horizon.
The west wind blows from ten thousand miles.
Dawn, in the clear morning air.
Farmers busy after long rain.
The desert trees shed their few green leaves.
The mountain pears are tiny but ripe.
A Tartar flute plays by the city gate.
A single wild goose climbs into the void.

Translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth                                                








                                                                              





Okay, this is a rant. It felt  good when I did it, but you shouldn't feel obligated to participate in any way.












high priest of the godless truths

a new morning regular
in a booth down the way
round head, shaved bald,  tiny
face, makes me think of "Babyface"
in Dick Tracy...

probably
a very nice fellow, I wouldn't know
but have no reason to think
otherwise, but I think
he should know some men shouldn't
shave their heads, which I'm also thinking
might include me, now that I've done the deed

but it's just a face

the fellow would look a lot less strange
with some fuzz
on that
egg

---

and now searching my own mind
deciding the reason
I'm giving the little-faced man
such a hard time is that I'm actually
pissed-off at someone else, primarily myself,
and it feels better to beat up on the little-faced man
than to slap myself around as I deserve

the thing is I hate it that I can't  seem to stop myself
from arguing with dimwits on Facebook, that
most highly-populated geography
of Facebook-land where the natives lack the capacity
to think anything more complicated
than a bumper-sticker of a Facebook meme

I used to bedevil myself fighting back against
right wing tea party types, but they, being unwilling to endure
good sense and good manners, eventually blocked
me to avoid the creep-crawly feeling
they go when faced with well-thought-out expressions
of Truth,  Justice and the American Way...

so now I'm stuck with a bunch of left wingers, occupier-types
as immune to clear thinking as the right wingers
and equally hostile to skepticism and the hard questions
that the real world requires, true believers, riders
on the left side of the range, kissing-cousins
to the tea partiers, sharing the same basic
conspiratorial view of the world...

I guess they will all be blocking me soon, which
I wouldn't mind, the problem for me is
why am I waiting for them to do to me what I could
so easily do to them...

it's my preacher instinct, I think,  a high priest
off the godless truths is what I am at heart and I think
I understand why the Scientologist guy gave up
on good sense and started his own religion...

maybe I'll do the same...

I just have to think of a good name for it...


(footnote: two days after writing the poem, I, for the first time, defriended someone, the worst offender who cluttered my whatchamacallit every morning with post after post of stupid crap that I had to get through before I could get to anything else - I feel so empowered)







               

Next from the anthology, Gary Snyder, the modern American poet who most reminds me of the Chinese masters, both in form and in essences.










Late October Camping in the Sawtooths

Sunlight climbs the snowpeak
          glowing pale red
Cold sinks into the gorge
          shadows merge.
Building a fire of pine twigs
          at the foot of a cliff,
Drinking hot tea from a tin cup
          in the chill air -
Pull on a sweater and roll a smoke
          a leaf
          beyond fire
Sparkles with nightfall frost








                                                                          




Thomas Jefferson might have included this in the Declaration of Independence, but that country bumpkin, Sam Adams, wouldn't let him.














up the banner; up the flag

where does it say
the proper position of a toilet seat
is down?

it's not in the Bible -
I've checked
chapter and verse

it's not
in the Constitution,
the Federalist Papers

the Magna Carta,
or  in the political philosophy
of any seer, sage,  savant

political science crackpot
I can find in any of the learned journals,
including Wikipedia

how do things like this
become law then
when no precedentially established...

men are taught from their earliest years
to check the target
before getting down to business

if men, so often deemed insufficient,
can do this, why not also those persons
of the femalien persuasion

who so readily complain
when this law of toilet seat alignment
is disregarded by those brutes

who dribble
when they piddle
from the evolutionary advantageous upright position

up the banner, up the flag
let the toilet seat rebellion
begin









                                                                                                      Emperor Ch'ine-Wen of Liang,was born in 503 and died in 551. In this poem from the anthology he tells of waking to see his wife or concubine getting up and making ready for the day. He wonders why she is getting up so early, suggesting that even emperors often did not understand their women.

After spending way too much time searching for some pictorial representation of the Emperor, it became very clear that he was not one to enjoy having his picture taken. Thus, I choose the picture of the coin from, give or take, a couple of hundred years, his time. This, and twenty-seven thousand more like it might get you a taxi ride to the Forbidden City.





Getting Up in Winter

Winter morning
Pale sunlight strikes the ceiling.
She gets out of bed reluctantly.
Her nightgown has a bamboo sash.
She wipes the dew off her mirror.
At  this hour there is no one to see her.
Why is she making up so early?

Translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth









                                                                          




The next piece is from dinner a restaurant last week and is a perfect example of why I don't write at home.











comfort

 a young Latina
mother of two,
both girls,
she, very pretty, a bit over weight
or voluptuous,
depending on your century

cries
quietly, no evidence of it
but tear tracks down her cheek,
delicately wipes the corner of her right eye,
looks away from her husband
sitting across from her, like you want to look
away from someone who's hurting you,
looks at me, through not really at me, just 
the neutral space I presently
occupy

her younger daughter, three, maybe
four, leans against her arm,
pats her shoulder...

comforts her








                                                                               



Next from the anthology, this poem by Steve Kowit. Born in 1938, Kowit is a poet, essayist, teacher and workshop facilitator.















What Chord Did She Pluck

What chord did she pluck in my soul
that girl with the golden necklace
& ivory breasts
whose body ignited the river:
she who rose like the moon
from her bathing &
brushed back  the ebony hair
that fell to her waist
& walked off
into the twilight dark -
O my soul,
what chord did she pluck
that I am still trembling.
                             
                                        after Chandidas









                                                                              




From May  2007, an appreciation of the unnamed creek behind my back yard and larger Apache Creek into which it flows a couple of blocks down the street.













morning glory

 creek-side
remained unmowed
through the rainy months
so that wildflowers
could grow
to bloom
and spread seed
for next year

that rain
finished now
for a while,
the water flows
slow
and mossy green,
bordered
by levees
of  brilliant gold,
tall,
up to my waist,
sunflowers
catch every glint
of the rising sun, push
their own yellow light
ahead
of the sun,
exploding
bright
as the day 
begins

only a few days
left to us until
the blooms
fade and droop
and the seeds drop,
lie dormant
through the blaze
of summer
and winter ice,
leaving us
bereft
of this morning 
glory
until the rising
of new spring days
return to renew us
again








                                                     
Next from the anthology, this poem by Louis Simpson that illustrates the alienation that seems the essence of many city streets at night. A Jamaican born in 1923, Simpson won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1964 for his book, The End of the Open Road. The poet died in 2012.









After Midnight

The dark streets are deserted,
With only a drugstore glowing
Softly,  like  sleeping body;

With one white, naked bulb
In the back, that shines
On suicides and abortions.

Who lives in these dark houses?
I am suddenly aware
I might live here myself.

The garage man returns
And puts the change in my hand,
Counting the singles carefully.        









                                                                 


Empty-headed one morning last week when it came time to write my daily poem and my thoughts drifted to how much poem-a-day poets, rolling our daily word-rocks up hill, have in common with Sisyphus and his continual toil. Decided to try to have some fun with it.












rocks and rolling

I think
this morning
I will write a long rhyming ode
to  Sisyphus, in the
classical style

an in-depth look
into the man's earlier life

before the rock-rolling
chapter
of his life so well known to all

stories of his earlier life as
a log roller

and the many years
he spent working at the bank
rolling pennies

his life as a young,
ultimately unsuccessful
mariner, trying to roll, roll,  roll
his boat
across the Sea
of Uncertain Conclusions
singing jolly sailor
songs
as the waves roll, roll, rolled
over his boat

and his stint as a
baker,
He of the Magnificent Scrumptious Cinnamon Rolls
as he was known
on the streets of Abracadabracus, a smashing
success until the great
siege of Posterdammnerunia
and the resulting pecan shortage
of 673 B.C. after which he was stoned
(his explanation) and exiled
from the city for trying to peddle pecanless
cinnamon rolls as an Egyptian
delicacy discovered by Odysseus as he
escaped from the caves of
Isisicus

(this is the part of his life Sisyphus prefers
not to talk about, it being said
that leaving Abracadabracus in such haste,
he left behind many sisyphutykes
who to this day roam the streets,
rock and rollers
who disturbed the tranquility of the evening
by rolling barrels of stale, hard as rocks cinnamon
rolls up and down the streets,
delinquents, every one,
it is said)

much like Sisyphus' own very early years,
his years as a homeless
juvenile delinquent
living on the streets of Spartacus,
rolling drunks...

---

it's a great story
and I would tell it this morning
in all its long forgotten
detail, except,
let's face it,
odes are typically long  things and
my attention span is short
and since I can't rhyme anyway
I'm thinking I should forget the ode
and write something I'm  more
familiar with, something short about
dogs and cats and moons and stars
and clouds and strange people
having breakfast...

my meat and potatoes...

I'll get right on it and be back
when it's
done








                                                                                         
I always welcome a chance to use Walt Whitman here, especially when it's a short poem and I am relieved of the possibility of getting carried away and transcribing twenty pages more than I have room for. Here he is, born 1819 and died 1892, from this week's  anthology. Doesn't it make you proud to be a human, a kind that can produce the likes of Walt Whitman.









I Am the Poet

I m the poet of reality
I say the earth is not an echo
Nor man an apparition;
But that all the things seen are real,
The witness and albic dawn of things equally real
I have split the earth and the hard coal and rocks and the solid bed
          of the whole sea
And went down to reconnoiter there a long time,
And bring back a report,
And I understand that those are positive and dense every one
And that what they seem to the child they are
[And that the world is not a joke,
Nor any part of it a sham].








                                                                                

Here are some "Barku" (the poetry form I invented while sitting at a bar with nothing to write on but a bar napkin). I wrote these in May, 2007.

The poems' rules of construction are simple, ten words  in six lines (sized to  fit on a standard bar napkin), containing within those lines the tight essence of a traditional haiku.

That's the idea, anyway.










4barku4u

1.

cool morning
early June
expires soon
in dusty
summer
heat

2.

red flowers
over yellow
flowers
among blue
flowers
rainbow  riot

3.

rain puddles
leave a muddy
muddle
on clean
kitchen
floors

4.

word
missing
for true barku
my own
invention
fails me








                                                                                                        


Here's another of my favorite poets, Wislawa Szymborska, from the anthology. The Polish poet, essayist, translator, and winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in 1923 and died in 2012.











In Praise of Self-Deprecation

The buzzard has nothing to fault himself with.
Scruples are alien to the black panther.
Piranhas do not doubt the rightness of their actions.
The rattlesnake approves of himself without reservations.

The self-critical jackal does not exist.
The locust, alligator, trichina, horsefly
love as they live and are glad of it.

The killer-whale's heart weighs one hundred kilos
but in other respects it is light.

There is nothing more animal-like
than a clear conscience
on the third planet of the Sun.

Translated from the Polish by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert A. Maguire








                                                                                                            
Here's a piece from last week, a day trip I took up north into the hills. I made the trip specifically to buy some  special  liver sausage and koch kase, or, cooked cheese, for  reasons explained in the  poem. The result, not included in the poem, that the cheese, the thing I most wanted, is not longer available. After getting home, I did a Google-search and found place a hundred miles  in the other direction where I can still  buy it.  Will be headed that  way this weekend. Maybe get some pictures as  a bonus.

Anyway, that's another  story.









day trip ramble

the roadside and the  pastures
and  the hills are green,shielded
so far this year  from the burn afternoon sun

this will change soon and the effects
of two years of  drought  will be more easily seen...

the road  is different than it was
in the 1950s when we  used to come this way
every summer, the curves wider
and  the hills less steep,
even then it was much more different from
when my father, a young man  in 1929,
drove a wrecker on what was then narrow and
twisting, a major route from San Antonio north,
a decent road for the time,
but like a small country road to us today,
a road that climbed and dipped and twisted
and climbed and dipped and twisty through
the hills,long drops to pastures and meadows
below right up alongside the road

(stories my father told of collecting
wrecked  cars along the iced-over roads
in winter, the car with the mop of  hair
stuck in the windshield, the driver scalped
when his head pushed through the glass; the man
with his six  white horses, performing horses,
lying dead, thrown from his trailer
when  he went off the road and crashed
fifty feet below, the man sitting on a rock,
crying at the loss of his beautiful white horses,
the performing horses who were his livelihood,
his friends, his life...)

---

I'm driving to Fredericksburg, a small city
in the hills where my father grew up, a little town then
of mostly German speakers, a town not so much
different then  than it had been a hundred and more
years earlier when it was settled and peace was made
with the Comanche and the little band of German
immigrants made it a home away from their
Deutschland home left behind...

my father, exiled during the depression when
his father lost his store to the bank
and his own thoughts of college were foreclosed
and he had to find work
and there was none for him in the hills,
called the little city "home" up to the day of his death,
more than 40 years from the time he was forced to leave...

---

I'm making this trip today, 160 miles there and back,to pick up
some comfort food from the meat market where my father
had worked when he was a teenager, a several-months supply
of liver sausage and koch kase (cooked cheese), my own
comfort food now, another inheritance from my father whose own  pleasure
in eating it, like he was a boy again at his mother's kitchen table,
and who I cannot help but think of and that pleasure he took
in the eating of it, sometimes, as I eat my own portion, as if
we are eating together again, like when I was  a boy, sharing
a table in my own mother's kitchen...

---

and having driven the miles to get there, I drive through
the city and the neighborhoods where I ran with  my cousins
when I was a child, later a teenager, the places that weren't
there anymore, the drive-in movie where my uncle
took us to  see  The Bowery Boys and Abbot and Costello and
where that staid, stern-faced man would laugh himself to tears
at the antics on the screen, and the A&W root beer stand
where he would take  us after the movies, Brown Cow
all around and the steep hill where I fled over
the front of my cousin's bike, face first in  the asphalt
and my grandmother's small  house after my grandfather died
and my uncle's house and the large lot between where my aunt
kept guinea hens for their small breakfast eggs
and where my cousin and I would camp out under a large pecan tree
and where I got a black eye from a baseball hit hard and low, bouncing
into my face at the very last minute...

all gone now...

all the changes that time brings,  forces on us,
welcome or not...

and the question I have - why do the changes in my own
home town affect me less than the changes here
where my father grew up?

the answer I think is that  I felt my father's own sense of displacement
and took it onto myself so that almost from the time I could know
anything I  knew I would be leaving the town where I grew up
as soon as I could, never a thought in my mind that I would be there
past the day I could leave it, always a transient, feeling
I and the town just passing through, not the town's fault,
many happy people live there, but never meant for me...

---

it used to be that when I went there I'd  drive through the town, like
I drove through my father's town today, just to  look,
but I don't even do that anymore, may parents'
graves are in a cemetery about a mile from town

these days, I never get any closer than that...









                                                                                                           Aleksandre Wat, born in 1900, was a Polish poet, writer and art theoretician. Initially sympathetic to the communist when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, he moved to a Soviet controlled portion of the country. Not considered pure enough in his commitment, he was exiled to Kazakhstan along with his wife and son until he was allowed to return to Poland in 1946. Completely cured of his affection with communism after 7 years in exile, he was not considered reliable by the communist government and was not allowed to publish his own work. Instead  he worked translating French, English, German and Russian classics into Polish. In 1959 he immigrated to France and settled in Paris where he lived until his death in 1967.









A Joke

To Gordon Craig

Bunches of carnations in a tin pitcher.
Beyond the window, is that a faun playing a flute?
In a fusty room the semi-darkness of dawn.
the lovers sleep. On the sill

the cat purrs.  In its dream a rabble of birds.
she wakens like a bird and, trembling,
opens her eye on the alabaster
shaded mournfully by her streaming hair.

She found in it her wreath fished up from a river
and searches for his hand, looking for protection.
Then plunges into sleep again - into a flow, a flow...

Suddenly the door creaked softly. Somebody enters. Surprised
Looks, hardly believes: My son - with a woman!
and retreats on tiptoe: O Hamlet! Hamlet!

Vence, September 1956

Translated by Cselaw Miloz and Leonard Nathan









                                                                             






Here are a couple of short poem from 2007, May, extolling the pleasures of ambitionlessness.












my to-do list

there
was a time
when grand ambition
woke me
in the morning


it was the force
that drove
all the labors of my day
and my darker dreams
at night

now
I wake
and wiggle my toes
and my charge
for the day is
complete


division of labor

have
you noticed

when children
set out to play

little boys
are content to pick their noses

while girls
make up the rules











Last from the anthology this week (this is a great anthology, every page I turn if find an old favorite, or, if not that, a new favorite), here's a poem by Joanne Kyger. Born in 1934, Kyger's poetry is said to be influenced by her practice of Zen Buddhism, the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beats.









And With March a Decade in Bolinas

Just sitting around smoking, drinking and telling stories,
the news, making plans, analyzing, approaching the cessation
of personality, the single personality understands its demise.
Experience of the simultaneity o all human beings on this planet,
alive when you are alive. This seemingly inexhaustible
sophistication of awareness becomes relentless and horrible,
trapped. how am I ever going to learn enough to get out

The beautiful soft and lingering props of the Pacific here.

                                                 The back door bangs
                         So we've made a place to live
           here in the greened out 70's
                                           Trying to talk in the Tremulous
                                  morality of the present
                          Great Breath, I give you Great Breath!







                                                                      



This is my last new piece from last week. What we do is called "creative writing" but it seems often for me more like just a  transcription.











the stories you can hear

the stories you can hear
if you just pay
attention

the front page tragedies;

the quiet sorrows and tears
of old loves
lost;

the sweet air of  new love
found, in whispers
and soft caresses, bodies sitting
close, arms touching
at the elbow, legs
touching at the hip;

pontifications of the exceedingly
certain;

bible readers, Kindle  readers,
immersed in the word of someone
other, the silence around them
like air in a long-sealed
cave;

the business meeting, inputs
and outputs and profits
and losses and bosses in loud voices,
and the low muttering of the driven not
impressed by the bosses latest
exhortations to make more,
sell  more,
inputs outputs profits losses,
suffering through another
exercise in power when  they'd rather
be at home, eating their Cheerios
and reading about Dagwood
and Blondie and Mr.
Dithers, that evil asshole
so much like the head table
Bozo that signs their
checks;

the latter day hippies
in $200 sandals,
long hair and $40 pedicures,
planning the next
insurrection;

Grandmas and Grandpas
talking about the grand-kids,
looking at the photos on their  I-Phone,
how cute, they say, such a pretty
baby, they say, worried about
their daughter-in-law and her incompetence
when it comes to  keeping a clean house
and making a proper pot roast...

there is a universe here every morning,
a cacophonous universe of stories
waiting for a listener's
ear...

---

all the best story-tellers being first
good story-listeners,
I try
to pay attention
to all the stories I can hear








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, Oyster, Flipkart, and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad)



´╗┐Poetry




Places and Spaces





Always to the Light






Goes Around Comes Around





Pushing Clouds Against the Wind





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




Seven Beats a Second






Short Stories



Sonyador - The Dreamer





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