Winter Hills   Wednesday, May 27, 2015







My photos this  week are from the Texas Hill Country which begins on the north side of San Antonio. Much of the area was settled during a period of heavy German immigration beginning in the 1840's with small settlements established throughout the hills. Most of those communities continue to be  heavily influenced by their German  heritage. Most were settled by Protestants and a few Catholics. A few  were settle by Freethinkers, mostly highly educated atheist or agnostic who established intellectual outposts in the middle of the wilderness, bringing from their home countries such institutions as weekly debating societies conducted in Latin. Most of the immigrants were anti-slavery and pro-Union, leading to the death of some, including great-grandfather two brothers, as they sought to join Union forces. These and other circumstances led the settlers to embrace insularity until early in the 20th century, refusing, for example to learn English, conducting life in a kind  Texas-German based on the German they brought  with them, not evolving over the years as languages normally do. My father, for example, born in 1917, did not learn English until he started school.

My ancestors on my father's side in 1846 were among the first 120 settlers of a town, Fredericksburg, in the middle of the Hill Country about  80 miles from San Antonio. My grandfather,  one of  six sons, was of the second generation born in the United States, my father of the  third, making them newcomers to the country compared to my mother's family who arrived in time to fight in the American Revolution.

My photos for the week are from  the hills that cover central Texas. One of the things you'll  notice in the photos (taken in the winter 2012) is evidence of the oak blight  that is killing live-oak  trees throughout the region, with no solution in sight.

The anthology for this week is Modern Catalan Poetry: An Anthology, published by Three Rivers Press in 1979. Catalonia is on the far northeast corner of Spain, bordering France to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to  the east. It is one of Spain's richest and most industrialized regions, including Spain's second largest  city Barcelona. It is also one of the most prideful and independence-minded.

The people of the region are Catalans. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century were period of intense development of Catalan poetry. In 1850, the language was still an insignificant regional dialect. By 1920 it had developed into a modern language with one of the richest literatures in Europe.

Though I can't find it specifically stated, the introduction suggests to me that the poems were translated by the book's editor, David H. Rosenthal.



Me
findings so far

Joan Salvat-Papasseit
Linoleum

Me
my cat hat

Ellen Kombiyil
How I Came to Love

Me
upping the ante

Bartomeu Rossello-Porcel
For Majorca, During the Civil War

Me
if my mind was geography

Wilfred Owen
 Apologia pro Poemate Meo

Me
watch this one...

Agusti Bartra 
Falcon Above a Lake 
Almost a Song

Me
comfort

Helen V. Lundt
Memorial Day

Me
overdosed on inspiration

Joan Brossa
Small Apotheosis
The Kiss
Pastoral 

Me
dispatches from the time of dinosaurs and broad-leafed plants #1

Yehuda Amichai
The Giving of the Torah
Outing with a Woman
Hymn to Summer

Me
I was going to write a poem about reincarnation

Vicent Andes Estelles
Declaration
Auguries
Enigma
  
Me
little-face man, redux

Rita Dove
Parlor

Me
there is a thread

Me
Dark Visions: Hell and how to get there (as it was explained to me)     
 
                 






                                                                

The danger for  a poem-a-day poet  is that it all gets so routine as the spark of  inspiration that got you  started in the writing game becomes more and more dim. I have been feeling that diminution of inspiration for sometime now, so  began to  look for some way to break the routine, resorting to silly stuff like this.










findings so far

 seeking out
my lost jigger of poetic gin
i  resort
to the
abracadabra!
of olden days - pen  and ink

seeking out
the fresh life
of days of you, like it was
ten  years yore ago when my poems
were more fun, less
word-pile-ish,  more like
discoveries
of  a sharp and agile mind
in concordance
with a sensibility delicate, yet straight
like shot of tequila (ole!) in a Mexican bar
at midnight
(ole!)

i search  and i  scribble, finding
so  far
on the smeared sold of an ink-stained
wretch all over me
blue-black
finger
tips








                                                                     
The first poet from the Catalan anthology actually predated the literary boom that, according to the books introduction, began in Catalonia in 1920. In fact, the poet, Joan Salvat-Papasseit, was born in 1894 and died in 1924, just as the flourish began. However, he was among those who laid the base for the flourishing, writing during  one of Barcelona's most  exciting periods, a time of anarchist strikes and manifestos, burgeoning Catalan nationalism, and intense receptivity to every kind of new political and artistic theory. Salvat was a part of that avant garde, using in some of his poems forms and architecture too complicated for me to duplicate here. So I stick to the more conventional.







Linoleum

                                 To Xenius

I've just embarked
                             in a Hindu longboat
(Write to me in the Far-West

I profit  from it all
to kill my family's memories of me)

Now that my woman sleeps confidingly
And my little son to come
        and they won't line up
                                          like others
                                                          at the bakery

And a star still burns
        and I carry my tomahawk under my arm

A used book-seller
                              walks past
                                               swinging the Poems
                                                                        every one of Them unpublished

- I really can't leave
       without first strangling that bookseller








                                                      



Here's my first old poem (but not so old) from about this time last year. It's about my cat,  Kitty Pride, who grew very old and very blind and unable to take care of her self, literally depending on my to carry her to her food and water and her  litter box. until she finally died, with the help of our family veterinarian, a couple of months after I wrote it.









my cat hat

I had a cat
a beautiful calico
who adopted us as a youngster
and stayed for the rest 
of her life

a beautiful 
cat
who liked to sleep
on my lap
and when I lie
horizontal
my lap folded
into itself
and un
available
for cat naps
so she
slept
on my pillow
right above my head
draped
over my head
like a coonskin cap..

my coonskin
cap cat
hat
cat








                                                       

My first  library  poem  this week  is by my poet-friend, Ellen Kombiyil. The poem is taken from her new book, Histories of the Future Perfect, published last month by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective.

Ellen recently returned with her family to the United States after living in Bangalore, India, for eleven years. She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has read, performed and taught workshops at a number of Indian venues. Originally from Syracuse and a graduate of the University of Chicago, she currently lives in New York City.








How I Came to  Love

    I.

I exist in two  worlds, here and the past,
plunging into the waterfall and out

near the limestone quarry  I can't remember,
blinded passing through then standing

back-pressed-to-rock behind water.
The sun is an interrogator

and I am, running late, saying
I  remember, I remember

the repetition puling me under.
There should  be a formula, derived

from the absence of water drops
that would arrive at me at  two crescent moons

where lips pressed the glass,
a balcony door slid against sunset.

     2.

It was a game of Chinese whispers  I played
with the tarot-reading parrot. She picked

the cards like pecking through crumbs,  trilling Perhaps,
Perhaps, her warning note loud as a tolling bell

with me beneath, holding the rope.
I heard it differently, Pourqoui? Pourqoui?

the question leading me backwards
down an avenue of the afternoon

to a wrong-way hotel door,opening out
instead of in. I entered in reverse, loosened

my shoes: the boredom of noon. Light spread
like moth-flutter, capillary-thin

and I couldn't  remember, only listened
to the cacophony of seabirds, fighting

over whose-is-whose. In my pockets,
a  reward. Cake crumbs from before.

     3.

The year I was twenty I walked home
from the R, legs thick with summer,

when a man in a sleeveless undershirt
actually stood from his fold-out chair and sang

God Bless America when I entered
his bodega for a carton of milk.

But  that's not what I found.
An overfed cat  prowled  aisles of nothing

but canned fruit, and behind a makeshift wall
of empty shelves a  space opened up where

bare-chested me played  pool,where light spilled
like arctic light,weak on exposed flesh,

their eyes on my eyes,  balls coming to rest,
yet no one spoke, their round bellies seeming

to suggest  they swallow meals whole,
my feet cobbled to the spot. I hurried

out and down the block, past
Chinese carry-out's carousel  window

past an always-shuttered club, Members Only
painted green and white on brick. That day

my heart spanned the distance to date palm
silhouettes, hung in the  precipice

between what  happened  and what comes next:
and escaped parrot among sword leaves

dropped her fruit, and I'm astonished
by colors streaking the sky,the knowledge

that fuchsia can look gray in photographs.








                                           




My first effort at shocking the system being insufficient, I tried this.











 upping the ante

yesterday i wrote a pen and ink  poem          today i up the ante          write a pen and ink  poem          on my patio in the middle of a deluge       of storm water       flowing off the patio roof  like         on the Rio Grande river when         the warning siren  wails  and the fishermen          rush  to high ground as the flues  on Falcon         Dam open and water floods out          like the water off my patio         roof        justlikethat          but that's  another story meanwhile          evaluating the  result of yes          terday's pen          ink experiment revealed          only a poem half         of which I  couldn't read         because as i pushed          my pen to warpspeed         secribblescribblescribble          my writing  turned to mishmash and          i couldn't  read half of it but          this morning with  lightning          crashing          to  the ground allaroundme         i'm         thinking        like Frankenstein i might attach         electrodes to my  head          and       as lightening  flows through         my  knobby          temples a new         poet will emerge         Frankenpoet        watch him sing watch him dance watch  him        plaster  the walls  with          his monster mash poetry but      wait        those lighteningstrikes  are          getting very         close and Bella         is ascaird and wanting        to climb into my lap and         all  this metal  patio         furniture         is beginning  to cut into my        butt and back and           HOLY SHIT that  was a close one         just down the street and        i can sell the  ozone         burning          and i'm  thinking            i'll put this experiment in rising the poet        dead      off  for a more sunny        day and I  can't         read       most  of this        
anyway








                                                                                



The  next poet from my Catalan anthology is Bartomeu Rossello-Porcel. Born in Majorca in 1913, he was considered one  of the most promising of the young Catalan poets when he died of tuberculosis in 1938. The poem below was written in 1937, shortly before the poet's death in a sanatorium. It has come to be seen as practically a national anthem by his countrymen.











For Majorca, During the Civil War

Those  fields still turn green
those groves remain,
and my mountains are etched
above the same azure.
The stones always invoke
the difficult  rain, the blue rain
that comes from you, bright ridge,
my mountains, pleasure, brightness!
I'm greedy for the light, lingering in my eyes ,
that makes me tremble when I remember you!
Now the gardens are lie music;
they trouble and dire me like some slow tedium.
Autumn's heart already fades
fixed with delicate smoke-clouds.
And the grass turns brown on hunting party
hills, among September dreams
and dust-tinged fogs.

All my life is bound to you,
like flames at night to the darkness

                                            September, 1937








                                                       





Here's another poem from May, last year.












 if my mind was  geography

I hate to write poems
about being unable to write a poem
but let's face it...

if my mind was  geography.
it would be the Chihuahua Desert, nothing
but dry sand,  angry frogs,
prickly pear cactus
and ugly bugs...

if my mind  was a ship
it would be  saying, "What
iceberg?...

if my mind was a parking lot
it would be deserted
but for old oil drips  and
skid marks where glories past collided
with realities present...

if my mind  was a coffee cup
it would be empty
except for coffee scum and a wet  cigarette butt
on the bottom...

if my mind was a mountain,
it would be underwater, never seen
and never climbed...

if my mind was an ancient  Egyptian
it would be a mummy
wrapped
in sandpaper...

if my mind  was a burro
it would be climbing
the Andes on cracked red
toenails...

if my mind was a sentry at Fort Knox
it would be asleep,
dreaming of copper pennies
and the baubles that bought Manhattan

if my mind was a poet
it would be writing about the twitchy fella
in the booth up front,  my god,
he won't stop talking,
facing the wall all a'bouncing
in his seat,
perhaps he's the poet
in the woodpile,
twitching with the tickle
of a poem tickling
between his
ears...

a poem, I'm thinking,
nothing
like this one








                                                                  
I am writing this the Saturday before Memorial Day. I don't think I could find a better, truer poem for the occasion.

The poem is by Wilfred Owen, one of the soldier-poets of World War I who, from the trenches, ripped the bloody cover from fantasies of war's glories. Like many others he was killed by the war, at the very end of it, news of his death arriving in his village in England as the bells of armistice were tolling.

In Owen's time educated people read Latin. Can't be assumed these days, and certainly not of me. Fortunately there is a Google to address my ignorance.

The title of the  poem, in English, is roughly, "apology for my poem." I probably could have figured that out for myself, but with no assurance I had  done it  correctly.





Apologia  pro Poemate  Meo

I, too, saw God through mud -
     The mud that  cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.
     War  brought more  glory to the eyes than  blood,
     And gave their  laughs more glee than shakes a child.

Merry it was to laugh there -
     Where death becomes absurd and life absurder.
     For power was on us as we slashed bones bare
     Not to feel  sickness  or remorse of murder.

I, too,  have dropped off fear  -
     Behind the  barrage,  dead as my platoon,
     And sailed my  spirit surging,light and clear
     Past the entanglements where hopes lay strewn;

And witnessed exultation -
     Faces that used to curse me, scowl for scowl,
     Shine and lift up with passion of oblation,
     Seraphic for an hour; though they were foul.

I have made fellowships -
     Untold of happy lovers in old  song.
     For love is not the binding of fair lips
     With the soft silk of eyes that look and long.

By Joy, whose ribbon slips,
     But wound with war's hard wire whose stakes are strong;
     Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips;
     Knit in the webbing of the rifle-thong.

I have perceived much beauty
     In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;
     Heard the music in the silentness of duty;
     Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest  spate.

Nevertheless, except you share
     With them in hell the  sorrowful dark of hell,,
     Whose world is but the trembling of a flare,
     And heaven but as the highway for a shell,

You shall not hear that mirth:
     You shall not come to think them well content
     By any jest of mine. These men are worth
     Your tears. You are not worth their merriment.








                                                             
So, none  of that "breaking out of the cocoon"  worked, so  maybe I should admit that the only spice I have is like the spice in  Dune which, as I recall, does nothing good, but enables  the star ship drivers to navigate or am I thinking of something else and should probably just forget the whole thing and go back to what I do.

 Like this.




watch this one...

I am the victim
of a bug that wants me
to teach the world to sing
perfectly
in harmony

but like many who  teach
I can't teach anyone to sing
until I learn how to  sing
my self

but perhaps
I have  things backward

like the neighbor who came over
this weekend to announce that her house
had  been broken into and maybe I could come look

which I did

discovering
that all the glass from the broken window
was on the grass outside the window,
not on the floor
inside
strongly suggesting
that the house had been
broken out of,
not  into, and I suspect her
son who is wildly off-center on the arc
of your normal  and your every-
day had had one of his
experiences on the untamed
side while she was off  for two  weeks
in Israel
where they are many who  live daily
and with a passion widely off-center on the arc
of your normal and your every-
day...

which is my roundabout way to suggest
that I should break of out the delusion
that I can teach anyone about learning to sing  before
leaning myself to sing, breaking  in, instead, to the
idea of teaching people the humility of
incompetence upon which I am a black belt
warrior with years of post-graduate study
behind
me -

watch this, I say,
teaching
daily by ex-
ample








                                                                              

The next poems from the  anthology are by Agusti Bartra. Born in 1908, he came of age during Spanish Civil War, serving as a Republican soldier. He fled to France in 1939 and was interned in several concentration camps. He remained in exile, mostly living in Mexico, where the majority of his poems were published, until 1970. During his exile, Bartra became one of the most internationally known Catalan poets while remaining  a half-forgotten figure in his own land. He died in 1982,  three years after he was featured in the anthology.










Falcon Above a Lake

Happiness of June:
you, house, boat and spirit.
And each leaf speaks
of the air's epic poem.

How strange my shadow
in flight towards dusk:
two wings, a crown,
an oar heavy across the muscle!



Almost a Song

Light on seaweed
news of the day.

You still sleep,
I lift  the wave
of one word,
then another...

I'm the sea,
you the wall.
With lips
of  foam and air
I kiss the sail
of your spirit.

Sun on abandoned
boats...








                                       





This is another observational from May, last year.












comfort

a young Latina,
mother of two,
both girls,
she, very pretty,  a bit overweight,
or voluptuous,
depending on your century

cries
quietly, no evidence of it
but tear tracks down her cheeks,
delicately wipes the corner of her right eye,
looks away from her husband
sitting across from her, like you want to look
away from someone who is hurting you,
looks at me, through, not really at me, just
the neutral space I presently
occupy

her younger daughter, three,  maybe
four, leans against her arm,
pats  her shoulder...

comforts her








                                                                      


Next I have a poem from another "House of  30" housemate, Helen V.  Lundt. Helen retired after working twenty-eight years in the health field. She has written many poems and short stories, publishing both on-line and in print. Her first book is The Country Poet and she is currently working on another.

This is her Memorial Day poem from last Sunday.










Memorial Day

For my garden, for the cemetery, I spent about
$65 this week. Diane and I planted some at the
grave-sites yesterday, near the flag that was placed
there by the legion members...last night there  was
supposed to be a frost  in our area. I just hope it
didn't kill the pretty red, yellow, and lilac buds.

Isn't that the way of life, though?
Frost kills new buds,
computer deletes,
paper is torn,
homes burned,
people die.
Servicemen lose limbs and their  lives.
I know this is a tiny version of the story of life,
but it's a beginning.

They men and women who have fought for our freedoms
should be honored even though they aren't
with us anymore...at least it's a way of giving thanks
to them, for their scars and loss of life.

And if they still lived, they would join us,
they would start the grill and grill the meat,
maybe have a beer and enjoy the warm weather,
if it were warm.

And such is life...we go on doing those things
without them now, because now we can still do those things.








                                                                
I started smoking when I was12 years old and quit several times over the next 40 years, sometimes  for just a couple of days and once for a whole three months. That was when I was  transitioning from military to civilian life and the pack of Winstons I had  been buying on base for a quarter was a dollar in the outside world.

This went on until on or about my 52nd birthday I decided to quit and I did, cold turkey, and it was  easy. What I learned from that was that I had been  lying to myself all those years when  I claimed I really wanted to quit, but it was just too hard. Turned out that it wasn't that it was so hard but that I just didn't want to quit. And the minute I decide that I really wanted to quit there was nothing  to it.

I wish more  people  would come to this conclusion. It is a  noxious habit and a terrible thing to do to one's self and others around you. Not to mention the obscenity of so-called reputable people selling a product they know ruins lives and kills people.

I am convinced, 20 years after I quit that I would  not  be alive today if I hadn't.

And I promise this all has something  to do with the poem that  follows.



overdosed on inspiration

inspired
this morning
by my mates' creations

so many ideas
so well told,  sparking
my brain in too many directions,
leaving me confused as to where to go,
fearing that  wherever I go I will find,
my best unworthy of the
spark that inspired it...

so I go my own
less inspired
way...

about the tall woman

about
six
feet
tall
with a
hat
and shoes
that  carry
her
even
further
toward the
stars...

smoking...

she's
a very tall beautiful
woman
smoking
a very long cigarette
held elegantly
between long graceful
fingers
yellowing...

I hate to  see young women
smoke

men
too, but men usually
lack the fresh  beauty to be
despoiled by the
habit

not like sunshine-face young women
so glowing in their youth
and beauty...

so sad,
all lost in the end

just another rail-tin woman
in the end,  victim of the damnable poison
that steals the grace and beauty of youth,
leaving them wrinkled creatures with skunky hair,
yellow teeth, and skinny, corded arms with taloned,
grasping hands, like witches of old gingerbread houses
clutching children  in they twisted claws as they
butter them up and put them befuddled
in a bone-fired oven...

that's why I hate to see young women
smoke...

maybe I'll get to reincarnation
tomorrow...



as my destination approaches








                                                                             
  
                                                                          
Joan Brossa, born in  1919, was another of the poets of the Catalan flowering. He served in the Catalan "baby bottle brigade," a group of youngest fighters for the  republic and then, in 1939 was among the first Catalans to be drafted into Franco's army. In 1940, he and other  artists gathered at a friends house to  read back issues of  experimental art magazines, that art banned by Franco. In 1948, the same group began publishing an underground magazine, Dice on  Seven, which represented the  reemergence of an avant garde in Barcelona.

The poet died in 1998.






I can't tell if the following is one titled piece and one untitled piece or a single piece meant to be  read as  one. Either way,  here it is as it appears in the book.


Small  Apotheosis

The night
The day

We split the poem half
and half.











A mailman carrying the village correspondence
was surprised in the woods by
one of his neighbors who, brandishing a knife,
insisted that he gave him a certain letter, or that he let him have
the mailbag so he could look for himself. The mailman
resisted as best he could and promised,
as was proper that he'd bring the letter to his neighbor's house.
But the other refused, knocked the mailman
down, and started ransacking the mailbag when
a pair off policemen appeared on the scene
who, when they realized that there was a right going on, ran towards the men.
The neighbor fled and, chased by the policeman,
jumped over some rocks with so little
skill and luck that he broke his leg
fell on his back and hit his head on the ground.

Moments later a carriage pulled up


The Kiss

It seems
that  she breathes, at the very foot of the tree,
the obstinate grass. I pluck
a blade, trampled by many feet.
Here: take it as a memory
of this evening with me.

Poem
to be sculpted in lemon
wood.

And how did Daphna
feel  about Cloe's kiss?


Pastoral

None, because the ones he didn't kill
flew away.

A shepherd fired into a tree
full of birds and killed some off them.
How many were left?

There still are flowers
and clumps of trees,
and a fountain to  help
the trees and flowers grow.








                                                               




This is also from May, last year. Apparently I dipped back into pen and ink last year, too. Though I think this might have been in involuntary return to the ancient pen and ink art.











dispatches from the time of dinosaurs and broad-leafed  plants #1

how quaint
this pen and flowing ink thing...

will
the inspiration flow
as  well
as it flows when electricity courses
in a dry, red stream along the dark wire,
pulling ideas from the dusty recesses of sheet-rocked walls
where mice and dust bunnies play, pushing the ideas
to my keyboard, infecting my fingers
with the electricity of creation, shaking awake
the portions of my mind open to creation,  my muse
energized and ready to play
for another

day 








                                                                           

From my library, here are poems by Yehuda Amichai, from his collection A Life of Poetry, 1948 - 1994, published by Harper Collins in 1994. Born in 1924, Amichai died in 2000. He  was considered the greatest Israeli poet both in his home country and international. He was one of the first to write in colloquial Hebrew.

His poems in the book were translated by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav.











The Giving of the Torah

When Moses sat
With God on Mount Sinai and wrote
on the tablets,
I sat in the back of the class, in a corner
And drew  dreaming,
Flowers and airplanes
And embellished names.

Now I'll show you everything:
Do not do  and do not listen!


Outing With a Woman

When after hours of walking
You suddenly discover
That the body of the woman striding beside you
Is not made for
A march or War,

That her thighs grow heavy
And her buttocks move like a  tired flock,
You are filled with great joy
For the world
Where women are like this.


Hymn to Summer

These days god leaves the earth,
To go to His summer house
In the dark mountains that are you,
And leaves us to the hot wind, the sword, and envy.

Let us not say too much. Let us not be
Too much. Eternity is a perfect
Form of mutual loneliness.

A sweet feeling between our legs
Tells us of the weakness of lingering
And of the sadness of words to say.








                                                                   




A good thing about being a poem-a-day poet, if you get side-tracked one day you can always get  back on track the next.









I was  going to write a poem about reincarnation

I was going to write a poem
yesterday
about reincarnation
but didn't
so I return to it today...

a second chance,
we all want one,  the basis
for most of our religions, and the reason
most who believe buy into them...

reincarnation...

the ultimate second chance,  no fooling
around with streets of  gold in the clouds, or
multiple virgins  awaiting your attention,  or
silver harps waiting for the ghostly plucking
of your ectoplastmic fingers, reconstituted, but
better with polished nails and in-grown knowledge
of harping  with the choirs of the heavenly host,  no,
none of that with reincarnation,
just straight back  to  the safe and solid
dirt you rose from, the earthly home you  knew and loved,
just better than before
because having screwed up in one persona, you
get a whole new  persona to work with, maybe
do better than before...

and isn't that what we all want, a chance
to try again, to do better, to live up  to the potential
our fourth grade teacher insisted we have
and if it takes several reincarnate cycles to do, well,
the very best thing about it is that we have all the time
in the universe to do  it, again and again...

again and again,  but unlike
the never-ending nature of heaven
reincarnation offers an again
and again and again different every time,
not the eternal sameness
of harping and singing and stubbing toes of streets
of gold,  and most  of all, the loneliness forever of all
your friends left behind, since
even in the best of circumstances, most
of them  won't meet the minimum qualifying criteria,
meaning your probably could end up with no company
but the assholes you wouldn't want to hang with in this life
and certainly not  forever and ever amen...

and there's another good  thing about reincarnation,
all those assholes you wouldn't want to hang  with
are certain to be reincarnated as cockroaches
or possums or some other of the many lower varieties
of vermin, while  all the people you like, being good,
non-asshole people will come back about the same or  maybe
a little better, able to sing  on key and dance with both feet
at once and ever better enabled to fully understand and appreciate
the wit and wisdom that is your and so often unappreciated
in your current
life...

and, if it doesn't work out as you  most wish it.
you can always with  surety
assure the world, just
you wait until
next time








Last this week from the Catalan anthology are three short poems by Vicent Andres Estelles. Born in 1924, he brought out his first book in 1953. As poet he was an isolated figure in Valencia, his home region, which, even though seventy-five percent of its three million residents spoke Catalan, had produced no literature of interest in the language for centuries.  That has changed in the years since, partly because of Estelles, who died in 1993. In the last two years (dated from the time the anthology was published, 1979) the number of Catalan language classes, theatrical productions and radio shows doubled annually in Valencia.







Declaration

the old boards
in the corridor groan.
the shadows pass
of angry poems
you decided not to write.


Auguries

You return,  old grief,
familiar, intensely sweet,
and I can't complain.
Archaic beggars watch
over four live insomniac coals.


Enigma

It's raining against the windowpanes.
Nothing veils the rain.
And old sadness
unveils you -
objectified,  they say.








                                          





Another observational from last year, also May.














little-face man,  redux

little-face
man
is back,
with a big straw
cowboy hat and a little sports car
and a backpack
big enough
to draw protests
from the
Burro Protection Branch
of the ASPCA

he's
a small guy himself
but
I still don't see
how he gets
himself
and that backpack
and that hat
into that little sports
car

I'm
gonna watch
when he leaves
cause I think
it'll be a sight
worth
seeing,
this little-face guy
loading
his bitty-little self
and his giant
pack
and pasture-shading
hat
into his teeny-tiny
car








                                                                               
Born in Ohio in 1952,   Rita Dove, was Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993-1996, the first Black poet to receive that honor and the second to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. She also served from 2004 to 2006 as the Poet Laureate of the State of Virginia. Receiving her MFA from Iowa Writers  Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1977, she has received numerous awards and honors and has taught at several universities.

I took the poem blow from her  book, On the Bus with Rosa Parks,  published in 1999 by W W Norton.








Parlor

We passed through
on the way to anywhere else.
No one lived there
but silence, a pale china gleam,

and the tired eyes of saints
aglow on velvet.

Mom says things are made
to be used. But Grandma insisted
peace was what wasn't there,
strength in what was unsaid.

It would be nice to have a room
you couldn't enter, except in your mind.
I like to sit on my bed
plugged into my transistor radio,
"Moon River" pouring through my head.

How do you use life?
How do you feel? Mom says

things harden with age; she says
Grandma is happier now. After the funeral,
I slipped off while they stood around
remembering - away from all
the talking and eating and weeping

to sneak a peek. She wasn' there.
They I understood why
she had kept them just so:

so quiet and distant,
the things that she had loved.








                                                       





This is the last one this week from 2014, my version of religion.











there is a thread

there is a connecting
thread
that binds the world
and all its parts,
the new and the old
the dirty and the clean
the saint and the thief
the chicken and the road
the peanut and the butter
the prince and the pauper

the acorn and the oak
the tree and the forest
the lake and the trout
the love of a man for 
a woman
the love of a  man for 
a man
the love of a  woman  for 
a woman
the love of all that moves
in the day
and whispers in the darkest
night
the moon and the stars and the 
sun
and each of its orbiting
globes 
whether gatherings of gas
or rock and iron and death
and life and the  hydrogen
and the oxygen
and the orca and the ocean
that enfolds it
and the field and the mouse
and the mountain and the 
top  
and the oceans and the
deep
and me and you
the me part
you
the you part
me
there  is a thread the connects
us
to all
all
to us
and finally
us
to we
together








                                                              


 I had an excellent religious education growing up so I know all the bells and whistles pretty good. As I explain here in my last new poem for the week.












Dark Visions: Hell, and how to get there (as it was explained to me)

                  "I have no mouth and I must scream"
                  Harlan Ellison short story


I don't  know much about
heaven,
growing up hard-shell Lutheran
with an old German pastor
who was hell-on-wheels when it  came
to hell but never had much to say
about heaven except it wasn't hell
and that's all you need to know about it
and quit interrupting me when I'm trying
to  warn you about the devil and his  demons
and his  pitchfork fire tongs down in the
pit where all the sinners like you watch
their toes turn to crispy fritters
and they scream and scream and you will
too if you don't change your ways born sinner
that you are, slobbering through your  days
in sin and degradation and wicked ways
and you'll be sorry in the end...

it was a kind of pious, sadomasochistic pornography
he preached, Dante's hell, but with only one level,
the lowest and worst, good for all sins, no
differing levels of misdemeanors,
or felonies, or high crimes, naughty thoughts,
buying rubbers at a gas station, rubbing yourself
or anyone else during 8th grade math, or keeping
library books past their due date,  or
the most evil of actions, rape, murder, genocide,
failing to tithe your ten percent, all just sin,
pure and simple, any sin is all
sin,  and God's revenge the same for all...

no  pearly gates in his construction, no
green pastures, no angels on high
with great, white  feathered  wings, singing,
none of that Jesus loves me yes I know stuff, just
hellfire and misery and punishment
and fiery coals down your  pants,
old testament  all the
way...

beginning when I was10 years old, 60 years
of disbelief and heaven is just a cliche to me but
hell is still a kind of  reality at the edge of
sight - and it's  not  just me, how many
good books have you read lately, how many
good movies have you seen lately
about heaven?

now, how many about hell and its
demons...

fact is,we area hell-bent  species and even when
we don't believe in it, we feel its fire,
the nightmare on Elm and every other street
at deepest night and darkest
day

carrying with us to that geographic inferno
the hand basket of all our fears...









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



1 Comments:
at 4:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

codrescu was rude to me once and i never forgot it- poetry not much either
nor is kerouac's

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