At the Park   Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Here and Now" has been since May, 2006 a poetry blog with a few photos.  I'm reversing that  this week with  a lot of  pictures and just a few poems.

The reason for the change is that I spent a good portion of an afternoon at  Breckenridge Park down the street from my coffeehouse and took a whole bunch of pictures I like and couldn't figure  out which ones to use and which ones to dump. So I'm doubling up with twice as many pictures as usual.

Breckenridge is the second oldest park in San Antonio, 343 acres of  fields, woods, and the river set aside as a public park in 1899. San Pedro Park, the oldest park in San Antonio and Texas, is second oldest in the United States. Established by the Spanish Crown in 1709, only Boston Common is older. Evidence of human habitation  by the San  Pedro Springs at the park extends back  15,000 years.

My very few poems include some of my new ones,  a couple of  poet friends and if there's room, poets from  my  library.

at the park

Alice Folkart
Discussing Death
She Don't Know

fearsome park creatures

David Eberhardt
In the manner of the dialogue in the movie by the Coen Brothers: "True Grit" -
when all use a florid, old-fashioned  lingo"

about the reality of reality

Michael Earl Craig
The Plane

you tell me your, I'll  tell you mine  

Naomi Guttman
Triad at 6 a.m.

flotsam floating in a frothy Finnish fjord

Alberto Rios
Not Shaving on Some Days
What a Boy Can Do

in a universe far from home

Marina Tsvetaeva
I know the truth
As people listen intently
When I look at the flight of the leaves

how to make  a forest

Jannette Lozano
Scattered  Light

                   what we leave behind will define us                   

Here's the first for the week.

at the park

I walk the woods, the  paths
laid out for walkers, and the smaller
trails made my those who seek not
the well-trod but, like the pioneers
who spread  across rough and daunting
lands, the walkers who make their own trails,
narrow dirt paths through a thick mesh
of high-reaching trees and knee-low brush
to  find their own place, a clear circle cushioned
quiet in a nest of thick growth and in the circle
a filigree of shadow from bare, spindly
overreaching tree limbs and grass still mid-
winter green and pillow-soft, green under the bright
sun like an explosion of vibrant life - so quiet there,
and the sun so bright, dappled through the trees, and
nearby, the river as it flows under the dazzling sun,
incandescent green, and the ducks and geese,
the waddling ducks, so clumsy out of
water, in the water like pilots flying through
their green, wet sky, their wake reflecting
on the mirror face of the river from bank to  bank,
their passage spread out behind in wavelets, their
flat feet churning up a  tsunami tide, and people
on riverside benches tossing bread crumbs and
like commuters on their morning drive, feathered
beggars, crowding tight, diving for food,
diving and bobbing up like fishing floats waiting
for the next nibble...

what  a beautiful mid-winter afternoon
at the park,like the ducks and geese
and the grass-covered fields,
I bask in it...

This piece is by Alice Folkart, poet-friend and fellow moderator at  Blueline's "House of 30" poem-a-day  forum. I saved  this from the forum  months ago, planning to use it here, then lost it in the shuffle of my disorganized  document file. I use it now but will  have to title it myself since I didn't keep  a copy of the original title. I hope Alice won't mind.

Then, just after I transcribed the first poem, Alice posted the second one on the forum. Another great  piece  of work, so I decided to use it here along with the first.

Discussing Death

over tea in the garden,
two women,
with their IV stands,
their blossoming hats, layers of shawls,
smoky dark glasses against the sun,
help themselves to tiny sandwiches,
eschew the tarts
(chemo makes sweets taste tinny)
and  agree that even as  it  is,
Life isn't so bad.

The cat, curled up on the grass
in the shade of the table,
listens and wonders when they'll get tired, and want to  go in,
leave the rest of the sandwiches to him.
He smells salmon, marmite, tuna salad
and maybe chicken.
He's glad that their present  hobby
of taking  lots of medicines,
has stolen their appetites. The best  will be his;
although he'll not touch those  nasty little tarts.
The birds can have them. Birds will eat anything.

She Don't Know

At the back of the room,  the bald man in the tan windbreaker sang along,
knew all of the Hawaiian songs, looked happy.

In the front row of chairs, the boisterous woman with tightly-wound hair
whooped and hollered at every hula, every song.

The frail, pretty woman in the depths of dementia,
unaware of the where and who, stroked the hand of the man in the chair next to her.

My fellow musicians and dancers always circulate among the patients
after we finish playing for them at the adult day care center.

We always give hugs, shake hands, have little conversations,
accept compliments and revel in smiles and laughter.

I came to this man, the woman leaning against him, stroking, stroking,
I touched her  shoulder, I  wanted to say hello.

"She don't hear you," he said. "She's in her own  place."
Then  he looked down  at her hand, up  at me, and smiled. "She's okay."

I had no  answer for that. What could I say about his  kindness?
What could  I learn?

Here's another from my park incursion.

fearsome park creatures

an old man
long white hair
and a white mustache that droops
over his upper lip, and a young
woman, black hair tied back with a red ribbon,
his granddaughter, maybe, who brought
him, or perhaps it was he who brought her, to
watch the river flowing through Breckenridge Park,
a green luxury for the eyes as a tall forest
of winter-stripped trees

their dog
a tiny chihuahua,
chases the ducks and geese
and pigeons along the riverbank...

a black and white little  dog with, as the Bard warned us
about Cassius, a lean and hungry

"hello," I  say as I  pass, and now the chihuahua
with the lean and hungry look
is chasing

And now this piece by my poet-friend from Maryland,  David Eberhardt.

In the manner of the dialogue in the
movie by the Coen brothers: "True Grit" -
where all use a florid,  old fashioned lingo

to be  read with a sort  of jolly menace in the
manner of Rooster  Cogburn - a character i
the book and movie

we tuk the Itz  boy
...from over at the "spk your peece"  saloon

we bushed him down by the sedge
over at on the Asleepatthewheel spread...

we  wuz  fixin to  hang im  cuz was so
purty -
he wasn't like the rest of ar kansians

at the time I  was runnin  w  Cash McCall...
we wanted to put some sand in his  britches -
that's all...

but we  was just funnin w him and we told

to speek purty for us, ? says he's a poetry

snow  started  fallin on cedars at abt that

down by the missouri breaks - we was  a
fording the river

me and the gurl - lil emily d we call her-
i'm  playin w Itz - showed him the  rope

then  my sharps  rifle? that got is attention -
but he red reel good and we let im go  this

There were several interesting science articles on Facebook last week which is to me like catnip to a cat. Being basically ignorant of real science past the science fiction level I love articles that set my mind to thinking incredible  things.

Which often leads to a piece like this.

about the  reality of reality

quantum physicists
argue about the reality
of reality...

is there  a reality, the  question
they consider...

the one side says, yes,.
and we can  measure
and test it

the other side says
reality is a creation of our
measurement and

does a tree fall
in the forest if no one sees it

of course,
say the first group;
say the other, if no  one saw
the falling tree
no tree

is the concrete world around us
say the one side

say the other,
even concrete is an illusion,
atoms and  all their whizzing about
parts that, though unseen,
we through some magic of imagination
organize in our minds a "concrete"


this is serious business,
I think

the world, the whole universe,
the all of "reality"
dependent, according to some who know,
on our attention for its existence...

it is a dirty job, I guess some might say,
but we're the ones who have
to  do it,  keeping a sharp eye  out,
you and me and everyone
else, lest all we know crumble
and never be or have been...

this earth spinning,
continuing its spin only
as long as we keep
it turning

This piece  is by Michael Earl Craig, and it's taken from  his book Thin Kimono, published by Wave Books in 2010.

Born in 1970, Craig grew up in Ohio and was educated at Ohio Wesleyan University, the University of Montana and the University of Massachusetts at  Amherst. Appointed  Poet Laureate of Montana in 2015, he lives in that state where he writes and works as a  farrier.

The Plane


When someone feels they know you well enough
they might bear your children.
I was thinking about this when the plane took off.


The girl next to me is Russian.
Stewardesses aren't stupid.
It stinks in here like anchovy vinaigrette.


The plane's wing  looks like a stage prop,
like a pretend wing, like a child's idea
of a wing.


When stripped to your socks,
all your coins in the tub,
you  are moments  away from being a terrorist.


The stewardess took from a passenger
a sugared walnut, and ate it.
The passenger had a bread sack full of them.


I'm looking out the window at the wing again.
It's like looking into  someone's
girlfriend's ear, as she's sleeping.


I'm sound asleep when they come through
with the drinks. Dreaming
I'm having  drinks on this airplane


Grown men  who carry sugared walnuts.
Grown  men who offer  walnuts
on airplanes.


The back of the plane  smells.
What kind of work does
the word smells do?


The man in 15C says "ballsy"
twice in five minutes.  Over
the wind's edge, the snow-dusted mountains.


I do  a lot of listening.
I am a good listener.
I am entering  a shrinking violet phase.


When people use the word ballsy
it always makes me smile. Far off
below, the snow-dusted mountains.

I  suppose we could  live without our fantasies, but, jeez,  what a boring life it would  be.

you tell  me yours, I'll tell you mine

the biker gang passes,
turning right on Broadway
from Pearl, pedaling in their funny hats
and tight stretchy pants, cruising,
terrorizing children
and pregnant ladies, well,
not so much, but in their minds
no doubt, visions of Marlon roaring
into the little village, leather jacket, leather hat,
leather boots, cigarette hanging with a death grip
on his lip, city fathers fuming, blond girls swooning...

everyone has their fantasies...

mine involves '57 Chevys, Dion on the radio singing
about the wanderer, girls at the drive-in hang-out
giving me the once, twice over, running
their fingers over my black Naugahyde seats,
imagining the soft, smooth feel
of them on their bare-naked bottoms,
oh my, I do have my fantasies too...

and the bicycle gang,
easy riders on this cold Sunday
morning slight-of-hand legerdemain,
legends in our own

Next I have  poet Naomi Guttman. Her poem is from her book, Reasons for Winter. The book was published by  Brick Books in 1991,  with the support of the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts. The book, her first, won the A.M. Klein Award for  Poetry. She has published two books since, the second a co-winner of the Adirondack Center for Writing's for best book of poems for 2007. Raised in Montreal, the poet teaches creative writing at Hamilton College in New York.

Triad at six  a.m.

I. The cat left out for  the night's crouched
    in the flat begging light
    of undecided weather.

                                                II. Beside me you
                                                    are a shallow sill
                                                    of breathing.
                                                    I get up stumble-eyed
                                                    and let him in.

III. Covered,
      hidden from the  morning rain
      I fall back into dream, knowing
      later he will  slip
                        a simmering pot
      between us. Caving in the blankets,
      pulling us together.

Feeling silly  a couple of weeks ago, some random observations.

flotsam floating in a  frothy Finish fjord

fog and bright
driving from the first
into the second
crinkles my eyes
all  the way up  to
my hat brim...


to Fritzburg this  afternoon,
rub up  against my German
heritage, eat me
some of that oompa


sniffle past the-roadside wreck
like dogs
sniffing  fresh blood


wine tasting  at

sip  spit sip spit
sip spit

sip sip sip sip sip
sip sip sip
into the
wee dim hours
long trudge
to closing


big blue bus
big white truck
in between
a tiny yellow
Smart car

how the bug must feel
when it sees the
of your shoe coming down


did I mention
the fog?

did I mention
the bright

I did?

hell, I guess this poem
is over

Here's another of my favorite poets, Alberto Rios, from his book Teodoro Luna's Two Kisses. The book was published by WW Norton in 1990.

I think I've used Rios'  poetry from other books a couple of time in the past few weeks so I'm skipping the usual biographical information.

Not Shaving on Some Days

Going to work or returning
The same way home
The buildings are  still
Written on by boys.
The girl who considers herself,
The say on the walls, a prize
Is most famous here
Her parts described and drawn
In generous scale
Most to least important
In the informative manner
City newspapers engage.
I have been immune
But a day off from work comes.
The immediate gristle on the face
That holds me
Holds on these same days
The things all misplaced around me,
Putting lines in my hands,
Red in my eyes and on my breath.
Today mine is a face remarkably like
Drawn with pin-dotted beard
The face of a bad man
In a comic book.
I am a different man on these days.
A man whose beard he can see
Is that dirty workman's rasp,
A thousand small explosions,
An offering of dirty fingers
Out and moving.
Sometimes, and sometimes it is
The garden at its moment.

What a Boy Can Do

February, and the wind  has begun
Milk cartons moving along the curb,
An occasional  wrapper, Baby Ruth.

The young  tee bends in a hoeing.
Cirrus clouds,  sparrows, jet  trailings:
Each puts a line on the sky. February

Kites,too, their shapes: the way three
boys have taken their  baseball fields
Into the air, flying them on strings.

When I flew my kite I shouted louder,
Anything, strong, boy wild and rocks:
February was here. I was helping,

Here's another bit of  play from a science article about the recent first observation  (by an astrologer  at the University of Texas at  San Antonio) of a dark hole extruding, rather than  sucking in, material.

in a universe far from home

in a universe
far, far away, galaxies
drift toward inevitable collision

at the center of one o them
a super-massive black hole and, streaming from it are seen
spotted arcs of X-ray emissions - fossils, NASA
believes, from two enormous blasts from the unknowable
belly of this black monster, showing that this one,
maybe not the only one, maybe just the only one in the
black infinity directly observed, blows
as well as it sucks, blowing hydrogen gas back
through the central portion of its galaxy...

hydrogen, the medium for all creation, including
stars, and ultimately all that orbits around them,
new  galaxies where upon  new gods might be born,
new gods to crate new  life and new  lives
and new cycles of creation, death, decay and
creation again...

all coming, like we came from the big  bang,
from this, and perhaps many more,
what in a billion billion years
hence scientists born of it
might call their own big

Marina Tsvetaeva, is another pre-revolution poet eventually brought low by communist oppression. Born in 1892, she died by her own  hand in 1941. Her work is considered some of the best in Russian literature of the 20th century. During the 1919 Moscow famine she placed her daughter in a state orphanage in order to save her from starvation only to have her die of hunger in the orphanage.Two years after returning to Russia in 1939 after years of exile, her husband and daughter were arrested on suspicion of espionage. Her husband died in transit to the gulag and she committed suicide. Her best known work is Poem of the End published in 1924. Rather than take sections from that very long poem, I've  selected three shorter works to feature.

These are from her Selected Poems published by Penguin Books in 1993. A total of eight translators are credited, too many to list here.

I  know the truth

I know the truth - give up  all other truths!
No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.
Look - it is evening, look, it is nearly night:
what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?

The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,
the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.
And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we
who never let  each other sleep above it.


As people listen intently

As people listen intently
     (a river's mouth to its source)
that's how they smell a flower
to the depths,  till they lose all sense.

That's how they feel their deepest
     craving in dark air,
as children lying in blue sheets
peer into memory.

And that's how a young boy feels
when his blood begins to change.
     When people fall in love with love
they fling themselves in the abyss.


When I look at the flight of the leaves

When I look at the flight of leaves in
     their floating down on to the paving of cobbles
and see them swept up as if by an
     artist who has finished his picture at last

I think how (already nobody likes either
     the way I stand,  or my thoughtful face)
a manifestly yellow, decidedly
     rusty leaf - has been left behind on the tree.


I plant trees, one by one, making a forest one tree at a time.

how to make  a forest

it is
a cold, clear end of day

a gray mask...

the night approaching
to  be the coldest
so  far  this

going to  bed
in the black  night
we will wrap  ourselves
in hope
like I wrapped my plants
and baby trees
against the

my little trees,
of the tall  red oak
beside my drive,  acorn-born,
incubated in a flower bed,
to the place where
in my imagination I  see
their massive arms
reach across my yard...


imagining the trees that will be
when my own time is long

hope and faith -

for we who want better
life and times; essential for we  who plant trees
from tiny seeds, seeing  past our eyes
the green and rolling
forest to

Last from my  library this week, here is a poem by Jeannette Lozano, taken from her book The Movements of Water/Los momentos del agua, published in 2006 by Ediciones Poligrafa of Barcelona. It is a bilingual (Spanish/English) book translated by Ron Howard.

Scattered Light

Feel your emotions,he told me, have a dialogue with the voices
inside that you have created throughout your life.
Immediately, I saw the camel, a man walking in front of him, and the
            the sun, I saw a sun
in a landscape of blindness in the distance scattered light.
Tell me, I said to him, tell me where they are. He sat up in his chair
and grew quiet. The sun disintegrated the crest. There were no voices, only a distant
minaret's chant. The brilliance of the opened door reminds me who I am:
the night, the form of the shadows. I fixed my gaze on gardens without water,
I seek to see all of it and the glance becomes fragile spots on the walls
              of adobe.
The expand the lungs, and the image is replaced
              the interior a forest
                                                stealthy, vertical, sound.

                                                                                           Chihuahua Desert

I am reading a very good, very long book on the history of Rome. So much we would have lost had they not been builders and politicians and poets.

what we leave behind will define us

all we know about the ancient times
that came before us are fossilized remains,
hints of long before we study and
examine and hope to learn how
the was became the is...

like the imprint of a jungle leaf
on a dry canyon  wall,or,
in San Antonio, at  the bottom
of another canyon where once
flowed a clear, cool stream
and on the old stream's sandy
bottom, turned by time to limestone,
and in the stone, frozen
in time, footprints of the great
and cumbersome dinosaurs who once
in eras long past drank there, ate from
flora and fauna that lived
around it, procreated and died

and in the great high deserts
of the American southwest, fossils of tiny
fish and shrimp and other sea creatures
unknown in our own  time,their lives hinted
at only by the flesh turned to  rock...

the truth that all that has ever been
remains in some form, as rock,as chemicals
leached into rock, as air, the composition
of which altered by the breathing in  and out
of it during eons beyond eons...

and now,say those who  study,  has begun
the new "Anthropocene" era, the time  of
human domination,  a time when old fossils
undisturbed  for millions of years
are pushed aside by  new fossils made
by the hand and mind or our
human kind

so  that  many epochs ahead, whoever or whatever
follows us, curious and studious as we, wanting,
even as we want,  to understand the past of the earth
upon which they trod, will seek out within the re-
configured plants, hints of us among them...

and what will the find?

a fossilized pickle jar, mysterious symbols
"Vlasic" etched in rock;

the complete fossil  of a '49 Studebaker, lost in 1952
to the bottom of  the deepest  lake in Wisconsin,
unearthed during some unimaginable construction
project, open to  the light of day again, a million
years after its disappearance;

a small  action figure, Batman, maybe, or GI Joe
or Princess Lia, or some other hero or villain,
effigies of our mysterious gods;

a baby rattle,  a dog  collar, a wedding band,
a tuba and a clarinet, a statue of an idealized woman
holding  one arm high, stone turned stone,
at the bottom of a  deep  and murky

signs of the times, "Dancing Girls 24 Hours, Lap
Dances, $20 and the new who follow us
will  wonder, what dance did  they dance and
how did they dance on  what is a lap and-what
as a symbol "$" and a number 20 and how much
is that;

carbon from out burning  and breathing,,radiation
from our wars, lead and other heavy metals
from television tubes and computer
detritus,perhaps the fossilized porcelain of my store-
bought teeth some many numbered
levels above the dinosaur footprints
at the bottom of Government

treasures from attics,  junk from second-hand stores,
refrigerators,  coffeemakers, microwave ovens
and margarita makers,things  important and
coveted, things lost and  never found, things
found and forgotten...

so much we will leave behind, more than even
we know, but all will be there in some
altered form for the new  ones
to  find, just as we now  find and marvel
about that which was and won't  be

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

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

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


New Days & New Ways

Places and Spaces

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

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

Seven Beats a Second


Sonyador - The Dreamer

  Peace in Our Time

at 1:09 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

i'm going to look again- to me- the color photos seem cluttered compared to yr masterful black and whites (not all, but some)- i am wondering- where is the editing process? but-i know u "have an eye"-
to me- in color- eliot porter is the master- check his compostion- it's almost as if HE -himself- composes the landscape he shoots- but i know he doesn't
then too there's the rectangluar (sic) frame

by the way- our friend little emily died recently i'm sad to report- she was a great companion on the drive north to kansas city- she was attacked by some paiutes- either that or a gila monster!!

when was the last time u saw one?

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