Shuffling the Deck   Wednesday, August 03, 2016





Quick and dirty this week - random photos, my stuff, old (from my eBook Always to the Light) and new, and from my library, including a return to World Poetry - An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time, "Part IV : The Rise of the Vernacular (950-1450)."


Me
I am a friend

Colmn mc Lenini
In Praise of the Sword Given Him by His Prince

Anonymous
Stanza

Anonymous
The Fort of Rathangan   

Anonymous
Monastic Poems:Four Glosses 

Me
better luck tomorrow 

Pancho Mendoza
My Old Man
Chaparita
Rain No More

Me
when the inevitable comes

Anonymous
From The Rune  Poem

Me
from where I sit

Octavio Paz
Daybreak
Nightfall
Exclamation
Distant  Neighbor

Me
Saturday morning, mid-July

Anonymous 
Two Spring Charms

Anonymous
Three Swedish Spells

Me
smile for me

Jorie Graham
5/3/98

Me
a farmer prays for rain

Walther von der Vogleweide
Under the Linden Tree

 Me
stringbean

August Stramm
Fallen
War Instinct

Me
brave new world

Anonymous
Li Sons D'u Coret

Eustace Deschamps
Rondeu

Me
my cat looks like Charles Langton

Michael S. Harper
Homage to the New World

Me
the price of progress

Francois Villon
Quatrain

Me
red balloons
no days off
fat  man dancing
a lesson
attack of the 50-foot woman

Maria Landowska
1. At the Line Camp

Me
usual suspects

Me
this is the day I didn't write a poem   
                 
  
  











Here's first up from last week's new poems.













I am a friend

I am a friend
to all animals

except
maybe spiders, stinging hornets,
foot-long Madagascar hissing cockroaches,
(I don't like them so much) rhinoceri in my backyard,
crocodiles in my swimming pool,
birds who sing too loud in the morning, snakes
of just about every kid who slink about on their bellies,
they're not on my friends list either...

and bankers
and crooked politicians
and butchers who weight my purchase
with their thumb on the scale
and despotic generals in despotic nations
and the con me on street corners begging for quarters
and con men running for president and beg for my vote
and all manner of shyster lawyers and other criminals
who prey on honest folk, and the big fellow
who beat me up in the fifth grade
and bullies in general, and braggarts and liars
and pompous poets who claim they know the only way

and porcupines, almost forgot about them

also people who beat their dogs or their children or their spouses,
and termites, damn I hate termites, and fire ants,
and the crooks who burgled my house
and the creep who ran into my car then ran away
and, of course, dogs who sniff my crotch
and hump my leg, and women who smile seductively
then leave with the fella with the money
and Lamborghini on the other side 
of the room, and well
maybe
just a few more I can't think of right now

but mostly I am a friend to all 
animals
a
PETA
power
provocateur,
that's the way I see myself
and just don't understand why
they don't respond to my
phone calls
cause
I'd even send them a dollar or two a month
if they'd let me into the
club











I hope I'm not the only one not yet bored by the World Poetry anthology since I'm back this week for more poetry from it. In this case, from Part 6 from the third section, "Poetry in Celtic Languages," three short poems. The first, by Colmn mc Lenini (d.604), was translated by Richard O'Connel, and three anonymous poems, the first translated by Lewis Turco and the second by Kuno Meyer, and the third by Thomas Kinsella. The anonymous poems  were written  about the year 700 while the last was about a hundred years later.










In Praise of the Sword Given  Him By His Prince

Blackbirds to a swan,
Feathers to hard iron,
Rock hags to a siren
        All lords to my lord;
Jackdaws to a hawk,
Cackling to a choir
Sparks to a bonfire,
         All swords  to my sword.



Stanza

What, my Lord, shall I do with
Work enough to fill  a cart?
How build from a thousand boards
A tight little house of art



The Fort of Rathangan

The fort over against the oak-wood,
Once it was Bruidge's, it was Cathal's,
It  was Aed's, it was Ailill's,
It  was Conaing's, it was Cuilines,
And it was Maelduin's'
The fort remains after each in his turn -
And the kings asleep in the ground.



Monastic Poems: Four Glosses

1

A small woodland overlooks me.
A blackbird sings me a song (no lie!).
Above my books, with its lines laid out;
the birds in their music sing to me.

The cuckoo sings clear in lovely voice
in his grey cloak from a bushy fort.
I swear it now, but God is good!
It is lovely writing out in the wood.

2

How lovely it is today!
The sunlight breaks and flickers
on the margin of my book.

3

A bird is calling from the willow
with lovely beak, a clean call.
Sweet yellow tip; he is black and strong.
It is doing a dance, the blackbird's song.

4

The little bird
let out a whistle
from his beak tip
   bright yellow.
He sends the note
across  Loch Laig
   - a blackbird, a branch
     a mass of yellow












This is from my third (I  think) eBook, Always to the Light. The book includes 85 of the 365 daily poems I wrote for (I  think) 2012.











better luck  tomorrow

I slept last night
to the sound
of  thunder
and rain

feeling
kinship
with all the humans
of my line

who on
dark & stormy nights
slept peacefully
in their caves
to  the concerto grosso
accompaniment
of
elementals

wind
rain
thunder
lightning

throwing shadows
such as
Plato  saw
in his philosophies

all this
while I  sleep
in  most primitive
comfort

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

``````````

blah blah blah  blah
double blah...

what a
crappycrappycrappycrappycrappy
poem
this
is...

a
duty poem

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

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

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








The first several poems from  my library are by Pancho Mendoza, taken from his book, Poetry and Short Stories of Pancho Mendoza.

I met  Pancho and bought his book at one of our regular poetry nights at the IAMA coffeehouse. He is a retired parole officer. He has been an activist in the Chicano movement since it first began to gather in the 1960s and continues to be an active community leader.








My Old Man

He is so beautiful
With his amorous smile
conversing  about his adventures
of the time that has passed by.

He has the ancient times
I have the younger times
and carry in my veins
his customs and his dreams.

Old man, my sweet old man
now you walk very slowly
as if to pardon the breeze
I am your blood, my old man
I am your shadow and your breath.

He has a far off stare
his body is somewhat crooked
his mind slowly remembers
his children and he adores.

Old man, my sweet old man
I feel so lonely without you.
You should have never died.
I am your blood,old man
I am your past and your future times
I truly miss you, my old man.


Chaparita

When you walk
I  tremble all over.
Some called you  shadow or blackie
Because when you danced
All the girls envied you
When you dance polkas, waltzes.
You danced all night at "El Ranchito," "Lermas,"
"Circle Night Club" and even at
"The East Side," "Hot Shot,"
"Ebony's " "Eastwood Country Club"
And all I could say to you was
"Shall we dance..."?


Rain No More
   (The night the devil  showed up) 

One hot dusty night
It happened at a dance hall at
La Guada and Raspberry Ave.
The musicians  were playing
A mean song called
Rain no More.
The dancers were going wild.
Las local y los locos bien
Close Circuit - bodies touching.
When the music song ended
They saw this guy
Dressed in a cool tuxedo.
Only his Calcos (shoes)
Was one horse foot
And one rooster foot.
Puff. He disappeared leaving
a bad odor of sulphur and smoke.

The chick the devil was dancing
With,  fainted and they had to 
Cure her of fright. 














How we deal with death.














when the inevitable comes

I saw my father in his coffin,
large, rough hands folded like
an unlikely deacon
at prayer
and my mother in her box,
her bright blue eyes
closed,
and my brother,
thick white hair falling
across his forehead,
lying so still
as he was never
still...

"so life-like"
some would exclaim
but no, these cardboard remains
are only sad parodies of life

~~~~~~~~~~

40 years since I view
that crude approximation
of my father, 20 or more since
my mother and brother left their facsimiles
behind
and
they all still live for me,
not as those cardboard cutouts
but s they were in life, real people
who, with me, were a real family,
not what I saw
laid out in a box,
all powdered and prim...

please,
not that for me,
put me in the fire instead
so  that any memory of me will be
the real me
and not the product of some
cosmetologist's craft...

~~~~~~~~~~

like all who ever lived,
I am a creature of body and spirit

and when the body's time is expired ,
let it go, do not try to retain its semblance
as if its passing was not natural
and fore-ordained...

but the spirit,
that is the true, remarkable and unchanging 
essence of us -

protect that and all the times of it,
wrap it in your memory...

that's what I want to be after my inevitable comes,
memories passed on through generations,
so that, just as all who have left me
behind, continue to live on through
my memories of their spirits and critical essences

joining me, in the end,
with all the memories that live still
in the everlasting memories of all like me,
the great, ever-expanding universal ball of life
passed, but never lost, all
who have ever lived
and in their time
died












This is by an anonymous Anglo Saxon (c. 1000). It was translated by Jim Paul.












from The Rune Poem

We love the daylight,
God's glorious illumination,
hope for rich and wretched.

The oak is on earth for us.
Feed pigs the acorns.
Make a good boat.

The towering ash we love,
its stout trunk steady too
amid a crowd of enemies.

Strapped to the horse
with the rest of the gear,
the bow, ready to go.

The serpent leaves the sea
to feed and dwells encircled
by water of pure delight.

We hate the clay, the cold  flesh,
the pale corpse, the fallen
flowers, the broken promise.













This is from my eBook, Always to the Light.














from where I sit

from 
where I sit
I can see past
a small grove of 
winter-bare red oak
to  Interstate-10, east
& west
routes, the one to Houston,
and,  through Houston
to Louisiana and points east
and north beyond

the other route
follows westerly
600 miles through
the hill country
& high desert to El Paso,
then four states beyond
to the orange setting sun
reflected
on Pacific waters...

mos of
the people I see passing
are not going so far,
most  know
the further you travel
in any direction
the closer you get to
home,
so  why not just stay there,
untraveled,
but satisfied,
right where you
and your life
belong...

for
myself,
I  don't know that I've
ever been at  home,
so I'm always pulled
between
leave and stay

today,
under a cold,
overcast sky
I think I want to stay

tomorrow...

that's why
we have night and day,
night a curtain that
comes down
between
old
and new,
a sign to  us as it rises
every morning
that new things are
possible

after all what use a curtain
if nothing
changes
between  acts









Next from my library, several short poems by the great Mexican poet, diplomat and Nobel Prize Winner, Octavio Paz. The book is The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987. It is a bilingual book, Spanish, with English translation by  Eliot Weinberger.

Born in 1914, Paz, considered by many  to  be the  greatest poet of all time, died in 1998.









Daybreak

Hands and lips of wind
heart  of water
                       eucalyptus
campground of the clouds
the life that is born every day
the death that is born every life

I rub my eyes:
the sky walks the land


Nightfall

What sustains it,
half-open, the clarity of nightfall,
the light let loose in the gardens?

All the branches,
conquered by the weight of birds,
lean toward the darkness.

Pure,  self-absorbed moments
still gleam
on the fences.

Receiving night,
the groves become
hushed fountains.

A bird falls,
the grass grows dark,
edges blur,  lime is black,
the world is less credible.


Exclamation

Stillness
              not on the branch
in the air
              Not in the air
in the moment
                      hummingbird


Distant Neighbor

Last night an ash tree
was about to tell
me something - and didn't.














Another new from last week.














Saturday morning, mid-July

dead  
morning

no breeze
grave-silent  and still

sun
bright
through the small  grove
of small  oak trees

the street beyond
dead empty

the world
somewhere else
this morning
not paying attention
no judgment
no strife
no lost lovers
agonizing their loss
for all to hear
no grief
for the dead
no grief
for the living

a dead Saturday
morning
mid-July,
the world lost
in hung-over contemplation
of  sins of the very 
recent
past 

I'm here
as alone in this morning
as I've ever been
in my life
&
I like
it









The next is from Section 1, "Northern Europe: Icelandic Saga, Finnish, the Norse  Languages, and the German Minnesingers" from Part IV of the World Poetry anthology. I'll be skipping through this lightly since most of what's there is too long for "Here and Now."

But I do have these two short pieces, the first an anonymous Norwegian from about the year 1000 and, from a century or two earlier an anonymous Swedish poet. The Norwegian piece was translated by James Wright and the second, from Sweden, by Siv Cedering  Fox.







Two Spring Charms
          (fragments from the "Norwegian"

1


Now it is late winter.

Years ago,

I walked through a spring wind
Bending green whereat
In a field near Trondhjem.

2

Black snow,
Like a strange sea  creature,
Draws back into itself,
Restoring grass to earth.


Three Swedish Spells

Spell against Predatory Animals

I read for wolftooth and bearclaw
that they won't touch my sheep, my cow,
neither large nor small
I pray them away, past the very last crag
where the swan darkens
and the raven whitens.


A Spell

When meeting a bear,  say:

You are bear and I am human.
You were not baptized in the same baptismal as I.
Run in the woods and  bite a tree.
Not me.


Spell against Twisting an Ankle

Dave rode across a bridge.
When he came to Tive Wood,
his horse tripped over a root,
twisted a foot.
Odin came by:
"I will cure the twist
of bone, flesh and  lib.
You foot will not ache
and never more break.
+++Amen












From Always to the Light, my third (maybe fourth) eBook.














smile for me

it's the lunch side
of Sunday
brunch

& the place
is packed,
a mixed crowd

of church folk
in their Sunday
best

& the just-
crawled-
out-of-bed

in shorts &
flip-flops
bed-head

hair
flat on one side
sticking out

on the other
like a
porcupine

in heat,
& the golfers
from the quarry

clip-clop
clip-clop-clip
in their golf shoes

& and the grandmas and
pregnant moms with
last year's

babies
in  high chairs,
dads in  khakis

& hard starched
checkered shirts
thinking

how simple
life
is at work

& that baby
again
looking at

me
from  across
the room

talking
talking
talking

hyper-alert,
smiling
a big  toothless

smile
for
me

this swirl of sound
& color
is like I'm alone

unmoving
in the center
of a whirlpool

of sensation
all moving sound
& color  streaming

like paint
flung
in a circle

except the  baby
talking
talking

talking
smiling  a big
toothless

smile
for
me









The next poem from my library is by Jorie Graham. It's taken from her  book, Swarm, published by The Ecco Press in  1998. Born in 1950, Graham was the first woman to be appointed to the position of Boylston Professor at Harvard. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for an earlier book.








5/3/98

When do I say                  yes

And it become again a form of joy?

A sound like water.

A large bucket lifted and poured.

I can still hear water.

No I can still remember.

What isn't true but must be believed?

What isn't               but must be.

How strange        A mind made up.

Say the words you should have said.

Say what you would have meant.

Say what you         mean.

Disguised as thoughts.

Ruins.            Sentences.

Self-evident, then story,

then where they take one chair

away.













No rain, no rain, no rain.













a farmer prays for rain

Sunday.
Mother Sunday
of the fountain, no  water
flowing, no water rising, reflecting  morning light
in rainbow colors...

it is a harsh world
you have given us, Mother,
hot and dry, hostile
to the children of your grace

it is time,
Mother,
to forgive our sins
against your boundless
beauty 

let us not trespass
again
so  that your cool water
may stream once more

let us abide
by the better
impulses of our nature,
Dear Mother,

bathe
us again
in flowing springs
of your mercy

return to us, Dear Mother,
the sleep  of our sweetest
and most innocent
dreams












Next from the World Poetry anthology, this piece from the Middle High German period by Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170-1200), translated by Michael Beedikt.

Evidence of a little Middle German  hanky-panky.






















Under the Linden Tree

Under the linden tree
on the heather
there  our bed for  two was
and there too
you may find blossoms and grasses
picked together
in a clearing of a wood
tandaradei!
                   the nightingale sing sweetly.

I came walking
over the field:
my love was already there.
Then I was  received
with the words "Noble Lady!"
It will always make me happy.
Did he kiss me? He gave me thousands!
tandaradei!
                     O look at my red mouth.

He had made
very beautifully
a soft  bed out of the flowers.
Anybody who comes by there
knowingly
may smile to himself.
For by the upset roses he may see
tandaradei!
                      where my head lay.

If someone were to know
how he lay with me
(may God forbid it!) I'd feel such shame.
What we did together
may no one ever know
except us two
one small bird excepted
tandaradie!
                          and it can  keep a secret

(It seem central to the poem so I looked it up. Tandaradie - "onomatopoeic imitation of singing nightingales")















Another from Always to the Light, a political comment or, at  least, a comment about a politician.











stringbean

string
bean
looking fella
in a cowboy
hat
and shit
kicker boots
sitting
across
from me
drinking
from a quart
carton
of 2 % milk
reading some
kind of
technical  looking
book with
graphs
and shit
and one hand
looking
paralyzed fingers
tight
against his palm
like Bob Dole
'cept this
fella
isn't holding
a pen
in his clenched
fingers
like Bod Dole
always
did
good ol'
guy
that Bob
Dole
might'a been
a fine presi
dent
if he hadn't
been a Republican
and 143 years
old -
probably
wouldn't
a'beenfucking
around with no
chubby
interns any
way -
what is it
with politicians
and their dicks
anyway
like just the another
one this
week
screwing around
love me
love
me
love me
they're all
saying
all the time
waving their
dicks
around
starting wars
or
screwing
women either
too young
or too
married
for any man
with good
sense
to mess with
I mean
put your dicks
back
in your  pants
and grow up
for Christ's
sake
you're supposed
to be
running
the country
fool
not running
around
on your dearly
beloved
who ought to be
whopping
you
across the head
three or
four
times  a day
till
you get it on
straight

fool









From the anthology Music while  drowning - German expressionist poems, here are two poems by August Stramm

The book was published by Tate Publishing in 2003.

 Born in 1874, Stramm was a playwright and poet. He served in the German Army was killed in action in World War I. Though he struggled for recognition throughout his career he did not live to see his work published or the recognition he eventually received as one of the best German poets of his generation.




 Fallen

Heaven fills the eye
earth claws the hand
air hums
weeping
and 
twines
women's lamentation
in 
the stranded hair

      Translated by Patrick  Bridgwater


War Instinct

Eyes flash
You look cracks
Hot
Streams the bleeding over me
And
Drenches
Runnels of sea.
You flash and flare.
Life forces
flame
Mildew deludes
And 
Knits
And 
Knits

     Translated by Will Stone and Antony Vivis.














My dog in the morning finds new worlds every day.















brave new world

she treats each morning
like a new world
dawning
standing
stock-still,
taking it all in,
nose twitching
ear flaps rising and falling
eyes focusing
on some far  phenomena
I can never see

these few moments
of reorienting the new world to her expectations
take precedence
over all the other necessary functions

and I am patient
and wait for  her to set it al straight
for
I am jealous 
because
unlike her,  I wake  up
to the same old
reality
every morning
and how I  wish I  could  see it all
as new as
she...









Next, from section two, "Southern Europe:  French National  Epic; Lyric Poetry in French, Provencal, Spanish, Galicio-Portuguese, and Italian" of Part 4  of the World Poetry anthology. Obviously there's not time or space to investigate all of this, so I'll start with two French pieces.

The first anonymous piece from about 1100 was translated by Willard Trask, while the second, credited to Eustache Deschamps (1346-1410) was translated by David Curzon and Jeffery  Fiskin.










Li Sons D'un Cornet

The note of a trumpet was eating the  heart of a thunder-
bolt with vinegar when  a dead hobnail caught the course
of a star in a bird-trap. In the air there was a grain of rye, when
the barking of a  roasting spit and the stump of a piece of
clout found  a worn-out fart and cut off its ear.


Rondeu

Fleas, stink, pigs, mold.
The gist of the Bohemian soul,
Bread and salted  fish and cold.

Leeks and cabbage three  days old,
Smoked  meat,as hard and lack  as coal;
Fleas, stink, pigs, mold.

Twenty drinking from one  bowl,
A bitter drink - it's beer,  I'm told -
Bad sleep on straw in some filthy hole,
Fleas, stink, pigs, mold
The  gist of Bohemian soul,
Bread and salted fish and cold.











Finally had to put her down, this lovely calico we had for nearly fifteen years, blind, deaf, comatose as if she didn't have a bone her body. This is, again from Always to the Light.













my cat looks like Charles Laughton

my old cat
looks like Charles  Laughton
in that Witness  for the Prosecution

movie,especially
during her  dramatic
protestations

when she wakes up
enough
to discover

her food dish
is empty -
same quivering

jowls
same fierce  glare
from beneath  stormy

brow -
though it is true
she has only one

eye
and one eye can glare
much more fiercely

than two
giving her dramatic advantage
over Laughton

and advantage
undone by her willingness
to forgive

and forget all
when allowed
to curl up on my lap,

something
which Laughton
would never do -

but
still she
does pretty darn good for a

cat









Next, I have a poem from another anthology, Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep, subtitled "An Anthology of Poetry by African Americans since 1945." The book was published by Little Brown & Company in 1994.

The poet is Michael S. Harper. Born in 1938 in Brooklyn, Harper is a poet and teacher.








Homage to the New  World

Surrounded by scientists in a faculty
house, the trees wet with hot rain,
grass thickening under the trees,
welcomers  come, ones and twos,
gifts of shoehorns, soap, combs,
half a subscription to the courier,
some news about the changing
plates, the nearest market,
how to pick up the trash, a gallon
of milk twice a week,  OK?

On the third day here,
a friend came in the night to announce
a phone call and a message,
and heard the shell go in
and the rifle cocking,
our next-door animal-vet neighbor,
and cried out,  "Don't shoot,"
and walked away to remember the phone
and the message, the crickets,
and the rifle cocking,
grass and hot rain.

I write in the night air
of the music of Coltrane,
the disc of his voice in this
contralto heart, my wife;
s what! Kind of Blue,
these fatherless whites
come to consciousness
with a  history of the gun -
the New World, if misery had
a voice,  would be a  rifle cocking.












It's a messy thing, this progress.












the price of progress

demolition
of the bridge crossing the creek
by my house
releases concrete dust, fine as talcum powder
into the air,
coating everything

the loud thump of pile drivers 
and the roar of other heavy equipment
shakes the ground, the house,
and the headache behind
my eyes...

it's the price of progress,
the old bridge destroyed to make way
for a new one, a wider bridge
to accommodate
the widening of the road

all of this
with searing heat,
and air, fouled by the dust
and by the heat, smelling like burnt toast

a bad day,
turning as the day dims
by tiny raindrops, few and far between,
peppering the sidewalk  and my head and shoulders

walking 
with Bella
in the absolute still of new forces
gathering,
and the day seems to hold its breath
as it waits,, finally, for real rain
to break, rain to wet the dry and  settle the dust...

the day
holding its breath
as do all of us who live in it
hoping
to see the twilight
through orange sheets of cold, clear
rain











This French poet, Francois Villon (1431-1463?), is from Part 4, Section 2 of the World Poetry anthology. This is my last selection from the anthology for this week. I'll have more next week as we begin to approach the modern era.

The translator was Richard Wilbur.











Quatrain

France's I am: my outlook's glum.
From Paris (near Pontoise) I come,
And soon my neck, depending from
A rope, will learn the weight of my bum.



This little poem made me curious, so I consulted the great Wiki in the sky.

According to that source, Villon was a ne'er-do-well frequently involved in criminal activities and encounters with law enforcement authorities. The question about the date of his death is that he disappeared on the date given and no one knew where he went or what happened to him. As far as anyone knew he could have died on that date or lived on, unnoticed, for many years after. Maybe an early instance of witness protection and resettlement with a new life and identity. Or it may just be I've watched too many movies.













Here's a couple of shorter  poems from Always to the Light.












red balloon

little boy
in a shopping cart
says to his mother
as she  pushes

he's
still my dad,right?
so I still love him,
right?

my mind
is a-crush
with sad stories

none  sadder
than this,
I think,
and I imagine pain
radiating
form that cart,
across time
across generations,
the world's pain
tat is a red balloon
filling a little more,
the world's pain
and angry balloon
near to bursting


no days off

a cool 
and sunny
Saturday morning,
time to  take the family
out for a walk before the chores
of the day begin

a stop-off
for coffee and fresh apple juice

I see them out front
and an outside table, mom
and dad and three little girls
ad their terrier pup
who watches each
coming and going,
ever alert -

no  days off
in the family-protection biz


fat man dancing

fat man
dancing throwing
his arms to the
cool
clear
sky -

the kind
of  bright autumn
day
when
that sort of thing
happens


a lesson

would you like
to learn a lesson
in the transience
of all things?

try going home
again

you will learn
the special places
are not so special
anymore

and neither are
you 


attack of the 50-foot woman

enjoyed
the movie
and being 14 years old
the idea
of the scarily magical girls
I knew
growing to 50 feet
wasn't something I could
rule out 

but the idea that their clothes
would grow with them
did not seem 
unreasonable to me,
imagining
in my festering
little mind
how it would be
such a much better,
more realistic movie
if they did not









This poem is by Maria Landowska, taken from her book, Threads, published in 1985 by Nortex press. The book seems to be a novella in five extended poetic parts.

Landowska is a Holocaust survivor according to the in the book, being the only one of her family to survive. She and her twin sister were victims of Dr. Mengele's experiments. According to the biography in the book, she earned a Pulitzer nomination for an earlier book I Have No Name, currently out of print according to Amazon. This book, Threads, is available Amazon, new and used,  for $499.99. Since I  bought my copy at  the half-priced book store for $4.99 I  suspect  a typo.








I.  At the Line Camp

The girls and I were working
the crosscut saw
when Joe rode in.
The old sheltering oak
had come, crashing,
reason-less,
in the night, and we
thirsted to  thin
the  branches of
nocturnal fright.

I was telling them
not to push,
but pull,
enjoying the continuity
of saying what
Father had said to me.
We were full of
the together-laughter
that comforts mothers
and daughters after
their parting.




Joe's horse was scarred
with foam flecks and dust
so I  knew he must
have been riding hard.

His eyes met mine,
then flitted down,
and away, and my heart  began
its last crying,
even before I heard him  say,
"Ma'am, it's your Daddy;
he's dying."

Shuddering winds
off change
blew across  my plain
as I was buffeted
by a hurricane
of pain.




There was not  time
to fill emptiness
with tears;
not time to lag.
We had not washed
and there was
such a lack
of clothes.
I could only pack
one small bag
to fling on
saddle  horn.
I kissed the girls.
Later,  later,
we would mourn.




I could feel
him calling
as I attacked  the
raw-tongued road.
In Horse Canyon,
I vaguely recall
a black bull
bawling
on the hill,
his voice echoing
in the still
morning air.
I did not care.
I  was propelled
into the future,
wondering how
I could suture
the wounds of now.

After spending way too much time on it, I  could not find  either a picture of the poet or her  book on the web, so I can't say anything about  her after 1985.











A morning at the coffeehouse. This is from when I spent mornings at the Borders Cafe before they went out of business. It was always full of a bunch of poems masquerading as interesting people.












usual suspects

the old guys
are here
and the tattooed
fat lady is here
and the always neat
and clean homeless guy
with his tightly wrapped
foam bed roll, heavy looking backpack
and professorial look
behind little half-lens glasses
as he spends the day reading
in the air conditioned cool,
and the mama
with her little blond girl trailing behind,
baby-doll on one arm and pink dangly
bracelets on both wrists
that she shakes as she passes and
the young mother with two little girls,
heading, double-time for the bathroom
passing a new guy, a long white-haired
Sam Elliot looking guy, in short pants
reading "Guns & Ammo" magazine,
and a couple of medical student regulars,
and the short-haired cowboy guy
with the bad arm, and the two gay guys
that show up a couple of times a week
(and, okay, maybe they're not gay,
but they sure are sharp dressers)
and the middle-aged woman, a mid-life student
who always looks like she's mad
at me because I always get here first
and take the table by the door
next to the electric plug where she'd like to be,
and the dorky-looking guy and his dorky-looking wife
who come in and stare at each other and never say a word
the whole time they're here, and
the old guy with the thick glasses and magnifying glass
who writes tiny numbers in tiny columns in a spiral notebook,
 eyes inches from the magnifying glass, and the table
of law students arguing with each other like it was a Supreme
Court appearance, and the oriental guy reading a
Shopenheimer haiku ad the girl with the long auburn hair
and acne scared cheeks, a cheeky girl with a constant air of
amused observation and I'm thinking if she was 50 years older
she might share the joke with me, assuming it's not me
that's the joke, of course, a possibility I do not discount...

all the familiar faces in all the familiar places
on a mostly typical Thursday
afternoon












Some days I just don't feel the thrill.













this is the day I didn't write a poem

this is the day
I didn't write  poem

except
maybe I did
and maybe I didn't

the thing is,
you see,
they come or they don't
and even if they don't I can throw some words
together to make it seem
they might have

see,
I'm  doing it now...

this is the  day I didn't write a poem...

I wrote this instead...

it's like the bible...

multi-thousand words
of which to the true believer
only a few really
matter

"by faith are you saved,"
are the only words that count
if you're a true Christian

out of all the multi-thousand words,
five define a faith...

so what does that have  to do  with the poetry
I write or don't write?

probably not as many words
as the bible
but a lot just the same,
most forgettable, a few unforgivable,
and, I hope, a very few
that in five or seven lines or less
show  me to be the poet
I'd like to be...

the rest, well,
I save them for days like today
when I don't write
a  poem







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 1:43 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

except for yr fab wife- there wer no photos that grabbed this time- NOW- let me look at the poetry

at 1:48 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

had to wait too long to post a comment- but will try this way- the Paz poetry is magnificent
surreal
un like the poetry i see on

poem a day
writers almanac
poetry foundation

(to me- and u can get my manifesto- it has to do with acadeeeeemia)

at 1:54 PM Blogger Here and Now said...

thanks. i'll tell my wife she saved the day for me.

i have two poets, Pas and Neruda, who define the continent poetically for me.

Post a Comment



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