Jackpot   Wednesday, July 02, 2014







My anthology this week is Feeding the Crow, a collection of Texas  poets published in Austin in 1998 by Plain View Press.

My photos again old pictures. The most recent are 10 to 15 years old, but most are from the late 80's. The last one is me, taken atop the Manzana Mountains in New Mexico, 1964.

My  problem lately, I just can't find time or inspiration to take any new  ones. I'm  thinking I  may go take some street views after I finish posting.

As  usual my poems, new and  old, and from my library.

Here's who:


Me
jackpot

Lyman Grant
Setting Them Down

Me
the stack their  enchiladas here

Pablo Neruda
Arise  to Birth with me my brothers...

Me
preparation the key to successful presentation

Robin Britton
Hal
Bargain (Practo)

Me
a conversation with Bob Marley

Anne Sexton
Her Kind

Me
just ask her yourself

Jill Wiggins
Lacrymosa
December Walk with Neruda

Me
in my humble  opinion

Mary Rose O'Reilley
The Zen Masters Instructions

Me
it's a riot

Carlyn Luke Reding
The Tarpon Inn

Me
on the cover  of Time Magazine

Yusef Kommunyakaa
April's Fool

Me
welcome to my summer

Peggy Zuleika Lynch
Aunt Nettie: a true pioneer
Aunt Oma's way of earning  her pay

Me
in the news today

Mary Jo Salter
Bee's Elegy

Me
lightning to the east

Jennifer Cardenas
re-evolving

Me
pestilence

D A Powell
[every man needs a buddy. who'll do]

Me
a forever day

Me
          "Love and Death"           









                                                    




My first new  poem of the week.











jackpot

          Now I lay me down to sleep
          I pray the Lord my soul to keep

          and if I die before I wake
          I pray the Lord my  soul to take

this little poem ran through my mind
last  night
as I lay in bed, slipping
off to sleep

a memory of my  bedtime prayer
when I was a small child

and as I remembered the prayer
I remembered also that in  the mind
of the child  I  was, it  did  not
seem so unlikely that my last thought
before sleep  might be
the last thought of my life

I pondered it then as sleep
beckoned, pondered it  as a child ponders
all the mysteries that surround it.
thought about it would mean to have
it all end sometime
during  the night, the world without me
disappearing  as I did also

(even as a child I knew
it was my presence, my conscious,
that made the world real
and that without my dreams
the world  itself would  be just another
fading dream)

a conviction of the imminence of death
as each night's sleep  began...

I've been a fatalist all my lie,
and maybe that explains
it

so that even now, though I drift into sleep
every  night with plans  for the  next
day,  that conviction that
there well could be no next day,
the acceptance of death's constant presence
and inevitability, lies also  in that repository of
childhood dreams...

it is the upside of a fatalistic outlook
that makes each new day
a surprise  party,
like winning a casino  jackpot,
beating the odds,winning another
chance at life








                                                   



The first of the anthology's poets is Lyman Grant, a teacher at Austin Community College.











Setting Them  Down

Wanting
to write
some poems
for  you

I pace
about
the house

arms full
of sacks
brimming
with beautiful
surprises

unable
to find
clear space
to set
them down







                                                      



This poem  is from July,  2010. It is a section of one of the road poems I included  in my book of five long travel poems, Places and Spaces. The trip this is part of was a drive-around southwestern New Mexico, to  Ruidoso and around several  long loops  back to Texas.









they stack their enchiladas here

three horses
crossing
a green pasture,
grass high,
up to their knees

 crossing
in  single file
one after the other

lie carousal horses
with somewhere to  go

~~~

chasing down
a dirt road, pulling a cloud
of  gray dust
behind

looking for a
ride iron bridge
i saw from the highway

never found  it

instead of the bridge,
a rabbit
on the side of the road

not one of your  cute  little bunnies
or Peter Cottontails
but a big male hare, three feet
tall, two feet, not  counting
his  ears standing
proud and pink
and scissor
sharp

starts to run
as i drive up
but stops as i stop,
watches
as i ease the car forward,
reaching for my camera

poses
as i snap off a couple of pictures

thanks, i  say

and he leaves,
as  do i

~~~

dissatisfied so far
with my drive, not having found
the mountain and forest
experience i came
for 

i decide to take a loop that will
lead me right through the middle
of the Gila Mountains
and National Forest - Hwy 159
off 180

a twisty-turnsy, upsy-downsy
road, but well-maintained
two lane blacktop

but after three miles
it turns to one lane and becomes
even more twisty-turnsy
upsy-downsy

8 miles in,
i come to the lost little village
of Mogollon - originally
a mining town, now, i think it must be
Federal Witness Protection's
prime hide-out for persons  wanted
by the Mob and other forces of evil

10 to 12 structures
including an old rock museum
and several well-maintained houses
lining the road - nice rustic houses,
beautiful gardens

a very strange place,
a nice place
if you want to get away
form it all

~~~

a one-lane bridge
separates
Mogollon from the National Forest

the paved road ends
and a  Forest Service dirt and rock road  begins

very rough

unsure as to how far
the dirt road goes before returning to asphalt
- none of this is on  my map -
i have to decide whether i should
go forward
or  turn back - see what comes next, which
could be worth the whole trip
or avoid what  comes next, which might not be so good...

disinclined by nature
to ever back up, i press
forward

~~~

the road, i notice
travels along  the bottom
of a deep canyon,
alongside a dry creek

it is at about the same time
that it begins to rain
and i  become aware of a large, very black cloud
hovering overhead

being from an area
where everyone knows from experience
the dangers when hillsides and  dry creeks
and heavy rains come together, i am relieved
when the road starts to rise,
leaving the canyon and dry creek
behind

~~~

the higher i climb
the heavier the rain falls
and the slushier
and slipperier the road becomes

~~~

finally after an hour of twisting and turning
and climbing and sloshing and slipping,
the rain stops
and the sun comes out
and i can see more clearly the  puddles
and the great gush of muddy water
rushing down the hill side, building new channels
as it  races from the top to that dry creek
i am  pleased to not be driving alongside

~~~

thoughts of mudslides
intrude for a moment, until i decide
that i'm high  enough to slide down the mountain
on  top of the mud
and not under it,, which doesn't seem so bad

i choose to think of it  as skiing
in mud season

~~~

setting aside mudslides and other hesitations
- it is now considerably further back that forward -
i come  to  a break in the trees
and stop and look out and see that i am on a high ridge
above the clouds, churning
white and billowy
below

unwilling to stop earlier
in the heavy rain,
i had unfinished and too long  delayed
business which i took care of

peeing on the clouds,
the moist essences of me
joining the moist  essences of the clouds,
becoming a part of someone's
next rain storm

the grass will grow greener,
i know,
and the flowers more colorful
because i have made their  cause
my own

and i am
pleased

~~~

going down  now,
still on the dirt-rocky-rough road,
but believing an end was in sight
and a herd of deer
cross  the road in front of me

a very large buck
and 25 to 30 doe and fawns,
fluffy white and brown stub-tails flicking
in the wind,
all together as a group,
coming down the mountain
in great bounds, over the road,  then  back  up
on the other side

winged creatures
who,through fate or  folly,
lost their wings
but still they try to fly, almost succeeding
with each great leap

~~~

passing through  a burned-out  portion of forest,
pine and  aspen  tall and limb-less, black  as the coal
they have become while still they reach of the sky,
i stop and stop and  listen  to the  wind,
all around deep-forest quiet but for the wind
passing through these poor standing-dead

ghost whispers

~~~

the dirt road ends,
finally,
now  i have  loose gravel,
great, i think,
as i speed up  to  35,
i may get off this mountain
before dark, after  all

but the road washboards
at every curve and climb, and there are many
many curves and climbs

back to 10  miles per hour

~~~

then, at  last,
pavement, and though i have no idea
where i am, i  know i'll be able to tell  soon

and  there it is,
Reserve, New Mexico -
and dinner that was supposed to be lunch
three hours  ago...

enchiladas

they stack them here
instead of  rolling

talk  about the weather

about the merits
of stacking or  rolling

i eat  my stacked enchiladas
and move on








                                                             
The first poet from my library this week is Pablo Neruda. My selection is from his beautiful book, The Heights of Macchu Picchu, published  by The Noonday Press in 1966. It is a bilingual book,  translated from the Spanish by Nathaniel Tarn.

This is the shortest poem I could find in the book.






Arise to Birth with me, my brother...

Give me your hand out of the depths
sown by your sorrows.
You will not return from these stone fastnesses.
You will not emerge from subterranean time.
Your rasping voice will not come back,
nor your pierced eyes rise from their sockets.

Look at me from the depths of the earth,
tiller of fields, weaver, reticent shepherd,
groom of totemic  guanacos,
mason high on your treacherous scaffolding,
iceman of Andean tears,
jeweler with crushed fingers,
farmer anxious among his seedlings,
potter wasted among  his clays -
bring to the  cup of this new life
your ancient buried sorrows.
Show me your blood and your furrow;
say to me; here I was  scourged
because a gem was dull or because the earth
failed to give up in time its  tithe  of corn or stone.
Point out to  me the rock on which you stumbled,
the wood they used to crucify your body.
Strike the old  flints
to kindle ancient lamps,light up the whips
glued to your wounds  throughout the centuries
and light the axes gleaming with your blood.

I come to speak for your dead mouths.

Throughout the earth
let dead  lips congregate,
out of the depths  spin this long  night to me
as if I rode at anchor here with you.

And tell me everything, tell chain by chain,
and link by link, and step by step;
sharpen the knives you kept  hidden away,
thrust them into my breast, into my hands,
like a torrent of sunbursts,
and  Amazon of buried jaguars,
and leave me cry: hours, days and years,
blind ages,  stellar centuries.

And give me silence, give me water,  hope.

Give me struggle, the iron, the volcanoes.

Let bodies cling like magnets to my body.

Come quickly to my veins and to my mouth.

Speak through my speech, and through my blood.








                                                    




This poem also from last week, preparing for my  first formal reading in a very long time, coming up  on the 10th.










preparation the key to successful  presentation

preparing
for my book release/poetry reading
session at the coffeehouse
next week

 carefully selected the poems
I want to read

this one not that one, and not that one,
but this one for  sure
and probably this one, too,
and so on

figure the most  I can read
without people
either
falling  asleep or leaving
is about 30  minutes

so
the issue now,  what do I do
with the other hour and a half's worth of poems
I selected...

but
there is  a positive side to  the problem

if
as I suspect
no one shows up, I'll have  plenty
of time to read all  I want
without anyone already not there
leaving

~~~

what a treat for all those empty chairs -
two  hours of  poetry
read
by the poet his own
self
to his own
great appreciation.








Robin Britton is the next poet from the anthology. She works for a child  care center for teenage
parents who attend an alternative, charter school. She has published her poetry in a series of small, hand-made books entitled Wake Up Calls. I could find  no picture of the poet on the web.



Hal

The last time
I saw you,
you were under the
First Street bridge,
smoking the end of somebody else's cigarette;
drinking the dregs of somebody else's wine cooler.
You winked at me.
Grinned like  a toothless infant.
Your blue eyes flashing against your flawless tan.
True sign of absolutely idle.

I all but shout: "You don't have to live like this."
You all but whisper: "Right, Baby, I'll work for
bed and board and you."

I turn in reserved disgust.
The sweet smell of hops,tobacco, and sweat
stinging my heart.

I consider the offer.


Bargain (Practo)

The dusty child
crosses the Mexican border,
wearing patent leather shoes
far too small for her tiny feet.

She holds her Mother's warm brown hand
           in her  own.
In her other hand, she has a Coke.
Twelve bubbly ounces all to herself.

What difference could the pinch of shoes make?

Crowded toes are no match for  a heart
with room to  grow.








                                                    

                                                                 





I  wrote this in  July, 2010, a series of short poems inspired by lyrics by Bob Marley.










a conversation with Bob Marley

"If you know your history
Then you would know where you are coming from"
from "Buffalo Soldiers"

men so old
each year
is like another
crack
in the leather
of a well-worn shoe -

nothing more...

they do not acknowledge
time
and time does not
reckon
them

as they live on
and on

survivors...

blood relics...

like
all
they will die

but it will not be  in
my time


"Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don't give up the fight!"
from "Get Up: Stand  Up"

a bowl
of tomato  soup,
saltine  crackers,
and a glass of water

the rights of man,
they say
do not extend
to  a bowl
of tomato soup,
saltine crackers,
and a glass of water...

not
here
anyway,
not at this counter

not now,
not today...

no,
until today!


"They say what we know
is just what they teach us"
from "Ambush in the Night"


i
know
i know
what my daddy
knew,
what his
and what his daddy's
daddy knew

unto
the 12th generation

and
that's all i need
to know


"Sun is shining,  the weather is sweet
make you want to  mover your dancing feet"
from "The Sun is Shining"

a baby
walking

walking now
on grass

a baby
running

grass
tickling his feet

a  baby
dancing


"Can't tell the woman from the man, no  I  say you can't
cause they're dressed in the same pollution
their mind is confused with confusion
with their problems since there is no solution"
from "Midnight Ravers"

juvenile hall
1
a.m.

reality
of hot nights
and cold  lights

strikes
then fades
away

forgotten

until
next time


"We gonna chase those  crazy
baldheads out of town"
from "Baldheads"


old men

old women

death grip
on life

true
too long ago
long
gone


"Misty morning, don't see no  sun
I know you're out there somewhere, having fun"
from "Misty Morning"

day's light
lost

sucked
into indefinite
swirling

we see
what we want
to see

we see
what  we fear
to see

we see
ghosts of  our
worst nights

indefinitely
swirling


"Long time we no have no nice time,
doo-yoo-dee-dun-doo-yea.
think about that"
 from "Nice Time"

life
is joy
leaping on
those
prepared  to carry
the load

prepare
yourself for joy
leaping

have a
nice time
while you can...

it's
no deposit -
no return...

if you don't use it
someone else will








                                                                        




The next poet from my library is Anne Sexton. The poem is from her book To Bedlam and Part Way Back, published in 1960 by Houghton Mifflin.












Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, brave at night;
dreaming evil. I have done my hitch
over the plain  houses, light by light:
lonely thing,  twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like  that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have  found  the warm caves in the woods,
filled them  with skillets,carving,shelves,
closets,silks,, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and  the elves:
whining, rearranging, the dis-aligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your  cart, driver,
waved m nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes,survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where you wheels wind.
A woman like that is not  ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.









                                                                    



 My dog, Bella, goes with me wherever I  go. Sometimes that's  a bother, but she hates being at home without me, so I bring her along, making all necessary adjustments to make sure she's comfortable  while waiting for me in the car.










just ask her yourself

one of the regulars comes in
tells me it's about to
rain
so  I run out  real quick
to check, my windows half down
so Bella can  get some air,sitting in the driver's seat
as usual, what's up?  she says
with raised eyebrows

false alarm, dry as a bone,
which I don't actually say since
any reference to bone
needlessly
activates her salivary glands
which is a mess, so I euphemize,
tell her, never mind
go back to
sleep
and she goes back to
sleep
which she does almost as well
as she salivates when "bone"
or its phonetic  equivalent is heard

so
I thought I'd  come back inside
and write this pitiful
excuse of a morning poem
while watching
for the phantasmical rain
that isn't here
yet
even though the regular guy
says it was

actually
I think he was just give me
and indirect hard time
for leaving my dog
in the car

I have  to deal with that  kind of buttinskie type
all  the time,
even though I've discussed the question
with the dog and she stated an emphatic preference
to  sitting in the car waiting for me
than sitting at home
alone...

if you don't believe me,  I tell  the buttinskies,
ask her yourself








                                                                               




Jill Wiggins was born in England and moved to the United States with her family when she was 8 years old. Since she lived in many parts of the country before settling in Austin in 1982. Since moving to Austin, she has worked as an art director for a local weekly newspaper, an information specialist for several state agencies. She occasionally acts with her actor,  producer, director husband.










Lacrymosa

Leaving work sick of someone else's priorities,
I go home in the rain
play Mozart's "Requiem"
on the upstairs porch
see only wide-screen tree,
bursting April green,
and wet silver-beaded curtain.

The birds:
cardinal, jay woodpecker, mockingbird, sparrow
harmonizing with the "Lacrymosa,"
filling Mozart's poignant pauses.

My priorities become tree, rain birds, song.


December Walk with Neruda

Leaf-broken light,
dappled words of agate, quartz and wheat -
double sun d4aws radiance
into dark water -
I could drown
in words.








                                                                     
                                                                  





Here, from July, 2010, another from my great storehouse of poem-of-the-day poets poems on what the hell is there to write about  today.









in my humble opinion

i  could write
a poem
about politics

but whenever i do that
everybody
gets mad at me

or i could write
a poem
about religion

but that would leave
all my relatives
staying up nights praying

for my
endangered
soul

or i could write
about my amazing sports
career,  except

i never had one,
amazing
or otherwise

i could write
about all the beautiful women
who have lined up

to take me
in their arms
with seriously perverse

intentions,
but lying like that
would  send me to hell

almost as fast
as my poems about
religion

i  could write
a poem about what  i did
last  summer

though  it is almost  exactly
the same
as what  i did  this summer

and i write about all that
kind of boring stuff
all the time anyway

i could  write
a poem about the weather
but everyone writes

poems
about the weather
and not a one of them

does
a damn thing about it
so what's the point of being

just another
mealy-mouthed ineffectual poet
who  never does a damn  thing about

the weather
or anything else
for that matter...i'm  thinking

maybe
i could write a poem
about all the reasons not

to write a poem
today
but then i do that a lot, too

so maybe i should just
not  write a poem
today

and tell everyone,  instead,
that  i had to go to the hospital
for finger transplants

after using up
my initial set of digits
pounding our an epic poem

on my keyboard
which flared up from the intensity
of my effort and burned

like a nova
in a far galaxy
destroying in the conflagration

both my laptop
and the epic poem in  it
which is now, unfortunately

lost forever,
but what  do you  expect
from a nova in a far galaxy -

it's a pretty big deal
after all,
with universal impact

of which
loss of my epic poem
is not the worst or grandest

though it is
pretty close to the top
in my humble opinion









                                                                        

From my library, winner of the 2005 Walt  Whitman  Award of the Academy of American Poets,  Half Wild, a book of poems by Mary Rose O'Reilley. The book was published by Louisiana State University Press.








The Zen Master's Instructions

The meadow has become
a lake of time:
another mirror.

In the dry stream bed
a white tail
flags its fear
some young one
unwilling to rest
with whatever  rises
before the heart's eyes
as these other
watchers
have learned to do.

Stand like the deer
knowing the hunter
is in the woods
knowing her tremor
will bring the shot.

In your stillness
surrender
the hunter
over and over.








                                                                         




So here's a poem written last week under the influence of a miserable head cold that lingered  on for days.










it's a riot

discombobulated
by a persistent head  cold,
my head distant
from  the ground my feet
seek  to stand on, pushing my  poetic
jams and jellies this morning,
not from the familiar sanctity
of my "Resident Poet" table at the coffeehouse,
but in the confines of home
where pernicious naps promise delight
 from every corner
of every room,
I decide a light and airy poem
will not do today,
that today
is a day for a more  meaningful
poetic journey than that
which usually satisfies
me...

so
I seek a heavier topic
upon which I can pontificate
poetically...

but I think and  think
and only come to the conclusion
that I don't know
diddly-poop
about heavier more significant
subjects

I mean there are all those areas
of the world crying out
for meaningful exposition,  a way forward
as  expounded by the world's
great poets

but it turns out I am not
one of those poets
and don't have any better idea
than anyone else
when it  comes to what to do about
Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Russia,
the Ukraine or Cincinnati...

neither do I know what to do about
the national debt, political  repression
by tea party  brown shirts,  global warming,
the glacial melting, or who  should be featured
on the cover  of  the next  People magazine...

it seems that I am truly lost
in the big leagues
and should perhaps contain  myself
withing the small fry
questions

restrict myself, like Facebook,
to  pictures of cats,stories
about friendly dogs, funny stories
about my wife/husband/spouse/life partner,
cartoons about flatulence and pretty
girls with big
boobs...

that kind of stuff, non-controversial
and within  the  parameters
of my struggling
wit...

so let me tell you what my dog
did today to my flatulent cat in
the presence of my wife/husband/spouse/life partner
and a blond woman
with big boobs -

it's a riot...








The next anthology poem is by Carlyn Luke Reding. The poet is a sixth generation native of Texas (which come  to think of it, I guess I am too). She graduated from the University of Texas with a BA in history and from the University of Houston with an MA in humanities.

The Tarpon Inn in the poem was in Port Mansfield, a small fishing and shrimping village on the coast about halfway between Port Isabel and Corpus Christi. Haven't been there in maybe 50 years but sorry to hear about the the inn's demise. It was the most interesting thing there when last I was there. As to who stayed there, a lot of  deep-sea fishing charters left from there.







The Tarpon  Inn

An English facade graced a Texas seaport
anchored by shrimp boats to the north,
and Park Avenue to the south.
Pink and white oleanders edged the parking lot  and
the path down the levee to the Old River.
Grandma said, "Never eat oleander leaves.
They're  poisonous,"
I didn't.

I never went  into the hotel
And I never saw anyone enter.
So who stayed there?

One little girl lived in the side apartment,
but I never went in.
I don't know if she lived with anyone.
I never saw anybody with her.
Maybe she  had a car. Do cats live  in hotels?"
I never saw her cat.

One day the hotel fell down.
No, a hurricane didn't blow it down!
Some rich men wanted a  strip mall.
What's a strip  mall?

Now the Tarpon Inn and the  girl are gone,
and the mall is bordered up.
Is a hurricane coming? In January?
Maybe I never saw the hotel.
Maybe the little girl didn't live there with her cat.









                                                         




Here's a current events poem, current at least at the time I wrote it, July, 2010. An angry poem then and angry still these years, disappointed that we haven't killed nearly as many of these creatures as I had hoped we would have by  now.








on the cover of Time Magazine

she's a pretty girl,
fifteen,  no more than sixteen,
with deep brown eyes

and no nose,
cut off by the guardians
of morality -

the cost
to some of becoming
an educated woman in this place

i want us to kill the people
who did this, and more,  and
i don't care how we do it








                                                                         



The next  poet from my library is Yusef Komunyakaa. The  poem is from his book, Talking Dirty to the Gods, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2000.










April's Fool

An armload of snapdragons
Clumped  beside a  ditch,
A season of promissory notes
Raising the dead for him.

He was picturing Jackie
Robinson on third, as he scored
Her name into the oak desk
With a Boy Scout knife.

No, he hadn't given April a half
Thought,  not till seeing her
Yellow bicycle peened to the chrome
Grill-work of a Buick special,

& couldn't eat for a seek.  Now,
Decades later, she's the reason
He never learned to drive, fell
For Beaujolais and a black clarinet.








                                                            




So many poets write beautiful poem welcoming the arrival of summer. Obviously, not my summer.











welcome to my summer

a hot  humid
liquid morning on Broadway,
air rippling  like soup
on a trembling flame,
all life slow,
traffic like walking
in waist-deep water,
outside
people shuffling past,
bent backs to the sun,
fish overcome
by a sea too thick to breathe

from
my air conditioned
coffeehouse, I  watch though the  windows
as the universe wind  down,
laws  of inertia reversed
as absolute stasis approaches

it is  a world dying
of  the seasonal disease of summer
and no one wants any part of  it,
not the  people, not the fish, not
the birds or the squirrels
in the trees ,
not  the mangy dogs
and hungry cats skulking heavy alleyways,
not the earthworms burrowing
deeper and deeper
in search
of clean cool dirt
far below the blacktar  asphalt

and absolutely
not me








                                                                       



Next from the anthology is Peggy Zuleika Lynch,  winner of three Pushcart Prizes and published and honored internationally. The brief sketches below remind me very much of my great-aunts from the central Texas German community my father came from.










Aunt Nettie:  a true pioneer

tall, thin
graced by wind
a bonnet tied under her  chin
arms flying
back and forth
up and down
happily hoeing
her  garden
apron and skirt
unfurled, billowing
a gaunt figure
windswept image
returns to my memory



Aunt Oma's way for earning her pay

pedal pushing
needle flying
up and down
in and out
bent over
concentrating
making miracles of design
for the wealthy ladies
with fabric, lace and tape
moment after moment
day after day
year after year










                                                      





This is another short poem from July, 2010, another pissed-off poem.











in the news today

only
one thing worse
than a pedophile priest

says
the Vatican today -

women priests

you go
girl

you're
number one








                                                                                   


The next poem is by Mary Jo Salter, from  her book Henry Purcell in Japan. The book was published by Alfred A. Knopf in  1985.









Bee's Elegy

Smashing a bee
with a book
I  shudder; then
shudder again -
to think murder
occurred in this small
ball of fur.

I'd tried to save
the damn thing;
flung  open windows
to let it go -
as open as my heart,
I wanted it
to know.

But a bug this  size
has no eyes for
metaphor;  nor
could it seize
on the current
of thought in the room's
new breeze.

Bumbling about,
it would have traced
one spot of wall
all afternoon.
Like the lemon
whose fragrance once
so  stung my nose

it wrung
from me  all sense
but smell,
the yellow  buzz
of  life beneath
my swoop crushed me
enough to tell.









                                                       


This from last week, a storm coming in from the southwest. For  all the dark  and dangerous promise,it turned out to be a great  storm, nearly three inches,bringing the total for the month to  over 5 inches. And it turns out to be a wetter than expected year so far, not drought-ending, but chipping away at it.



l





lightning to the east

the morning
dark but  dry, still
and promising
as a fresh  grave

lightning
to the east, thunder
follows

something  dread
coming

hangs
in the dead air
like a corpse  awaiting
resurrection








                                                                    



My last poet from this week's anthology is Jennifer Cardenas. At the time the anthology was published, Cardenas was attending the University of Texas and was a member of an all-woman performance poet ensemble.









Re-Evolving

I walk backwards desperately,
watch flowers devour themselves into seeds,
see buildings tumble brick by brick,
view the sun being spit back  to the east,
eye a bird  slithering into an uncracked egg.

I walk barefoot awkwardly,
avoid all man-made paths,
fall deeper and deeper into fresh mud,
invite bugs into my flesh wounds,
feel the splinters pican with love.
Hardening my skin,
I continue into a forbidden  womb.

I walk naked,
reveal naturally-sinning skin,
permit the rain to clean my face,
allow the wind to softly comb body hairs,
invite lightning and thunder into the body,
let lava flow freely from my vagina -
loosening muscles, breaking veins,
gushing geysers from my breast, releasing stress -
skin crumbles, expands,contracts,
organs burst open spilling innards.

I am shifting, shedding my tired body.
It is time to rebuild using only vital materials.
My body is fluctuating,
fuses  to the mind, reinforces the production of
new strategies to combat ignorance.








                                                    





Jeez, another pissed-off poem. July, 2010 must have been a tough one for me.










pestilence

i saw this yellow
jeep-like rough  tough
asshole looking vehicle this  morning

had a bumper sticker on the back
said
"Constitution  Party"

which,
if there were a truth in bumper sticker law
and the bumper was longer, would have said
"I Like the Parts  of the Constitution I Like
and You Damn Well Better Like  Them Too  Party"
which means,

everybody gets a gun
and niggers don't move into my neighborhood
cause I've got mine and I'll use it...

i know these  people -
grew up with them - pestilence
loose in the  country








                                                                       




Last this week from my library is this  poem by D.A. Powell. The poem is from his book, Cocktails, published by Graywolf Press in 2004.











[every man needs a buddy. who'll do]
                            Making Love (1982, Arthur Hiller, dire.)

every man needs a buddy. who'll do
when the wife has gone  to the in-laws

the evening had already lowered.    he crossed
his legs in the manly way: outside

kids  who could have been his yelled
"you're out."   and "no sir!"

eddie's two-bit country-singer looks:  not my usual
dish of ice cream.   and since he's mom's best friend's
live-in daughter's hubby.   the danger quickens

in the shed behind the natatorium: everyone knows
the device.   a meeting with the gardener's son

his voice rises and trembles: a steel guitar
the song of inalimental marriage.   he slobbers

on that part of me that is not  woman.   his throat
and undergarment:   silky and inviting

"man o man o god o man"   no confusion
about gender.   or the home he boomerangs to:
the good she who holds his place at supper

a man returns to his wife.   I understand geometry
this is no equilateral triangle   compliments are exchanged

feather river honky tonk:  in the back row I wait
so any life elapses  under just such conditions:

no holidays.   no home.   related to odd nights
the front seat of his car in lieu of the  conjugal bed

he will never take his boots off

****

"the act,," he says.   meaning his career









                                                                  





 I'm glad July, 2010 is come and gone. From the poems I wrote then, seems like it must have  been a really bummer month.









a forever  day

the sunrise
was not red and orange
and glorious on the horizon

it is not
that kind of  day

the sky
is not blue and deep
and reminiscent of  days
of childhood's
summer

it is not
that kind of  day

the clouds
hang heavy and gray
like rotten fruit
on a dying tree

because
it is that kind of day

a day of hot blood
and cold cold regret

a day
when lost friendships
are  remembered
and new love
forsaken

it is not a red and orange
and glorious
and blue sky day

because those days
are used up

and the rest of life
sinks into
dark and heavy
clouds

it is a forever day
for the forever
lost

you
and me
but mostly me
without
you

living a long
forever
day









                                                          




Here's my last new poem for the week.











"Love and Death"

a pseudo-Swedish
Bergman-lite
movie
by Woody Allen
and the twin buttons
of poetic excess
through the ages

themes
chiseled into the walls
of Neanderthal cave-homes
by the knuckle-dragging poets
of that  time
and equally chiseled into the hard-drive
of every poet since, from
before Homer
to the latest from the  Iowa Writer's Workshop

some celebrate the first
and bemoan
the last,
while others,  in their contrary way,
declare the opposite,
each kind  finding their measure
of joy and misery in one
or the other...

one thing proved true
by their verses
through all the millennia and all
the schools of creative expression

love and death,
and knowledge of both,
are the essence of  what makes us
human








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