Speckled Eggs Make Speckled Omelets    Wednesday, November 16, 2016





All me this week, for reasons more complicated than I want to  take the time to explain.

the best no-news of the day

Chuck Berry keeps'em rocking

a cowboy should  be tough enough

I set out to write a  poem

the rich are different from the rest of us

it's just hard to  see how this is going to work

through an open door

lessons from  John  Mayberry

riders of the purple haze

Adam before Eve

insomniac moon

the woman weeps

the woman with the witch hair

stumbling on the "Way"

stories that light the spark

slow day at the flapjack emporium

the distress of a west-facing cowboy

APO New York

election 2016

caravan

1971

a lizard, a housefly and  a woolly caterpillar walk into a bar 


(just to note that this post was prepared pre-election - I'm  still running nearly two  weeks ahead on my posts)












Hard to find good news today. So I've decided to be satisfied with the bad news that isn't there.












the best no-news of the day

looking for good news
in the Sunday Times

the best I can find
is the news that's not
there

Trump still isn't
president;

California still  hasn't fallen
into the Pacific;

snap, crackle, pop not  outlawed
by the local noise ordinance enforcement;

pizza pie is still round
mostly;

Wall Street hasn't crashed
and probably won't t least 
for a week or two;

only fifteen new wars started
while I slept;

my automobile hasn't been recalled
for murderous  tendencies;

and the police still haven't stumbled
into the  truth about
that  night in
1963

and neither has my wife,
possibly the best no-news of the day

again











I wrote this piece in 2007; I post it the week of Chuck's 90th birthday.

The photo - my father, my younger brother and me in my 1950s best.














Chuck Berry keeps'em rocking

Chuck Berry
is rocking
and rolling
from the speaker
overhead
and every head
in the cafe
is nodding
and every toe
is tapping
and I'm taken
back
fifty years
to the little
gym,
everyone
in their socks
hopping
and bopping,
waiting
for the next
slow dance
when I can
hold you close
and feel your
hand
damp in mine
and your soft
breath warm
in my
ear











Mining 2015 for old poems this week. Here's the first one.











a cowboy should be tough enough

did it again,
dressed for yesterday's weather,
Hawaiian shirt,  black with big red flowers
of probable Hawaiian  origin,
looking,
it seemed  to me as I  studied it this morning,
very much like a cowboy shirt
(except for the missing
fringe)

close enough to a cowboy shirt
to remind me  that rodeo  is just round the corner,
the first signs of it, the cowboy breakfast  this morning (for the 37th year)
soft tacos and coffee for about 75,000 people, very few of whom
are actually cowboys, except this once a year when they get up at 4 a.m.
and put on their cowboy hat and cowboy boots and fight heavy cowboy traffic
to the big parking lot over by Freeman Coliseum, while at the same time, approaching now
from all over South Texas and other cowboy lands to the west and north and even east
a few Cajun bayou cowboys, trail riders, bank clerks, schoolteachers, and insurance  salesmen
and the grizzled fella from down the street and occasional actual cowboys and cowgirls,
all bundled up against the cold, moseying in on their horses from days and nights on  the trail,
pots and kettles clattering on the sides of their chuck wagons, and sometimes soon,
the cattle drive down Commerce Street  through  the middle of downtown,
which seems to have some kind of secret launching date because
I always want to take pictures of it but somehow never know about it until it's over
and I'm thinking maybe this year I can find out where to go and get there ahead of time
and I'm thinking  I ought to be doing that right now, right after I cross the last "t" and dot the last "i"
on this little ramble, all,like this ramble, another dodge my dog would say, to avoid
going for a walk in 50 degree weather in my Hawaiian shirt. and I'm thinking cause cowboys are
 supposed to be tough and undeterred when it comes time to herd their herd, that maybe I should
reorient my thinking and based on the similarity of appearance, I should come to understand
that a cowboy shirt is just an Haitian shirt with fringe benefits
and conversely maybe I should think of this Hawaiian shirt as just a cowboy shirt de-fringed
and that should make me a cowboy tough enough, as befits my kind,
to go walk my dog...












How about something  from 2008, like this, first poem of that year.











I set out  to write a poem

I set out
to write a poem
right now,
the first
of the new year
but
it's a bright
and beautiful day
and I'm as sleepy
as a dog
in a patch of winter  sun
so literary ambitions
must be set aside

dream-time calls
and  mistress
not to be
denied
is
she












Another new one from a couple of weeks back.













the rich are different from the rest  of us

Midas
among  the bridge-sleepers,
bent and shuffling,
elderly, or just
a long-time veteran
of  the streets...

his riches -
two shopping carts
piled high with collected
treasure,  the carts
so  full
so heavy
he can't push  both
at the same time, instead
pushes one cart
ahead ten or twenty yards
then goes back to push
the second cart...

seen
in the same several blocks
every day,
history a mystery,
destination
unknown 

the life he lives, time's
tide
triumphant











This is from 2009, engaged, as I have so often had to be, in search for a new coffeehouse after my latest old one closed.












it's just hard to see how this is going to work

this place
is so clean-cut
it makes me want to shave
before I sit down to work
and it's Saturday
and I don't shave on Saturday,
I just don't -
it's like Lois Lane
dating
Clark Kent, Kent so square
and all-American clean
and Lois
so hot,  so randy, so ready
for a super-fling,
it's just hard to see how it's
gonna work

me
trying
to write a poem in this place,
is like trying to read one of those
decadent French poets
to my old high school  English teacher
who didn't even put up with contractions,
much less people fucking and pissing
and all that other stuff
on the page

serious editing
would be required or
she'd have heart attack

just like I'd have to clean up my language
before trying to write here; hell,  I'd have
to clean up my mind and it's that very
black and  twisty thing that keeps me going

it's  just hard to see  how it's  going to work












Here's another from 2015.












through an open door

through an open door,
girls laughing and singing
in the ensemble room across from me

long-haired chicas
in jeans and winter sweaters,
young and girlish

the soft sounds of their
whispers

their light voices
singing
giggling

if there's a more life-affirming sound in the universe
I've never heard it...











Written in 2010, a memory from  1966.










lessons from  John Mayberry

John Mayberry
was a black, soul-singer

who fronted a white
band in and around San

Angelo,  Texas,
playing

weekends
at  place called

The 13th Hour,
 big dance hall type place

near the country
on the north side San Angelo

where all the white guys and gals
went to get their soul lifted

on Friday
and Saturday nights...


it should be  said that
John Mayberry

was  helluva  soul  singer,
as good as any of the guys

making the big money, but,
true then as now,

while being good
is good

being good
at the right  time and place

is better
and Mayberry, good as he was

was never
at the right time and place

so he never went much of
anywhere

but The 13th Hour
where  he sang mostly for white folks

this was  1966
and  news of the Civil Rights Act

of 1964
hadn't completely percolated yet 

all the way down
to San Angelo and the rest

of Southwest  Texas,
in fact it hadn't hardly percolated

yet
at all

so there was still a white side
of town

and a black side of town
we all know what they called 

the black side of town back  then
so there's no  use to honor the word

by its use
here

anyway
me and several  other fellas -
temporary residents of the city while

going through some advanced training
at Goodfellow Air Force Base -

who never missed Mayberry
at The 13th hour

decide we'd go listen to him
at the little club

on the black side off  town
even  though the 4  of us were all white -

that was me,
a fella from  South Carolina

who was the whitest white boy
I've ever seen,

and a Yankee fella
from back east, and another

guy
who,  these 40+ years later

has completely
slipped out of my mind..


so the 4 of us
went to the club in the black

side of town
to listen to John Mayberry

and walked into the club,
the blackest place I had ever been

up to that night
and probably since,

went to the bar
and ordered a round of Falstaff

and found table
where we sat by ourselves

for maybe 30 seconds
before about 4 or5 very large fellas,

regulars at the club
from the looks of them

came to sit around us
and with very hard stares ask us

why we were there
and we said, for the music,

and they said, well alright then,
and moved on

and while never losing the consciousness
that we were a very small white

island
in a large black sea,

we set back and enjoyed
John Mayberry and his band


~~~~~~

and this morning
 I'm wondering why this scene

from all those  years ago
played through my mind last night

as I was trying to go to sleep
except that maybe it's just another example

of how our minds, when we get older,
seem to skip randomly

through our past,
jumping decades between memories

as think of the future
becomes so much  less meaningful to  us

than thinking of the past
there being so little future

and so much  past
to think about -

why
this memory last night  and not others,

except  that it was the only time
in my life

when music so directly saved me and the only time
in my life, except for the time I  stumbled myself

into  the middle of an anti-war riot
in Paris in 1968

when I felt threatened
because off the sole fact of who  and what

I was,
making me think about others in this world

for whom
that same threat

for that same reason
is part of their life every day












Again, from a couple  of weeks ago












 riders of the purple haze

I hold the reins with one hand
and with the other
hold  tight
my four-year-old son

and the other riders
get ahead of us
and the horse begins
to run
to catch up

and I bounce in the saddle
and Chris bounces
in my arms
and I'm yelling, whoa,
whoa, whoa,whoa,
dammit, whoa

and I'm frantic
trying to stay in the saddle
frantic with fear
of dropping the boy
or falling off myself and
taking him with me...

not soon enough
we catch up with the rest
of the riders and the horse
settle down to a steady,  rolling
walk

and my young son
laughs and
laughs

"do again," daddy,
"do it again!"











A poem  from 2011, during a quiet interlude between winter and spring.













Adam, before Eve

up late last night,
enjoying the night air
blowing tender and cool -

goose-bump breeze
of a  mild sort,
not like the ice-shard winds

of a couple of weeks ago,
winter wind
clawing mean from the north...

spring
has brought  foliage again
to the trees between me and the condominiums

on the other side of the creek; our locations
on opposing hillsides
baring the trees and me to the scrutiny

of people who, during leafless winter,
learn more about me
than I ever want to  know about them...

but not tonight,
as I  luxuriate in the full-leafed cocoon
of my backyard,

the night overcast, low clouds
reflecting  back to the ground all the city light,
making it bright as day in my midnight nest -

trees
dark shadows
against the bright sky, limbs  shifting slow

against the sky
s the night  winds blow,  until
now and then the sky breaks open

to show  star,
a silver moon, a nighthawk
flying from tree to tree...

I pee on the back fence,
a moment of  nature in the night,
Adam,before  Eve,

alone still after busy day,
enjoying now, a peaceful prelude
to a well-slept night
 











Back to 2015.











insomniac moon

drift
in n uncertain sky

a jumble
tumble
time
&
places
people
known
people
unknown
reminded of
by people
known
dog wants
out
dog wants
in
a-jumble a-tumble
moon set
sun  rise
another day
to lose
after another
lost night











This piece from a funeral in 2005.











the woman weeps

the woman weeps

the coffin lowered  slowly into the open grave

women all around weep as well, women
who have sat where the weeping woman sits
and women who someday  will

the men watch,  knowing
there is  box  waiting for them
someday
and a hole being dug
a little deeper
each day
to  contain it












More from two weeks ago.













the woman  with witch hair

she's outside
on the patio, reading Harold Bloom,
scribbling notes in a notepad,
a professor at the university maybe,
but it's the  long
grey-white hair that takes my attention,
straight and thick,like a haystack,  like a spiky cloud
rising beside and behind her,
or, less kind, like a large furred mammal
that has her head in a death grip...

probably a nice woman,
an intellectual for sure, but
I don't know her,
stuck with thinking of her now
as the woman with witch hair...

an orange baseball cap
atop  all the hair 
adds a
seasonal flair 










From 2013, a breakfast observational.








stumbling on the "Way"

I  didn't like
the fat
man
who was here
a couple of days
ago,
kept his hands
clasped
over his bulging belly
like he didn't want
it to get
away...

changed tables
three times
before he found
one
sufficiently clean
for his taste;
found fault with everything
the server did,
sarcastic, smiling all the
while,
creepy smile, like child
ripping
one wing, then  the other
from a captive
fly,
so much fun,
the fat boy thinks,
cats
next, maybe,
that yellow tabby that sits
on the porch of the old lady
next door,
more fun than flies
because flies
are mute
and you cannot hear them
scream, not so  cats
who yowl with each  slice
of the knife,each
poke of the stick, each
flare of butane,
cats,
so much fun
to have a
kitty...

~~~

my diagnosis - the fat man,
a narcissistic psychopath,
pulling the wings
off
hard
working
waitresses,
probably an element in a
psychopathic  sex
fetish...

I  didn't like the
fat man,
an asshole,
I might  have called him
before my essence was moderated by
finding the "Way"

but,  my the Masters forgive me,
I still like the  pure clarity of  it
best...

asshole!










I believe our monsters are actually deeply buried memories from a time before we were fully human. That's what this is about.












stories that light the  spark

ancestral memories
of  the most remote of our ancestors
turned into stories of our kind
when not yet quite
our kind...

a time of monsters,  all seen
by our tiny predecessor-selves
from behind rocks and verdant forest
foliage, remembered,
monsters still living even
in the now of our genetic memory,
stories told over thousands of campfires
lit and burning over-thousands of years...

fairy tales we call them now...

Einstein said, to raise and intelligent child,
read to them from the fairy tales, genetic
memories of the giants who  preyed  upon us
and also from  our genes memories
of how we defeated them,
lessons from the past before our time, sometimes
before our kind, all these tales
primers of how  we came to be  and how  we might
survive...

stories that light the spark  of a fully conscious
humanity...












This from 2014, enumerating some of the reasons I should remain humble.












slow day at the flapjack emporium

slow day
at the flapjack emporium

just me
and a couple of nurses
and the tiny blond police officer
with her  partner...


outside
the day shrouded
in a dim curtain of premature light

and I'm thinking -
a busy week,
sitting here eating my 387th biscuit with gravy,
writing my 2,990-something poem of the day,
finishing work  later today
on my 400 and something weekly literary blog,
preparing for  reading late in the week,  squeezing a few fair poems
into 30 minutes of entertainment for family
and friends, maybe selling a book,
maybe selling a  photograph,
but probably not, payment, almost certainly, in fun
or  no payment at all...

thinking
what is it I'm  doing,  what  is my purpose, what  is  my
meaning...

a slip of truth...

I'm not thinking of any of that,
quit thinking about that kind of stuff
long ago, understanding
that my life's purpose is and will forever be,or at least until it's too late
to make a difference, unknown  to anyone including me

and the meaning of what I'm doing

is that what I'm doing all these same-same days
is filling a chest of me that come  to rest, dusty and forgotten
in an attic until someday more room is needed
in its storage space and it is put out on the curb for trash collection day,
until, by chance, it is rescued by an otherwise disinterested
passer-by and taken home, all the scraps of me
dumped in the recycle bin and the chest itself repainted pink or blue
and plastered with decals of cartoon figures of the time and
turned into toy box for a child will forever have to be reminded
to put his or her toys in it instead of scattered
on the  floor room to room...

and, at first, this saddens me, to think of all those slips of me
scattered while the chest of  me  becomes toy box
for forgotten toys,
and then I think, well, is that  not so appropriate,
this chest of me, always a toy box, filled daily by me
with my toy of the day, so many by the time it's over,
things I played with and forgot, just as
this  toy will also be soon
forgot...












Life is surely  full of challenge.













the distress of a west-facing cowboy

a  bunch of engineer-looking
types
have taken my west-facing table
at the coffeehouse
leaving me to take a new place
facing east,
which is a real problem
since everyone knows
two things
about us cowboy types -
we die with our boots on
and we are creatures of west-
facing
orientation

which leaves me
in a state
of high anxiety
since what if I write
a snobby east-facing poem
this morning
and have to keep it
because
I can't come up with
anything
else...

you know,
facing east and
all,
guaranteed trouble
for west-facing cowboy











This is one of my first poems, first written in 1969, after completing my last military assignment, nearly a year at a small Air Force Intelligence base on the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan.













APO New York

So I'm sitting here
at the absolute and eternal center
of all that is lost and lonely,
cataloguing my sins, thinking,
which one was it, oh lord,
that caused you to leave me here,
forsaken and abandoned,
when there is so much goodness and beauty
still to be tasted in my life...

I'm thinking of mountains,
maybe the Sandias or Manzanas. and the way
they look from the desert floor in early winter,
with snow clouds spilling over the crest
like a dime's worth of ice cream in a five cent cone...

Or waking on a mountain top,
making coffee with water come from snow
melted in pot over juniper fire,
smelling the air, fresh made for the morning
never breathed before, never close to anything
that wasn't clean and bright and wholesome...

Or the back roads and fields
and lakes and thick wooded hills
of south central Missouri,
the golden October shimmer of an aspen grove
amid a stand of deep green pine,
the cool and ageless presence
of Anasazi ghosts in the canyons of Mesa Verde,
the boulevards of Paris glistening in early April rain,
the splash and rumble
of South Padre surf at midnight...

Or the essences of home,
the slam of the back screen door
with its too short spring,
the creak in the kitchen floor,
the bite of cold cactus jelly,
the luminous green
of the lightning-split mesquite
shading the backyard at the onset of summer...

And the best things,
the peace and love and heart-full joy
of you in my life,
the taste of your lips,
the soft slide of your  skin on mine,
your warm breath on my chest
as you curl against me sleeping,
the fresh smell of your hair,
delicate as china silk,
framing your face,
falling across your shoulders,
the sound of your morning laughter,
your secret whispers
in the quiet of winter night...

These are my comforts tonight, my love,
as I try to sleep in this place
so far from my life's essentials...

You, the sum and substance of my dreams,
my love,
my breath, my life, my evermore,
and I am missing you tonight...









The election only five days away as I prepare this post, making this my last pre-vote comment on the election.

Actually, it looks like there is  choice this year, which seemed only marginally likely back at the beginning of the year when I  wrote this..

And we all know now how that turned out.









election, 2016

it's
like an ugly dog contest

there's sure to be a
winner
but
you're  still
not gonna want
to take it
home

politics
in the world's oldest
democracy...

2016








These two poem were written in 1971, a year or so after the "APO New York" poem. The first is from my time in the Northwest Frontier.

The portion of the base where we lived and our operations center where we worked was separated by a road that was, at least occasionally, on a caravan route. It was quite a sight, going to work in the morning, to pass through the caravan resting at our gate, all their wares spread out while their camels rested.

I don't think people under 35 understand today how it was in 1971. At two time I was a civilian again, after being drafted two weeks before Christmas, 1965, a month before my 22nd birthday. But for men, and their women if they had one, 18 years old to their early 20s, deferment was the ticket that had to be held on to or the draft was a certainty.

The second poem is of that time and though not very good, the subject was very emotional, leaving some students weeping as I read it to them. It was quite an experience, moving people to such a degree with my words the first time it had happened.

Both poem were published in small journal in Austin that, after being long established, shut down immediately after they published my poems. I have that same effect on coffeehouses.






caravan

I woke one morning and there was a

camel
          camel 
                    camel
                              camel
                                        camel
                                                  camel
                                                            camel
                                                                      camel
                                                                                camel
                                                                                          camel
                                                                                                    camel
                                                                                                              camel
                                                                                                                        camel
                                                                                                                                  camel
                                                                                                                                             camel

caravan
marching single file
across my back yard

they were

brown
          and
                ugly
                       brown
                                 and 
                                       ugly
                                              brown
                                                        and
                                                              ugly
                                                                     brown
                                                                                and
                                                                                      ugly
                                                                                             brown
                                                                                                      and
                                                                                                           ugly
                                                                                                                  brown
                                                                                                                           and
                                                                                                                                ugly 

and all the trade goods
piled on their backs
made the clatter clang clatter
that had awaken  me

clang
        clang
                clang
                        clang
                                clang
                                        clang
                                                clang
                                                        clang
                                                                clang
                                                                        clang
                                                                                clang
                                                                                        clang
                                                                                                clang
                                                                                                        clang
                                                                                                                clang
                                                                                                                        clang
                                                                                                                                clatter

they went their way
and I went back to sleep 


1971

she's eighteen years old
married since last spring
facing now
her first winter
as woman  and a wife

the child of her absent husband
is growing within her
and will soon cry with escape

she faces the time quietly
sitting in the home of her parents
in the room that was hers
for all the years before
listening to little girl music on the radio

she thinks of last winter
when the music seemed so much more
at the school Christmas party
where they danced

she tries to recapture the time and the feeling
but she can't

she cries
and causes her parents to worry
but they think they understand

she cries and wishes
her husband would return
from his father's war
and tell her she is happy













Well, got a great title anyway.












a lizard and a housefly and a woolly caterpillar walk into a bar

A lizard and a  housefly and a woolly caterpillar walk into a bar.

The lizard asks for a tequila sunrise.

The housefly orders a martini.

And the shy woolly caterpillar asks very quietly for a cosmopolitan.

After several rounds of convivial imbibing, the lizard says to the housefly, "If it wasn't for your most agreeable personality and if you were not such an  excellent drinking companion, I'd probably  eat you.

The housefly buzzes its appreciation in the most agreeable manner possible and orders another drink, a tequila sunrise this time.

The woolly caterpillar says nothing, thinking not to draw attention to his woolly self, fearful that the lizard and housefly, in an intoxicated state, might think about how he would make a wonderful woolly covering on a cold night.

So as the lizard and the housefly in great bonhomie talk and drink and talk and drink, the woolly caterpillar sits in mute silence.

Until, eventually, the lizard and the housefly fall into a drunken sleep while the caterpillar, woolly no longer, flaps its new wings and flies away.

No more Friday nights out with the guys from the office, thinks the no longer woolly, winged caterpillar,flipping its wings in the beauty of its timely metamorphic  state.










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
 


the end

4 Comments:
at 10:24 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

as usual on photos: 1 birds 2 yellow 6 contrast 8 composition 15 light and shade (mesa verde?) 19 composition 20 still life (chk painter morandi)

will now lk at poetry

signed everybuddysacritic

at 10:31 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...


I set out to write a poem

I set out
to write a poem
right now,
the first
of the new year
but
it's a bright
and beautiful day
and I'm as sleepy
as a dog
in a patch of winter sun
so literary ambitions
must be set aside

dream-time calls
and mistress
not to be
denied
is
she

this not bad- wm carlos wms nxt i chk yr line lengths and wonder - what abt
cld this b better?


I set out to write a poem
right now the first of the new year
but it's a bright beautiful day
and i'm sleepy as a dog

ok ok-
the last is
she
is justifired (for emphasis)

i have a lot issues w line lengths these days

if u look at the writers almanac or poem a day- - i'm thinking they want to give writers just starting out some shine- oke- BUT- or is it young writers they want to........

at 11:10 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

election, 2016

it's
like an ugly dog contest

there's sure to be a
winner
but
you're still
not gonna want
to take it
home

politics
in the world's oldest
democracy...

confusing thins g is- are yu talking about Greece?

the u s is an oligarchy- few people vote and when they do- their votes dont count!

so yr last stanza (which cld b one line- does not make sense!

at 12:21 PM Blogger Here and Now said...

thanks

and yes, mesa verde, one of my favorite places in one of my favorite states.

what are we at now 130,000 million plus and still counting. hardly a few. as to the others who didn't vote, fuck'em. who cares what they want or think.

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