Melange   Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I have my new poems,  as usual, this week.

And I have old poems from New Days and  New Ways, my most recent collection of poems. The book is divided into five sections, each section including poems that, at least to my mind, fit together in ways they did not fit with poems from other sections.  This week I've poems from the first section titled, "Passages." Maybe I'll come back next weeks with poems from the other sections

And I have  pictures from a  file that's been languishing on my desktop for more than six months, the pictures having nothing in common except their languishing on my desktop for more than six months. I'm not even sure why they were there in the first place and, now that I've used them, they are not there anymore.

Here are the  poets and the poems  for the week.


another day

Alice Walker
Exercises on Themes from Life

St. Francis sweeps

mysteries of night and morning

Pamela Kircher
Finding a Dream

a young man and woman

the best there is on offer

RaulSalinas (Autumn Sun)
Pueblo Murals
High Flying Eagle

this is what you get when you get it for free

another Sunday morning

Patricia Fargnoli
The Eye of the Master
The Heron
The Joker and the Fishes

twined destines -more than  just theory

crystal city
night  lays in
4 a.m.
no hurry    

Carl Sandburg
To a Certain  Journeyman
Child of the Romans  

the pleasure of watching an intelligent dog think  

party time
like soft hands  

Michael Earl Craig 
What Can We Learn from Poetry 

three beautiful mornings in a row

just because this poem is about idiots doesn't necessarily mean it's a political poem though I'll admit it does make it more likely...  

Howard Moss
The Night Express
Have You Forgotten

star gazing with friends  

I have been having some trouble sleeping. Usually I wake up  about two or  three in the morning  and lay in bed for a couple of hours before I finally slip back to  sleep. Last week, I said to hell  with that, got up, cleaned the house (my,  wife out of town, was due back that  day), posted  my weekly "Here  and Now" and went to a nearby diner and wrote this.

Then I went back to bed and slept quite well.


in a diner at 3 a.m.

feeling like  one of Hopper's

away of life, the night-light

fifty years ago, in love then
with the melancholy quiet and solitude

and the artist's power over the universe
and all the people in it

that comes with the dark force
of the dead of night

the exhilaration of being one of the creatures
that prowl the night

being places
seeing things that mortals who hide

in the day never see, never even know
exists in the dark night corners

they avoid
in fear of the unseen


but that was then, now
all these years later I am here,
more tired than ever before,
with my brain over-filled
with the desperation
of sleepless

as the night hours wind on
so slowly, despair
of the dark that leaves only questions
no answers
only questions of the day
that will not go away
and leave me in peace
of silent slumber


I gave advice
earlier this night
to an anxious soul, overwhelmed by troubles,
the way to solve big problems, I told him,
is to solve the small problems first,
and those problems, those niggardly annoyances
that preoccupy ever life, once resolved, clear
the landscape, leaving clear the full forest, the trail
through the thicket laid out like a line
on a map...


but what,
I  ask for myself

when the petty annoyances
are like a hive of hornets,  circling your head...

what answer to that is found in a small booth
in a lonely diner at 3 a.m.?

only resolve..

resolving to maintain resolve,  stubborn
refusal to accept resignation and despair

it's a hard  life, you know, and only
the  hard survive...

perhaps I should have added that
to my advice...

perhaps I should just have another coffee

and pretend in caffeine  peace
that it is fifty years ago again

and those hard lessons are yet
to come...

just enjoy the coffee
and the dark night, and the flickering neon

that  pools around me
as the universe waits for my command

Here's the first poem this week from the "Passages" section of New Days and New Ways.

another day

    the dim light
of a thinly overcast
filters yellow
into the air and across
the trees and pastures and

looking out
from my breakfast perch
the day seems
a Chinese brocade, raised
golden thread
embroidered on thick fabric,
gilded scenes
of morning life wakened
to the silvered calls
of mourning  doves softly
singing songs of daylight's

another day, they sing
another sunrise,
another chance for you
and me

First from my library this week, I have a series of short  poems by Alice Walker. They are from her book Her Blue Body Everything We Know - Earthling Poems 1965-1990. The book was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1991.

Exercises on Themes from Life

Speaking of death
and decay
It hardly matters
Since both are on the
way, maybe -
to being daffodils.

It is not about that
a poet I know used
to say
speaking with haunted eyes
of  liking and disliking -
Now I think
of life.

My nausea has nothing
to do
With the fact that
you love me
It is probably just
something I ate
at your mother's.

To  keep  up a
passionate courtship
with a tree
one must be
completely mad
In the forest
in the dark one night
I lost my way

If I were a patriot 
I would kiss the flag
As it is,
Let us just go.

My father liked very much
the hymns
in church
in the amen corner,
on rainy days
he would wake
himself up
to  hear them.

I would like to see you try
to worm yourself
away from med
first your plead
your age
as if my young heart
felt of the tiredness
in your bones...

Making our bodies touch
across  your breezy bed
how warm you are...
cannot  we save our little
until tomorrow?

My fear of burial
is all tied up with
how used I am
to the spring...!

I wrote the next little piece last week. An interesting thing about it is that everyone who has read and commented on poem understands it exactly the same way, which happens to be exactly the opposite of the way I meant it.

Two things, first it is my belief that once a poem is published, ownership of it passes from the writer to the reader and thus I would never  argue with a reader about meaning, even if theirs is opposite what I  intended.

And,  second, the poem as misunderstood by everyone is a better, deeper poem than the one I intended.

St. Francis sweeps

a delicate-looking
young man
long hair
not at all athletic
a gentle young ma
sweeps the store caresses
the floor with the broom,
so  softly, as if concerned
he might bruise
the dust

My available range of nature is narrow but deep. Here's more of it.

mysteries of night and morning

     it began
about nine with thunder
and lightning
and rumors of rain
which,  turned out, were
only rumors,
but it was a nice threat to ponder

all that fuss
had settled down by four-thirty
with a clear sky
and a full moon, bright
and silver on a soft black sky,
like a cushion, a night
to rest your head

I lay
in the blazing moon glow
like a white-bellied cat, stretching,
lazing on a dim seashore
shining under  the moon's ocean
of bright

my head pillowed back,
I watched the moon  as it slipped
toward morning -  west, behind
pale, passing  clouds,
slowly dipping
behind the trees that line  the creek

no sun yet,
but you can hear the night give up
with a sigh, a rustle of birds in the trees,
dogs sensing the scent
of a new day,
at the moon
around the curvature of the earth,
soft, like a reclining woman's
rounded hip,
its night shadows
overtaking the faded light
on the other side of the world,
the part that is not my part,
where other people live lives
as mysterious tome as
the traveling moon
and steady in its orbit,
silver side to me,
dark side  unknown...

my day begins
as to what it will  be,
another dark side hidden
before its moment
and untested,
as mysterious, I suppose,
to the others
as theirs is to me

This is another poem from my library. By poet, Pamela Kircher, I took the poem from her book, Whole Sky. The book was published by Four Way Books in 1996.

At the time the  book  was published, Kircher lived in rural Ohio. She has an MFA from Warren Wilson College's program for writers. Widely published, her work was included in Best American Poetry, 2003.

Finding a Dream

Because it was small,
because it lay fast in a valley,
was there beyond the car window
and gone,

I let fly my life
like a silver hook at the end of a shining line
and snagged that bright mystery
and carried it home with me
(the deeply furrowed field
burnished like an ornament amid spring-green hills.

a fringe of unleaved trees
on the north slope, the white

frame house with a tin roof
refractive as the surface of water
over a deep spot. Deep

front porch with caches of stiff leaves
and he carcass of a bird. Some bone,
some down, and a pin-feather stuck
straight up  and quivering
like a lightning rod.

Listen, the dried  leaves rustle and stir.
Hold up your palm;
breezy fingers speak

Here, from last week, another coffeehouse observational.

a young  man and woman

young man and woman
by the big windows
at the coffeehouse, both in those
spandex shorts bicycle people
wear, she Latina, tall with long,
strong legs, he, Asian, maybe or
Native American, sitting together, side
by side, not involved in an emotional sense
it seems, but together on some kind
of project, maybe school, maybe university,
both looking old enough for graduate
work, or, maybe it's some kind of business
deal, a  lot of meetings like that there
as well...

though, wait, she just adjusted
the sleeve of is t-shirt, seemed to check
the label at back of his neck - checking sizes
maybe, for a birthday or such - sign maybe
of some kind of deeper relationship
going on here after

but all that just description of  a
moment, scene-setting, interesting maybe
to  an anthropologist, but not what I had in mind
when I started this,
which was,as I looked at them and imagined
their lives, wondering what they would think
of my dreams...

that's the question, I think, as  we try to understand
generational divides, how the dreams that have framed  me
for so many years might also, or not,
frame them even in their

do they dream of days  past as I do,
and imagine days ahead,
do  they think of the fleeting passage
of time and how, through our arts we might
beat it...

are there dead  people from their lives
that visit through the moments
before they sleep - probably not,
for they are young and it takes time
to build a stable of death  to haunt your last
waking hour at  night...

do they look  out the window at their back
and imagine the street as it might have looked
twenty years ago,  a hundred years ago,
five hundred years when the Comanche rode these  hills,
twenty thousand years past when
people first lived  here, right down the street,
gathered around San Pedro Springs
under the ancestors of  the old oak and pecan giants
still growing there...

do they ever look out the window
and imagine the street twenty years hence,
a hundred years,
do they imagine that time in the future
when our mother sun  has begun to die and its light grows dim
and shadows lengthen...

do  they think, like me, of their  end and the end or our kind?

I hope not, not  yet at  least,
for there will be time when they are older
for such dark thoughts, now it is better
to do as they do, sit side by side
working together on something important to both,

Getting  a  little atmospheric from the "Passages" section of the book.

the best there is on offer

morning rain

but steady

     the street
and ebony mirror

     streaked red
like a lipstick message

a disappointed lover...

     a no-promises

     take it
as you find it

     it's the best  there is
on offer

Next from my library, the poet/teacher/Latino and AIM activist/ex-convict/bookstore owner/small  press publisher RaulSalinas, also known as Autumn Sun, from his book Indio Trails, a  Xicano Odyssey Through Indian Country, published by Wings Press in 2007.

His history much too rich to summarize here, I'll just summarize from from the beginning of his biography in the book. Born in San Antonio in 1934, he grew up in La Loma, an east-side barrio in Austin. Blues, jazz, Mexican corridos and other traditional music set the inner rhythms of his life, with the rich cultural  soup of the time and place,  plus the mixture of Black English, school English (enforced) Texas Spanish, Spanish  border radio, all merged to form the  linguistic  environment form which the poet's idiom would evolve. Dropping out of school in 1952, he joined the Pachuco equivalent of the Beat Generation. Heading west to California, he worked in the fruit orchards and soon fell into a problems with the law that led, in 1957, to Solidad State Prison where he began to bring together all the varied strains of his life and started to write. Active with the American  Indian Movement for years, in his later years he opened his bookstore, Resistencia Books and his small press, Red Salmon, in Austin. Deeply involved in his later years in gang intervention and reconciliation across the U.S., he remained an untiring advocate for prisoner rights around the world until his death at 73 in 2008.

Pueblo Murals

Pueblo murals
eagle dancers
soar above
adobe walls.
Falling rain
(whispering of Ana Mae_
gain ground
escort out of town
call  to the falcon
In the hustle & bustle
of an Albuquerque
headed toward
blue clouds of Hopi land
and final visit with
saguaro spirits
on Roberto's rez.

Entering desert
pouches couch
the woman who weaves
tranquility within the storm
tapestries speak of turtles
night of narrative notations
alleviate somewhat
relief, time to get away
to assess & survey
the turbulence of the times.

                         T'ohono O'odham Nation
                         Sells, Arizona, 1987

High Flying Eagle

sacred eagle
gracefully gliding
(almost hiding)
over pastel  heavens

Much -
             Needed Medicine
for Warriors weary
from Battling the Beast.
Protection ENsured
making struggles bearable

"Staying on Top of Things"

Understanding life's experiences
in thankfulness and prayer
in total resistance
listening to that other voice
receiving messages loud and clear
"Remember who you really are!"

Sacred circle formed
by pair of fighting fish
manifesting cycles
of the integration
between earth & sky
as (red) salmon
live to spawn
and spawn again
reaching that eternal

                                 Texas Hill Country
                                 October 18, 1988


                          (a metamorphosis of sorts)

(half hidden)
Harvest Moon
hung low /
glowing on
(new) lovers.
Slightly obscure
October Moon
chameleon moon
of changing seasons
entices lovers
to exchange warm smiles
tenderly touch hands
gripping each other firmly...
final kiss
to ease the (burning)

before turning
(in accordance with the struggle)

flaming arrow
 obsidian axe.

                              Berkeley/ S.F.
                              Oct. '75

Here's another morning  poem from a week or so  ago.

this is what you get when you get it for free

my lovely Bella Mae
was intent near  frantic
at chewing on her hindquarters
this morning
and I told her to stop, that chewing
on her hindquarters was not lady-like
as, for example, you never see the queen
chewing on her hindquarters,
which I think is a message in lady-like
deportment ever person should  pass on to
the lady-dogs of their acquaintance,
though I advise against mentioning it to  their
gentlemen-dog acquaintances, since they might
be insulted by their comparison to lady-dogs
since, as matter of masculine-dog fact,  they do not
chew, they lick, and since it is not their hindquarters
they lick but another region

which reminds me of the young woman I saw
this morning  while walking said lady-dog, a
young woman in extremely good physical condition
jogging while pushing  a double-wide baby carriage
transport for a pair of twins 6 months to a year old
by my estimate,  this highly developed lady-person
pushing her twins at  a  pace I could barely match
even if  from some comic sky would fall a
Jetson jet pack

which reminds me...

there is a promise of rain
falling from the sky
a promise like the promise
of youth so often
unconsummated, like the promise
you assumed when you began reading this particular
Thursday morning entertainment, that a poem
would surely ensue,  another promise also

but at least, like almost everything else
you will consummate today, it required
no particular commitment  to any theological or political
ideology or  to any scientific theory of anything
and beyond all that

From the book's  "Passages" section, a poem of passages.

another Sunday morning

falling toward the west horizon
slips behind  a lacy morning  cloud, hiding
the shadows of its ancient


on cue, fly
from their nighttime nests
cover the sky,
the dark cape of the
Phantoms of the Morning


strong winds,
warm and wet,
blow smells of the
southern sea
the stark remains
of northern


light seeps
from a pinched
eastern horizon, the sky
not ready to open to any new


moon shadows fade
as sun shadows
toward the retreating


does her morning
stretch -
her length
front to  back,
legs reaching in both
belly on the ground,
tail straight in the air,
little red anus
like lantern  light
at the end  of a train


in her bed,
too old for morning
calisthenics -
eyelid lift, up, then
enough for now

Next from my library are three short poems by Patricia Fargnoli, from her book, Small Songs of Pain. It is book of short poems inspired by the illustrated fables of Jean de La Fontaine published in the mid to late 17th century. Fargnoli's book was published by Pecan Grove Press in 2004.

Fargnoli is an award winning poet and retired psychotherapist. She was Poet Laureate of  New Hampshire  from 2006 to 2009.

The Eye of the Master

                               (L'oeil du maitre)

Is there a master here,
he's just a skinny cowboy
swinging a useless lariat.
What good can a god be
against the wild
stamping of bulls
in their barn full of sun and fire.

The Heron

                        (Le heron)

In the green by a steam stood a heron.
In the stream, visible beneath the surface
           small fish swam.

Still as a stalk, already full of them,
the heron refused the fish who, in any case,
            were too small for him.

He stood without need there on the bank
in the world that holds herons in the excess
               of summer, in the humid green,

green of emerald, green of crushed velvet
as the fish swam by his discerning eye,
                safely by his eye.

The Joker and the Fishes

                      (Le rieur et les poissons)

The man tell his joke at the supper table,
mouth open sideways with the telling.
His arm gestures toward the dour man
at the other end who must be the butt of it.
A short man, a big man, a man
with a long crooked nose laugh.
the goblets, the decanter, even
the cooked fish, rollick  around the cloth.
The dour man who's had quite enough
plots behind his sideways eyes -
a small quick murder.

 Last week, finally dealing with one of those daily annoyances that  eat time and patience.

 twined destinies - more than just a theory

a slow leak
in my right rear tire
has been harassing me
for weeks, putting air in every
five or six days, $1a pop which
always irritates the hell out of me
since I'm old enough to remember when
air was free and it was quite possible to
take deep and sustaining breaths
without taking out a second mortgage
on your home or ranch...

until today, when I figured out that I had put $10
worth of air in a tire it would only cost me $5
to get fixed, except that in addition to the $5
there would be the cost of sitting at Firestone
for six  hour  until they god  around to pulling the little
offending screw out of my practically new tire,
six hours out of my extremely busy schedule
of considering the color of leaves on my trees
and the small breeze that blows through them
and how the color changes as leaves are rustled
and listing to the squirrels and the mockingbird
who has learned to perfectly imitate the call
of our visiting hawk, fooling me every time, leaving me
to wonder what the hawk thinks of being so perfectly
mocked, might it be pissed at the impudence of a lonely
mockingbird to mock the mighty hawk or he could be like
rock singers who Weird Al so perfectly parodies and who
claim to be honored by the attention of Weird Al (whether
they are or are not so honored - it is expected)

and I'm thinking the hawk might be  like those rock fellas,
pleased to gain the attention of  such a perfectly mocking

but that's off the point and I don't even know myself
how I got to this point of Weird Al and mockingbirds
and rock fellas and a visiting hawk...

when I was actually going to talk about the AAA fella
who came to change my tire, a muscular fella with a bald
head and scraggly mustache and beard, a lot  like me
in fact except that I'm not nearly so muscular but easily
attaining the same level of bald and scraggly, so we
might be brothers under the skin except our other similarity
is he's been driving a tow  truck for 18 years and I've been
getting towed for easily twice that long...

but, come to think of it, that's kind of close to the same thing,
both involving as they do automobiles and tow trucks,
oh, and he also drove through St. Louis once and got lost
and so did I and also, it's kind of  eerie, these similarities,
but I lived and worked for a year in a Muslim country
and he says the owner of the tow company he works for
is an A-Rab and so maybe there is something
the theory of twined destinies
after all...

maybe like the hawk and the mockingbird, doppelgangers,
brothers of very different mothers,
finding their twined destinies singing to each other
in the big oak tree in my backyard...

something to think about

And now another from New Ways and New Days - "Passages."

crystal city

in San Antonio last night...

sunshine this morning
through the prism of crystal ice

brightens the day
with cold intensity of light...

across the way
three deer cross a meadow

the morning so quiet
I imagine

I can hear the crunch
of their hooves

virgin snow

night lays in

lays in
with a sigh
like an old woman
pulling bed covers up to her chin

rustles trees
like feather dusters
brushing the stars, frogs
come alive in the creek,
nighthawks hunt...

on my patio
I strip down, lay back in my chair,
and join the frog symphony,
the fresh, cool mud
between a catalog of reeds
on the rain-freshened creek-side,
imagine the blood-tasty mosquitoes
with a  flick of my long, green tongue

squish into the

4 a.m.

     fresh breezes
at 4 a.m.
on my bare body
stir the trees
branches and leaves
spider patches
moon-bright sky

an ambulance
crosses the creek
lights and sirens
braking the fading

a neighbor's dog
me back to bed


gather in the trees
at  twilight
knowing all the secrets
of night,
drawing together
as dark draws them in,
settles them into the soft cradle
of a crescent

I feel twilight
and shadows  approaching

cannot find the fulcrum
that is my own

no hurry

in no hurry
but still
the river runs

it's Saturday...

another week  racing by
but I wait..

will join the  river
when my time comes

Now from my library, another,  like Whitman, American original, Carl Sandburg,  Whitman as a prairie-fire populist rather than the transcendentalist we know and love.

To Certain Journeymen

Undertakers, hearse drivers,grave diggers,
I  speak to you as one not afraid of  your business.

You handle dust going to a long country,
You know the secret behind your job is  the same whether
        you lower the coffin with modern, automatic ma-
        chinery, well-oiled and noiseless, or whether the
        body is laid in by naked hands and then covered by
        the shovels.

Your day's work is done with laughter many days of the
And you earn a living by those who say good-by today in
         thin whispers.

Child of the Romans

The dago shovelman sits by the railroad track
Eating a noon meal of bead and bologna.
         A train whirls by, and men and women at tables
         Alive with red roses and yellow jonquils,
         Eat steaks running with brown gravy,
         Strawberries and cream, eclairs and coffee.
The dago shovelman finishes the dry bread and bologna,
Washes it down with a dipper from the water-boy,
And goes back to the second half of a ten hour day's
Keeping the roadbed so the roses an jonquils
Shake hardly at all in the cut glass vases
Standing slender in the tables in the dining cars.


I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.
I wish you never quit your job and came along with me.
I wish we never bought a license and a white dress
For you to get married in the day we ran off to a minister
And told him we would love each other and take care of
         each other
Always and always long as the sun and the rain lasts
Yes, I wishing now you lived somewhere away from
And I was a bum on the bumpers a thousand miles away
          dead broke.
               I wish the kids had never come
               And rent and coal and clothes to pay for
               And a grocery man calling for cash.
               Every day cash for beans and prunes.
               I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.
               I wish to God the kids have never come.

A little background on this poem - I strained, pulled or did something else terrible to a muscle, ligament or something else in my groin last week and it hurt like hell. If a kidney stone is a nine on the 1-10 pain scale (and I know from experience it is), then this,  whatever it was, was at least an eight and a half the first day. It was better the second day, and by the third day I was able to at least sit down and get back up, though still  with discomfort and considerable pain.

This report is from the third day.

the pleasure of watching an intelligent dog think

I'm a little better
than yesterday, able to
walk to a chair and sit down
and get up, though with discomfort
and more than a little pain

and I have just done that
and Bella Mae is beside the chair
expressing her desire to go out
and I explain to her that I just sat
down and it was hard to do
and will be just as hard to get up
and open the door to let her out
and she says, "sure, now open the door
and let me out," and I say okay
but I tell her if I discomfortably and
painfully get up to let her out
I will expect that she will not be
back at the door after 48 seconds
wanting back in, "sure," she says,
"now open the door and let me out"

so discomfortably and painfully I got up
and opened the French doors to  let her out
and told her, "go run in the wild,"
I said and come back in about 30 minutes

"sure," she said, "now open the door and let
me out"

and I did that, forgetting that for her the wild ends
about two feet from the  edge of the patio
if I'm not with her

so about 48 seconds later, after I had discomfortably
and painfully sat back down she was at the door,
"okay, you can let me in now," I hear her say
through the glass of the door

and I decide to ignore her since getting up again
would be both discomfortable and painful
and she looked at me sitting there, not responding
immediately to her call, thinking about the ramifications
deciding she had approached the door from the wrong
angle, the right side, and that's why I  couldn't see or hear
her call, so she ran back into the yard and  approached again,
this time form the left side and called to  me again, to let
her in

"okay, you can let me in now," she says

and when I didn't respond I could tell she was thinking and thinking,
deciding the pros and cons of a 911 call  in  this particular circumstance

and I finally called out to her and told her to play for
another ten minutes because getting up to let here in would be
discomfortable and painful so she should stay out a while  longer

and she thought and thought and said, "sure, now open the door
and let me in," and waited, thinking and thinking

and while I certainly enjoy watching an intelligent dog think,
nose twitching, ears flippity flopping, eyes intent, forehead
wrinkling from the intensity of concentration,
I began to be a little worried that she might go to the
neighbors or maybe call ASPCA and then I would indeed
be in a discomforable and painful pickle

so I let her in - I hope you appreciate, I told her, that
getting up and letting you in was a very discomfortable
and painful thing for me to do and I hope you are grateful

"sure," she says, "wanna go outside with me?"

And now more from "Passages."

party time

recent rain
turned the creek
waking mud-crusted frogs
from their dry summer sleep,
turning the creek
at 2 a.m.
into a cacophony of bull-deep
mating calls
and feminine-froggy squeals of
procreating pleasure

if the creek was  a  West Texas
dance hall,
I'd say the joint was


of pigeons flies in
lands in the parking lot
at the asphalt
I don't know


the sun

the river
orange and
as dragonflies

like soft hands

soft hands

summer breezes

midnight lover

Next I have two poems by Michael Earl Craig, one of the most interesting poets in my library. Born in Ohio in 1970, he has degrees from the University of Montana and the University of Massachusetts. Author of a couple of well received books, he is also a certified journeyman furrier and makes his living shoeing horses in Livingston, Montana.

The poems this week are from  his book, Thin Kimono, published by Wave Books in 2010.


The nitwit danced  with  the congresswoman
at the spring picnic.

I went down to the river to take a good look at it.
I stood on the band and  said "God, if you do exist..."

A handsome puppet passed by, dragging its puppeteer by the hand.

Also a Pekingese wearing a University of Mobile sweatshirt.

To those people who are always talking about "surrealism"
can I suggest opening your fucking eyes?

If you do this, you will see mothballs. And a green nightgown.

What Can We Learn From Poetry?

Walken was angry but stoic last night
(Communion, 1989, color, 103 min.)
when it came time to take his anal probe.
The little blue doctors were brisk
but not excessive.

The whole thing made me look
more hopefully upon the future,
realizing the desire to "talk
things over" is human, but
also sometimes futile.

(Quite a lot of time passes here where the poet puts his head down,
where the poet no longer has his head up.)

And now Richard Gere with
the's all
coming back to  me...

Thinking  quickly of another poet, John  Barr.
They say, affectionately, I think, that
he is a "small,  sun-baked man."


Definitely more stock than  angry, when it came time.
It somehow touched me.

This morning the neighbors, re-situating their sprinklers.
A wet cricket crawls out into a patch of sunlight.

The downtown walks have been hosed.
Outside the bank some hanging plants drip.
A group  of senior citizens enters a cafe, so I follow.

Inside, pancakes lie docilely.
I see a comb-over  blown  loose.
The bravado of croissants.
Says the one with Peter Lorre eyes:
"Don't bring my grape juice
in a glass boot."


Again,  rent  Communion.
They say we're fucked.
My plaid fedora says HECHO EN CHINA.
Our president  purses his lips
like an  aggrandized dachshund.

Sitting around praying for miracles
is like dying a slow  death screams
the life coach, spitting into
the front row.

At any rate, I saw an octogenarian
in town today.  I stopped.
I helped her eat her pancake.

Another early morning poem.

three beautiful mornings in a row

three beautiful mornings
in a row,
mid-60s, bright sun,
blue sky,reminding me
of mornings this time of year
on the desert, when heat stored
during the day escapes to the open sky
at night and temperatures can dip
to freezing, only to  warm up again
to the 90s or higher as the sun opens
its furnace door, turning the sand
to beads of smoldering fire driving
into scarce shadows all the creatures
of the desert, the snakes and Gilas ad night
hawks and desert owls and hairy-legged tarantulas
that came out in the coolness of night to
hunt and eat their prey

we do not hunt and eat
our prey at night here in the city but
as circumstances allow, we do
crouch  like desert creatures in the shadows
as the sun rises for another blistering day,
most of us at least when we can...

but some cannot hide and long  ago
I was one who did not shirk the
open sky, welcoming it instead working bare
to the waist, chest and shoulders and arms
reaching for the sun, laboring in the day
and fully alive in the light and golden burn of the

unlike the night creatures of the desert
I was a being of the bright day, finding my life
in the sweat and star-fire of the  sun, a body
at the time built to prevail under the worst the
day could do..

no longer is that me...

now I am one with the snakes and lizards
and biting  insects, seeking always the dark of night
and the shadows of day, not the man  I was,
just  the man today that circumstance
allows me to

This is my last poem this week from New Days and New Ways,  but I cheated and jumped ahead to the second section in the book.

But I couldn't help myself. Republicans in Congress are having an internal fight  over whether they should forget about trying to de-fund Planned Parenthood (typical  Republican stupidity) or  continue with the futile effort and (more typical Republican  stupidity) shut down the government. It's like watching the 38th sequel to "Dumb and Dumber."

just because this poem is about idiots doesn't necessarily mean it's a political poem though I'll  admit it does make it more likely

     trying to write
a poem this morning
about how the wind is blowing,
shaking up the trees,
snapping the flag over at USAA,
(I bet if I was outside I could hear it pop in the wind)
and the possibility of thunderstorms,
welcome rain, and if it does come,
a good strong rain,
I'll be out in my backyard,
stomping and sliding
in the mud when the first raindrop falls,
flapping and rolling in the grass
like a bird chasing worms,
and the biscuit and gravy I had for  breakfast,
especially good this

but politics continues
to invade, steady against
the wind, not the national stuff,
about which I have given up in despair, resigned
to waiting for the next election,
retaining some hope that all the insane fucks
from the last  election
will be sent packing, back to whatever
stink hole they crawled out of...

not  talking about those national intellectual
and moral  abominations,
but the more local type, the Texas Legislature,
winding up its bi-annual 180-day session,
dominated by Republicans, the same kind of
slime-sucking snakes brought to us nationally
by the last election, ending one of the most dishonorable sessions
since secession, like yesterday, heading into the last frantic
days of the session, three pieces of last minute
the "let's-go-shoot-our-professors guns in classrooms" bill;
and the "too-damn-many-poor-Democrats-voting" voter ID bill;
and the "let's-send-all-them-damn-meskins-back-to-Arizona" sanctuary cities bill...

and the months to the next election seem
to stretch further and further away every day,
especially when I hear a couple of Democrats at the table next to me yesterday,
fuming about how we shot bin Laden when we should'a given him
a party hat and party horn and bought him back for questioning,
but like in "Law and Order" only after reading him his rights  in seven languages
including Sign,
and I'm thinking, holy shit!
are these the idiots who I have to look to
to get rid of the  other idiots...

and see,
that's why I'm tired of thinking about politics
cause it seems all you ever get is a choice of which idiots
you're going to  let give you heartburn

The last poet this week from my library is Howard Moss, poet, dramatist and critic. Winner of the National Book Award in 1972, he was  poetry editor of The New Yorker Magazine from 1948 until his death in 1987.

The two poems I'm using are from his collection, Notes from the Castle, published in 1979 by Atheneum

The Night Express

That moment we neared the reservoir
Dry wit dried up aware that water
Was no longer there for the taking. Hazel
and birch, those secret, solitary drinkers,
Were suddenly duplicated everywhere,
Even the ground consuming its portion.
The word on every lip was "parched."
Could the desert be a stone's throw away,
As so many people had guessed? In her bath
The old lady down the road was appalled
To find herself knee-deep in rust,
This after years of limpid clearness,
Soap beautifully wrapped and scented -
It was better than a sojourn at  a thousand spas.
The sodas of the springs, the dew
Knew they were doomed not to be, feather-
Bedders of a union that had seen its day.
And so moisture, morning mist,and streaks
Of  rain became so valuable collectors
Held out cans  especially designed
To catch every drop of the cold sweat
Of the night express as it went roaring  by.

Have You Forgotten

Have you forgotten the sweetness of women,
Their treble cries, the underworld of milk?
How in the fleshy inside of an elbow
The warm hollow trembles with blue silk -
All  luscious opaque roundness in a blur
Of  bedroom coverlet, of rind and mound,
Those supple thighs I nested in  at twelve
Whose milk-whit forms melted the horizon's
Aggregate of birds into empty distance.

To walk by heavy mirrors of a myth
With the greedy mouth everyone begins with
And feed on nothing but the self reflected
Is to know how pleasure ceases, does away  with
Savor, and the attributes of Eden
End up in a darkroom of details,
Or a day of too much light whose sun erases
Privacies gone flat, communication
A letter bomb  arriving in the mails.

Here's my last new poem  for the week, written after a morning  of early star-gazing.

star-gazing with  friends

too long
keeping my eyes on the path ahead
I forgot  to look  at  the stars

until this morning...

my backyard tour
at 5 a.m.
happened to glance up
and saw a sky-full of night's white diamonds,
I sat down in a chair
so I could lean my head back
and try to take them all  in, too many,  even the ones
close enough to see,  too many,
even with an hour of looking, too many, even until
the sun began to push its light like a tide
washing over the beach of morning sky, the glowing froth
of new day leveling with tidal push and pull sand castles
built by skittering crabs under the now-dimming stars

I sat in the chair
watching the sky turn the blue of a warm summer day,
thinking of the worlds still  circling,  out of billions of  billions, one
or two  midnight creatures in alien chairs, leaning back
and watching the stars of their far place, including the one
where, in their other-world imagination, they might see me in my chair
imagining them in theirs...

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


Sonyador - The Dreamer

                                                Peace in our Time


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