After the Parade Passes By   Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Photos and poems, nothing new there. Poems from  my library and mine, new ones and old ones from my books. Nothing new there either.

thinking about skipping my poem today

Gregory Orr
The Gray Fox
Self-Portrait at Twenty

circles (from Goes Around, Comes Around)

W. S. Merwin
Song of Man Chipping Arrowhead   
The Day
The Chase

the  good old new days to come   

Damaso Alonso
The Star Counters

better luck tomorrow (from Always to the Light)

Barbara Evans Stanush
On Reading Whitman

Mayberrys All Over the Country

Jimmy Santiago Baca

adios (from New Days & New Ways)

Michael Ryan
"Boys 'Carrying-In' Bottles in Glass Works"   

and it's another day when nothing happens (from Pushing Clouds Against the Wind)

Alexander Shubanov
Flowers in Vases
Dog in Paradise

just ask any goat farmer

Gary Blankenship
Nine Tanka

spring storm
and in the end well  done  (both from Places and Spaces)

G. E. Patterson
Dream of My Mother's Wedding


Jane Hirshfield
On the Current Events

slipping away (from Seven Beats a Second)

Pablo Neruda
Enigma  for the Worried  

Saturday morning challenge

Linda Dove
My Daughter and I Speak of the Wind

apathy (from Always to the Light)

Ishle Yi Park
A Simple Bridge

parades of wonder

Tadeusz Rozewicz
Leave Us

Primo Levi
Bertolt Brecht
I, the Survivor

Adventures in the Ink Trade (from Sonyador, the Dreamer)

Leonard Nathan  
Bladder Song

who will be the poet then (both from New Days & New Ways)     

First this week, ambition slackens.

thinking about skipping my poem today

the day outside my window
dim and dreary
by gales
of thunder and lightning
and open flood-gate

and the black couple
in the booth in front of me,
middle-aged and prosperous
it seems,
are speaking a language I can neither
understand or even
and I'm not  even sure
where I am in 
this early woebegone hour

I'm thinking of skipping my poem today...

cause who who would want to read
such a misbegotten
poem as is likely to emerge
from a day such as

First  from my library this week, these two poems are by Gregory Orr. They are from his book City of Salt, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1997.

Orr, born in 1947 in Albany, New York, received his BA at Antioch College and his MFA at Columbia University. He is a professor of English at the University of Virginia where he founded their MFA program in writing in 1975.

The Gray Fox

Someone I know is dying at seventeen.
When he visited last Thanksgiving
he wore with adolescent's joy
the black leather jacket I lent him.

Around us spring happens: a crocus
among the gravestones, plum  blossoms
that open in a single night.

Already ivy twines the fence wire
and last year's path through the field
vanishes in the thick green of new grass.

I would be good to be the gray fox
that trots to pond's edge, spots me
and stops.  All winter he has hunted here,
undisturbed, and now he watches me
watch him ten yards away, unafraid.

Self-Portrait at Twenty

I stood inside myself
like a dead tree or a tower.
I pulled the rope
of braided hair
and high above me
a bell of leaves tolled.

Because my hand
stabbed it's brother,
II said: make it stone.

Because my tongue
spoke harshly, I said:
make it dust.

                       And yet
it was not death, but
her body in its green dress
I longed for. That's why
I stood for days in the field
until the grass turned black
and the rain came.

Thought I might return to  some of my earlier books.

This  poem is from my third  book, second eBook, Goes Around, Comes Around.


a new  year
just a few dawns

away -
one rotation ending -
as another begins

within circles
within larger circles still

as our moon
bringing dark to light

night  skies,
as our earth turns
bringing day and night

circling our sun, bringing
singing birds of spring, summer
meadow flowers, tangy taste

of autumn leaves,
chill winds that blow
in  winter

even as  our sun
and its brother-sister stars

on the universal axis
of everything
we can know for now

but maybe not for always
as we may someday
know of other circles, turns

there are that now
we cannot see

and the All we know
will grow again
and we in our knowing

will grow again
even as we shrink ever
smaller in the everything there is -

circles within circles
even larger circles still...

"it seems we're just running in circles,
we say,
and how true and grant that is

The next three short poems are by W. S. Merwin. They are from Poetry, the May, 1972, issue. I was thinking what an old thing when I found the issue in the half-priced book store, but I remember as I type that I published my first two poems in 1970, two years before the issue. I quit writing for 30 years, and though I enjoyed a very good life and successful career, at the time I quit I had a sponsor for the Iowa Writer's Workshop and sometimes wonder what if I had continued the writing direction I was on for a portion of my life.

Born in 1927, Merwin's many awards and honors include Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, National Book Award for Poetry and Poet Laureate of the United States.

Song of  Man Chipping an Arrowhead

Little children you will all go
but the one you are hiding
will fly

The Day

If you could take the day by the hand
even now and say Come Father
calling it by your own name
it might rise in its blindness with all
its knuckles and curtains
and open the eyes it was born with

The Chase

On the first day of Ruin
a crack appears running

then what do they know to do
they shout Thief Thief
and run after

like cracks converging across a wall

they strike at it
they pick it up by tails
they throw pieces in the air
where the pieces join hands
join feet fun on

through the first day

while the wren sings and sings

I'm running about a week ahead,, so this poem would be from the week, before last. I introduced my sparrow friends last week. Here they are again.

the good old new days to come

watching my sparrows
at my window sill again this morning

the two I have come to  know well,
bride of Frankenstein, the pretty little female
with the white streak of feathers on either side of her head,
and her scruffy ruffian mate, and, lately, 
two late comers who the first responders feed
by sticking the cookie crumbs down their open beaks
for reasons I don't understand since neither of the new arrivals
appear to be too young to feed themselves

and I'm wondering if this is some indication
of a couple of youngsters who refuse to grow up
and intend to stay forever in their parents' nest's basement,
expecting to be coddled and fed cookie crumbs
for as long as their parents live

or am I seeing a cell of Bernie-Bot
socialists, preparing for the revolution,
living off their  parents until the revolution,
the time of rebirth when heads will roll
and I will be required to double
my daily cookie crumb contribution
lest I be sent off to the camps
for re-education, like
in the good old new days to come
when it will be the revolutionary kind of avian
and not the hapless bourgeois chickens
who rule the

The next poet from my library is Damaso Alonso, born in Madrid in 1898, and died in 1990. A professor of philology at the University of Madrid and a member of an important group of writers who were poets and essayists as well as dedicated teachers.

The poem is from what appears to be a textbook, Introduction to Spanish Poetry, a dual-language book published by Dover Publications in 1965.

The Star Counters

    I am tired.
                  I contemplate
this town
                - a town like any other -
where I lived for twenty years.

    Nothing has  changed.
                                          A child
is uselessly counting the stars
on the next balcony.

    I  also try...
But he is faster: I cannot
catch up with him:
                                One, two, three, four,

    I cannot
catch up with him: One...two...

This piece is from my eBook Always to the Light.

better luck tomorrow

I slept last night
to the sound
of thunder
and rain

with all the humans
in my line

who on dark & stormy
slept peacefully
in their caves
to the concerto grosso


throwing shadows
such as
Plato saw
in his philosophies

all this
while I sleep
in a most primitive

safe and snug
while nature's most
powerful forces
clash against my door


blah blah blah
double blah

what a
c r a p p y c r a p p y c r a p p y c r a p p y

a duty-poem

a good idea
the way of the f-word
(see how hesitant I am today
afraid of truth and true language)
over the cliff
fit only
as Caesar might say

will post this
because it is my poem today
or at  least
the closest semblance
to one

as I do that
I will find my balls
before I have to write another one

The next poet is Barbara Evans Stanush with a poem from her book, Stone Garden, published by the Pecan Grove Press in 1992.

Stanush moved to South Texas after living on the East Coast for 30 years. In San Antonio she worked as an educational consultant, a poet-in-the-school, a newspaper columnist and a writer.

I couldn't find a photo of the poet or even a more extensive biography.

Stone Garden

to Georgia O'Keeffe

In my dream I leave home
Catch a Greyhound bus
And travel through desert
To Abiquiu

To join you walking at evening
Looking at rocks
Down at rocks and up
To  take a step in fall light
Not talking

I am wary of words
Curled around and pulled tight
they extract the wrong things

Rocks and bones don't change much
They have clean edges
And skulls are symmetry laid bare

I like what age does
Bones show
If a thing is right it  ages well
Something either is or it isn't
Eventually it tells you itself
then one can't impose

Do you paint still
Or are the rocks sufficient now

A bit  of mid-century nostalgia.

Mayberrys Are All Over the Country

The old guys sit near the front at  the VFW Hall, not too fora from the bar, the sound of  their dominoes hitting the scarred wooden table is like broom sticks tap-dancing o  a talent show stage.

Further  back, the younger guys, the Vietnam and the Desert this and  Desert that fellas,  Lone Star and tequila  shots lubricate the clackity-clack  of ball  on ball on a green felt island, spot-lit like a Hollywood premier by each table's overhanging light. The leathery thud a balls hit the pocket is like a fast-thrown baseball hitting  a catcher's  mitt.

Mostly 8-ball, sometimes  rotation,  but the big money  was 8-ball.

Every once in a while, a shark comes, shows his national member card, and works his way through the domino  players, picking up small change on fast games of moon. Sooner or later though,  he would make his way to the back where he could suck one of the younger guys, too cocky for his own good,  into serious  pool  for serious money and the guys would crowd around, watch the younger fella's next week's grocery money fall, pocket after pocket.

Some  nights there might be  country dances  at  the Hall and watching the old guys and their old gals  doing the chicken dance and stomping to cotton-eyed-Joe didn't last long as  entertainment value.

Then some of us would hike the block  down to the volunteer fire station where the card game upstairs  was rarely interrupted by actual  fire.

The  town's deputy sheriff was usually also there. Like fire, there wasn't much crime  for a crime fighter to fight, so  in  between his rounds he'd take the chief's big swivel  chair, drink coffee and hang out with whoever showed  up that night.

He was a decent fella and we all liked him  even though  we  kidded him a lot because he was a skinny guy and  his name was Barney.

Naturally when the old sheriff died and Barney got the job we had to start calling him Andy.

all over the country
and I just happened  to grow up
in one of them

This poem is by Jimmy Santiago Baca taken from the "Meditations on the South Valley" portion of his book Martin & Meditations on the South Valley, a New Directions Book published in 1987.

Born in 1952 in Santa Fe of Apache and Chicano descent, Baca graduated from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Abandoned by his parents when he was 10 years old, he lived with his grandmother for several years before being placed in an orphanage. He ended up living on the streets and at the of 21 was sent to prison for drug conviction. During the next six years of very hard time he taught himself to read and write and began  writing poetry. This semi-autobiographical book was winner of the American Book Award in 1987.


I  love the wind
when it blows through my barrio.
It hisses its snake love
down calles de polvo,
and cracks egg-shell skins
of abandoned homes.
Stray dogs find shelter
along the river,
where great cottonwoods rattle
like old  covered wagons ,
stuck in stagnant waterholes.
Days when the wind blows
full of sand and grit,
men and women make decisions
that change their whole lives.
Windy days in the barrio
give birth to divorce papers
and squalling separation. The wind tells us
what others refuse to tell  us,
informing men and women of a secret,
that they move away to hide from.

 This poem is from my most recent eBook New Days and New Ways.


me now

is called killing

this  slack  dumbstruck
on  my face
like a cow facing his
executioner is actually
a sign of intense 

from which
will emerge in good time
a poem for the ages
a poem of the
an old poem
full of old excuses
and yesterday's words
until there is at least
a page
or maybe two
time defied
time  denied
time murdered
killed in the killing
of it

such an astrophysically
result it is, this killing
of time

much more significant
in this electrophantasmalistic
than any little morning
about which the gods would shrug
as time runs out
for them
a dribble
to stasis,entropy 
the end my


The next poem is by Michael Ryan, taken from his book  New and Selected Poems published in 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Born in 1946 in St Louis, Ryan has been teaching creative writing and literature at the University of California, Irvine since 1990 and is currently director of the MFA program at that university. He previously taught at Princeton University, the University of Virginia and the  Woodrow Wilson MFA Program  for Writers.

"Boy 'Carrying-In' Bottles in Glass Works"

                                                   West Virginia, 1911
                                                   Photograph by Lewis W. Hine

What makes his face heartbreaking
is that he wouldn't have it so -
just one of many boys working
amid splinters of glass that throw
such light they seem its only source
in this dusky photograph.
A random instant of the past.
And the brutal factory, of course,

is only one memory of brutality
on the world's infinite list.
The boy would be over eighty,
retired, unnoticed,
but surely he was stunted and is dead.
It's this look of his -
like a word almost said -
across an unchartable distance,

that shapes and ends
emotion toward him now,
though he wouldn't have it so.
He just looked into a lens
amid splinters of glass that throw
such light they seem its only source,
and rods and chutes that crisscross
like some malign, unnameable force.

This is from my first eBook, Pushing Clouds Against the Wind.

I don't talk to much about this one because it was a learning  experience, good poems, but very bad proofing and worst, the cover. I didn't see any reason to pay someone for making a cover for the book out of one of my photos when I already the photo. So I saved about a hundred dollars and ended up  with my do-it-myself cover  that doesn't include the title of the book or my name as author. Since then and with my subsequent books I've learned to better appreciate the graphics experts at Bookbaby. I  send them my photo, pay a little extra, and end up with great covers that even include the title and my name.

and it's another fine day when nothing happens

it's not
an exciting life i  lead
but i'm not such an exciting guy
and that's just fine with me

so no scary movies or conflicts for me

no rushing to and fro chasing dreams
or demons or wealth or power
over events

that used to be me, but now i prefer
to start slow in the morning and keep
that pace for the rest of the day

nobody cares much for what i think
of the issues of the day

especially not those
who could make things different

so i prefer smaller thoughts
closer to home and closer to me

i like sitting in little coffeehouses
writing little poems that come and go
like saltine crackers -
a little salt on your tongue then gone
and mostly forgotten

i like keeping my decisions small -
that's enough for me...

Next I have two short poems by Bulgarian poet, literary critic,  translator, and Chairman of the English Department at Sofia University Alexander Shurbanov. The poems are from his book Frost-Flowers, published by Ivy Press in 2002.

It is a dual-language book, English and Bulgarian (using the Cyrillic alphabet), translated by Ludmilla G. Popova-Wightman.

I was a little surprised that my copy of the book was signed by the poet at a reading here in San Antonio in 2003.

Flowers in a Vase -

invalids with amputated limbs
but faces still young, still fresh-
do they continue to feel
their severed roots,
do they think
they still draw sap
from deep  within the living earth,
or do they know, do they know
they are doomed
and their smiles -
only a gift to us,
only a mask
hiding their great  pain,
only a beautiful lie,
without which life itself
would wilt?

Dog's Paradise

He lies on his back
on the soft grass.
Under the sun.
His legs - spread in four directions.
Like flower petals.
His teeth -forgotten.
His prick -
on show.
He doesn't open his eyes
to see  who passes by -
friend or enemy.
He doesn't understand his enemies.
the universe licks his belly
with the tongue of a bitch.

Everybody hides under the bed from something.

just ask any goat farmer

so some gots their

and some gots their

and some gots their

but we ain't  jealous
cause we
our Chupacabra

spiny-backed and monster-toothed 
roaming the deep chaparral
around Falfurrias and Encino and Norias
with a special taste for goats,
a goat-farmer's nightmare, skulking in the
dark night of South Texas 
brush country...

our midnight predator may not be as big
as their Nessie or their Yeti or their Godzilla
ask any goat farmer, he's twice
as hungry and three times
as mean

Next I have several tanka by my poet-friend  Gary Blankenship. The poems are from  Gary's first book, A River  Transformed: Wang Wei's River Wang Poems as Inspiration. The book was published n 2005 by Santiam Publishing.

In a world
without walls,, there are
no windows
to hold the moon,
my songs, your voice.

                      hibiscus petals
                      between the pages
                      of a water-stained book.

                                            pack ice miles
                                            from shore;
                                            beluga calves pass
                                            by unnoticed.

At play
in wet red clay
laugh at how their pies
taste without almonds

                        A seagull
                        perched on a fallen angel
                        Corroded letters
                        tell who you once were.

                                             sing of mahogany
                                             and silk peaches.
                                             Remember when wasps
                                              spoke quietly.

debris blocks the stream:
a trickle
leaves white feathers
trapped between gray stones.

                             black flakes against the moon's
                             pale face -
                             fresh ground pepper
                             for drinks long abandoned.

                                                 Beneath the sea,
                                                 ghosts nets and spotted shrimp -
                                                 shadows lost
                                                 to a painter's palette.
                                                 Too many questions  remain.

I have authored and published  books, six poetry and two fiction. I also have a book that mixes, history, fiction and poetry. I had a lot of fun with that one but it has never been published and don't expect it ever will be. Of my six poetry books, one is in print, the others are eBooks. Of the five eBooks, this one, Places and Spaces, is in its own category, a book of five extended travel poems, with two short poems, one an introduction and one a conclusion.

This week, I'm posting those two short  poems.

spring storm

dark as the devil's black eyes
as we race to clear skies

and in the end, well done

home court

there is pleasure
in travel
but comfort
in routing and the everyday

i'm back,
second table from the rear,
by the window,
back to the river,
looking out on the corner
of Martin
and Solidad,
San Antonio, Texas

life  in the slow lane,
for a poem
in all the old familiar places

This poem is by G. E. Patterson from his book, Tub, published by Graywolf Press in 1999.

A  poet, critic and translator, Patterson grew up along the Mississippi River, studied and lived in various regions of the country and now lives in Minnesota where he teaches.

Dream of My Mother's Wedding

When I woke in the middle of the night
My father came and stood in the doorway
He  asked me if I'd wet the bed  or something
I couldn't answer I only stared
At my bed and at the floor

My neighbor's white rooster jumped
On my windowsill and jumped on the roof
It jumped on the roof four times
Then fell through a poorly patched hole
Through tar paper
And through a pipe
And through the grate
Above my bed
Landing on the floor
With such force it woke me.

So my father saw me
Standing at the foot of my bed
Unable to tell him
What had happened

The bird looked to me
Like the soul of someone
Come straight from the  good  ship
Grace  of God

In my mind
I saw my bed hanging from the wall
By the left corner of the headboard
Above a floor that had fallen
Completely away -
And the answer to his question
It was yes of course

But I said nothing
Only stood there
Silent until
Eventually the bird was covered
With a scrap of cloth and with ceremony
Raised up and carried somewhere  to be burned

Lots of parties and parades in San Antonio. The eleven-day Fiesta is the biggest.


5 a.m.
on this clear morning half-way
through the eleven days of Fiesta
and birds  wake the trees while in  the west
the moon retires,  yellow and round
and  satisfied
like a fat-bellied man
at a watermelon  thump

the river  parade was Wednesday
and the first of the big street parades
begins at 10 this morning,
the night parade
at  dusk

my "abode de cafe"
is on the parade route only
three blocks from  where the parade begins,
so we'll be there, watching the  parade
and the even more entertaining parade-watchers

it is a party and a parade city
and this is one of the largest, everyone comes
to watch and play together, from the rich of Olmos Park
to those who come from  the West Side  barrios

it's fun
to come together,
to celebrate the city, the very old and the band new
and the people from all  across it

This poem is by Jane Hirshfield, taken from her book Of Gravity & Angels published in 1988 by Wesleyan University Press.

Hirshfield,  a poet, essayist and translator was born in New York City in 1953 and was educated at Princeton University in the university's first class that included women.

On the Current Events

The shadows of countries are changing,
like the figures in the dreams of a long sickness.

Argentina, which used to be so full of sunlight
and heroic, whistling pampas cowboys.
Greece, the lovely heifer of curving horns.
Thailand,Palestine, Salvador.

Of course , it is not  this constant thing,  history,
but ourselves,
like the wooden  statue of some sacred figure,
wormed through,

with the bitter aftertaste on the heart
of  too much coffee,
any evening,
after too much talk of unimportant things,

when all of it is important:
the cup  placed with such a good fit
on its saucer, well and carefully made,
all the still-pieced pieces of our shared consent.

The next poem is from my first book, Seven Beats a Second, the  only one of my books published in print. With an original run of 500 copies, I  just have a few left which I sell on demand and at the IAMA coffeehouse where I spend my day. It is also available from the publisher at Amazon. There are also some private-sell used copies on Amazon as well as, occasionally, at the half-price book stores  around town.

I'm a little conflicted about  those used books, pleased that someone originally bought the book, sad that they didn't like it enough to keep it for generations of family readers to come.

In addition to my poems, the book includes art on every page by my collaborator Vincent Martinez.

slipping away


my mind is blind
to the crisp autumn sky
and the creek running  clear
and the squirrel
teasing my dog,
a backyard clown
mocking the quivering
puffed-chest forward
of a small dog
facing a large  world...

my eyes  see none of this,
for like a fist
clenched tight on itself
I am closed to all but anger,
a simmering constant
since the last election,
not just a the loss
of mine against theirs
but at the outcome
as a symptom
of the nature of my life
in these later years,
like a lifetime
of being on the wrong side


I feel the passing of time now
like never before,
time and opportunity
slipping away,
life space lost
like water squeezed
from a cloth,
disappearing in an  eddy
down a drain,
leaving an approximation of me
to fill the space I had  before
until the day I tossed no space at all


as I read the obituaries in the morning
or stand at the grave of my father
as I did last week in a park
green with the growth of recent rain,
I cannot reconcile the contradictions
of death and life, how the life I see
in the obituary photos and the light
I remember in my father's eyes
can disappear in an on-rush of dark,
one minute to the next, life to death,
how it is that I, too, will some day  slip
into that  vortex of night and never return


I think of the eternal nature of atoms
and how they combine and recombine
over uncountable eons to crate
illusions of form and
in some of those illusionary constructs
a spark of life and consciousness
and beings like you and me
and all those whose obituaries
I read every morning
and my father, dead 25 years,
the illusion of him gone forever
to seed the soil he lies in
and the grass and trees and clouds
over his head and, someday,
in the great recycling that  brings
all the old to something new,
perhaps another form with life
and a sense of self and universe
outside of self that is the cradle
where rests the truth - for life to last
forever, we must over and over die 

Next, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature, from The Yellow Heart, a dual language book translated by William O'Daly.

This edition published by Copper  Canyon Press in 1990, was one of Neruda's last book, written as he prepared for death by cancer and the imminent U.S. backed military coup in 1973.

Enigma for the Worried

For the days of the year to come
I  will find a different hour:
an hour of cascading hair,
an hour that never passed:
as if time were broken there
and were opening a window: a hole
through which to slide us toward the deep.

Well, that day that contains that hour
will arrive and leave everything changed:
we won't  know  whether yesterday has passed
or if what returns is what  never happened.

When an hour falls from that clock
to the ground and nobody picks it up,
and at last we have time timed up,
O! we finally will know where our destines
begin and where they end
because in the dead or extinguished fragment
we will see what composes the hours
as clearly as we view the leg of an insect.

And we will possess a satanic power:
to turn back or speed up the house:
to arrive at birth or at death
like an  engine stolen from the infinite.

This is another little morning thing.

Saturday morning challenge

the fella
in the next booth over...

I can't tell if he's dying
or just monumentally

don't know if I should call for an
EMT or a peripatetic
mental health professional...

it's these Saturday morning challenges
that make me wonder
if I should just
stay in

This is a poem by  Linda Dove from her book in defense of objects. The book  was published in 2009 by Bear Star Press and was winner of their Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize.

Dove retired  from fifteen years of college teaching in 2004 to take up  ranching in Skull Valley, Arizona. She holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature and taught most recently at Prescott College  and Yavapai College in Arizona.

My Daughter and I  Speak of the Wind
                      Shamian Island,Guangzhou,  China

Through the window she collects  stars.
She pinpricks the sky with her hands,

signs moon - a kissed sickle of fingers
rising in air. She weaves the story.

When I first appeared in the high hum
of China,  I  pointed in - Mama! -

and called me to her. She furrowed
her brow. Each night, the wind peeled

off the river, a whirling husk of heat
and leaves and road. She felt it hit

and looked to me for the sign. Iran
my fingers through her hair, blowing

whoosh, making it up.The language
we shared was piecemeal, ad hoc.

Yet we came back to it each day
as weavers  return to the loom, something

at work between them and the silk.

This is another poem from my book Always to the Light, still available wherever eBooks are sold.



in the paper today -
guy at a bar, talking
to the bartender, I used
to get really upset with the news, he's saying,
until i discovered the wonders of 

so I'm looking
to sip, myself, at the chalice
of apathy's wonders - too  much
of my brain has been cornered by two subjects, 
unmitigated heat
and the politics of gullibility

I'd write a poem  about it
but I just don't give a shit

My next poem is by young Korean-America poet Ishle Yi  Park, from her book, The Temperature of the Water,  published by Kaya Press in 2004.

A Simple Bridge

These  days I feel out of touch with lightning,
fire, even the loneliness of wind.

My soul sings to itself
because it is alone.
And then, I think lightning
fire, wind are all solitary forces;

they can't help but touch
things in their path. It is the reaching -

the space between the paper's edge,
the blue fingers of flame,

between the wind
and sharp, breathless leaves,

between the whiteblue jolt,
the one bare tree,

branches open to light
and burning -

it is simultaneous distance
and longing my body recognizes.

A simple bridge inside me
waits to be crossed by lovers

in both directions - who meet
in the middle of the arc at  four hours:

the pink hour, the pitch hour,
the starless hour, the  soft, waking hour.

Another morning, another poem, this one from new Hubble images and a little girl at the Battle of Flowers parade.

parades of wonder

like the little girl
the bubble machine
the massive
blows bubbles of gas
into the cold beyond cold
of interstellar

solar winds
of molten elements
the hot breath
of a little girl
with a bubble machine
on a mild Saturday

parades of wonder
above and
pass around and
through us

more than we can  ever see
more almost  than
we can ever

My next couple of short  poems are from Holocaust Poetry, an anthology published by 1995 by St. Martin's Griffin.

The first poet from the anthology is Polish poet and dramatist Tadeusz  Rozewicz. Born in 1921, Rozewicz was among the first generation of  Polish writers born after Poland regained its independence in 1918 after a century of foreign partitions. His poem was translated by Adam Czerniawski.

Leave Us

Forget us
forget our generation
live  like humans
forget us

we envied
plants and stones
we envied dogs

I'd rather be a rat
I  told her then

I'd rather not be
I'd rather sleep
and wake when war is over
she said her eyes shut

Forget us
don't inquire about our youth
leave us

This poem from the holocaust anthology is by Primo Levi, Italian Jewish chemist, writer and holocaust survivor. The poem was translated by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann.


In the brutal nights we used to dream
Dense violent dreams,
Dreamed with soul and body:
To  return; to eat, to tell the story.
Until the dawn command
Sounded brief, low:
And the heart cracked in the breast.

Now we have found our homes again,
Our bellies are full,
We're through telling the story.
It's time. Soon we'll hear again
The strange command:


Last this week from the holocaust is this very short piece by German poet, playwright and theater director Bertolt Brecht. A strong, very vocal and prominent anti-fascist, Brecht spent the war years in exile. His poem was translated by John Willet.

I, the Survivor

I know of course;  it's simple luck
That I survived so many friends. But last night in a dream
I heard those friends say of me: "Survival of the fittest'
And I hated myself.

I have two books of fiction. Both tell and extended narrative through a collection of very short pieces. This is one of those short pieces from Sonyador, The  Dreamer, telling the story of a life in South Texas.


Adventures in the Ink Trade

     Learning to write cursive was hard enough, but Sonyador's forth grade teacher, Miss Hardapardy, wanted them to do it in ink.


     Meaning a little Shaffer ink bottle in their desk, and a fountain pen, with a little  lever you pull to suck up ink after you stick the tip of the pen in the ink bottle.

     Miss Hardapardy was a young teacher, barely out of college, full of new ideas of how to teach kids she learned in teacher school, talking about some new kind of math when most of her kids were still trying to learn arithmetic, most of them still struggling with 8 X 8 and 4 apples divided by 2 apples and if  a train goes 5 miles in 10 minutes how far will it go in 20 minutes. Stuff like that.

     And she was always telling the principal that school was too easy, that school wasn't teaching the kids to work hard enough to learn all the things they needed to learn in the world. 

     "We need to push them," she would say. "Make them think."

     This at  a time when half the kids were still working on getting their left shoe on their left foot and their right shoe on their right foot, while the numeric potty break code was still a problem for some.

     They were mostly country kids, mostly poor country kids who didn't wear shoes most of the time, who peed in the bushes and pooped in the outhouse - no code required.

     The knew about ducks and chickens and horses and cows and billy goats and didn't have at home more t than 5 of  anything except brothers and sisters, which was their parents' business, so they didn't see much need for higher math such as 6 and above.

     Most of them could milk a cow though;  in fact some of them did milk a cow  every morning. Milking a cow is a very complicated matter. Sonyador knew this having watched a friend milk an old Bossy once. He was sure it was Miss Hardapardy couldn't do even if her pointy teacher poking stick depended on it. But the farm kids could.

     The problem came when they farm kids applied their best cow milking techniques to filling their ink pen - the result almost always squirting blue Shaffer ink all over themselves  and anyone else nearby.
     Sonyador was advanced in comparison to these kinds in lots of areas; well past 8 X 8 in the times tables and the apple and and train problems were a cinch to him. But his cursive was like pig doodle and he was as bad with the ink as the worst of the farm kids.
     Finally, his mom  got tired of  washing blue ink out of his shirts and pants and socks and underwear and everything else every day, so she  sent him to school with a bib and told the teacher to make him wear it whenever he was supposed to write something.

     This really embarrassed Sonyador at first, but it turned out other moms found out about it and, pretty soon, every kid in Miss Hardapardy's class was wearing a bib almost form the start of the school day to the end.

Last from my library this week is another anthology A Book of Luminous  Things - An International Anthology of Poetry. The book, edited by Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, was published in 1996 by Harcourt Brace & Company.

The author I selected from the anthology is Leonard Nathan, poet, critic and professor emeritus in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Born in 1924, he died in 2007.


There  was a woman in Ithaca
who cried softly all night
in the next room ad helpless
I feel in love with her under the blanket
of snow that settled on all the roofs
in the town, filling up
every dark depression.

Next morning
in the motel coffee shop
I studied all the made-up faces
of women. Was it the middle-aged blond
who kidded the waitress
or the young brunette lifting
her cup like a toast?
Love, whoever you are,
your courage was my companion
for many cold towns
after the betrayal of Ithaca,
and when I order coffee
in a strange place, still
I say, lifting, this is for you.

Bladder Song

On a piece of toilet paper
Afloat in the unflushed piss,
The fully printed lips of a woman.

Nathan, cheer up! The sewer
Sends you a big red kiss.
Ah, nothing's wasted, if it's human.

Last this week I'm going to my last poetry book, New Days and New Ways. The book includes some of my favorite work, including these two poems.


     the serenity
of the moment

the particle
of a second when the universe
stops to inhale

before breathing again
with a gasp of stars
shaken and stirred in their orbits

the idea,
the thought complete,
all the pieces floating in confusion

slide through the chaos
to find their place

and you know
you finally know
how your life fits in the greater

pulsing ocean of creatures
like and unlike

the greater scheme
is yours, now it is only
to not forget


who will be the poet then

     say that a poem
is not the word spoken
or the word printed or written
in some orderly form
designated as poetic by the fashion
of the time; go instead
to the image the words, however
presented, are meant to provoke
and find the poetry directly
in the vision, images in the air
of  real space and time, transmitted
through your senses to that part
of your mind that dwells among
the visual cues and clues of the
the de-randomized pieces
that combine to form a picture
that means an emotion, visions
that fire chemical reactions that
push electronic jabs to  our frontal
cortex to create context
within which emotions form, think
off poetry as transcending work,
internal visions of the poet going
to an external vision to be seen
and shared

(the most beautiful poem
I've ever experienced, a French short film
of horses, a herd of horses running
through fields of high grass, the beauty
of their flesh and their muscled
bodies and the sweat
blown from their nostrils, and the
steam, too, from
their mouths and nostrils, the internal heat
of their great bodies under great exertion blown
into cold air, and the colors of their coats
and the grace of their great running leaps
of high grasses and shallow
waterways - the most beautiful poem
I've ever experienced and not a word was seen,
not a word was spoken - no  words,
written or spoken could match the image direct)

think of poetry as visions
transmitted through some visual media
like the screen of your local cinema,
or think of future poetry transmitted directly
into your dreams

think of the day when dreams
are the ultimate poetry
and poets the ultimate dream makers...

so who will be the poets

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

at 12:30 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

am i the only one who comments? i wld like to see other comments? are there any?
do yo u let perople know if people comment on their comments?
i liked many of the black and white photos- as to the poetry (and i haven't finished reading

Flannery O’Connor: “The idea of being a writer attracts a good many shiftless people.- those who are merely burdened with poetic feelings or afflicted with sensibility.”

at 1:05 PM Blogger Here and Now said...

comments are rare - wish there were more

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