Day Trip   Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Not much of me in the post this week, and there's not much of me in the poems there are.

Instead, I've concentrated on poems from my library, including poems from the anthology,  After Aztlan, Latino Poets of the Nineties. The anthology was edited by Ray Gonzalez, a favorite poet of mine, and published by David R. Godine, Publisher, in 1992.

All the photos are from a day trip  we took early last week. Our turn-around point for the trip was Presidio La Bahia located outside Goliad, Texas, on the edge of the south coastal plains.

La Bahia is a fort first constructed near the gulf coast by the Spanish army in 1721 on the site of a the failed French Fort  Saint Louis. It was moved in 1726 to a location on the Guadalupe River, then moved again to it's current location on the San Antonio River in 1747. Rebuilt of stone at that time, it was the only Spanish fortress for the entire Gulf Coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande to the Mississippi.

The presidio changed hands several times during the Mexican War of Independence and by the end of the war in 1821, Texas had become part of the new United Mexican States and La Bahia was one of the two major garrisons  between San Antonio (the former political center of Spanish Texas) and Copano, then the major port in Texas. The fort changed hands several times again during the Texas Revolution, ending after the fall of the Alamo with the Goliad Massacre when Texian insurgents surrendered and were executed by order of Santa Ana, just as he had executed the Alamo defenders who surrendered (including Davy Crockett, who, unlike the movie version, did not die fighting, but in front of a firing squad along with the rest of the Texian troops). "Remember Goliad" became a war cry, along with "Remember the Alamo," when Houston's army defeated Santa Ana at San Jacinto.

While the presidio was the designated purpose of the trip, equally interesting were the little towns we passed on the way, places I had passed through in the past but never stopped for a closer look, including Floresville, Poth, Falls City, Karnes City, Kenedy and Goliad itself. The largest of the little towns, with about 3,500 residents is Floresville. Three of the little towns are county seats with their emblematic Texas country courthouses. (The farmers and ranchers and town merchants in early Texas didn't have much, but what they all made sure to have, was a grand, brick or stone county courthouse of their very own.)

I also have one picture from the Mission de Espirito Santo. It's very hard to picture because it's surrounded by trees, but the architecture, white with wave like curves is beautiful. I also  took a photo of each of the three vintage county courthouses we saw along the way.

All together it was about nine hours of driving, walking and looking, a very good day trip for a Monday, even if a bit grueling by the time we got home.

road  trip

Li-Young Lee
My Indigo  

Cordelia Candelaria
Refuse of Our Teeming Shores 

Daniel Nathan Terry
The Traveling Dark
January 16,  1886 - His Vast Fortune Exhausted by his Efforts to Chronicle the War: Mathew Brady's Personal Effects are Listed for his Nephew:


Paisley Rekdal
 a crash of rhinos

Ana Castillo 
Zoila  Lopez

Bill Shields
you want reality, motherfucker
heart attack
the Tet Offensive

bone button moon

Glenna Luschei

Rosemary Catacalos
One Man's Family

Carol Connolly
It's Not Going Well 

the hush

Jane Hirshfield

Rebecca Gonzalez
To the Newlyweds in the Barrio

Thomas Rabbitt

Demetria Martinez  
Prologue: Salvadoran Woman's Lament     

Nicole Cooley
Central Park, 1971

midnight  shopping   

Ruth Stone
The Professor Cries
In the Next  Galaxy

Victor Hernandez Cruz
Two Guitars

Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Ernesto Trejo
for Jaime Sabines

Sonia Sanchez
Nine short poems

Robert Vasquez
Early Morning Test Light over Nevada, 1955

Good Friday morn  

Continuing my search for the small-time pleasures.

day trip

a day-long road trip
brings dreams
of other trips, other roads

as this day's journey
opens a vault of good times
across my sleep
like gold and silver

memories of sun-soaked
bright again

Here, first form my library, two  poems by Li-Young Lee. The poems are from her book, Rose, published by BOA Editions, Ltd. in 1986.

Born in 1957 in Indonesia to Chinese political exile parents. Both parents were from powerful Chinese families,  including Lee's great-grandfather who was the first president of the Republic of China and his father, Mao Tse-tsung's personal physician. As anti-Chinese resentment flared in Indonesia, Lee's father was imprisoned for a year. Upon his release, his family began an odyssey that eventually brought them to the United States in 1964.

Widely published now, this book was Lee's first.


That  scraping of iron on iron when the wind
rises, what is it? Something  the wind  won't
quit with, but drags back and forth.
Sometimes faint, far, then suddenly, close, just
beyond the screened door, as if someone there
squats in the dark honing his wares against
my threshold. Half steel wire, half metal wing,
nothing and anything might make this noise
of saws and rasps, a creaking and groaning
of bone-growth, or body-death, marriages of rust,
or ore abraded. Tonight, something  bows
that should not bend. Something  stiffens that should
slide.  Something, loose and not right,
rakes or forges itself all  night.

My Indigo

It's late. I've come
to find the flower which blossoms
like a saint dying upside down.
The rose won't do, nor the iris.
I've  come to find the moody one, the shy one,
downcast, grave, and isolated.
Now, blackness  gathers in the grass,
and I am on my hands and knees.
What is its name?

Little sister, my indigo,
my secret, vaginal and sweet,
you unfurl yourself shamelessly
toward the ground. You burn. You live
a while in two worlds
at once.

Here's the first poet, Cordelia Candelaria,  from this week's anthology, After Aztlan - Latino Poets of the Nineties. The poet teaches in the Chicano Studies Program at Arizona State University in Tempe. She is the author of two books of criticism and a book of poetry.

Refuse of Our Teeming Shores

You wonder about garbage
about the growing mountains of trash.
Cities produce countries of it
families produce cities of it
and orphans wander alone

Question marks of flesh and blood
punctuating the urban landscape
like forgotten trees in corners
of El Greco paintings.

A boy I know
was forgotten by his parents.
He lived in a city apartment with Grandma.
After school he walked around the apartments

making cement sidewalks
                                             playgrounds of possibility

making lightpoles
                                              appletrees of adventure

turning couples arriving for work
                                               into lots and lots of parents.

I have two pieces from Daniel Nathan Terry from his book Capturing the Dead. The poet's first book, winner of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies Steven Poetry Manuscript Competition, was published by NFSPS Press in 2007.

The book of poems speaks to the photos, the photographers and the soldiers of the Civil War.

Noah Williams

The Traveling Dark

Spring storms outstretch us.The traveling darkroom
bogs down in the muck stirred by the preceding army.
Our mules bray and groan when the driver plies

the whip, but our lives hold fast in ruddy mire. I'm
beginning to feel persecuted by a god
I no  longer pray to. A lone soldier looks on,

says nothing as we plead and punish the stubborn
beasts, but he dismounts, comes over to us.
Then silent as the high, white cumulus clouds, he strokes

the mules lathered napes, seems to see inside them -
a farm -boy despite the blue woo, brass, and  saber.
With one bright whistle he calls them to move.

January 16, 1886 - His Vast Fortune Exhausted by his
Efforts to Chronicle the War, Mathew Brady's Personal
Effects are Listed for his Nephew:

A ring  from the Prince of Wales.

An  overcoat, a frock coat,

a few shirts, underwear,


A broke and worn satchel

of  personal correspondence.

A worthless watch.

Another bright and simple day.


a peach tree stands
near bared by overnight winds

the tallest branch

a  single blossom
pink flag of spring's arrival

The next  poem is by Paisley Rekdal, from her first book, A Crash of Rhinos, published in 2000 by the University of Georgia Press.

Rekdal, daughter of a Chinese American mother and a Norwegian father, grew  up in Seattle, earning a BA from the University of Washington, an MA from the University of Toronto Center for Medieval Studies and an MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann  Arbor. In addition to this collection she has  published three additional books of poetry and a book of essays.

This is the title poem of  her book.

a crash of rhinos

What's your  pet name? Collective noun?
What will Snookums  do  today? Your bedmate
pulls  quarters magically from behind your ear, one
for each hour you've spent together.When he stops
there's fifty cents  sliding into the sheets and his tongue
covering the pink cauliflower of your nipple. "Beautiful
defects," he whispers into your body. "Ah,  Nature." Roll away,
don't care when he calls you "Thumper," By noon you'll be
nose to nose anyway, a sloth of bears, snoozing
your way into a relationship.

Ah, Nature. You could tell his its startling act
is not its defects but its sameness. A uniformity
suggestive of some single-cell prototype, our Adam/Eve
genome plucked,  as scientists think, from the thread
of  a lightning  bolt. Darling, today you are more
than anonymous, one sexy blip among the thousand
couples grunting in each other's arms; defined by Loving,
your action. Flying geese only recognized
by the form they make in the sky.
A crash of rhinos, piece of asses. Stinkhead:
everything comes in boring droves of hogs.

This is how your got here. Mid-morning he tallies your union
in terms of snakes, tarantulas,  the evolutionary needs
of common flagellates till you scorn science: its primal
urge to pair like scared cows shoved ass to ass in circle
for defense. A clutch of penises! What is love but fear?
That soft storm t your periphery, sudden hand
pushing you below surface! Thoughts, as you are or sicken,
sifted from consciousness like dusts of starlings:  Love me,
little lamb. No one should die alone.

Sweetheart, all your friends are married.
Packs of teazles? Kerfs of  panters? A multiplicity of spouses.
today only two quarters protect you
from loneliness. It's out of your hands. The job
didn't pan, checks bounce, 2 A.M. is its own
worst child. This is your last magic trick.
"Kumquat," he whispers. Lover.  Loved one.
And the soul begs always, leave me leave me
while the body says simply, Stay.

Another from After Aztlan, by Ana Castillo.

Castillo, who  lives in Albuquerque, is the author of two novels and a book of poetry. She received a fellowship from the National  Endowment for the Arts and an American Book Award in fiction from the Before Columbus Foundation.

Zoila Lopez

If i were you, Zoila,
i wouldn't be here
in English class
with the disturbed child
who site in the back
with the husband
who doesn't work.
i wouldn't laugh, Zoila,
if my first winter up north
was without boots
and the only thing to
warm me was a photograph
of Jorgito dressed as a
little indian in white
pajamas and sandals on
Guadalupe's Day, just before
he was killed by a truck
that carried oranges.

i wouldn't bathe, change
my dress, look for work,
hold a pencil upright
after this summer when
the baby ran a high fever
and the hospital people in
the marbles-in-the-mouth language said, "It's okay.
Take her home."
She died that night.

You thought she'd  just
stopped crying.

i would die if i were you,
Zoila, a million deaths at
the end of each nightmarish day
with its minuscule hopes like
snowflakes that melt on one's
teeth and tongue and taste of

The next several short poems are by Bill  Shields, from his book Lifetaker, third in a series of books about Vietnam, the war, and the soldiers who fought it. This final collection published in 1995 by 2.13.61.

Shields was a Navy Seal, serving in Vietnam for three years during the war. I couldn't find a picture of the poet so I posted a picture of the book.

you want reality, motherfucker

His time was up. The vile dreams of Vietnam  were gone, as
were the grey body parts that he would see in his periph-
eral vision. Even the anger left his acidic stomach.

One call to his kids, another to a damn good woman.

He spent an hour lugging books out to the garbage cans &
another ripping cassette tapes apart. His clothes were in
paper bags on the kitchen floor.

There was nothing left in his bowels to give anyone.

He sat on an old green couch & waited thirty-one days to die.

& he did.

heart attack

It was a diabetic syringe he found in the garage can at work.
He locked the bathroom door & stuck it in his arm. Pulled
back a little blood.

He closed his eyes. A corpsman screamed, "We go
wounded here!"

A snake wrapped around his arm & kissed him on the

the Tet Offensive

He only wanted to rent a woman's sexual organ for an
hour & two squeezes of his prostate gland. He had long
ago lost the questionable ability to small talk a bar stool &
the ass attached - so much easier when the bucks are
stuffed into the mouth without a word.

She was maybe 21 & maybe not;  it doesn't matter.

& he fucked her without passion, a machine needing a
shot of oil. She didn't say a word about his scars & he
smacked an extra twenty into her hand.

Feeling good

was good enough

Little bitties.

bone button moon

bone button moon
as the birthday boy's
new dime


bone button moon
the black cloak
of night


bone button moon
a lazy moving cloud

diffused light
soft creeping shadows

The next poem is by Glenna Luschei from her book 30 Songs of Dissolution, published by San Marcos Press in 1977.

Appointed San Luis Obispo County's poet laureate in 2000, Luschei has been a poet and publisher on the Central Coast since 1966.


The father takes the children
from the playground
I hear he giants clank
the thump
of an unbalanced teeter-totter
I need myself on one end
my children on the other.

So many facets
to this baseball diamond.
In a visitation of silence
I hear the mesa creaking.
So many mothers
out listening for children.
Mothers rocking their babies.

rocking chair, oh mesadora
I rock myself on one end
My children on the other. 

Rosemary Catacalos is the next poet from this  week's anthology, with a poem from San  Antonio's Westside. I've used the poem before, but I like it enough to use it again.

Catacalos has been awarded the Texas Institute of Letters Prize for Poetry and is a former recipient of the Dobie  Paisano Fellowship. Presently Director of the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, she previously directed the Literature Program at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio.

One Man's Family

         in memory of Bill Gilmore

There was the Dog Man  again today,
bent under his tow sack,
making his daily pilgrimage
along St. Mary's street
with his rag tied to his forehead,
with his saintly leanness
and his bunch of seven dogs
and his clothes covered with
short smelly hair.
Pauline, the waitress up at
the White House Cafe, says
he used to be a college professor.
In a college. Imagine.
And now he's all the time
with them dogs.
Lets them sleep in the same room
with him. Lets them eat
the same thing he eats.
Pauline don't like it.
All them eyes that light up in the dark
like wolves.'

I imagine he carries his mother's
wedding dress around in that filthy sack.
I imagine he takes the dress out on Sundays
and talks to it about the dogs,
the way he might talk to Pauline
if she ever gave him the chance.
About how to him those seven dogs
are seven faithful wives,
seven  loaves, seven brothers.
About how those seven snouts bulldozing
through neighborhood garbage and memories
give off a warmth that's just as good
as all the breasts and apple pies and Christmas trees
and books and pipes and slippers
that a man could use on this earth.
But mostly about how they're dogs.
Friends that don't have to be anything else.
About how nothing could be more right
than for a man to live
with what he is willing and able to trust.

This poem is by St. Paul Poet Laureate Carol Connolly, from her book Payments Due Onstage Offstage. The book was published by Midwest Villages & Voices in 1995.

It's Not  Going Well

Five years
of one man's adoration
and undying devotion
is enough for anyone.
When I told him I
wanted to separate,
he leapt like someone
Now the whole house
smells of wounded buffalo,
and he continues
to serve  tea
int the best china
at midnight.

Thoughts upon watching the day fade on a suburban street..

the hush

creeps soft-footed
down the avenue, pushing ahead
elongating shadows of night

a screech,
the siren song of an owl

the heavy thud of wings pushing air

then silence

the hush of death hanging, wide wings spread
over the quiet dark

These poems are by Jane Hirshfield, taken from her book, Come Thief, published in 2011 by Knopf.


The moonlight builds its cold chapel
again out of piecemeal darkness.
You who have ears and hands,  it  says, come in;
no need to stamp the snow-weight from your  shoes.
It lifts another block and begins to chisel:
Kyoto, Vladivostok, Chicago, Beijing, Perth.
Hugh-handed, working around you in silence,
as a cat will enter the silence where no dog lives.


What is asked of  one is not what is asked of another.
A sweater takes on the shape of its wearer,
 a coffee cup sits to the left or the right of a workspace,
making its pale Saturn rings of now and before.
Lucky the one who rises to sit at a table,
day after day spilling coffee sweet with sugar, whitened with milk.
Lucky the one who writes a book of spiral-bound mornings
a future in ink, who writes hand unshaking, warmed by thick wool.
Lucky still, the one who writes later, shaking.  Acrobatic at last, the
elastic as breath that enters what shape it is asked to.
Patient the table; unjudging, the ample refillable cup.
Irrefusable,, the shape the sweater is given,
stretched in the shoulders, sleeves lengthened by metaphysical
      pullings on.

Next I have two poems from After Aztlan by Rebecca Gonzalez, who teaches high school journalism in Garfield, Texas. I have used her work before and have never found a photo that I can be sure is her. She has published one book, Flesh and Blood. Unable to find anything else, I have the logo of Prickly Pear Press, publisher of her book.


The tree moth in the garage was an omen,
so I killed the messenger:
pulled off its velvet wings
and chewed them with a spiteful mouth.

A delicate crunch of the veins
and I heard nothing else.
My tongue grew thick with their moss.
I swallowed its wisdom with a vengeful mouth
and tasted my own fear.

To the Newlyweds in the Barrio

Subtract the size of the world
from an empty stomach
and over the difference construct a roof.

Wall  up hunger,
give it no room to spread
to the eyes,hands  and feet.

Later you'll be able to afford a TV
to bring you reports
of soldiers invading with their shadows.

But for the time
all you can afford is a radio
and guilt as you dance around in your house.

The next poet is Thomas Rabbitt. His poem is taken from his book, The Abandoned Country, published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 1988.

At the time his book was published, Rabbitt lived and worked on a horse farm in Alabama and had  been employed for a number of years by the University of Alabama.


I guess today's another day among the days
When nothing ever happens well.
Another afternoon lost  drinking, rocker
jammed against the front porch wall.
Spring. And it has just stopped raining.  Two boys
Come loping up the muddy road.
The boys decide to stop, unload their load,
A turtle on the porch for me to praise,
Which I do, box turtle, which they say
They found abandoned and alone
And nearly dead beside the road
And will I let them put it in my pond.
I will. I do. And when,  just like a stone,
It sinks and does not rise again, I say,
Don't worry, turtles always sink that way.
The boys spend hours watching and I sit back
To drink my beer. The ducks raise hell. The sun
Setting lights up the water while the boys
Gaze out over the pond. They shade their heads
And take this as their loss. Yes, I can lie.
Yes, I will tell them what I do not know.

This poem from the anthology,  After Aztlan is by poet Demetria Martinez.

Martinez, poet, activist and novelist was born in Albuquerque where for several years she worked as a reporter for the Albuquerque Journal. At the time of publication, she wrote for the Catholic Register in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1988 she was charged and later acquitted of conspiracy to transport two Salvadorian women into the United States.

Prologue: Salvadoran Woman's Lament

Nothing I do will take the war
out of my man.

A war without zones, soldiers raped
his sister at  home - then disappeared him.

He returned, his rib cracked,
chest scorched with cigarettes.

The room  spins at night, he says.
Last night I held him

to keep him  from falling,
he called me a whore.

When at last my man gets out
to become a new man in America,

when he finds a woman
to take the war  out of him,

she will make love to a man
and a monster,

she will rise  from the bed,
grenades ticking in her.

Next, a poem by Nicole Cooley, from her book, Resurrection, winner of the 1995 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets.  The book was published published by Louisiana State University Press.

Cooley grew up in New Orleans and, at the time of publication, lived in  Atlanta where she was completing her Ph.D. in English.

Central Park, 1971

Between the trees I watch a woman
holding a monkey in a snowsuit,
cradling its body like a child.
I am photographing people

with the objects they love.
I photograph myself with my camera.
I am studying attachment.
I print each image again and again.

On a blackboard beside my bed
I  list objects to photograph: a pet
crematorium, a condemned hotel,

the ocean liner from my dream -
a world of women, gleaming and white
and stacked in layers like a wedding cake

where we drink and smoke and play
cards all night. No men are watching.
The white ship is on fire and sinking

slowly and I can photograph anything
I want. Because there is no hope
I can photograph anything.

All night I ride the train under the city,
studying the faces of the passengers.
I want to startle them from sleep.

I want to take them home with me
to lie in my bed beside me as I grow
smaller. No one is watching.

I want someone to cross over with me
as light stains the film silver and the image
turns dark, unrecognizable.

Another from last week.

midnight shopping

like an aircraft hanger
after all the planes
have flown,
a vast room, feeling empty...

like sentinels
standing guard in long
unbroken ranks...

the light, white neon,
so bright like all the luminosity
sucked up by shoppers in day-crowded aisles
is released in their absence, free,
to occupy every corner in hard, no-shadow glare...

a sparrow
flies high between
girders and the geometric maze
of light fixtures, its song echoing -
no other sound but a buffer
polishing the tile in aisle 23

a red and blue balloon loosed
from the hand of a dark-eyed  child,
a silent drifting companion to the bird,
bumping against the ceiling, the lights, circulating
pushed by the steady stream of air conditioner
blowing strong through day and night

a full, yellow moon
shines its face on wet asphalt


a quart of milk, a loaf of honey wheat
and a half-dozen eggs

midnight shopping for breakfast tomorrow

This poem  is from  In the Next Galaxy, the collection of  poems by Ruth Stone. The book was published in 2002 by Copper Canyon Press.

Stone taught creative writing at a number of universities, winning, along with many other honors, the National Book Critics Circle Award. Born in Virginia in 1915, she has been called America's Akhmatova.

She died in her home state of Vermont in 2011.

The Professor Cries

This is the end of March.
The tax collector
wants me to cut my wrist.
The roach inspector
drives up in a truck.
The snow sits like dough
turning sour. Every hour
love's  bones grow lighter.
This is what comes
of having no  pity.
Death used me.
I live in Johnson City.

In the Next Galaxy

Things will be different.
No one will lose their  sight,
their hearing,their gallbladder.
It will be all Catskills  with brand-
new wraparound verandas.
The  idea of Hitler will not
have vibrated yet.
While back here,
they are still cleaning out
pockets of wrinkled
Nazis hiding in Argentina.
But in the next galaxy,
certain planets will have true
blue skies and drinking water.

Victor Hernandez Cruz is next from the week's anthology. A resident of Puerto Rico, he is author of six books of poetry.

Two Guitars

Two guitars were  left in a room all alone
They sat on different corners of the parlor
In this solitude they started talking to each other
My strings are tight and full of tears
The man who  plays me has not heart
I have seen it leave out of his mouth
I have seen it melt out of his eyes
It dives into the pores of the earth
When they squeeze me tight I bring
Down the angels who  live off the chorus
The trios singing loosen organs
With melodious screwdrivers
Sentiment comes off the hinges
Because a song is a mountain put  into
Words and landscape is the feeling that
Enters something so big in the harmony
We are always in danger of blowing up
With passion
The other guitar:
in 1944 New York
When the Trios Los Panchos started
With Mexican  & Puerto Rican birds
I am the one that one of them held
Tight like a woman
Their throat gardenia gardens
An airport for dreams
I've been in theaters in cabarets
I played in an apartment on 102nd street
After a baptism pregnant with women
The men flirted and were offered
Chicken soup
Echoes came out of hallways as if from caves
Someone is  opening the door now
The two guitars hushed and there was a
Resonance in the air  like what is left by
The last chord of a  bolero

Next, a poem by  Cuban American poet  Ricardo Pau-Llosa. The poem was taken from his book,  Bread of the Imagined, published in 1992 by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue.

Born in Havana in 1954, the poet has lived in the United  States since 1963.


                     "Un Pajaro y otro ya no tiemblan"
                     - Lezama Lima

Let these birds turn into circles,
holding themselves  like so much gray,
and let them mean noting
else than the knot of trajectories.
In the parks of another youth
those other birds trembled branches
into lines that broke the sky,
and from the freeze-drawn shadows
they sang as clouds of leaves
quivered like minnows.

Each bird was a heart in the great
green heart of the tree.
In those  parks we would have melted
into the one song of a thousand
brown, dwarfed birds together
composing one gigantic call,
the harmony that guides and loves.
The we would have made the hours pure
with the hand, the kiss, the word.

Here's another poem from After Aztlan, Latino Poets of the Nineties. The poet is Ernesto Trejo.

Trejo studied in the writing  program at Fresno State University and also spent time studying poetry in Mexico. His first book was published in 1990, a year before he died.

For Jaime Sabines

Even God has called it a day.
The streets of Tuxtla are empty
like the bottles of white rum
after the party.
Crickets hum discreetly.
It is so quiet.
When the dead come out
and hush secrets in the ears of young girls
their nightgowns rustle toward the fields
where oxen stumble among the high grasses.

Maybe tonight some peasants have met death
in their sleep.
Maybe their bodies will  be offered
to the vultures tomorrow
and it won't matter,
for in this country no one is sure
of anything.
In this country it is best to get drunk
and forget.

And you are almost drunk,
almost sure that your hands ha e sprouted moles,
and think of your brother and the dark
river of blood between you.

But these things don't exist
in your poems.

Who said life would  be easy?
Put out your cigarette.
Drench yourself in the hot, moist  night,
like a star, adrift and hopeless.

Next, I  have several short poems by Sonia Sanchez from her book, Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums. The book was  published by Beacon Press in 1998. Born in 1934, Sanchez is an African America poet most often associate with the Black Arts Movement.


how still the morning sea
how still this morning skin
anointing the day.


I feel your
mouth on my
thighs immac
ulate tongue.


i hear the
sound of love
you unstring
like purple beads
over my breasts


i am who i am
nothing hidden just black silk
above two knees


in a season of
beautiful clowns betrayals

Blues Haiku

this is not a fire
sale but i am in heat
each time i see ya.


i am you loving
my own shadow watching
this noontime butterfly

Blues Haiku

legs  wrapped around you
camera, action, tightshot.
this is not a rerun.

Blues Haiku

is there a for rent
sign on my butt? you got no
territorial rights here.

Here's my last poem from After Aztlan, this week's anthology.

The poet is Robert  Vasquez. Raised in California's Central Valley, the poet earned an MFA from the University of California Irvine. Winner of many awards, he teaches at the College of the Sequoias in Vasilia, California.

Early Morning Test Light over Nevada, 1955

Your mother slept through it all,
her face turned away
like the dark side of the earth.

We'd heard
between ranchers on the radio
that the ladles
and the two bears
that lie among the stars
above Nevada
would fade at 3:15 as though seared
by a false sun.

the stove exhaled all night
a trinity of blue rings. You entered
your fourth month
by floating in the tropical,
star-crossed water
your mother carried under her heart
that opens and closes
like a butterfly.

When the sky flared,
our room lit up. Cobwebs
sparkled on the walls and a spider
absorbed the light
like a chameleon and began
to inch toward the outer rings
as if a fly trembled.

Roosters crowed. The dog
scratched at the door. I went outside
hearing the hens and thought weasel
and found broken eggs, the chicks
spongy, their eyes
stunned and shrouded
by thing veils of skin.

"Don't open your eyes,"
I whispered  to you when the darkness
returned. I thought of your bones
still a white gel. I  remembered the story
of blood smeared on doorways,
and I placed my hand on the balloon
you rode that would slowly sink
to  your birth. I said
the Old German name your mother already picked
for you, Robert. It means bright fame.

I  used to get upset about religious holidays that I didn't believe in interrupting the daily routines of my life. I decided  that it made  better sense to be happy that I could have a couple of days a year when all the religious folk were off somewhere else and out of my way.

It's a kind of glass half-full/glass half-empty thing.

Good Friday morn

Good Friday morn
and while the religious observant
sleep si9lent in their cells
the rest of us, all  my future friends in Hell,
rise from the slumbers of just desserts
and have breakfast and drink coffee
and enjoy the peace of the quiet traffic of our fellow un-heavenly,
the peace of the pagan in the dim barely-risen morning light,
enjoying the natural pleasures of the un-committed,
preparing ourselves for our koffee klatch among the flames,
where, with a constant caffeine-high we will  discuss
the meanings of reason and poetry among the great minds
of our kind...


ah, the sun breaks through the clouds and the life-sucking
vampyres of the day
at their morning

Lord, forgive us for we have not sinned and thus do not justice
to the spark you gave us.

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 as 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


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