Beyond the First Pale Blush of New Year   Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A short post with old pictures like you've never seen them before and new and old poems, some from me some from my library - that's it.

I wish I had something to say 

Deborah Slicer
Thinking of  Kierkegaard 

winter postcard
red grill
post-it note

Richard Eberhart
I Walked Out To the Graveyard To See the Dead 

what the world needs

Kay Ryan
Every Painting by Chagall 

tiny bites
a cool breeze in August
whale song

Debbie Kirk
Don't Read This Poem

feeling real macho today     

Lawson Fusao Inada
The Legend of the Jerome Smokestack
The Legend of the Bad Boy
The Legend of the Good Girl

post-it note
I swear
she used to be somebody

Andrew M. Greeley   
Summer Storm

La Reina Del Accordeon

John N. Morris
New York Prices

this old bed

the whole of it

Starting the week with a new year's poem I never got  around to using.

I wish I had something to say

I wish
I had  something to say
about the new year's arrival,
wise, profound, or  even vaguely

more than that, I  wish
I could go back to the days
when I thought such a thing was even  possible,
back in the day, when I imagined the passage
of one year to the next meant something
was going to change, something new
was aborning...

I miss those days
I knew so much more back  then,
certainties that see impossibly silly now,
back when believing was something I could
believe in, innocence I guess
you might say, though it is only now,
a short step to  the beginning of my 73rd year
that I recognize there was ever any innocence
in me...

not as tough now as I  was back

not as certain now as I was back

knowing so much less of what I knew so much more  of
back then

what can  I say about this year?

not so much it's clear - just another shot at compounding  confusion...

what can  I say?

it's what I  do...

The first poet from  my library this week is Deborah Slicer, with two poems from her book, The White Calf Kicks, 2003 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize winner.

A poet and philosopher, Slicer, earned her MA and PhD at the University of Virginia. She taught at the University of Montana and the Hawthorne School and has been involved with the Missoula Writing Collaborative.


Moths fly inside the nimbus of lamplight by the bedside.
As larvae, they ate the faux silk pillowcase
my grandmother embroidered
with pomegranates and plums
just after we were married.
Shaved cedar won't deter them
nor drops of wormwood,
not even the broken mothballs
I sprinkle in the linen drawers.

I once held you first two fingers in my mouth
as you recited slowly,
a recipe
for blackberry
blancmange. Your fingertips were course.
I tasted tobacco.
But I forgave you.

Thinking of Kierkegaard

I've never told you that you talk in your sleep,
how I steal poetry from you
as you dream..
I never told you about the woman who calls each evening,
how  strained her soft  voice is,
that I'm writing a story
imagining your infidelity.

Your shoes are two dark holes
I would never step into,
thought I might whisper into the abyss
now and then.
Trust is a very high trestle.

You walk it on a dare
in front of an audience,
and it's the idiot who does not tremble, even though
the ski is the most innocent  blue,
and there is just wind, your hair, a bird calling into the gorge.

Here are a few short poems from my first eBook Pushing Clouds Against the Wind, published in  2007.

winter postcard

white horse
on a white field
enclosed by a white fence

I am blinded
by the


on white paper
bright red
like an apple
on a bed of

red  grill

red grill
on a field
of brown  leaves

autumn  come
and almost gone with summer

the long wait
for spring


sun  lies low
behind scrub branches

yellow jigsaw

puzzles at end of day

post-it note

crowd  murmurs
in a large room
of stories
into  random
word  pieces

Richard Eberhart is next  up, from his Selected  Poems, 1930-1965. A New Directions Book published in 1965. With a dozen books of poetry and 20 books in all, he won the Pulitzer  Prize for this book and later the National  Book Award for Poetry for later collection.

Born in 1904, he died in 2005.


When I can hold a stone within my hand
And feel time make it sand and soil, ad see
Tye roots of living things grow in this land,
Pushing between my fingers flower and tree,
Then I shall be as wise as death,
For death has done this and he will
Do this to me, and blow his breath
To fire my clay, when I am still.

I Walked Out To the Graveyard To  See the Dead

I  walked out to the graveyard to see the dead
The iron gates were locked, I couldn't get in,
A golden pheasant of the dark fir boughs
Looked with fearful method at the sunset,

Said I, Sir  bird, wink no more at me
I have had enough of my dark eye-smarting,
I cannot adore you, nor do I praise you,
But listen you to the rafters of Montaigne.

Who walks with the Absolute salutes a Shadow,
Who seeks himself shall lose himself;
And the golden pheasants are no help
And action must be learned from love of man.

This is a new poem from last week.

what the world needs

what this world needs
is an explosion
of joy...

even a little poot
of joy
might help


by order of central command
I will  finish this little
and go to Barnes and Noble
where I will drink Starbucks coffee
read  free magazines
and check out book I might want  to steal
for my Kindle

by order of central command
this will  be a fun,
and seriously educational

then I will go home
and take a nap
having had all the fun,
uplift and educating experience
I can handle  in one


it's pretty darn  cold
this morning

if I was a squirrel
I'd probably be freezing my nuts

damn glad
I'm not
as squirrel
is all  I've got to say about


who knows what evil
in the heart of man?

the Shadow knows!

with anyone else who ever  watched
a Republican presidential


speaking of politics....

let's not!


I should get serious

talk  about the pending  doom
of planet earth

or maybe just about the beauty
of  butterflies as they flex
their gossamer wings in the fresh breeze
of spring

or maybe hummingbirds as they hum along,
hovering, dipping of their delicate little sucker  snouts in the sweet nectar
of the beautiful blooms of spring


I could do that but it's cold
and all the butterflies and hummingbirds
are hiding out with the squirrels,
helping them to secure
their  precious



The next poem is by Kay Ryan, taken from her book Flamingo Watching, published in 1994 by Copper Beech Press.

Born in 1945 in California, Ryan was the sixteenth Poet Laureate of the United States from 2008 to 2010 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2011.

Every Painting by Chagall

Every twined groom and bride,
every air fish,  smudged Russian,
red horse, yellow chicken assumes
its position not actually beside
but in some friendly distribution
with a predictable companion.
Every canvas insists on a
similar looseness, each neck
put to at least two uses. And wings
from some bottomless wing source.
they are  pleasure wings of course
since any horse or violinist
may mount the blue
simply by wanting to.
(In freedom, dear things
repeat without tedium.)

Here  are a few more short poems from my first eBook, Pushing  Clouds Against  the Wind.

tiny bites

at a shell-white
takes  tiny
spites them back
with every

a cool breeze in August

from the north
in a season of  southern  winds

trees sigh
with early morning  pleasure

welcome this reminder
of better days to come

whale song

whale song
the deep
navy sonar
the tide


a pewter
roll  across the floor


in  twos
and threes
i listen
i write

The next poet, Debbie Kirk, is one of five in a collection titled, Sirens - Five Femme Fatale Poets, published by Sisyphus Press in 2008.

Kirk has been writing and publishing in the small press for many years. She founded Pink Anarchkitty Press and has published three collections of poetry.

Don't  Read This Poem

If you  are reading this
You are expecting to be entertained
I ain't no entertainer
Though I've been known to dance
On slimy laps for some dead presidents
To slip in my panties

I have this feeling that if I were in a wheelchair
Or had dwarfism
Or was a boy
Nobody would ever read
A goddamn thing that I write
I use that
I use and use

I'm using you right now
Cause you want to stop reading
This anti-poem
But based on my rep
You are expecting to  drop a grenade
Any time now.

Having recently realized how much I detest poetry
I pulled the pin on the grenade and threw it in the toilet,
I watched the whole thing from the bathroom window
That's a place where I feel comfortable

So, I'd like to inform you
That you have just wasted a few minutes
Of your life that you can never have back
I stole 'em

You have just read the ramblings of a nobody
It makes me smile
It brings me great pleasure
To imagine that maybe
In some small way
I have helped contribute
To your ultimate demise,

Feeling my oats, as they used to say.

feeling real macho today

way macho today

my knuckles

gonna kiss the horse
I rode  in

gonna strum a guitar and sing  along
with Johnny Paycheck
and scream


at moments both
and not

spit on the sidewalk
and put my boots
up on the

I'm feeling way macho

drinking my coffee
without cream

Here are several poems by Lawson Fusao Inada. The poems are from  his book, Legends from Camp, published  in 1993 by Coffee House Press.

Born in  1938 in California, Inada was the fifth poet laureate of the state of Oregon. Educated at the University of Oregon and the University of California, Berkeley. A third generation Japanese American, his father was a dentist while his mother helped run the family fish market. In 1942, his family was  interned for the duration of the war at camps in  Arkansas and Colorado.This book, in part, is based on his memories of the internment camps.

XII. The Legend of the Jerome Smokestack

There is no  legend
It just stands there
in a grassy field,
the brush of swampland,
soaring up to the sky.

It's just the tallest
thing around for miles.
Pilots fly by it.

Some might say it's
a tribute, a monument
a memorial  to something.
But no,  not really.

It's just a massive
stack of skills, labor,
a multitude of bricks.
And what it expressed
was exhaust, and waste.

It's just a pile of past.
Home of the wind, rain,
residence of bodies, nests.
I suppose it even sings.

But no, it's not  legend.
It just stands, withstands.

XIII. The Legend of the Bad Boy

Bad Boy wasn't his name.
And as a matter of fact,
there were a lot  of them.

Bad Boy watched. He saw
soldiers shoot rats, snakes;
they even shot a dog.

Bad Boy learned. He did
what he could to insects -
whatever it took to be a Man.

XIV. The Legend of the Good Girl

Good Girl was good. She really was.
She never complained;  she helped others.
She worked hard; she played until tired.
Good Girl, as you guessed, was Grandmother.

More short ones from Pushing Clouds Against the Wind, my first eBook, 2007.


blue eyes
under clear 
on cut

post-it  note

i love
in little
flashes of
sticky note

i swear

business suit
charcoal gray,
red necktie
on pristine white shirt
whispers to himself
as he picks 
at his Blackberry
with his plastic stylus

i read his lips
"beam me up, Scottie"

I  swear 

she used to be somebody

poor Babe
at six hundred pounds
now just bacon
on the hoof

the life of a 
grown-up child star
is precarious

Andrew M. Greeley was born in 1928 and died in 2013. He was a priest ordained in the diocese of Chicago for nearly four decades. He was a noted scholar, professor of social science at the University of Chicago and the author of scores of books in sociology. In addition to his scholarly work, he was author of a popular series of detective books featuring his principle character and mystery, Father Blacky, as well as science fiction.

The  poem is from his book The Sense of Love,  published by The Ashland Poetry Press in 1992.

Summer Storm

(For Helen,  after a visit in the hospital)

Sunbeams tiptoe over tumbling waves
And spray a pinpoint net of silver light
While the sky declines to hide in cloudy caves
But splashes color on the gray it fiercely fights.

Delicate spinning an eye-dazzling dance
On days like this, the foam turns purest white,
Surviving the lake's each crushing avalanche
And straining upward to seize a heaven's height.

When sickness tries to rip the mind apart
And drag the soul through the dark depths of night
In an elegant mix of faith and art,
Some will sop  pain,  ignite hope in their friends,
Giving strength to the would-be sympathetic heart
And trust that love  sets tilted   life aright.

From a very nice musical evening at the coffeehouse last week.

La Reina Del Accordeon

standard conjunto set up,
guitar in the corner, hard to see
in the shadows, bass guitar, an old man
with a fedora and long white beard to his chest,
leaning comfortable against the wall,
serene and still but for one finger plucking
while the other hand progresses
at a stately pace up and down
the neck, like a grandpa Buddha he seems,
and the drummer, with a broad smile
chewing gum in time with the beat he laid out,
and the star, Eva Ybarra, La Reina Del Accordeon,
feet moving, hips swaying, fingers dancing
on the accordion's many-buttoned keyboard, a tiny
woman, her instrument seeming too large for her, and
she sings as she plays, voice big and strong,
songs of an old war and revolution, songs
of pain and sorrow,  loss, hope rewarded and lost,
songs of grief, and above all, songs of love,
Mi Tesoro, my love, my treasure, she sings and the
coffeehouse crowd stands and

as we leave, the night not so cold and dark
as it seemed when we came, the dead night
reborn by joyful

Here's the last piece for  this week from my library. The poem is by John H. Morris, taken from his book, Green Business. The book was published in 1970 by Atheneum.

Born in 1931 in England, Morris died in North Carolina in 1997.

 New York Prices

Some days I can't write
even my name or
especially not that, and
"Dear Anne, Dear Mother, Love
me" is no poem.  One
must be in the state
the doctor calls
"optimal  anxiety"
to "create."

Nerves debate a mind full of guns.

Old Crow, pint-sized
doctor and friend, my work,
full of partly legitimate
self-pity, I solicit
your $3.31 opinion

Last this week from Pushing Clouds Against the Wind, this one not so short.

this old bed

i sleep
on the bed
where my father
was  born
ninety-eight years ago,
second child of Celeste
and August,
amid the rocky hills
and pecan and oak and
flowing streams
in the little
Texas-German town
of Fredricksburg...

i sleep
on the bed
that has slept my family
through two world wars
a cold war
and multiple wars of lesser  scope,
threw twenty one Presidents
of the United States,
some wise,
some not,
some equal
to  the needs of the time,
some not,
through musical genres
from ragtime
to hip-hop,
through  prohibition
and bathtub gin,
through the gilded age,
the jazz age,
fire bombing,
atom bombing,
getting bombed
in the suburbs
and getting sober
with AA,
through seven  presidential
assassination attempts,
in Dallas,
on the launch pad,
in near earth orbit,
Kitty Hawk
to men on the moon,
the cries of he dead
from famine,
from genocide,
from indifference
of the ruling class,
through Bull Connor
and his police dogs,
through King
and his dreams
and his death
on a motel balcony,
to Barack Obama
and the triumph
of  dreams,
through the triumph
of good
and the ever reemergence
of evil,
the cycle played out
over and over and over  again
in the days of yellow
journalism, through Murrow
and Cronkite and Brinkley and
Huntley, on radio and TV
and on the web,
Wikipedia fact
Wikipedia fancy,
truth swaying
on a tumbling pedestal,
lies flying in the wind,
blowhards,  conspiracist,
plain racists
and everyday

through it all,
all the times of reaping
and sowing
the bed has calmed the nights
through three  generations
of sleep  and passion
and midnight

waiting now
for the final sleep
of this generation
the lying down
to rest of the next

Last this week, inspired by a little sniblet of science news I read over the weekend

the whole of it

could be
the biggest bang since
the big bang, just discovered,
blowing away an unthinkably vast section
of the universe, but so far from us
it is barely a smudge
on our most powerful telescopes

so far away
but still we  will feel its effects
in millions of year, just as nothing  happens
anywhere that doesn't or won't  affect us sometime
somewhere - just wait for it, the tide of all things moved
by the tides of everything, as no man is an island,
no island is alone on even the most vast sea,
like we, up to our armpits
in ourselves bumping through the slipstream
of  everyone else...

this makes some people feel very sad, this oneness, making
them feel inconsequential in their smallness, others,
like me, celebrate the magnificence of being
such an important part of everything...

(as all parts of a whole are important
lest it  be not  whole)

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 5:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like the photo w the green tree in the notch- what kind of tree- where taken?

as to richard eberhart? i have corresponded w him-his poems too plain for me-

at 10:01 AM Blogger Here and Now said...

i think you might mean the green bush with mountains in the background. the pic is from the Big Bend Nat. Park. some of the mountains are in the U.S. others in Mexico, the rio grande river flows in a canyon between them. the bush is probably a huisache.

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Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
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Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
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Beau Blue
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Layman Lyric
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Desert Moon Review
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Poetry and Poets in Rags
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Camroc Press Review
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