Settling In   Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Regular stuff - another random selection of photos, poems from my library and a couple  of my friends, and my poems, new and old.

so tell me, Mr. Putin

The Mother's Tale

when I was 11 I worked in a grocery store

Laurie Lico Albanese

among the rituals of the darkening night 

Philippe Jaccottet
1956 - October
1958 - December
1959 - February
1964 - October
1964 - November
1967 - November 
the driver

Virginia Cerenio
work day

the corner booth

John Phillip  Santos
Elegy (Never Delivered)
A Legend 

thinking right is good

Alex  Stolis
a cocktail waitress with Gene  Tierney lips 
Getting Stoned at Moby Dicks 
Fargo Rock City

door wide open

John Poch
Winter Song

freak alley

Paul Muldoon

welcome stranger   

Mary Oliver

a peculiar dialogue

Gary Blankenship
#11 (Ohio)
#23 (Alabama)
#37 (Oklahoma)
#47 (Nevada)

norther coming  

First  for this week, written before our little vacation.

so tell me, Mr. Putin

a time 
of Ruskie hacking
security lacking
lies sent packing

truths told
& sold

you ever wanted to know
is out there...

maybe not everything

for example,
I've wondered for years
where fly fishermen get the tiny hooks
they need for catching flies
& also
of course 
what they do after
they catch'em

tell me
Mr. Putin,
you know all the secrets

so  where do fly fishermen
get their tiny

The first poet from my library this week, is Ai. Born Florence Anthony in Albany, Texas in  1947, she won the National Book Award in 1999 for Vice, the book her poem this week is taken from.

The book was published by W.W. Norton.

The Mother's Tale

Once when I was young,  Juanito.
there was a ballroom in Lima
where Hernan, your father,
danced with another woman
and I cut him across the cheek
with a pocketknife.
Oh, the pitch of the music sometimes,
the smoke and rustle of crinoline.
But what things you  remember now
on your wedding day.
I  pour a kettle of hot water
into the wooden tub where you are sitting.
I was young, free.
But Juanito,  how free is a woman? -
born with Eve's  sin  between her legs,
and inside her,
Lucifer sits on  throne of abalone shells,
his staff with the head of John the Baptist
skewered on it.
And in judgment, son, in judgment he says
that women will bear the fruit of the tree
we wished so much to eat
and that fruit will  devour us
generation by generation,
so my son,
you must beat Rosita often.
She must know the weight of a man's hand,
the bruises that are like the wounds of Christ.
Her blood that is black as the heart
must flow  until it is as red and pure as His.
And she must be pregnant always
if not with child
then with the knowledge
that she is alive because  of you.
That you can take her  life
more easily than she creates it,
than suffering is her inheritance from you
and through you, from Christ,
who walked on his mother's  body
to be the King of Heaven.

A memory from 2013.

when I was 11 I worked in a  grocery store

when I was about 11
I had a job in a grocery store

after school,
dust all the shelves, unpack
price and put up 
new stock

cull the potato bin,
dig through the potatoes,
pull out the soft, rotten potatoes
that stunk like rot
at the bottom of the bin

spread oiled sawdust
on the wooden floor,  then
sweep  it up,
leaving behind the sweet
scent of 

potato stink forgotten...

but  remembering
the  sweet woodsy scent
of oiled sawdust
I am 11

several years
in  my memory, enveloped
in the sweet scent
of oiled saw-

Next from my library is this poem by Laurie Lico Albanese. Writing in every form and genre, Albanese earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine.

The poem is from her book, Blue Suburbia, almost a memoir, published by Harper Collins in 2004.


I am pregnant again
seeing a therapist
writing freelance

my mother called yesterday
and I said, I don't know
how to talk to people
I love -

then she told me
about the lump
in her chest

not sorrow
but the fleshy skein
of overgrowth

an abundance of cells
multiplying without instruction

a tumor in her lung
under the breast
wrapped around the rib

baby roiling in my belly
cancer coiling through my mother

voice of dread thickening
sickening me across the miles.

I think I wrote this one after returning from New Mexico.

among the rituals of the darkening night

October dusk

a yellow moon,
like  giant balloon,
with the quiet 
of night 

and a thousand grackles
scream their demands
to the falling sun,
shaking the trees
with their agitation

October night

and still the thousand grackles
under cover of their 
dark shaking

Next, from Seedtime by Philippe Jaccottet, extracts from The Notebooks 1954-1967, a New Directions book published in 1971.

Since 1947 when he first began to publish, he had, at the time this book was  published, six volumes of poetry, two of  criticism, three of prose-poetry and several translations from German.

These pieces from his book were translated by Andre Lefevere.



     The reeds: how their velvety ears burst, allow the slow
escape of a stream of seeds, a crop, in the most absolute si-
lence. A woman giving birth: moans of pain, blood. In absolute
silence, sweet, irresistibly slow, the plant bursts and scatteres it-
self on the mercy of the wind.



     Just before eight, when the sky is completely overcast, the
world is brown only, a table of earth. A lamp lit in the street
here, yellow like a sun without rays, there a gilded door opens,
a shadow looks, long, at the weather that will come to the


     The mobile translucid constellations of rain on the windows,
they are only veils on the march, seen from afar, cur-
tains closing. The panting, irregular wind from the south; the
wind from the north, mechanical.



     Frozen snow in the morning.
     At night, after a day of interrupted snow, a landscape
white, brown and black, seldom seen here. That weight on the
trees, so light, as if we  looked at them through gauze. A joy
of childhood over  the whole village: old men throw snowballs.



     Violent wind: yellow leaves suddenly fly up. Black, rapid
clouds, eclipsing the sun for a moment. Always white birds,
doves in the distance. Their color, in the bed of the wind,
the bed of time, while you grow older, while you worry or
while you are afraid of catastrophes you cannot  even bear to
think of. No  truth beyond  this?

     Children, as helpless s those leaves.


      Seven in the morning: chestnut  trees like a flame in the
fog; the green of the grass between  the roots of the vine, in-
tense and clear. Difficult to grasp what evokes the strangeness
of those trees (where birds still cry). Aggressive car engines. A
hunter,  bent and skinny, passes quickly  engraved by Callot.



      Autumn: rain on the flames. Landscape flaming and cold.
Flowers, mist, humidity, in the past.


     A visit to the house of the deceased. A  dog under the
dead  woman's bed; three unsightly crones  by her bedside. One
of them gets up from  time to time to  sprinkle holy water on
that face of wax. In the room you have to walk through pastel-
colored underwear, with little flowers, is lying round on the
bed, unmade.

Another  from 2013. A memory of my  stint  as a cab driver. Terrible job,  but lots of good stories.

the driver

than the rest
and the only white guy,
the other drivers
never had much to say to me,
except one,
an older man
who had been driving
his yellow cab for the company
for twenty years or more,
long enough  so that he could  remember
when a man could make a reasonable living
at it

now the job  was just  a place to go,
read magazines
doing it so long...doing it so long
it was like he was tethered
to  the bumper of his cab,
couldn't imagine what he would do
if he didn't do this...

those of us like me, who, some six months later
found ourselves
participating in military service
after receiving our own
from the Uncle who  knew us  so  well,
had a name for those who continued to serve
after they no longer had to,
"lifers" is what we  called them,
and my driver friend
was a lifer  in the taxi driving business,
knowing the drill  better
than anyone else,
late in his life,
of being the one all  over again

Virginia Cerenio is the next poet from my library with her poem taken from her  book Trespassing Innocence, published in 1989 by Kearny Street Workshop Press.

Cerenio is a second-generation Filipino-American whose work has appeared in numerous publicans. She lives in San Francisco and is a member of the Bay Area Filipino American Writers.

work day

there is this day
old ladies of every kind
the old black lady who walks around in Easter hats
with a large gold cross sewn like a crucifixion
to the back of her coat
people stay away as though she were the devil
little old ladies who cannot remember why they called
but remember childhood in dreams of last night
old ladies who melt into chairs like shadows
and must be fluffed out like pillows
to walk a straight line
old ladies whose voices crackle with pain
arthritis, loneliness, cancer
limbs missing          names forgotten
the memory of both become  one and the same.

on this  day,the three year old with ribboned hair
climbs out of her wheelchair
leaning on gravity
seeing  the world          laughing  at fish flying
red as her  cheeks
what really matters is the laughter they share
the little old lady with her cane
the little girl beside her wheelchair
both wobbling in the wind
bent like parentheses in the doorway
the sunlight curving in circles between them.

This is another new one from a couple of weeks ago.

the corner booth

her eyes
like black fire burning,
a black girl
with a white guy
eating their breakfast

singed by her eyes,
how does he
not be forever lost
in them

Next from my library, John Phillip Santos, from his book Songs Older  Than Any Known Singer published in 2007 by Wings Press of San Antonio.

Born and raised in San Antonio, Santos is  freelance filmmaker, producer, journalist, author and in 1979 became the first Mexican-American Rhodes Scholar. He lived in New York City for twenty years, working for the Ford Foundation as an officer in the Media, Arts  and Culture Program, before returning to San Antonio in 2005.

He was an Emmy Award nominee in 1985 and in 1988 for documentaries.

Elegy (Never  Delivered)

She was massive
in her huge furs
and coffee-stained smiles,
her words were stone.
But she liked parades
and she bit into them
like inevitable fruits.


Here, the oak claims it true dominion.
Here, the cactus deserves  a purple blossom.
I saw the falling light o the stars,
the shells  of ancient bees, for the first time,
here. I'm leaving again...who  knows for  how  long?

A Legend

When there were too few of them to sing the old songs
then silence became their song.
Their  pockets were full of eucalyptus leaves
and their voices cracked from liquor, smoke and laughing
when silence became their song.
They thought that god might be sad, missing the old songs
and they wondered if they could still dream
when silence became their song.
So  they gathered in the quiet, and they sang a silent dream
if the hand of god, emerging from a golden hoop i the sky
that left ll of  creation in its wake
when silence became their song.

This one is from the night before the night before Christmas, 2013.

thinking right is good

the East
and much of the Midwest buried
under ice and snow
while here
the sun shines bright
above a clear blue sky
and the temperature is wandering
about between 50 and 60
and it is a beautiful day
this morning before the night
and I'll try not to be
unnecessarily smug at my good
fortune because
I'm sure there will  be  a cloud
here some day

and in the meantime
it is a  pleasure to be smug
because all those uppity
and cud-chewing Midwesterners
deserve  dose of humbling outsider
now and then
after all  the terrible things
they say about my home
state in the heart of which
I am now deep, hi ho hi ho...

such meanness I demonstrate
here, hardly my normal
self for I find no  pleasure
in the misfortune of others,
except when I can contrast
my good fortune to  their
otherwise  fortune
I am completely convinced
they deserve...

bunch of damn liberals
and dairy farmers
who claim Santa  Claus
is not white and neither is Jesus
and how stupid is that
cause everyone knows God
is white and Jesus is his son
so he must be white, too,
white dude Dad and Jew mother
but we'll forget the mother
part  since to talk about that
would be for  certain another front
in the War on Christmas which is about
white Christians and is definitely not about
Jew mothers...

how hard to understand is that?

no wonder they have ice and snow
and we don't because they think wrong
and deserve it while us thinking
right certainly
our bright sun and  blue sky
and temperatures in the 50-60s

simple as that
hi  ho  hi

Next I have several short pieces by my poet friend Alex Stolis from his chapbook, Li Po Comes to  America,  published by Parallel  Press in 2010.

In this collection, Alex finds his inspiration in the world of basic science. Of poets I  know, he is the one who most pleases me, a beat poet with soul.

Third Law of Thermodynamics

XI. A cocktail waitress with Gene Tierney lips

tells me it's closing time, she talks about Kerouac,
hands me her last cigarette. I  want to call her a saint,
want her to take me home.

Instead, I get drunk. Pretend I don't care about details,
pretend I don't care about the duty of friends
or the way her eyes stab the night

                                     As temperature approaches absolute
                                     zero, the entropy of a system
                                     approaches a constant

XII. Getting stoned at Moby Dick's

Reaching for the sleeve
of your cot, I'm eager

to be reassembled. I count
on your need to forget.

Watch, as this dream
slides down my face -

cups its hand close
to the back of my neck.

Pythagorean Theorem

XIII. Fargo Rock City

You believe the last colors to bleed
through the sky will be lone reds
and jealous blues.

Watching two cigarettes lit  from one  flame
I touch the crucifix round your neck -
try to steal you voice when you pray.

                                         The sum of the squares of the lengths of the sides
                                         of a right triangle is equal to the square of the
                                          length of the hypotenuse

Another from a couple of weeks ago.

door wide open

despite the bright sunshine
there is the smothering embrace
of apocalypse in the air

dead animals
on the road, 
a deer, dead on a city street
where  deer shouldn't be

I feel the effect
of sleepless nights
and dreams of a slate
where stories unfold always

like the hand of god
writing on the wall but
always amending his story
and losing his place

our earthly door wide-open for  the

Next from my library, these poems are by John Poch, from his book, Poems, published in 2004 by Orchises Press.

Born in 1966 in Pennsylvania, Poch is a poet, fiction writer and critic. He holds an MSA in poetry from the University of Florida and Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. Since  2001 he has  taught in the creative writing program at Texas Tech University.


The cattails nodding above the marsh in autumn breeze
fluff at the edges like buffalo fur. This is the ease
with which the prim girl says of the pregnant farmer's daughter,
She let  herself go. This round loneliness, this tatter
whitest on the hem of cotton light must be open
to gossip, pitying the truth inside it,  hoping
the red-wing blackbird will make a cattail metronome
to a music of evening wind, knowing chickadees come
to line their winter nests with the down of failure's bed.
Think of the daughter standing in a doorway,  her  head
against the frame, her hair in tangles across her face,
fire light in the strands of inadequate embrace.

Winter Song

     "At Christmas - dead time of the year -
     When wolves eat wind, and nothing more"
                                                            - Villon 

I walk down to the lake. While the cold is shocking,
a peace descends in gusts and somersaults
through reeds - the hiss and whistle interlocking.

Tonight the sky's dozen layered cobalts
wash with flecks of God and angels talking
over whether you're mine. So  nearly salts

are stars that melt the cold of space, unlocking
warmth like footsteps i a solitary waltz.
Along the shore, I count the threes while walking

the sidewalk home. I pass the darkened vaults
of late doorways as if I were a king.
Like this, I chain a whisper to my faults.

This is another from 2013.

freak alley

the fat man
had the saddest eyes

carnival midway
freak alley
between the tilt-a-wheel
and toss the rings
win a prize

freaks -
the only one I remember
the fat man
not so
sitting cross-legged in
his tiny loin cloth
under the dim red light
of a 40 watt bulb...

such sad eyes
that made me sad too...

fifteen years old
then, a sucker
for sad fat men,
bothered when
people laughed at dim-witted
Lou Costello, his chubby face
a mask of innocent
embarrassed that I  laughed 
at him along with the

like the freak-alley fat man
he had sad

The next short piece from my anthology is by Paul Muldoon, one of Ireland's  leading contemporary poets. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for  Poetry and the T.S. Eliot Prize, held the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1999 to 2004.

The poem is from his book  Horse Latitudes, published by Faber and Faber in 2006.


A cubit-wide turtle acting the bobbin lid
by the side of the canal
conjures those Belfast nights I lay awake, putting in a bid
for the police channel
as lid bangers gave the whereabouts
of armored  cars and petrol bombers  lit one flare
after another. So many of those former sentries and scouts
have now take up the lyre
I can't be sure of what is and what is not.
The water, for example, has the look of tin.
Nor am I  certain, given their ability to smell the rot
once the rot sets in,
that turtles have not  been enlisted by some  police forces
to help them  recover corpses.

From a couple of weeks ago.

welcome stranger

in the fresh breeze
of an early

cool  front -
nothing serious
about it,
just welcome stranger
passing through

The next poem is by Mary Oliver, from her book New and Renewed Poems, Volume Two, published by Beacon Press in 2005.

Oliver,  born in Ohio in 1935 and described by the New York Times as "the country's best selling poet" is winner of both the National Book Award and the  Pulitzer Prize.


What is the good life now? Why,
look here, consider
the moon's white crescent

rounding,  slowly, over
the half month to still another
perfect circle -

the shining eye
the lightens the hills,
that lays down the shadows

of the branches of the trees,
that summons the flowers
to open up their sleepy faces and look up

into the heavens.
I used to hurry everywhere,
and leaped over he running creeks.

There wasn't
time enough for all the wonderful things
I could think of to do

in a single day. Patience
comes to the bones
before it  takes root in the heart

as  another good idea.
I say this
s I stand in the woods

and study the patterns
of the moon shadows,
or stroll  down into the waters

that now, late summer, have also
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another.

From 2013, a story of an unusual friendship.

a peculiar dialogue

I have a friend,
a relatively new friend,
who is a deeply true person of faith,
the kind of believer in Christ
who might have walked the streets
of Rome with Paul, speaking of her faith,
a believer in the Christ before there was Christianity,

before there was  church

before the Church became an institution
built around an approved version
of the faith, before the constraining version
that channeled faith in the ways approved
by the politics of the Council of Nicaea,
before the set of rules that made the Church one and   whole,
faith from before then, a free and open faith
from a time where there was a multitude
of faiths and believers, some sequestered in caves high above the desert,
some on street corners
of the great cities of that time,
some believing in Jesus the revolutionary prophet, some
in Jesus, the Jewish Philosopher King of Israel, some
worshiping Jesus s the Christ, Son of God,
and every variation of belief between,
centuries before the institutions that define the terms of faith today,,
before such days as today when for so many
bible-worship  has replaced

this person of deep and true faith
I have called her my teacher
as we talk often about faith
with respect, her faith
and faith in general,
each understanding  the other,
she, a person whose faith will never be  shake,
and me, a person who has no faith and never will,

and though I have no idea what, if anything,
she has learned from me,
I have learned from her a deeper understanding of faith
and people of such faith,
and, most important in these days of such pretense,
the difference between those, like her, who truly
have it,  and those, though they most loudly proclaim it,
do not and, like me, most likely never will..

it is  peculiar dialogue of
unlikely friends

I  complete my library poems this week  with several poems from  my poet friend Gary Blankenship.

Gary a lover (like me) of  Whitman sought to extend Whitman's introduction to America and the people of the country through his Leaves of Grass, by introducing us to the 50 American states that make up, with later additions, the  country that Whitman wrote of.

From Gary's 50 state poems, I chose four to use here.

#11 (Ohio)

He wears a tin pot hat, buckskin on  his back;
children's stories  show him barefoot - foolish that.
He plants in the wilderness among brambles
and poison oak - chased by the Redmen not tamed
by Capt. Rogers, crossing up from Kentuck.

#23 (Alabama)

He stood in line all day to register  to  vote,
and  returned the next day and the next and next -
until he was given a test he couldn't pass,
charged a fee he couldn't pay,  and his thin corn burned.
When that didn't work, they lynched him in a  lone pine.

#37 (Oklahoma)

She stopped where someone told her the Trail ended.
She sat, cried for her lost babies, all  of them.
Pushed hard by the Blue Coats, she had no time to cry,
to save her  children, mother, sister, father -
to rest  so she cried not caring for this dry land's name.
Showers fail to  cleanse the heart.

#47 (Nevada)

Grubbing for yellow ore since he was fourteen -
hard rock, pan, blast, sluice -  alone and for the  man.
The  end of his age, broke with only Jenny
with him  when in the Valley the mother  lode -
he died  rich passing into time as legend.

The last new bit for the week.

norther coming

as death sealed in a
crypt, not a leaf stirs,
not a breath whispers

north skies dark
to shake our world
into frenzy 

wait for it...

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 9:48 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

mary oliver bathetic tripe- she really bothers me

let me look at some of the other stuff

photos 5, green? church 7 blue moon, 8 intiguing palette, 11 hanging man/lynching? 15 composition, 16, same, 19 @ 21 also

at 9:48 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

mary oliver should write for hall mark greeting cards

at 1:28 PM Blogger Here and Now said...

green church, downtown Columbus,Ohio, a strange sight to come upon

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