On the Wild Side   Wednesday, September 14, 2016





It's a short post this week, and that's a good thing because, I accidentally deleted it when it was about 80 percent done and had to do it over.

Poems as usual, from my library and my poems. Since it's a short post, all of my poem are new from  last week.

The photos are of wilderness bookended by pictures from development just across the street from the wilderness, including a billion dollar shopping complex (a beautiful, main street replica shopping  complex) and a large, equally expensive apartment/condo complex.

I find the juxtaposition interesting, the new and the plush  across the street from a small section of the kind of wilderness that covered most of  central and south Texas in the long-ago days before clearing, before cultivating, and before grazing. The pictures also illustrate why the early vaqueros invented chaps for themselves and their horses.

This little patch of wild soon to be gone with all the rest. You can  see in one of the pictures two trees, one wrapped with a blue ribbon, one with a yellow, giving instruction to whoever will clear the brush, blue ribbon tree stays,  yellow  ribbon tree goes.


Me
who counts, and how we know it

Bruce Weigl
Black and Tan Dog

Me
continuing my life as a non-ektoplasmataic

Carol Coffee Reposa
Natural Woman

Me
sweet  times

Caroline Noble  Whitbeck
Teenagers Star in the Story of Their Lives, Painful Details and All
Sex, Envy,  Proximity

Me
more along the way

Gary Snyder
What We Have Learned

Me
SoCo ramble

Gregory Fraser  
Construction

Me
outtakes from the first day of the war

Gary Soto
Ode to la Llorona

Me
alive,  alive-oh 

Cate  Marvin
The Condition

Me
about the shrieker  birds who live on my block  
                          











First for the week, responding to a headline in the newspaper.










who counts, and how we know it

newspaper headline this morning

"SUV OVERTURNS, PASTOR'S DAUGHTER KILLED"

the grief of a pastor over the death 
of his daughter, real and to be honored

but why is it always a pastor's daughter
in such headlines, or a banker's daughter,
or a financial analyst's daughter, or CEO's daughter,
the death of such luminaries headlined in the morning paper

but why do we never read headlines noting the death
of the carpenter's daughter, or the route salesman's daughter,
or the janitor's daughter, or the grocery store cashier's daughter,
of the labor's daughter, or the daughter of the homeless
man who lives under the I-35 overpass downtown?

ah,  just another way
our values are weighted, to really count  in this world
it's clear your daughter has to get a headline
when she dies...

I wonder who else's daughters died last night,
unknown and unmentioned

apparently
no one important
 











First from my library this week, a sad poem by Bruce Weigl, from his book The Unraveling Strangeness, published by Grove Press in 2002.









Black and Tan Dog

I hit a black-and-tan dog
with my car,
at night on a windy road
at 50 mph.
Thump, thump
was all that it said, sitting
strangely in the middle of my lane
like a suicide,
and it saw my eyes
in a moment
that I didn't want to
have with him,
so the next morning I drove back
to find who owned the dog,
and to say my grief
under gray autumn clouds
that hung so low
they seemed to want me. We
shift around from thing to thing
inside our minds. The geese
have come to rest
all over these cornfields.
There are so many,
like a blanket, but
non one home at the farmhouse
where there's a  bloodstain
in the road near the driveway
where the dog must have landed,
or where they had dragged it
earlier in the morning, and
stuck in the weedy ditch nearby
a homemade wreath of wildflowers
bound with a wire.
No one else in the car had  seen the dog.
I was driving too fast.
It was  sitting in the middle of the road.
There was no  chance to stop.
I've played it over in my mind more than once, and
there was no  chance for me to stop.









Another new one  from last week, the week of my quarterly doctor visit following  the week of my quarterly blood draw.












continuing my life as a non-ectoplasmatic

my quarterly brush
with mortality today
as I  see my doctor for the regular
review of my quarterly labs

after twenty years, the schedule 
is pretty well set so I rarely 
have to wait long
before she comes in
waving her arms mystically
with her quarterly
declaration
"IT LIVES"
and turns the rest of the session
over to her  assistant, Igor,
who finds some reason or other
to give me a shot in my butt
and an  appointment for the next 
quarterly visit

the fact is, I have pills for everything
so I remain relatively healthy
for a person in my
condition
and the primary purpose
of the regular visit being to confirm
that the meds aren't killing me
by destroying my liver and good humor
and whatnot

the fact is (again, another 
unfortunate fact) I have a lot of dead friends
and a lot of friends presumed  dead
through  long absence, so a quarterly stopover
at the doc's office and a quarterly blood draw
is a welcome confirmation
of my continuing non-ectoplasmatic place in the world
of the not-so-quick but living

I feel better just thinking about it












The next poem from my library is by Carol Coffee Reposa, from her book Facts of Life, published in 2002 by Browder Springs Press.











Natural Woman

          - for Ruth

Long after all the honky-tonks had closed,
Beery tenors headed for the street
Lamps in every neighborhood put out,
My baby always woke
Frightened at the lack of light
Shrieks arching through the hours
Like lasers.

Then we'd walk the floor
My football tracing circuits on the rug
Her damp head stiff
Fists clenched
Until I raised the volume on the radio
And she could hear
The late-night songs
That warmed the dark,
Enfolding her like blankets.

We would dance across the living room
Into the kitchen
Back  again
Aretha Franklin telling her
In tones that shimmered like cut glass
That she was natural
Night was fine
And dark made possible
The shining of the stars.

At last my daughter slept,
Her head collapsed
Arms draped loosely round the songs
The brought light to the room
And then I could return her to the night
A waiting bed
The soft, enfolding dark.











A shift in the weather brings back memories.









sweet times

a late, summer afternoon
blown in from the coast,
humid,  high clouds
white as  fresh snow piled high
against deep blue sky

gulls
blown with the clouds
and a salt smell, a suggestion
of fish on a wharf under hot sun

most of my life
living on the coast, this afternoon
breathes old days, long past days
remembered after twenty-five years
in the hill country

nostalgia memories for days
with my wife and young son, moments
missed, recalling the pleasures of past friends,
recalling the pleasures of foes brought low

sweet times...











Again from my library, two  poems by Caroline Noble Whitbeck, from her book, Our Classical Heritage, a Homing Device, published by Switchback  Books in 2007.










Teenagers Star in the Story of Their  Lives, Painful Details and All

Slim Fits one hand under
the hem of my blister shoes my
sister borrowed my gritty
glitterstick eyeliner the unjangled
phone our mother made us
matching set garnet
birthstone Cancun
photo  shot
glasses yup
plastic
twofer
a
back-lit
yearbook
scrawl  stuffed hound
abed with
the balled slamnote
scrutiny steam the 
bathroom aplomb doleful
My Adderall my adorable rub
of Jansport rote locker
territorialities
excelsior cancer


Sex, Envy, Proximity

Readiness in the clan. To cross  the grass on wet stockings.
The blade freighted with sugar,  ablation. The bridal
bite. Long  dun column through  an upstairs room.

Younger sister at he portal.  What is touching now
Applause of the wash. To hide, the netted candy hot in hand.
To watch, the machine. Bladders of milk folded in.









Reminded of the Tao Te Ching, I decided to try my hands at putting some of it in my own words. For no reason except I think best by writing.










more along the way


1.

the name of the thing
is not the eternal 
thing

the eternal
is unnameable

for names  are the creation
of man
and subject to the same errors
and decay and deceptions
as man

the real that cannot be named
is perfect made and true
and thus is
eternal


2.

creating a thing creates also
its opposite

as beauty creates
ugly

as good creates
bad

as long cannot  be
without
short
nor high without
low

being  cannot be without
non-being


3.

count not too much
on great men 
for such
will leave you powerless


4.

to begin
empty your mind like you would
a bucket of spoiled water
for only empty buckets
can  be filled 
with the truth of new
water


5.

truth is like spring water,
nourishes  and sustains without trying  to; 
it does not seek the heights
but is content to run to the low places
that those on the heights
disparage and disdain

they drink from the well of
condescension
and enjoy not the natural grace
of the pure 

the pure is for those who live
close to the ground
where purity naturally
flows


6.

the master
does not over-hone his knife
lest he blunt it

does not try to fill his cup
beyond his cup's
capacity

the master does his work
and lets it stand
serene
in its completion









Next, Gary Snyder, from his book, Axe Handles,  published by North Point Press in 1983.









What Have I Learned

What have I learned but
the proper use of several tools?

The moments
between hard pleasant tasks

To sit silent, drink wine,
and think of my own kind
of dry crusty thoughts.

     - the first Calochortus flowers
     and in all the land,
                it's spring.
     I point them our:
     the yellow petals, the golden hairs,
                 to Gen.

Seeing in silence:
never the same twice,
but when you get it right
     you pass it on











A trip to Austin to help my son move.









SoCo ramble

 South  Congress & Miller...

the heart of Austin's SoCo District,
the more sedate version
of nights on 6th Street, the bacchanal
of musicians and loud music, semi-drunk
students and record producers and movie stars
visiting, the peace of it all maintained
bu police on horseback

SoCo,  instead,
about restaurants and coffeehouses
and food trucks and curiosity shops
and crowds of afternoon walkers,  young
and old, hip and straight, and, most of all,
for the old guys, beautiful young coeds
a-stroll with their  boyfriends or in laughing
groups  of jiggly jiggling...

waiting on the sidewalk, leaning
against the bricks of an old
building (a city full  of old buildings)
now an upscale cafe, waiting
for my son, Chris, my wife Dee, not  the standing-still
type, off down the sidewalk at an open-air
market, arts and crafts and hand-crafted
junk of the moment...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

before SoCo development,
like the before version of 6th Street,
a hard place of down-and-outs,  derelict
bars, flashing knives and prostitutes 
on every street  corner...

now,
the PR developers call it SoCo,
others
with longer memories,
remembering the hard days
have another name,
"NoHoNoMo,"
a bit of nostalgia
of before the yuppie invasion,
before the original whoring moved
inside or across town... 

(I'm  sorry, this last might spoil the poem,
assuming there is a poem to be  spoiled,
but having on occasion visited the hard streets,
I find the machinations of the developers
and  PR flacks as mocked by the "Keep Austin Weird"
street  wits very funny)










My next poet is Gregory Fraser with his poem taken from the anthology Under the Rock Umbrella, Contemporary American Poets from 1951-1977. The book was published by Mercer University Press in 2006.












Construction

In the dog-fact and catch of the matter,
something must be true outside the jungle,
one old error we might correct. I slouched

in a pub downtown, handcuffed by my wristwatch
to the stool. Had someone give a crisp
reproach, my fingers might have mended

the boggling sameness. Truthfully, I never took
to Boston, where we gradually wore on,
then into, one another - our slender wishes
mourning the calendar's grid. Yet I always liked
our talk of canyons, and the hard somehow
of vintage pin-ups. Let high air gnaw

at heaven's crossbeams. Today, I remove
another wildness  from my resume,  refuse to listen
when neighbors' squabbles crosshatch the morning.

A man talks loud at the end  of the bar;
the dull street sighs outside, its curbs too still.
Right here, you would have said, let's build.











This one written a couple of weeks after the event, based on memories of the event as seen of TV.










outtakes from the first day of the war

                                                          nothing

leads to anything

                                                                                                                               short bursts
                                                                                                                                      of thought

                                                                               smoke
                                                                          billows gray
                                
                                                                                 down
                                                                                   city
                                                                                 streets 

no                                                        connections

broken

                                                                       gray streets awash
                                                                          in a gray tide

                 dreams
                  bro
                       ken

smaller
smaller
                          i
                  p
                       e     c         s
                                  e 

                                                                  graypeopleghosts
                                                                       grayghosts

                                                                                                                                   running

                             mind bro
                              ken

smaller
smaller
p   i
e        c
     e        s

              crashing down
in silence
          flowing 
                  like water
                 down

riveride
  riverlong
     riverdeep
         riverflows
             riverlives
                rivertakes
                   rivergives

                                                                        puddling gray
                                                                 in a concrete and steel

  t
  h
  r
  e
  a
  d

thread

                l
                i
               m
                p

                    lick it
                    so it stays
                    straight

                                                                       lick it

so it doesn't
flop don
like an old man's
       d
         i
         c
         k
make it straight

                                                                      s t r a i g h t

through the eye
the eye

          pull                    tight

in       and      out

                                                                                                                                 push in
                                                                                                                                                push out
                                                                                                                                                 push in

                                                                         push out

                       through the weaving
                                                                patterns 

                                                                                                                             of our lives

bring the pieces
together
                                                                             smoke

                                                                                ash

                                                                  ghosts surfing
                                                               gray tide
                                                             eyes wide

eyes wide
red rimmed
in a gray mask

eyes   wide
                    in

                           disco                        nnect










The next poem is by Gary Soto,  from his book Neighborhood Odes, published in 1992 by Harcourt Brace.

A favorite ghost story, told where ever Mexican children gather at night.










Ode to la LLorona

They say she weeps
Knee-deep in the river,
the gray of dusk
A shawl over her head,
She weeps for her children,
Their smothered faces
Of  sleeping angels...
Normaaaaa, Mariooooo, Carloooos.
They say she calls
Children offering
Them candy
From her sleeve.
They say she will
Point a finger,
Gnarled root of evilness,
And stare a soft
Hole in your lungs:
The air  leaks
From this hole
And climbs in the trees.
In autumn she appears
With a pomegranate,
Each seed a heart
Of a child she took away.
She will whisper, Monicaaaa,
Beniciooooo, Ernestooooo.
If you're on your bike,
Ride faster.
If you're  on foot,
Run without looking up.
In these times,
The sliced moon hangs
In the sky, moon
That is orange,
The color of
A face in the porch light.
At home
The cooler in the window
Stops, then starts,
And the TV flickers
With a climate of snow.
These are signs, and the
Dog  with mismatched eyes,
the turtle in the
Middle of the road,
And the newspapers
Piling up on the roof.
La Llorona is the mother
Of drowned children.
Beware a woman
Dripping water in July
When no rain has  fallen.










From last week.












alive, alive-oh

the crickets are here  early
this year...

I was thinking I'd write something
deep and meaningful
this morning

but the crickets are here earls...

walking my dog this morning
I saw the first scouts of the tsunami
of crickets to come skittle
across the parking lot,
the first of millions of crickets
who descend upon these hills,
usually in mid-October, but, after
a wet, late summer, beginning
to arrive now in mid-September

millions, pushed up against street
curbs, great globs of hopping crickets
and the cadavers of their dead
cousins piled in corners, bushel baskets full,
their crushed, slippery selves making
it hard to drive up  some hills,
wheels spinning like on ice

an early sign of autumn
for they bring with them cool
mornings, clear skies with bright
sun that warms without
burning, the beginnings of leaves
crispy red, orange or yellow
carpeting the streets and yards,
mulch for the next
spring's growing...

the time of the year I feel
most alive

that declaration this morning

- alive, alive-oh -

as deep and meaningful 
as I want to 
be...

bursting-out-of-my-skin alive
as deep and meaningful
as I'll ever
be...





                                              




Last from my  library this week I return to the anthology, Under the Rock Umbrella, with a poem by Cate Marvin.











The Condition

        for Rebecca

What we share most is boredom, friend,
      as we walk depraved the graveyards
of supermarket aisles, noting the dearth
     of interesting men. In the bright light,

the dead bright light, our eyes fasten
     on the new produce boy. When we hold
out a bulb of Spanish garlic to ask him,
     Why purple? he does not understand

what we find exotic and answers dumbly,
     It tastes the same as the plain variety.
And so he escapes becoming a topic
     for our perverse conversation. And what

do  we want that we must discuss men
     with such fervor? I like younger ones,
I like the blond one. I like him, no, him.
     Our conversations seamless, hot stitched

with awkward silence, we simply like
     the act of eying. Did you note his thighs,
his quartzlike eyes, or were you looking
     at another guy? Then the talk defaults

to our other favored topic: death. Not dying
     in a metaphorical sense. e lay our words
like tenuous plats, build a bridge over its
     unthinkable depth: Not a sea of longing,

but the brack of wanting what's physical
      to help us forget we are physical. We walk
in pants, but live in bodies termed feminine,
     stalking bright aisles in search of distraction.   











My last new piece for the week.











about the shrieker birds who live on my block

I have a bird 
who shrieks right outside my window
every morning at 5 a.m.

not a solitary shrieker,
it engages a in ten minute dialogue of shrieks
with another  shrieker bird
two houses down

not a completely bad thin

being as how it gives me a chance
to feed the cat on the patio
before she  starts
yowling
and
also
a moment or two to stand in my own resplendent
bareness
in the back yard and judge
the omens for the new day
about to start

(it's not chicken entrails but it works the same
as foreshadowment of daily prospects)

so I'm not entirely upset about the shrieker birds'
morning shrieking, 
but still,
especially when I stayed up late the night before
watching Hee Haw reruns,
I do sometimes wish they would
check out the much quieter
efficiency of
email







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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