None of My Business Here   Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Photo by Thomas  Costales

Last week it was all about me.

This week it is nothing about me, beginning with all poems from my library and none by me and photos only by Thomas Costales. I havae featured his work in several  issues, but not in a long time. I'm assuming  that the permission for use he gave me before carries over to today.

When I met Thomas, he was a self-taught photographer, like me, but a lot better, with a eye as least as good as mine and technical skills  far beyond mine. He took a great  picture because he planned it that way. If I take a good picture it's usually by luck or accident.

Thomas describes these pictures as the product of an  insomniac's night rambles. I also include this week several of the excellent  portraits he did.

At the time, he was planning on studying photography. I hope he did, because if he did, his work will be extraordinary.

Among Thomas' pictures I didn't find was my favorite, which I used as the cover for my second eBook, Goes  Around, Comes Around

What a smorgasbord of poetry I have this week!

Bobby Byrd
The Still Point of the Turning World

Demetria Martinez
We Talk About Spanish  
Translation from the Vietnamese

Gwendolyn Brooks
A Lovely Love
A Penitent Considers Another Coming of Mary 

Charles Bukoswki
who the hell is Tom Jones
white dog

Paul Monette
Ed Dying

J.R. Thein
Introducing Dorrance

Zbigniew Herbert
From the  End
The Dead
Crossing Guard
Still Life

Dilruba Ahmed
Dear Masoom

James Welch
Christmas Comes to Moccasin  Flat

Maria Luisa B. Aguilar Carino
Roses from the Sea

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan
Counting Sheep

A Man May Tear a Jewel
Apathy is Ascribed to the Modest Man 
A Bald-Headed Man
Sweet Maid
While His Body's Vigor is Whole

Paul Guest
Towards a Theory of Proximity

Richard Howard

Joanna M. Weston
To Obliterate 
The House Martin 

Thom Gunn
The Life of the Otter

Charles Levenstein
Three from Elba

Liu Ch'ang Ch'ing   
Snow on Lotus Mountain

Kao Chi
The Old Cowboy

Tim Seibles
The Motion   

Ted Hughes
Crow on the Beach

Andrey Voznesensky
An Obligatory Digression

Abdul-Raheem Saleh al-Raheem
The Train of Stars

Sohrab Sepehi
from The Sounds of Water's Footsteps

Saadi Youssef

Ada Limon
The Same Thing     

The Day Sky
Beautiful Hands
Old  Sweet  Beggar  

Photo by Thomas  Costales

First from my library this week, a  poem by Bobby Byrd from his  book, On the Transmigration  of Souls in El Paso. The book was published  by  Cinco Puntos Press of  El Paso in 1992.

A poet, essayist  and publisher, Byrd grew up in Memphis and moved in 1983 to Tuscon where he attended The University of Arizona. He has lived in the Southwest since 1978, making El Paso and the border region his home.

The Still Point of the Turning  World

As if life really
has no meaning, as if
William Carlos Williams
doesn't even wander dis-
embodied in Limbo,

            the River Styx

gurgling off into the distance,
Ulysses, Achilles and Blind Homer
giggling to themselves over some joke
"ol Ez told them, something about
farting  into  the Holy Face of God,


                      (you know who...)

went and pasted up
T.S. Eliot
on a 22-cent stamp.
Our postman, Trini Martinez,
aching-backed Hermes of

    Louisville Street,
    Five Points Station,
    El Paso, Texas,

thinks old Thomas Sterns
is an ugly sonuabitch,

"Don't you think, huh, Bob?"

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Next, another poet  from the Southwest, Demetria Martinez, with two poems from her book, Breathing Between the Lines, published by The University of Arizona Press in 1997.

Born  and raised in Albuquerque, Martinez is a writer, poet, and immigration activist. In addition to her poetry collections, she won the 2013 American Book from the Before Columbus Foundation for her novella, The Block Captain's Daughter, and the Western States Book Award for the novel, The Mother Tongue,  based on her indictment for charges of conspiring to smuggle Central American refugees into the United States. A reporter for the National Catholic Reporter at the time, she was acquitted on first amendment grounds.

We Talk About Spanish

Not in Spanish
Dream with dictionaries

Marrying out to  whi5es
Damn good black beans
But so what?
Oh  there  were  times
Like  in the orange groves
Outside Phoenix
My task was to mark charts
To ask the Guatemaltecas
When was your last period
And so on as they lined up
At the trailer to see a doctor

And that night in Harvard Yard
A North Vietnamese
soldier-poet  tested
Spanish he learned in Cuba
It worked
We found a third way
His voice was a high wire
I crossed over to him
Fearless as a spider
If  we didn't know  a word
We filled in the blank
With a star
It is a light
That years later
I try not to curse

Translation from the  Vietnamese

           for Kevin Brown

hold a poem up to the light
look for fractures
that make the crystal
the unburied bones
that make up his nightmares

knowing what cannot be healed
must be held
until it can be heard
above the detonations

in the crumpled silk of the jungle
a six-toned wood flute
the sound of one hand writing
down the worlds that survived

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Next from  my library,  Gwendolyn Brooks, from the Perennial Classics collection of her work, Selected Poems, published in 1963.

Born in 1917,  Brooks died in 2000. She was, in 1950, the  first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize (for poetry) and was named Poet  Laureate for the state of Illinois and later, the first black woman to be named Poet Laureate of the United States.

Both  poems are from "The Bean Eaters" section of the book.

A Lovely Love

Let  it be alleys. Let it  be a hall
Whose janitor javelins epithet and thought
To cheapen  hyacinth darkness that we sought
And played we found, rot, make the petals fall.
Let it be stairways, and a splintery box
Where you have thrown me, scraped me with your kiss,
Have honed me, have released me after this
Cavern kindness, smiled away our shocks.
That is the birthright of our lovely love
In swaddling  clothes. Not like the Other one.
No lit by any fondling star  above.
Not  found  by any wise-men,either. Run.
People are  coming. They must not catch us here
Definition-less in this strict atmosphere.

A Penitent Considers Another Coming of Mary

If Mary came would Mary
Forgive, as Mothers may,
And sad and second Saviour
Furnish us today?

She would not shake her head and leave
This military air,
But rativy a modern hay,
And put her Baby there.

Mary would not punish men -
If Mary came again.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Next, I have Charles Bukowski from one of his largest posthumous collections, The Pleasures of the Damned, Poems  1951-1993,  published by ECCO in 2007.

who the hell is Tom Jones

I was shacked with a
24-year-old  girl  from
New York City  for
two weeks - about
the time of the garbage
strike out there, and
one night my 34-year-
old woman arrived and
she said, "I want to see
my rival,"  she did
and then she said,  "o,
you're a cute  little thing!"
next I knew there was a
screech of wildcats -
such screaming and scratch-
ing, wounded animal moans,
blood and piss...

I was  drunk and in my
shorts. I tried to
separate them and fell,
wrenched my knee, then
they were through the screen
door and down the walk
and out in the street.

squad cars full of cops
arrived,  a police heli-
copter circled overhead.

I stood in the bathroom
and grinned in the mirror.
it's not often at  the age
of 55 that such splendid
things occur.
better than the Watts

the 34-year-old
came back in. she had
pissed all over hers-
self  and her clothing
was torn and she was
followed by 2 cops who
wanted to know why.

pulling up my shorts
I tried to explain.

white dog

I went for a walk on Hollywood Boulevard.
I looked  down and there was a large white dog
walking  beside  me.
his pace was exactly the same as mine.
we stopped at traffic signals together.
we crossed side streets together.
a woman smiled at us.
he must have walked 8 blocks with me.
then I went into a grocery store and
when I came out he was gone.
or  she was gone.
the wonderful white dog
with a trace of yellow in its fur.
the large blue eyes were gone.
the grinning mouth  was gone.
the lolling tongue was gone.

things are so easily lost.
things just can't be  kept forever.

I got the blues.
I got the blues.
that dog loved and
trusted me and
I let it  walk away.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Paul Monette is the next poet from my library, with a poem from his book West of Yesterday, East of Summer - New and Selected Poems 1973-1993. The book was published in 1994 by St. Martin's press.

Born  in 1945 in Massachusetts, Monette was an author, poet and an  activist best know for his essays about gay relationships. Prominent in his work is his rage at the social and political inactivity in response to the AIDS epidemic.

The poet died in 1995.

Ed Dying

Hate is an old man, fucking, arduous
and half a bone, but I work at it
like Sophie Tucker, a last geriatric fling
like pushing a car uphill with a rope.
Hate the Reagans and their facile cancers,
all straight people with lives and my brothers
who flee to the continent having burned
their allotment. This is the rage of the 8th
year, bent out of shape, crazily displaced,
yelling at the queerest people because
the scum politicos of NIH are out
of reach, funding the end of the world.
I massacre whoever  gets in my small way -check
lost in the mail, promise of shirts Friday,
876-4466 my Thrifty  druggist rings busy busy
and I need refills like a one-arm bandit,
that kind of thing. As for Ed, Ed is dying
by phone, dwindling in secret, doing without
spunk and visitors. I  leave word  weekly
on his machine, reports of my latest  tantrum,
a recent self-immolation in the Mayfair checkout.
For months there is no reply, but we are
light-years beyond  good  manners, Ed and I,
loathing  bullshit  so and the comfort of sunny
disposition. Checked in the day Rita  Hayworth died:
Hi Ed, poor Gilda,huh? My only friend who knows
how blonde the lady from Shanghai was and why
it matters so. Publicity errs on the bright side
always, burning for us to have a good time.
Ed who has met them all - Cary, Hitch, Her Serene
Highness - the last living link between us
poor queens and To Catch a Thief,speaking of Eden
lost. Now we  are all on the last train out,
fleeing, fleeing, diamonds up your ass, the past
curling like smoke as Marlene drags  her last
Gitane. Even as Ed is dying, in Washington
everyone  eats his boogers and  Mormons file
the plague under Pest Control,  Reagan's colon
clear as a bagpipe, his sausage tumors
replicated in lifelike vinyl for souvenirs.
The suddenly over new Year's: This is Ed.
Thank you for all your messages. I love
your rage. So I hate mostly for Ed's sake now,
and the old man fucking with his dick in a brace
has mounted a bimbo who can't feel it, does it
for fifty, next  year will do if for thirty-five
and eat his shorts for an encore. There are easier
ways than all this slamming about, I admit,
but the time comes - say after the third pneumonia,
and they send you home to recuperate with
the wrong dose, 200 fucking milligrams  less
than what will make you live again, and ten
days later you're back in stir, starting it all
over, over and over - the time will come
when you prove you are still alive just feeling
anything at all. So sometimes  we are wronged
as Lana Turner in the fifties, jilted and stomped,
herded like misfits,  the vanishing years aching
like a torrent of smoke thrown by a moonlit train
bound for the chaos of Shanghai. And if we wail
and spew bile  we say we are not collaborators,
for Ed wold not be dying please without
the complicity of niceness, so many smiling
colon exams. Yes it's hard to keep it up,
me and this numb member of mine, rutting
while Rome burns, but to hate everything
half-true - including me,  especially me -
a nasty temper works like Spanish fly.
Be hard and cry foul, I order my bad thing,
for we are in enemy hands, buying time like
fallen women in countries torn by the death
grip of keeping things polite. Hate for the same
reason a man might sit and weep, missing Ed.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Dorrance, Narrative History is a chapbook by J.R. Thelin telling the story of his character, Dorrance. The book was published a Pudding House Publication in 2004.

Thelin is a poet, editor, and professional drummer. Educated at a number of universities, he earned a B.A. (magna  cum laude, distinction in English)at Vermont College and an M.F.A. in writing.

Introducing Dorrance

Dorrance pisses in the sink.
He's not supposed to be there.
The boutique bathroom's  reserved
for the owner and her employees, ONLY,
not the public,  certainly not a fur ball
such as Dorrance. He's not  a Campbell's

Soup heir. Or so he  says. He swooshes
out the door but not before sleeving
a small plate of samples,  chocolate  truffles,
delicious smears that mingle with the wispy hairs
on his upper lip. Twenty-two and turned on,

he'll pawn the silver tray far from this walking mall,
scrupulously fold the paper doily for later,
grace notes of psychedelic greatness will dot
its page: hieroglyphic symbols
a la Dorrance. This month it's Boulder,

February was Tuscon,  free films
(if you're Dorrance
delivering a bulb for the projector)
near the University quad. He'll light up a co-ed
for a night or two, suck deeply

on her Tijuana smile. Joints  rolled,like a child,
on Grateful  Dead album  jackets, Dorrance stuffs
the seed and stems excess - bought
by Ms. Hipp with her daddy's kiss-off check -
into the floppy pocket of his cotton poncho, a blanket

for those nights at a roadside  table,
backroads to Tseuque and a weekend, uninvited,
at old skull lady O'Keeffe's. Even the snake killer
couldn't hold on to Dorrance,  slip slip slippery,
he vanish before Juan can bounce him

from the ranch. Shape-shiftin' Dorrance,
more chameleon than Clapton, cameras can't capture,
his graduation photo (prep school unknown)
was fuzzy. Shoot him now, he's the wavering light
reflecting off a mesa or a Coors truck tipping sideways.


Portraits by Thomas Costales

My next poet is Zbigniew Herbert with several short pieces (not sure what to call them - mini-essays?) from his book Elegy for the  Departure  and other stories. The stories are included in a section of the book that is otherwise dedicated to his poetry.

Herbert was born in 1924 and died in 1998. A Polish poet, essayist, drama writer  and moralist, he was a member of the "Home Army," the Polish resistance group during World War II. He was the best known and most  translated Polish poet of the post war era.

From the End

     And then they  a huge table, and a magnificent wedding
took place.  That day the princess was even more beautiful
than usual. Music played. Girls as lovely as moons danced
     Well, fine, but what happened  before? Oh,let's not even
think about it. A black fortune-teller beats  against the window
like a moth. forty thieves lost their log knives and beard as
they were fleeing, and the dragon - changed into a beetle -
peacefully sleeps on the almond leaf.


     A  procession of steel  roosters. Boys painted with whitewash.
Filings of aluminum destroy houses. They throw deafening balls
into the air, completely red. No one will fly away into the sky.
The earth attracts bodies and lead.

The Dead

     Because they were closed in dark, airless chambers, their
faces have become completely recast. They would like to  speak,
but sand has eaten  away their lips.  Only from time to time do
they clench the air in the fist,  and try clumsily to raise the head,
like infants. Nothing makes them happy, neither chrysanthe-
mums nor candles. They can't reconcile themselves to this state,
the state of things.


     A  path runs barefoot to the forest. Inside are many trees,, a
cuckoo, Hansel and Gretel, and other small animals. But there
are no dwarfs, because they have left. When it gets dark an owl
closes the forest with a big key, for if a cat sneaked in it would
really do a lot of harm.

Crossing Guard

    His name is 176 and he lives in a big brick with a single win-
dow. He walks out, a small altar boy of traffic, and with hands
heavy as dough salutes the trains rushing  by.
     For many miles around: nothing. A plain with a single
lump, in the middle a group of lonely trees. It isn't necessary to
live here thirty years to calculate there seven of them.

Still Life

     Violently separated from life, these shapes were scattered on
the table with deliberate carelessness: a fish, an apple, a handful
of vegetables mixed with flowers. A dead leaf of light has  been
added, and  a bird with a bleeding head. In its petrified claw the
bird clenches a small plane made of emptiness, and air taken

Photo by Thomas  Costales

My next library poem is by Dilruba Ahmed. Her poem is from Dhaka Dust, published by Graywolf Press in 2011 and winner of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference "Bakeless Prize."

With roots in Pennsylvanian, Ohio and Bangladesh, Ahmed earned a BPhil and MAT degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She has taught at the Chatham University's Low-Residency MFA program.

Dear Masoom

We are happy to hear
you have electricity in your home,
that the pipes by each window
keep you warm. What a kind
government  to provide
milk, butter, and cheese.
Arey,if only ours would do the same -
but it  can't  keep the trash
off the capital's streets.
We hope you and Shilpa are well.
The little ones, send them
our love. Please come home soon.
Appa would like to see you
before she dies.

the blankets you mailed
are quite fine - Maya and I share
one, as I gave mine
to Appa. She coughs and rasps
all night despite the ginger tea.
I can hardly sleep
for the noise. Appa is growing older,
you know,so the monsoons make her
wheeze, the dust makes her wheeze,
weather changes make her sneeze.
I hear her now as I sit
wrapped in the one blanket
Maya and I share.

Brother,  we are well
in most  regards. We  are keeping
warm in the sweaters you mailed
last year, the dry season upon us
already. at night the chill  could break
your bones. Just last week
the shim vines grew as shiny
as eggplant, bur now the jinn
rise in the fields.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

James Welch, who grew up  within the Blackfeet and A'aninin culture of his parents, was an award winning Native American novelist and poet considered a founding author of the Native American Renaissance. Born in 1940, he died in 2003. His poem this week is from his book Riding the Earthboy - 40 -. It was published by Confluence Press in 1990.

Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat

Christmas comes like this: Wise men
unhurried,candles bought on credit (poor price
for calves), warriors face down in wine sleep.
Winds cheat to pull heat from smoke.

Friends sit in chinked cabins,stare out
plastic windows and wait for commodities.
Charlie Blackbird, twenty miles from church
and bar, stabs his fire with fling.

When drunks drain adiators for love
or need, chiefs eat snow and talk of change,
an urge to laugh pounding their ribs.
Elk play games in high country.

Medicine Woman, clay pipe and twist tobacco,
calls each blizzard by name and predicts
five o'clock by spitting at her television.
Children lean into her breath to bet a story:

Something about honor and passion,
warriors back with meat and song,
a peculiar evening star, quick vision of birth.
Blackbird feeds his fire. Outside, a quick 30  below.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

The next poem is by Filipino-American  poet  Maria Luisa B. Aguilar-Carino,taken from her book, Cartography - A Collection of Poetry on Baguio. Baguio  is the city in the Philippines where the poet earned her BA degree at the University of the Philippines. She later earned an MA in literature at Ateneo de Manila University and  finally a Ph.D in English/Creative Writing at the University of Illinois where she was a Fulbright Scholar.

Her book was published by Anvil Publishing in 1992.  

Roses from the Sea

Would Gabriel Garcia
Have recognized their scent?
Up from the sea and floating
Into the vast, consuming dark,
As lights in windows flicker on.

In the city half-sprawled,  half-imagined
As some great chiaroscuroed garden under glass,
Fingers stumble from under bedclothes,
Spring up from laps,drop
The encircled glass -
Uncertain still  to thrill
To strange new currents breaking
Through  long-deadened air.

Their images emerge and then withdraw
Upon unceasing waves;
Icons of flowers and palms rustling,
Parting the damask air.
And in our sleep we dream
Of things reverting to what once
They were: cipher of sea and land,
Where, turning, we  sense
A garden there
Whose foliage glistens
With the sun's old,
Fleeting gold.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Here are two short poems by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan from her book Parties. The book was published by Louisiana State University Press in 1988.

In addition to her four  books of poetry published by Louisiana  State University Press (Parties was the first), Morgan's work appears frequently in journals and anthologies.


I jerk awake at dawn to snarls.
Guttural, dangerous. In my yard
three dogs are tearing up my cat.

They stretch her to three points above the grass,
bend their necks between their stiff front legs,
stake her with their teeth.

I charge out in my nightgown,
wave my arms as if I had weapons.

Or no, I just think so. Motionless
I stand at the window and watch them finish.

Two lope off across my lawn and down the street.
The third trots home next door
where the family calls him Caleb.

They've trained him to come when they whistle,
to leap and catch sticks in midair.

Counting Sheep

The drunk in the kitchen  in Mother.
the dry metal crack is the ice tray.
The long liquid silence is whiskey.
the spigot's quick gush is the water.
The cupboard doors banging is searching.
The one-sided talking  is pleading.
The God-damned sobbing is praying.
The dry metal crack the ice tray.
The drunk in the kitchen is Mother.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

World Poetry, at 1335 pages, "An Anthology of  Verse from Antiquity to Our Time" was published in 1998 by Quality Paperback Book Club. From the anthology, Part III, The Post classical World (A.D. 250-1200), Section 1, India: The Golden Age of Courtly Verse, I have chosen several short poems by Bhartrhari, a  Sanskrit author from the 5th-6th centuries A.D. He is widely credited with two influential Sanskrit texts, one on the subject of Sanskrit grammar and the other on Sanskrit poetry.

All five pieces were translated by Barbara Stoler Miller.

A Man May Tear a Jewel

A man may tear a jewel
From a sea monster's jaws,
Cross a tumultuous sea
Of raging tides.
Or twine garland wise
A wrathful serpent on his head.
But no man can alter
The thoughts of an obstinate fool.

Apathy Is Ascribed to the Modest Man

Apathy is ascribed to the modest man,
Fraud to the devote,
Hypocrisy to the pure,
Cruelty to the hero,
Hostility to the anchorite,
Fawning to the courteous man,
Arrogance to the majestic,
Garrulity to the eloquent.
Impotence to the faithful.
Does there exist any virtue
Which escapes
The slander of wicked men?

A Bald-Headed  Man

A bald-headed man, his pate
Pained by the rays of the sun,
Desiring a shady spot,
Went by fate to the foot
Of a wood-apple tree.
Alas, there his head
Was smashed by a large
Falling fruit.
Where goes a man deserted by fortune,
There do adversities follow him.

Sweet Maid

Sweet maid, you perform a singular feat
With the archer's bow.
You pierce hearts without arrows,
But with the strands of your beauty.

While His Body's Vigor Is Whole

While his boy's vigor is whole
And old age is remote;
While his sensuous powers are unimpaired
And life not yet exhausted;
Only then would a wise man
Strive to perfect his soul.
Why attempt to dig a well
When the house is already burning?

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Here's a poem by Paul Guest, from his book My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge. The book was published by ecco in 2008.

A quadriplegic as the result of a bicycle accident when he was 12 years old, Guest graduated first from the University of Tennessee, then from Southern Illinois University with  MFA. He is assistant professor of creative  writing at  the University of Virginia. Widely published in literary journals, he has three published collections of  poetry in addition to this one and a memoir, One More Theory About Happiness, published in 2010.

Towards a Theory of Proximity

I'm not even sure what that might mean,
not in a world of numbered meaning,
in which I'm close to sloped elm shade,
it falls  against  my door weighing
nothing at all  but I love it just the same,
and I am near train tracks where
I stop sometimes to watch the loudness
of the cars bearing  glittery coal
away to a mouthy, pitched fire,
and that I'm not near that
blossom of flame, burning the recovered
dead, it kills me some nights
because I have thought,
leaning my weight against the door,
picking at the peeling strip
meant to stop seeping cold from slipping in,
picking at it  like a  wound,
with the stick I hold in
my mouth, all because I  have thought
of a woman's  hand, water
she bore in glass back to the bed
we'd share  like it was air
or candy, a surfeit of rain
beneath a brick arch where once
we kissed a long time,
and that water she gave me first to drink,
and how cold it was
nothing could prepare  me for,
as though the faucet was
those midwestern mornings made of ice,
and everything seemed near,
my body was to hers, hers to mine,
it seems false  now, the attempt
to parse our flesh
or say that her skin
meant anything more
than mine to me now means, tonight
but it doesn't  stop me
from saying a thing,
saying this, ever word a wish, a blank  invitation.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

I've used this next piece here before, but it is very funny and, as I read tales of hyper-political correctness at our top universities, very timely.

The piece is by Richard Howard and it's from his book, Trappings, published in 1999 by Turtle  Point Press.

Born in Ohio in 1929,  Howard is a poet, literary critic, essayist, translator, and teacher. He graduated from Columbia University where he taught (and possibly still teaches). He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 and served as Poet Laureate of  the state of New York from 1993 to  1995.


The text  of Bach's St John Passion, performed tonight unabridged,
is largely derived from the Gospels, portions of which are  alleged
(by some) to be antisemitic. Such passages may well disclose
historical  attitudes fastened (by Bach himself) to the Jews,
but must not be taken as having (for the very reason) expressed
convictions or even opinions of the Management or of the cast.


The Rape of the Sabine Women,which the artist  painted in Rome,
articulates Ruben's treatment of a favorite classical theme.
Proud as  we are to display this example of Flemish finesse,
the policy of the Museum is not to be taken amiss:
we oppose all forms of harassment, and just because we have
this canvas in no way endorses the actions committed therein.

Ensconced in the Upper rotunda alongside a fossil musk-ox,
the giant Tyrannosaurus (which the public has nicknamed "Rex"),
though shown in the act of devouring its still-living prey implies
no favor by public officials to zoophagous public displays;
carnivorous Life-Styles are clearly inappropriate to a State
which has already outlawed tobacco and may soon prohibit meat.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Next I have two short poems by my poet friend, Joanna M. Weston. They are from her book, A Summer Father, a recollection and tribute to her father who was lost in WWII. The book by Frontenac House in 2006.

Born in England, Joanna  lives in Western Canada and is a full time writer of poetry, short stories, children's books and reviews. In addition to this book, she has published Those Blue Shoes, a middle-reader.

To Obliterate

he writes in his  diary
around flecks of bombs
            that fall
making craters
where people shed flesh

he draws screams
over pages
where he has
erased names

The House Martin

      Driving them to speed...
      Released like an arrow.
      Then the  fins become wings

bombs tremble
down the sky

swift as the skim of house martins
over a summer pond

air shakes and
dives Father to a ditch

he sees the flicker of the bird
black with white undersides

as it glides, darts over water
the bomb falls          the bird...

Photo by Thomas  Costales

The next poem is by Thom Gunn, taken from his book The Man with Night Sweats, published in 1992 by The Noonday Press.

Gunn was an Anglo-American poet educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Well-known as a poet in England, he adopted a looser, more informal style after  relocating from England to San Francisco. He wrote  about  gay-related topics, as  well as  drugs, sex and his bohemian life style. Born in 1929, he died in San  Francisco in 2004.

The Life of the Otter
      Tuscon Desert Museum

From sand he pours himself into deep water,
His other liberty
                        in which he swims
Faster than anything that lives on legs,
In wide parabolas
                            figures of eight
Long loops
                  drawn with the accuracy and ease
Of a lithe skater hands behind her back
Who seems to be showing off
                                              but is half lost
In the exuberance of dip and wheel.

The small but long brown beast reaches fro play
Through play
                     to play
                                play not as  relaxation
Or practice or escape but all there is:
Activity                      (hunt, procreation,  feeding)
Functional but as if gratuitous.

         while he flows
                                out of a downward curve
I  glimpse through glass
                                     his genitals as neat
As a stone acorn with its two oak leaves

Carved in a French cathedral porch,
               crisply detailed
                                       above the sway
Of this firm muscular trunk
                                         caught in mid-plunge,
Of which the speed contains its own repose
            set in fur
                          like an ornament.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Next I have a poem from a new book by my poet friend Charles Levenstein. The book is The Ponderous Galapagos Turtle published by Lulu Publishing Service.

Chuck is a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and an  adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. He is published frequently in poetry journals and has published three poetry collections before this one.

Three from Elba


Reading yogis
or detective stories,
solutions embedded
like tragedy, attention
to the path, beginning
and end predetermined,
accumulation of dead
or joy, the suspense
of burgeoning awareness,
enlightenment -
and the legend ends
with hero  scaling
a divine ladder.
What a bore!

Bring me a poem,
jeremiad or smoldering bush,
bring me a  call to arms
or the scourge of contradictions.


When Peron was exiled to
and apartment in Spain -
sumptuous,  balconied,
above the sun-splashed deck on which
Ava Gardner lay semi-bikinied,
day after day,
a glorious piece of toast -
he had visitors. The Cubans
sought his return, revolutionary
Napoleon from Elba.
The choice voyeurism or
death in Bolivia.

I actually saw
the book on guerrilla warfare,
inscribed by Che to his friend
Juan Peron, now displayed
in a rare-book store in Boston.


This weekend friends will  march on Washington ,
bear  witness against this strutting bully,
the cowboy politics of a greedy, stupid class,
stinking of oil and drugs and religious fervor.
I will stay at home,
protect my aching back,
risk nothing,
watch to see if TV
will at least record the  protest.
Peron and I will sit it  out.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Next, I have two  poems from One Hundred  More Poems  from the Chinese -  Love and the  Turning Year, translated by  Kenneth Rexroth.

The first poet from the book is Liu Ch'ang Ch'ing, a poet of the Middle Tang Dynasty. He lived from 709 to  785 A.D.

Snow on Lotus Mountain

Sunset. Blue peaks vanish in dusk.
Under the Winter stars
My lonely cabin is covered with snow.
I can hear the dogs barking
At the rustic gate.
Through snow and wind
Someone is coming home.

And the second poet is Kao Chi. Kao  lived from 1334 to 1376 and was a leading poet of the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties.

The Old  Cowboy

Other oxen  have  long curly horns.
My ox has a long bare  tail.
I tag  along behind,
Holding it like a flute or a whip.
We wander from the Southern  hill
To the Eastern cliffs.
When he is tired or hungry,
I always know what to do.
Sunset, my ox ambles slowly home.
As he walks along,
I sing a song.
When  he lies down,
I do too.
At night in the barn
I sleep by his side.
I am old. I take care of my ox.
I have  nothing else to do.
I only worry that some day
They will sell my ox
To pay their taxes.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Now I have a poem by Tim Seibles from his book Hurdy-Gurdy,  published by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 1992.

Seibles, born in Delphinia in 1955 is author of five poetry collections, this book being his second. With a BA from Southern  Methodist University and an  MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, he is Professor of English at  Old Dominion University. He was nominated for a National  Book Award in 2012.

The Motion

Ah, but  the spirit moves in physical ways -
the wind swims a field, a teenaged girl grins
slow and shy, and what steady ruckus does the blood make
running the body's blind streets.

The afternoon is a big house sprung with minutes.
Light chimes on a woman's bright brown hair.
Her strong calves whisper; my heart sings
like a bruise - luck spins like a june-bug crazed

by what glad music - it must be the sky bringing
sky, it must be a tribe of ants whistling
at a crumb. Everything makes a noise,
every crooning wants an  ear - everywhere I go

a woman is dressed in her own shining.
A cat lands, a little boy t raps his shadow
against a fence, and the eye pins all this
with one fast hand! How the world

be in the world? My skin grown loose
as a brood of birds, I could fly
out of myself - naked, the  would would be
less than a word: a web  of air, a

grabbing without fingers,
but the spirit moves in physical ways
and with it  rises this righteous fever.

This slight tickling, this light madness -
it's just the dust of a day blown dim.
Night swings its tail.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Next a small piece by Ted Hughes from his small  book Crow - from the Life and Songs of the Crow, published by Faber and Faber in 1972.

Crow on the Beach

Hearing shingle explode, seeing it  skip,
Crow sucked his tongue
Seeing sea-grey mash a mountain of itself
Crow tightened his goose-pimples
Feeling spray from the sea's root nothinged on his crest
Crow's toes gripped the wet pebbles.
When the smell of the wale's den, the gulfing of the
   crab's  last prayer,
Gimleted in his nostril
He grasped the was on earth.
                                              He knew  he grasped
Something fleeting
Of the sea's ogreish outcry and convulsion.
He knew he was the wrong listener unwanted
To understand or help -

His utmost gaping of brain in his tiny skull
Was just enough to wonder, about the sea,

What could be hurting so much?

Photo by Thomas  Costales

The next poem is by Soviet and Russian poet Andrey Voznesensky,  one of the new waves of poets who found their voice during the Khrushchev thaw. He read his poems in the Soviet Union to rock-star crowds, reading also in Europe and the United States.  He was born in Moscow in 1933  and died there in 2010.

The poem is from the book, Voznesensky, Selected  Poems, published in the United States in 1966 by Hill and Wang. The poems in the book were translated by Herbert Marshall.

An Obligatory Digression

In America,smelling of camellias,
                                                   murkiness  and ammonia,
In moony hotels, like deer,
                                           along alleys aluminum,
Puffing like haulage trucks,
Dicks follow my tracks -
(17 brows  from the FBI,
Oh my!...)

One with a tomato-like mug,
                                            another, a gallant-like thug,
And their boss - hunchbacked and sick.
Bloodshot eyes like semaphores flick.

Hotels have ears.
                           Showers like microphones appear,
And the urinal stares  at us,
With the eyes of a plaster goddess.

17 camera shutters clicked
                                          17 times through the door crack
Like a house-sprite I bounced
Through the lens - upside-down!

I survive. Go on talking in hotel rooms.
                                                           Laugh at dirty jokes as well.

17 Voznesenskys doomed
to lie in cassettes, in safes, as in hell.

With gaping grub  traps,
                                      like a forest with pins-and-needles hands,
Prisoners in a game of "Hands Up!"
Frozen stiff y doubles stand.

One frozen with a lobster between his teeth.
                                        Another like a chandelier, suspended in a leap,
And that one's hands with water  trickling.
But now for sure he'll never drink it!

17 Voznesenskys hollered,
                                         but without a voice. My shout
On a tape recorder rolled,
Like a crimson tongue ripped out!

I'm unwound, I'm thrown around,
                                                   they drag me off for questioning...
I' long ago at home. Safe and sound.
But somehow there's no me left in me.

But there, in far-off bomb-proofed hide-outs,
                                                                   in spinach-tinted jackets, spies,

Like radiologists  and night owls,
Examine me on film - all eyes.

One grew bloated, mosquito-like,
                              Another croaks: "Did he make it, that Muscovite?!"
The hunchback grows gloomy. He keeps mum.
But his eyes turn crimson.

It's unbearable to be crucified,
                                               transparent to each birthmark,
When, like bullets, you are riddled with eyes
From lips to heels stark!

And fingers in hangnails rusty
                                            almost shuffle over one's heart.

"Mr. Voznesensky, does it hurt?"
Let me go! Let me go, monster!

Let go, Quasimodo dandy!
                                          my spirit burns, bleeding
From the Statue of Liberty's piercing eyes
And the tender stares of the FBI.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Next I have three poets from the anthology The Flag of Childhood, Poems from the Middle East, selected and edited by San  Antonio poet Naomi  Shihab Nye.

The book was published by Aladdin Paperbacks in 1998.

The first poet from the anthology is Abdul-Raheem Saleh al-Raheem. The poem was translated by Adil Saleh Abid. Born in 1950 in Iraq, at the time the book was published the poet had an MA in counseling and had been publishing his poems in Iraqi newspapers and magazines since the Seventies. This is the title poem from his book.

Unable to find the poet on the web, this biological sketch is from the book. Much has happened in the mid-east, and especially in Iraq, since the book was published in 1998, making it impossible to know what's happened to the poet  in the meantime.

The Train of the Stars

The night is a train that passes,
Up on my house I watch it
Its eyes smile to me.

The night is a train that passes,
Carrying  moons and stars
Clouds, flowers,
Seas and rivers that run.
The night is a train that passes.

The night is a train that passes,
I wish, oh, how I wish!
I could take it one day:
It would  take me away,
To see  where it is going.
Oh, where is that train going?

The next poet is Sohrab Sepehi and the poem was translated by Massud Farzan.

Born in Iran in 1928, Sepehri is considered to be one of the most gifted poets  writing in Persian. He has published many books and was also a painter. Educated at the University of Tehran, he died there in 1980.

This is really a remarkable poem which makes me want to find more of the poet's translated work.

from The Sounds of Water's Footsteps

I am from Kashan...
I am a Moslem
my Mecca is a red rose
my prayer-spread the stream, my holy clay the light
my prayer-rug the field
I do ablutions to the rhythm of the rain upon the
In my prayer runs the moon, runs the light
the particles of my prayer have turned translucent
upon the minaret of the cypress tree
I say my prayer in the mosque of grass
and follow the sitting and rising of the wave...

I saw many things upon the earth:
I saw a beggar who went from door to door
singing the lark's song
I saw a poet who addressed the lily of the valley as "lady"...
I saw a train carrying he light
I saw a train carrying  politics (and going so empty)
I saw a train carrying morning-glory seeds and canary songs
and a plane, through its window
a thousand feet high, one could see the earth:
one could see the hoopoe's crest
the butterfly's beauty-spots
the passage of a fly across the alley of loneliness
the luminous wish of a sparrow descending from a pine...

I hear the sound of gardens breathing
the sound of the darkness raining from a leaf
the light  clearing its throat  behind the tree...
Sometimes,  like a stream pebble, my soul  is  washed  clean
    and shines
I haven't seen to pine trees hate each other
I haven't  seen a poplar sell its shadow
the elm  tree  gives its branch to the crow at no charge
wherever there is a leaf I rejoice...

My last poet from the mid-east anthology is Saadi Youssef, with a poem translated by Khaled  Mattawa.

Born in 1934, Youssef is an Iraqi poet, journalist, publisher and political  activist. He  has published thirty poetry collections and seven books of prose. Again there is no way to know what has happened to him since the anthology was published.


Those who come by me passing
I will  remember  them
and those who come heavy and overbearing
I will forget

That's why
when the air erupts between mountains
we always describe the wind
and forget the rocks

Photo by Thomas  Costales

Now I have a poem by Ada Limon, from  her book, Sharks in the River, published by Milkweed Editions in 2010.

Born in 1976, Limon grew up  in Sonoma, California before studying theater at the University of Washington School of Drama. After taking some writing courses at the university she went on to get an MFA at New York University in 2001.

The Same Thing

There's an awful story in the news.
For days you cannot sleep; it's too  hot,  it's too cold.

It's just a story in the news.

Not another human, not a whole country,
not another animal, just a piece of paper.

Then you feel a little better.
You go to the train and wear your headphones,
you listen to a sad song that sounds familiar.

You pass a store widow and there's someone
you don't know walking where you're walking: heels,
a summer dress, hair tied up too fancy for the week.

The television says tomorrow night they will
shed so light on hell.

How far do we need to search for some bad thing?
Hell is not beneath us, not a bargaining chip with your children.

You come home from the train and you have
bought gifts and tried to be decent.

This is how your life will go, you know that. Day after day.

Awful acceptance: the soft life of your footprints.

You start to think of the alternative,
you shake your real shirt off in the hallway.

Would it be the same for you if you were born in Mexico? Life.
                   Cuba? Ireland? 1974?

You miss everyone. Even  the people you read about today
you didn't know, their faces on the brain as if on paper.

You sit on the balcony,
which is really a fire escape, but you call it
the balcony to make ti sound better.
You wear the slip your grandmother gave you

fifteen years ago, the weather is nice, California nice.

You sing a little, call your family, you think, things aren't so bad.

You say you love the world, so love the world.

Maybe you don't even say it for yourself,
maybe you move your mouth like everyone
moves their mouth. Maybe your mouth is the same
mouth as everyone's, all trying to say the same thing.

Photo by Thomas  Costales

To Persians, the fourteenth century poems of Hafiz are  not classical literature from a remote past, but cherished  love, wisdom, and humor from a dear and intimate friend. Hafiz is appreciated as the most  accessible of Persian mystical poets, earning him the name "The Tongue of the Invisible."

The Subject Tonight is Love - 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz is a collection selected and translated  by Daniel Ladinsky. It was published by Penguin Compass in 1996.

The Day Sky

Let us be like
Two  falling stars in the day sky

Let no one know of our sublime beauty
As we hold hands with God
And burn

Into a sacred existence that defies -
That surpasses

Every description of ecstasy
And love.

Beautiful Hands

This is the kind of Friend
You are -

Without making me realize

My soul's anguished history,

You slip into my house at  night,

And while I am sleeping

You silently carry off

All my suffering and sordid past

In Your beautiful 

Old Sweet Beggar

Path to God
Made me such an old sweet beggar.

I was starving until one night
My love tricked God Himself
To fall into my bowl.

Now  Hafiz is infinitely rich,
But all I ever want to do

Is keep emptying out
My emerald-filled

This tear-stained

Photo by Thomas  Costales

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

Also usual, 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

at 1:00 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

yes on thomas' work- numinous, luminous- sculptural, ordained, pristine, please pass to him and let me know- may images b purchased? dave eberhardt (u kno me)

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