Swifter Drifter   Wednesday, November 09, 2016





I got far ahead of  myself somehow and am writing my posts about two weeks before their posting. So, even lacking a crystal ball, I'm assuming that the degenerate-right assault has been beaten and Hillary is out President-Elect. If it somehow turns out  that is not the case, you can contact me via the Canadian Refugee Re-Settlement Division.

Other than that, just a regular old Here and Now post.

in search of the right emoji

Erik Meitner
Preventing Teen Age Cough Medicine  Abuse

this old bed

Marge Piercy
skimpy day at the solstice

It feels  like it's me against life and life is winning

Michael Ondaje 
Country Night

another dark and misty morning

Suzette Marie Bishop
Laura's Cello

transfer in  the still barely day

Jennette Lozano
First Hint of Thirst

according to chatter on the net

David Eberhardt
Homage to Horror Movie  - "The Ring"

just look at what they did to my picnic table

Jorie Graham

the desert far below

David St. John
The Reef

6 a.m.

Richard Brautigan
phantom  kiss
the wooer
don't be afraid of death 

remember the story of it

Charles Bukowski
fencing with the  shadows

cleave to the light    

First new poem from a couple of weeks ago.

in search of the right emoji

it's not that there's not 
a lot to write 

there's a whole world out there
of beautiful and ugly things,
interesting people
and intriguing
hopeful and dire

this morning
I just don't have the energy
to dig it out and figure out
it all means

in fact
my fear this morning
is that expending
all that time and creative
energy I would learn that it all
does not mean anything,
that it is all, in fact,
just God's Monday morning

and that he is somewhere
there behind the clouds,laughing
at us who seek to exalt ourselves by seeking
for all of it, and,
by extension, for us,  meaning
in his celestial

in the end,
we are left to find, not grandiose meaning,
but just an appropriate

From my library, Erika Meitner, from her book, Ideal Cities, a Harper Perennial book published in 2010.

Born in Queens, New  York City in 1975, Meitner has an MFA from the University of Virginia where she teaches.

Preventing Teen Cough Medicine Abuse

the poem I stated with you in a motel
plateaued the poem I started with you

in a motel started spending evenings
at home with a rapid heartbeat we were not

in a motel the poem was in that place
with my hair draped across your chest

and something was wet it was unclear
what did I mention there was a rapid

heartbeat there was a raw unfinished
from there  was an out-of-body skitline

with distortions of color and sound,
which is to say you were

so beautiful in those dangerous
side effects that I couldn't

help it there was no  programs
I couldn't  help it no matter

how many pamphlets I couldn't
help it could be abused the

combination we  left the bedspread
on I just (dextromethorphan) swooned

Struggling to get to sleep last night, I thought of this old poem about the bed I sleep on, the bed my father was born on. He died in 1980 at age 65 which makes the bed at least 100 years old, almost certainly older.

Sleeping in the lap of all that history,  no wonder I sometimes have trouble sleeping.

I don't recall exactly, but I think I wrote the original version of this poem about ten or fifteen years ago.

this old bed

I sleep
on the bed
where my father
was born
100 or more years ago,
second child of Celeste
and August
amid rocky hills
and pecan and oak and
flowing streams
in the little
Texas-German town
of Fredricksburg

I sleep
on the bed
that has slept my family
through two cold wars
a cold war
and multiple wars of lesser scope,
through  twenty-one  presidents
of the United States,
some wise,
some  not
some equal
to the needs of their time,
some not,
through  musical genres
from ragtime
to hip-hop,
through prohibition
and bathtub gin,
through the gilded age,
the jazz age,
fire bombing
atom bombing
getting bombed
in the suburbs
and getting sober
with AA,
through seven presidential
assassination attempts,
in Dallas,
on the launch pad,
in near-earth orbit,
Kitty Hawk
to men on the moon,
the cries of the dead
from famine,
from genocide,
from indifference
of the ruling class,
through Bull Connor
and his  police dog,
through King
and his dreams

and his death
on a motel balcony

to Barack Obama
and the triumph
of dreams,
through the triumph
of good
and the reemergence
of evil,
the cycle played out
over and over again
in days of yellow
journalism, through
Murrow and Cronkite
and Brinkley and  Huntley
on radio and  TV
and on the web,
Wikipedia  fact
and Wikipedia fancy,
truth swaying
on an unstable pedestal,
lies flying in the wind,
plain racists,
and everyday bloody

and through it all

all the times of reaping
and sowing,
the bed has calmed the nights
through at least three generations
of sleep and passion
and midnight dreams

waiting now
for the final sleep
of this generation
and the lying down
to  rest of the next

Next from my library, Marge Piercy, a poet I frequently use here, from her book, The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing. The book was  published in 1980 by Alfred A. Knopf.

Skimpy day at the solstice

The whiskey-colored sun
cruises low as a marshhawk
over the dun grass.
Long intricate shadows bar the path.

Then empty intense winter sky.
Dark crouches against the walls of buildings.
The ground sinks under it.
Pale flat lemon sky
the trees all hooks scratching.

If I could soar I could
prolong daylight on my face.
I could float on the stark
wooden light, levitating
like dried milkweed silk.

Only December and already
my bones beg for sun.
Storms have gnawed the beach
to the cliff's base.  Oaks
in the salty blast clutch ragged
brown leaves, a derelict's
paperbag of sad possessions.

Like the gulls that cross from sea  to bay
at sunset  screaming, I am hungry.
Among sodden leaves and hay-colored needles
I scavenge for the eye's least
nibble of green.

Here's  another new piece, a rant.

it feels like it's me against life and life is winning

I went to the supermarket
to buy some Miracle Whip for
my baloney sandwich and didn't
notice until I got home that had bought
Fat Free Miracle Whip which are wizard words
for cardboard Miracle Whip, which I didn't
notice because, old and feeble-minded as I am,
it  never occurs tome that a name brand
supermarket would be selling
cardboard Miracle Whip or cardboard (i.e. fat free)
anything though of course,they do, in fact the sell
lots of cardboard stuff, from Miracle Whip
to ice cream to milk to,  well, sirloin steaks to
just about anything that might have,
at  some point in your life, been tasty,
all the cardboard replacements
waiting now to ambush alley 
to  leap, cardboard claws extended,
on the back of the insufficiently observant...

I'm just telling you
cardboard is loose in the world
just about everywhere,  just another example
of  how life is at war with anything
relating to the good life you so fondly

I'm saying
watch out for
the invasion of cardboard

hold high the good life,
natural fact,
natural taste,

sizzle up a juicy
fat-dripping prime rib
sluicing between your teeth...

if we can't win
we can at least go down

This poem is by Michel Ondatje, taken from his book The Cinnamon Peeler published by Vintage Books in 1997. He is a Canadian novelist and poet who won the Booker Prize for The English Patient.

Country Night

The bathroom light burns over the mirror

In the blackness of the house
beds groan from the day's exhaustion
hold the tired shoulders bruised
and cut legs the unexpected
3 a.m. erections. Someone's  dream
involves a saw someone's
dream involves a woman.
We have all  dreamed of finding the lost dog.

The last light on upstairs
throws a circular pattern
through the decorated iron vent
to become  a living room's moon.

The sofa calls the dog, the cat
in perfect blackness walks over the stove.
In the room of permanent light
cockroaches march on enamel.
The spider with jeweled colored thighs the brown moth
with corporal stripes
                                        ascend  pipes
and look into mirrors.

All night the truth happens.

A memory poem from 2014.

another dark & misty morning

another dark & misty morning,
car lights on the interstate like
streaks on wet grass...

I think of other mornings
on the coast, driving to  work
on Shoreline, stopping
at the first T-head to soak in
the smell of salty morning air,
like a caterpillar in a cocoon,
not yet  ready to try its new wings,
I m embraced and embrace in turn
the soft wet fur of fog, drifting  slowly,
bay to shore, up the bluff to the city center
and to my office where a new day is,
for a little while delayed

and in this drifting mist I hear but cannot see  gull
nearby,  calling in gull-squawky voice
to the morning, to the lost moon
and the tardy sun, content, as am I,
to wait, to  let it all  work itself out,
to enjoy the never-when
never-where of a morning pulled
from time and place, leaving
no anchor to the here and now
but the cry of a hungry bird...

a brisk wind swirls across the bay,
pushes a soft, passing hole in the fog
and I  see the gull on a piling, near
close enough to  touch,  then  lost again
as the breeze passes, as must the bird
and as I must, both of us knowing the world
will be calling soon

Suzette Marie Bishop is the next poem, with a  piece from her book Horse Minded, published in 2012by CW Books.

I couldn't find a biography of the poet on the web, or a picture. But she does have a great cover for her book.

Laura's Cello

The cello's voice refuses
to stay in one room
and finds its way out of the house,
gliding toward a woman

reading on her porch.
The woman glances up, discerning
the cellist's form.
Her fingering

reminds the woman
of a girl pulling knots
out of her hair, an untangling gesture.
This husky voice

comes from the desire for smoothness.
At night, the low
moan of a cello soothes and demands
like  lover's voice

until moonlight and the lights
of other lives slide
across the room,
lingering over the silent strings.

Another new from a couple of weeks ago.

transfer in the still barely day

it's Sunday morning

and the dim morn's
is lifted
 by a chubby young
barista with  her round smiling  face
and a hearty howdy-do

a transferable smile is the gift 
she brings to  the
and she transferred it
right on
to me

The most beautiful book in my library is The Movements of Water/Los momentos del agua, a coffee table sized books with poems by Jeannette Lozano beautiful water-themed art by Victor Ramirez. It is a bilingual (English/Spanish) book published in 2006 by Ediciones Poligrafa of  Spain.

The English translation is by Ron Hudson.

First Hint of Thirst

- I thirst.
-Tell me about your thirst.
-How dry my tongue, do you not see?
-I do not want you to drink any water.
-My thirst is in my voice.
-Do not look at your notes, use your memory.
-I need you to listen to me.
-I am listening.
-Only the dead listen.
-And me?
-You can not hear me.
-I want you to talk to me and that you not drink water.
-Are you talking about my desert?
-I speak of that which you see.
-Desert and thirst. My lips are dry. I feel a fine white covering
on the roof of my mouth.
-Tell me of this: of your thirst for caresses, for tenderness.
-I  said it in the poem.
-Can you leave it with me?
-No, I wanted to read what I wrote on the flight.
-You will bring it tomorrow?
-No, tomorrow I will not be me.

Another memory poem from 2014, this one a memory from 1968-69 when, at a small base on Pakistan's Northwest Frontier, I was part of  unit monitoring  Soviet military radio activity.

according to  chatter on the net

winter night under a  clear desert sky

more stars than you ever knew were up there

the Hindu Kush, the  sun's hinge
as it begins its red glow
behind their dry, ravaged peaks

the guard camp
outside our walls begins to stir,
the shuffle of sleepy soldiers awakening
as the over-nighters come weary to their  beds

I, a soldier too, but not in their army,
walk to  morning mess,  then
to work, day shift on Moscow time

a Cold War warrior,
I will listen to the enemy's chatter
and write it all down...

the day begins...

an early flight from their highest commander
crossing the Soviet  border through  the Afghan air  gate,
a roundabout destination, to Paris,
his dour Russian wife left behind, it's said,
who suspects,  it's said,
the jolie fille who awaits him
with bonbons au chocolat by her bed

according to chatter on the net
the war will not start today

David Eberhardt is a poet friend from Baltimore. (Though he's much more kind to my photographs than to my poems.)I discovered that I had two of his books in a corner of my library that I had forgotten about. I have a poem this week from one of the books; will include a poem from the other book next week. This book was published by Loch Raven Press in 2011.

Born in 1941, David was incarcerated at Lewisburg Federal Prison in 1967 for offenses as a war protester. He retired in 2010 after 33 years working in the Baltimore City Jail.

Homage to Horror Movie: "The Ring"

After my dreams, I'm grateful for the light of day.
It gives solutions to problems of the night.
I hope death will not be an end, just some sort of night.

A burning tree...I guess I understand. I pray
The demon girl will  not come out of my tv today.
The Ladder then - this also seems to do with night.

Why? Why? would they hurt a child this way?!?
And why a light house with its "tell" and "tell" tolls,
As if singing, like an evil bell...

The horse pushed off a boat?
My dreams are seldom happy, they're in a sour way -
"You'll have to die," but I wake every day!!!!

I'm happy to be alive - take just last night:
I dreamt of descent, down, down a well,
But by the day I'd clambered toward the light -
A glorious spider creature, I woke to bright light!

More from a couple of weeks ago.

just look at what they did to  my picnic table

grackles are back

a pooptacular mess
under every tree

I strive
to be a nature lover
but living in this pooptropolis
is trying my Wild Kingdom tolerance
and, Marlin Perkins forgive me,

I'm about to take out my shotgun
and clear some trees 

This short poem is by Jorie Graham, from her book Never, published in 2002 by Ecco/Harper Collins.

Born in 1950 in New York City, Graham, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1996 is Boylston Professor at Harvard, the first woman appointed to that position.


("From Behind Trees")

The branchful of dried leaves blown about the center
of the road, turning on itself is it a path:
snake: gray-brown updrafting: drama:
whole affair  played out between the wind's quiver, wind's
dusty haste, an almost impeccable procedure,
bit of scenery from which all fear
is deleted. So it
is right here, where I am peering, where I am supposed to
how the new gods walk behind the old gods at the suitable distance.

From two years ago, a memory poem.

the desert far below

the desert far below
is a shifting gray sea, precursor
to the first winter snow, dense fog rising,
creeping through the canyons
like a soft, wet snake
uncoiling, mounting to overflow the canyons,
slithering across the basin,
burying us in its cotton coils,
climbing the peaks around us
so that there is no longer anywhere
to  look where we can see,
far below to high above, to the trees
and the blue metal lawn chair
outside our cabin, nothing to see.
wrapped in a morning
outside morning,
outside day, outside
night, blind in the soft belly of the beast...

in the woods
outside our cabin
I hear  a scratching,
a sightless scrambling, some other creature
wrapped with in in the shroud...


we are not alone

(Chisos Basin,  Big Bend National Park, October,2011)

Next, I have a  poem by David St. John, from his book,  Study for the World's Body. The book was published by Harper Perennial in 1994.

Born in 1949, St. John was educated at the University of Iowa and California State University, Fresno. Having previously taught at Oberlin College and John Hopkins University, he currently teaches at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

The Reef

The most graceful of misunderstandings
I could not keep close at hand
She paused a moment
At the door as she adjusted her scarf against
The winds & spray & in the moonlight
She rowed back across the inlet to the shore

I sat alone above my pale vodka
Watching its smoky trails of peppercorn
Rising toward my lips

& while I flicked the radio dial
Trying to pick up the Cuban station or even
The static of "The Reggae Rooster" from Jamaica

I watched the waves foam above the coral & recede

Then foam breathlessly again & again
As a school of yellow tail
Rose together to the surface & and then suddenly dove
Touched I knew by the long silver glove

Of the barracuda she loved to watch each afternoon
As she let the boat drift i its endlessly

Widening & broken arc

Another new, early morning  inspiration.

6 am

a blue-black sky
thin clouds
like foam on a dark sea

bright, orange crescent

five-star San Antonio morn

Here are several short poems by Richard Brautigan, from the book, The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings, a Mariner Original published in 1999 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Called the "last of the Beats," Brautigan was born in  1935 and died in 1984. Known mostly for his ten novels, the best known is Trout Fishing in America. These early poems by Brautigan were written in the early 1950s and turned over to a friend to do with what she wanted.

phantom kiss

is no worse
to remember
a kiss
never occurred.

the wooer

I will woo
you carefully
as somebody
to cheat

I will woo
so carefully
that you
will get
so impatient
that you
will start
to woo me.

If that doesn't work,
I'll try something else.

don't be afraid of death

When you are old
and about to be eaten
by  coffin,
                 be afraid
                 of death.


Another memory poem written in 2014.

remember me the story of it

she had wanted to see this
most of her life

imagining it
from the backseat
for fifteen hundred miles
on our way there...

but age brought great fear
of heights -
wouldn't  get out of the car
to see it

so afraid
the solid earth
would  sink away from her
would be gone
the minute she put her foot on it

wants me to describe it
for her
wants me
to tell her the story
of it...

so I can remember
having been here,  she said,
so I can remember  it
and what it was

(Grand Canyon, 1988)

What better way to finish with my library poems this week than with Charles Bukowsky raging against his own end. The poem is from his book The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain, a collection of new poems published by Ecco/Harper Collins in 2004, ten years after the poet's death from leukemia.

Bukowsky seems today still so vital and real, it's hard to believe it's more than 20 years after his passing.

fencing with the shadows

really feeling old sometimes,
pushing to get off of the couch,
puffing as I tie my shoes.
no, not me,
Jesus, please not me!
put me in a fucking walker next,
plodding along.
somehow, I couldn't abide

I light a cigar,
feel better.
at least I can still make it to the  track
every day they're running, slam
my bets in.
keeps the heart warm and the
brain hustling.
I still  drive the side streets
in the meanest parts of
gliding down back alleys, peering
always curious.
I'm still crazy,
I'm all right,
and I'm in and out of the doctor's
office, for this, for that, joking with
the nurses.
give me a few pills and I'm all
got a refrigerator up here
in my writing room
stocked with cold  ones.
the fight is still on.
I maybe backed into a corner but I'm
snarling in the dark.
what's left?
the redemption and the glory.
the last march of summer.
try to put me in a walker now and I'll
kick your ass!
meanwhile, here's another cold one,
and another.
it will be while before I
see you at the finish line,

Finishing up this week with an affirmation.

cleave  to the  light

sun bright
wind to my back

new and better days
in my eyes

believe the sun
is real

open your eyes
and believe every
golden promise
you see
as well

not to your darkest
to  the warm shinning light

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 12:15 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

photos liked- counting down- 3 stark 4 erotic? 6 contrast and color 12 color

at 9:04 AM Blogger Here and Now said...

thanks, dave

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