Shadow-land   Wednesday, June 29, 2016





This week's photos relate to a piece of music my son is composing. He hasn't finished it, but what I've heard so far brings to my mind a kind of melancholy, shadow-land cityscape. The pictures, from several years ago, are an incomplete expression of that..

Anyway, it's a very moody piece that  reminded me of a kind edgy urban landscape, something like this week's series of photos.

As to poems, I understand that I am indulging myself this week(but it is my ball, after all). But even saying that, there's really not  as much of me as it might appear, since all my poems, new and old, are short to  very short.

My library poems are all from a single anthropology, The FSG book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry. It's a big book, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2011.



Me
God's eye

Carlos Drummond de Andrade
Your Shoulders Hold Up the World

Me
beacon
before the estate sale
burning
caress
cat dance
clean  sweep
cowboy movie
dark chocolate

Odi Gonzales
Umatuu

Me
a short poem has to be like a short man

Gabriela Mistral
A Word

Me
day break
Details
dinner plate moon
dusk
explaining it all to my dog Reba
familiar conversations
finding religion at 3 am
first frost
girl on a cellphone

Dulce Maria Loynaz
I dreamed of classifying...

Me
the great escape

Humberto Ak'abal
The Dance
I Took Your Name Out of My Mind

Me
in the soup
I saw her smile
Kabul Reflection
life is
late  date
looking good
love in the summer 
lying in the grass on a Sunday afternoon
lying in the sun with Susan
lying with my lover on the beach at midnight

Coral Bracho
They Began to Call You

Me
my place

Ruben Dario
Love Your Rhythm

Me
mid-night dreams
Morning Light
morning sky
neon rain
new world
north wind on a southern beach
obsession
oh
once in Mississippi
on the corner of Fillmore and Grand        
polishing doorknobs

  Jorge Luis Borges
The Cyclical Night

Me
me and Homer  

Pablo Neruda
Your Laughter

Me
hymnal
sonny blue
sonya
summer in south texas
sunflowers in flight
while a bald man burns 
walking Reba at midnight
the smell of summer ended
the cruelty of cats at play

Pedro Mir
Amen to Butterflies   

Me
Introducing Luny
Millie, Billie, Lolly, Lou and Lester

Me  
the ever rising tide
          












Back to find again the  short poem mojo















God's  eye

freehand scribble,
crayon in hand or  finger paint
dripping
the universe as he sees it
a swimming place
of color and swirl, a reality
of fresh eyes and open mind
questing

my refrigerator  door
like a view  through
the lens  of the
Hubble

like God's  eye overseeing
all
from
my  kitchen...

~~~~~

even as he hears
every sparrow's  call and
tracks the twist and turns
of his creation,
this god of so  many
talents,
keeping my milk  fresh
and the asparagus
crisp
as he watches










The first poem this week from the Latin American poetry anthology is by Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond De Andrade. Born in 1902, he is considered by some to be the greatest Portuguese language poet of all time. He died in 1987.

His poem was translated by Mark Strand.











Your Shoulders Hold Up the World

A time comes when you can no  longer say: my God.
A time of total cleaning up.
A time when you can no longer say: my love.
Because love  proved useless.
And the eyes don't cry.
And the hands do  only rough work.
And the heart is dry.

Women knock at your door in vain, you won't open.
You remain alone, the light turned off,
and our enormous eyes shine in the dark.
It is obvious  you want nothing  from your  friends.

Who cares if old age comes, what is old age?
Your shoulders are holding up the world
and it's lighter than a child's hand.
Wars,famine,family fights inside buildings
prove only  that life goes on
and not  everybody has freed himself yet.
Some (the delicate ones) judging  the spectacle cruel
will  prefer to die.
A time comes when death doesn't  help.
A time comes when life is an order.
Just life, without any escapes.
















Continuing from last week, my quest for less.














beacon

crescent moon
hangs white
against the midnight sky,
it's gentle arc
a beacon
to the weary
and day-worn

          2004



before the estate sale

quiet walk
through
a dead man's house

soft steps
echo
in this husk
of a life

seashells
whisper
of a falling tide

end
of the end
beginning

          2004



burning

though
hot
I'm not

you truly set me burning
when you walked out those swinging doors
in your skimpy white short-shorts

tight cheeks flexing against  the soft cotton
like two little monkeys in a velvet bag

waving goodbye

seismic
is the word that comes to mind

          2000 (published in The Melic Review -2002)



caress

midnight

hot breath
and
whispers

soft
       slow
               glide
                       of skin
                       on skin

tongue

strikes
like the bite
of a velvet adder

secrets
unveiled

surrendered

to the touch

to the smoldering
tough

of midnight

          2001 (Published in The Green Tricycle - 2003)



cat dance

cat dances brightly through yellow
alley shadows of early afternoon

meow
she murmurs

she crouches
she leaps

death prances lightly through languid
alley shadows of yellow afternoon

          1971 (Published in The Muse Apprentice - 2004)



clean sweep

gray rain
on a gray day
flushes gutters
long months dry

    garbage
                 scars water
                                    fallen fresh
                                                        from the sky

          2004



cowboy movie

comecomecome
she said to me
in her low voice
and sighed
as I moved closer

comecomecome
she said to me

jjjjjjjesus

stuttersam
     crawled
into his corner
     and sighed
     and cried
in the shallow shadows
of his silver sombrero

comecomecome
she cried to me

    1970 (Published in Maelstrom - 2000)



 dark chocolate

she hoards anger
like sweet chocolate
in a brightly colored box

     savors it
          stores it

lets the dark flavor grow
in anticipation

a secret remembered
on the back of her tongue

a secret cache of ire
released in quiet bites

     a nibble here
          a nibble there

and hurt
in random

     b     u     r     s     t     s

pervades the air
around her

     2000 (Published in Experimentia -2001)









Next from the anthology I have Peruvian poet, Odi Gonzales.

Born in 1962, Gonzales is a Language Lecturer of Spanish and Portuguese. With a advanced degree in Quechua oral tradition, he writes in Spanish, Quechua and English.

His poem was translated from Quechua by Alice Krogel and Jose  Ramon Ruiz Sanchez.











Umantuu

wherever  it is you go,
my rainbow siren,
with your tenacious  tambourine
call my soul  that wanders frightened
wild, silent
since first its hair was cut

lure it,  diva of the depths,
with your wiles and your caresses

revealing, perverse,
your fertile breasts
of turbid milk

wherever it is that you encounter, invisible
flower of the mist,
harness my spirit that flees
with its asthma and its imaginary armies
guide it now, sleepless siren whistling
by the narrow street of goldfinches by he path
of the cliffs.

wherever it is that you arrive, wanderer
nymph  of the stormy gales, lead my stray soul
companion of pristine air,
drag it if it does not want to come
to this my deathbed












 Another new from the search for short.













a short  poem has to be like a short man

a short poem
has to be like a short man
at a cowboy bar

hat-high
boot-tall
chin thrust forward

daring 
to be tested

no man,
no matter how big and mean,
wants to tangle
with a short man
daring
to be tested








Next from Chile, Gabriela Mistral.

Born in 1989, a poet, educator, diplomat and humanist, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature (the first Latin American woman to be so honored).

An interesting side-note, Mistral was one of the first to recognize the importance of Pablo Neruda, the other great Chilean Noble Prize winner, having known him when he was a teenager and she was school director in his home town. After a lifetime living all around the world, she lived in New York at the time of her  death in 1957.

Her poem  was  translated by Ursula K.  Le Guin.








A Word

     I have a word inside my mouth
and don't let it get out and don't get rid of it,
though its blood-gush pushes at me.
If I let it our  it would scorch the bright grass,
drain blood from lambs,drop birds from the air.

     I  have to untangle it from my tongue,
find a rat-hole for it,
bury it under  heaps of quicklime,
so it can't keep flying, as the cloud does.

     I can't show any signs of life
while it's coming and going through my blood,
and rising and falling with my crazy breathing.
My father Job spoke it as he burned,
but I can't let it use my poor mouth, no,
because it'll  roll on; women will find it
as they go down to the river, it'll twist into their hair
and wither poor dry thickets up in fire.

     I want to  sow it with seeds that grow so wild
they'll cover it overnight and swallow it
and not leave a shred of a syllable of it.
Or sever it like this, like biting
a snake in half with my teeth.

     And they go home, go in, and go to  sleep,
cut free from it,  sliced off from it,
and wake up after a couple of thousand days
newborn out of sleep and forgetting.

     Not knowing  that I'd  had between my lips
a word of iodine and saltpeter,
and not remembering a night,
a house in a foreign country,
the ambush, the lightning at the door,
and my  body going on without its soul.













More short stuff from the past.














day break

clear  skies
and early dew
make the  pastures glisten
under the pale falling moon
of day break

1999 (Published in Hawkwind, 2001)



Details

Cuando vas en busca de Dios,
busca in los aspiraciones de tu corazon

To know the passing presence of God
on the temporal soil of man,
look not to the stars or mighty oceans,
but to the smallest details of his creation.
The flexing toes of a day-old child...
such is the handiwork of a true God Almighty.

The  rest is only stage dressing.

1999 (Published in Hawkwind, 2000)



dinner plate moon

dinner plate moon
rising luminous
in the April sky,
spreading pale blush
across the hills and valleys
of our central Texas home,
casting faint shadows
in groves of oak and pecan
that surround us...

we watch the stars flicker on
as night advances,
appearing one by one,
we see it all,
the moon above
and all he soft night's stars
ageless and unchanged
while our time passes,
their glow ever-bright 
while our own light dims 

          2004





 dusk

the mid-summer dusk lake
heaves and rustles
like some great animal
shuttering
in the gathering dark...

under pins of
white and yellow light
crickets chip
the soft stone of night

smoke and scents
of campfires rise

quiet
falls with the sun

         1970 (Published by The Green Tricycle - 1999



explaining it all to my dog Reba

she stares

rapt

big, brown eyes
wide, unblinking

hanging on every word
like it was God's own true
revelation she was hearing

and I'm thinking,
Christ,
I'm really on a roll tonight

submerging  myself
in the techniques of instruction,
overwhelming myself
with my own higher-being brilliance

          2004



familiar conversations

shepherds  graze their sheep in the hot afternoon sun,
while in the village center
men visit an open-air barbershop...

they rest between mud wall,
in the generous shade of a large banyan tree
as their hair and beards are trimmed.

the indistinct murmur of their low voices
are a whispers in the sun-backed silence
of the dusty street.

the familiar conversations of men and their barbers
drifts through the village
on a weak desert breeze.

          1968 (Published by Hawkwind - 2003)



finding religion at 3 am

hanging my head over a dirty toilet
I wouldn't even  piss in
on a better day,
gagging,
the smell of my own breath
and the taste in my mouth
setting off
another round of dry heaves

god
please don't make me sober
now

          2000 (Published by Avant Garde Times - 2001)



first frost

first frost
and leaves fall
soft and slow
like red and yellow
snowflakes
drifting in the sun

          2003



girl on a cellphone

puffy in her face

droopy
like a marshmallow
to close
to the fire

leans against a car

kicks the tires

wipes a tear
from her cheek

kicks the tire

leans against the car

rests her head
on the window glass

wipes a tear
from her cheek

hangs up

sits
on the curb
and
weeps

          2001 (Published by Hawkwind - 2002)








Dulce Maria Loynaz, was a Cuban poet, born in 1902 and died in 1992. She was the daughter of a hero in the Cuban Liberation Army. She was a lawyer who practiced rarely and whose family position allowed her to travel the world and meet with some of the greatest Spanish language poets of her time. She quit writing and publishing and withdrew from society in a self-imposed internal exile when the Communist triumphed in 1959. It  wasn't until 25 years  later when she was in her 80s that her work was rediscovered and welcomed widely by her countrymen.

Her poem was translated by Ilan Stavans.











I dreamed of classifying...

I dreamed of classifying
Good and Evil, as the wise men
classify butterflies:
I dreamed of pinning down Good and Evil
in the dark velvet
of a glass  box...
Under the white
butterfly, a sign would read "GOOD."
Under the black
butterfly, a sign would  read:  "EVIL."
But the white butterfly
didn't represent good, nor did the black butterfliy
represent evil...And  between my two butterflies,
green, golden, infinite, were flying
all the butterflies on  earth!...












Can we live today without our cell phones. If  I  have the determination, circumstance may have given me an opportunity to find out.













the great escape

I don't have my cell phone today

it won't  charge, battery
kaput...

like McQueen on his motorcycle
jumping the fence
to  freedom -
that's how I feel today

and now,
having jumped the fence,
I'm thinking -

how many people who have my number
do I really want to hear from and
the sum comes to two
who also have the number 
to my land line...

it is clear to  me today
that
the grass truly is greener
on the other side of the  fence...

McQueen knew this
and never even thought
about jumping 
back...

so,
I'm
thinking...











Next  from the anthology, two short poems by Humberto Ak'abal . Born in 1952, Ak'abal is a  K'icke' Maya poet from Guatemala. His work has been published in French, English, Estonian, German. Arabic and Italian translations in addition to his original Spanish and K'iche'.

His poems were translated by Ilan Stavans.










The Dance

All  of us dance
on a cent's edge.

The poor - because they are poor -
lose their step,
and fall

and everyone else
falls on top.



I Took Your Name Out or My Mind

I took  your  name out of my mind
and lost it on the mountain.

It was picked up by the air
and found its path
through the ravine.

I began to forget

Suddenly
it crashed against the cliffs
and bounced back:

rain made it sing
and your name  reached me while crying.













Here are some more of my short to shorta-shorts.













in the soup

what's that fly doing in my soup
                                  she said

the back stroke
               i said

and there you have it,
                           the
                           nub
of our relationship

she found flies
and i laughed them off

                          until
  
                     one

               day

she invited a

s
   p
      i
        d
            e
               r

to sit down

b
    e
       s
          i
            d
                e
                    r

and i was in the soup

     2000 (Published by Mitochondria - 2004)



I saw her smile

I saw her smile
in the primate house
at the Kabul Zoo.

The monkeys swung and played
behind their cool bars
in the high Afghan  ar
and made us all laugh.
In her delight
she dropped her veil

    and
    for one
    heart-stopping
    so-quick
    second

we stood face to face.

    Then,
with flashing ebony eyes
and a shy, bewitching smile,
she brought the silken curtain
of her beguiling modesty
again between us
and walked away,
content in her conquest.

     1999 (Published by Alchemy - 1999)




 Kabul Reflection

It's mid-afternoon
on a cold and dreary day
in a city lost in the last  millennium.

Rows of mud houses hang over the rickety city
from the surrounding brown slopes
like a thousand bleary eyes
watching
from the mountain's unforgiving core.

In the faded club room
atop the Spirazan Hotel
I  drink cheap Russian vodka
and watch the mountain
watching me
never
blinking.

Premonitions of bloody despair
and mountain revenge
follow me to fretful sleep.

     1968



life is

life
is like a duck hunt

every time
you really start to fly

some
asshole in the weeds

shoots
your feathered butt

right out of the sky

2000 (Published by Blaze/Vox - 2004)



late date

pretty Sylvia
working girl
    slumped
in the back of my cab
    red shoes off
    short red dress high
    on bare brown legs
    she  lies back, resting her
head against the seat,
     her eyes closed
against the intermittent
     glare of streetlights passing,
     her  cheeks damp,
     glistening,
reflecting the neon glow
     of the streets
     their jagged schemes
     and broken dreams...

Sylvia, Sylvia
     pretty girl,
my almost friend,
you've sold all your 
     secrets now and are
     left on your own

going home
     lonely girl
     to jagged dreams

going home
     to broken sleep

     1971



looking good

you come into the room
with your new lover
like Ken and Barbie,
a perfect matched set
of glowing grace and beauty,
so self-confidently
put-together
gorgeous
that all the light in the room
seems to gather in your  presence

did I look that good
with you on my arm,
and if I did,
how did you ever leave me...

    2000 (Published by Hawkwind - 2002)



love in the summer

love in the summer
is a sweaty, sloshy thing

not like winter
when chill winds bite
parts uncovered

2001


lying in the grass on a Sunday afternoon

I could feel his sweet breath
warm on my face,
his nose almost  touching mine
as he leaned over me,
bracing himself with his hands on my chest
while I held him under his small arms

dear lord
I thought
let me not forget this moment
this bright memory
with my son

2000 (Published by The Poet's Canvas - 2001)


lying in the sun with Susan

quiet  bay

no sound but the light rustle
of marsh grass in the gulf breeze

she
lies on the deck
legs spread
as if to thrust herself
at the summer sun

sweat glistens
on the inside of her thigh
and my tongue aches
for the taste of her

2001 (Published by Poem Neiderngasse - 2002)



lying with my lover on the beach at midnight

the beach was best at midnight,
when the day-trippers were at home
nursing sunburns or in a bar
honky-tonk dancing in gritty flip flops

the beach was best at midnight
when its beauty was ours alone,
when its sand gleamed in white moonlight
and stars spread across the Gulf sky,
a blanket of lights across the bed
of soft tropic night, when the surf,
breaking against the shore in ordered rows,
was the only sound in the tropic breeze

the beach was best at midnight
when we lay together on a sandy towel,
enveloped int the star-lit whisper
of the rising, falling waves

2001 (Published by The Green Tricycle - 2001) 









 Next from the Latin American poetry anthology is Mexican poet Coral Bracho. Born in Mexico City in 1951, Bracho, poet, translator and Doctor of Literature, has published six poetry collections and is winner of the Aguacalientes National Poetry Prize in 1981 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000.

Her poem was translated by Forrest Gander.











They Began to Call You

They began to call you, the rocks, breathing
their innumerable visages, their gesticulant
throbbing,
from the cliff  face. You could see
the entrance of the cave and you knew. Totems
fusing together. One
respiration over another. It's for you. And  what could it
have been?

And what would they have won from you and for what?
But you didn't enter, only
stood there taking it in.











After a cooler, longer and  wetter spring, hot dry summer has arrived but until mid-morning it's cool and pleasant with a fresh breeze if you can find a shady place.













my place

my place
under a red and white umbrella

hot under the sun

but breezy, fresh-morning pleasant
in this tree-shaded nook by Broadway...

my spot,
here
where familiarity breeds
content

~~~~~

the morning lingers
even
as another day passes

but 
I don't count them
anymore

counting
too much like
a count-
down










Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario was born in 1867. He  initiated the Spanish American literary movement known as modernismo that flourished at the end of the 19th century. He died in 1916 at the age of 49.

His poem was translated by Greg Simon and Steven F.White.












Love Your Rhythm...

Love your rhythm and rhythmize your deeds.
Obey its laws, as in your poetry.
You're a cosmos in a cosmos set free.
Be the fountain of  songs that your soul needs.

The celestial openness you surely are
will  make worlds sprout in you that are diverse,
and if your meters start to sound dispersed,
use Pythagoras to unite your  stars.

Hear divine rhetoric in each feather
of every bird that takes to air, and learn
nighttime geometric heat  and weather.

Kill  all indifference that is taciturn
and string pearl  on crystal together
in the place where truth tips over its urn.












Time for more short stuff.














mid-night dreams

softly walking
barefoot through the dark,
through fields of fantasy,
fields of rosewood and clover,
Jeremiah brush close to the ground
with silver bells moving slowly
in the velvet breeze of mid-night

softly walking
barefoot through the dark,
scent of rosewood and clover
and a whispering  sound of bells,
little silver bells, softly coming
barefoot through the dark
to me...to me...to meeee...

     2002



Morning Light

Brilliant morning light
Even the shadows are bright
Sun motes cloud the air

1999



morning sky

summer morning dew
rivulets of sun-stained glass
blue through water falls

2003 (Published by Liquid Muse - 2004)



neon rain

neon rain
on neon streets
where the neon bitch
of busted odds runs the game

can't quit when she's with me
can't quit she she's gone

can only stand, wet and waiting
for the kiss of the neon hustler
with breath of neon dispair

2004



new world

the first words of Adam to Eve
were like a fresh-born pup
nuzzling its wet nose
against the warm belly
of its mother
blindly groping, afraid,
but no longer 
alone

2002



north wind  on a southern beach

a north wind blows strong
against the incoming tide
and all across the bay
whitecaps flash in the sun
like handkerchiefs
fluttering across a field
of salty-sea-green

a beachcomber,
dressed for the day
in a silver windbreaker,
walks the beach barefoot,
shoes tied by their strings 
to hand around his neck,
throws bread to the gulls,
greedy birds, swooping, fighting
each other and the wind
for every crumb

     2002 (Published by Scope Journal - 2004)



obsession

late night coffee
sidewalk cafe

all chairs but ours
turned up on tables

lost till now
in mutual obsession

we are
last to leave

    2004




oh!

oh!
my little
sad-eyed whore
flat on your back
kinky little pubescence a-curl
in the garish yellow light

I too
would make it beautiful
if only I could

    1969



once, in Mississippi

once, in 
Mississippi,
I saw a cotton field,
pretty, I thought, until I had to 
pick it

    1999 (Published by Hawkwind - 2002)



on the corner of Filmore & Grand

it's another Friday night at
La Cantina de los Gatos Negros
and me and my sancha are tilting
at the windmills of love,

     que chula, I say,
     as I brush a wisp of brown hair
     from over her eye, then bend
     to kiss her cheek...

we press close
in the garish barroom light,

     que macho, she says,
     whispering in my ear

and the night slows to a crawl
of hot anticipation

     2001 (Published by The Muse Apprentice - 2003)



polishing doorknobs

Czechoslovakia
was  invaded one day
and though paid 
to notice such,
I missed it entirely,
didn't know a thing until
I read about it in a 
newspaper in Charleston

but,
during the same period
I did make a complete record
of the midnight ramblings
of taxicabs in Moscow

and later,
while a cosmonaut
was dying in space overhead,
I tracked the daily business
of a crop duster near
Karaganda

so like my life

polishing doorknobs
while the house burns down
around me 

     2001








Born in 1899 in Buenos Aires, Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges was a short story writer, essayist, poet and translator was a key figure in Spanish language literature. Founder and principle practitioner of postmodernist literature, Borges died in 1986.

His poem was translated by Alistair Reid.









The Cyclical Night

     To Sylvina Bullrich

They knew it, the fervent pupils of Pythagoras:
That stars and men revolve in a cycle,
that fateful atoms will bring back the  vital
Gold Aphrodite, Thebans, and agoras.

In future epochs the centaur will oppress
With solid uncleft hoof the beast of the Lapith;
When Rome was dust the Minotaur will moan
Once more in the endless dark of its rank palace.

Every sleepless night will come back in minute
Detail. this writing hand will be born from the same
Womb, and  bitter  armies contrive their doom.
(Edinburgh's David Hume made this  very point.)

I do not know if we will recur in a second
Cycle,  like numbers in a periodic fraction;
But I know that  a vague Pythagorean rotation
Night after night sets me down in the world

On the outskirts of this city. A remote street
That might be either north or west or south,
But always with a blue-washed wall, the shade
Of a fig tree, and a sidewalk of  broken concrete.

This,here, is Buenos Aires. Time, which brings
Either love or money to men, hands on to me
Only this withered rose, this empty tracery
Of streets with names recurring from the past

In my blood: Laprida,Cabrera,Soler,Suarez...
Names in which secret bugle calls are sounding,
Invoking republics, cavalry, and mornings,
Joyful victories, men dying in action.

Squares weighed down by a night in non one's care
Are the vast patios of an empty palace,
And  the single-minded streets crating space
Are corridors for sleep  and nameless fear.

It returns, the hollow dark of Anaxagoras;
In my human flesh, or plan,  of an endless poem beginning:
"They knew it, the fervent pupils of Pythagoras..."












 A morning poem from my morning nest.













me and Homer

for a period
of about 45 minutes
in the morning
the sun passes between
the corner of the building
and the oak grove

shining
for that period
directly into my eyes

two blind poets,
me and Homer, persevering
through the odyssey of another day

ah, the Sirens' songs,
how I would love to close my eyes,
the  sun warm on my face,
and nap to their
song








I suppose it may be possible to do a collection of  the greatest twentieth century Latin American poets and not  include Pablo Neruda. But why would anyone want to do that even if they could.

Born in 1904, the Chilean poet, politician and diplomat was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. He died two years later in 1973.

His poem was translated by Alastair Reid.







Your Laughter

Deprive  me of bread. of you want,
deprive me of air, but
don't deprive me of your laughter.

Don't  deprive me of the rose,
the stick you stirred the grains with,
the water splashing
swiftly in your joy,
the sudden silver wave
born in you.

My struggle is painful. As I return
with my eyes sometimes tired
from watching
the unchanging earth,
your laughter enters
and raises to heaven
in search of me
to open all the doors of life.

My loved one, in the darkest hour,
unsheathe your laughter,
and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the cobblestones,
laugh, for your laughter
will be for my hands
like an unsullied sword.

Near the sea in autumn,
your  laughter must rise
in its cascade of foam,
and in spring, my love,
I  want your laughter
to be like the flower I anticipated,
the blue flower, the rose
of my resonant homeland.

Laugh at the night,
at the last day, at  the moon,
laugh at  the  twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
young man who loves you.
Yet when I open my eyes
and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never stop your laughter
for I would die.













Here are some more short stuff.














hymnal

from somewhere in the very deep
a great blue sang today,
a song of salty tides,
of bright mornings
fresh with ocean air,
a song of love among the giantss

from somewhere in the other deep,

an every-growing choir responds,
sings of star-blinks and novas flashing,
of creation
and cyclic obliteration,
songs of spinning  little worlds
that come and go and leave behind
the poetry of their time in passing,
each another song,
sung and recorded for time never-ending
in a book of all the life that ever was to sing

    2004



sonny blue

sonny blue rides life
like a fast horse
barely-broke and buckin'

holding tight
jingly mexican spurs
digging into the pasty white flank
of convention and caution

pushing
every day
like he was  racing the devil
to the wide, swinging doors of hell

giddy-up
he yells into the hard-rushing wind
giddy-up goddammit,
giddy-up

    2002 (Published by Tryst - 2002)



sonya

s
o
n
y
a
so small
and thin
and happy-eyed
you dance 
soquick
across 
the floor 
and backtome
who do you tell of your child
and scars and tired feet
s
o
n
y
a

1967 (Published by The Poet's Canvas - 2002)



storm watch

summer clouds glower
trembling leaves in sunlight shimmer
waiting winds whisper

2003 (Published by Liquid Muse - 2004)



summer in south texas

summer
in south texas,
horned toads and rattlesnakes
negotiate for every piece
of shade

    2000 (Published by Hawkwind - 2000)



sunflowers in flight

      u         e
b         t                              s
       t                 f         i
                    r          l       e


          little wings so soft
                  so soft

          like a mother's kiss
                                    brush
          against the thick
                  summer
                     air

yellow-black-yellow-black-yellow-black

           a cloud of
                
                            w          s
s              f       o       e
          n        l                r
    u

            in flight

     2003



while a bald man burns

three gulls circle
     while
a bald man burns
in the fierce island sun
     while
I trace gargoyles
in the sand
with my toe
     while
you pretend to study
the book in your hand
     while
three gulls circle
in the fierce island sun

     2000 (Published by Avant Garde Times - 2001)



walking Reba at midnight

moon so bright
    sky
    charcoal gray
candy puff clouds
    like lace
    in the trees

     2004



the smell of summer ended

the first
cold front of fall
and all the stores are packed
with bundled shoppers smelling of
moth balls

    2004



the cruelty of cats at play

her black smile
cut like a dagger through the dark,
     unseen
     slicing cleanly to the heart

"I have something to tell you,"
     she whispered

    2000 (Published by Muse Apprentice - 2004)








Last this week from my anthology of Latin American poets, this is Dominican poet and  writer, Pedro Mir. Highly respected by his countrymen, he was named  Poet  Laureate of Dominican Republic in 1984. He died in 2000.

His poem was translated by Robert Marquez.










Amen to  Butterflies

The author
under the title

Amen to Butterflies

TO THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR'S  WIFE

because, during the occupation of Veracruz
by her country's troops,
she said:

"This is the dance of death
and I believe we play the violin!"

and for the warning that words  contain,
for all they have of heartbreak and perhaps eve of the maternal,

dedicates
this poem of
fifty years  later
when the trigger on the violin is gayer  still,
much more tumultuous the frenzy of the dance.

Butterfly:
caricature of an airplane.
Pulse of the abyss,
scholar  among blossoms.
Before those hands
smashed you on the wall
...the children's eyes...
   Pedro Ma.Cruz,  raices iluminadas








I've been indulging myself with all this short poems (well, it is my ball after all), now I indulge myself with two longer poems.

I wrote the first poem inspired by a man, a plumber, who met with my dad just about every afternoon after work for a single beer before going home. I was there with them for a lot of those afternoons, from the time i was ten or eleven until I left home.

The plumber was a short, scrawny, bald-headed man who smoked his cigarettes down to a nearly burning his lips nub. He owned his own business and was about as independent-minded as anyone could ever be.

After the first poem I was thinking what a great character Luny was, good for a series, so I wrote the second piece. After the second piece I realized I had written a very short series since, with the two I had written both the first and last chapter in the Luny story couldn't gin up any interest in writing the in between parts.

So that's where it ended.






Introducing Luny

Luny says,

     Hit's a big sombitch,
     ain't hit,

and I nod,
it really is very, very large

     Seen one like hit once in Tupelo.

He scratches and spits and scratches again.

     Hit was almost as big as this,
     but not quite.

He takes off his hat and wipes sweat from his head.

     Black too,
     just like this'un

We circle it in opposite directions,
me at a distance, intimidated
as any normal person would be.

But not Luny.

Luny doesn't give a damn,
he just wants to look.
He walks right up to it, sticks
his face right up to it,
pokes at it with his finger.

     Lookeehere, you ever seen such a thing?

And I look at Luny, climbing
over all the wonders of the world, sticking
his fingers into every crack  in the universal order
of things as they should and always will  be, saying

     Well, wouldja look at that!

Then moving on to the next curiosity to grab
a hold of his always hungry hillbilly mind.

And I think, nope, I never did see such a thing.



Millie, Billie,  Lolly, Lou and Lester

Luny met Molly on Sunday evening
in Tuscaloosa at a potluck supper
at the First Corinthian Baptist Church.

I was there talking to Luny
when Molly walked in, a slender little gal
in a flowery dress carrying a big bowl
of country cornbread dressing.

     Didja see that girl,
     Luny asked,
     the pretty one in the flowerdy dress?

I said I did.

     Do you know'er?

I said I did.

     Can I meet'er?

I'll introduce you, I said,
I think  she'll like you.

So I did, and I could tell
right away, she did.

     Pleased to meetcha, Mr. Luny,
     she said.

     Just call me Luny,
     he said,
     most everybody does.

     And you can call me Molly,
     she said.

He did and pretty soon they wandered off,
heads together, talking and laughing,
leaving me to spend the rest of the evening
with Brother Borchuck, talking about
the can bottom benches out front and the need
to get them re-strung before one of
the heavier brothers or sisters of the church
busted through them and sued us all,
including the Lord.

I didn't see Luny again until I was leaving.
He was in his pickup, smoking one of his
roll-your-own Bugler cigarettes,
spitting stray tobacco from his
lower lip like you have to do when
you roll them as loose as he does.

     That Molly sure is pretty,
     he said,
     blowing tobacco from his lip.

I agreed and said
I think she likes you.

     I know she does,
     he said.

Luny took another drag from his cigarette
and blew it out and pulled on his left ear.

     Says she likes kids,
     says she'd like to have a bunch.

A bunch of kids, I said,
that's a lot of responsibility.

     Yeah, I don't think I'd want more than five,












Last for the week, frustration at the unremitting stupidity on all sides.













the ever-rising tide

the 
ever-rising tide
of stupidity can be
overwhelming
if you're not  prepared,
if you don't keep you guard
up

thank god
for the daily comics
and morning jazz
on community college radio
and coffee,  black and sweet,
here where I can watch the birds
watch me,
waiting for their cookie crumbs,
quiet, patient
birds,
so unlike the life
I  hide  from

~~~~~

ah,
a mockingbird intrudes,
pushes away the little ones,
steals the crumbs I left for them

even here the world...










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 a not so 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





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