It's August in South Texas   Tuesday, August 12, 2014





Posting a few hours early this week, heading out for a day trip to the coast early tomorrow morning, take some pictures, maybe take a walk on the beach, eat a fish.

My pictures this  month,  old again (still to hot to go out for new  ones) are from August, 2011. It was a very  different time  from now. Rain in the spring and early summer left everything green and blooming. Not so this year, as described in a couple of my poems.

My anthology for the week is The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, subtitled "From Ancient to Contemporary, The Full 3000-Year Tradition." It is large paperback, with over 400  pages of poetry edited  and, with a couple of exceptions,  translated  by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping. The book was published in 2005.

I have my own  poems, new ones, and old ones from the months of August over several years.

I also have poems from my library, as well as a series of very short poems by one of my housemates from the Blueline, House of 30,  Alice Folkart.


Me
it's August in South Texas

Liu Xijun
Lament

Me
yellow
red
green
blue
black

John Popielaski
Rescue

Me
message in a bottle from the coming salty sea

Wang Wei
from The Wang River Sequence

Li Bai (Li Po)
Questioning in the Mountains
Missing the East Mountains
Having a Good Time by Myself
Drinking Wine with the Hermit in the Mountains

Du Fu
Ballad of the War Wagons

Me
$13 an hour and free air conditioning

Alice Folkart
Mini-poems,  untitled series

Me
a regular guy

Gao Qi
Passing by a Mountain Cottage
Lying  Idle While It Rains

Tang  Yi
Boating on Tai Lake   

Xie Zhkaozhe 
Spring Complaints

Me
watermelon man

Reginald  Gibbons
In cold spring air
The young woman did office work

Me
strange time, strange place   

Mei Yaochen
On the Death of a Newborn Child
Sorrow

Me
pussy whipped

Ivy Alvarez
to a daughter born in 1948
typhoon
fish hooks

Me
a sports story

Mao Zedong
Warlords

Me
communion
finally
like soft hands

Me
I try to wear a smile         









                                                      



Here's  my here-we-go poem  for the week.












it's August in South Texas

it's August
in South Texas
and ain't  nobody doin' nothin' they don't hafta...

like me,
for example,
I can think of a bunch  of things
I  could  do today
but I ain't  doin' none of'em...

too  many memories
of when it was August in South Texas
and I was outside working
cause I didn't have no  choice  -

was a beans and cornbread thing,
if I wasn't working in South Texas
in August I  wouldn't have no money and if I didn't have no money
I couldn't buy me no bans and cornbread
and I'd hav'ta eat dirt
or  something...

but  I  don't have to eat dirt these days
cause I gots plenty of money
for my beans and cornbread, so it's  August in South Texas
and I ain't doin'
nothin'

and ain't nobody
can make
me











Beginning in this week's Chinese anthology with the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), I have a short poem by  Liu Xijun from the late second century BCE. The poem is about the forced political marriage of a Chinese princess from the Han royal family to the chief of the Wusun tribe, a nomadic band in northwest China. The princess only saw her husband, aged and decrepit, once every six months. When he died, she was forced to marry his grandson.

It was not a good life for a princess, but even in those days, politics is politics.





Lament

My family married me off to
the king of the Wusun,
and I  live in an alien land
a million miles from nowhere.
My house is a tent.
My walls are of felt.
Raw flesh is all I eat,
with horse milk to drink.
I always think of home
and my heart stings.
O to be a yellow snow goose
floating home again.








                                                                           

First from my old poems from Augusts past - this little series of color poems from August, 2007.









yellow

lemons overflow
a  pewter
bowl,
roll across the floor
crying
caution...caution


red

blood
on white paper
bright red,
like an apple
on a bed of
snow


green

salt water
and concrete
collide
froth  bubbles green -
dragon scales
in the  gulf


blue

blue eyes
under clear
skies
ice
on crystal


black

black
was the life
that drove
the knife
that pierced
the heart
of my
darling
mad
a
line









My first library poem is from a book I bought at the  half-price bookstore a couple of weeks ago. The poet is John Popielaski and the book is Isn't It Romantic?, winner of the 2011 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook  Prize. It was published by  Texas Review Press. I bought four used books the day I bought this one. It is the keeper among the four, I think.

Born in 1968,  Popielaski is a high school English teacher  and has published three collections of poetry.






Rescue

Today a one-eyed dog was scratching
at the back door in a thunderstorm.
the statue of Saint Francis in the garden
then seemed more than ornamental.
Glad to think of something other
than relentless debt. I let in
and asked him questions while he cocked  his head
as though I might be understood
in only he could find the proper angle.
My wife, the keeper of towels, dried
his little body,  checked his teeth,
determined he was old and felt
say blessed,say chosen as an agent
of a rescue that may easily have been
assigned to someone less say willing
to accept this type of mission to the end.
Snubbed by He who dictates, You may have
a child, and you may not, she's open
to what beings come  her way - a litter
of abandoned moles, a fledgling
sparrow,  wind-blown, a turtle crossing
a perilous road - and suffers when they  pass.








                                                            



Next a sermon on the weather occasioned by the advent of August in South Texas.










message in a bottle from the coming salty sea

good  rain in June
bringing thick grass, colors every place
where a blossom  might  bloom

and hope, blooming like the flowers after several years
in varying stages of  water  rationing, the aquifer
levels  sinking lower  and lower,  rising again
after the rains

but only for the days immediately
after the storms

since -
triple digit temperatures almost  daily
searing sun unrestrained by any moderating clouds.
humidity at Arizona levels, all the green grass
and bright colored flowers wilting, and hope wilting
as the aquifer falls again, nearing again,level-4  rationing

daily,
morning to night,
we watch as the desert spreads

~~~

not the first bad drought
in my lifetime, the longest in the 50s,
when pasture land along the coast  became rolling sand dunes,
but none in history that came quicker or went deeper
than the one we  have now, this possible look at the future
as the salty sea rises and our rocky hills become
once again uplifts in a seabed they were a million year ago ago

new sea life returning to family,   to  the  fossils, long dead
sea creatures that lie barely covered
under the surface of our
limestone and caliche hills, those hot hills, dry hills,
desert to come, then a new inundation

and we watch it happen, turn up our air conditioners,
unwilling to admit we are captives
of  the earth and its cycles we in our  pride
thought was ours to
control








Next from the Chinese anthology, I have three poets from the Tang dynasty (618-90). The Tang dynasty period is considered the highest point of Chinese poetry and the arts in general. These three poets are considered among the greatest of that period or any  time since.



                                                                                     




Wang Wei (701-761) is the first of these two great poets. His Wang River Sequence is said to be among his best work.
















From The Wang River Sequence

1. Deer Park

Nobody in sight on the empty mountain
but human voices are heard far off.
Low sun slips deep in the forest
and lights the green hanging moss.

2. House Hidden in the Bamboo Grove

Sitting alone in the dark bamboo,
I play my lute and whistle song.
Deep in the wood no one knows
the bright boon shines on me.

3. Luan Family Rapids


In the windy hiss of autumn rain
shallow water bubbles over stones.
Waves dance and fall on each other:
a white egret startles up, then drops.

4. White Pebble Shoal

White Pebble Shoal is clear and shallow.
You can almost grab the green cattail.
Houses east and west of the stream.
Someone washes silk in bight  moonlight.

5. Lakeside Pavilion


A light boat greets the honored guests,
far, far, coming in over the lake.
On a balcony we face bowls of wine
and lotus flowers  bloom everywhere

6. Magnolia Basin

On branch tips the hibiscus bloom.
The mountains show off red calices.
Nobody. A  silent cottage in the valley.
One by one the flowers open, then fall 



                                                                



The second of the three greats is Li Bai, better known in the west as Li Po. Born in 701.  Remembered for his love of life and wine, the legend says he died in 762, falling out of a boat after a night of drinking and drowning while trying to embrace the moon reflected in the water.

I have several of his short poems.









Questioning in the Mountains

You ask me why I live in the jade mountains.
I smile, unanswering. My heat is calm.
Peach petals float on the water, never come back.
There is a heaven and earth beyond the crowded town below.

Missing the East Mountains

It's long since  I've gone to the East Mountains.
How many seasons have the tiny roses bloomed?
White  clouds - unblown - fall apart.
In whose court has the bright moon dropped?

Having a Good Time by Myself

Facing wine, not aware it's getting dark,
I've been sitting so  long my gown brims  over with petals.
Drunk,  I rise to follow the moon in the brook
long after  birds and people have gone home.

Drinking Wine with the Hermit in the Mountains

We raise our cups where mountain flowers bloom.
One cup, another cup, and another cup.
I'm drunk and want to sleep. Leave me now.
Tomorrow,if you feel good, come with your lute.



                                                            

The third of the three Tang dynasty greats was Du Fu. In describing the three poets, the anthology calls the Daoist Li Bi, the popular, the Buddhist Wang Wei, sublimely simple and more intimate with nature, and Du Fu, the undisputed genius of Chinese poetry, a master and innovator of all the verse forms of his time, considered himself a failure. He did not achieve the fame of the other two and only about a third of his poems have survived through the centuries since he wrote, his poems appearing in no anthology until 130 years after his death.

I like this poem, and uncensored report from the front. Not an entirely safe thing to write in his day.







Ballad of the War  Wagons

Carts grumble and rattle
and horses whiny and neigh
as the conscripts pass, bows and  quivers strapped to their waists.
Parents, wives, and children run to  see them off
till dust clouds drown the bridge south of Changan.
Tugging at the soldiers clothes, they wail and  throw themselves in the
    way,
their cries  rising into the clouds.

On the roadside a passerby asks what's happening.
The soldiers only say, "We're called up so often,
some went north at fifteen to guard the Yellow River
and still  at forty are farming frontier settlements out West.
We left so young the village  chief wrapped our turbans for us;
we came back white haired but now we're off to fortify the frontier!
The men-there have shed a salt ocean of blood,
but the warlike emperor still lusts for empire.

My lord, haven't you heard how in two hundred districts east of
    China's mountains
countless villages grow  just weeds and thorns?
Even if a stout wife tries to plow and hoe,
east to west the crops grow wild over broken  terraces.
The Qin soldiers are fierce warriors,
but they are driven forth to battle like chickens or dogs.

You, sir, can ask the questions
how conscripts don't dare complain.
This winter, for example,
the haven't released the Guanxi troops
but officials still press for the land tax.
Land taxes! How are we to pay that?
The truth is it's a sour thing to have sons.
Better to have a daughter -
at least she can marry a neighbor.
Our sons lie unburied in the grass.
My lord, have you seen the Blue Sea's shore
where the old white  bones lie ungathered?
New ghosts keen and old ghosts weep
jiu, jiu, like twittering birds as rain sifts from the bleak sky."









From August, 2008, this job, scoring state assessment tests,  after my first retirement from a  long career in public service, followed by a stint with a United Way agency and a local workforce board down on the  coast, my second retirement, followed by this again and,  eventually, my third retirement. Also  did  some contract workforce program  monitoring and mock-jury stuff in between. Just another old guy, hustling for his beans and cornbread.





 
$13 an hour and free air conditioning

got the call
yesterday,
project coming  up
starting next  week -
a month in August
and September -
not a project
I particularly look
forward to
and the money
ain't great,
but anyone who'll
pay me
to sit in air conditioning
in August
and September
has a leg up
on my attention













Here are series of mini-poems by my poet-friend and Blueline housemate and forum director, Alice Folkart, who, as I write this, is boarding up for a major hurricane heading for her home in Hawaii.

Hoping now,all turns out wind-blown but well.














 Edge of summer
wavers in heat haze
August - bees pay no attention.

Shy horizon,
keep  your distance
from us.

A loner,
homeless, aimless,
Tai Chi  practice at dawn.

Sixtieth wedding anniversary,
the oldie weds
drinking Bud Light.

Wild party last night,
we all danced  hula,
bet  it cost a lot of moola.

Nice people,  no rough edges,
no hedges  between them,
just serene









                                                                          



A manifesto defending my  boring lifestyle.









a regular guy

so here I  am,
6 a.m. -
at my regular time
at my regular  restaurant
eating my regular toast and gravy and egg-over-easy,
writing a regular poem
on my regular
laptop

outside
my regular dog
waits in my regular car
for her regular morning sausage
and our regular walk
around the block

after that
we will make our regular drive
downtown
to  my regular coffeehouse
where I will drink my regular coffee
and write my regular
blog

these are the regularities
that are the reality parameters
within I indulge my creative
life

you're welcome to watch
if you want,
but I'd  prefer  you didn't  talk

and if you must, don't  be surprised
if I don't respond

cause
I'm busy...

it's my regular way
on a regular
day,
building the fences
that give me the free range
I need to
roam








The Ming period in Chinese history was from 1368 to 1644, roughly the period in Western history that included the ending of the medieval period and the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. It began with the expulsion of the Mongols and the return to rule by the Chinese. Hung Wu was the first of the Ming emperors, a monk who came to power as a leader of the rebellion against the Mongols. One of only three Chinese emperors with peasant  roots, he was sympathetic to the lower classes. He instituted land reform and shifted the economy's focus from trade to agriculture. He reinstated the examination system of previous dynasties, but poetry was no longer required and Chinese  poetry continued its decline from the Tang and Song dynasties. It was during this period that the Forbidden City was built and the Great  Wall was reconstructed and expanded to the massive size it is today.

As I read about this first Ming emperor, I am reminded of Mao.

Coming to  power  through force, he was constantly on guard against potential revolt against his own position and violently suppressed those he suspected of fomenting conspiracy and revolt. Micromanaging the empire, he established an administrative class of eunuchs and vested great power in their hands, establishing a ruling structure that continued through the dynasty.  The administrative class vied for their power with the scholar elites, even forming a secret police to spy  on the Mandarins, executing in 1620s more than seven hundred scholars.

I have three poets from this dynasty.


                                                                                      

Gao Qi (1336-1374) is considered the premier poet of the Ming dynasty, writing in the early period of the dynasty. Becoming too well knowing and not being careful in his choice of friends and  companions, Gao was executed on a slight pretext, only thirty-eight years old.





Passing by a Mountain Cottage

In the sound of this flowing stream I hear a spinning wheel.
A stone bridge. A dark springtime of flowerless trees.
From what place does the wind carry this sweet smell?
Tea baking at noon in a cottage  over the hill.

Lying Idle While It Rains

By a slant bamboo table behind a screen the bed hides.
I lie watching new  swallows visiting a poor house.
Nothing on my mind, I live an idle life,
worrying whether the rain will  hurt apricot blossoms.



From the middle period of the dynasty, I have Tang Yi (1470-1524), most famous as a landscape painter and calligrapher. Becoming involved in a scandal, he lost any chance of high position and was demoted to the position of government clerk. Accepting work from a prince, he feigned insanity when he learned the prince was planning a rebellion. A very good say to lose his position with the prince and disentangle himself from the prince's schemes, his reputation as a "wild and crazy guy" stuck to him for the rest of his life.



Boating on Tai Lake

Tai Lake is broad,with wave on wave to infinity.
The sky is frozen in ten thousand acres of lake light.
Green mountainous are tiny dots in the distance.
The cold sky inverted in the lake blends into white air.
Diyi is gone for a thousand years
but his high manner is still admired today.
Wu and Yue rose and fell with the flowing water.
All that's left from then is a moon to light the fishing boats.



                                                                            




Xie Zhaozhe (1567-1624) was a poet,, scholar, official, collector and traveler near the very end of the Ming dynasty. He was known as a freethinker and a skeptic and was critical of superstitions, foot-binding, greed, and sexual excess.











Spring Complaints

Spring grass is rampant in the Changxin Palace
and sorrow slowly grows and grows
since the emperor never comes here
until it's high as the jade steps.








What is more August than watermelon, this one from August, 2009.

Incidental information of  which I am  proud. At the time of this poem,  I was 35 pounds down from my peak of 280. As this morning, 6 a.m., I was at 218, down another  25 or so. At age 70, I figure I'm good for at least 75, more time than I  would have given myself at 280 or even 245.

There was a period of several of my quarterly doctor visits when it appeared  that in my 7th decade I had grown  an inch taller. However, they apparently adjusted their wall or something because that foolishness has been  forgotten.





watermelon man

at 6 feet even,
72 inches
head to toe,
and 245 pounds
as of 7:30 this morning,
i'm  six inches  rounder
at the middle
than my legs, hip to heel
are long

giving me the appearance
in profile
of  an incompetent shoplifter
trying to steal
a watermelon  from the grocer
by hiding it  under my shirt

70-80 pounds heavier
than i first reached
my full height
in or about 1960,
my goal at this point
is to minimize further damage
by not  changing  anything,
knowing
that just about every change
since 1960
has been for the worse,knowing
that, though i may be smarter
now, knowing that  everything else   about me  has
deteriorated
since my sixteenth birthday
and i'm not  the boy
i used to be

recognizing
that at a certain  point  our lives
and prospects dwindle
and the good old days of
stealing watermelon from the fields
are over and we have to settle
for  just looking like a watermelon thief
at the A&P checkout line

has something to do with
things
going around
and coming around









                                                                     
Next, I have two poems by Reginald Gibbons from his book Creatures of a Day. The book was published by Louisiana State University in 2008.

Born and raised in Houston, Gibbons earned his BA in Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton and both his MA in English and creative writing and his Ph.D. in comparative literature at Stanford. Winner of many awards for his poetry, he has taught at Princeton and Northwestern universities and at Warren Wilson College.







In cold spring air

In cold
            spring  air
white wisp
            visible
breath of
            a blackbird
singing -
            we don't know
to un-
             wrap these  blind-
folds  we
             keep thinking
we are
             seeing through


 The young woman did office work

The young woman did office work.
                          wore short skirts and heels, made herself
up, in very still morning when
                           I was a hybrid of boy and
some  creature without kind, she would
                           step out of the rented place, walk
through the coarse dew-damp grass across
                            out backyard, come out the clanking
gate in our chain-link fence, tiptoe
                            past the outside wall of the bed-
room my brother and I shared, get
                            with flashing leg into her  trashed
Ford, she and her husband, unlike
                             most, even poor, Texans, only
owned one old car between them, parked
                             it to the side of our concrete
rive  on crushed-shell gravel Daddy
                             had hauled up by groaning dump-
truck and poured onto he living
                             grass, and she - young woman older
than I - would back, turn around, inch
                              crunching out past our obstructing
bushes, bend forward to look, hit
                              the gas and I would let go of
the window blinds I had risen
                               to push just a little apart.








                                                               



Early morning  this week have just been, no other word for it, weird.









strange time, strange place

damp
jungle  smell
at 5 a.m.

before
the sun  rises
to burn it off in desert  fire

until then
dank dark wraps tight
around me

a black shape
skitters
through tree tops

strange time,  strange
place, jungle
morning before the burn








For my next  poet from the Chinese anthology, I back up to the Song dynasty. The Song  dynasty (960-1279) consolidated a group of smaller warring warlord dynasties that followed the collapse of the Tang period, reuniting the empire. The dynasty is broken into two periods, the Northern Song (960-1127) period was a time of economic expansion and stability. The civil service and examinations systems of the Tang dynasty had been maintained during the period of collapse and conflict, so the stage was set for the Song and another Chinese renaissance. Despite the good times, the empire was always threatened by foreign invasion and in the later  Northern period, peasant insurrection. Then Northern Song ended when the Emperor was captured and taken prisoner. His eldest son managed to flee to the south, where he founded the Southern Song  dynasty in 1127. It continued to be a prosperous time as well as a great period for the arts, but the dynasty itself was weak and, with limited territory and incompetent officials continued to make it vulnerable to the same invaders who had taken over in the north. Under this continuing threat the Southern emperor aligned with the Mongols who defeated the northern enemies, then turned against the their Southern allies, bringing  the last elements of the Song dynasty to an end.


                                                                     


I have two short poems by Mei Yaochen (1002-1060) an official and scholar of the early Song dynasty. He wrote a kind of personal poetry somewhat unusual for his time.

Both poems were translated by Kenneth Rexroth.












On the Death of a Newborn Child

The flowers in bud on the trees
Are pure like this dead child.
The East wind will not let them last.
It will blow them into blossom,
And at last into the earth.
It is the same with this beautiful life
Which was so dear to me.
While his mother is weeping tears of blood,
Her breasts are still filling with milk.


Sorrow

Heaven took my wife. Now it
Has also taken my son.
My eyes are not allowed a
Dry season. It is too much
For my heart. I long for death.
When the rain falls and enters
The earth, when a pearl drops into
The depth of the sea, you can
Dive in the sea and find the
Pearl, you can dig into the earth
And find the water. But no one
Has ever come back from the
Underground Springs. Once gone, life
Is over  for good. My chest
Tightens against me. I  have
No one to  turn to. Nothing,
Not even a shadow in the mirror.









Okay, here's a poem from August, 2010, that has nothing to  do with August.

As an up-date on all four cat characters in  the piece, Kitty, eventually reaching the age where she was  never more than  semi-conscious, had, finally, to be put down; Billie Goat  was run over on  a street several blocks from us; Boy George disappeared, as un-nuetered toms tend to do; and  Mama,  who became great friends with our dog, Bella, and walked with us every morning, disappeared several  months ago, never, even to the end, allowing me to come within  touching distance of her.





pussy-whipped

I have a houseful
of  cats -

but that's not  exactly
true

because I only have
one cat in the

house,
but three others

but that's not  exactly
true

since the  three others
only live on the

porch
three times a day

at breakfast
lunch
and dinner time

the rest of the time
they live

in some alternate  universe
the precise location

of which they have never
revealed to me

but I know it must be
an all encompassing alternate

universe
because when they come running

at breakfast
lunch
and dinner time

they come running from
all directions

~~~

perhaps
I should better describe the cats

so that if you  should happen
to see one

you'll know
you're in an alternate universe...

the inside cat,
who  operates under the moniker

Kitty,
slipped over my back fence

seventeen years ago
and decided to  stay a while -

a very old cat  now
she sleeps 23  hours  a day

leaving  an  hour each day
for  eating

about which she is quite insistent,
screaming cat  invectives

at me
should  I delay provisioning her food  bowl -

the other  three cats include
a mama, known in our circles as  Mama

and two previously cute
kittens,

born, as  it happens, next  to the same fence
Kitty slipped over seventeen  years  ago -

both Mama
and the previously cute female former  kitten,

named Billie Goat
by the patch of white fur beneath her chin,

have been fixed,
that is to say there  will be no more

accidental previously cute kittens
living on  my front porch three times a day

while the previously cute male former kitten,
called George,  a shortened version

of his official appellation, Boy George,
chosen because off the appearance of eye-liner

beneath each eye,
continues with gonads in place  because

being a scardy cat of the first magnitude
I have  never been  able  to catch him,

never fast enough to  take him in for the operation
that would change the nature of his dream-life

forever,
but I  continue to try,

stealthy, every  day to get  close enough
to grab him

but every day he  shies away and does not seem
to care that he misses out on the snip,sip

that would free him from the constant demand
to procreate, procreate, procreate

at every twitch of a female's  shapely tail,
sex, I try to  tell him,

is oversold, takes over your
life, leaves no time for lying in the sun,

but he seems not yet ready to lay that burden
down, just doesn't care about the medical services available

to every Tom, Dick and Harry, and
when you get right down to  it neither to I since

any momentarily cute kittens he might
bring  into this world

will find a home on  someone else's
front  porch, so what the heck,

so go at  it  George,
fulfill your  biological mission,

your being, so far as I  can see,
good for nothing else

~~~

cats
can't live with them

can't live without them,
without Kitty,

who warms  my lip  in winter
and only wants a place to sleep

and occasionally eat
in return

and Mama
who hates her kids

but doesn't bother them
unless  they come within three feet

of her,
and George, worthless old scardy cat

George and Billie Goat
who actually seems to like me

and  lets me  pet her head with one hand
so long as I have the food  bucket

in  the other







                                                                    


Here are three short poems by Ivy Alvarez. They are from her book, Mortal, published in 2006 by Red Morning Press. A Filipino-Australian poet, editor and reviewer, Alvarez lives in Wales and has been published widely and internationally.










to a daughter born in 1948

beehive hair glossy black
lips bee-stung in black and white
eyes framed by cat's eyes
your short smart dress
thigh high

stand still
can't you see your daughter
in those thighs
she shares your eyes

blossoms white and awkward
the fake tree shivers at your touch

the lens winks its eye
you tilt your head
and smile


typhoon

rain is always soft here
you'd never feel its spite
know how hard it can drive
stronger than fingers

know that rain can choke you
send you mad
with its constancy
its bitchy everlastingness


fish hooks

door crack look
my mother's open mouth
the smell of ink

seaweed crush
between my toes
her side wound is a gill

weeping
for lost oxygen
and the time

before it got caught









                                                


There was  some  news yesterday that made me proud all over  again of my San Antonio Spurs and their  refusal to be kept in a box of any tradition other than excellence.










a sports story

Becky Hammon,
5 feet 6 inches tall, 37 years old,
star for sixteen years in professional women's basketball,
judged to be in the top 15 players of all time
in that league, hired
by the San Antonio Spurs
as an assistant coach, the first full-time paid woman
on the coaching staff of any National Basketball Association team
in the league's history...

how like the Spurs
this is -

telling you,
courtesy of the Spurs,
stick that in your sexist pipe
and smoke it...








                                                 





To finish with the Chinese anthology, I chose a modern-period Chinese, Mao Zedong, like so many of his emperor predecessors, both a tyrant and a poet.











Warlords

Wind and clouds suddenly rip the sky
and warlords clash.
War again.
Rancor rains  down on men who dream of a Pillow
of Yellow Barley.

Yet our red banners leap over the calm ding River
    on our way
to Shanghang and to Longyan dragon cliff.

The golden vase of China is shattered.
    We mend it,
happy as we give away its meadows.









                                                               



Last  from Augusts past, three  short  pieces from  2011.








communion

a
congregation
of pigeons  flies in
lands in the parking lot
putters
mutters
peck
peck
pecks
at the asphalt
eating
I don' know
what


finally

the sun

the river
glows
orange and
bright


like  soft hands

like
soft hands
stroking

sweet-breath
summer breezes

midnight lover

skitters
as dragonflies
awake









                                                           



Last for the week, an observation regarding the effect I have on strangers.










I try to wear a smile

it's the face
I inherited from my father, kind of long,
stern and serious looking
and a little jowly
and I know
that face
and my size
and my shaved head
and beard
and my sunglasses when outdoors
sometimes
intimidate strangers
I meet on the
street

so
I try to wear a smile when
I'm out and about,
first,
because I like people and have a smiley
type of nature
but also because I recognize the first impression
I sometimes make
on people who don't know me
and the good news is
a smile almost always works,
convincing me that a smile
will make people glade to see you
no matter what  face
the smile
is hung
on

this is especially true
with children and particularly with little girls...

I like the open way they respond to me,
but I also worry
about how that openness might make them vulnerable 
to any adult that approaches
with a smile

maybe I shouldn't smile at children,
but I love the warm
syrup of good feelings that overflows me
when they smile back...







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.




  As always, I am 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, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad)



´╗┐Poetry
New Days & New Ways
 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



3 Comments:
at 1:24 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

this goes w my other statement- please get a clearer capcha company- cannot read them

the spill
by Charles Bukowski

the jock's horse
the 7 horse
clipped the heels
of the horse
in front of
him

stumbled and
fell
throwing the
jock
over its
head
and onto the
track before
some
oncoming
horses

most of
which
avoided the
jock's
still
form

except for
the 9
horse
who gave him
one step
in the middle
of his
back

you could
see
the hoof
dig
in

then the
field was
past
and the
ambulance was
on its
way

the jock wore
Kelly green
silks,
black
sleeves.

3 or 4
people were now
gathered around
the
still
jock.
as the ambulance
moved in

the man behind
me
said to his
companion
"let's go get'
a
beer."

at 3:35 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

it's august in south texas

run the lines together

it mite as well b prose

who can take criticism?

u have something to say

put it into poetry

please get a different capcha

cannot read- could you tell them?

at 6:53 AM Blogger Here and Now said...

you make distinctions without a difference, david.

it is the creator who defines his/her creation, not the critic.

allen

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