The Fisherman Casts His Net Wide and Deep   Wednesday, April 06, 2016


















I cast my net wide for photos this week, all old, some taken as long ago as 20 year, across several states to my own backyard, with a lot of sky/cloud pictures I ran across along the way.

I have a few of my own poems and poems from my library, including an anthology, 300 Tang Poems, published by the Far East Book Company, Ltd. Mine is the fourth edition that came out in 1987, with the original publication date of 1973. The Tang Dynasty period (618-907) is usually considered the highest point of Chinese literature, art and culture.

This book, translated by Innes Herdan, with traditional illustrations by Chiang Yee, includes the greatest masters from that, the greatest period of Chinese poetry.


Me
Easter morn

Jose Marti
My Little King

Li Po
Endless Longing

Margaret  Randall
Left-Handed

Me
watchers

Mariym Cruz Bernal
Iris

Tu Fu
The Beauty

Paul Muldoon
The Outhouse

Me
where the bough does not break

John Gardiner
Her Poems

Wang Wei
Green Gully
Farmers by the River Wei

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Junkman's Obbligato

Me
the afternoon smells of rain

Ron Slate
Khrushchev's Foot

Lu  Lun
Evening at  O-Chou

Demetria Martinez
News Footage: Kosovo Refugee Woman

Me
hunters

Mary Jo Salter
John Lennon

Chang Ch'iao
News from the Frontier

Denise Duhamel
Spoon

Me
opening the gates   

John Ashbery
Sometimes in Places

Lo Pin-wang
On Hearing a Cicada in Prison   

Anne Sexton
The Earth

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Populist Manifesto

Me
                    why this?                   
            
          









I see a lot of the world through my coffeehouse window. It's a great view.












Easter morn

tiny girl laughing,
dancing
on the red brick cobblestone patio,
little pink dress swirling,
pony tail flying, small curls
at the end, a mother's loving touch

her brother, barely older, sun glasses perched
atop his dark hair, studies the bag of prizes
from the Easter egg hunt,
counts each prize
and counts
again








First from my library this week, a poem by Cuban and South American  revolutionary Jose Marti. It is from a bilingual edition his book published by Wings Press of San  Antonio in 2007, with translation by Tyler Fisher. The original was published in New York in 1882.

A poet, essayist, journalist, revolutionary philosopher, translator,  professor, Freemason,  and political  theorist, Marti was killed in battle with Spanish soldiers in 1895, at the age of 42.

The brave and still revered freedom fighter was also a loving father as shown in this poem.









My Little King

The Persian have
A somber king,
The sullen Huns,
A haughty king:
Iberians,
A peasant king;
Man has a king,
A yellow king:
And men go wrong
Beneath his reign!
But I live as
A vassal to
Another King -
A naked, white,
And chubby ding:
His scepter - a kiss!
My prize - a caress!
Oh! like the golden
Kings divine
Of lifeless lands
Of vanished tribes
- Son take me with you
When you go! -
Place on my brow
Your scepter whole.
Anoint me servant,
Servant meek;
I must not tire
Of this anointing!
Loyalty to you I swear,
My little king!
And may my back
Be for my son
A pavisade:
And on my shoulders
Pass the somber sea:
For I would die
On leaving you
Alive on earth: -
But if you think
To love the yellow
King of men,
Die with me my son!
To  live impure?
Don' live, my son!












First this week from the anthology 300 Tang Poems, Li Po, (701-762) one of the masters of the Tang Dynasty and of the whole of Chinese poetry.














Endless Longing

1

Remembering you  always
At Ch'ang-an.
Autumn crickets chirp
        beneath the golden railing of the well,
The light frost strikes chill
        and how bleak is the bamboo sleeping mat!
My lonely lamp burns dull, thoughts grow confused;
Rolling up the blind to watch the moon
        I sigh for you in vain.

She who is lovely as a flower is held
         where the clouds begin.
Above is the blue mystery
         of the distant sky
And beneath, the surge and ripple
         of clear water.
Heaven is far and the way long -
         bitter for the soul's flight;
Even in dream it is hard for my spirit
         to cross the mountain passes.
Remembering you always
Shatters my heart!

2

The colors of day pale,
           flowers fill with mist,
Moonlight flows like silk, my grief
           is unsleeping.
The Chao zither is put to rest
           on its phoenix-carved stand;
I want to play the Shu lute
           with the mandarin-duck strings.
There is meaning in this song
           but none to understand;
I wish it could follow the spring wind
           to Yen-jan Mountain!
I dream of you far, far away,
           remote as the blue sky.
My calm untroubled eyes of the old days
Now fill with tears, flowing like spring.
O if you doubt my heart is breaking,
Come back, and look into my bright mirror!








This is from a very interesting book of photographs and poems from Easter Island.  The poet is Their Backs to  the Sea, published in 2009 by Wings Press of San Antonio. The poet and photographer is Margaret Randall.

Randall,  born in New York City in 1936, spent many years in Spain, Mexico,  Cuba, Nicaragua and some lesser time in North Vietnam during the last months of the war with the United States. She has written and photographed extensively from her travels.

If I were to ever have a  bucket list this place would be at the top, before anything else.









Left-Handed

I

As I watch you, stone-carver ghost, chipping away
at your mammoth blocks of basalt or tuff,
coaxing prominent noses, pursed lips,
etching decorated ears
and smoothing hollows
where eyes will store and shoot their manna
to a hungry populace,

as I watch you chisel the line of an arm, dropped
to the side, bent slightly forward
to fain shadow of loincloth
fingers reaching for mirrored fingers,
when I observe you,
hammers and polishing-stones in hand,
kneeling in he narrow troughs

where rock still clings to rock and the giant figure
has yet to free itself,
begin its journey out of he quarry
down rocky slope to the platform
waiting by a vulnerable shore,
the ahu that will be its home,
its back to ferocious sea,

when I dream your rhythms, the focus in your eyes,
weeks of months to a single stature's birth
- long sheets of rain,
heightening the echo of your song,
hundreds working together
or ten or  twelve -
I always wonder

if your left hand,like another's left foot
in a distant land
and years into future, or the words
that spill too soon from a troubled mouth
knew what had to be done
and how. Were you left-handed
is my question, one of many.

II

Right hemisphere walks  out
across a field of volcanic rock
spewed and  settled
before the rising of time .

Bare feet  resist daggers
of hardened obsidian,
blood tangles with  dry earth
as rhythm dulls of pain.

Which side of the brain
designs your palm frond hat,
places a flower
behind your listening ear?











Another look through my window.













watchers

tiny sparrow
beautiful interwoven shades of gray
on her back, a female I decide,
because of the streak of white feathers
on either side of her head like the Bride of Frankenstein
and her mate, a ruffle-feathered young fellow
who stretches his neck  like a goose, unlike
his demur and patient bride, indignant as he glares
at me through the window, demanding, he seems to be, or else
he seems to be saying, until I take a few cookie crumbs out to spread
on the ledge where they perch, watching me
as I  write my morning poem...

this morning I fool them..

this morning, they are not just observers, but participants
as I write my poem about
them








Next from my library I have two short poems by Mairym Cruz-Bernal, from her book On Her Face the Light of La Luna, published in 1997 by Provincetown  arts Press.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1963, the only biography I could find was in poorly translated English from original Spanish. (The book is in English.) She is author of several books of poetry.









Iris

I don't know Iris but she has a beautiful name.
When she was little she used to stand on the tip
of her toes to be lifted.
As a woman she stands only to be used.

At  school  she meets her history teacher,
sits near his desk and feels the awakening
of her twelve-year old body.
His hands move along her thighs
and touch her vagina discretely.
she never tells anyone.

It is the same man who in three years
places his thorn finger into her
while his other covers her mouth.
She cries and bleeds.
Although hurt, she feels she belongs,
naming her future.

I am my name... what if this is the only thing I am
and it's broken? An adopted child, at twenty-two
my mother committed suicide. What am I supposed to do
now that I am twenty-two?


Becoming a Wood

The sky is ash, that color of the moon passing  through the clouds.
I can die on a day like this.  The breeze at the closing door of
   this house,

The wind trimmed part of my body, framing my future,
following me in my own substitutions,
one deception, then another.

No I am here in this house of naked wood, and I am this house,
  and I am this wood,
chambered by the roof of this foliage. 












Next, here is a poem by Tu Fu, (712-770) along with Li Po, the greatest of Tang dynasty Chinese poets.














The Beauty

She is a young woman of matchless beauty
Living unnoticed in a lonely valley
The daughter of a good family, she says,
But ruined now, with woods and weeds for company.
When battle-havoc ranged in the Kuan Chung.
All their brothers met their death there:
What availed their high official rank?
She could not even gather their bodies for burial.
It's the world's way to despise the luckless;
Fortune is like a flickering candle-flame.

Her husband is a fickle, callous  fellow
And his new love beautiful  as jade.
Even dusk-closing flowers follow their nature;
Mandarin ducks never roost apart.
But he only notices his new lover's smile -
How should he hear his old love's  weeping?
Spring water runs clear  in the hills
But away from  the  hills it turns muddy.

When her little maid returns from selling her pearls
they pull down the creepers to mend the cottage thatch.
She plucks a flower,  but not to wear in her hair,
And gathers cypress in armfuls.
Her sky-blue sleeves are thin for the cold air;
In the twilight, she still stands beside the tall bamboos.








Next, here's a  poem by Irish poet Paul Muldoon, from his book Moy Sand and Gravel. The book was published by Farrar,Straus and Giroux in 2002.

Muldoon has authored more than 30 poetry collections and has won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize. He  held the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1999 - 2004.








The Outhouse

This would have been  a night in late  August,
somewhere in or around the turn of the century, when a little gust
bestirred itself from Lake Champlain
and he himself got up, as a dead man might get up, from where he'd lain

to find his way over that ever-treacherous rise
in the yard. Some version of the outhouse still stood and - surprise,
                                                                                                  surprise -
as he unbuttoned himself to answer this "call of nature"
he found himself  staring straight at his own minuscule signature.

What with the slightly unhinged seat, the spiked news stories, the dead-dog
                                                                                                                    scent
of lilac,the lemon-lye, what with the acidic and the alkaline
muddling on into one odor,

he knew in his bones that the crescent
moon would, for once, align
itself with the crescent moon cut high in the long-gone outhouse door.











From an afternoon walk through the woods at Breckenridge Park.













where the bough does not break

fat squirrel
in the woods, big, round belly,
must be pregnant...

and I realize I've never seen
a squirrel
that wasn't a full-grown squirrel...

where do they hid their young?

another mystery of the forest...

a secret nursery somewhere where the bough does not break,
somewhere under the dark green cover
of the very tall trees,
a safe place to raise the young

and what parent does no wish for the 
same... 









This poem is from Spillway, published twice a year by Tebot Beach. This is issue Number 9, Spring/Summer 1999.

The poet is John Gardiner, an actor and director. At the time of publication, he taught English as a Second  Language and host of poetry readings in Laguna Beach.











Her Poems

She wore her poems
like a pair of old boots
that won't wear out,
with a life of their own
beyond her feet -
wandering poems with
beaten soles & footprints
real as tattoos;
poems of a hunter
with a shaman's bow,
poems as easy
to open
as a hand,
poems stoked in the heat
& pulled out
like teeth.
And having nothing else to wear,
she wore her poems
stark naked.












Next from the anthology, Wang Wei, (699-761) another of the master poets of  the Chinese Tang dynasty. A poet, musician, painter and statesman, he was one of the best known artist and poet of his time.













Green Gully

If I  want to reach  Yellow Flower  river
I always follow Green Green Gully stream;
It coils through the mountains
     with ten thousand turnings,
Hurrying along
     it barely covers a hundred li.
What a clamor  it makes among the jumbled  rocks!
Deep in the pinewoods
     how quiet and  still it seems.
Adrift with water-chestnuts, lightly swaying,
Translucently it mirrors reeds and rushes...
     My heart is free and at peace
     As tranquil as this clear stream.
     Let me stay on some great rock
     And trail my fishing-hook for ever



Farmers  by the River Wei

Slanting rays light the villages
     in the sunset,
Along the lanes, cattle and sheep return.
An old peasant is thinking of the herd-boy;
Leaning on his staff,
     he waits by the wicker gate.
Pheasants squawk, wheat is coming into ear,
Silkworms sleep, mulberry leaves are few,
Farmers with shouldered hoes pass by;
When they meet their talk flows endle3ssly.
How enviable this calm unhurried life!
Despondently I sing the "Shih-wei" song.











Here to  celebrate his 98th birthday March 24, is the last surviving of the San Francisco Beats, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from his book A Coney Island of the Mind, first published in 1958, my copy the 7th printing by New Directions.












Junkman's Obbligato

Let's go
Come on
Let's go
Empty out our pockets
and disappear.
Missing all our appointments
and turning up unshaven
years later
old cigarette papers
stuck to our pants
leaves in our hair.
Let us not
worry about the payments
anymore.
Let them come
and take it away
whatever it was
we were paying for.
And us with it.

Let us arise and go now
to where dogs do it
Over the Hill
where they keep the earthquakes
behind the city dumps
lost among gas mains and garbage.
Let us see the City Dumps
for  what they are.
My country tears of them.
Let us disappear
in automobile graveyards
and  reappear years later
picking rags and newspapers
drying our drawers
on garbage fires
patches on our ass.
Do not bother
to say goodbye
to anyone.
Your missus will not  miss us.
Let's go
smelling of Sterno
where the benches are filled
with discarded Bowling Green statues
in the interior dark night
of the flowery bowery
our eyes watery
with the contemplation
of empty bottles of muscatel
Let us recite from broken bibles
on streetcorners
Follow dogs on docks
Speak wild  songs
Say anything
Blink at the sun and scratch
and stumble into silence
Diddle in doorways
Know whores third hand
after everyone else is finished
Stagger befuddled into East River sunsets
Sleep in phone booths
Puke in pawnshops
wailing for a winter overcoat.

Let us arise and go now
under the city
where ashcans roll
and reappear in putrid clothes
as the uncrowned underground kings
of subway men's rooms.
Let us feed the pigeons
at the City Hall
urging them to do their duty
in the Mayor's office.
Hurry up please it's time.
The end is coming.
Flash floods
Disasters in the sun
Dogs unleashed
Sister in the street
her brassiere backwards.

Let us arise and go now
into the interior dark night
of the soul's still beery
and find ourselves anew
where subways stall and wait
under the River.
Cross  over
into full puzzlement.
South Ferry will not run forever.
They are cutting out the Bay ferries
but it is still not too late
to get lost in Oakland.
Washington has not  yet toppled
from his hoarse.
There is still  time to goose him
and go
leaving our income tax form behind
and our waterproof wristwatch with it
staggering blind after alleycats
under Brooklyn's Bridge
blown statues in baggy pants
our tincan cries and garbage voices
trailing.
Junk for sale!

Let's cut our and go
into the real interior of the country
where hockshops reign
mere unblind anarchy upon us.
The end is here
but golf goes on at Burning Tree.
It's raining it's pouring
The Old Man is snoring,.
Another flood is coming
though not the kind your think.
There is still time to sink
and think.
I wish to descend in society.
I wish to make like free.
Swing low sweet chariot.
Let us not wait for the cadillacs
to carry us triumphant
into the interior
waving at the natives
like roman senators in the provinces
wearing poet's laurels
on lighted brows.
Let us not wait for the write-up
on page one
of the New York Times Book Review
images of instant success
smiling from the photo
By the time they print your picture
in Life Magazine
you will have become a negative anyway
a print with glossy finish.
They will have come and gotten you
to be famous
and you still will not be free.
Goodbye I'm going.
I'm selling everything
and giving away the rest
to the Good Will Industries.
It will be dark out there
with the Salvation Army Band.
And the mind its own illumination.
Goodbye I'm walking out on the whole scene.
Close down the joint.
The system is all loused up.
Rome was never like this.
I'm tired of waiting for Godot.
I am going where turtles win
I am going
where con men puke and die
Down the sad esplanades
of the official world.
Junk for sale!
My country tears of thee.

Let us go then you and I
leaving our neckties behind on lampposts
Take up the full beard
of walking anarchy
looking like Walt Whitman
a  homemade bomb in the pocket.
I wish to descend in the social scale.
High society is low society.
I am a social climber
climbing downward
And the descent is difficult.
The Upper Middle Class Ideal
is for the birds
but the birds have no use for it
having their own kind of pecking order
based upon birdsong.
Pigeons on the grass alas.

Let us arise and go now
to  the Isle of Manisfree.
Let loos the hogs of peace.
Hurry up please it's time.
Let us arise and go now
into the interior
of Foster's Cafeteria.
So long Emily Post.
So long
Lowell Thomas.
Goodbye Broadway.
Goodbye Herald Square.
Turn it off.
Confound the system.
Cancel all the leases.
Lose the War
without killing anybody.
Let  horses scream
and ladies run
to flushless powder rooms.
The end has just begun.
I want to announce it.
Run don't walk
to the nearest exit.
The real earthquake is coming.
I can feel the building shake.
I am the refined type.
I cannot stand it.
I am going
where asses lie  down
with custom collectors who call themselves
literary critics.
My tool is dusty.
My body hung up too long
in strange suspenders.
Get me a bright bandana
for a jockstrap.
turn loose and we'll be off
where sports cars collapse
and the world begins again.
Hurry up please it's time.
It's time and a half
and there's the rub.
The think pad makes homeboys of us all.
Let us cut out
into stray eternity.
Somewhere in the fields are full of larks.
Somewhere the land is  swinging,
My country "tis of thee
I'm singing.

Let us arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree
and live the simple life
of wisdom and wonderment
where all things grow
straight up
aslant and singing
in the yellow sun
poppies on cowpods
thinking angels out of turds.
I must arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree
way up behind the broken words
and woods of Arcady.











A great April-rain day (a couple of days early).













the afternoon smells of rain

the afternoon
smells
of rain on the way

birds don't sing
their usual afternoon songs,
hiding
instead
in spring-thick trees
behind a fortress wall of green

big one coming
they say

and now here it is,
its first assault, winds change direction
and from the dry shelter of my covered patio
I watch the trees shake
and dance
to the tune of the north blowing wind-tide

and then the gale-driven downpour,
pushing a storm of pellet-hard rain sideways
across my sanctuary...

chased
back inside
to watch, feeling the rush
of the tempest only
second-hand

until just as abruptly
as it began
it ends

and in the still
a lone dove calls quietly
from a
tree
drooping but at  rest

and it is over








This poem from my library is by Ron  Slate and it's taken from his book, The Great  Wave. The book was published in 2009  by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Slate previously won both the National Book Critics Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize of the Academy of America poets. After 30 years in business, he was vice president of global communications for a fortune 500 country, chief operating officer of a life sciences company and co-founder of a social network for family caregivers.

I wonder how many of today's readers know what this poem is about.










Khrushchev's Foot

Looming before us is the pale, slender,
childlike foot of Nikita Khrushchev.
Size 7 or 8, "like a boy's" according
to Sergei, his son, on a lecture circuit.

A shoe meant a lot to a Russian foot,
something you'd tug off a frozen  corpse.
A shoe meant a lot to a British head of state,
to tap a shoe on the rostrum in Parliament
expressed the highest degree of obstruction.

So when Khrushchev slammed his shoe on a desk
in the U.N., it meant megatons to us
but just a parliamentary flourish to him,
designed to make P.M. Macmillan operating
unmemorable, feel at home.

Such a delicate foot, veined and moist -
it makes me want to reveal a secret,
an expendable one, declassified.

One night when I was seven years old,
my father woke me at three A.M.
to scan the sky for the coming
of the satellite, Khrushchev's star.
There was nothing to to impede the view,
not a wisp of cloud. So small and sharp,
bristling with speed, and gone -

it was then I knew I wanted to be
something to admire. Maybe to fear.
Of course the massing of mistrust
between father and son,
our standoff in the Divided City,
had something to do with it.

Disclosed: the Premier told his aides
to place a shoe under his desk.
A single American penny loafer.
Agrarian reformer on a hot day in May,
he had walked into the General Assembly
wearing socks and sandals.

If a person's nature is harsh
and resolute,may it also keep us
vigilant and entertained.
Years later, the child may explain
exactly what the father meant to say.


A personal note - late at night about 55 years ago - lying on my back on the football field next to my house I watched the satellite, Sputnik it was called, pass  over, high in the sky, the first of the many things that pass over us now, if you care to look. - Allen Itz)












Next from the anthology, Lu Lun (739-799), a poet of the middle Tang period less well-known (at  least by me) than the masters used above.















Evening at O-Chou

through a break in the cloud I glimpse
     distant Han-yang -
Still a day's journey
     for our lonely sail.
All day the merchants dozed
     sure of the waves' calm;
Tonight the boatmen chatter
     feeling the pulling of the tide.

Regret at San Hsiang, my hair fades
     with the colors of autumn;
Under the moonlight, my heart travels back
     ten thousand miles
To my old homestead, left a shambles
     by the fighting,
And still I must endure the bang of war-drums
     across the river.









The next poem is by Demetria Martinez, taken from her book The Devil's Workshop, published in 2002 by the University of Arizona Press.












News Footage: Kosovo Refugee Woman

What was she
Thinking
When she
Painted
Her nails?
Did she
Water
Plants,
Dry dishes,
The day
The earth
Stopped
Circling
The sun,
Heaven's
Dance
Cancelled?

She is a
Beauty
Mark on a
Mountain now,
Under a knife
Of rain.
Night
Dark as
A wine
Whose
Name
She cannot
Pronounce.











About a person who gives me the creeps.














hunters

a crow
in the trees that shade  the patio

screeching, demanding,
wanting what it wants

right now...

reminds me
of  an older woman I've been seeing around
lately, grey hair, slightly bent posture like a Grimm-witch
of the forest, with the Disney-blue eyes
of a hunter,  hypnotizing its prey
with the intensity of its glare,like the bird
after its morning worm, like the cat slunk low in the grass
intent on the bird that's intent on the worm...

like the 5 p.m. re-sprawling again after the 5 a.m. gathering again
of traffic rush on Broadway, every driver single-mindedly
in tent on the driver ahead, some are the worms
of their daily day, and some are birds, and some, very few,
the feral cats,  descendants of  the tiger
silently crouched in the jungle, stalkers riding the traffic
day and night, always hungry and on the hunt,
like  the grey-haired woman intent on the gathering of her
some-day prey...










This poem from my library is by Mary Jo Salter. The poem is from her book, Henry Purcell in Japan, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1985.

Winner of many poetry prizes and honors, Salter is co-editor of the Norton Anthology of Poetry and Professor in the Writing 'Seminars program at John Hopkins University.












John Lennon

I

The music was already turning sad,
        those fresh-faced voices singing in a round
                 the lie that could set its needle back

and play from the beginning. Had you lived
        to eighty, as you'd wished, who knows? - you might
                  have broken from the circle of that past

more ours than yours. Never even sure
         which was the truest color for your hair
                   (it changed with each photographer), we claimed

and end to hope itself. It isn't true,
          and worse, does you no justice if we call
                   your death the death of anything but you.

II

It put in in the headlines again:
           years after you'd  left the band, you joined
                    another - of those whose lives, in breaking, link

all memory with their end. The studio
            of history can tamper with your now,
                    as if there'd always been a single track

chance traveled o, and your discordant voice
             had led us to the  final violence.
                     Yet like the times when I, a star-crossed fan,

had catalogued your favorite foods, your views
             on monarchy and war, and gaily clipped
                       clipped your quotes and daily antics from the news,

I keep a loving record of your death.
              All the evidence is in - of what,
                        and to what end, it's hard to figure out,

riddles you might have beat into a song.
             A younger face of yours, a cover shot,
                        peered from all the newsstands as  if proof

of some noteworthy thing you'd newly done.










Here's another from  the  Tang anthology. Though  little is known of Chang Ch'iao from the second half of the 9th century, he apparently enjoyed a considerable reputation as a poet, being known as one of the  "Ten Men of Genius" of  his time.

Wars and stories and poems of war were not unusual during the Tang period. Even in those  days, Tibet  was  an issue for the Chinese.













News from the Frontier

Bugles have ceased to brag
     in the clear autumn,
The troops  are at rest
     under the Drum towers.
Spring-like winds meet
     at  a green grave;
White fire of the sun
     sinks  over Liang-chou.

No  soldiers bar the way
     to the Great  Desert -
Travelers can journey
     to the farthest  borders;
But Tibetans have a temper
     like this stream -
Ever striving  to pour southward.


("the green grave" refers to grave of a Chinese princess who was married  against her will for political reasons and against her will  to a barbarian chieftain (Game of Thrones anyone). The legend says her grave reminds the  only green thing among the dry grasses of the steppe.)










This poem is by Denise Duhamel and it's taken from her book Ka-Ching, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2009.

With a BFA from Emerson College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is author of a number of books of poetry and has been poet in residence at Bucknell University.












Spoon

John Updike's image stays with me - his male character admires a slender
young woman whose collarbones strain toward each  other and almost meet
in a dip  in which he envisions placing a teaspoon. I can't help but think

that this lovely girl could not let herself eat whatever was once in that spoon
on the spoon rest of her throat, whatever was cooking in her body that became
a willowy stove. I imagine the most expensive of silver teaspoons, perhaps

the handle monogrammed with her family's initials, lying there like a necklace
without a chain. No matter how much I suck air into my throat, I can't
make a hollow place for a spoon on my neck. I can't even really see

my collarbones unless I hunch my shoulders and roll them forward.
I wasn't ever exquisitely delicate, but I don't blame John Updike for that.
To this day, I look for women with teaspoon indentations and admire them

like Updike's character did. He moves on to other descriptions - that girl
in the supermarket with ice-cream-scoop  breasts. Sometimes before I take a bite
of something sweet, I use my spoon as an upside down mirror.










Last from the 300 Tang Poems anthology, another poet unknown to me. The poet is Lo Pin-wang. One of the early Tang poets from the 7th century,  he was known as one of the "Four Heroes of the Early Tang. Ending on the wrong side of a succession struggle, he escaped with his life, but his ultimate fate is not know. Some  say he retired to a monastery and became a Buddhist.













On Hearing a Cicada in Prison

Earth spins westward;
     a cicada starts  to twitter,
Stirring deep memories
     in this exile from the south.
I cannot bear to hear that
     dark-winged shape
Chirping tome,
     a white-haired prisoner.
It is hard to rise
     out of the heavy dew;
Its voice is easily drowned
     in the strong wind...
None will admit the
     purity of its nature,
And who will explain
     what is in my heart?











Next, from  his book And the Stars Were Shining, a poem by John Ashbery. The book was published by the Noonday Press in 1994.















Sometimes in Places

And patient,  exacting
no confirmations from those who know him,
the poet lies down under the east sky,
dreaming of the sea. For  poetry, he
now realizes, is cleverer than he.

So  where to go, what to be in?
for as the robin builds a nest,
so each day weaves a bower of itself
to offer the world. I am standing
here listening, but no one word proves the truth,
though several do. And we shall  acclimate
towns, cities, sunsets,, to  our desire, O
accidental mandarin, and the purple
velvet of plenty dominate
our dreams, for a while and then we shall
nod to the post, and be off again.

Day falls of its own weight.
And basing your luck on that,
you too enter the skirmish
of ghosts and dragons, and so are blessed
with deafness to the clamor of surviving
frogs' catcalls. Forgot your lunch,
was it? No, I thought you had one.
No, that was mine.












Another exciting morning in San Antonio.













opening the gates

singing with Mussorgsky
on the road this morning
pink-orange clouds covering
a fast-rising sun, blustery winds
throwing leaves and spring-tree floss through
smiley-face air, cool, edging on cold, rain on three
of the four sides of the city, but no worries
here cause I'm jammin', opening
with full-voiced gusto
the great gates of Kiev and the twisting
muleskinner streets of
old San Antone...








From my library again, Anne Sexton, from her book The Awful Rowing Toward God. The book was published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 1975.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1976. Born in 1928, her life was  a constant battle against depression, ending in her death by suicide in 1974. Being a photographer's model before she was a poet there is a multitude of her pictures on the web. I chose the one I used because it seemed to me to best represent what I've read of her life and in her poetry.








The Earth

God loafs around heaven,
without a shape
but he would like to smoke His cigar
or bite His fingernails
and so forth.

God owns Heaven
but He craves the earth,
the earth with its little sleepy caves,
its bird resting at the kitchen window,
even its murders line up  like broken chairs,
even its writers digging into the souls
with jackhammers,
even its hucksters selling their animals
for gold,
even its babies sniffing for their music,
the farm house, white as a bone,
sitting in the lap of its corn,
even the statue holding  up its widowed life,
even the ocean with its cupful of students,
but most of all He envies the bodies,
He who has no body.

The eyes, opening and shutting like keyholes
and never forgetting recording by thousands,
the skull with its brains like eels -
the tablet of the world -
the bones  and their joints
that build and break for any trick,
the genitals,
the ballast of the eternal,
and the heart, of course,
that swallows the tides
and  spits them out cleansed.

He does not envy the soul so much.
He is all soul
but He would like to house it in a body
and come down
and give it a bath
now and then.









Here's another by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, this one, an exhortation to poets "to come  out of their closets" is from his book, Wild Dreams and New Beginnings. The book was published in 1979 by New Directions.















Populist Manifesto

Poets, come out of your closets,
Open  your  windows, open your doors,
You have been holed-up too long
in your closed worlds.
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 changing 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
indifferent, paring his fingernails,
refining himself out of existence.
No time for for our little literary games,
no time now for our paranoias & hypochondrieas,
no time now for  fear & loathing,
time now only for light & love.
We have seen the best minds of our generation
destroyed  by boredom at poetry readings.
Poetry isn't a secret society,
It isn't a temple either.
Secret words & chants don't work any longer.
The hour of oming is over,
the time for keening come
time fro keening 7 rejoicing
over the coming end
of industrial civilization
which is bad for earth & Man.
Time not 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 Cities"
hung in museums, including myself,
All you poet's poets writing poetry
about poetry,
All you poetry workshop poets
in the boondock heart of America,
all you house-broken Ezra Pounds,
All your 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 in birches,
All you masters of sawmill haiku
in the Siberias of America,
All you eyeless unrealists,
All you self-occulting supersurrealists,
All you bedroom visionaries
and closet agitpropagators,
All you Groucho Marxist poets
and leisure-c;lass 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 poesie,
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 sublimity,
where the great new vision,
the great world-view,
the high prophetic song
of the immense earth
and all that sings in it
And our relation to it -
Poets, descend
to  the  street of the world once more
and open your 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 for the Revolution
or it'll happen without you,
Stop mumbling and speak out
with a new wide-open poetry
with a new  commonsensual "public surface"
with other subjective levels
or other subversive levels,
a tuning fork in the inner ear
to strike below the surface.
Of you own sweet Self still sing
you utter "the word en-masse' -
Poetry the common carrier
for the transportation of the public
to higher places
than our wheels can carry it.
Poetry still falls from the skies
into our streets still open .
They haven't put up the barricades, yet,
the street still alive with faces,
lovely men and 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.











Last for the week.












why this?

after years determined
to count 
for something...

to be an agent of difference
in small  ponds I called
home,
why now this
that counts  but to me for naught?

 because it reassures me
that as so much else
fails, my mind is whole and my heart
still alive to all the grand and tiny
mysteries of
living







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)













Poetry

New Days & New Ways


Places and Spaces
 




Always to the Light






Goes Around Comes Around




Pushing Clouds Against the Wind





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




Seven Beats a Second






Fiction


Sonyador - The Dreamer








                                                            
  Peace in Our Time

2 Comments:
at 1:54 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

u have ONE great photo here- the one in colors blue and purple-
please don't just point and shoot?
poems by salter, muldoon and assbery so jejeune
i'm going to suggest that u cut back, refine, it's too much of too much and the
dross creeps in
just sayin
(Dave realizes that no one likes to b criticized )
and few react to good criticism

at 2:38 PM Blogger Here and Now said...

criticism is okay. everyone has different tastes, values, expectations which makes criticism inevitable. we also have different poetry objectives which makes criticism particularly inevitable in our case.

Post a Comment



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