Collecting Critters   Wednesday, April 29, 2015




Okay, I admit it. Photos this week are a hail Mary punt (if I can mix football metaphors).

But the anthology is interesting, Waiting for the Unicorn, a collection of poetry from China's last dynasty, 1644 - 1911. The book was published by Indiana University Press in 1990.

Here's this week's list of "Here and  Now"  Irregulars.


Me
the beauty of original  sin

Chao Chih-Hsin
A Mid-Autumn Night
Fireflies

Me
cowboy movie

Rabindranath Tagore
Day's End

Me
well...

Chao Yi
On Poetry

Me
finding religion at 3 am
while a bald man burns  
days when

Philip Levine
Coming Close

Me
until next year

Ku Yen-Wu
Eight Feet
Mocking Myself

Me
conceits of the recently evolved

Arlitia Jones
The Pope's Nose

Me
perhaps it  will also work

Li Chien
My Little Garden
Strolling Under the Moon

Me
cowboys and indians

Michael Van Walleghen
Worry

Me
it would foolish not to pay attention

Chin Jen-Jui
The Tiniest of Lives
Don't Ask
Last Word: For My Son Yung

Me
life is
why the boys go out at  night

Deborah  Digges
Akhmatova

Me
a square-jawed man 

Fan  Tseng-Hsiang
Written in a Cool Breeze  

Me
I  rarely think of the future 








 This poem came  to me  after reading the last lines of a poem last week by Korean poet Ku Sang. "Beauty of  original sin" what an interesting and unique idea. I don't know if what  I  came up relates in any way to what the poet was thinking when he wrote the line, but that's the great thing about a great line, the way it might open doors the writer may never even thought of, and the rooms behind the doors otherwise left  unvisited.











the beauty of original  sin

      Abyss of Eros
      beauty of  original  sin.
              Ku Sang (Korean poet)

   think
how exciting
it must have been,
how  delectable,delightful,
outright beautiful that first  sin,
the original sin,  the concept, "sin," unknown
until the thing, the sin, was done...

   doesn't  make any difference
what it was...

   maybe it was eating
of forbidden fruit
like the book
says, or
maybe it was  sex,
or less overt  than that,
maybe it  was when he noticed the curve of her breast,
the round perfection of her  ass, for the first time, and liked it,
or maybe it was her  sin, seeing
the arrogance of his massive cock, erect,
so different she might have thought, from the little nubbin
that hung so humbly between his legs before,
even ass she might  have imagined so  many uses for it...

   or maybe it was something more abstract,
maybe just a random thought, the one or the other
or the both thinking something
that hadn't been  inserted for  them to think,
something they thought up all on their own, maybe
it was just that jolt of creativity, impinging on the real
of  he who  created all and reserved creation
as a think only for him...

   or maybe  it wasn't that complicated, maybe something as small
and  simple as putting a slug in a parking meter....

   but no difference,  a thing large or small, it was wonderful to them,
it  was new, it was a first and it was original, the first
original thing  for them,  and, thus,  by the rules of the garden
it was, in its very originality, a sin, the original sin and it was
beautiful...

   they may have wondered later  if that sin was worth
its consequence, but to no avail, for in their wonder they sinned
again, and there was no turning back...









First from this week's anthology are two short poems by Chao Chih-Hsin, born in 1662 and died in 1744. Chao had an illustrious career early on which he lost at the age of twenty-eight for attending a special showing of a friends play. Because this was at a time of official mourning over the death of a member of the imperial family, his attendance was seen as disrespectful and presented an opportunity for a enemy also within the imperial family to attack him. He was dismissed from office and never held any official position for the rest of his life. Instead he devoted himself to traveling widely within China, making new friends, and writing poetry and other literary pursuits.

Both of his poems here were translated by Michael S. Duke.







A Mid-Autumn Night

The autumn air banishes lingering rains,
An empty courtyard invites distant breezes -
One glass of mulberry dew wine,
At midnight in the moon-bright season.
A longtime traveler feels the night is endless,
In early coldness grows drunk too slowly.
Still resigns his bleak and lonely feelings
To a rendezvous with far-off chrysanthemums.


Fireflies

 Once  more coming through the  door with rain,
Suddenly flying over the wall on the wind,
Although they need the grass to achieve their nature,
They do not depend on the moon for light.
Understanding the secluded one's feelings,
I  briefly invite them to dwell in my gauze bag.
Just look: falling through vast empty space,
How do they differ from the great stars' rays?













Just for the heck of it, my first published poem after I returned to writing in 1999. It was published in Maelstrom, April, '99.











cowboy movie

comecomecome
she said to me
in her low voice
and sighed
as I moved closer

comecomecome
she said to me

jjjjjjesus

stuttersam
        crawled
into his corner
        and sighed
        and cried
in the shallow shadows
of his silver sombrero

comecomecome
she cried to me 









I start from the my this week with a piece by Rabindranath Tagore from the book of his Selected Poems published in 1994 by Penguin Books. Born in 1861, Tagore, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with contextual modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1913, he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in 1941.

His poems were translated by William Radice.









Day's End

Day's end has come, the world is darkening -
       It is too late for further sailing.
On the bank, a girl,                              I ask her with a smile,
        "On whose foreign shore am I landing?"
She leaves without a word,                 her head bowed,
       Her full water-jar overflowing.
               These steps shall be my mooring.

On the forest's thick canopy shade is falling,
         I find the sight of this country pleasing.
Nothing stirs or moves,                          neither water nor leaves,
        Birds throughout the forest are  sleeping. 
All I can hear                                         is bracelet on jar
        Down the empty path, sadly tinkling.
                 I find this gold-lit country pleasing.

A golden trident of Siva glitters,
         A distant temple-lantern glimmers.
A marble road                                         gleams in the shade
         It is sprinkled with fallen  bakul-flowers.
Rows of roofs                                          lurk amidst groves,
         At the sight my traveler's heart quivers
                   A distant temple-lantern glimmers.

From the king's far palace the breeze brings a melody,
          It floats through the sky, a song in rag Purvi.
The fading scene                                         draws me on -
          I feel a strange detached melancholy.
Travel and exile                                          lose their appeal,
           Impossible hopes no longer call me.
                       The sky resounds with rag Purvi.

On the forest, on the palace, night is descending -
           It is too late for further sailing.
All that I need                                              is a place for my head,
           And I'll end this life of buying and selling.
As she winds her way                                  and keeps her eyes low,
            The girl with the jar at her hip, overflowing
                          These steps shall be my mooring.











By the rules of the poem-a-day poet, some days you're allowed to screw up and write a really  bad  poem and on other days you're allowed to just punt.

Like this poem.











well...

well.
I've done it again
fooled around
talking
to people
and didn't write
my poem
for the
day

well...
must fix that

so
trees
bursting green

sky
blue as Heidi's eyes

squirrels
twitter

birds
tweet

sun shines
bright
a blaming  orb
rising
passing
falling

another day
another
poem

```

well...

that's that










Next from the anthology, a poem by Chao Yi. Chao, born in 1727, was a noted historian and one of the most acclaimed poets of his time. He died in 1814.

It is a three part poem. The first and third parts were translated  by Irving Lo, the second part by William Schultz.










On Poetry

I

The world is alive with inspiration to a potter who turns the wheel.
By nature's doing and human skill,too, one strives daily for
   something new.
 I predict, though, a new thought that holds for fie hundred years
Will become, in another five hundred, hackneyed and stale

II

The poems of Li Po and Tu Fu, passed along by myriad voices,
No longer  seem in this modern era so fresh and new.
Every age these rivers and hills produce a genius.
Each capturing in spirit the Odes and Songs for scores of decades

III

The best of poetry comes from the destitute, but my pocket is not
   yet empty;
I gather, it's all because I haven't perfected my skill as a poet.
Having fish to eat or a bear's paw? I admit, I'm greedy for both:
I yearn for skill in poetry, yet how I dread being poor!












Here are three more very old poems. I used all three in my 2005 print book, Seven Beats a Second, and all three were earlier published in 2001 in Avant Garde Times.











finding religion at  3 am

hanging my head over a dirty toilet
wouldn't even piss in
on a better day,
gagging,
the smell of my own breath
and the taste in my mouth
setting off
another round of dry heaves

god
please don't make me sober
now


while a bald man burns

three gulls circle
      while
a bald man burns
in the fierce island sun
       while
I trace gargoyles
in the sand
with my toe
        while
you pretend to study
the book in your hand
        while
three gulls circle
in the fierce island sun


days when

wore a cowboy hat today
to keep the rain off my head
and my boots too,
for the puddles

reminded me of the old days

days when, as they say

when me
and my colored friend Toby
would shoot pool and drink Pearl beer
in little West Texas
highway honky-tonks
that didn't often see a black face
come in the front door
except by mistake

got some hard looks
Toby did, and me too
cause we were together

but
I was a big sumbitch
and Toby
was mean as a snake
when riled and looked it
even when he wasn't
so we mostly got along
drank some beer played some pool
made a dollar or two
to get us started on the next stop down
the road

honky-tonk cowboys
is  what we were

never punched a cow
but we kicked some ass
in our better days







Next from my library, the work of recently deceased and former Poet Laureate of the United States, Philip Levine. The poem is from his book What Work Is, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1999. The Pulitzer Prize winning poet was known for his poems about working class Detroit. He taught for more than thirty years in the English Department at California State University - Fresno. He died in February of this year.






Coming Close

Take this  quiet woman,  she has been
standing before a polishing wheel
for over three hours, and she lacks
twenty minutes before she can take
a lunch break. Is she a woman?
Consider the arms as they press
the long brass tube against the buffer,
they are straited along he triceps,
the three heads of which clearly show.
Consider the fine dusting of dark down
above the upper lip, and the beads
of sweat that run from under eh ed
kerchief across the brow and are wiped
away with a blackening wrist band
in one odd motion a child might make
to say No! No! You must come closer
to find out, you must hang your tie
and jacket in one of the lockers
in favor of a black smock, you must
be prepared to send shift after shift
hauling off he metal trays of stock,
bowing first, knees bent for a purchase,
then lifting with a gasp, the first word
of tenderness between the two of you,
then you must bring new trays of dull,
unpolished tubes. You must feed her,
as they say in the language of the place.
Make no mistake, the place has a language,
and if by some luck the power were cut,
the wheel slowed to a stop so that you
suddenly saw it was not a solid object
but so many separate bristles forming
in motion a perfect circle, she  would turn
to you and say, "Why?" Not the old why
of why must I spend five nights a week?
Just, "Why?" Even if by some magic
you knew, you wouldn't dare speak
for fear of her laughter, which now
you have anyway as she places the five
tapering fingers of her filthy hand
on the arm of your white shirt to mark
you for your own. now and forever.










I  don't normally fixate on poems that don't work, but in this case I've been so frustrated by my inability to get  this the way I hear it in my head that I've been going back and back and back  to it. I change the poem every time I revisit it,  but it still never becomes what I want it to become.

I suppose every one should be allowed at least one  obsession, mine,at least, being relatively harmless.








until next  year

   the storm,
promised since yesterday,
is a violent one, red and yellow
on the radar, sits just west of the city
like the old one-eyed cat
we once had who spent nights
lurking atop the refrigerator,
ready to pounce
on anything
that moved below

   reminding me
of a piece I  wrote forty-five years ago,
sitting on a dark and rock-still street
outside the laundromat where my clothes
spun still damp in a twenty-five cent
dryer...

   like now-
a storm  approaching,
trying to express the anticipation,
the wonder and the fear, a  wonder of nature in extremis,
writing with a kind frantic rush
that each year for forty-five years
I have tried to restrain and master,
tried to find within the failed poem the shivering,
exhilarating
dread
I felt that night...

   and again I try


        the storm the storm
        it snarls  in the distance
        raging  rampaging
        closer  roaring
        electric filigree spurting
        across the heaving belly sky...

        the street
        the street quiet lying
        silent 
        frightened
        like a neon  whore-child
        spread-legged on a
        two dollar bed
        waiting...

        the storm it snarls
        it snarls
        in the distance
        closer whoring
        raindrops dripping
        like whiskey
        on a cowboy's beard

        the street quiet lying
        quiet
        lying
        quiet
        crying

        oh

        where are you
        hero mine
        she cries

        waiting

````````

   and so,
version number 45

until next  year










Next from the anthology, two poems by Ku Yen-Wu. Born in 1613, Ku was an accomplished poet and a leading intellectual, scholar and originator of the major Ch'ing branch of Confucianism, "the "School of Han Learning." He died in 1682.

Both of his poems were translated by J. P. Seaton.











Eight Feet

Eight feet tall, the lonely sail on one leaflet skiff,
together with wind and water, has  carried me to this autumn.
We've been to White Emperor city to search for our late ruler,
Thence east of the river to ask about Chung-mou.
In the sea the fish and dragons should know our anguish;
Among the hills the trees and plants pour forth their grief.
I trust you will speak no more of "rise and fall";
The boatman of another year is white-haired now.



Mocking Myself

I mock myself: another year and I'm still unable to return;
A goblet of wine, a book of poems - to whom could I turn?
I call the boy down to saddle up the horse;
I must find an old woman before winter comes to mend my gown.
No "Yellow Ear" has come with letters from home;
White-haired, I've come to ponder the mountain ferns  of old.
Without cause I've become a goose that follows the sun;
Riding the west wind, I fly to Reed Marsh.












This is a real old poem, written in 1971, right before I quit writing.  It  was published in Alchemy in 1999 nearly 30 years later when I returned to poetry.










conceits of the recently evolved

some time ago,
way, way back there
in pre-history,
before pre-history,
in the beginning
we climbed up from the sea,
all of us,
together,
from out best
to our worst
and every thing in between,
we fought our way up
from the foaming, salty sea,
licked our amoeba lips
hitched our britches
over our amoeba hips,
and began to build cities
make war
discover love
defy fear
kill our brothers
name the stars
imagine art
invent  time...

How full of ourselves
we have become
since those first days,
self-exulting and prideful,
crowing like the cock
who lights up the sun,
too much pride, perhaps,
for a one-celled accident
with a few optional accessories.








The next poet from my library, Arlitia Jones, is also known as a  playwright and one of my favorites for the direct and unpretentious she tells her stories of being a meat-cutter's daughter and a butcher  herself during the cold days and nights of life in Alaska. The poem is from her book The Bandsaw Riots, winner of the 2001 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize published by Bear Star Press.

I  wonder, do people still call that little piece of chicken tail the "pope's nose" - or in the case of my family, Lutherans still pissed about the way the Pope treated Martin Luther, the "preacher's nose."?








The Pope's Nose

Sometimes dinner was a hen divided by ten.
Drumsticks were for Nick and Dickey-Ray,
while Pat and Randy grabbed for the thighs,
the two sisters too the wings.
Meaty breasts to the liquored father,
meaty breast to the eldest son
who raised the banty hens
and chopped the head each time.
God in heaven and sinners below,
there's hierarchy in everything,
even fried chicken, just enough
to  around on a Melmac platter.
The baby sucked the bones.
The chicken's scrawny back
to the mother of too many, bone
and skin and cartilage  connected
to the resolute little thumb of fat
that puckered the old hen's hole.












The mind is, indeed, a mighty tool.














perhaps it will also work

in-laws
coming for a visit this weekend
and house cleaning
proceeds
apace

how clean is your hours,
they will marvel
when they arrive, and we, too,
will be impressed with the unusual
level of our cleanliness...

perhaps
if they came every weekend
we could keep this house in its present
pristine state

or perhaps
it  would also work
if we just imagined  they were coming
every  weekend

we
should try that
first...




 







Li Chien, from the anthology, was born in 1747 and died in 1799, never enjoyed much success in his life, never advancing beyond the status of a low-level official and his poetry was known mostly to a select circle of friends who admired his genius.

Both poems below were translated by Irving Lo.












My Little Garden

Reflections on the water catch the stirrings of dense trees;
The gleam of the mountain peeps over the short wall.
The village in autumn is covered with yellowing leaves,
A full half of them under the slanting sun's rays.
Secluded bamboos area as quiet as the visitor,
Blossoms in the cold air send forth fragrance for me.
It suits me to stand in a while  in my little garden:
The new moon is exactly like the new frost.



Strolling under the Moon

Moonlight streams down unbroken until it ruffles my cloak;
Motionless is the visitor's shadow as he comes upon a brook.
The dew is still  upon clusters of white rushes.
Much rain has turned the barren marshland green.
Among the shimmering waves waterbirds can be heard,
Amid darkened  leaves, a steady glow of a firefly in the wind.
I remain sleepless under the paulownia-shaded eaves:
Mysterious is the night air upon the flowering wisteria.












I wrote this next piece in 2000. It was published by beatnik in 2001. I also used it in my print book, Seven Beats a  Second in 2005.












cowboys and indians

redskins on the warpath
      whooping
chasing cowboys
      across
bonyback ridge
      down
sidewinder trail
      past
that same big
saguaro cactus

look
there it  is again

warbonnets streaming
cowboy hats flapping
       in the wind
shooting forward
shooting back
       whooping
horses falling
       goddamn
       ain't
it fun to be
a movie star











Next from my library is Michael Van  Walleghen, Illinois Poet Laureate and author of six books of poetry. The poem is from his book Blue Tango, published by University of Illinois Press in 1989.













Worry

It was getting  late
it was time for supper

but we had this rat
trapped in an oil drum

hydrophobic perhaps
and there was a hole

in the drum. Someone
had better do  something

drop a brake drum on it
or better yet, perfect

if we could ever lift it
one of those fossil-looking

prewar transmissions
we'd  spotted in the weeds...

On the other  hand, suppose
we missed the goddamn thing

suppose we only crippled it?
We'd have to burn it then

or maybe we could drown it
if we plugged the hole somehow

if we had a hose or something
if  even now the streetlights

might cease their flickering
and night not fall not fall

upon that fussy, worried knot
where the nightmare rats

were not afraid of anything
and swarmed and swarmed.













I don't believe in gods, but when one of them taps you on the shoulder you should set your skeptical philosophies aside and say howdy-do.












it would be foolish not to pay attention

I  found a $50 bill
in the parking lot
about six months ago

it's the kind of upscale
place
where $50 bills fly out of pockets
and nobody notices

Dee and I go there
every Sunday for a stop at  Barnes & Nobel...

so every Sunday
for the last six months
I park far from the entrance
and do a quick tour of the parking lot
before I go in for my latte
and free magazine
read

just in  case,
you know, another $50 bill
flies
unnoticed out of somebody's
pocket

not likely,
but maybe there's a kind of karma there
that strikes on occasional
Sundays,
tossing out $50 bills...

I don't believe in gods
but I do believe it would be foolish
not to pay attention
when one of them  lays hands upon
you

so
I prowl the parking lot before going in
for my latte and free magazine
read
figuring
that even if I don't find another $50 bill,
the Sunday walk is probably good for
me...








One of the earliest poets in the period covered by the anthology, Chin Jen-Jui was born in, approximately, 1610. Of a poor family, he worked his way through mainly self-education until he became a well know and respected scholar. He was beheaded in 1661, after becoming  involved in a political demonstration against the Manchu government.

His poems were translated by Irving Lo.













The Tiniest  of Lives

Beneath the leaf a green insect, and frost upon the leaf;
The tiniest of lives, having come to this, is most to be pitied.
Had I the strength of high heaven and rotund earth,
I''d make you live a thousand autumns, ten thousand years.


Don't Ask

Don't ask what  it has been like in my old  garden:
The blooming season for flowers has passed.
The intruding bees devoured clean all he young insects;
Stupefied rats brazenly seized the swallow's nest at the altar.
No longer does the warm breeze come to my window,
Nor is there a secluded place to sit and sing.
What use is there in writing petitions to Heaven?
So bidding farewell to the God of Spring. I weep  my tears.


Last Word: For My Son Yung

The miraculous part of our relationship is being apart;
Like Form following Shadow - this is found only in books.
After today, "being apart" means we  can  never  again be parted;
Unattached either to Heaven or to parents is true happiness.













Blaze/Vox published the next two poems in 2003. The first was written in 2000 and the second in 2001. I used both in 2005 in my book Seven Beats a Second.












life is

life
is like a duck hunt

every time
you really start to fly

some
asshole in the weeds

shoots
your feathered butt

right out of the sky




why the boys go out on Saturday night

s
e
x

sells

especially when lit in

n
e
o
n

flashing
in the night
like bait
for a hungry fish

flashflash

on
     and
            off

flashflash

on
     and
            off

sex flashes in the night
drawing us through the rushing current

up
     stream
                we
                      go

bashing our heads
on the sharp rocks of deceit and desire,
all for a chance to fuck our fish brains out
before we die in the shallow pool of everyday life








              ,
Last from my library this week, this by Deborah Digges, from
her book Rough Music, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1996. Born in Missouri in 1950, Digges obtained her  MFA at the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1984. Author of four books of poetry and two memoirs, she has taught writing and English at New York University, Boston University,  Columbia University and Tufts University. The poet died in 2009, her death  ruled a suicide after a fall from the top of the bleachers at the Alumni Stadium at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The poem is a tribute to poet Anna Akhmatova, victim and survivor of the Russian revolution and Stalin's terror.







Akhmatova

So it had to be -
she doused the muse in kerosene, set her afire,
burned down the house of poetry.

It was a common kitchen  stove.

She may have taken comfort in the warmth.

As for the cries of  agony,
they would hereafter ghost the margins,
howl on in each Cyrillic character omitted by degree -
"Dear Stalin, I  have seen your way..."
"Dear Master, my poems belong to you now, to the state..."

since women are the most dispensable to tyrants.
Children  can serve so beautifully as  ransom.
They learn, besides, to carry any flag.
And men will die into a tortured beauty,
their broken arms laid straight against their sides,
their privates, even by their enemies, napkin-covered.

But women? Women are nothing.
They create the beast to know the depth of their  desire.

They are like sparrows,
the battered coming closest for the grain,
or the part in the song where the oboe
breaks your heart like time itself,
then sneers to laughing.

If poetry is fire, it can't be written in the fire,
but sometime after, written in ashes
along the frozen road
if it be written down at all.

Yes, one can kill the thing not  yet  language,
feel one's mouth fill up with stones.

Better  we all let go of the lie
that art can save a life, except perhaps its maker's,
this is deception,

a false sun to fix the years
toward the day that one might simply see one's child again.

Surely inside her a vast Caina, a crown fire.
Oh, the lovers have  given what they can
only to remain men.

They would say, "Something's gone out of her
and nothing offered in its place."

After the boy is taken a third time  back to prison,
she would admit there's little left.
Life is  a wild undoing! -

And when the poem she once burned down, burned
to the ground in the other life, reconstitutes itself inside her,
it is like someone else's shadow cursing,
figures approaching on the road.

It is a stone tied to a rope  hurled round and round,
and the whistling,
and the terror of the blow.

At worst,  it's just a door,  the one  that closes on us  now,
and this lamp through the window.

See, they sit apart - the old mother, aging son.
Oh, much too much is lost.

Still they begin.

Too much is lost - twenty-one years!
In fact they'll never come to like each other.
She cannot find the child's face  in he man's.







I saw this man walking down the street  and knew him instantly, not specifically him, but the thousands of men just like him I knew during the course of my professional career, men who lived a life comfortable and, they thought, secure until blindsided by a future they never saw coming. Many survived, but many did not, giving up instead, never to have the life they had before. 





 a square-jawed man

walking down the sidewalk
on  Bandera Road,
a square-jawed man in khaki work pants
and shirt, a gimme cap set square on his head,
and the thick-soled shoes of a
rough-and-ready
working
man

a rough-and-ready
working
man
carrying his clothes in a plastic bag...

in 1962, his dad, a square-jawed man
worked at the DuPont plant
on the coast,
made a good wage, drove a 58 Chevy
he washed every Saturday,
fed his family of four well, went
on vacation every two years, even
to Disneyland once

retired after 40 years, spent
his last years bay fishing
and drinking beer in the evening
at Snoopy's...

the man on the sidewalk, his father's
son, also worked at DuPont, but as a  Pot Tender,
paid very well, but a job requiring no education, no
training, and no particular skill, so, when, after
twenty years the plant closed, he found a harsh world waiting
for him, a place with no place for a middle-aged  man
with no education, no particular skill, and no particular  talent
except to work eight hours a day in the hot and heavy, offering no particular
prospect for making money for other people...

lost in a world that had no use for him,
he lost himself, lost everything
he thought he owned, his first wife died
from an infection that wouldn't have killed her
if they could have  paid for the medication  she needed,
then his second wife left him, and he's been alone since,
a  lonely man who drinks, but only a little too much,
walking the sidewalks of cities far from any kind of home
he remembers, picking up labor jobs
when he can, day labor for day wages, getting
harder with each year added to his
back...

not the life his father expected for him, not the life
he expected for himself, newly-married,
when his dad took him to the plant to sign on
for the job that was supposed to be
his first and last for life...

a square-jawed man walking in his khaki work shirt and pants
and hard-labor shoes down Bandera Road,
his clothes in a plastic bag...

the new days, the new  frontier, modern life
not what anyone had
expected...







              
My last poet from the anthology this week isFan Tseng-Hsiang. Born  in 1846, Tan lived through the turbulence of the revolution of 1911 which ended the reign of China's last imperial dynasty. He died in 1931, 20 years after the first revolution and nearly 20 years before the republic fell and Mao established modern Communist China. He was a prolific poet with a excellent reputation as a magistrate in Shensi province. Although he didn't play a prominent part of the tumult of his  time he was never far from the center of it. 

His poem was translated by J. P. Seaton.






Written in a Cool Breeze

No light within the court, and moss  climbs the stairs;
I move my couch, sit sprawled beneath the courtyard ash.
Cool clouds across the water, not likely it will rain;
Thin lightning  leans against the mountain, no thunder yet.
In willows' shade I watch paired magpies settle;
To  bamboos depths from time to time come fireflies.
This great  official  feels  drier  than Hsiang-ju'
To quench that thirst, would I be thinking only of a single cup of
   dew?









 


I was aiming for a  little bit of ambiguity here, some early readers got it, some didn't.












I rarely think of the future

I rarely think of the future
anymore
because I just don't see anything
good in it...

better, I've decided, to just float
in the undemanding flow
of every day passing
without me - every day
just another crackerjacks box
with no prize
in it

I expect nothing from the day
and,
like all who expect nothing,
nothing
is what I get

life is good
that way, serene
like a nap on a rainy afternoon,
inside, safe to sleep dry
and dream
while all the bad tings
I deny
fall
not upon me outside









As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and to me.





As always, I am Allen Itz owner and producer of this blog, and diligent seller of books, specifically these and specifically here:
 

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad)



´╗┐Poetry
New Days & New Ways


Places and Spaces
 



Always to the Light






Goes Around Comes Around




Pushing Clouds Against the Wind





And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio




Seven Beats a Second






Short Stories


Sonyador - The Dreamer





0 Comments:

Post a Comment



return to 7beats
Previous Entries
Dawning of the Age of Precarious
It's True, Pigs Can Fly (but only on Air Force One...
Winners, Whiners, Weasels, Wafflers
Horst-Wessel Sing-Along Anyone? (Capturing the Zei...
What You Gonna Do When the Lies Run Dry, Senor Man...
Who Tolls the Bells at Truth's Execution
Whispers of Truth in a Gale of Lies
Where's Vladimir? (Closer than you think)
Whistling Past the Graveyard
And It's Another Fine Mess We've Gotten Us Into
Archives
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
Links
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Tryst
Poems Niederngasse
BlazeVOX
Eclectica
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
zafusy
The Blogging Poet
Poetsarus.Com
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
The Writer's Block Poetry Forum
The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
Gary Blankenship
The Hiss Quarterly
Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
Arlene Ang
The Comstock Review
Thane Zander
Pitching Pennies
The Rain In My Purse
Dave Ruslander
S. Thomas Summers
Clif Keller's Music
Vienna's Gallery
Shawn Nacona Stroud
Beau Blue
Downside up
Dan Cuddy
Christine Kiefer
David Anthony
Layman Lyric
Scott Acheson
Christopher George
James Lineberger
Joanna M. Weston
Desert Moon Review
Octopus Beak Inc.
Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet