White-Out   Wednesday, August 05, 2015






Trying to compensate for mid-summer heat with some cool pictures. These are from different  states, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and probably Arizona.

For poems, I have a number of anthologies that I haven't used in a while, so I picked individual poems from  several of them. And, as usual, my own stuff, new and old.



Here they are

 Me
searching for Mork

Me
the legacy

Yuan Hung-tao
Leaving Po-hisang at Dawn
On Receiving My Letter of Termination
A Playful Poem Seeing a Rubbing of Some of My Poetry at Ting-chou

Me
yes, the bear does poop in the woods

Elizabeth San Juan
Moths

Joe Mockus
Last Day in Idaho

Me
fugitive from the poem police

Mary Kinzie
Asked to Recall a Moment of Pure Happiness

Me
slip and slide

Jenifer Cardenas
The Dance

Me
red balloon

J. P. White
Southern Comfort
Minnesota Ice Train

Me
always a sucker for the blond

William Gronk
The Mayan Glyphs Unread
Corals and Shells   

Me
6X6X10

Cynthia J. Harper
Growing Season

Me
magical thinking

Vigil Suarez 
Song to My Daughters

Me
who knew

Alokrannan Dasgupta
My World

Malika Sengupta
 Teghaga's  Diary

Me
ever as we reach

Thomas Crofts
The Workplace Cruel Taskmaster

Me
just like you and me
on the death of a patron and friend
six white-haired men

Me 
white flags
      

           
  









First this week, something from the  news.













searching for Mork


a new  planet
is found, a bit older
than our own earth, and larger,
but in the comfort  zone that allows
a planet to evolve and maybe
find the formula for life,
not so rare as we used to assume, this formula
the right circumstances in the right place
and life is almost inevitable and more and more
as we look we find those  places and the likelihood
of those circumstances...

that doesn't mean we should sign up  for
a Berlitz course in inter-galactic jibber-jabber
any time soon because it is, as you know
a long way to Tipperary and even further to
Orc where we might meet  Mork or some such
cosmic being and, let's face it, we're also a long way
from figuring out how to get from here to there
and apparently so are the Orceans since we haven't
seen them yet but the  one and he seems a lot more like
Pasadena than  Orc-like so I'm not counting him...

so, in the vastness  of the all it seems certain
there are  others who share of universe and
among  those, surely others who share our curiosity
and sense of adventure, and among them, still many
on their way to our neighborhood, very likely
finding us before we find them, coming to us,  following
the trail, like crumbled cookies, all our electronic transmission,
our radio, our television, all that, good and better, shooting out
into the infinity of the universe, and thinking that, shouldn't
we hope that whoever they are they have a great
sense of humor....








From January 2009, shortly before the inauguration of our first black president, a most memorable day. On that day, moment of sympathy for the most unsympathetic, George W. Bush.

A moment to  remember even this early in the next presidential cycle that even the grossest failures once had great dreams.








the legacy

it's
a January-looking day,
dark and damp,
looking like it could be 3 degrees
and, figuring wind-factor
it just might be...

walking the Oaks
with Reba,
sniffing and peeing
and loving every minute of it,
her, not me...

for me it's just too damn cold...

cold...

you wonder  how cold these days in January
must be for George Bush,
given the grandest kind of chance
to make history,
to do great things,
knowing  for the rest of his life
beginning next week,
that it's over
and he screwed it up...

history-maker
on that exclusive list of all-American
fuck-ups
that every school child will study,
Lincoln, Washington, FDR on this side,
the great ones,
and on the other side
the Presidential Order of Fuck-Up, Buchanan,
Harding, and at the very top of that dishonor list,
Bush II, who couldn't even make it
to the nice-try list...

cold...

a cold  day for me,
but it will be warm for me next week,
next month, or even in the next several days -

but for him,
even Texas will not warm
that cold knot of failure
lodged at the base of his spine
on even the hottest days of July and August

his legacy to
live with...








First from library this week, I have poems by Yuan Hung-tao, from the book Pilgrim of the Clouds - Poems and Essays from Ming Dynasty China. The book is one of several collections of  classic Chinese  poetry published by White Pines Press, this one in 2005.

The Ming dynasty period was a period of great turmoil and is, according to the editors, a greatly underrated period of Chinese literature. It was a period, they say, when many of the classic rules of the arts were cast aside in favor of new approaches. This is typified by a quote in the book from Yuan who wrote "as the ways of society undergo change, literature must follow suit. So it is natural that the present need not imitate the past" - making him, maybe, China's first beat poet.

Yuan was born in 1568 and died in 1610. While Yuan is seen as the greatest poet of the Ming dynasty, his brothers were also excellent poets and their poetry is included in the book as well.

Here are the three of Yuan's  poems that begin the book. These and the other poems in the book were  translated by Jonathan Chaves.




Leaving Po-hsiang at Dawn

I get out of bed before sunrise
and, half asleep, climb into my carriage.
These official journeys are like food stuck in the teeth,
homesickness is unpalatable as spoiled water chestnuts!
A girl stands in front of an inn, her hair uncombed.
A Buddhist monk boils water in a little hut.
Not intoxicated, but not sober either,
I listen as the morning  drum sounds through the dust.


On Receiving My Letter of Termination

The time has come to devote myself to my hiker's stick;
I must have been a Buddhist monk in a former life!
Sick, I see returning as a kind of pardon.
A stranger here - being fired is like being promoted.
In my cup, thick wine; I get crazy-drunk,
eat my fill, then stagger up the green mountain.
The southern sect, the northern sect, I've tried them all:
this hermit has his own school of Zen philosophy.


A Playful Poem on Seeing a  Rubbing of Some of My Poetry at Ting-chou

In the pagoda - an ink rubbing of my verses!
Whoever  engraved them here?
They fill the air, like the chirping of a worm;
cover the wall - calligraphy like insects!
Sooner or later, they'll be eaten away by the moss
or effaced by the wind and rain.
But for now, my poems have been cut in stone:
my seal-vermilion drips to the ground below.












A poem about  poop - how low can I go.

Pretty low, it seems.













yes,  the bear does poop in the woods

having
been at this for some time now,
years, in fact, I have become
a poetry pro,  able
to engage in walking, minding the dog,
and poeming
all
at the same time...

now
I'm sorry to say that as I walk
and mind the dog and attempt poeming
what I'm thinking of is dog poop
and the way some city dwellers
treat it as if it is some kind of  toxic
material such as North Korea or ISIS or
some other terrorist outfit like
the Pat Boone Fan Club
might come up with to terrorize
the civilized world
and I say
that's  silly because you didn't see
Indians of the American type chase
deer and antelope and bison across the prairie
with little plastic bags to capture their poop
before it  genocided their lives
and culture (white eyes
certainly didn't need any buffalo poop
to accomplish that end)
and you never saw cowboys
with little plastic bags hanging
from their saddles watching out for
for cow pies and horse hockey
to defuse and decontaminate
and I don't see why dog  poop
should be toxic if  deer and antelope and
buffalo and cow and horse and cougar
and such isn't (and consider the number of
kangaroos in Australia and how it would devastate
the whole continent if kangaroo poop
was toxic and how could dog poop
be any  more toxic than kangaroo poop
is a question someone should be
asking)

but
that said,
I understand
dog  poop is not pleasant to look at
and downright disgusting to step in which is why
Bella's rule of pooping, a rule i invented and she follows
religiously,
is that she can't do it anywhere
people walk, and if that's
an issue for some people I  can only
remind them
that,
yes,
the bear does poop in the woods
and if you find yourself
stepping
in  bear poop you are in bear
country where bears have a god-given
right to poop  and where you have, according
to the natural nature of nature, no right to be
and you should set off promptly for people country
where you belong in the first place
as quickly as you can
and leave the poor damn bears
to  poop in
peace...













Next from my library, two poets from the Winter 1977 issue of Berkeley Poetry Review.











First, Elizabeth San Juan, about whom, after all these years, I could find nothing.


Moths

say yes
to the moths.
they wish to speak to you now,
while it's quiet,
dark,
while they see the glow
of your eyes
in the grass
and the dew
beaded on you bangs
and lashes.

stand up to meet them.
you know
you can't fly
so let them see
a bodyprint of crushed grass,
the film of green on your skin,
show them
the magic
that wets their wings


And the second poet is Joe Mockus. I couldn't  find anything on him either.


Last Day in Idaho

Lodgepole pine cracked up the dawn
the day I drove Keith's pickup  truck
off the road and down
the cliff, leaping from the cab
into blackberry, wild rose,
watching it bounce like a dream,
rolling helplessly into the cherry trees
snapping their sapling necks.

Stinging fingers gripping thorns, body stiff
biting against dirt
and quickly the deep  quiet; I watched the sun's light
pink behind the lodgepole pine, trying
to awake, sensing this hillside
not the place
to turn back to sleep.











Another one from 2009, about mid-year.












fugitive from the poem police

being less than
satisfied
with my recent output
i decide
today is the day i'll unleash
that deathless poem
i've been holding in reserve

now
if i can just remember
where i left it...

meanwhile
i need to clear my head
of the book i was  reading
before i went  to bed last night

happens to  me
all the time

i stay up late
reading a book
then go to bed and dream
a continuation
of the story i was reading
so that when i return to the book
in the morning
i can't remember what plot
and character development i read
and what i dreamed

and it's always a disappointment
when i sort things out
and realize
what i dreamed
is better than what i read
and since i can't go back to bed
and pick up the dream
where i left off,  i'm stuck
with the story i'm reading, not
nearly as clever
as the one i dreamed...

and talk about discouraging,
i was just beginning a new line
to continue this poem
and i did it without looking at
the keyboard,
distracted as i was
by a young woman and man
who just came in and immediately went
all snugly-huggly
together on one of the faux leather chairs
they have by the window
and if i was her father i'd be saying
"watch out," because this guy looks a little hinky
to me and maybe she ought to put off the
snugly-huggly
until we know a little more about him,
probably sells drugs
is what  i'm
thinking
because he has the look
or maybe some kind of terrorist,
he has that look  too

scraggly-looking  goddamn
terrorist, pervert, drug dealer
chump...

but as i was saying i was distracted
by all the questionable snugly-huggly
on the faux leather chair
and wasn't paying attention
as i typed the first two characters
of whatever the next line was supposed to be
on this morning  poem and when i looked down
and saw what i had typed...

BS

capital letters, just  like that,
and decided  it must have been my sub-conscious
talking to me,
telling me something my conscious
wasn't  ready to accept
that being
basically that this is just another bullshit poem
and i ought to quit
while the quittin's good...

you know,
before the poem police
catch up with me
again








The next poem is by Mary Kinzie and is taken from The Devins Award Poetry Anthology, published by the University of Missouri Press in 1998.

Kinzie was the 1982 Devins Award winner. Born in 1944, she studied languages and thought at Johns Hopkins and the Free University of Berlin, but did not start to save her poetry until she began teaching poetry in the 1960s. Her first volume of poetry, Ghost Ship, was published in 1996. At the time the anthology was published she was Professor of English at Northwestern University.






Asked to  Recall a Moment of Pure Happiness

The bed's height is one reason
for floating. It is near noon.
Again you have overslept.

On the Hotel Belvedere
a triangle of sunlight
bites across the reddish brick,
but in the alley's camera
the bulk are in blue shadow
that glints off the iron grill
of your fire stairs, or cages.
This happy imprisonment
makes no sense, jet is not false.
Your life is starting over.

Traffic moans from the other
room that floods with yellow day.
The little hallway of shelves
between that dazzling ceiling
and this murkier, blue one
fills  with loose corolla,
ambiguous and humming.

Life, day, shadow iron
and sun, whispering taxis,
heat at the end of summer
raising a mist on your skin,
Eager Street, Charles, Mt. Vernon,
Biddle, St Paul - in their arms
you float into your future.













So who remembers Kilroy and where he was?











slip and slide

the tall thin girl
with the tattoo
peeking above the back
of her red and yellow
blouse
with
tiny
tiny
pickle
dots

...

Kilroy
was here 

my mind does a 60  year slip and slide...

have to stop  that
before someone puts me in  a
home

...










Next from the anthology Feeding the Crow, this poem is by Jennifer Cardenas. The book was published  in 1998 by the Plain View Press. In the bio section, Cardenas describes herself as the third of six children and a graduate of San Antonio's Edgewood ISD, home of the 1989 Edgewood v. Kirby Supreme Court case. At the time of publication she lived and worked in Austin, attending the University of Texas.











The Dance

We openly flirted,
pushed each other to see who
could turn the other one on first.
There was hardly anything  physical,
except for a few  quick brushes of the hand
across a thigh,
or slowly bumping into the other.
Yet, it was all well-planned, explained away,
disguised strategically under  the veil of friendship.

We would push each other -
you asking me if I had ever used ice on a hot summer night
for anything besides chilling my drinks,
me asking you if you'd ever gone mountain climbing at night
in the Texas hill country with the only intention of
having sex where the sun's rays would hit you first.

And we would do this -
trying to see who would come first -
in person or on the phone,
knowing each time you were going to win
by nonchalantly asking,
"So, I guess I'm not going to get any tonight?"
And the dam on my river  would crumble
because you knew I wanted you.

And I would smell you,
feel your heat warming my body,
see your eyes pleading with me to respond
seductively this time around.
It was all there, mujer.
You wanted me and I wanted you.
Yet you were waiting for me to take you away,
and I was waiting for you to leave your girlfriend.
I love you,
but I can't wait no longer.











From 2009, I think this must be the saddest poem I've ever written.










red balloon

little boy
in a shopping cart
says to his mother
as she pushes

     he's 
     still my dad, right?
     so I  still love him,
     right?

and I imagine  pain
radiating
from that cart
across time,
the world's pain
that is a red balloon
filling a little more,
the world's pain
an angry balloon
near to bursting










Next, from the October 2007 issue of Poetry, here are  two  poems by J. P. White.

White previously published four volumes of poetry and apparently lives in Florida. I couldn't find anything else about him on the web (which seems strange).











Southern Comfort

Three turkey vultures talk shop on a sand dune.
A slow scorch inches toward the tideline.
No one knows if the hurricane will come in time
to drown the flames leaping out of the swamp.

The ancients believe the oceans remember
the shape of every hull that plies the waters.
I feel that too, sitting with you, some powers
in us may not die even after our life

slips through its wake. How else to  explain
the comfort of watching you half asleep,
half drifting between this life and the deep -
your body a lens through which I see

all the boats between us, lost forever -
lost  except in the ocean of memory
which is everywhere looking in the lee
for where we've gone. No one knows,,

what happens after the body lays down
its sorrows, not even those  three vultures,
more patient than priests hunched at the altar,
each red head glistening like a peach.


Minnesota Ice Train

Some men who are at least fifty-five
wake up in the night to touch their sex
like patting a family dog on the head.
Others rise to pace the square of their den
as  if called to guard duty. Still others
peer back at me from some lost shipment
to  arrive from Bitterroot, Montana.

I uncurl in bed  listening for the 3 AM train
to whip  through Wayzata, hugging the lake
so close I imagine it could skip the hot rails
and skid across the ancestral ice toward me,
an ice train come to ferry me home or away
from my encircling command or back to some
earlier time when I too was  more fiercely
racing the night, my body clamorous thumping,
the windows rattling, the length of me
moon-drenched, snow  falling, sparks raking
my wheels, one more town  flown through.













Mornings with my best friend.












always a sucker for the blond

I can see
through  the restaurants
wide windows
my beautiful golden friend
Bella
in the car,
sitting in her favorite spot
behind the steering
wheel,
watching
anticipating
every move  I make

so
attuned
is she to me
that she knows all my
tics and stratagems, knows
when she sees me in the restaurant
reaching to close the top of my computer
that something is up, rises from her
seat  and waits for me, head
sticking out the car window, nose quivering

body
language...

she is an expert,
at least when  it comes to my body's
language...

I used that empathic soul
to  my advantage
last night
and still feel guilty about it

it's the pills she must take twice a day
for a rash than make her very thirsty, with
the expected consequences
as when
last night she started to pee
right in front of me in the den and
I yelled at her because she never does that
(and we  had just paid $150 to have the carpet cleaned)
and she was  so frightened by my loud voice
that she jumped and hurried off to her safe place behind
my recliner in the bedroom
and I wanted to get her outside to finish peeing
but she was so scared she wouldn't come
so I played the ultimate card,
reaching for her leash and rattling it
which always means that it's time for a walk

     her very favorite thing

so she came running and was all the way
out the backdoor before she realized the door
was closing behind her and her leash still hung
from its hook and such a devastated look
she gave me that it haunts me yet this
morning...

but even betrayed
her trust in me she maintains,
remembering all the good things,
the walks we  actually walked and not the tricks,
forgetting the bad so that
even now
she sits in my car behind the steering wheel
watching every move I make here inside
the restaurant, alert to even the slightest move
that might suggest the the next great thing
we will be doing together next,
a walk she knows is coming like every morning
and the sausage patty she gets at breakfast
for being such  a good girl, and I, sure
as she sticks her head out the window to greet me,
that it is me she loves and not the sausage  patty
for I am as captive to this beautiful blond dog
as most men are to most  blondes









I'm making a big  dent in my stack of anthologies this week. Here's another one, from American Poetry Since 1950, two poems by William Bronk. The anthology was published by Marsilio Publishers in 1993.

Born in 1918, the poet died in 1999. Educated at Dartmouth College and Harvard University, he won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1981 for his collection, Life Supports.











The Mayan Glyphs Unread

Yes, the porpoises of course, it could
be of purport to talk to them. See what they say.
Indeed,what  wouldn't we give? But the Mayans, - oh
not but what I'd want to know, I would.
They were different from us in many ways. But  we  know
something about them, quite a bit in fact.
They were men, which makes me wonder could they have more
to say to us that we have to say, ourselves
to each other, or rather,  could they have a better way
to say it that gets across? It seems to me
we all speak in undeciphered glyphs
as much as they do. OK. I'd like to know.
What's new with them. No, I'd try to talk
with anybody if I thought I could. You.
I'd try to talk to you. What do you know?


Corals and Shells

That which we call reality is that
which except for a dormancy, a kind of death
approaching, we were completely unable to endure.

Do you know what it is? It is that dormancy
itself, that insensate sleep, those stiff
rigors and bones of death  where we hide, which we hate.

Alive, we couldn't endure it; we die to endure,
endure to die. It kills us. We are glad it does.
Corals and shells.  Shall we ever cover a land?










Some barku from 2009.


(10 words on 6 lines - when I  invent a form I  keep it simple.)










6X6X10

thin girl
sweeps
dark hair
curls
across shy
brown shoulders

```

dreams lost
remembered
as a dread
feel
lurking
in shadows

```

soft
slope
of  the  singer's
ass
rises
above
her jeans

```

old lady -
small grocery
bag
held tight -
crosses the
street

```

blue sky
sliced
into electric
corridors
by crackling wires
overhead

```

my red car
soaks in
autumn
sun
a transitory
fireball











The next poem is by Cynthia J. Harper, taken from her book Snow in  South Texas, published by Pecan Grove Press in 1994. At the time the book was published Harper lived in San Antonio where she was a librarian for the U.S. Court of Appeals and taught  English and creative writing at Palo Alto College, one of a number of campuses of Alamo Community College System.











Growing Season

In early summer
before you left me,
we swam at twilight.
Floating  on our backs
we discovered blooms
on the grapefruit tree.
Later in the summer,
fresh from the surgeon's knife,
I watched the fruit grow.
It was odd, they hung
in pairs like breasts.

You were gone by then
but lying in the hot sun
I could feel the heat
of your hands on my breasts.
In early December a fruit fell.
I tore the peel away
to taste the bittersweet
surface of your skin.

In March I could still see
your hands skimming the pond
forcing water to squirt
high above the trees.
Laughing you turned and said,
I can milk cows, Love.
just as you disappeared
to the bottom of the pool.













What can I say? I got to thinking.













magic thinking

it's all about
numbers said the dry
and brittle Pythagoras,
it's all one big equation, the music
of harmonious calculation, all  the planets
and the stars and all the ether in between...

find that perfect set of numbers, he said,
and you will understand it all...

not true, said Heraclitus the Obscure,
there is no such order, no such constancy, all
is uncertain and ever re-formed, in flux,
all is fire, consuming old and creating new,
the moment of illusion, a river flowing, never
the river that is, always the river that
was, always you  bathe in yesterday's stream...

be aware, he says,
of the churning universe as it floods past you,
ride it, let it take you, know that you can never be,
you can only have been and your will be
always uncertain...

two ways to live based on the truth of reality, whether
order or in unyielding instability...

but what if, says Parmenides, reality is a fraud,
just a product of our senses, different in small ways
by all who sense it, but overall defined by the confluence
of the senses of all, a color is red for all, but never the same red
and night is dark and day is light but never the same dark
or the same light...

we agree, says Parmenides, on reality and
without our agreement it would not exist, as it does not exist
for those who do not agree, the mad whose senses present
a reality that cannot be reconciled with those who agree
to  be sane...

an ordered universe or a universe in flux  or a universe
created through congruence of our senses, or, as discussed
by the people at the table next to mine, a creation of magic
by a wand-waving celestial magician, people struggling
to understand, like the three Greek philosophers, to understand
the mystery of the all  that is, looking through discussion
for the metaphor that might
explain it all...

seeking agreement, deciding in the end that there is no metaphor
they can understand and thus the universe can only be
understood through the mysteries of magic thinking...

in the end, did not the Greek and do we not still
all live our lives through that same
magic thinking, trusting what we cannot verify
because it is what
we want?










I like poets who write of real thing, one of the  reasons Cuban-American Virgil Suarez is one of my favorites. The next poem is from his book Palm Crows, published  by the University of Arizona Press in 2001.

Born in Havana in 1962, Suarez is a poet, novelist, newspaper book reviewer and professor of English at Florida State  University.










Song to My Daughters

Alex says she wants to go to San Francisco:
     "Hey, hello,world!" shouts Gabi, who is four.
She will go to Miami to visit her grandmothers,

the sky and sun above them embrace
     as they pretend travel, their tree swing
the aircraft that takes them where they please,

exotic places, enchanted, vine-stitched jungles,
     and as they float above the earth suspended
by disbelief - wild geese honk across the sky -

Gabi waves; Alex shows them a thumbs-up.
     The girls' sing-song voices shimmer
with make-believe, this gravitational pull between

childhood and adulthood, amazed how distance
     in the afternoon is achieved by pretense,
here now, there then: North Pole, Guatemala,

Mexico, India - thirsty, they rush inside the house,
     their cheeks blushed, sweat glossy
on their foreheads. "It's been a good day,"

they chant in unison, a prayer for this moment
     which has made them both road-weary
and tired. They go upstairs, climb in bed,

swallow the night with a yawn of silence.











Another from 2009, how we all want to understand others while hoping even more they understand us.










who knew

i know
what  this poem  means
and so do  you

but  it would be
so great
if we could  get  together
some  rainy afternoon
in a coffeehouse
on a tree-lined boulevard
in a quiet neighborhood
and talk
and
talk
until you understood
what i wrote
and i knew  what
you read








Next, I have two short poems from the Fall 1977 issue of Exchanges, published by The Translation Laboratory at The University of Iowa. The poems are from a selection of Bengali poets, translated by Carolyn Brown.






The first poem is by Alokranjan Dasgupta, an eminent Bengali poet and author of twenty books of poetry.












My World

there is no other world - when everyone falls asleep
I find myself wandering through the deathstill realms  of the inexhaustible world
as if temptresses in the cedars were pouring ambrosia on my tongue
ah...I grow weary and am surrounded by row upon row of bodies on cots
fast asleep and the path I follow through their midst is my world
now







The second Bengali poet is Malika Sengupta. Born in 1960, Sengupta (who died in 2011) was a poet, feminist, and  professor of sociology known for her "unapologetically" political poetry.











Teghaga's Diary

I embroider clothes for pampered ladies - it's a poor woman's job
they fill  my cupped hands  with wormy potatoes and leftover rice

I keep away from  my husband's brother when my hair is down
I'll coil it in a bun, tie it with a red ribbon - the sickle's blade

will  split the crop in three -  two shares from the house mice
I'm sitting in the corner by the oven, warming my hands

wrap the news  in sal leaves and take it to the farmer
bring some kerosene - today I might need to light a fire












Another poet speaks of finding "in-joy" time in his life. My in-joy time are those few moments in the morning just as the sun prepares to rise.












ever as we reach

in my backyard
in the last few minutes
before sunrise

looking up between
the trees, a full moon,
silver, like the thin dimes
grandpas gave  to
little children
on their birthday

no grandpas here,
no little children, just
this clear, sun-rising day
bought and paid for
by this one bright dime
floating silver-quiet
between my trees...

peace
high and beautiful...

never out of sight
but forever
beyond our grasp
here below











And last from my library this week, a poem by Thomas  Crofts from his book Omnibus Horriblis,  Poems 1987-2007, apparently self-published in 2007.

Crofts is a Ph.D. professor of English literature (Medieval) at East Tennessee State University.











The Workplace a Cruel Taskmaster

Though I agree that the lowest form of
            humanity
is the disgruntled worker, that spiteful
            worm,
I am doing nothing at the office today.
At my desk, I am reading the poems of
             Gunter Grass
---and fine poems they are.
I am eating organic peanut butter;
it is chunky, oily and stale-tasting,
but I smear it on a cracker
and devour it expressively.

              No one dares speak to me
my  chewing is so repulsive.

The clock's hands, terrified for my sake,
are waving at me;
my timecard trembles in its slot.
                They should relax.
Am I not merely a smudge? An already-
                 fading impression
on this gummy-surfaced editorial desk?

I refuse to watch my back!

This worthless poem?
I'll drag to out to an epic length
at the slightest nudge of inspiration -
however dubious.

                                             1992











From 2009, three short poems inspired by the same funeral.









just like you and me

traveling south
to bury a friend
in a crypt
beside the sea

like the restless, roiling waves
he came -
and then he went...

just like you and me


on the death of a patron and friend

a man
in constant
motion

hard
to think of him as
still


six white-haired men

six
white-haired me
stand around the pit

watch the box
as it is lowered into the hole

think of their friend
and wonder

whose box  is next












The heat here in South Texas last week, reminding me of  a journey into similar heat many years ago.













white flags

C-151,
embassy flight,
I caught it in Charleston
heading east
to Karachi first, ultimately,
the Northwest Frontier

the plane inside
like a large, dark
windowless
cave,
plastic seats, electronics
blinking, various and sundry
mysteries hanging on the wall,
shifting with the up and down
movement of the huge airplane,
seated facing the tail,
supposed to be the safest way
to fly, though I've seen pictures
of plane crashes on the ground
and front-facing or  back-facing
it seems academic to me...

a fuel stop in Saudi Arabia,
Dhahran, on the ground an extra
six hours because of engine  issues,
stepping off the plane onto the tarmac and
into a barrage of heat, 115-120 degrees
at least, and a long walk across
the runway, then a longer walk through
the terminal, columns of Saudi soldiers,
weapons at the ready, flanking us on either
side was we are escorted to  a waiting
area set aside for us...

but the head,
this is about the heat
and how I was reminded
of it last  week as temperatures here,
adjusted, hit 105 or more, how it's
not really about the heat at all,
but the sun in a clear scorching sky,
like on the desert tarmac, as if it has edged
some millions of miles closer than it hangs
in any other sky and it was like
that here last week, the sun a presence
glowering down on this poor shriveling world
and all its poor shriveling people, nova-blasted
and ready to surrender, white flags
sagging heavy and still...









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






Fiction


Sonyador - The Dreamer








                                                                     Peace in our Time





4 Comments:
at 10:23 AM Blogger judysnwnotes said...

Thanks once again -- interesting set of poems
I was drawn into those 3 about death and burying -- the flow as one

at 10:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

white out: grt photos as usual- espcially like one w mtns behind bare stalk w branches plant- contrast- what is the town pictured nestled at mtn base? it's not a ski resort i don'' t think- love the Yuan H?-tao poems- must get the book- these guys have a way of specificity that american poets lack- a brevity of observation- i guess it's zen-Gary Snyder has it
Mary Oliver doesn't
Keep up the great work- you have never told me if you have looked at Eliot Porter's photos?
I think of him when I look at yrs. You need an editor- but really - you have a good bk w yr photos- maybe seasons in the west- you really do- why don't you pursue?

at 10:42 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

please respond to my comment- but, first- pick all the photos shown that contain human body parts
so i know yr not a hell raising cenobite
david eberhardt

at 1:05 PM Blogger Here and Now said...

you had me concerned regarding body parts, david.i though i had been hacked. there are two towns shown (actually three if you count Denver). the towns are both in colorado, silverton and ouray. only passed through ouray twice, but i've been to silverton many times. not much when you get there, but the railroad that takes you through the forest and up the mountain to get there is breath-taking.both are on the road from Denver to Durango.

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