Star Track   Wednesday, July 06, 2016






I know just enough about real science to be a big fan of  science fiction. But I haven't read much of  it lately since all my old favorites have died off. But that hasn't stopped me from  writing quasi-science/science fiction  poetry, usually inspired by something from The New York Times' Thursday Science Section.

I don't do that now as much as I did before - this week's old  poems from before.

The rest of the poems are my standard new (still seeking brevity) and poets from my library.

The photos are from an earlier trip to Santa Fe. I'm of the age that new places don't interest me as much as the  pleasures of revisiting the old. Santa Fe is one of my favorite places for such  revisiting. My idea of a rousing vacation, sitting on a bench at the plaza watching the world  go by.

Here's what I've come up with for this post.


Me
waiting at the Chapel of Love

William D. Barney
Rider and Sea
Science and History

Me
red planet rebirth
meanwhile  in the  Hydra Constellation

Rodney Jones 
The Attitude

Me
the continuing tussle

R. S. Thomas  
Alpine

John Muir
untitled

Me    
seven beats a second

Page Richards
Ur-horses
Fit as a Deer

Me
why women  will win the world

Wendy Wilder Larsen
Bluebird in Cut-leaf Beech

Me
the magnetosphere  is running down
how it all comes about

Wislawa Szymborska
In Praise of Self-Deprecation
Returns

Me  
rage subsumes art every time   

W. S. Merwin
Photographer

Me
through the hundred meter lens

Pablo  Neruda
from The Heights of Macchu Picchu

Me
old and ugly   

William Stobb
The Naturalist and the Ant Lion
Cloud Out of Square

Me
Traveling Companion

Pierre Martory
At the Bottom of the Step  

Me
the wheels of all, turning

Carl Sandburg
Ice Handler
Jack

Me
fleshware












Here we go, a new poem, first for the week.













waiting at the Chapel of Love

the pretty young girl
singer-songwriter
oh so blond
button
cute
rail thin
performance
rubber band tight
beautiful voice
stage presence like
she was born in front
of a microphone
and I'm so sorry
I'm so old
but pretty blonde
heartbreak 
the lover's angst
of a nineteen-year-old
is good for a while
but halfway through
her set
it all begins to sound 
the same
and
I'm impatient
for the return of the
rockers who headline
the show
drums
bass
lead guitar
and singer
well past 19, old
enough now to know
what it means
and able to tell it
in a way
it gets past
my old
ears
and into my old
hear4t
broken too
at nineteen
then
again at twenty
and again
at twenty-five
and then 
and then
and then
and every time
I forget
look forward
to the next of life's
many passing
everlasting
loves
because
there's always
the Dixie Cups
waiting at the
Chapel of Love
to help 
me forget
again








The first pieces from my library this week is Texas poet William D. Barney, from his book A Cowtown  Chronicle.The book was published by Browder  Springs Books in  1999.

Born in Oklahoma in  1916, the poet worked for the post office beginning in1936 and until he retired  in 1971. Throughout his postal career and after he wrote his poetry, publishing nine books of poetry, winning the  Robert Frost award for narrative poetry (presented to him by Frost himself) and being named, in 1982, Poet Laureate of Texas.

The poet died of a heart attack in Fort Worth in  2001.









Rider and Sea

The lone rider in a tempest of horns,
a maelstrom of frightened steers -
all here, frozen in a sea of  bronze
slashing an empty edge of North Main.
They seem aware, enormously alive,
yet all are caught in the clutch of time,
silent, unmoving, fixed pawns of history.
Wild longhorns,lashed into  turbulence,
they twist  lank flesh until  it  screams,
they flash great heads as if lightning
set fire to bone.They will  not  be turned
from their rush to  freedom.

         How can the puny horseman,
mere cowboy, still that wild stampede?
How can he dare the forest of snags,
not be impaled? Surely some angry power
pitched him against these running beasts.
Malignant destiny tosses him here
into  a storm of implacable forces.

A theme from an  old chorus,  a song
of  triumph out of Handel,
that savage vaunt at Pharaoh's undoing,
teases my mind: "The Horse and his Rider!"
The words speak a curse for the cowboy,
caught in this terrible tide,
they taunt him, he cannot calm  his fury:
or stay these fierce ones in flight:
"The Horse and his Rider" - fierce  cry
at the overthrow of mortal men
"The Horse  and his Rider
has He thrown into the sea!"



Science and History

These we have seen. These we remember:
the tusks of the mastodon;
the Samurai warrior; Babbage's wheels;
the saurian skeletons in their dance
of survival; the dome of immensity
where the helicopter lifts
dragging, almost, us out of our  seats;
the Gentling mockingbird, singing in paint;
stooped cavemen trepanning  a dull head;
Old William Jenkins  Worth, his uniform,
saluting us out of our history;
a gathering for wolves; tin  Lizzies.

Memory won't hold all the store.
How do  we ever assimilate
the artifacts and the  knowledge,
the passions of time and the arts?
They stir in the mind,  the move about,
they settle in solitary spaces.
We never know for sure all they mean,
through  we seek inward to remember.










I wrote this right after we landed the first of our Mars rovers and used it in my first book. I  wrote the second poem about the same time and also used it in the book












red planet rebirth

oxidized remains of cathedrals and commerce
brought to dust by the savage rub of time

red dust so fine it spreads like a  cloud
across the plains and hills all around

     renewed-virgin bride

ready for life again after millennia
alone in the cold, black crypt of space

2004


meanwhile in the Hydra Constellation

a storm of stars
passes soundless through the void,
crossing unimaginable distances
to meet, to crash in a flash
of exploding suns and primordial fire
stretching across a billion years,
a furnace, unlike any
since the first great eruption
that came from less than nothing
to blast a cosmos into being

and around these speeding suns,
orbiters like our own earth home,
and on some of them creatures
like ourselves, products of an evolutionary
trail from muck to self-discovered glory,
inventions of their own histories, periods dark
and light, times of cruelty, death and genius flowering,
people like we are people, struggling through life,
seeking grace, forgiveness, the salvation of lofe,
seeking honorable life and an honorable end 

that comes for  them now, across the void
in a storm of stars colliding, an end ablaze
with the light of creation deconstructing

2004








This poem is  by Rodney Jones, from his book Salvation Blues, One Hundred Poems (1985-2005).  The book was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2006.

Born in 1950 in rural Alabama, Jones was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was winner of the National Book  Critics Circle Award in 1989. He is professor of English at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.










The Attitude

We who have towed the burden  share a kinship
we ditch diggers and box toters
we hammerers and assemblers
no matter if we work  now
as architects or engineers
if  we enter a room primed with statistics
or quote Levi-Strauss to  a graduate seminar
we feel the boss lurking
in aisles between the machines.
No, we will say, if you ask,  Nothing is wrong.
Unless we  are dying, the doctor is our enemy.

If we have ever crawled into a cold furnace with a hacksaw
or squeegeed into a manhole
or perched over a river tying steel
or  gouged septic gun with spit-sucker
or stripped the sheets from a birthing bed
or shackled the mad onto  a gurney
or staggered from a fire ripping a mask,
do  not speak to  us
of Tasmanian emeralds
or libraries in Korea.

We would  prefer hearing what comes easy,
the Powerglide at the core of the transmission,
the profit that greases the laws into  being.
Rich and beloved, we  remain shitheads.
Before birth, we were cheated
by slag pits and rhetoric and mosquitoes.
Do not write of us. We will not  read it.
Write the prescription that will  make us gentle.
The trucks  are empty. The boxes are full.
Show us what  help means.









And another new - I wrote many times some years back about a group of preachers (religiosos, I called them) who met  for breakfast at the Egg and I restaurant where I went every morning. I made some light fun of them at first, but later, as I began to pay more attention to their discussions, I came to respect what they had to say, a kind of intelligent talk you don't  hear much of at 7 a.m. at a breakfast diner. I moved my breakfast routine further downtown and only go back there a couple of mornings a week recently. The preachers are still there, with a new voice at the table.










the  continuing tussle

an addition
to the preacher group,
an Andy Griffin looking fella,
gray hair, rimless glasses, and
a funny way of talking from behind his teeth

as usual with this group
an interesting and
varied
discussion

from biblical text to astrophysics
to video games and TV
to the Astros and the Cowboys and the Spurs
to immigration, politics and guns...

the new fella has the preacher tendency
to intersperse wise and intriguing comments
with hokum and blind ignorance

it's worse for the new guy
than the others,
like within him are two powerful adversaries,
Reason and Faith,
struggling
to get past the obstacle
of his tight-clenched
teeth...

it is the affliction of his kind,
the continuing tussle
between
intelligence and the black-night fears
of  tribal conviction









Next, two  poets from the anthology, Room for Me and a Mountain Lion - Poetry of Open Space, published by Bantam Books in 1975.


The first poet is R.S. Thomas, Welsh poet and Anglican priest known for his nationalism, spirituality and deep dislike of the angeliscisation of  Wales. One of the major English language and European  poets of the twentieth, and, from what  I read, of such foul temperament to be near impossible to  live with. But I do really like his take on mountains as  explained in his poem.










Alpine

About mountains it is useless  to argue,
You have either been up or you haven't

The view from  halfway is nobody's view.
The best flowers are mostly at the top

Under a ledge, nourished by the wind.
A sense of smell  is of less importance

Than a sense of  balance, walking on clouds
Through holes in  which you can see the earth

Like a rich man through the eye of a needle.
The  mind has its own level to find.






The second piece is by John  Muir, not known as a poet but better, the man we can credit with the creation of our national park system and the preservation of grand pieces of America's natural  wilderness. He didn't do it all, but without him it's hard to imagine any of it  done.











Untitled

From garden to garden, ridge to  ridge,
I drifted enchanted...
gazing afar over domes and peaks, lakes and  woods,
and the billowy glaciated  fields...
In the midst of such beauty, pieced with its rays,
one's body is all one tingling palate.
Who wouldn't be a mountaineer!








This is the title poem for my first book, my only print book, published in 2005, based on a misunderstanding of something my son told me about how the echoes of the big-bang that continue to reverberate through the universe. The conceptual problem was that instead of seven beats a second, which would be a very fast, jittery pace, my mind converted "second" to minute which would have been a very slow, stately pace. By the time I recognized that I was saying the opposite of what I meant to say, it was too late to change it.









seven beats a second

the universe pulses
seven beats a second,
laying down a back-beat
to the rhythms
of all the is and ever was
from the birth death of stars
to the spreading of a smile
on the fresh lips of a child

we're born we love
     we hurt
     and we die
all out days
measured in multiples
of seven beats a second








Next, two poems by  Page Richards from  her book  Lightly Separate, published by Finishing Line Press in 2007.

The poet teaches at the University of Hong Kong in the School of English. She earned an MA in creative  writing at Boston University and her Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language at Harvard.











Ur-Horses

Very slow-burning Ur-horses graze on the  steppe,
ears freckled with sweat. They eat all day
grazing with a slowness that is theirs
thick grass of little value,
brown  eyes buried below losing sight.

Hundreds of grasses pass. Glaciers,
spoilers of the earth's bitter weddings,
coax transgression and regression of the seas.

Driven from the steppe  their  bodies swell
and slow down further. Their faces  lengthen,
they graze,oval eyes rising over the withered grass.

Nearby are those  plucking fruit  from trees,
screens of leaves to offer small protection.

A few Ur-horses one day will make their way,
evolved, to  a nearer post to rest:
higher leaves, and early farm, beckoning pulse
greedy pre-human hand offering sweeter grass.


Fit as a Deer

I met a young father taut as a deer
his brightly baby's skin washed
with clear glycerin soap brokered

from the local Marriott,
his hair falling straight at his side
hands turned  eternally

backwards from the weight
of water and pride.A blouse borrowed
from his mother's  mango  chest:

I called out look, look behind
as if the minister of his  congregation
chose us to stiffen the shirt around them.












Another new piece, and a return appearance by my sparrows.















why women will win the world

two sparrows,
dark-coated males,
on the window ledge.
having apparently divided the cookie crumbs
into two parts,enjoy their  morning cookie
peacefully,
until
one of the birds
trespasses
onto the cookie territory of the other
and  a fight ensues,
pecking
and scratching
and scrambling
until they fly off in a twisting bundle
of feathered male
territorial
ego

at which point
two female sparrows
in their soft gray coats
come to the ledge
and enjoy 
the abandoned fruits
of patience...

it is why,
even if not yet,
women will eventually
rule the world
and
if we're good
men will some days
get our own little piece 
of cookie-crumb
nookie...

but
that's
all we ever
really wanted
anyway








This poem is by Wendy Wilder  Larsen and it's taken from The KGB Bar Book of Poems published by Harper Collins, Perennial in 2000. The KGB Bar was a fixture for many years in New York City as a venue for spoken work poetry.

The poet was born in Boston and move to  California at an early age and was a constant traveler from there, including Vietnam where she lived and taught during the war, co-writing a book with a Vietnamese friend, Shallow Graves, Two  Women.








Bluebird in Cut-leaf Beech

there is no pigment in blue  feathers
all other colors are scattered out
blue is what's left

that  particular shade of delphinium petals
falling on my mother's white lacquer table
under the rotunda in summer

the color of distance
the pain in my father's watery blues
in that picture in the navy

blue
in the faded pinafore in my portrait
hands folded, same pale eyes

the color  we love to contemplate
not because it comes to us
but because if draws us after it

the will-o'-the-wisp's bluish glow
that loses us at the crossroads
lures us  into swamps

blue then
this absence
this scattering

still I  would search
and call out

there

mother
father

bluebird








 I didn't really understand this when I wrote and don't understand it now. But it's a pretty good scifi "what if? type thing, but, from what I've read, it is true that the magnetosphere is weakening, which may or my not be a terrible thing.

Part of the problem is that the magma flow within the planet is influenced by the strength and direction of the magnetosphere and a change in one could lead to change in the other.










the magnetosphere is running down

magma flow
curling, coiling
through red hot embers
thrashing, flashing
sparks of elemental essence
dancing to the turn
of gravity's fandangos,
turning within turning,
the one driving the other
driving the other,
influence on influence
until the machinery of dependence
become worn from the  friction
of turning on turning
and the clockworks stops
and stasis slowly settles,
the quickly collapses
upon itself, becoming
something else,
another kind of turning,
new imperatives,
new rules
a new dance starting


And then there's string theory and the  question of multiple universes that excite my imagination, and the idea of a  universe prime, from whence call all the unending number of other places and other times coexisting with our own. 


how it all comes about

out there sometime is the mother
of all that is and ever was,
the prime, the matriverse, defying
all vocabularies of science and faith,
existing in some indefinable dimension
of simultaneous is and is not,
mother of all gods, creator of all creators
and progenitor of all their works,  spewing
from her womb all that is that is not her,
creating a cosmos  of time and space
and energy and matter such as you and I,
multiplied a billion billion-fold, always creating,
stars, grains of sand in a desert ever growing,
from the essences of nothing, making all

     2003 (Published by The Muse Apprentice - 2003)








From the anthology, Poet's Choice, Poems for Everyday Life selected by Robert Hass, I have two  poems by Polish poet and  winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature, Wislawa Szymborska. Born in 1923, the poet died in 2012. The poems were translated by Magnkus Krkynski and Robert Maguire.

The anthology was published by Harper Collins - Ecco in  1998.









In Praise  of Self-Deprecation

The buzzard has nothing to fault himself with.
Scruples are alien to the black  panther.
Piranhas do not doubt the rightness of their actions.
The rattlesnake approves of himself  without reservations.

The self-critical jackal does not exist.
The locust, alligator, trichina, horsefly
live as they live and  are  glad of it.

The killer-whale's heart weighs one hundred kilos
but in other respects it is light.

There is nothing more animal-like
than a clear conscience
on the third planet of the Sun.


Returns

He came home.Said nothing.
Though it was clear something unpleasant had happened.
He lay down in his suit.
Put his head under the blanket..
Drew up his knees. He's about forty, but not at  this moment.
He  exists - but only as in his mother's belly
seven layers deep, in protective darkness.
Tomorrow he will give a lecture  on homeostasis
in megagalactic cosmonautics.
For now he's curled up,  fallen asleep.















A lesson in protecting your  art.













rage  subsumes art every time

and the artist
is saying, well,  with everything  going on
I guess you must have  
a lot
to write about

not me,
I say, I try not to write about 
that stuff, and when I succumb to the call
it turns out lousy

me too,
says the artist,
sometimes I might  paint something out of anger
but I usually end up painting over it later

it  just  doesn't work,
I say,
rage subsumes art
every time

like
for example
listening  to the radio this morning,
listening to  all the whiners and crybabies
left and right
and I was thinking how these  people piss me off
and ow  I'm so very tired of hearing
about their self-serving
angst
really, Bernie people, Trump people,
hiding their inadequacies
behind
piteous whimpering
while people with real problems
soldier
on...

but you won't  catch me writing about
that kind of 
stuff
cause
I'm an artist too
you  know...









The next poem is by W.S. Merwin, taken from his book The Shadow of Sirius, published  in 2008 by  Copper Canyon  Press.

I really wish I knew who the photographer was.












Photographer

Later in the day
after he had died and the long box
full  of a shadow had turned the corner
and perhaps he no longer was watching
what the light was doing
as its white blaze  climbed higher
bleaching the street and drying the depths
to a blank surface

when they started to excavate the burrow
under the roof where he had garnered his life
and to drag it all out into the raw moment
and carry it down the stairs
armload by armload to the waiting dump cart
nests  of bedding clothes from their own days
shards of the kitchen there were a few bundled  papers
and stacks of glass plates heavy and sliding
easily broken before they could be got down
to the tumbril and mule
pieces grinding underfoot
all over the floor and down  the stairs
as they would remember

fortunately someone who understood
what was on the panes bought everything in the studio
almost no letters were there but on the glass
they turned up face after face
of the light before anyone had beheld it
there were its cobbled lanes leading far into themselves
apple  trees flowering in another century
lilies open in sunlight against former house walls
worn flights of stone stairs before the war
in days not seen except by the bent figure
invisible under the hood
who had just  disappeared









When I wrote this in 2004, it was after reading about a new telescope being completed that would revolutionize our understanding of the universe. Obsolete by now, I suppose, so many revolutions since its time. Plus, the additional truth is it was also inspired by a Dr. Seuss story.











through the hundred meter lens

we will see it all

the beginning
and the end before
the beginning
and beyond
to all beginnings
and all endings
until finally
we will see it
the face of it
that started
all the marbles rolling
all the dominoes falling
the god-awesome it
some call the
awesome god of all...

maybe/maybe not
for it is what it is
unchanging until before
the greedy eye of man
it will be seen and known
no longer a question
for philosophers and mystics
but a paragraph
in a middle school textbook
a thrill ride at a theme park
a comic illustration
on the side off
a second-graders lunch box

     2004 (Published by Planet Magazine - 2004)








Next from my library, here  is the first of series of eleven poems by Pablo Neruda from his book, The Heights of Macchu Picchu. The pieces in the series are mostly too long to use here. This  first piece is just right.

It is a bilingual book with  Spanish and English on facing pages. The translator is Nathaniel Tarn. The book was published by Farrar,  Straus and Giroux in 1966.







I

From AIR to AIR, like an empty net,
dredging through streets and  ambient atmosphere, I came
lavish,  at  autumn's  coronation with the leaves'
proffer of  currency - between spring and wheat ears -
that which  a boundless love, caught in a gauntlet fall,

(Days of live radiance in discordant
bodies: steels converted
to the silence of acid:
nights disentangled to the ultimate flour,
assaulted stamens of the nuptial  land.)

Someone waiting for me among the violins
met with a world like a buried tower
sinking its spiral  below the layered leaves
color of raucous sulphur:
and lower yet, in a vein of gold,
like a sword in  scabbard of meteors,
I plunged a turbulent and tender hand
to the most secret organs of the earth.

Leaning my forehead through unfathomed waves
I  sank, a single drop, within a  sleep of sulphur
where, like a blind man, I retraced the jasmine
of our exhausted human spring.














Another morning, the world as seen from the coffeehouse.














old and ugly

vacant buildings
on Broadway,across from the coffeehouse,
sold,  will be more apartments,
as urban  delights beckon,
leaving more hills and meadows for the trees and flowers
and long resident critters...

the wrecking ball imminent,
I hope,
enjoying s I do the fall
of the old and ugly

a statement I qualify
to refer only to old and ugly
buildings
lest
anyone seek to apply
the same standard
to  me










Next from my library I have poet William Stobb, with two poems from his book Absentia,  published in 2011 by  Penguin poets.

Stobb, born in Minnesota, is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and the University of Nevada. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin,  La Crosse.










The Naturalist and the Ant Lion

the naturalist  notices a pit in the sand.
He draws his audience closer, scans
the surface, bends, pinches an ant,
drops the ant into the pit, which is  a cone
cast at the angle  of repose
so,watching, everyone knows
the ant can't escape.
Ant  scrambles. Sand shivers.
From the pit base
mandibles emerge.
It's a nightmare for ants,
a crab trap transition that can't be
untriggered except
like magic the naturalist extracts
and separates predator from prey.
The ant bumbles away as we
merely examine the bulbous ant lion
- bloated, glamourless, a  moment's demonstration
of intelligence shaping and transferring energy.



Cloud Out of Square

From the top  of the city bakery
pours  an enormous cloud of steam

even when it's warm out and calm
up  through industrial over hoods
circular cluster  of hook-shaped vents
a metal bow streaming  ribbon on a stucco gift

but today at windchill minus fifteen
heat and bread scent billow
panic white inside out  into blue
flatten over Cass Street to rapidly cool

curl on a downdraft the old hotel
splash on pavement and rush
across the intersection
all around me










It was a long time ago, 1957, but I remember it well, the first thrusting of the human race into space in the form of a little Russian satellite, "Sputnik" - in English, "Traveling Companion."









Traveling Companion

There was no sunrise this morning,
because of an overcast sky.
It was dark, then light,
with only a moment between.
But during that moment,
a temporary thinning of the haze
let a single star  shine through,
a single star  that seemed
to race across the sky,
an illusion of the moving clouds.
Years passed away, taking me back
to the cool October nights of  1957,
lying spread-eagle with my friends
on the football field, watching
the dark Texas sky, waiting
for the new Cossack star.

There it is, one of us shouted
and we could see it, moving quickly
from horizon to horizon,
the materialization of our dreams,
a manifestation of  the paperback
prophesies of our secret heroes...
Clarke, Heinlein,Asimov, Burroughs...

There it was, bright among the further stars,
beeping, blinking  speeding
across the virgin sky.

We knew it would come.
We knew and we  waited,
and the future passed overhead








This poem is by French  poet Pierre Martory, from the book The Landscape is Behind the Door, translated by John  Ashbery and published by The Sheep Meadow Press in 1994. It's a bilingual book, French and English on facing pages.

Martory  was born in France and grew up in Morocco. He  studied at the School of Political Science in Paris and fled before the Germans took the city, the served in the French in Morocco during the war. After the war he worked as a drama and music critic for  the Paris Match while writing a novel. He met Ashbery in Paris and lived with him for nine years. His poetry was influential in the U.S. but was generally unknown until Ashbery translated his work and saw to its publication.

I love the movie reference in this poem.






At the Bottom of the Step

I was the child in the baby carriage
Rolling down the Odessa steps.
I cried, but you  couldn't  hear me
Because the film was  silent.
I yelled" "Death to Bakunin! Death
To the czar and the red fleet! Death
To the inventor of  the baby carriage
When it's so sweet to be carried,
Asleep, maybe  dying,
On the bosom of a woman with pink cheeks and
     yellow  braids!..."

At the bottom of the steps they scooped up
My brains with a silver spoon.

Since that day I roll like a lunatic
Down all  the steps of the stairway of your lives,
And I go screaming: "Down with
Jehovah, Jesus, Mohammad and other fetishes
Who claim to unlock the gates of eternity!
Down with the great men stuffed with arrogance
Who poison our hearts with fanaticism!
Death to Caesar, down with the conquest of the world,
Death to revolutions,money,power!
I want a world without stairs
I want to sleep on the shores of the Black Sea
In the arms of a fat pink babushka
Who'll sing  a lullaby only to me."














When in doubt, go to Whitman.











the wheels of all, turning

"I  contradict myself.
Very well then, I contradict myself.
I am very large;
I contain multitudes"
                                      (Walt Whitman)


the poet implies,
okay,
I don't always agree
with myself

but I move on

for life is a nest
of contradictions
and all the universe
the greatest of all contradiction

and for us,
the human beast,
life and death
is the personal contradiction
that  shades all our days

and if we  cannot
appreciate the contradiction
of even our own death,
neither can we appreciate
the life that comes
before

it is such balance
of contradictions that keep  the wheels of all
turning









Last  from my library this week is Carl Sandburg, from the collection Selected Poems, published by  Gramercy Books in 1992. Sandburg seems to me unjustly forgotten. It also surprises me a bit that, considering  the radical left politics of the  times and the temporary rise of Bernie Sanders, he hasn't been rediscovered.

Though being more authentic than Sanders and his people, I  doubt he'd been very comfortable in that campaign.











Ice Handler

I know an  ice handler who wears a flannel  shirt with
     pearl buttons the size of a dollar,
And he lugs a hundred-pound hunk into a saloon icebox,
     helps himself  to a cold ham and rye bread,
Tells the bartender it's hotter than yesterday and will be
     hotter yet tomorrow, by Jesus,
And is on his way with his head in the air and a hard pair
     of  fists.
He  spends a dollar or so every Saturday night on a two-
     hundred pound woman  who  washes dishes in the
     Hotel Morrison.
He remembers when the union was organized  he  broke
     the nose  of  two scabs and loosened the nuts so the
     wheels  came off six different wagons one morning,
     and he came around and watched the ice melt in the
     street.
All he was sorry for was one of the scabs bit him on the
     knuckles of the right hand so they bled when he
     came around to the saloon to tell the boys about it.



Jack

Jack was  a swarthy, swaggering son-of-a-gun.
He worked thirty years on  the railroad, ten hours a day
     and his hands were tougher than sole leather.
He married a tough woman and they had eight children
     and the woman  died and the children grew  up and
     went away and wrote the old man every two years.
He died in the  poorhouse sitting on a bench in the sun
     telling reminiscences to the other old men whose
     women  were dead and  children scattered.
There was joy on his face when he died as there was joy
     on his face  when he lived - he was  a swarthy, swagging
     son-of-a-gun











I got to thinking about thinking, artificial intelligence machines and our own thinking machine we carry atop our shoulders and about electricity that animates life and thought.











fleshware

blood and gristle
forged from trash
of exploding stars,
fragile, short-lived,  prone
to sag and corruption,
helpless at birth,
pitiful in unremitting decay

such a poor use our body  seems
of the eternal elements of creation

but lightning strikes within

tiny electrical jabs that jump
from receptor  to receptor,
creating art, imagining love,
finding courage, honor,theories
or our own origin, joy and laughter
to  mock the truth of our condition

so much more than we appear to be

stardust

offspring of unimaginable light
seeking an antidote to dark

     2002 (Published at Planet Magazine - 2002)







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



3 Comments:
at 12:38 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

photos 1,2,4,5,6- and i want to see the others- i tell u u do not know what u have- i cld make money off these- but u? u refuse to?
dave ebberhardt
let me b yr manager?
the addition of color to black and white

at 12:41 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

have u submitted to any of the phot magazines or contests?
u seem like a fairly competent guy but, with the talent you have
why not capitalize?
(and give me some of the loot?)

at 1:15 PM Blogger Here and Now said...

thanks, dave. but i'm out to simplify my life, not complicate it.

Post a Comment



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