Manifestations & Machinations   Thursday, June 12, 2014

As mentioned later, my laptop crashed and I lost access to everything but my lucky pen and composition notebook. I was pretty far along with this post when it happened so I'm coming in only a day late despite losing 4 days.

And the new book, "New  Days and New Ways" has arrived on Amazon and Barnes and Noble eShelves. If not up at the other retailers, should be very soon.

As to the business at hand:

My photos again this week, looking to find something new in old pictures. Sometimes it works.

My anthology, published in 1996 by the University of  Texas Press, Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry. It is a bilingual book, original text and English translations side by side.

The rest is as usual, books from my library and me.

 Here's the crew:

castle doctrine

Jorge Luis Borges
Houses Like Angels
Limits (or Good-Byes)

105 degrees in my backyard

Brooke Bergan
plate 6: Girl Wearing Pearls
plate 5: Girl Posed
plate  4: Girl with Flowers
plate 28: Adele Wearing a Locket
plate 11: Girl in a Lace Dress

tortoise racing on the Galapagos

Jorge Carrera Andrade
The Clock

when you tell people you're a poet

Jean-Paul Pecqueur
Feeling Occidental

catch the red robin as it flies

Jaime Sabines
I Do Not Know for Sure...

elegy for a coffeehouse

Robert Bly
Night of First Snow

so who the hell is Yula and what's she doing in my computer

Alfonso Cortes
Space  Song

you just have to take my word for it

 Miriam McFall Starlin 
Jetset - Sometimes
This and That

blood donut in a shark tank #1

Octavio Armand
Braille for Left Hand

we are the apocalypse

Alice Walker
How Poems are Made/A Discredited View

 blood donut in a shark tank #2
blood donut in a shark tank #3

Delmira Agustini
The Ineffable

coming up short

Toeti Heraty

blood donut in a shark tank #4  


First from me this week, this.

castle doctrine

while I'm inside,
doing this,
drinking coffee, piling
words on on another
like mismatched
bricks, Bella waits outside
in the car, sitting in the driver's
seat, surveying her domain,, her domain
being, as far as she's concerned
anything and everything she can see,
which means that anytime she sees anything,
dog, squirrel, blackbird, human,
trespassing on her domain, she has to stick
her head out the window and bark as if she were
a vicious wolf, which,  since she is actually
a pussy-cat of a dog, she  is not...

but she is also a supporter of tradition,
this particular tradition being the sacred right
of "castle" - actually an extension of that Texas tradition
confirming that every man's home is his castle
which he has a right to protect
to the death, rather threatened by Huns,
or mid-east terrorists, or children playing
off-season trick or treat, Bella's
position being that this sacred right and duty
extends to dogs and their domains, however they
might choose to define it...

so sometimes I have to interrupt when I'm doing
what I'm doing right now, drinking
coffee and piling words
one upon another like stuffing feathers
in a foam pillow, to go outside and tell her
to hush up and reassure her that she is perfectly safe
and that I have no intention of taking that squirrel
or dog, or human of her attention
home to displace her so
she should just quit the barking and
shut up...

is is so embarrassing to have a dog
with a Genghis Khan  sense
of personal space...

just  flat embarrassing to have to be
continually apologizing to other humans
and dogs and even squirrels
barking back from
their trees...

it is reassuring to know that if
I am ever attacked by a human or dog
or an  angry squirrel or a low flying blackbird,
she will protect me, she being certain that I am part
of her expansive domain, my well-being
therefore a part of her jurisdiction
and duty,
for, after all, just as I know she
is my dog, she knows just as well
that I am her castle...


Start strong has always been my advice. From this week's anthology, you don't get much stronger than Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges.


With evening
the two or three colors of the patio grew weary.
The huge candor of the full moon
no loner enchants its usual firmament.
Patio: heaven's watercourse.
The patio is the slope
down which the sky flows into the house.
eternity waits at the crossway of the stars.
It is lovely to live in the dark friendliness
off covered entrance way, arbor, and wellhead.

(Translated by Robert Fitzgerald)

Houses like Angels

Where San Juan and Chacabuco intersect
I saw the blue houses,
the houses that wear colors of adventure.
They were like banners
and deep as the dawn that frees the outlying quarters.
Some are daybreak color and some dawn color;
their cool radiance is a passion before the oblique
face of any drab, discouraged corner.
I think of women
who will be looking skyward from their burning dooryards.
I think of the pale arms that make evening glimmer
and of he blackness of braids: I think of the grave  delight
of being mirrored in  their deep eyes,like arbors of night.
I will push the gate of iron entering the dooryard
and there will  be a fair girl,already mine, in the room.
And the two of us will  blush, trembling like flames,
and the present joy will grow quiet in  the that passed.

(Translated  by Robert Fitzgerald)

Limits (or Good-byes)

There is a line of Verlaine's that I'm not going to
     remember again.
There's a nearby street that's forbidden to my footsteps.
There's a mirror that has seen me for the last time.
There's a door I've closed until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I'm looking at them)
There are some I'll never open again.
This summer I'll be fifty years old:
Death invades me, constantly.

From Inscriptions by Julio Platero Haedo
(Montevideo, 1923)

(Translated by Alan  Dugan)


Here's an old poem from June, 2012.

105 degrees in my backyard

105 degrees
in my backyard yesterday

I was out there in my Tarzan  pants
doing something, which, upon
more  rational consideration, entirely
did not need getting done

I  was out there about
an hour...
maybe closer to half hour...
fifteen minutes, at least,  until
upon the rational consideration
mentioned above, I found
a more secluded section
of the yard and stripped down
and turned the water hose
directly over my head,
lovely water
from the Edwards Aquifer,
clear, ice-cold water
collected over eons in limestone canyons
deep underground, collected
and delivered by the San Antonio Water
System to splash over my head
and eyes and arms and legs
and nether parts,all  in a row,
making me dance and jump up and
down and wave my arms  like a
whooping crane on speed,
flapping its wings, ready to head off
to its summer home in Canada when the first
warm winds blow, and me and the bird
saying, whoopee, whoopee, damn
that feels good...

my wife  worries when I do this sort of thing,
concerned about what our nosy neighbor might
say if she caught me doing my whooping
bird imitation,sans feathers...

as to that,  I'll
be the first to admit,
my body is not a temple, more
like a cracked-stone wreck
of a rock hill,
the body of a young and foolish
man inherited ow by me, an old and cautious
survivor, rode hard
and put up wet,
as the cowboy poets say,
an old piece of work, in other words,
wrinkled and worn,
not bad enough to scare the squirrels
out of the trees, but nothing to be peeking
over fences for either...

but its what I've got,
bumps and bulges  and seams
and scars,  a  generally unappealing
collection of body parts
arranged in a not much pleasing way...

and I  reckon if I  can take  it
the nosy neighbor next door
can  as well

The first poet from my library this week is Brooke Bergan, with several short poems from her book, Storyville - a Hidden Mirror, published by Asphodel Press in 1994.

The book tells the story of Storyville, turn-of-the-century New Orleans red light district. She takes of the story from photographs of Ernest J. Bellocq, an otherwise unremarkable New Orleans commercial photographer who ended up  making an extensive photographic record of life in Storyville and the prostitutes who were it's draw, producing in the process a rare historical record of a time and place a lot of people would prefer to forget.

Since I could find nothing on the poet (even though the book  includes several pages of notes on the history of New Orleans and Louisiana, there is no author biography). Neither could I find anything on the web. Since I also could not find a usable picture, I include instead, a small sample of Bellocq's photos which were the inspiration of  many of the poems.

Some may remember the movie,  Pretty Baby, which took its inspiration from the story of Bellocq and Storyville.

Plate 6: Girl Wearing Pearls

Someone she has nearly
forgotten gave her pearls. dark as silver
or tears, and a gold bracelet
cool as a caress,
and sadness like a bruise
around her eyes.

Plate 5:Girl Posed

On an ironing board
covered with a tasseled rug
a black-stockinged girl
smiles  at a small white poodle.

One  slat of the louvered door
behind her turns up against
the current of stairs, clapboard,
walkway, fence pickets

like a cool breeze
against river air
or the shadow her  legs
make against  a made world.

Plate 4: Girl with Flowers

Peonies or roses grown too lush
in the tropic air, like a smile
verging on tears or some
pattern  in silk repeating
the soft wave of hair against
shoulder, the curve of a lip
insinuating knowledge.

Happiness is an accident,
sadness the choice -
not to be beguiled
by the warm fragrance of peonies,
the pink tongue of a small dog.

Plate 28: Adele Wearing a Locket

Adele, you are so real
without clothes, the lens
falters at the soft
curve of stomach,
soiled feet, ribbons
of hair you've let fall
down your back,like my
locket, a kiss between
your breasts.

If I put you against
the filigreed wall, let
you hand rest
on the carved back
of this chair,
will the world 
see what I do?

Plate 11: Girl in a Lace Dress

mouth stern, eyes
soft too much solid
flesh like someone's 
prim grandmother she sits
perfectly still as if
movement might

break the spell hands
curled in her lap back- 
ground blackens
away white lace later

she may marry wish
something more for
a child speak or
not speak of what
went before


Waiting for the right time, not the answer to all problems  but it does help with many.

tortoise  racing on the Galapagos

displacements and

but a poem
will rise from
the rubble

I am certain
because it always

required, that virtue
the hardest to learn

no matter
how long you

the time will come
for what will

like I told my young son
his first time at bat,
wait for it, wait for it

hit it out of the


Next from the anthology, Jorge Carrera Andrade. Born in Quito, Ecuador in 1902, Andrade was a poet, historian, author and diplomat. Recognized as one of the most influential poets of the twentieth century, he died in `1978.

The Clock

time's stone-mason.

It chips at the night's  hardest  wall;
persistent hammer:  pendulum.

Still awake, the heliotrope
composes scores of scent, in the clothes-closet.

Watching over the clock's work,
silence walks in muffled slippers.

(Translated by Michael Surman)


Fruit-vender church,
seated at a corner of life:
crystal oranges of windows.
Organ of sugarcane stalks.

Angels: chicks
of Mother Mary.

The little blue-eyed bell
runs out barefoot
to  scamper over the countryside.

Clock of the sun;
angelical donkey with its innocent sex:'
handsome Sunday wind
bringing news from the hill;
Indian women with their vegetable loads
bound to their foreheads.

The sky rolls up its eyes
when the little  barefoot bell
come scampering out of church

(Translated by Muna Lee de Munos Marin)


Another from June,  2012.

when  you tell  people you're a poet...

when you tell  people
you're a poet
some of them
especially the ones
who throw footballs
and shoot beavers,
want  you to put on
your tutu
and go tiptoeing through
the tulips,  scattering
fairy dust to and fro

and that really pisses
me off
since I almost never wear
my tutu anymore, not,
at least,
since it got stained
by the dry cleaner,
and can shoot beavers
with the best of them

so I usually
tell people I'm a


Next poet from my library, Jean-Paul Pecqueur. Pecqueur is a poet, critic and professor originally from the state of Washington. He earned his BA degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and MFA in creative writing at the University of Washington. He teaches at Pratt Institute, York College and the City University of New York. The poem is from his book, The Case Against Happiness, published by Alice James Books in 2006.

Feeling Occidental

The word ontology, the mono-pattern
of  shadow on a north-facing
roof, the sphere's thrice-
figured density, the remainder
of zero (chimera of clarity) exist
in the particular material and sensitive
instruments, the micro- and stereo-
scope, the sentence which begins I,
the undersigned, the undersigned
and his family, your family,
so the futures market, the aunt
poisoned at birth by a bee
string, a pin-prick, and accidental,
afternoon, fall-down
vision, by a tiny sliver
of sentience - have you
ever felt it, that just
accusations, the exact
tongue, the exact
finger tip.


This is from last week. Every once in a while I slip up and try to compare myself to the masters of the craft and the art. Big mistake.

catch the red robin as it flies

black clouds
roiling the sky,
just like every day this week,
back clouds
making promises they do not keep

and I think of the old Chinese masters
who in fifteen words or less
would have captured like a bird
flight the truth
of this sky and this day,
even for today, through the passage of millennia
come  and gone,
the truth, for now,  for tomorrow

how futile and redundant
my own efforts


Mexican  poet Jaime Sabines is in the anthology. Born in 1925, Sabines' ten volumes of poetry were translated into twelve languages. He was part of a group of poets who sought to use their poetry to chronicle the everyday lives of everyday people. A politician as  well as a poet, he died in 1999.

I Do Not Know It for Sure...

I do not know it for sure,,  but I suppose
that a man and a woman
some day love each other,
they are left alone little by little
something in their heart tells them they are alone,
alone over the earth they penetrate each other
they go on killing each other.

Everything is done in silence, as
light is made inside the eye.
Love unites the bodies.
In silence they go on filling each other.

Any day they wake up over arms;
they think then they know everything.
They see themselves naked and they know everything.

(I don't not know for sure, but I suppose it.)

(Translated by Isabel Bize)


From June 2012, an elegy for a former favorite coffeehouse.

elegy for a coffeehouse

as ideas of community
lose out to  silo-constricted
cliques of like-minded souls
who know only souls like their own,
souls who never shock each other, where out-
rage is always outer directed, where
one never questions another
on anything  more serious than
the price  of tomatoes
at the market,  where all is smoothed
and settled,
where the rub
of friction never produces
new and better
where our culture
and we in our hearts and minds
become impoverished...

in this  time
when mass culture
pushes us to conform
to the uniform trivialities
that invade our lives,
our anti-silo instincts struggle to find
places that strive for mixing bowl
diversity of young and old, straight
and queer, rich and poor, punk
and preppy, neckties and overalls,
believers and deniers, the pious and the profane,
black and white and all
the colors between, animal lovers,
people lovers, art lovers, those
who draw, those who paint, those
who sing and those who listen, those
who labor in the sun to build
with their hands, those who sell
and those who buy, those lonely,
seeking a place where friends
can be found or made, and
those who seek solitude and quiet
contemplation, those who sign
petitions and those against whom
petitions are gathered - humanity
that comes from everywhere
to be together somewhere,
such places struggle against the
time, struggle to  keep their heads
above the tides of same-o, same-o
now like then, me like you, always,
such places more often fail
than survive

like my favored coffeehouse,
the community that gathered
around it abandoned
by the church that
created it,
for good

sic transit mundi

Here's a small poem by Robert Bly. I like most of Bly's work, like the ones in this book, Selected Poems, published in 1986. But I can't stand the anti-war things he wrote during the Vietnam War, which I read as over-the-top and hopelessly pandering to his student audience,  the stereotypical college professor trying to be relevant.

This poem,  on the other hand is beautiful.

Night of First Snow

Night of first snow.
I stand, my back against a board fence.
The fir tree is black at the trunk, white out at the edges.
The earth balances all around my feet.

The trunk joins the white ground with what is above.
Fir branches balance the snow.
I too am a dark shape vertical in the earth.
Allover the sky, the gray color that pleases the snow

Between boards I see three hairs a rabbit left behind
As he scooted under the fence.
A woman walks out toward the wicker basket
Rocking in darkening  reeds.
The Bride  is inside the basket where Moses sleeps.
What is human lies in the way the basket is rocking.


A new poem from last week.  Under attack.

so who the hell is  Yula and what's she doing in my computer

all of a sudden,
out of nowhere,
immersed in a tidal wave,
an avalanche, an attack like the fire-bombing
of Dresden, of pop-up  ads, unlike
anything I've seen in all my years on  the web...

every time I depress enter,  one, two, sometimes three,
all at once, pop-ups, every other word
I write or  read, highlighted in  blue as  a  link
to somewhere  I do  not have any
interest in going...

does this Yula person actually think
there is anyone in the world
who would welcome this kind  of harassment;
is there truly an  advertiser somewhere
in who thinks this is a good  way to approach
a customer...

sometimes, I think the Internet has truly
made people stupid,  anxious to do
everything they can,whether it makes sense
or not...

in the meantime, as I continue to  try to make sense
of the world despite the constant interruption
of nonsense, let it be known
that I am putting out a contract on Yula,
whoever she is and wherever she
might be...

I'll dedicate my next book  to anyone, I mean anyone,
who  can find the bitch and  shoot  her


this is my poem of the day, Yula, and fair warning
that your time is coming - once I  post  it
poetry lovers and seekers literary fame from
throughout the world will be out looking,
hoping to collect the bounty on your scalp -

(for a dedication in my next  book is no small thing,
you know)

but I  admit,  I am curious to see how many  blue-highlighted
you will find in these few words  of mine


The next poet from the anthology is Nicaraguan poet Alfonso Cortes. Born in 1893, he is renowned in his native country for the deep mysticism and spirituality of his poetry as well as his periodic bouts of insanity. This poem was written in 1928, about midway through his life.

Space Song

The distance tat lies from here
To  some star that never existed
Because God has not yet managed
to pull the skin of the night that far!

And to think we still believe greater
More useful world peace
that the peace of one lone savage...

This relativity craze
In our contemporary life: There's
What gives space an importance
Found only in ourselves!

Who knows how long we'll take to learn
To live as stars -
Free in the midst of what is without end
And needing no one to feed us.

Earth knows nothing of the paths it daily travels -
Yet those paths are the conscience of earth... But if
This is not so, allow me just
One question - Time, you and I
Where are we,
I who live in you
And you who do not exist?

(Translated by Thomas Merton)


June, 2012, Sunday morning, apparently.

you just have to take my word  for it

morning, my thoughts far away
from any creative impulse

in detail that goes  nowhere

the girls
pushing two tables together
for the large party
coming across the parking lot

not a single interesting face
among them, fat old lady
to skinny little
skipping along

is  there such a thing
as  WalMart faces?

I think so, this posse
evidence for the affirmative...

and there's the big guy
been here a couple of mornings
now, comes and goes on a motorcycle,
accent, sounds French, has a Frenchy looking

and what, you're probably asking yourself,
is the difference between a Walmart looking-face
and a Frenchy-looking face and I can't tell you -
I know what I know, you know,
you just have to take my word for it,
accept the fact that when dealing
with poets
sometimes you just have to take their word
for it cause their minds work in such
wondrously mysterious ways,
the path to their truth not always so straight
and narrow, and sometimes, you know,
you just have to grab hold and hang on for the
ride, like the fellow across the room, big, bald-headed
guy with a wispy beard, an Argentine gaucho,
I'm pretty sure, rides
and ropes and herds stampeding
cattle into box  canyons on the pampas,  singing,
in  Spanish,  of course, whoopee ty yay, whoopee
ty yo around the campfire at night,
telling jokes about Nebraska
and writing cowboy

like I said,
you just have to  take my word
for it


Next, a new poet from my library, Miriam McFall Starlin, with a couple of short poems from Wait a Minute, her book I picked up at  the secondhand bookstore just this afternoon. The book was published in 2006 by Resource Publications. The Miriam McFall Starlin poetry prize at the University of Oregon was named after her. I could find a picture of ever  winner since the prize was established in 1997, but the only photo I could find of the poet is the one on the right with her husband.

Jetset - Sometimes

Sometimes I look at them
with their well-coiffed heads,
trim bodies, modish clothes,
their manicured hands and pedicured feet.
They spend their summers at the Beach
their winters in the Snow.
They really do look good.
They are so bright and cheerful.

Sometimes I look at them
and I see a conch shell.

I cannot hear the sea.


Moon  yellow jonquils
march up the  hillsides
nodding politely to each other
like feminist poets
bowing to their own reflections
in the lily pond

This and That

So these are the sunset years?
An aged mongrel at the feet
occasionally rising o puppy-capers.
A gentle man dozing in his chair.
Sons gone long  ago.
What's left is the dark,
shot with star shine
and the promise of sunrise.


It was at this point, nearing completion of this post when bad went to worse and my computer crashed. I continued to write my daily poems with old-fashioned pen and paper. This is the first of those pen and ink poems.

blood donut in a shark tank #1

first manifestation
random pop-up ads every time I depress

despite my well-known
and frequently demonstrated
ignorance of all things
I resolved to try to fix the problem
leading to the same prospect of survival
of a blood donut in a shark tank

not good for the donut,
not good for me
as I was presented with the dreaded
blue screen of death...

and so I write here again,
with a leaky black pen
and a 50 cent
composition notebook...

and I console myself
with thoughts
of my pioneer ancestors,
hiking with all their belongings
from their port of arrival
on the Texas gulf coast
to their new homes in the wild and rocky hills
of central Texas,
facing fearsome and hostile Comanches,
heat, drought, unpromising stone-filled pastures,
coming to this harsh land
so different from the soft hills
and green forests of their native Germany,
coming to preserver despite all,
digging wells deep into the hills  to tap into
sweet clear waters of ancient limestone aquifers
deep beneath the equally ancient hills,
put aside their farmers' tool and learned
the arts of cattle and sheep, made friends with the Comanche
and cleared the stones from their pastures, using  them
to build fences still standing all these years later...

so, coming from that history, I suppose
I can make this leaky pen work
for a day or two and even a poem or two...

for I have an optimistic


From the anthology, here is a poem by Octavio Armand. Born in Cuba in 1946 of a family with the distinction of being exiled from their home country twice by successive dictators, first Batista in the 1950s, then by Castro in 1960. The poet has lived much of his life in New York.

Braille for Left  Hand

     The world does not  close in your eyes; there
you are born,  with the weight of one lip on the soother.
There everything fits, as in a room that grows emptier
and emptier.

     You are not in your eyes. You are here,
hinting at presence. Irresistible. As if
trapped in a statue.

     Someone buries you, forgets you behind

     Yes, the shadow is astute. The statue
knows a lot. But once again you touch walls,
faces and the warmth of a cup creates

     Beside you, brewing words. Braising them.
Since you have not stayed on your eyelid. You are
here, in palms no gypsy will read.

     Touch them. Tunnel between these
lines, mole; make your little space; read.

(Translated by Jason Shinder)


 A consideration, from June, 2012, of our true nature.

we are the apocalypse

on the walls
of  a cave
and stenciled
hand prints
of the artist,
a man who walked
the earth
and made his art
40,000 years
before today, the
here and now
of my day
as I walk this same earth,
my earth now,
trying to leave
my own imprint behind

this man,
well, possibly not really
a man
in the narrow biological
sense of things,
but still a creature
of art
and aspiration,
making him
and all his clans
a brother to me and
to all of my more direct kin
who  seek
the not-yet known
and impossible to say, those
like he and me
who aspire to greater
meaning outside
our own restricting skin...

this artist,
this brother-almost-man
and his kind,
walked the forest
and glades and meadows
for 300 millennia,
tenants of a world still virgin,
by the greed
of tribes whose gods
told them all was made
for them, that all the lands and seas
and all the creatures
of all the lands
and seas were but a convenience
created by their warrior gods
to sate  the appetite  of the

for all those thousand years  they
made a home
and they made art in their home,
and then they were gone,
disappeared barely more than a single
generation after our tribes'
arrival, the first and greatest genocide,
their home
and their art taken, claimed
by those who found
their own greater art in war
and murder...

we the survivors,
we who kill
our brothers now
as we killed our brothers then -
what hope does any creature have
when in the presence  of such as

for we are the apocalypse
all others should


Another book I  just picked up at the secondhand bookstore today is Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful, poems by Alice Walker. The book was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers in 1984. Born in 1944 and an accomplished poet, Walker is best known  as a novelist, especially for The Color  Purple for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

How Poems Are Made/A Discredited View

Letting go
in order to hold on
I gradually understand
how poems are made.

There is a place the fear must go.
There is a place the choice must go.
There is a place the loss must go.
The leftover love,
The love that spills out
of the too full cup
and runs and hides
its too full self
in shame.

I  gradually comprehend
how poems are made.
To the upbeat flight of memories.
The flagged beats of the running

I understand how poems are made.
They are the tears
that season the smile.
The stiff-neck laughter
that crowds the throat.
The leftover love.

I know  how poems are made.

There is a  place the loss must go.
There is a place the gain must go.
The leftover love.


 Here are two poems from my days of forced de-digitalization.

blood donut in a shark tank #2

so  little rain
it takes
to turn the rock-bound hills
and pastures
into a green garden
of high grass
and bright flowers,
bluebonnets, red  Indian paintbrushes,
brilliant yellow sunflowers,
tree-line to tree-line

so little rain

to change the face
of our small edge of the world

so little rain,
like liquid kindness falling,
so little required
 to change the face
of the faces of our little edge of the world

blood donut in a shark tank #3

heavy rain
mid-day yesterday,
thunder so loud dishes rattle
in  the cupboard,
lightning so close
I can hear the sizzle
of ozone cracking the air,
the brilliant white light of elemental discharge
casting pale shadows
across the dark day...

a beautiful,wonderful
clearing the night after
of clouds  and humid drip - the stars
in the dark sky
like diamonds scattered
by a clumsy jewel thief, and
the new day, the new morning,
the blue sky
blue as any blue sky
was ever blue
and light so bright
I can hardly see around
the speckles it scatters
across my eyes, more scattered diamonds,
closer this time than the sky...

or maybe it is just a sugar crash
that leaves me so brightly blind and

for what it might be worth,
I choose the day

This being my last anthology poem for the week, and, having found through my normal process of random shuffling no woman poet, I decide on a target search. This is who I found (and it wasn't easy).

Delmira Agustini, considered one of Uruguay's best poets and an early spokesperson in Latin American  letters for the autonomous energy of female consciousness. Born in 1886, the poet died in 1914, murdered in a hotel room in downtown Montevideo by her estranged husband who then killed himself.

I  don't think it takes a great deal of imagination to see in this poem the  pain of a woman blocked in many ways important to her by the sex of her birth.

The Ineffable

I am dying is not Life
that kills me, nor Love; it is not even Death;
I am dying  of a though mute as a wound's mouth...
Have you ever felt the extraordinary pain, as if

some huge thought had simply settled down in your life,
devouring flesh and spirit, but stunted, so it never blooms?
Have you never endured a star like a white dwarf
inside you that gives no light but entirely consumes?

Height of Martyrdom!... To carry forever,
tearing and barren, driven into your
body like a feral tooth, this tragic seed!...

But  you might root it out one day and find a flower
miraculous,inviolate... An, it  could be no greater
to hold between your two hands the head of God.

(Translated by Karl Kirchwey)


To finish off  my old  poems for the week, here two short  ones from June, 2012.

coming up  short

I  would like to write
some short

but all I can come up with are
of short

i want a nesting
of sparrows;
find only
a caw
of short-legged


tall and slim
long  neck
like a swan
on a placid  lake,
hair cut close
to well-shaped skull,
and dark from some
royal African lineage, moving
across the room with
the slow grace
of great beauty in its own
liquid realm

or female -
I can't tell -
with such beauty
who cares about details


My last library poem this week is also from a new secondhand bookstore acquisition, Walking Westward in the Morning, and an anthology of seven Indonesian poet.

The poet I selected to used this week is Toeti Heraty. Born in 1933 in West Java, the poet began to write as a college student and since 1966 has been a frequent contributor to Indonesia's leading cultural and literary journals. She is the only woman among the leading contemporary Indonesian poets.

Although this is a bilingual book, I can find no credit for whoever did the English translation.


have I ever told you of a white cottage
tucked away, unobtrusive
between scrub and pine?
on the mountainside - there's a deep ravine -
past the bend, fairly close to the road
a light fog covering it over

on the pale descending fog
spirits from Puncak soar
ready witness to those unfortunates
who come to disturb the silence
- doomsday is still a long way off -
and part without taking their leave

those unfortunates  are no other
than you and I, disturbing the silence
I stand -near the window-
my back to the cold room
which even the blanket and the mirror askew
have failed to warm

and he: I pay to heed to at all
I am sullen. he asks:
"what is outside that so interests you?"
the fog thickens. I utter not
                                    a single word
but am suddenly startled - a hand strokes my breast -
by his warm whisper - "Leila, is this the time?"

Author's note: Puncak (which means "peak") is a mountain resort in West Java well known as a place for rendezvous


Here's the last of my pen and ink poems and the last of new new poems for this week.

blood donut in a shark tank #4

neck craned,
as the stars blink their unsteady light
overhead, considering
the possibility of a future life among them
when my life here is complete
and all the bits and parts of the former me
fly apart on a journey to new  manifestations of me,
manifesting my previous parts
into the earth, beneath my feet in this life,
a newly transient me part of the dirt, part of the trees
and flowers and earthworms that populate
the earth than also partially me, and the rocks
with their sub-atomic bits of me, those rocks that break
the earth and grow form it,  and the sky and the clouds
and the rain that falls with me from their soft swells,
and the air below the clouds and above the clouds, microscopic
specks of me rising to the cold incomplete realms
of space, space past-the planets, past the great emptinesses,
me in parts so tiny as to be lost among the cosmic dust, scattered
among the lights most far and dim to the was-me, become with them
an infinitesimal twinkle among all the universe of  twinkling, becoming
as the journey continues a part of all again,  spreading the all of me today
to become again a part  of the all of the truly all,  such is the life
I will  lead in all my scattered parts until forever ends
and a new forever begins and I  will be there too, watching
from some place amid  and  apart  as the final/never final
disposition of  all to become all again, begins again

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)

(First the Newbie)
 New Days and New Ways

(Then the Rest) 

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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