Reports from the Road   Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The plan was to take a week off for a short vacation to some of the places I love to visit, in this case, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Durango, Colorado, and come back with a passel of new photographs and interesting travel poems. The reality, as it turned out, was that I was incapacitated and could barely walk so that, though we did go where I had planned, I couldn't do any of the things I had planned once we got there, spending most of the time in a hotel room with my left foot elevated instead. So, except for just a couple of pictures, most of the photos in this post are from previous trips. As for travel poems, what I ended up with are frustrated journal entries, instead.

But we do what we do with what we have.

My anthology for the week is Atomic Ghost, subtitled "Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age." The book was published by Coffee House Press in 1994.

Plus a roundup of all the usual suspects.

the peace that passeth all understanding

Sharon Olds

so who's the poet now (December 2007)

so who's the poet  now (alternate take  - December 2011)

Lorna Dee Cervantes
The Barking Dogs of Mexico

what fracking looks  like

Philip  Levine
The Horse

to the west

Ann Newell
Haiku from Mount Gassan's Slope

sixty degrees

John Bradley
Sailors Shielding Their Eyes During Atom Bomb Test, Bikini - 1947 

meeting  with movers and shakers

William Everson/Brother Antonius

the plaza at 5 a.m.

Gary Snyder
Strategic Air Command

like I like it, amen

Edward Lyons
Long Island Son

signs of last week's  snow 

Roger Greenwald 
The Half-Life of Sorrow

jabber jockey

Charles Bukowski
ah, ah,ah
this is a fact

still better than most

Naomi Shihab Nye

I believe in my gut

Guillaume Apollinaire
The Farewell 
The Bells

the new  reality  

First from the road, the deciding to go part of going.

 the peace that passeth all understanding

neither of us feeling
in tiptop shape,
having decided there is no reason
we are going to feel any worse
2,000 miles from here
than we do right here in our own
back yard,
we will go ahead
with our planned trip, leaving
sometime early tomorrow morning, planning
for our first stop along the way, a night
in Carlsbad...

after a good sleep - and I have
the drugs to guarantee it - we will
set out Sunday morning to Santa Fe
and the comfort of seeing all the things
we've see before once  again, a bench in
the sun on the main plaza, that's my ambition...

and after a couple of days of sun-sitting
we will be off again, this time
to Durango in southwestern Colorado - again
nothing new anticipated  or desired
all so much - like Santa Fe, mostly sun-
sitting, except instead of doing it
on the plaza, we will do it alongside
the Animas River which runs
right behind our hotel...

the trip this time a compromise
with Dee  who preferred a cruise,
which we have never done before, and
me, well past the age of wanting do do
something  we have never done, agreed
to it only in return for my week
in the mountains...

maybe, at my age, for the last time
this week in the mountains, the first
cruise later in the year  for damn-sure,
the last since I lack the power of discernment
need to find something in any
patch of ocean different from any patch
of ocean later seen, waves being unlike
mountains each one being different and

so it's  the kind of compromise that comes
with nearly 40 years of marriage, she agreed
to put up with the glorious peaks and valleys
of mountain country if I agree to put up
with a week of watching the damn

it's all about the reality of how
thing work through the vicissitudes
of real life while maintaining
the peace that passeth all

First from this week's  "Atomic Ghost" anthology is this poem by Sharon Olds. Several generations have passed since  these days and it's near  impossible for many to truly understand how this vision of the end  of things was so common among those of us who lived in it.

Born in 1942, Olds has received many awards, including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 1984 National Book Critics Award and others. She teaches creative writing at New York University.


I wonder now only when it will happen,
when the young mother will  hear the
noise like somebody's pressure cooker
down the block, going off. She'll go out in the yard,
holding her small daughter in her arms,
and there, above the end of the street, in the
air above the line of the trees,
she will see it rising, lifting up
over our horizon, the upper rim of the
gold ball, large as a giant
planet  starting to lift up over ours.
She will stand there in the yard holding her daughter,
looking at it rise and glow and blossom and rise,
and the child will open her arms to it,
it will look so beautiful.

From my files, here are  two poems, two ways over time to think about the same subject. The first version written in 2007; the second written in 2011.

so who's the poet now  (December,  2007)

given that the origins
of poetry
lie around campfires
in preliterate societies,
it's not possible to argue
that poetry
as performance art
is not a revival
of the truest
and most ancient
of poetic tradition

but why, then do
I so miss the
architecture of words
arranged on a page
when I  hear a poem
performed by a master
of that art,
and why do I feel the
integrity of my words
when performance
exploits them for sound
and mood rather than
image and meaning

could it be that
what I do
in  managing  lines
and breaks
and shapes
and forms is
not poetry at all,
of industrial age
bondage to the
of movable type

so who's the poet now (alternate take - December, 2011)

say that a poem
is not the word spoken
or the word printed or write
in some orderly form
designated as poetic by the fashion
of the time; go  instead
to the image the words, however
presented, are meant to  provoke
and find the poetry direct
in the vision, images in the air
of real  space and time, transmitted
through your senses to that part
of your mind that dwells among
the visual cues and clues of the world,
the de-randomized pieces
that combine to form a picture
that means an emotion, visions
that fire chemical reactions that
push electronic jabs to  our frontal
cortex to create context
withing which emotions form, think
of poetry as transcending work,
internal vision of the poet going directly
to  an external vision to be seen
and shared

(the most beautiful poem
I ever experienced, a French short film
of horses, a herd of horses, running
through fields of high grass, the beauty
of their flesh, and their muscled bodies,, and the sweat
blown from their nostrils, and the steam, too, from
their mouths and nostrils, the internal heat
of their great bodies under great exertion blown
into cold air, and the colors of their coats,
and the grace of their great running
leaps over high grass and shallow
waterways - the most beautiful poem
I've ever experienced and not a word was
seen, not a word was spoken - no words
written or spoken could match
the image direct)

think of poetry as visions
transmitted through some visual media
like the screen of your local cinema,
think of a future poetry
transmitted directly into your dreams

think of a day when dreams
are the ultimate poetry
and poets the ultimate dream

so  who will be the poets

First  from my library this week, here is a poem by Lorna Dee Cervantes, from her book, The First Quartet, subtitled, "New Poems, 1980-2005)." The book was published by Wings Press of San Antonio in 2006. Born in San Francisco in 1954, Cervantes is award winning Chicana, Native American, feminist activist poet considered to be among the most important Chicana poets of the past 40 years.

The Barking Dogs of Mexico

All night they bay and snarl,
cut the air with salivating fangs.
These scabby browns and
salted skinny black  dogs
are meek and resigned in the sun.
They obey,  they acquiesce. They
scat with a kick or a spit.
They steal eggs from scratching
hens, crusts of bread from
between the road stones; but
sunset - they stretch, unfurl,
flex and pack. In the blanket
of nightfall they roam the calles,
take back the life that empties
from their ribs. And bite.

The hardest part of getting anywhere out of Texas is getting out of Texas. By car  from San Antonio, getting out of Texas, unless you're going to Mexico, means a  full  day of driving, even with the 80 mile per hour speed limits  if you're going west. For this trip, instead of going all the way to El Paso, we we went north from in Fort Stockton, only 300 plus miles from San Antonio compared to 500 plus to El Paso, then on to Carlsbad, New Mexico, another 140 miles, and spent the overnight there.

what fracking looks like

Fort Stockton
to Carlsbad, 140 miles,
last time on this road, I shared it
with a total of 5 cars and semi-trucks

this day,
pot  holes, trash blown against the fence,
white paper, plastic, like an epidemic spread
across the countryside, and trucks
and trucks

what was a two hour drive before,
now three and a half hours now
because of the heavy traffic and
slow-moving trucks on the two lane
road, altogether this day, near 500 miles,
or 8  hours on the road, we
reach our hotel in Carlsbad, and, finally
straight to bed for the night...

Next from the anthology, the great Philip Levine who  passed on just last  month, his death a great loss to poetry.

The Horse

for Ichiro  Kawamoto, humanitarian
electrician & survivor of Hiroshima

They spoke  of the horse alive
without skin, naked,  hairless,
without eyes and ears, searching
for the stableboy's caress.
Shoot it, someone said, but they
let him go on colliding with
tattered walls, butting his long
skull to pulp, finding no path
where iron fences corkscrewed in
the street and bicycles turned
like question marks.
                                  Some fled and
some sat down. The river burned
all that day and into the
night, the stones sighed a moment
and were still, and the shadow
of a man's hand entered
a leaf.
            The white horse never
returned, and later they found
the stable boy, his back crushed
by a hoof, his mouth opened
around a cry that no one heard

They spoke of the  horse again
and again; their mouths opened
like the gills of a fish, caught
above water.
                       Mountain flowers
burst from the red clay walls, and
they said a new life was here.
Raw grass sprouted from the cobbles
like hair from a deafened ear.
The horse would never return.

There had been no horse, I could
tell from the way they walked
testing the ground for some cold
that the rage had gone out of
their bones in one mad dance.


Here's another old poem from 2011.

to the west

to the west,
midnight black
slips  up  the chromatic scale
to dark,
smoky blue,
fading lighter as I

the sun,
though it has not yet
broached the eastern horizon,
casts it's radiance straight and true
past the natural curvature of the earth,
lighting the cold sky
above me, bringing color
to the sky
before it paints
the earth...

fog sets in
and the sky above
is quickly hidden
by its misty curtain

leaving the day to begin
under a yellow
streetlight tint,
the sun,
finally risen
but unable to penetrate
with its full illuminant force,
is reduced in its fiery charisma
to the morning's

it is winter,
four days before Christmas

Next from my library, I have this beautiful book by Ann Newell with translations from the poet's original English to Japanese by Kenichi Sato. It's not entirely clear to me, but at least I think that's the way it worked. The book is Mount Gassan's Slope sub-titled "haiku, senryu, sumi-e." It was published by Red Moon Press in 2002.

Born in Vermont, Newell is known internationally as a haiku poet and sumi-e artist. I couldn't find a photo of the artist on the web so the photo shown is the cover of her book.

from Summer

on the desert
dried skull
splits the moon


biting into an apple
lightning splits
the summer heat


sound of a train
still in the distance -
midnight rain


in the rain -
lovers holding hands
and one umbrella


at the symphony
young mother breast-feeding
her son


wild roses

The second day of our travel took us to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we stayed in the historic La Fonda Hotel just a half block from the Plaza.

My foot, suffering for the first and I hope last time, with gout is giving me more and more trouble, making the walking I was  looking forward to more and more painful.

60 degrees

60 degrees
under a wide-open sky,
the day begins
with great promise

taking Bella
on her morning walk,
hobbled  by my gout-swollen foot
as she rushes to sample
the history
of ever blade of grass,
ever leaf
of every bush...

she loves the new
and never sniffed before
and I struggle to keep


should  be an easy day,
Carlsbad to Santa Fe, not taking  into account
New Mexico's  dismissive
toward road signage, along the lines of
"hell dummy, if you don't know where you are
what the hell you doing here, and
that goes double for you,


several false starts later,
Carlsbad to Vaughn,
fields  of grass from desert
to  mountain, yellow so  radiant
it seems almost white,
like an ocean of yellow-white
on each side of the road,
waving with
the cold north wind


after Vaughn,
mountains begin to close in
to the east, rolling  foothills ease
the flat  tedium that began
in Fort Stockton and all the way
through Carlsbad -
it  feels like we're getting


finding our way
to the plaza and a block east,
La Fonda, an old line luxury hotel,
grand lobby, a a bathtub
large enough for me to stretch
my legs to fully extended, deep
enough to cover me to my
chest and I'm reminded
of the fun of a bath when
I was a child, floating my boats,
playing with my rubber ducky...

such great memories, what
a perfect day it would be
if only
that rubber ducky
passed on and lost
so many years

the past
is truly always with us -
like the mean dog
who ate my

This poem from the anthology is by John Bradley, who, at the time the anthology was published, taught at Northern Illinois University.

Sailors Shielding Their Eyes During Atomic Bomb Test, Bikini, 1947


Is what moves
your head
into the crook of your arm,
slides you other arm
across your  chest
in a tight

Face buried, eyes
shut, you can see
someone in white,
years from now,
with a knife too sharp
to feel, slicing
along your testicles.

Will the seed
you carry be able to spawn
a child
impervious to the might
you witnessed, back
at Bikini?

Or did the flash
bloom a cancer
there in the darkness
of your scrotum?

You strain to hear
the words of the doctor -
It's a blessing,
he tells you. Or does he say -
It's for the best?

You press your head
into the crook of your arm.

A poem written in 2011 about a memory from more than 30 years earlier.

meeting with movers and shakers

I went
to  a meeting once
with a United States Senator
at the late-in-the-evening office
of a prominent businessman
whose  name I shall not
mention because, despite
his mountainous conviction
of his own lasting importance,
I can not
remember it any more...

it was  a real dog-butt
sniffing affair, six of the city's
movers and shakers, plus me,
rushing to sniff the Senator's
eminent backside when he came
into a the room, a  problem
for  some of the older movers and
shakers, the ones with the rickety-
tickety backs, worn from forever
bending for ring-kissing and heinie-
sniffing, a paradox,  it's true, but
often the case that the more one
moves and shakes the more such
kissing and sniffing  seems to be

a problem in this instance
because the great man, though
his name was "Tower," was
in real life, as opposed to Washington
myth, a tiny bit of a fellow,  with an ass
way too close to the ground for
sniffing and kissing by the more
archaic acolytes, problematic
to be sure, made more so by the
Senator's condition...

(some kind and gentle people
are known, under the influence
of excessive alcohol, to become
what other imbibers
call "mean drunks"
but the Senator was opposite
of that, being instead a mean
sober, and he hadn't had a drink
of any alcoholic nature since
breakfast and was feeling
skunk-mean and mad-dog-rabid)

the Senator flew to England
periodically to get his Savile Row
suits, tailored to his diminutive
frame and, right-wing Texas Republican
academic that he was, had minimal
regard for persons, however otherwise
accomplished and highly regarded
by others, who did not spend $5,000 for
a suit of clothes, and, as for the poor
and downtrodden, they will be always
with us, he often said, and that's certainly
no reason for a hard-working,  right-wing
Texas, Republican academic not to get his
cut of the action...


 (I clarify that though only in the
minor leagues of moving and shaking myself,
I did often travel in the circles of those at the top
of the food chain)

in this case, a meeting for the purpose of
pleading for the Senator's  support in obtaining
federal approval of the construction
of an off-shore docking facility for supertankers
and a series of underwater pipelines
to  deliver the off-loaded crude to the refineries
that lined our harbor...

it was a complicated, and for those like me
with no direct dog in the fight, a boring subject, an
opinion shared by the Senator, who up to that
point had not seen where his cut was coming from,
an element of he deal that would be clarified for him
at another,  smaller meeting to which I and most others
in the room would not be invited...

in the end, the supertanker offshore dock
was never built, for many reasons, some good
and some political, and the Senator  was killed
in an airplane crash, deeply mourned by family
and not so many others, I suspect...

and so ended a mover and shaker meeting
where no one moved and nothing shook, a
good meeting for ass-kisser morale and
for me,
a good story, remembered for being in the meeting
with no responsibility for the

Born in 1912,  the next poet from my library, William Everson, known as a poet as Brother Antoninus, was a literary critic, small press operator and significant contributor to the San Francisco Renaissance. Everson joined the Catholic Church  in 1951 and took the name "Brother Antoninus" when he joined the Dominican Order that same year. 


The gray mask of the fog, the pale plate of the sun,
The dark nudeness of the stripped trees
And no motion, no  wave of the branch:
The  sun stuck in the thick of the sky and no wind to move it.
The sagged fence and the field
Do not remember the lark or her mate or the black lift of the
    rising crows.
The eye sees and absorbs; the mind sees and absorbs;
The heart does not see and knows no quickening.
There has been fog for a month and nothing has moved.
The  eyes and the brain drink it, but nothing has moved for a
    number of days,
And the heart will not quicken.

This piece from the Santa Fe portion  of our travel.

the plaza at 5 a.m.

the plaza at 5 a.m. -
still dark
but for pools of radiant white
from street  lights
throughout the plaza

the early silence is broken by
the loud metal slamming on metal
of garbage  trucks making their pick-ups 
and delivery trucks  doing  their drop-offs
at stores around the square,
the morning  voices, loud and profane
as truck drivers joke with storekeepers also up  early
to  accept their load of merchandise...

a police car passes,
looks closely at the only thing
out of place, me,
a man walking is dog
at 5 a.m.

Bella pays no mid to the officer,
and  I not much  either as I struggle
to keep up  with the dog's search
for the perfect place  to make
her own deposit...

finally -

after  she snubs many lesser sites
I personally thought completely acceptable
for this cold,dark  morning,
she finds the one
that meets her own high standards
and takes care  of business

thinking this might end up
of my day, I  pause to savor it...

Next from the anthology, Gary Snyder, who is in San Antonio tonight which I, unfortunately, will have  to miss.

Strategic Air Command

The hiss and flashing lights of a jet
Pass near Jupiter in Virgo.
He asks, how many satellites in the sky?
Does anyone know where they all are?
What are they doing, who watches them?

Frost settles on the sleeping bags.
The last embers of fire,
One more cup of  tea,
At the edge of a high lake rimmed with snow.

These cliffs and stars
Belong to the same universe.
This little air in between
Belongs to the twentieth century and its wars.

A poem from  2011 that Scrooge might have written before the night he was harassed by all those ghosts.

like I like it amen

outside at Starbucks,
the only thing
for fifty miles
or maybe not fifty miles
but the only thing open anywhere
I went which was actually
since I saw he sign  yesterday
that said "Open Christmas" so I  didn't
have to  go fifty miles...

cold out here where
I sit
but not as cold as yesterday
and dry
so there's a less
feel to the day...

writing with an actual
on  actual
feeling like a medieval
scratching scratching on paper,
an ink stained wretch
except  that my pen doesn't leak
so that while the wretch issue
might still be open
I am, at least,  not ink-stained, though
my normal jabber-splat style is curtailed
since  I can't write as fast as I type
which is almost as fast as I think
which in the realm of higher poetry critique
would probably rank as a good thing


but I don't care, pissed I  am,
as Yoda would say
if he  wasn't so perfectly attuned to the force,
because it's Christmas Day, a lost day
to me since  the rules of
Christmas cheer
(rah! rah! rah!)
require everyone to stay home
of being out and about,
mainly  about
taking care of my smallest  needs
which leaves me with nothing to do
but to go home, try to rescue  my occupied
lap-top so that I can put this pen down
and escape this medieval monastery
of crypto-crapto or was it night
krytonite,  that which sucks the super
strength right out of my poetically
charged American-way poeties
and prattlties

go home
clean house
hide fuzz-bunnies
in preparation for our  big dinner
tonight, ten to twelve family folk
sweet potatoes
green bean  casserole
pecan pie
peach pie
apple pie
and at least one partridge
in a pear tree
display my new  socks and underwear
which is a kind of joke
since such was usually the only new thing
I  got for Christmas
when I was a kid, so  I always look at Christmas
as the special occasion when  renew my sock
and underwear supple,
but I'll actually get a  couple of books
and maybe a CD of best Rex Allen and Gene Autry
songs for the ages from back when
the buffalo roamed and clouds were not rowdy all day,
and for Dee
I got a book  and a DVD and a little reading light that attaches
to your book and a three day reservation  at the lodge at Big Bend
which is actually for both of us if she lets me go too
which she probably will since
she hates to  drive where cactus and mountain roads roam...

and I'm thinking now
this will probably be a pretty good Christmas
once we get past this morning
boring-as-hell entombment  in the
mass-hysteria cell of regular Christmas cheer
(Rah! Rah! Rah!)
and things get back to being
normal like I  like it

I  have a second anthology from my library this  week, North of Wakulla, an Anhinga Anthology, published by Anhinga Press of Tallahassee, Florida in 1989.

From that anthology here is Edward Lyons, who, at the time the anthology was published, had lived in Tallahassee for five years doing graduate work in English and Instructional Systems.

Long Island Son

            In  setting winter, light
(That sparkles the unfrozen river) stains
      Forms, angles,down the stairwell's  pale painted wall,
              Less like approaching night
      Than January's ghosting through the tall,
Cold, raindrop-splattered  windowpanes.

             Now, Father, do you lean
Against the sill, gazing at the far  stream
       Beyond the line of trees and thawing snow
               In sadness, having seen
       My sisters grow to womanhood and go?
Or  because you've witnessed in a dream

               A map of subway lines
Turn into cherry boughs laden with bud,
        And climbed to cool September countryside?
               Among sun gold, cit vines,
        A dark-eyed lady held along her side
The heavy clustered grapes, as red as blood.   


After two days in Santa Fe, we  moved  on to Colorado, to Durango, normally one of my all time favorite  places to be.

signs of last week's snow

signs of last week's snow
begin to show after we pass Espanola,
and by the time we get to Charma it covers
everything, from the mountain tops
all the way down to the fields
on either side of us, a white mantle, pastures
covered with white, and on one of the covered fields, four black horses
trotting, kicking up  snow with thief every step of their feet,
black on white, small black figures
traversing a bleached white
tablecloth, heads held high, heels kicking high as well


lunch in Charma, our waitress,
a dumpling of a middle-aged woman
with a broad, first-peoples
accent, takes our order,
then stops to speak to a table
of  elderly ladies, the big  snow the main topic,
49 inches of snow in their small valley in ten days
ending just a week ago, "poor people back east,"
they commiserate, "so much snow and more coming,"
"better it should come here," they agree knowing
the larger the snow-pack in the mountains, the more reliable
will be the water for drinking and for spring and summer planting


arrival in Durango, first stop the restaurant
for a pot of coffee and some writing, then
to  our room, begin to undress for  a hot shower,
but stop to watch the river flowing
right outside our patio, the Animas River,
the color of molten emeralds,  gleaming green
in the afternoon sun, its current splashing
over rock,  the quiet of the afternoon broken
by emerald water  splashing over
river rocks

And now from this week's  anthology, a  poem by Roger Greenwald, a poet, translator and editor based in Toronto, Canada.

The Half-Life of Sorrow

is about five years.
The decaying,  scintillating dust
sits in the small cells of the lung
and colors your breath,
sits in the marrow and colors your  blood,
sits in the bile duct.
the half-life isn't hard
to understand.
It means the sorrow
will be half gone in five years,
what's left will then take five again
to diminish by half.
So it will never stop flashing
in your life,though  your life
will  stop it  eventually.

Again, from  2011.

jabber jockey

I jabber on
cause it's what I do best
like a box of Mexican jumping beans
bouncing here
bouncing there
clackty clack against the sides of the box

like what a beautiful day
it's going to be today
sky already blue with early morning clouds
little  puffs of clouds
like melted marshmallows on a cup
of blue chocolate
little puffs melted away
by 10 a.m.
leaving the blue chocolate
cold across the sky 

like what a beautiful day
but I feel lousy
so who gives a crap
about beautiful days
when your nose is either dripping
or stuffed and sneezy
beautiful days
a taunt like ads on TV
for beautiful things you know you'll never
own or wouldn't even want that much
if you didn't know you couldn't have them

a beautiful day today - who  cares

and about that guy at the restaurant
this morning
talking talking talking
a man filled with the shallow wisdom of talking
so much
no one can interrupt to question
him like the crackerpots
on Fox News who own the microphone
like Ronald Reagan who said
about the microphone
at  the debate
with George the 1st
it's mine, I paid for it

which reminds me of  LBJ
arriving at Randolph Air Force Base
to get a helicopter
to take him  to the Ranch,  heading
toward a helicopter - stopped
by a fearless airman who tells him
he's headed for the wrong helicopter,
that's not your helicopter, sir, he  tells the President
and LBJ replies they're all  my helicopters, son...

which reminds me of the wife
of a former mayor who
likes to refer to  the time when her husband
was  mayor as
"our administration"...

which reminds me of the fellows
at the table next to mine here in
the coffeehouse, the one guy tall
thin semi-black sharp-dresser, something
to do with the city I think,
listening to the man
and the other guy talking  about plans
for the new downtown arts center  and
listening to him I can hardly wait
to go there...

which reminds me
this is supposed to be a poem
about my jabber-jockey poetry but
I really can't think of anything
to  say on that subject
this morning
so  maybe I'll come back tomorrow...

we'll see...

Next, a poem by Charles Bukowski from Open All Night, one of at least a half dozen collections of previously unpublished poems put out by Harper Collins after the poet's death in 1994.

ah, ah, ah

I suppose that what disturbs me about the sages,
the great minds,
is that they are so sure of what they
yet I have to forgive them.
I admire their energy.
(I too have energy but it's not for
finding answers.)

instead of knowing more and more
I know less and less.

instead of becoming more comfortable
I become more 

jesus, I am beginning to sound like
one of those philosophy books in the library
that runs around in circles
like a dog chasing its

I suppose that what I liked about the libraries
back then when I was young
were the old bums
shitting in the crappers and washing their hands and
and then falling asleep over a book
their noses inside the books
and they were asleep
and the flies circled them
as the bindings of 100,000 dull books
stared at me.

all the sages
all the years

this is a fact

in the company of fools
we relax upon
ordinary embankments,
enjoy bad food, cheap
mingle with the men and
ladies from
in the company of fools
we throw days away like
paper napkins.

in this company
our music is loud and our

we have nothing to lose
but our selves.

join us.
we are now
the entire

God bless

Our second day in Durango and my continued limited mobility restricts me mainly to sitting and  watching. Despite my disappointment, I tried to make of it the best I  could.

still  better than most

late winter
in the mountains

five days since last snow,
and for those five days since,
bright sunshine has cleansed the air
to light and clean
even as  snow still drifts
deep in the mountains
and against walls in the shadowed corners
of the the city where sun's warmth
is rarely felt...


walking is painful and difficult
because of gout in my left foot,
meaning most of what was planned
for the trip is not possible

so on the  fourth day
of our allotted seven days,  I sit  in the sun,
so bright and clear and warm,
drinking coffee at Magpies Coffeehouse,
just a few blocks from  the college
on the bluff, a downtown survivor for at least the ten years
I have been  visiting  the city, a sturdy anchor
in  a  world where  so  much else


while this trip  has  not worked out
as planned, this afternoon, the fourth
of  seven,  with the sun and the passing
on the sidewalk of young students and their dogs
and, for the crippled poet,
Willie and Waylon and Johnny on  the radio,
none of it what I had planned for
this  afternoon, but still a better afternoon
than most...

And finally from the week's anthology, Naomi Shihab Nye, my favorite San Antonio poet who seems  to show up  in just about every one of my anthologies.


A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulders.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not  marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.

We're not going to be able
to  live in this world
if  we're not willing  to do what  he's doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

From 2011 about a particular politician who depended way too much on his gut and  way to little on evidence and reason.

I believe in my gut

some know
because they believe

I believe
because I know

and I know
even though I don't always know why I know

I trust the processes of subconscious

of things seen and unseen

knowingly observed

and things
observed with the part of them mind

that sees all
without necessarily reporting all

to the  conscious clicking
of my mental  circuitry

so it is my gut
I trust

but only my gut
not the famous or infamous guts

of other people
who sometimes seem to me

to walk the same paths
of dim disenlightment in the recesses

of their subconscious
as they do in that  part  that reeks

with stupidity and greed and malice
in the open air

I believe in my gut
but I do not believe in the guts

of everyone because
some people, as we have in  recent  history

really stupid guts

Here are my last poems from my library for the week. They are by Guillaume Apollinaire. One of two of my favorite French poets from the turn of the 19th/20th century. The other, Blaise Cendrars, and Apollinaire were contemporaries who traveled widely and viewed the world with the same wide-eyed acceptance and appreciation of all they saw. I very much enjoy reading both.

The poems are  from Apollinaire  collection, Alcools. My edition was published by Wesleyan University Press in 1995. The poems were translated from French by Donald Revell.


On the coast of Texas
Between Mobile and Galveston there is
A big garden filled with roses
There is also a mansion
It is one big  rose

A woman  walks there often
Alone in the garden
When I cross the lime-tree road
We are face to face

Because she is a Mennonite
Her roses and her clothing have no buttons
My jacket is missing two buttons
The lady and I are almost one religion


In the sky angels angels
One is an officer
One is a poulterer

Handsome sky-blue officer
A long time after Christmas spring
Awards the Legion of the Handsome Sun
              The Handsome Sun

The poulterer plucks geese
               Ah snowfall
               Fall! I have
No beloved in my arms

The Farewell

I picked this sprig of heather
Autumn has died you must remember
We shall not see each other ever
I'm waiting and you must remember
Time's perfume is a sprig of heather

The Bells

Fair gypsy my fuckster
Listen to the bells
Our love was  a secret
We kept to ourselves

But we weren't invisible
Every tower in town
Saw  what we did
And the bells spread it round

By tomorrow St. Ursula
Catherine and Henry
The baker  her husband
And all of my cousins

Will smile as I go by
I won't know where to put myself
Now that you're gone
I might even die


There were still two more days left of travel when I wrote the next piece but there were  days of retracing routes already taken and as such too boring to  write about and way too boring to read about.

the new  reality

the new  temporary  reality is
I  can't walk more than twenty yards
even on an flat plane...

since none of the things wanted to do in Durango
can be done, it  boils down to this,
we're paying  $200 a day for a quiet place
to sit with my foot elevated...

instead of that we decided  to cut our Durango visit short
and start in the general direction of home,
a good highway between snow-packed mountains,
past family farms and ranches, through  Aztec
and Cuba to Bernallilo, a land square mesas,
like large islands floating high above
quiet desert seas, their sharp sides naturally formed
by erosion of wind and water,
millions of years between their flat tops
and their desert  base, top to bottom, the land of
now to the land before human kind
began it's  climb to become creators of the asphalt
highway we navigate this  morning...

how strange to trace the history of man
and the time before man with each sediment layer,
from here at  the base where monsters one day roamed,
or, reaching as high as my six foot frame allows,  the layer
where first trod the hairy foot of a being not  yet but
someday to be
my kind...

stand and look at time rising before you layer by layer,
where we come from to where  we are, as vulnerable
to the rub of time as the monsters who are no more
and that almost-creature who left  his footprint
in the sands of time  for us to  find...


a night in Albuquerque,
a chance for a short old-days visit
to  the University where I spent the winter
of 1964...

so much changed since then,
even me, changed more than I could ever
imagine  in those  days, a new world
I felt a part of then, now grown old and tired,
dreams then of a new layer of time where
my own footprint could be  a  marvel
found by some future version of, not an almost us
as before, but us an almost them...

it is why I so like to visit the states
of the American southwest, so  old and raw
and forever in the process of becoming,
all the mysteries of life and time,
including our own, laid out all around us
easily seen by all who care to see

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 to 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)

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

at 2:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

photos especially rich and good this issue
bukowski pome good

at 2:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mississippi Allstars verse modified by dave

Goin to the meeting
On the other side,
Going to the meeting!

Not a question of where or when
Not a wuastin of now or then,
Goin to the meeting

On the other side.

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