Deja Vu (yes, all over again)   Wednesday, June 17, 2015






Last month marked  the end of nine years of  weekly "Here and Now" posts,  with, by my memory, no more than five skipped weeks. Some things have changed over the years. One significant thing is the pictures. Originally, the photo were only included as breaks between blocks of text. For some people now, the photos are what  they like best about the blog. And for me too, at least in the sense they are the part of each post I have the most fun with, though I am frustrated by my lack of time to get out more to get new  pictures instead of  have to rely week after week on new edits to old one.

I know, more changes are due. And while I figure out what those might I will continue to indulge myself with photos I especially like and a lot of my old poems I especially like.

I hope you like them too.

I  also have a few poems from an  anthology, Roots & Wings, Poetry from Spain 1900-1975, published in 1976 by White Pine Press. It is a bilingual book, with Spanish and English translation on opposite pages.

Here's what I have for this week, like I said, a lot of me.


Me
the moment is not  now 

Me
redhead clowns

Antonio Machado
Memory from Childhood

Me
the conundrums of a poetical life

Me
I prefer a beach in winter

Me
why  barku? - because I can

Francisco Brines 
Having Sunk His Chin  in His Hand

Me
illusions

Me
is stream of consciousness possible? 

Me
not enough to be one or the other

Pedro Salinas
Not in Marble Palaces

Me
I don't want  to talk about it   

Me
protecting our constitutional rights

Me
my theory of relativity

Angel Gonzalez
The Least Corpse

Me
a travelogue of a poem

Me
the chill of the night
the girl in white stockings

Vicente Aleixandre
Closed

Me
on reading "Cow" by Federico Garcia Lorca

Blas de Otero
The Eternal

Me
I'm not a cowboy but I can look like one if I  need to

Me
deep thoughts to be thunk in 2009

Rafael Alberti
Song

Me
a small moment in big times

Me
fast times in Birdland 

Gabriel Celaya
The Life One Leads

Me
thanks a bunch

Me
random boots

Me
flitter and tug

Federico Garcia Lorca
August
The Little Mute Boy
Song of the Barren Orange Tree

Me
lunatics - a short morning inventory

Me
it might be time
        
 





                      



A beautiful Sunday morning, a great  day to start a day, a week, and a "Here and Now" Post. This was from last week.











that moment is not now

blue-sky moon
on a bright summer morning
just opening, clouds like the puff
from cottonwood trees blown thin
and gauzy across the sky... 

there is bad in the world
I know,
evil people, evil times, evil intentions
pending in dark shadows
waiting
for their moment

but that moment is not now,
does not lurk here where there are no shadows,
no intentions here beyond  the
bright pleasures of the
moment...

say good morning
and give a smile to all you meet.
extend the grace of this morning
even as it smiles upon
you...






                                                                 
                                                           





Sometimes it's just for the fun of it, like this, from 2009. It's an observational of some sort,  but I have no idea what I observed to cause it.











redhead clowns

burger
and fries
a cinnamon
shake
and  a  dog with
a bone
a cat on the
phone
and redhead
clowns
giggling in
the diner








                                                               


The first poet from this weeks Spanish anthology is   Antonio Machado.

Born in 1875, Machado was one of  the leading figures of the Spanish literary movement known as the "Generation of 98." He died in 1939 in France, a refugee from the civil war.

The poem was translated by Robert Bly.









Memory from Childhood

A chilly and overcast afternoon
in winter. The students
are studying. Steady boredom
of raindrops across the windowpanes.

It is time for class. In a poster
Cain is shown running
away, and Abel dead,
not  far from the red spot.

The teacher, with a voice husky and hollow,
is thundering. He is an old man badly dressed,
withered and dried up,
who is holding a book in his hand.

And the whole children's  choir
is singing its lesson:
one thousand times  one hundred is one hundred thousand,
one thousand times one thousand is one million.

A chilly and overcast afternoon
in winter. The students
are studying. Steady boredom
of raindrops across the windowpanes.








                                             



 Here's another from last week.












the conundrums of a poetical life

an old man
in an Hawaiian shirt
and a Panama hat - works for
Jimmy Bufett
so why not for me...

setting aside the obvious talent
issues, I think it's because
when I read my poems
it's most often to young people
and as much as I like young people
(having been one myself)
it seems when I speak to the eternal
conundrums, they mostly don't know
what a conundrum is and don't care
a whole lot about it
because when one is young
one mostly doesn't believe in the
possibility of conundrum-type issues
arising in the course of one's life - one
has to be closer to 40 to  worry about
such things and when one is 40
one is usually entirely too  busy
paying the rent or the mortgage
to listen to an old man
in an Hawaiian shirt and Panama hat
talk about them and when one is much
older than that's one attention span
must work full time just remember
where in the fridge one left one's Gerber's
strained carrots and whether one remembered
to buy a new box of Depends upon one's
last visit to the supermarket and with all
that occupying what neurons are left flashing
in the oatmeal between one's ears one
hardly has anything left for full and meaningful
examination of the inevitable conudrumniticites
of life when such questions are rarely
frequent daily concerns, I mean,
when you're busy looking for just the right
urn  for your ashes, who cares
about conundrums, and, in fact, any requirement
to think too hard about  the conundrums of life is,
itself,
a conundrum of the first order...

so, as a poet like me, I'd probably be better off
as a singer like Jimmy Bufett than a poet,
helping old  people find their lost jiggers
of gin, with a song to make  the
medicine  go
down...

```

but, as a singer more likely to  make
the medicine come back up
than go down, perhaps it might be better
to consider other alternatives, to think outside
the box, which is what everybody is supposed
to do now days even though thinking outside the box
is also a guaranteed way to get into trouble now  days

so,
I'm thinking outside the box...

I came up in the beatnik days
so maybe if I could get a black shirt
and black pants and dark sunglasses
and a black beret, and speak in an indecipherable
howl like  a bear in a bear  trap...

but  again, the young
still wouldn't understand and the old still
wouldn't care...

so maybe,  having a good persona for cowboy poetry,
I cold try to find an  appreciative  audience
with that approach, but, alas, all my dogies
have gotten along and I still can't rhyme
worth potootie or even
kabootie...

maybe I should just write
better poetry or maybe just forget
about poetry altogether
and get a job counting screws in the nuts, bolts,
and screw aisle at Home Depot...








                                                                      
I grew up a 30-minute drive from the beach, South Padre Island, still primitive in those days and nothing like it is now. Except for night and winter visits, I had outgrown my appreciation for the beach  and the surf and the sand and the  salt and all the other uncomfortable curses of it by the time I was fifteen years old. Later, when we lived in Corpus Christi, right on the coast, I liked that on Sunday mornings while I had coffee and read my Sunday Times, my wife could take our young son and drive the couple of miles to North Padre Island and return, with family beach obligations met in the time it  took me to finish the paper.

This is from 2010, a beach mediation.









I prefer a beach in winter

I prefer a beach
in winter

when there is
a gray
desolation to it

that fits
the loneliness
of the sea...

I used to  spend
cold nights
on the beach

listening to the
basso rumble of
the tide,

cast ashore
then pulled back,
prisoner

to the deep
dark of souls
lost

for millennia,
lost
beneath the waves,

mourned
then forgot
forever

lost...

```

not a sailor-man am I -
I swim
in more shallow seas

but I know I too
will  someday be lost
beneath the waves

of life passing by -
mourned
then forgot

like all the other souls
that sleep in the
sea..











I posted my first issue of "Here and Now" May 26, 2006. Originally, the blog  was about things I liked, poems, movies, music, a wide variety of things, including a video store I particularly liked. Although I began by posting the poems of others, it wasn't until the last issue of July that I posted a series of new poems of my own. As part of an explanation of the "barku," a form (10 words, 6 lines) I invented invented once while bored at a bar, I wrote four examples.









why barku? because I can

i
lazy night 
jazz
in a thicket of 
coffee 
shop
chatter 

ii
lovers walk
through moon-cut
shadows
kissed by damp
summer
breezes

iii
night hawk
dark
silent hunter
flits
from tree
to tree

iv
charades
of love 
and passion
balm
to the aching
lonely








                                                               
Next from the anthology, a poem by Francisco Brines.

Born in 1932, Brines is one of the "50s generation" of Spanish poets. Winner of many of the most prestigious awards in Spain, he has taught Spanish literature at Oxford University and Cambridge  University.

His poem  was translated by David Ignatow.











Having Sunk His Chin in His Hand

Having sunk his chin in his hand
and closed his eyes to see
the smoke of his life
he has seen only gestures, tired footsteps, shadows
and shadows:
there, at a point in his life, some terror,
and even more terrifying, the good times now of no use to him.
And some shadows struggling to  reform in his mind
as time collapses them in memory -
these more vivid to him than the life itself.


He opens his eyes on the room around him
and the night is dark.
Again he lets his smoky chin
fall into the ruin of his hand.
Out of all that vain smoke drift
only a grief survives
that breaks the chains of a fiery beast in his chest.
Life yet can kill,
while the shadow of late  afternoon comes
to put out his grief,
his whole  life.

And a wind comes to dissolve the smoke.








                                                                  





This is an old memory poem I did in 2011.













illusions

running
late in the mornings
these  days

helping my blind cat
when  she gets up from
her night's sleeping

find
all the necessaries,
food, water, litter box

so  that I can put her back
in the  chair
for her day's sleeping -

a great temptation
at that point
to put myself back to bed

because
getting up in the winter
in the dark-dark

an hour before sunrise
does not energize me like
getting up in the soon-light

of summer,
there being  something about  the dark
makes the cold morning colder

while the dim  of an early summer
morning
makes the promise of a cooler day -

and lie
that it is,
I enjoy the illusion

for illusion
is the  soft wrap
that consoles us on sharp-edged

and prickly days
when goodness and mercy
do not follow us through the winter/summer

days
and nights of our lives...


and that fellow three  booths down

looks exactly like a fellow I knew
nearly fifty years ago,
a suicide-obsessed fellow,

the fellow
I talked into holding out for another
day twice on a rooftop -

skunk-drunk he was
and I was too
but  we both came down -

and I am enjoying the illusion
that it's him and that  he looks exactly
like he did fifty years ago

and so I must as well
and the fifty years past
he made it

and I made it,  but mostly
he made it through mummy-wrap mist
of his fearful  nights

and that's  a nice illusion to have at  six thirty
in the dark dark
morning...








                                                                      



I wrote this last week.  Sometimes I speak of  something I write as "stream of consciousness." I think I'm  lying, or  maybe just fooling myself.











is stream of consciousness  possible?

is stream of consciousness
possible
for  someone as self-conscious
as me?

if I throw a
beaver into this  developing poem
will it be because
my unconscious mind skipped over
to a beaver building a damn
or a beaver damned to hell for cutting down
a prized tree or a beaver like in the old-fashioned
nudie magazines or not a mental slip
at all but a perfectly rational
poetic decision that some spice is  needed
in an otherwise boring examination
of the phenomena of mental slippage in an  age
of razzle-dazzle, fiddle-fuddle, slash-&-burn
distractions never ending, a beaver selected
to do the duty, why, because what could be more
unexpected than the appearance of a beaver
in a poem not, presumable, concerned in any  manner
with beasts of the wild woods, especially not
beavers who are in every popular  manifestation
fuss-budgety figures with buck teeth,
which is, based on your previous experience
with buck teeth, sure to leave them with a speech impediment
and such an impediment  combined with their industrious nature,
don't you always imagine beavers in work  overalls
with a red mechanic's sweat rag in their back pocket -
well I do - which is one of the reasons the appearance  of a beaver
in this poem was not a random slip in my stream of consciousness
but a purposeful inclusion to leave a comic impression
of stream of consciousness when in fact
it was any ting but...

so this is my way of warning you to never take seriously
any claim I make of entering such a stream because, like
the red rag in the beaver's overall  pocket, it's all
for show and because, when you come  right down to it
I am not a person who appreciates
random
circumstance
and when I say something random
I mean every word
of it...








                                                                           




A poem about lessons learned from 2012.













 not enough to be one or the other

I cut
all my hair off
some months ago,
as short as I could get it
without a razor,
and for some months now
I've kept it that way...

a couple of weeks ago
I decided I would let my hair
grow long again,  arriving
at that in between stage,
too long to be short,
too short to be long, the indeterminate
intermediate  where lies
the nexus of our civilization today,
too something for this, too something else
for that...

too many people too smart
to be dumb; to many too dumb
to be smart,
stuck at the crossroads stage of
smart-ass and dunce donkey
dancing with demoralized
debutantes on the delta
of
despair

(see what I mean,
a dumb  person couldn't
have come up  with that little
collection of "d" diddling,
while a smart person
could have, but would  have known
better - how  convenient
that I can go
easily
and unconsciously
illustrate
the point of my poem - some
might call it irony,  a word which I have
never understood the meaning of
in modern context)

I have for most of my life
been too smart for my own good
and too dumb to take proper advantage
of it...

growing up on dirt roads
in South Texas
where getting stuck in the mud
is something you often do until you learn
the basic wisdom of experienced
mudders - drive through the puddle
where others have earlier driven and  passed
safely, not around the puddle where others
were smart enough not to go...

I have this feeling that  the lessons
of mud and knowing the secret
of successful passage, though
it might have some relevance
to this poem

I may not be smart enough
to figure out what it is








                                                                      

This poem by Pedro Salinas is from the Spanish anthology.

Born in Madrid in 1891, Salinas was known as a member of the "generation of '27." He immigrated to the United States in 1936, shortly after the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. He taught at several universities, settling in at John Hopkins University where he stayed until he died in 1951

His poem was  translated by W.S. Merwin.










Not In Marble Palaces

Not in Marble  palaces,
not in months, no, not in numbers,
never treading the ground:
in frail worlds without weight
we have lived together.
Time was scarcely
reckoned in minutes:
one minute was a century,
a  life, a love.
Roofs sheltered us.
Less than roofs: clouds.
Less than clouds:  skies.
Still less: air, nothing.
Crossing
seas made of twenty tears,
ten of yours, ten of mine,
we came to beads
of gold.
immaculate islands, deserted,
without flowers or flesh:
so small a lodging,
and, of glass, for a love
able to reach, by itself,
the greatest longing,
and that asked no help
of ships or time.
Opening
enormous galleries
in the grains of sand,
we discovered the mines
of  flames or of chance.
And all
hanging from that thread
that was held - by whom?
That's why our life doesn't seem
to have been lived.
Elusive as quicksilver,
it left neither wake
nor track.  If you want
to remember it, don't look
in footsteps of memory,
where people always look.
Don't look in the soul,
in the shadow,  in the lips.
Look carefully in the palm
of the hand: empty.








                                                                     


This is a rant I wrote last week. I wasn't going to  post it  because, I mean, who gives a  crap about someone else's rant. But then, I read  the old poem that follows about our patriotic duty to complain, I decided to include it.










I don't want to talk about it

I could vent this morning
about the expletive deleted woman
at the supermarket parking lot yesterday
who, after I accidentally dinged her door
(tiny dent, you have to put your cheek
against the door to see, didn't even break
the paint) wanted $100 (after I offered her twenty
as an apology) or she would call the  police,
and, after I told her exactly where I
would put the hundred dollar bill should
I ever,  in some haze of pussy-whipped dementia,
decide to give it to her, did call the police
and after an hour wait, did receive a visit
from a policeman who, had he not been a
dedicated public servant,
would have happily helped me
put that hundred dollar bill exactly
where I wanted to put it had  I decided
to put it anywhere...

so now both the stupid woman and I  have insurance
papers to fill out and since the  policeman determined
that we both suffered equal damage and he had better things
to do than babysit supermarket dings
that you couldn't even see without putting your cheek
right down against the door, really important better things
to do, including the fresh batch of cherry-filled
donuts coming out the fryer right that  moment
at Dixie Cream, after all that and the woman gets whatever
she gets from the insurance company compared
to  the cost of getting it, she would have been  ahead
if she had just taken the $20 I offered and both of us
gone our way...

but I don't want to  talk about it...








                                                                 






This is  from 2013.











 protecting our constitutional rights

I  believe
every American
has  certain inalienable  rights,
among  the, the constitutional  right
to complain often
and vigorously about whatever
peeves their goat

and I further believe
that every constitutional right
must be regularly exercised if it is to be
retained

thus
I believe that Americans
not only have a right
to  complain,
but also a patriotic obligation
to be unreasonably obnoxious
about something trivial to the rest of the world
at least once a day

this is an obligation
I address seriously every day, at least once,
finding at least one thing about which hell
must be raised...

this morning though,
this bright, sunny day, blue  cloudless sky
smiling love  for  all creatures
below, a light breeze whispering,
"welcome to this day," the orange morning light
casting cool orange shadows beneath
oak  trees' wide arching limbs, grass at their base
calling, sit here, it says, join the happy
squirrels who live here, share an acorn as you wait
for the wonders coming of this wonderful
day...

patriot that I am, it is  hard
on  such a day to do my constitutional duty,
but, as I prepare to drive downtown
on the expressway in  morning commuter traffic,
I am confident that  something
will come
up
to inspire me








                                                                          





This poem is from "Here and Now," August, 2006. This was in the fourth month of posting the blog and I was becoming more confident about putting up my own stuff.












my theory of relativity

my second
Social Security check
came in the mail yesterday

a  friend from my youth says
admitting this
is like standing on a street corner
yelling at all who pass, "look at me,
I'm old, used up, ready to kiss
this wasting, burdensome life good bye"

well,
remembering he is as old as me
causes me to think maybe
he has a personal stake in this whole
getting wrinkled up and old issue

but not to fear...

age is a relative thing, depending
entirely
on your scale of reference

if you're thinking
milk,
then we're both
curdling sour old

but if  you're think
rock
we're both young pebbles
in the overall scheme of things

best of all,
this sliding scale of reference
can slide whenever you feel the need

leaving you to feel
strong as hill country granite
when strength is needed
or as a glass of ice-cold milk
on a South Texas summer day
when a little pleasure
in the moment
can  make all the years slide away








                                                                   
   
                                                          
Next from the  anthology, here is a poem by Angel Gonzalez.

A major Spanish poet of  the twentieth century, Gonzalez was born in 1925. He earned a law degree in 1950 and moved to Madrid to work in civil administration. It was in Madrid that he began to write and publish his poetry, becoming friends with many of the leading Spanish poets of the time. Winner of many poetry prizes and awards, he  taught at the University of New Mexico from 1974 to 1994. Upon his retirement, he divided his time between New Mexico and Spain where he died in 2008.

His poem was translated by Robert Mezey.







The Least Corpse

He had died only a few inches:
a tiny death that had its effect
on three rotten molars and one toenail
of his so-called left foot and, surprise!
a few hairs here and there.
They mumbled the usual prayers:
"O Lord,forgive those three molars
their iniquity, their sinful
chewing. Godless teeth,
but your own creatures,  after all."
He was there himself,
solemn  before
what  there was of his mortal remains:
a filthy prosthesis and some hair.
Friends had come to comfort him
but they only deepened his sadness.
"This is impossible, it can't go on
this way. Or maybe we should say:
This ought to be speeded up.
Die some more. Die once and for all."
Dressed in mourning, he shook their hands
with that phony regret
you see at the worst funerals.
                                               "I swear"
- overcome, he burst into tears -
"I want to extinguish my feelings,
I want to turn my life into stone,
my love into earth, my desire to ashes,
but I can't help it, I  talk sometimes,
I move a bit, I even catch cold,
and naturally those who see me
deduce that I am alive,
but it's not so:
you ought to know this, my friends,
even if I sneeze,
I'm a corpse. I couldn't be more dead."

Despondently he let fall his arms,
flicked a worm from his sleeve,
said "Pardon me," and picked up the worm.
After all it was only a scrap
of all he was looking forward to.







                                                                        



I wrote this last week, while walking my  dog, Bella. It doesn't offer much in the way of poetry, but it was what I was thinking about and what I wanted to  write about.










a travelogue  of a poem

walking Bella
through the  Pearl complex,
six years now (can it have been so long)
spending most of my day at the coffeehouse/music academy
at the end of the  block, walking through the complex
as its rejuvenation was  barely begun...

the  Pearl itself, a brewery, founded in 1881,
closed twenty years ago, its magnificent brew house
beginning to crumble, ever so, still a fixture on the near horizon
for  anyone coming into or leaving San Antonio for parts east or south
for all the years of its decay...

the re-development for its new purpose barely begun
when Bella and I  first followed our  daily route through it...

now, even though  the developer's vision is not entirely complete,
a complex of offices and retail stores and restaurants and apartments
and beautiful landscaping watered by condensation from all the air conditioners
that keep everything cool in South Texas heat and the old  brew house, built back
to all its previous glory, a restaurant  in front and behind the restaurant
a luxury hotel almost complete, the Emma Hotel,  named after the woman who took
the brewery over after her husband's death and ran it for 30 years, including
through  Prohibition when  she kept the brewery alive through production of near-beer
until the day Prohibition ended when she  had already brewed and ready to ship to saloons
throughout Texas their  signature Pearl Beer, named for the bubbles that came from
a base of San Antonio spring water...

and behind the new hotel, the San Antonio River, the Riverwalk extended beyond
to the zoo and the Witte Museum, and there behind the hotel, a series  of small
waterfalls where the river's elevation several feet (closer to downtown,
locks for the river taxis to pass as the elevation drops ten to twelve feet)
and alongside the river the natural beauty of plants of every color
and river-themed  art and on the river, ducks and geese and egrets, floating,
swimming, diving for fish, and fish  just below the surface and turtles sunning
themselves on mid-river rocks...

a travelogue of a poem, well yes, but walking there several days ago, sitting
in the shade on a bench by the river, I was near overcome
by the beauty of it, and also, the practicality of it, as, drawn by the Pearl development,
dozens of new apartment complexes have been built  along Broadway and alongside the
river, with many more to come, back toward downtown and away from downtown,  providing
together hundreds if not thousands of new apartment homes, each new home meaning
a hill not leveled,  a  pasture not asphalt covered, wildflowers not smothered,
natural  habitat not disrupted,  deer and raccoons and possums and birds
and every other creature that crawls, runs, or flies  in the hills  they call home
not displaced...

that's what I see as I walk Bella through  the complex, the beauty,
yes, but  also the hills and pastures and animals left to their natural state,
undisturbed by the roar and diesel stink of bulldozers and giant earth
movers, undisturbed by the traffic that will not come, the WalMarts that will not
be built and all the other debris and destruction of our  kind...

all hail! the  Pearl and beautiful waters that flow through it...








                                                            





Here are two  short observationals from 2007.













the chill of the night

two women,
one blond,
the other,
long dark hair
with the sheen
of fresh-mined coal,
both
bundled
against the cold
in identical red coats

their eyes
meet
and the chill
of the night
deepens


the girl in white stockings

the girl
in white stockings
swings her leg,
her unshod foot,
perfectly arched
instep,
like a metronome

fantasies
ensue

on a snowy field
under
bright December sun

in a white  room
white walls
thick white carpet

popcorn








                                                                            



                                                   
The next anthology poet is Vicente Aleixandre.

Part of the "Generation of '27," Aleixandre was born in Seville in 1898. He won the Nobel  Prize for Literature in 1977 and died in 1984.

The poem was translated by W.S. Merwin.










Closed

Bare earth. The defenseless
night alone. The wind
insinuates deaf throbbings
against its draperies.

The shadow of lead,
cold, wraps your breast
in its heavy silk,  black,
closed. So the mass

is pressed down by the material
of night, famous, quiet,
over the limpid
late plain of night.

There are bankrupt stars.
Polished hinges. Ice
drifts along
in the heights. Slow streams of cold.

A shadow passing
over the mute grave contour
lashes, austere,
its secret whip.

Flagellation.  Corals
of blood or light or fire
are divined under the gauze,
grown mottled, then give way.

Either flesh or the light of flesh,
deep. The wind lives
because it looks forward to gusts,
cross-currents, pauses, silences.








                                                       





This one from  2008, a reflection on my carnivorous nature.















on reading "Cow" by Federico Garcia Lorca

I am reminded
of how often I worry about the meat I  eat,
not because I'm  a vegetarian
or because I think it's necessarily
immoral to eat other creatures
but because of the way these other creatures
come to become an entree on my plate

if you've ever been to as slaughter house,
you know what
I mean...

no respect
for the life being taken
and in the end
no respect
for the life being eaten

so
if I continue to eat meat
which
I almost certainly will  continue to do
I will endeavor to remind myself
of the creature whose living essence
sustains me

no more hamburgers for me

from now on
when I go to McDonald's
it'll be ground cow on a bun to go

no more BLT

instead
lettuce and tomato
on toast
with mayo
and crispy slices of
fried
pig

chickens
never got enough respect
for us to disrespect them
so we  eat up our chicken breast
without think much abut it

I haven't decided yet
how to deal with that

possibly

breast of feather fowl
or maybe
leg
of feathered fowl
dusted
with secret spices
and fried
crispy

will have to think
a bit more
about chickens
I  think








                                                                            


Blas de Otero is the next anthology poet.

From a very bad translation, I learn that de Otero was known as  one of the main representatives of the "Social Poetry" of the 1950s. Born in 1916, he died in 1979.

His poem was translated by Hardie St. Martin.









The Eternal

A world like a mutilated tree.
An uprooted generation.
Men whose  single destiny is to prop
ruins.

        The sea breaks
on the sea like and enormous hymen,
trees rock the green silence,
the stars crackle, I hear  them.

Only man is alone. Because he knows
he is alive and mortal.  Because he feels
himself running - river of time towards death -.

Because he wants to stay. To keep  going,
to ascend,  against death's current, to the eternal.
He is afraid to  look. He closes his eyes
to sleep the sleep of those who are alive.

But death sees, from within.
But death wait there, within.
But death strikes, from within.

......The sea - the sea - like a enormous hymen,
the trees stirring the green air,
the light suspended like snow on fire.








                                                                                    



Thinking about making some changes in my life made me think of life choices I made in the past.











I'm not a  cowboy but I can look like one if I need to

I'm wearing my cowboy shirt
today

doesn't mean I'm a cowboy

because while I've spent some time
on horses, it was a long time ago
and the horses usually won...

```

I have a bunch of Hawaiian shirts
in my closet, but
I'm not Hawaiian either, didn't
even much like the beach I grew up close to,
though I'm  sure the one in Hawaii
is bigger and better

```
so I'm not a cowboy
and I don't ride the range

and I'm not Hawaiian
and I don't surf the waves

I'm just a poet
for now instead...

talk about questionable
life choices!








                                                            



I wrote this in 2009 and dedicated it to "all the deep thinkers of "National Review," "Weekly Standard" and the like, as well as all those deep thinkers formerly occupying high levels of government and currently seeking to hock their GWB magic decoder rings."











deep thoughts to be thunk in 2009

as with many people
I like to think deep
thoughts
about things I know
nothing
about

an explanation,
some might say,
as to why
all
the world's problems
I solved last  year
are back on the table
today...

balderdash,
as we
deep-thinkers like to say -

obviously
the world wasn't  paying
adequate attention

meaning
I'm just going to have to
deep-think
louder
in 2009








                                                                 

And now, from the anthology, a poem by Rafael  Alberti.

Born in 1902 and another member of  the "Generation of  '27," he is considered one of the greatest poets of the so-called "Silver Age." Recipient of many honors he went into exile after the Spanish Civil War because of his Marxist beliefs and didn't return to Spain until Franco's death. Alberti died in 1999.

His poem was translated by Charles Guenther and Hardie St. Martin.











Song

I want to sing:  to be a flower
in my village.

A cow of my village
to wear me in his ear.

The moon of my village
to wear me in his  ear.

The rivers and seas
of my village to drench me.

A  girl from  my village
to pick me.

The earth of the heart
of my village to  bury me.

For, you see, I'm  alone
without my village.
(Though not without my people.)








                                                                       




Here's a short piece (to  make up for all the long ones) from  last week.











a small moment in big times

the sun rising -
a ball of yellow fire
rippling on the river
as it flows

shadows
like frightened ladies
of the night
lift their flouncy skirts
and withdraw before the flame








                                          




I posted this in "Here and Now" in mid-October, 2006. I note in the introduction that it was originally published in Hiss Quarterly, which I  don't remember at all.













fast times in Birdland

I hit a bird this morning...

ran right over him
when he flew too low
and too slow

dumb ass bird

I drove on

stuck in my Cadillac's
checkerboard grill,
beak forward,
feathers
around his black bb eyes
ruffling in the wind,
he  dies

thinking
goddamn, look at me go -
I'm the fastest bird
in this whole freaking town








                                                                      
The next  poet from the anthology is Gabriel Celaya.

Born in 1911, Celaya studied engineering in Madrid and for a time worked as a manager in his family's business. After becoming acquainted with Federico Garcia Lorca and other intellectuals in Madrid in 1927 he began to write. By 1935, he had left prose behind and was writing exclusively as a poet. He published a collection of poetry titled Norte in 1946. It is not clear from the Wikipedia translation if this was a collection of his  own poetry or a kind of anthology. Whatever it was, at that point, he abandoned his engineering career and the family business.

The poet died in 1991 in Madrid. His poem was translated by Robert Mezey and Hardie St. Martin.




The Life One Leads

The cabin gives off the odor
of scrubbed wood and strong kitchen soap.
Outside,  the sun buzzes
like a dense swarm of mad mosquitoes.
The door carves out a blinding square of light
and lays it down as proof on a Euclidean pine table
where it burns orange and glazes an edge of porcelain,
leaving the rest of the shack
in a blackness of greens and violets.

On a narrow mattress, warm in its stench,
someone named Pedro is snoring monotonously.
His sour idiot  spittle broods sadly over the world
with toothless gums and stale wheezes,
with tattered blasphemies and a long slow tongue.

At six in the evening
with the Express goes by, waking nostalgia
(bright steel, flashes,
burning road that  mounts the emptiness),
the man Pedro gets to his feet,
hitches his suspenders,  splashes some water on his face
and stares into his rough hand with its short clumsy fingers
at ten small coins, ten glasses of cheap wine.

Down at the ruined house,  when he comes back drunk,
Adela may be  waiting for others,  who have more money
(you understand a little more).
And Adela's a good chick.
Adela will come to Pedro's shack if he wants her to,
and he's sure to, if he's been  drinking.

Beautiful slow moon,
night like a river seen from its  bed,
the soft heavy breeze,
Adela's hips and thighs when she starts to tremble,
and the ice inside him that no one has ever thawed,
and the cheap wine,
and Adela who wordlessly fixes breakfast.

One day he finally says, "Adela, let's get married."
(Adela is frightened but she says okay.)

And the man Pedro  listens to the Express roar by
(bright steel, flashes,
burning road that mounts the emptiness),
and he feels a tenderness,
and the immense chill  deep inside,
and vague longings, and disgust.
And he thinks that's Adela, white, sweet, in her slip.








                                                                      





Here's a holiday poem from Thanksgiving,  2011. Not much of a holiday man myself, but I mostly try to  keep it to  myself.












thanks a bunch

I will prepare
today
for my trip  tomorrow,
250 miles or  so
to South Padre Island
where my brother-in-law
and sister-in-law
will be providing the  traditional
holiday feast of roast beast
and all the required turkey goblish
fixin's at their beach-side
condominium

although,
as it happens, I am not
a big lover of holidays
or of roast beast
(unless it's pig or bovine beast)
nor am I a lover of beaches
or sand or salt or waves
kathumping
on sandy, salty, beaches,
especially when  it's winter
and the chances of espying
beach-clad honey-bunnies in tiny
tops and tiny bottoms
is minimal,
I am still pleased to have
the opportunity
to be thankful to my
brother-in-law  and sister-
in-law for their fine feast
and for the company of
others at the fine feast and many
other things  not associated
with the feast at all
such as the fine Friday
morning
which will follow the holiday
feast and upon the arrival of which,
immediately post-breakfast
waffle at Katie's Waffle Deluxe,
I will be hot on the highway
hying home to my regular life,  for
which I am, above all else,
thankful

especially when it's winter








                                                                                   




I was going to put a new  poem here, but I'd have to think a bunch to do that and what's the point when I can present the absolute most complete compendium of boots ever instead. From 2013.











random boots

bootscootin'
at Floore's Country Store,
Willie's place
whenever he wants it
a couple of times
a year

Cotton Eyed Joe
says it's
so

```

if you ain't stepped
your boots
in a fresh cow pie,
you ain't a cowboy
and they ain't real
boots

yet

that's what
the old cowboy said
and you could believe him
cause his boots told
the truth
of it

```

dress boots
for sawdust
floors

fence building boots,cactus
and rattlesnake rattles
and a hard day's  work under a
merciless Texas
sun

rough-sided
hunting boots
for wild turkey dinner
and wading boots
if you  like
ducks better

and kick'n
round
the pasture
boots
for chasing gopher and

throwing sticks
with your
dog

```

shiny black
boots 
for  cowboy weddings
and cowboy
funerals
outdoors under a wide-open sky
one says I do
the other says he's doe

whoop and holler
both ways

```

good old cow leather,
soft and saddled-soaped clean,
no alligator
cause alligator hide
looks better on alligators
than on a cowboy's
foot,
same for snakes
and emus
and lizards and
whatever else
drugstore dudes
skin and
wear
to the cowboy ball

```

finally...

wore my boots last night,
the black ones
with sharp pointy toes,
dress-up night
for the recital,  tiny boys and girls
so  small you could hardly see them behind
the piano, and prodigies,
older, professional in their presentation,
and the old man,
my age,
topping off  his bucket list,
singing lessons
so he could sing his wife's favorite song
to her, and he did, his rough Leonard Cohen voice
and the tears in his wife's eyes, boots
on the floor, standing ovation

cowboys
leave their horses
in the barn,
have a sentimental night
anyway...







                                                         






In 2012, trying to find a little fun in a balky WIFI connection.











flitter and tug

waiting for the WiFi
to  present
itself
on
a
delay, delay
day
as all it's internal mix masters
whirly-tug at
its little widgets and gidgets
that flitter and flash
and,
meanwhile,
my island of accessible
humanity
grows smaller and smaller
but I suppose,
worst case scenario,
I could talk to the bald-headed cowboy
with the big cowboy mustache
or the fat lady with
Halloween  hair
or the not-so-fat lady
with the long black  Cruela Deville
dress but they're speaking
in a language of indecipherable origin
and probably would think I was
gibbering  like a monkey
in a coconut  tree
if I  tried to speak to them in
my mother-tongue,
Hillbilly-Redneck,
southwest, with a hint of
Tennessee,
which  was my mother's mother-tongue
and which she passed down
in bits and pieces
to me

so
not  much choice
but to wait for the WiFi
and I've notified
the WiFi
shepherd  that his fleecy little flock
has strayed
and he's working on it
so I'm sure it'll be back soon

~~~

in  the meantime
maybe
I'll write a poem








                                                                       
I close out the anthology this week with three short poems by Federico Garcia Lorca, recognized as one of the most important Spanish poets and dramatists of the twentieth century. Born in 1898 and died in 1936. An active proponent of the republic, he was arrested by Franco forces when the civil war started, taken to the cemetery where his murdered brother-in-law, former Socialist Mayor of Granada, was buried and murdered himself. His books were burned and outlawed and his body hidden away and lost.






The first of the three poems was translated by James Wright.


August

August.
The opposing
of peach and sugar,
and the sun inside the afternoon
like the stone in the fruit.

The ear of corn keeps
its  laughter intact, yellow and firm.

August.
The little boys eat
brown bread and delicious moon.


Garcia Lorca's next poem was  translated by W.S. Merwin.


The Little Mute Boy

The little boy was looking for his voice.
(The king of the crickets had it.)
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

I don  not want it for speaking  with;
I will make a ring of it
that my silence may wear
on its little  finger.

In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

(The captive voice,  far away,
put on a cricket's clothes.)


And the last of the three poems I chose  was also translated by W.S. Merwin.


Song of the Barren Orange Tree

Woodcutter.
Cut my shadow from me.
Free me from the torment
of seeing myself without fruit.

Why was I  born among mirrors?
The day walks in circles around me,
and the night copies me
in all its stars.

I want to live without seeing myself.
And I will dream that ants
and thistle-burrs are my
leaves and my birds.

Woodcutter.
Cut my shadow from me.
Free me from the torment
of seeing myself without fruit.








                                                        




This is a not so old poem from last year.














lunatics - a short morning inventory

ovoid moon
behind a lacy curtain
of thin, translucent clouds

a lunatic bird
sings all alone
at the roundabout...

a lone cowboy
limps in through the door

sharp-toed boots
a hat with a silver
band and a mustache
thick and
wild

settles slowly
in his chair, like a good cowboy
takes off his hat
and stores it under his chair

like the bird
he would prefer
to be alone,  howling
at the night sky
as it slips away to another
day

instead
he welcomes the ovoid moon
with a smile
and a sip
of morning sarsaparilla...

```

hard-faced woman
across the room, once a beauty,
now a mask of cold indifference,
glares at her eggs,
has no interest in the ovoid moon
even as it stirs the tides

of her  discontent...

```

fella in the corner booth,
fingers a-fly
on his laptop keyboard
as his coffee gets cold

another solitary lunatic,
obsessed with
lunatics
and ovoid moons








                                                          



A little playground time - it's  good for all of us.














it might be time


         new book 
         sent off to the  publisher last night

things go fast in eBook publishing
so  it  should be  available at all  the eBook retailers
by July 1st...

                                    as usual, suffering the "well, it's too late now"
                                    jitters...

    did I get a good proof or will it, as with my first book,
    embarrass  me  with careless errors
    uncaught...

did I send the draft I wanted to send, or did I send,
as I did several books ago, the proof draft
with edit notes shown (my good publisher  let me
replace the draft, even though  they say
they don't do that sort of thing)

                                                and why

                                                                and why? why? why?

                                                did I  substitute a new title at the last minute

will it work?
       will it work?
             will it work?
                    as well as the original

                                whatever -

the sleepless night, routine after  every
book submission, rethinking
everything
that can't be changed now

the book now is what
it is
as long as electrons flow
in orbits around the
sun...

                                          at least it is almost certainly my last book
                                          so I won't  go through this
                                                             again

seven books in now with this
one,my ego sufficiently stoked,
my treasure sufficiently
diminished...

                       it might be time
                         to consider
                            pottery




 








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)



´╗┐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











and, coming soon

Flash Fiction






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