A Taste of My Library   Tuesday, January 05, 2016

My last post was almost all me. This post I take a lesser role, concentrating on work from my library instead.

My photos are a mix of stuff I thought might be interesting.

The best I can do.

sign slinger

Ralph Waldo  Emerson

William Matthews
Eternally Undismayed Are the Poolshooters

Blaise Cendrars
from The North 
    "I.  Spring"
from Islands
    "VII. Light and Delicate"
    "VIII. Keepsake"       
    "IX. Fishy Cove"
    "X. Hatuara" 

about to walk out the front door

Diane Wakoski   
Cobra Lilies in the Supermarket

Vytautas Pliura 
In the Hands of the Enemy

Simon J. Ortiz
Woman Dreamer:  Slender Oak Woman
Apache Love

evil is always about and I have seen it

Walt Whitman
from A Song of the Rolling Earth

what's better than cold chocolate milk?

Luci Tapahonso
They Are Silent  and Quick

the morning after

Anna Akhmatova
from Selected Poems    
    6 pieces

Lawrence  Ferlinghetti
Populist Manifesto

Catherine Tufariello
Seasons of the Moon
The Mirror

"so  horny the crack of dawn ain't safe"

Luis Cabalqinto
Quality Shopper
The Pornographer  Labors on His Lead       

Alberto Rios
Los Voladores de Papatla

Sheila Ortiz Taylor

in the first days  of  Spring, in the Big Bend, Texas

Cathrine Bowman
Jackie in Cambodia
LBJ Ranch Barbeque

Tino Villanueva
Now That I'm In Spain

Gary Soto
The Tuba Player

                   well, it's a new year after  all                   

I start this week  with a  little bit of observation.

sign  slinger

I think he must have
some kind of a long term deal
with the cheap furniture warehouse
by the diner because he's out every day
slinging their sign, the big cardboard arrow
that points here, here,  here...

but he does more than that, an older
man with a grizzled  grey beard, he does a loose-
boned dance and waves his arms, is wrists and hands
flying like birds released from their cage,
bouncing on his heels to some kind of boogie beat...

I  always think of him as some kind of down-on-his-luck
actor, the way he inhabits his role of street
hustler, and this afternoon, this dark, mean-col
afternoon, I could see how  the actor  has worn the role
too long and too hard - I could see  as he wave
at passing cars, the moment when his arms dropped
and his shoulders drooped and he was just another
tired old man on a sidewalk, hustling with the little
hustle left...

and  then,  the  trooper he might have been returns
and his arms fly and feet dance and in the hard cold
he gathers light around him

slinging his sign, come here, come here
come here, the sign says, get your cheap furniture here
it cries, and let this poor old player get a warming drink
and some rest...

From the book, Till I End My Song, a Gathering of Last Poems selected by Harold Bloom, this poem is by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Emerson was 62 years of age when he wrote the poem and though I at  72 am not nearly as old in my time as he was at 62 in his time, it speaks to me as has no other poem in a very long time.

The opening lines, "It is time to  be old, to take in sail..." speaks to my own dissatisfaction with the pressures in today's world to  be young, to always be young, to be always on the move and active when what I most want to do is just set back and take it all in, figure out, as much as I can in the time left,  what it all meant.

The book  was published by HarperCollins in 2010.


It is time to be old,
To take in sail:...
The god of bounds,
Who sets to seas a shore,
Came to me in his fatal rounds,
And said: "No more!
No farther spread
Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root.
Fancy departs: no more invent,
Constract  they firmament
To compass  of  a tent.
There's not enough for this and that,
Make thy option which of two;
Economize the failing river,
Not the less revere the Giver,
Leave the many and hold the few.
Timely wise  accept the terms,
Soften the fall  with wary foot;
A little while
Still plan and smile,
And, fault of novel  germs
Mature the unfallen fruit.
Curse, if thou wilt, thy sires,
Bad  husbands of their fires
Who, when they gave thee breath,
Failed to bequeath
The needful sinew stark as once,
The Baresark marrow to they bones,
But left  a legacy of ebbing veins,
Inconstant heat and nerveless reins, ...
Amid the Muses,left thee dead and dumb ,
Amid the gladiators, halt and numb."

As the bird trims her to the gale,
I trim myself to the storm of time,
I man the rudder, reef the sail,
Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:
"Lowly faithful, banish fear,
Right onward drive unharmed;
They port, well worth the cruise, is near,
And every wave is charmed."

The next piece is by William  Matthews from his book, Search Party,  published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 2004.

Instructor, professor, visiting lecturer at numerous colleges and universities in the United States for twenty years, Matthews died of a heart attack in 1997, the day after his fifty-fifth birthday.

Eternally Undismayed Are the Poolshooters

         for Robert Peterson

A slow circular flail of fan
not moving the still  air.
Shee-it. Slap of pool balls. Hot.
Arms sag from sweat-stained sockets,
drenched tendrils.

"It's so hot at my place
you can  hear the paint crack."

Everything's slick with a soft sweaty grit.
In the parking lot
a sponge-tongued beagle
spurns a dirty puddle
shaped  like a woman's foot,
crumples  into the shade
beneath  a Buick, sleeps.

She loved  heat.
On the beach for hours
like a snake,then daintily
to  the water, foam toes,
one deep breast-heaving breath
and in.

"104 out there. Too hot to fuck.
I once loved a woman who left me
on a day like this."
We woke marbled with sweat.
"Those days I was working straight commission.
I could sell a truss to a trout.
I said, my  love
let's buy an air conditioner.
She put her shirt on, then her slacks."
Like a bride aiming her  bouquet
at a tubby friend. she tossed me
her underpants and left.
"I haven't  seen her since."

Each ball slides from no reason
where it  wants,
glasses of beer warm up to room
temperature (about 78 degrees)
at the same pace
the balls  click quietly
like tumblers in a lock.
Freddie brings the paper  in,
hangs around,goes back out.
Nothing from the poolshooters,
faces of camels
working their gums
among the smoke rings.

Next up, my favorite travel writer, Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961), who traveled the world for his newspaper in Paris, a man who  seemed to have been welcomed wherever he went, wide-eyed, intensely observant, accepting without judgement  all that he saw. This piece is from Blaise Cendrars, Complete Poems, translated by Ron Padgett and published by the  University of California Press in 1992, It is a large, wonderful  book including his travel poetry and many other poems as well.

from The North

I. Spring 

The Canadian  springtime is the most invigorating and  powerful in the world 
Beneath the thick blanket of  snow and ice
Generous nature
Tufts of violets pink white  and blue
Orchids sunflowers tiger lilies
Down the venerable avenues of mapleblack ash and birds
The birds fly and sing
In  shrubs budding again with new and tender shoots
The happy sunlight is the  color  of  anise

Woods and farmlands stretch away from the road for over five miles
It's one of the biggest pieces of property in Winnipeg
On  it rises  a solid stone farmhouse something like a manor  house
This is where my good friend Coulon lives
Up before daybreak he rides from farm to  farm on  his big bay mare
The earflaps of  his rabbitskin hat dangle on his shoulders
Dark eyes and bushy brows
Very chipper
Pipe on his chin

The night is foggy and cold
A hard west wind bends and sways the firs and larches
A small glow is spreading
And ember crackles
It smolders and then burns through the brush
Clumps of resinous trees thrash around in the wind
Wham wham huge torches burst
The fire moves  along the horizon with a majestic slowness
Black trunks and white trunks turn blood red
A dome of  chocolate smoke out which a million burning bits and
     sparks are flying spinning upward and sideways
Behind the curtain of flame you can see massive shadows  twisting and
     crashing to the ground
Resounding axes chopping
An acrid haze spreads over the incandescent forest which a gang
     lumberjacks are circumscribing

from Islands

VII. Light and Delicate

The air is balmy
Amber musk and lemon flowers
Just being alive is true happiness

 VIII. Keepsake

The sky and the sea
The waves come in to caress the roots of the coconut palms and the big
     tamarinds  with metallic leaves

IX. Fishy Cove

The water is so calm and so clear
in its depths you see the white bushy coral
The  prismatic sway of suspended jellyfish
the fish darting pink yellow lilac
And beneath the weaving seaweed the azure sea cucumbers and the
     green and violet sea urchins

X. Hatuara

She doesn't know anything of European styles
Her frizzy blue-black hair is swept up  Japanese-style and held in place
     by coral pins
She is naked under her silk kimono
Naked to her elbows
Strong lips
Drowsy eyes
Straight nose
Skin like light copper
Small breasts
Opulent hips

The way she moves is alive and direct
The young look  of a charming animal

Her specialty the grammar of walking

She swims the way you write a 400-page novel
Beautiful sustained  prose
She catches tiny fish which she holds in her mouth
Then she dives straight down
Gliding between the corals and multicolored seaweed
Soon to reappear
Holding two big sea ream with silver bellies

A week of really wild weather in Texas, blizzards, floods, tornadoes - mostly we missed it in South Texas except for one wild morning.

about to walk out the front door

about to walk out the front door
with the dog
for my regular morning coffee and poetry rendezvous,
when I was  blown back in by the cold front
stomping through the neighborhood, buckets of rain
blown by a fierce and hungry north wind

out tryst temporarily suspended
the dog and I sat on the couch and listened
to the beating on the roof like a five-year-old
with the drum he got for Christmas...

the rain stopped
after about thirty minutes, with the wind
still blowing as hard as ever and the temperature 10 degrees
cooler than the thirty minutes before...

looking out the Starbucks window several hours later
I can see the wind has stilled, last night's fallen leaves
no longer swirling as before in little whirlwinds
that on an open field would be called dust devils
or, diablitos, we say here, but lying on the red brick walk
without moving, their wild spirit broken
as the winds pass on to blow leaves and grain fields
further south, ultimately to push back against the quiet
tides of the Gulf of Mexico...

now, it's just regular old boring

Next from my library, Diane Wakoski, from her book, Emerald Ice, Selected Poems 1962-1987,  published by Black Sparrow Press in 1996.

Cobra  Lilies in the Supermarket

                         for Wallace Stevens

I wonder
as l am driving to the Market Basket
why I have lived my life
as I have.

The mother of
my third husband
                            - a blond blue-eyed singer, she was -

told me
I was a crybaby
at the time
I was crying.
She said
you should fix up your life
and then not cry
about it.

My own mother
said, referring to my fourth husband
                                                       who left me
"What are you crying for?
Buy your own house so that the next one who leaves you
won't be able to take your home away."
And she too said,
"You always were
a crybaby."

When I cry now
it is usually in anger. But
I still cry in pain. Then I hide myself in rooms where ho one
can see me.

I  bought a house
bur cannot live in it.
My fifth husband says he would leave me
before living there,
but since he is a nice man
(or perhaps it is just that I am older)
I didn't cry,
nor have I recently been called
a crybaby.

I  still lie in other people's houses,
listen to their music,
live out of suitcases.
Driving to the supermarket in the rain today,
shopping for someone else's dinner
I wondered  if anyone ever felt
he had a house
other than in his head.

I was tantalized with the cobra lily sitting next to the oranges
& avocados like a purple clenched fist
unrolling its tongue
but unwilling to speak to me, I thought.

When I studied the piano
I always cried at my music lessons.
My teacher stopped criticizing me.
I heard that secretly she called me
a crybaby.
I gave up piano,
took up the voice instead.
Now, my lessons are concerts
where crying is considered an art.
I shout,
I speak,
I whisper,
at at last again
I can cry.
this time
no one taunts me
but other crybabies;
and when I am alone
I defend myself with poetry:
"I remember the cry of the peacocks."


This poem is by Vytautas Pliura and it's from the anthology A Day for a Lay, a Century of Gay Poetry, published by Barricade Books in 1999.

A poet and an artist, born in 1951, the poet died in 2011, two years after his poem was published in the anthology. I cannot find a biography, beyond a short obituary.

In the Hands of the Enemy

Their skin was ivory
the jungle was emerald
they kept me in a bamboo cage
I was given, quite mysteriously, a
    mahogany chair to sit in
A strange privilege

Because I was known to be gay
    they let me grow orchids in my cell
Orchids don't lust after much light
I also fed the monkeys and peacocks
    and was let out to make rice paper at the
    blind woman's hut

when a South Vietnamese prisoner was to be
that prisoner could request to humiliate a
    prisoner form the USA by making him give
    the condemned person
    oral sex

Mark and Willard both had  jet black hair
    and did not impress the Montagnards
One mountain man traveled 250 kilometers to
    cutoff some of my blonde ringlets to
    weave into dolls for his  children

I, a blue-eyed Central Illinois farm boy a
    a little speck of purple-mountain-majesty among the
    hobbled rubber  trees and the elf-like golden
    shimmering teak  trees
    was led into a clearing

The prisoner to be shot was tied to a post, I could
    hear the women washing their clothes in the Red River
    singing lullabies

                Hands tied behind my back
                I was lowered to my knees

One boy shot his semen down my throat as he lurched with

Loins quivering
It took him ten minutes to die
It took them that long  to free  his fingers
    from my hair

I am partial to the poems of peoples long neglected, as in this case the poet Simon J.  Ortiz, a leading figure in the Native American literary renaissance that began in the 1960s. The poem is from his very large collection, Woven Stone, published by the University of Arizona Press in 1992.

Woman  Dreamer: Slender Oak Woman

A pretty girl lent me some typing paper.
Long ages of Indian in her face; this one
from the north. San Luis Valley, family
of farm workers; beets, onions, lettuce.

At  lunch in the line, there was a Mexican
woman pushing a cart of hot food.
She was very dark,  high bones in her face
flashing dark eyes, scar on her upper lip.

    I can imagine you, woman,
    woman when you were fourteen,
    running toward the mountains.
    You must have had long legs,
    slender oak, running running
    in the wind.

The was another woman I saw in the main
VAH office building. She was drinking
water from the fountain, and later I saw her
walking. She reminded me of a woman
I loved for fun. She moved like she laughed,
very sure of herself, teasing, long legs.
She was salmon, fast runner; she was oak
slender woman; tlingit.

    I can see the oak slender
    woman  running the mountain slopes.
    The wind flies into her.
    The sky is clear all the way
    to all the  horizons.
    She, the slender oak young spring
    of herself, is running running.

Apache Love

                                                                                  Cibecue is on the western edge
                                                                                  of the White Mountain Apache
                                                                                                         land  in Arizona 

It is how you  feel
about the land.

It is how you feel
about the children.

It is how you feel
about the women.

It is how you feel
about all things.

in beauty.

all things.

for all time.

through all journeys.

"Those are our White Mountains," Judy said.

"Don't let these old  women do all the work for you,."
old man said.

"It makes me  feel good, all you young people,"
old woman said.

"It is our Apache way," Mrs. Early said.

If I ever come back,
it will be through here.

It would be good to ride a horse
through these mountains.

It would be good to stop and rest
by a stone as big as the spirits.

It would be good to go back
and touch the Mountain's people.

Salt River Canyon,
"It's about fifteen miles," Sam said.

Salt River Canyon,
we threw stones into the canyon.

Salt River Canyon,
the mountains, the canyons all around us.

Apache old woman, gray hair, you in beauty.

Apache woman, black hair, you in beauty.

Apache young girl, strong limbs, you in beauty.

Apache younger girl, growing, you in beauty.

It is you.
It is you.
It is you.
It is you.

A week of a lingering illness, days and night of half awake/half asleep that come with winter colds. And from that state, memories of some people I haven't thought of in at least 40 years.

evil is always about and I have see it

sleeping off days and nights of illness
it is in a fever dream
I remember them

the older brother,
short and fat

his younger siblings,
male and female, twins,
slender and beautiful,
dark hair, eyes black as glittering coal,
like a pair o panthers
stalking a brown mouse,
in them the dark beauty
of evil that draws in the

they beat their older brother
for sport...

the last time i talked to him
he called and said he had left a bomb
at my office, and certain he was not smart
enough to make a bomb, I told him to quit fooling around
or he was going to end up in jail...

the last I heard of him, his brother and sister
had beat him to death...


two brothers
again, traveling, on the road,
both thin and small,
the older one, again, slow,
they younger
with a silky sweet
southern country-boy voice,
spoke of normal things with blank eyes
above a honey dew mouth,
eyes that could sometimes,  like a passing thought
flickering, go dark and dangerous,
devil  eyes in a soft-speaking angel face,
I felt the chill  of a shadow snake crossing behind me
whenever we spoke,
the kind of viper so quiet
and so fast it  could strike before you knew it,
only the swelling, the fever, the clawing-
eyed death to announce its presence...

the last time I saw them the older brother was beat up
black and blue and when I asked what happened,
"he got a little out of line,"
said the younger, with no hint of anything out of the ordinary,
"and I had to knock him down some"
and I was relieved after that last visit when they moved on
and were seen by me again...


I dealt with many crazed, angry and dangerous
people in my years in public service, and learned to spot
the ones requiring the softest touch...

but no others ever like these two sets of soulless siblings,
reminding me of the difference between mean
and purposelessly evil, people who chill  me
and I remember them

Always a pleasure to return to the godfather of modern American poetry and it's continuing soul and inspiration, Walt Whitman.

Reading this, I wonder how Whitman would write this poem today, about his earth we have so abused.

from A Song of the Rolling Earth


A song of the rolling earth, and of words according.
Were you thinking that those were the words, those upright lines?
          those curves, angles, dots?
No, those are not the words, the substantial words are in the ground
          and sea,
They are in the air, they are in you.

Were you thinking that those were the words, those delicious sounds
          out of your friends' mouths?
No, the real words are more delicious than they.

Human bodies are words, myriads of words,
(In the best poems re-appears the body, man's or woman's, well-
          shaped,  natural, gay,
Every part able, active, receptive, without shame or the need of

Air, soil, water, fire - those are words,
I myself am a word with them - my qualities interpenetrate with
          theirs - my name is nothing to them,
Though it were told in the three thousand languages, what would
          air, soil, water, fire, know of my name?

A healthy presence, a friendly or commanding gesture, are words, say-
          ings, meanings,
The charms that go with the mere looks of some  men and women,, are
          saying and meanings also.

The workmanship of souls is by those inaudible words of the earth,
The masters know the earth's words and use them more than audible

Amelioration is one of the earth's  words,
The earth neither lags nor hastens,

It has all the attributes, growths, effects, latent in  itself from the jump,
It is not half beautiful only, defects and excrescences show just as
          much as perfection show.

The earth does not withhold, it is generous enough,
The truths of the heart continually wait, they are not so conceal'd
They are calm, subtle, untransmissible by print,
They are imbued through all things conveying themselves willingly,
Conveying a sentiment and invitation, I utter and utter,
I speak not, yet if you hear me not of what avail am I to you?
To bear, to better, lacking these of what  avail am I?

(Accouche! accouchez!
Will you rot your own fruit in yourself there?
Will you squat and stifle there?)

The earth does not argue,
Is not pathetic, has no arrangements,
Does not  scream, haste,  persuade, threaten, promise,
Makes no  recriminations, has no conceivable failures,
Closes nothing, refuses nothing, shuts none out,
Of all the powers, objects, states, it notifies, shuts none out.

The earth does not exhibit itself nor refuse to exhibit itself, possesses
          still underneath,
Underneath the ostensible sounds, the august chorus of heroes, the
          wail of slaves,
Persuasions of lovers, curses, gasps of the dying, laughter of young
          people,accents of bargainers,
Underneath these possessing words that never fail.

Too her children the words of he eloquent dumb great mother never
The true words do not fail, for motion does not  fail and reflection does not

Of the interminable  sisters,
Of the ceaseless cotillions  of sisters,
Of the centripetal and centrifugal sisters, the elder and younger
The beautiful sister we know dances on with the rest.

With her ample back towards every beholder,
With the fascinations of youth and equal fascinations of age,
Sits she whom I too love like the rest,  sits undisturb'd,
Holding up her hand what has the character of a mirror, while her
          eyes glance back from it,
Glance as she sits, inviting none, denying none,
Holding a mirror day and night tirelessly before her own face.

Seen at hand or seen at a distance,
Duly the twenty-four appear in public every day,
Duly approach and pass with their companions or a companion,
Looking from no countenance of their own, but from the countenances
          of those who are with them,
From the countenance of  children or women or the manly countenance,
From the open countenance of animals or from inanimate things,
From the landscapes or waters or from the exquisite apparition of the
From  out countenance, mine and yours,  faithfully returning them,
Every day in public appearing without fail,  but never twice with the
          same companions.

Embracing men,  embracing all, proceed the three hundred and sixty-
          five resistlessly round the sun;
Embracing all,  soothing, supporting, follow close three hundred and
          sixty-five offsets of the first, sure and necessary as they.

Tumbling on steadily, nothing dreading,
Sunshine, storm, cold, heat, forever withstanding,  passing, carrying,
The soul's realization and determination still  inheriting,
The fluid vacuum around and ahead still entering and dividing,
No balk retarding, no  anchor anchoring, on no rock striking,
Swift, glad, content, unbereav'd, nothing losing,
Of all able and ready at any time to give strict account,
The divine ship sails the divine  sea.

I wasn't going to use any old poems this post, but I went down to the corner store  and bought myself a pint of chocolate milk and drank it all up and it was so good, I thought of this.

It's from my first book, Seven Beats a Second, available now only on Amazon and to those fortunate enough to visit the IAMA coffeehouse on the corner of Broadway and Pearl (and occasionally at one or more of the half-price bookstores).

what's better than cold  chocolate milk?

what could be better than a big glass
of ice cold chocolate milk
on a warm summer day?

might be you
up to your neck in a great big vat
of cold chocolate milk

could be you
floating on your back in an immense bowl
of cherry jello

even you
splashing like a puppy in a gigantic pot
of split-pea soup

or, hell, maybe just you

waiting for me

The next piece is from my library. The poet is Luci Tapahonso and her book is Saanii Dahataat - The Women are Singing, published by The University of Arizona Press in 1993.

Born in 1953, Tapahonso is a Navajo poet and lecturer in Native American Studies. She is the first and current poet laureate of the Navajo Nation.

They Are Silent and  Quick

We  sit outside on the deck
and below, tiny flickers of light appear here and there.
They are silent and quick.
The night is thick and the air alive with buzzing and humming insects.
"They're lightning bugs," Lori says, "Fireflies."

I wonder how I will get through another day.

"I think they are connected with magic," she says.
peering into the darkness. "Maybe people around here tell stories
about small  bits of magic that appear on summer nights."
"Yes," I say,  "it must be."

I walk inside the house and call my mother.
From far away, she says, "I never heard of such a thing.
There's nothing like that in Navajo stories."
She is speaking from hundreds of miles away.,
where the night is dark and the sky, a huge, empty blackness.
The long shadows of the mesas stretch across the flat land.
"Someone is having a sing near here," she says. 'We can hear
the drums all night long. Your father and I are all alone here."
Her voice is the language of my dreams.
I hang up the phone and walk into the moist air.

My daughter sits there in the darkness, marveling at the little beings
filled with light, and I sit beside her.
I am hoping for a restful sleep.
In the woods below, teenagers are laughing
and the whine of the cicadas rises loudly.

"What is it?" she asks. "What's wrong?"
There are no English words to describe this feeling.
"T'aa iighisii biniinaa shil hoyee", I say.
         Because of it, I am overpowered by aching.
         It is a heaviness that surrounds me completely.
"Ako ayoo shil hoyee." We are silent.

Early in the morning, I awaken from a heavy, dreamless sleep
and outside the window, a small flash of light flickers off and on.
Then I recall being taught to go outside in the gray dawn
before sunrise to receive the blessings of the gentle spirits
who gather around our home. Go out, we  were told,
get your blessings for the day.

And now, as I watch these tiny bodies of light,
the aching inside lessens as I see how
the magic of these lights preceded the gray dawn.

This is from the day after Christmas..

 the morning  after

it seems the city must have come awake,
rustled itself out of bed, yawned, scratched,
went down the hall for a quiet morning

and went back to bed...

at  least it  seems that way from where I sit
here in my breakfast diner, traffic slow on the interstate,
business slow here in the restaurant...

everyone taking a break
but here I am as usual in the still dark morning,
finding  the rest of the world hiding under the covers...


Star  Wars at a cineplex near  home, 11:00 a.m.

if I can get anyone else up by then
I guess that's what we'll

Next, Anna Akhmatova, another artist-victim of Communist oppression and  "Soviet realism" in the arts. If you're not  familiar with Akhmatova, it's worth a Google trip to make her acquaintance.

Three pieces chosen at random from Anna Akhmatova, Selected Poems, published by Zyphyr Press in 2000, translated by Judith Hemschemeyer.


I dream of him less often now, thank God,
He doesn't appear everywhere anymore.
Fog lies on the white road,
Shadows start to run along the water.

And the ringing goes on all day.
Over the endless expanse of ploughed fields,
Ever louder sound the bells
From Jonah's Monastery far away.

I am clipping today's wilted branches
From the lilac  bushes;
On the ramparts of the ancient fortress,
Two monks stroll.

Revive for me, who cannot see,
The familiar  comprehensible, corporal world.
The heavenly king has already healed my soul
with the peace of unlove, icy cold.

Kiev 1912


How I love, how I  loved to look
at your chained shores,
At the balconies, where for hundreds of years
No one has set foot.
And verily your are the capital
For us who are mad and luminous;
But when the special, pure hour
Lingers over the Neva
and the May wind sweeps
Past  all the columns lining the water,
You are like a sinner turning his eyes,
Before death, to the sweetest dream of paradise...



I am listening to the orioles' ever mournful voice
Ad saluting the splendid summer's decline.
And through grain pressed tightly,  ear to ear,
The sickle, with its snake hiss, slices.

And the short skirts of the slender reapers
fly in the wind,like flag on a holiday.
The jingling  of bells would be jolly now,
And through dusty lashes, a long,  slow  gaze.

It's not caresses I await, nor lover's adulation,
The premonition of inevitable darkness ,
But come with me  to  gaze  at paradise,  where together
We were innocent and blessed.

July 27, 1917  Slepnyovo


Petrograd, 1919

And confined to this savage capital,
We have forgotten forever
The lakes, the steppes, the towns,
And the dawns of our great native land.
Day and night in the bloody circle
A brutal languor overcomes us...
No one wants to help us
Because we  stayed home,
Because loving our city
And not winged freedom,
We  preserved for ourselves
Its palaces, its fire and water.

A different time is drawing near,
The wind of death already chills the heart,
But the holy city of Peter
Will be our unintended monument


I am not with those who abandoned their land
To the  lacerations of the enemy.
I am deaf to their coarse flattery,
I won't  give them my songs.

But to me the exile is forever pitiful,
Like a prisoner, like someone ill.
Dark is your road, wanderer,
Like wormwood smells the bread of strangers.

But  here in the blinding smoke of the conflagration,
Destroying what's left of youth,
We have not deflected from ourselves
One single stroke.

And we know that in the final accounting,
Each hour will be justified...
But there is no people on earth more tearless
More simple and more full of pride.

July 1922  Petersburg


The Last Toast

I drink to the ruined house,
To the evil  of my life,
To our shared loneliness
And I drink to you -
To  the lie of the lips that betrayed me,
To the deadly coldness  of the eyes,
To the fact that the world is cruel and depraved,
To the fact that God did not see.

July 27, 1934

This is by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, if not the last survivor of the original beat poets, pretty close to it. The poem is from his collection, Wild Dreams of New Beginnings, a New Directions book originally published in 1974, my edition in 1988.

Populist Manifesto

Poets, come out of your  closets,
Open your windows,  open your doors,
You have been holed up too  long
in your closed world.
Come down, come down
from your Russian Hills and Telegraph Hills,
your Beacon Hills and your Chapel Hills,
your Mount Analogues and Montparnasses,
down from your foot hills and mountains,
out of your tepees and domes.
The trees are still falling
and we'll to the woods no more.
No  time now for sitting in them
As man burns down his own  house
to roast his pig.
No more chanting Hare Krishna
while Rome burns.
San Francisco's burning,
Mayakovsky's Moscow's burning
the fossil-fuels of life.
Night & the Horse approaches
eating light, heat & power,
and the clouds have trousers.
No time now for the artist to hide
above,  beyond, behind the scenes,
indifferent, paring his fingernails,
refining himself out of existence.
No time now for out  little literary games,
no time now for our paranoias & hypochondrias,
no time now for fear & loathing,
time now only for light & love.
We have seen the best minds of our generations
destroyed by boredom at poetry readings.
Poetry isn't secret society,
It isn't a temple either.
Secret words & chants won  do any loner.
The hour of oming is over,
time for keening & rejoicing
over the coming end
of industrial civilization
which is bad for earth & Man.
Time now to face outward
in the full lotus position
with eyes wide open.
Time now to  open your mouths
with a new open speech,
time now to communicate with all sentient beings,
All you "Poets of the Cities"
hung in museums, including myself,
All you poets' poets writing  poetry
about poetry,
All you poetry workshop poets
in the boondock heart  of America,
All you house-broken Ezra Pounds,
All you far-out freaked-out cut-up  poets,
All you pre-stressed Concrete poets,
All you cunnilingual poets,
All you pay-toilet poets groaning with graffiti,
All you A-train swingers who never swing on birches,
All you masters of the sawmill haiku
in the Siberias of America,
All you eyeless unrealists,
All you self-occulting superurrealists,
All you bedroom visionaries
and closet  agitpropagators,
All you Groucho Marxist poets
and leisure-class Comrades
who lie around all day
and talk about the working class proletariat,
All you Catholic anarchists of poetry,
All you Black Mountaineers of poetry,
All you Boston Brahmins and Bolinas bucolics,
All  you den  mothers of  poetry,
All you zen brothers of poetry,
All you suicide lovers of poetry,
All you hairy professors of proesie,
All you poetry reviewers
drinking the blood of the poet,
All you Poetry Police -
Where are Whitman's wild children,
where the great voices speaking out
with a sense of sweetness and sublimitly,
where the great new vision,
the great world-view,
the high prophetic song
of the immense earth
and all that sings in it
Any  our relation to it -
Poets,  descend
to the street of the world once more
And open you minds & eyes
with the old visual delight,
Clear your throat and speak up,
Poetry is dead,  long live poetry
with terrible eyes and buffalo strength.
Don't wait fr the Revolution
or  it'll happen without you,
Stop mumbling and speak out
with a new wide-open poetry
with a new commensensual "public surface"
with the other subjective levels
or other subversive levels,
a tuning fork in the inner ear
to strike below the surface.
Of your own sweet Self still sing
yet utter "the word en-masse" -
Poetry the common carrier
for the transportation of the public
to higher planes
than other wheels can carry it.
Poetry still falls from the skies
into our streets still open.
They haven't put up the barricades, yet,
the streets still alive with faces,
lovely men & women still walking there,
still lovely creatures everywhere,
in the eyes of all the secret of all
still buried there,
Whitman's wild children still sleeping there,
Awake and walk in the open air.

Catherine Tufariello is the next poet from my library. Born in 1963 in New York, she earned her Ph.D. at Cornell University. She currently teaches at Valparaiso after previously teaching at Cornell, College of Charleston and University of Miami.

The poems is from her book Keeping My Name, published by Texas Tech University Press in 2004.

Seasons of the Moon

The moon rose, a bright balloon slipped free
From a child's fist. A blue-tinged light,  like milk,
Silvered their hair and turned the sheets to silk.
Still twined, they slept like children knee to knee.

While  plaintive crickets quavered in the yard,
The moon rose, a face  half turned away
From the open window.Watching him, she lay
And wondered what it heard. She listened hard.

Wind  tried the door all night, all night, and dry leaves leapt
Too peer inside, mice  scrabbling at the screen.
A shell of a moon appeared, washed  pale and clean
Above the empty bed where neither slept.

They lay, two lovers, carved in effigy
On a common tomb, awake in early dawn.
A few birds called across the snowy lawn.
Between the bare, clenched branches of a tree.

The moon slipped like a stone dropped in the sea.

The Mirror

The day after you say you do not think
You want to be married to me any more,
I meet my own dark gaze above the sink,
Surprised to find my image as befoe.
The mirror faithfully reflects my face,
My compact body, solid as a stone,
Familiar shapes your words did not erase,
A vacant house I do and do not own.
Yet I feel invisible, a fragile elf
Wandering rooms vivid  with ghosts of you,
Unreal, spectral, even to myself,
Expecting strangers' eyes to run me through,
This stubborn flesh to meet dissolving air.
One day I'll  wake, and no one will be there.

I mentioned earlier I wasn't planning on  using any old poem in this post, but as has already happened once, I saw something that reminded of an old poem I liked. The problem is I didn't start keeping a  computer record of my poems until 2007 which leaves me with poems from 1998 to 2006 filed as a stack here and a stack there, and so on. The poem I'm looking for is from about 2004 to 2005 and I haven't found it yet. Which means I'll be looking at 6,000 or more poems one at a time if I really want to find it.

But, I did find a stack of  poems from that period I had gathered for possible use in a book. They were never used, but in looking through them, it struck me that they looked like they were fun to write. I'm going to use some of those old poems in my next post. In the meantime, here's one of them.

And I'm determined to find the  poem I started out looking for, look for it  to appear here, some day.

"so horny the crack of dawn ain't safe"

that's a line
from a book I'm reading,
of the benefit that accrues
to those of us who  avoid high-
class literature

cause, for sure,
you won't find that line
in Shelley or Keats,
nor in Longfellow, Tennyson, or Donne -

Twain, maybe,
but only in one of those books
he wouldn't publish
until after his death or 1962,
which ever came first -

probably - imagine the line
as read by Olivier or Burton -
if he had thought of it
and if he would read it now,
he'd probably say,
darn, why didn't I think of that -

and the ancient Roman poets,
for sure - those guys were always
hornied-up naked in their baths - we just
haven't dug the lines out of the ruins yet -
and Li Po, certainly,
if he'd looked up from the bubbles
in his beer long enough to think of it,
in fact, there's a rumor that he did,
the night he drowned
after toasting the reflection of the moon
in the lake, he just never had a chance
to write it down


as is painfully evident,
I never had time for the classics, spent
my reading time with pirates
and sword fights and cannon balls
blowing off heads,
and cowboys and gunslingers,
fast-draws at high noon,
and space adventure in far-away
galaxies and shapely green
from the planet Holy Cow!
and hard-boiled dicks
and their molls built like...

well, built pretty darn good

and lets face it, I read Silas Marner
and Tess of the d'Rubbervilles
and all that and
they were pretty good, but
not nearly as good as much fun as blond-haired
molls built like...well, you know

as everyone knows
I've been fifteen years old
since the year I was fifteen years old
and I have no desire all these years later
to turn sixteen and get serious

Born in 1935, Luis Cabalquinto was a Bikolanong writer who published in three languages, Bicol, Tagalog, and English in the United States, Philippines, and Australia. The poems are from his book Bridgeable Shores, Selected Poems (1969-2001)

Quality Shopper

Thoughtfully, she
Pressed her
Manicured index
Finger on
His nipples,
Belly button,
Balls, penis -

Dainty shopper
Checking a
Display of
Tropical fruits
For quality.


Hooking open
His CK-briefs'
Waist band,
She casts
An eye
In there
As if
Checking a
Kingfish's gills
For freshness.

The Pornographer Labors on His Lead

I placed my hand on the furry rock
of her crotch, now hot with lust and excitement,
pressed my thumb on her  wet clit and,
with my other hand, took out my raging cock
and entered her. It felt great and glorious.

He did not like the passage. He would work
on it some more, though it was late. He  rose
and went to the fridge, reached for a Bud.

Outside, a wondrous dawn.
Someone's small dog, barking.

Now from my library, Alberto Rios with a poem from his book,  The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, published in 2002 by Copper Canyon Press.

Born in Arizona  in 1952, Rios has published ten books of poetry and  chapbooks, three collections of short stories and a memoir. He was appointed Arizona's first state poet laureate in 2013.

Los Voladores de Papantla

I saw the Flying Men of Papantla in the 1950s,
And then several times since,

The Tarascan Indians from inside Mexico
Playing flutes, some of hem, the others answering

From the small  platform at the top of a fifty-foot pole,
Binding their ankles to the end of a rope.

It was the first time that stays with me,
Especially now. Today it''s neat and clean -

The ropes  are checked and insurance forms are signed.
But the first time, people crowded right up to the pole

And the men jumped without testing first.
Their ropes, anyone could see, were homemade.

These men were not putting on a show.
They were painted but were  not clowns.

Their ropes were like fuses
And their thin,  reddened bodies

Like penny firecrackers.
They were faith-jumpers

And it was religion we were in the middle of,
Religion with silver sweat and yellow screams,

Whole audiences in thrall to blood that was real.
These were fireworks, like any,

The explosion, the green
And the blue, the rosettes of sparkle

Imagined easily, so clear was the next moment:
A man would jump.

At  that moment in life and in  the world anything  could happen.
People clasped their hands together

In prayer,  but as much in desperation.
With so man crowded in, it just sounded like applause.

Next from my library, Sheila Ortiz Taylor from her book, Slow Dancing at Miss Polly's. The book was published in 1989 by The Naiad Press Inc.

Primarily known as a novelist, This was Ortiz Taylor's first book of poetry. At the time of publication she taught creative writing, women's studies, and 17th century English literature at Florida State University.


Now I know
I am crazy.
Sliding a blind hand down
this dark hall
moon in Capricorn
3 AM
feeling my way
the queen size
sofa bed
plump with sleeping guests
past the puzzled dog
one eye open
to my study
without spectacles
without light
I write
this poem.

3 MM

This  poem is a camera.
Pick it up
and fit it to
your face.
Let your eye
walk through
the view
and frame
your scene.

Check for light
Verify distance.
Focus with care
Press the button.
I am the film.

This another piece I found while looking for the piece I didn't find.

We like to go to Big Bend National Park in the Big Bend region of Texas along the Rio Grande River. A huge park including both the Chisos Mountains and the Chihuahua Desert with hundreds of miles of  hiking trails and camping through both. My idea of camping includes a restaurant and maid service so we stay at the lodge in the Chisos Basin. It is both beautiful and serene, no TV, no telephone, no Internet, a place for some of the quietest several days you'll ever have, with climbing,  river rafting, hiking  and such of you are that kind of  relaxer. I'm  not, so  I just enjoy sitting in the cool, clean air sucking in the quiet.

I wrote this in 2005.

in the first days of Spring, in the Big Bend, Texas

sun just up,  deer forage
the brushy hill beside the trail,
paying no attention to me
as I walk among them

a small rabbit crosses just ahead,
stops,  looks  closely at me, then,
with a nose twitch and ear flip
moves on to continue grazing

javelinas pass us on the trail,
a family group of 15 or more
led by a grizzled elder

three piglets lag behind,
smell  at our feet,
curious, even at their tender age
almost heroic in their ugliness

satisfied we  are not food
they hurry off to catch up
with their cousins

driving down from the Chisos Basin
the desert is laid out before us,
colors exploding
from generous winter rain

red, green, pink and purple mixed
with yellow, orange and blue
and, spread throughout,
fields of white blossoms
waving in the fresh breeze
like white flags
surrendering to advancing  Spring

from atop Boquillas Canyon
we can see the Rio Grande
in its narrow, furious flow
between rocky canyon walls

to the southwest we see
it's slower moving path
through desert sands,
a green ribbon banded
by willow and mesquite

narrow, twisting road
from Presidio to Lejitas
lined  with sandstone sculpture
like sand castles on a beach,
separate from us as  we pass
by a moat of bluebonnets
deep  on either side

watching from the high basin
I can see the sun begin to  set
in the notch between the
South Rim and Emory Peak

as sunset fades to dark, silence
blankets the basin, broken finally
by a bird with a hacking call
that rasps the quiet like a cough

the wind picks up
whispers across the basin,
and in just a blink of time,
shadows overcome the day,
setting night upon the mountain
and desert below,  leaving
puma to hunt the dark
as black bear hunted the day


dark wrapped in dark here
in the rugged mountain cup,
yet brilliant above,
with a blaze of  stars
across the open sky

so far away,
their light first glowed
in an ignition of apocalyptic fire
of elemental matter that later cooled
to form the ancient rock
I stand upon tonight

remote beyond my imagining,
yet their light so bright and clear
they seem closer than the world
I left behind to get here

This is a fun book of poetry from my library, 1-800-Hot-Ribs by Catherine Bowman, published in 1993by Gibbs-Smith Publisher.

Born in El Paso, Bowman has published several books of poetry since this one, her first. She is director of the creative writing program at Indiana University.

Jackie in Cambodia

The Air Force jet set down like a god
or a good Limoges teacup on the saucer
shaped plain of the Mekong  Delta. She stepped
down from the craft all pointed foot etiquette
and creamy crepe suzettes, her blue serge
walk as marvelous as a White House sunset.
What a beautiful widow in a world
of widows! The name Khmer Rouge swirled
in her head like a new perfume. Half magician,
half princess, she was on a holy mission
with her knowledge of cultures and her pill
box hat medicine and heavenly wardrobe
from iceberg to tangelo  she was still
Jacqueline to us, not quite Jackie O.

LBJ Ranch Barbecue

Waist deep, almost naked, evening  time soak,
a dozen Raja bellies,, a dozen  Titan schnauzers,
wade in chlorinated agua toasting to the tune
of charismatic oratory and little Jimmy swing.
Two thousand pounds of grade A carne vaporize
the heat. He has the biggest pecker in the pool,
politically speaking, it's his pool, his party,
his hands that snakewrap the testicles
of his guests until they say yes. And they swim
in formation, smooth Homo sapiens gliding
into the deep end toward the white
telephone  poised on  the lip of the diving board,

From my library, here's a couple of pieces by Tino Villanueva from his  book Shaking Off the Dark. The book was published by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue in 1998.

Growing up in a migrant farm worker family, poet and painter Villanueva as born in 1941 in San Marcos in central Texas where he, and I a couple of years later, went to college. Unlike me, he went on to earn an MA at State University of New York and a Ph.D at Boston College where he teaches.

Now That I'm In Spain

             (Reflections of  Madrid, summer 1969)

They have lined my tongue against a concrete,
diaphanous wall:

     the many rifles at the crossroads
     where the careful traffic goes,
     and general eyes blazing
     from behind
     Don Quixote at the Plaza de Espana

In a crossfire of glances
I stroll La Grand Via wondering if he
who burst FUEGO! at Federico's blood
has his voice still -
that blast of truth keeps ringing in my ear.

On Sundays I examine El Rastro.
Its threatening 1936 rust is ever rugged.
Better to sit at sidewalk cafes to conjecture
the origins of tourists.
The only time I part my lips is to sip sangria;
then once in my secret heights I embrace the dark,
and hope no one knocks at the door.


          (on thee New York Thruway)

On  your own you know  to a degree
the open measured road:

your everyday limited at your
own speed;
longitude and  latitude converging,
and in a breath you realize
the horizon keeps outlasting your vision,
as fleet trees blaze by growing into oblivion.

And you will pass this way
not knowing the unrivaled time of day
nor  when to panic.

Last from our stop at my library,  this poem by Gary Soto from his book, Junior College, published by Chronicle Books in 1997.

Soto was born in Fresno, California in 1952. He worked in the fields of San Joaquin Valley as a young man to help his struggling family after his father died. With little time or enthusiasm for school, he was not a good student until when in high school he discovered poetry and the great American writers, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Frost, Wilder and classics like Jules Verne. He went on to earn a BA at California State University and became the first Mexican-American to earn an MFA at the University of California, Irvine. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Riverside.

And, as an old High School tuba player, how could I not use this poem.

The Tuba Player

We knew volcanic pimples
And boredom, that panting dog
Chained under the orange
Tree. We knew two dirty jokes
And a tickling joy -
Sand poured through the hour
Glass of puny hands.
We knew boatloads
Of desire. We woke
To heat-struck nose bleeds
From hot sleeping,
Our dolphins flogged
Under and  anchor print
Of bedsheets. Let me
Admit it: Annette Funicello
Perked up the interest
Of even blind boys,
And on our street
The quick  peek  of bald pussy
Was one grimy quarter
And three licks
From  a  popsicle.
Gourmet was a foreign country,
We thought, and Mexico
Started at the borders
Of your own yard
With hubcaps cemented
In our iron grille fence -
A nice touch for loud people.
Winos wore old clothes
Come alive, and, my god
Some mother's precious daughter
At the turn of
The century cried
In a greasy ballroom gown.

I stopped my bike
And wished her faith.
She was drunk, I  remember,
Legs  splayed in front
Of Let Me Out bail bonds
And  her crying
So deep, the earth
Was already inside her.
As  I say, we knew suffering.
Lice arrived in our
Hair in winter
And left by late  spring,
Along with migratory birds.
And that spring
Of 1968, before the heat
Settled more fights,
Our one Mexican tuba player
In the marching band
Threw himself from
A  billboard. Amigo,
My dear reader with a cup of coffee,
He wasn't whistling Dixie
Through his front  teeth
When he hit.

Well, you can't be a poem-a-day poet and not acknowledge the special days.

well, it's a new year after all

it's a new year
after all

and bad
will be good

and stupid
will be smart

and ignorant
will be enlightened

and craven politicians
will  become stalwart champions

of truth justice
and the American Way

and the bank account
will be replenished daily

and music
will become more bountiful

and sweet
and the weather better

you like it sunshine

or stormy
hot and dry like a desert

or cold and wet
like a South Texas norther

and dark
will be light

and black will be

and crooked roads
will be straight

and mountains
will be even more

and rivers and their

more regal as they flow

and bad
will be good

and ignorant
will be enlightened

cause, by god
it is a new year after all

and on this first day
of this by god new year

I can hardly
wait for the rest of


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 11:31 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

ferlinghetti so great- glad that, in the main, folx are leaving poetry of mysterious beauty to me

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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