Randomly We Roll Along - Roll Along - Roll Along   Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My poems, new from last week and old from 2007. Rereading the 2007 poems, they seem to have a freshness I wish I could rediscover.

All the library poems this week are from a single anthology, Under the Rock Umbrella, Contemporary Poets from 1951-1977. Though I was a pre-baby-boom baby, I feel a kinship with the poets in the anthology, mid-baby boom babies, born mostly in the 1950s, with  a few from the 60s-70s. The book was published by the Mercer University Press in 2006.

It is a large book with many poets. I expect I will revisit often.

Photos are all taken from my 2014 file, but other than that, completely random with no attempt to coordinate subject, style, treatment or color/black and white. Just a mix of things that caught my eye as I paged through the file.

arriving home late

Nick Carbo
Little Brown Brother

anniversary thoughts on a winter night

Daniel Hall

the wonder

Joy Harjo
Mother Field

coffeeshop shorts, six to a cup

Bryce Milligan
Trying not to fall

waking naked in a snowstorm
kemo sabe

Cole Swensen
The Garden as a Letter


Christian Wiman
Outer Banks (II)
A Field in  Scurry County

purpose and pride

Christianne Balk
Dear Hippopotamus

just after dark

Sherman Alexie
A Poem Written in Replication of My Father's Unfinished Novel Which He would Read to  His Children Whenever He Was Drunk 


dream weaver


Nancy Eimers
A Grammar to Waking  

stranger in a strange land   

First new poem for the week.

arriving home late

arriving home late
a long day driving to and from Austin

from my driveway,
seeing the moon rising high in the east,
full and bright through the trees,
stopping me,
dumbstruck by the
unexpected beauty of its

the mythical moon
figuring as some form of divinity
in the myths of every people ever to walk the earth,
beautiful in its stories and imagery

and while I appreciate its mythical 
it is the actual,  real beauty of it that stops me,
the beauty of all the natural forces
that keep it in is circle shining,
a hunk of the earth
itself in some scientific telling,
a piece of our (and its)home planet flung off
in the cataclysmic early days of creation

and all of the unimaginable forces that started
that process of creation here in our own neighborhood
and throughout a universe beyond out
imagining, all of that
to create this beautiful orb
and me, a creature grown from sea slugs,
with the capacity to see
and appreciate
its beauty
and the beauty of its

The first poet from this week's anthology is Nick Carbo.

Born in 1964 in  the Philippines, Carbo is the author of three collections of poetry. He is currently visiting poet in the MFA program at the University of Miami.

Little Brown Brother

I've always wanted to play the part
of that puckish pubescent Filipino boy

in this  John Wayne Pacific-War movies.
Pepe,  Jose, or Juanito  would be smiling,

bare-chested and eager to please
for most of the steamy jungle scenes.

I'd be the on  who would cross
the Japanese lines and ask for tanks,

air support, or more men. I'd miraculously
make it back to the ton here John Wayne

is holding his position against the enemy
with this Thompson machine-gun. As a reward,

he'd rub that big white hand on my head
and he'd promise to let me clean

his Tommy gun by the end of the night. But
then, a Betty Grable look-a-like love

interest would divert  him by sobbing
into his shoulder, saying how  awfully scared

she is about what the "Japs" would do
to her  if she were captured. In one sift

motion, John Wayne would sweep her off
her feet to  calm her inside his private  quarters.

Because of my Hollywood ability
to be anywhere, I'd be under the bed

watching the woman roll down her stockings
as my American hero unbuckles his belt.

I'd feel the bottom of the bed bounce off my chest
as small-arms fire explodes outside the walls

From 2007.

anniversary thoughts on a winter night

the cold night seeps
through the window
beside our bed,
damp, coastal cold
that makes midnight fog
fall to the ground,
reflecting in the pale light
like the tiny sparkles
of broken glass
on the street
after an accident

the window,
when I brush against it,
is a cold jolt
that pushes me across the bed
to lie closer to you,
to wrap myself around you,
embracing your warmth
like an animal
drawing tight around itself,
seeking the internal fire
of its own beating heart
to  protect itself
from the cold hand
of night...

are my fire this night
and nights past
and nights to come,
the warm nest that saves me
from cold and loveless nights,
the light that sustains me
through dark and lonely days

are the center of life and warmth for me

you are
and so I am

From Under the Rock  Umbrella, this week's anthology, this poem is by Daniel Hall. Born in 1952, Hall won the 1989 Yale Series of Younger Poets award for his first collection. Continuing to write and publish from that early start, he was at the time the anthology was published, teacher of poetry and writer in residence at Amherst College.


         for Forrest Gander

vistas materializing
             in and out of the fog

self and world alike
             held in suspension

each word between us
             and where we stand

pure speculation
             one world at a time

Block Island the Orkney
             equally plausible

and the cries of the herring gulls
             no  help at all

ornithology ontology
             a gull is eating a gull's egg

Being consumed Becoming
             and is still not satisfied

I  test the brine-dusted stone
             with my knuckle

thus do I  refute nothing
             the mystery is

there is something
             for us to stand on

forgive me friend for seeming
             unserious but I just can't -

waving a helpless hand
             toward all that

abstraction rain
             in fog fog in rain

the porous borders
             of the visible

elsewhere as we speak
             or fail to

the open book weighs
             like a plaster angel

face down on my bed

And, again, new from last week.

the wonder

how is it
we can get so accustomed
to the wonders of it all
that e take it for

the moon, the stars,
the sun, our very own star
we circle year after year,
a hydrogen furnace burning 
at a zillion, ka-zillion, ka-jillion
degrees, hot enough when faced
dead-on to create great blazing deserts,
cold when its face is slightly turned
to create ice caps and snow storms and icicles
that hang from eaves and stark bare trees,
but still always warm enough to bring life
and to support life on our own little
hunk of big bang

the wonder of it

it burns above us so we call it
ours, but it's not just ours, one of billions
upon billions like  it spread out on a summer night's
sky, not just ours, but a creation of the whole universe
which, and here's another wonder, nourishes hat
it could as easily destroy, the mother/father of us all,
we orbit in its protective embrace, but even
the great forever engine is forever dying, even
as we bask in its light, its
end, being it even so far
hence, our end as well...

and even another wonder...

the primordial camp fire dying, leaving us,
the pride of us, like the ape-men
from whence e came,
to wither in the

Again from the anthology, this poem is by Joy Harjo. Born in 1951 in Tulsa, Harjo, is a a Myskoke poet, musician and author of seven collections of poetry. She is professor of creative writing at the University of New Mexico.

Mother Field

That night I headed to the bar -
My jones was for the music humping out the door
No stars yet in the ache of the sky, and
A rat hung in the mouth of the fat cat.
Everyone was there in each burrow of booth, including
Spook and the knot of Indian school brats -
It was the end of the week, the end of the line.
I'll drink to that, or anything to make me laugh.
Everyone had a name; and thought I had a mother
I was still looking.
Each name carried a myth, personally.
A heart could harbor the origin story; we'd know how fire happened.
There was no doubt as to the root of the matter.
Spook got his name on the street. Nez from an ancestor,
Tall with male rain. Other names
Could never  be spoken so far from home
In a town built at the crossroads of guns and trade.
Now we traded despair for vision, made art, while boxcars filled with uranium
Slid up and down the highway along the Rio  Grande.
All about a Saturday night in the Senate  Lounge
Which wasn't the senate and there was no
Lounging, only drinking, dancing, and a jumpy
Edge. Don't skip the nerve when speaking the spirit of an age.
I  promised Spook I'd never forget him, moved
To the next table of fools to catch up and dance,
Then she came in, blown west from Oklahoma
By and evil-wind churned up by burning treaties.
We'd heard the story of her killed lover,
Silkwood as the name, the monster; Kerr-McGhee. By then
Nearly every dance was done and we were all a state
Or two away from madness, from sad.
Everyone was making their moves.
I took her in as everyone took a breather.
Between our bent heads we made a temple.
She told me the story as she checked out the door,
Sporadic. The country was broken in half and she was running
From the aftermath. When last call was done,
urgent confusion scattered in the dark, for more.
I offered her refuge; she fled for another town.
We only take what we can carry,
I don't remember her name, or what music compelled me to forget
So drenched that night from rough knowledge
in the vulnerable, pulsing mother field.

Here are some short poems from 2007.

coffeeshop shorts, six to a cup

wouldn't it be cool
to read the poems
the giants
chose to never write
and compare
to mine

I bet
are just as fine

the vastly
rubs her belly
with her fingertips
the slight
of a sigh


all the pretty girls
to me

good father
I guess
are hard
to find

the south Texas
born and raised
wears a fur hat
and a fur coat
and fur boots
and though
it's fifteen degrees
above freezing
landing softly
on the open palm
of her fur-lined

a broad
woman comes in
with a trim and handsome
young man
like from the cover
of "GQ" or such

she laughs
in peals
like bright balloons
and all is explained

has a story
but rare
are those
who have the will
to tell

I keep looking

satisfied to find
just those few

Next from the anthology, this poem by Bryce Milligan. Born in Dallas in 1953, Milligan has authored five collections of poetry, four historical novels, short story collections and children's books. Residing in San Antonio since 1977, he has been publisher and editor of Wings Press in the city.

Trying not to fall

         for Joy Harjo

There is a woman with a saxophone
blowing the blues out of time
raising tones like thunderheads
and tones like lightning,
tones  like the gray mist
rising on an Oklahoma river.

There is a woman with a saxophone,
golden horn handed down
one prophet t another
one shaman to the next
beginning as a scannel flute
golden reed from the Chattahoochee
drawn at dawn and curled inside
a medicine bundle somewhere
in America, somewhere
in time
flint carved its first song,
the song of awakening
after long sleep, after death.

There is a woman with a saxophone
breathing in the same air
drawn through the sacred stem
when no white hand had laid claim
or shed blood anywhere
in America

There is a woman with a saxophone,
woman of wind and water
blowing the blues out of time
woman  with hair like the raven
that hangs in the sky calling the future
as he sees it, hair blue
blue as blackbird  wings in sunshine
with eyes like black holes
in time, ends and beginnings
quick as grace notes.

There is a woman with a saxophone
on the banks of the Muskogee
rising into the cloud of her music
rising like sacred smoke
rising like stomp dance bonfire flames
rising like warriors bound
for the long paths of the milky way.
There is a woman with a saxophone
not to  fall.

A challenging week.

waking naked in a snowstorm

computer compromised

first byte to last, must assume
all is at risk

like waking naked in a snowstorm

I don't know what to cover

kemo sabe

saved from the consequences
of my own
has happened many a time before

if I was the Lone Ranger,
Tonto would be riding behind me,
his faithful pinto, Scout,
with broom and mop and industrial
dust buster
to clean up all the debris
I leave behind

it's about the secret meaning
of that old Indian saying
Kemo Sabe.
meaning, roughly,
there goes sloppy old white-eyes
screwing up

Next from this week's anthology, a poem by Cole Swensen. Born in 1955 in San Francisco, she divides her time among Paris, Washington DC, and Iowa, where she  teaches in the Iowa Writer's Workshop.

The Garden as a Letter

engraved an opening
                                and so you open it, step by step, defined as that
intermediary point between darkness and diction. To write I said it
is already distant.
                           The gardens of Le Note are simply other pages. Sheets
of presence full of edges. She would have used a nom de guerre. Encoded
the time and place of assignation. I will see you

walking down a long alley of overhanging trees.
I will see you from the bank.

LeNotre tired
to make ever alley extend endlessly toward its final leap. In the letter
hidden in the book left in the grove as if by accident

The 17th century saw a curious rapprochement between  gardens and
war - fortifications were less interested in going up, where they stood as clear targets
for recently evolved artillery, they they were in going out, in covering sufficient land
to raise the crops to survive a siege. Thus the landscaping of war, and of holes within
wars, where the living lived, and the view from the ramparts was good. Le Nortre's
wife, Francoise Langlois, was the daughter of a member of the French Artillery
Council. She'd grown up in a walled garden, through which  the world fell. And in
the middle  of it, there was a well.

This piece form 2007, updated. It is one of the strange turns of life that I write this less than fifteen miles from Lackland Air Base on the other side of town where the events described occurred, in  the time of many drafts, celebrating my 22nd birthday in military basic training.


on this day
fifty years ago,
newly shorn
and uniformed
in the middle
of another
losing war,
I was in
my fourth day
of learning
the arts of combat,
which seemed,
at that early
to be mostly
about getting up
in the very dark
of morning,
and marching,
always marching,
in god-awful winter
to places we did not
care to go

many of us
would soon learn
more advanced
and terrible
while others,
like me
would find safe
in specialties
that involved
neither shooting
nor being shot

of the they-also-serve-
who-only-stand-and wait
brigade, we
honor those
who fought
and those
who fight now
and thank
we are not

Turning again to this week's anthology, Under the Rock Umbrella, Contemporary American Poets from 1951 to 1977, these short poems are by Christian Wiman. Born in West Texas  where he grew up, Wiman is currently the editor of Poetry Magazine. His poems, criticisms, and personal essays appear frequently in America's most prestigious literary journals.

Outer  Banks (II)

This isn't the end but there's no going further.
The sea breathes,
a swirl of oil in the water like a need for sleep.

Fetal seaweed, glintless sea glass,
A seagull wrecked in a dune like a plane.
The living cry out as they flee.

What remains?
One shell  the waves  won't take.
The intimate distance that it speaks.

A Field in Scurry County

Late evening, cool, September, and the ground
Giving its clays and contours to the sky.
the colors swirl and merge and fall back down
And for a moment, as the reds intensify,

I am a ghost of all I don't remember,
a grown man  standing where a  child once stood.
It is late evening. It is cool. September.
Pain like a breeze goes through me as if it could.

A sidewalk observation.

purpose and pride

the stocky young woman
in green pants
with purpose and pride

reminding me
of a show horse
under review, head held high,
flowing mane and tail,
lifting each hoof and putting it squarely
down as if owning
the turf it

a horse dressed for the season

green stockings
chestnut brown coat

Next, Christianne Balk from this week's anthology. Born in New York in 1952, Balk is the author of two collections of poetry. She currently lives in Seattle with her family.

Dear Hippopotamus

Move over, you tiny-eared, boulder-bodied
hog, let me kneel down with you, blear-eyed
and mud-sunk. Water horse! Let me wallow
in your ivory-stained, peg-toothed dreams, following
the coll, sun-chased shadows while flamingos
arrive screeching pink from their distant coasts.
News of shocking continents! Let's listen
to the twirling, sliding, feathered thistles
of their courting colors, blurred and whirl pooled
down still air, like the bristling pods of burr seeds,
or the spinning of the wasp-stun beetle,
or the circling of the zinc-lined stars, reeling
night after night above your small, revolving
ears, while our great, slow rock-bound bodies sleep.

Here are some short pieces from 2007.

at just dark

birds unfurl
from trees
black flag
could of dark


end of shift
green scrubs
soft shoes
at Starbucks
in secret voices
of doctors
and patients
and extended


car lights
on t5he Loop
one after another
three abreast
in both directions
on this side
those who work
in the east
and live in the west
and on the other side
and on the other
the reverse
such is
the state
of our affairs


" ood fo d"

"ch ap"

neon sign
with incomplete
green shadows
on the cracked sidewalk
in front of the diner
at 5th and Grand
three old men
at the counter
for a meal
fit to meet
their meager
every night
then as morning
when they're riding  high
don't care
about the broken
quit seeing the sign
years ago



don't walk the streets
in this neighborhood
but a little later
when it's not so early
they'll be at the bar
and in the back booth
over at San Miguel's
across from the barber shop
just a phone call
and a cab ride away
mostly young
mostly pretty
the black tar
of too-many tricks
just a small  spot
not yet spread
to their


hard clunk
of a heavy switch
in San Pedro
tennis court
dark tide


Millie Sands
of the dark
to  give Bixbie
his walk
before shadows
hard his leash
as he stops to check
his mail
at Robinson's  oak


passes on Callaghan
siren screeching
like five o'clock
sound this time
of day as
on the Loop
maneuver for
sets the dogs
to yowling

From the anthology, this is a poem by Sherman Alexie, born in 1966 in Wellpinit,Washington. He is recipient of many awards and widely published as a poet, fiction writer and essayist.

With ancestry from  several Native American tribes, he grew up on
the Spokane Indian Reservation.

A Poem Written in Replication of My Father's Unfinished Novel
Which He would Read to His  Children whenever He was Drunk

Indian summer. Leaves fall
from government trees. They remind me of sex.

My mother and father dead.
My father fell

at Okinawa, shot by a Japanese  sniper.
I do not hate the Japanese. My lover is

Japanese. She  reminds me of sex.
Pregnant, my mother coughed

blood int  paper tissue.
She died two weeks after I was born.

Now my Japanese lover  is pregnant. She whispers
stories about  a small island

in the Pacific where he father killed
an American soldier during the war.

My lover and I wonder aloud
if her father killed my father.

We shiver in the heat of  it.
It reminds me of sex.

After my parents died, I lived
with my aunt who had enough money

to send me to Catholic school. I was
the only Indian who went to Catholic school

on purpose. I learned to play the piano.
I jitterbugged with Catholic Girls
and their pale thighs.
They smelled like sex.

I  fell in love with all of them.
I learned chord after chord. Sex.

Often, these days, I stand at the window
of my reservation home

while my Japanese  lover  sleeps alone
in the scattered bed. She is pregnant.

Her father and mother live
with the dead at Hiroshima.

My father and mother are also dead.
Piano. Chord after chord. Island.

the window. This window.
One Indian boy runs

blindly through the trees.
A shadow falls

over everything.
Sex. Leaf. Faith. Glass.

If I stand at this window long enough
I will see the long thread of history

float randomly through the breeze.
This is all I know about peace.

Another lesson learned from  a game of chance.


winning is like
on the back 
of a whitewashed mule

the black mule
will have his day
as well

2007 again. As mentioned earlier it  seems my poetry had a freshness  then that I envy now.

dream weaver

the boy
in the yellow
with dark
looks for the girl
in the yellow
with broad brown
and hair
and flowing

of her last night
and is sure
will soon dream
of him

More short pieces from 2007.


to the wind
it  whispers
but it does not tell


in repose


the sea
at  shell-white
takes tiny
and spits them
with every


on green
to roots


the hawk
but not for
despite the grace
of its ascent


the sun
there  would be
no shadows
to tell us
there is a sun-bright

Last from this week's anthology, a poem by Nancy Eimers. Eimers, born in Chicago in 1954, is author of three collections of poetry, with her work appearing in various magazines and anthologies. She teaches creative writing at Western Michigan University and the MFA Program at Vermont College.

A Grammar to  Waking

There are so many rules we don't even know.
Page after Page

torn out ad thrown away.
But we wake to them anyway.

At four-thirty in the morning birches are joined
with the blackness of pines

feathery at the top and solid below
not quite like an ocean,

less voracious
more formal. But the moon

is still attracted, hover over it.
At seven the trees have separated themselves and are fragments again.

Fragments of what?
It is so, so early.

Before I open the window
the pines are rushing just by standing still.

Or nouns make everything rush that is not themselves.
A fragment, I might keep going forever

except for my skin
in the afternoon

there are waves of tree fogs singing everywhere,
adhesive disks at the tip of the toes,

tiny verbs climbing all over the branches.
The pines are drawers of darkness even in light.

They store up intonations that can't be expressed.
Though on our lips is Fire!

or Summer is here.

I actually wrote this a couple of weeks ago. Didn't like it so set it aside where possibly it should have stayed.But I'm not one to give up on lost causes so, gussied up (love that word) a bit, here it is anyway.

stranger in a strange land

writing today
at the Starbucks at Huebner Oaks,
a different kind of Starbucks,
with electrical plugs every six inches
line a window-wall that looks out
on a brick-paved courtyard and a flowing
fountain built to  resemble a flowing stream
in the rocky hill country, all together,
welcoming writers and others workers
to come and stay awhile...

the only Starbucks I visit regularly
and only on Monday mornings when
my regular coffeehouse is closed

not often enough to get the flow
of the place and the people
who flow in it 

just a few more Mondays
and I'll have them all nailed,
the worker-looking guy sitting
beside me, reminds me of  a construction
foreman I worked for a long time ago,
blond and rough-featured,  on the phone,
trying to make a deal on a used car
for is daughter, increasingly frustrated
with the inability of the salesmen
to give him direct answers,
and the oriental guy, he and the blond,
newspaper readers, read their paper, don't
hang around like the guy who spent four hours
at a table by the window, playing games
on his phone, and then there's the guy I've tagged
as a  ranch-country lawyer, like from West Texas,
Van Horn, maybe Marfa or Alpine, tall; and bearded, 
broad shouldered, Levis  and denim shirt, 
work boots and a western hat, comes
with his son, maybe ten or twelve,
the soft opposite of his hard-faced father,
I can't help thinking sometimes the father must
be disappointed in his squashy offspring,
can't help noticing how much happier he  looks
on the mornings he comes on his motorcycle
with a long-legged woman in tow, mostly,
it  seems,  random collection of
long-legged blond women...

the coffeeshop in the middle
of a high-rent neighborhood, a regular
floating swarm of expensive-dressed
men and middle-aged women - not her 
long enough yet to differentiate among them,
but I'm sure I will in time - unless my friends go back
to opening my regular hangout on Monday,
making this once-a-week foray into Starbucks
country a soon-forgotten side trip, an
exotic break in a far-region, temporary
diversion from lands closer to

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


New Days & New Ways

Places and Spaces

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio

Seven Beats a Second


Sonyador - The Dreamer


  Peace in Our Time

at 2:15 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

like photos (counting down including one at top): # 7, 19 (lited dome/cupoloa), 22 w dog- the element of surprise is there
now let me look at pomes

at 2:26 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

o and photo 4- w giraffe

at 3:35 PM Blogger Here and Now said...


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Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Poems Niederngasse
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
The Blogging Poet
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
The Writer's Block Poetry Forum
The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
Gary Blankenship
The Hiss Quarterly
Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
Arlene Ang
The Comstock Review
Thane Zander
Pitching Pennies
The Rain In My Purse
Dave Ruslander
S. Thomas Summers
Clif Keller's Music
Vienna's Gallery
Shawn Nacona Stroud
Beau Blue
Downside up
Dan Cuddy
Christine Kiefer
David Anthony
Layman Lyric
Scott Acheson
Christopher George
James Lineberger
Joanna M. Weston
Desert Moon Review
Octopus Beak Inc.
Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet