Whatzitgotcha   Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It is time (to protect the Constitution)

it's time to begin


to begin 

No new poems, but a bunch of old ones and ten  anthologies.Sounds like fun.

barrel racing

Titjana Gomaca
 I Like It  When You Come Around with Your Friends


Li-Young Lee
One Heart

road sign

Tracie Morris
Project Princess

scenes from an Italian restaurant

Dulce Maria Loynaz
Love Is...

pictures from an American lynching

John  Hollander
Under Cancer

the cruelty of cats  at play
so sorry
storm warning

Gladys Cardiff
Tsa'lagi Council Tree

sunrise from 6-E

Bertold Brecht 
When in My Room at the Charite  

slow dancing on a rainy day

Adrian C. Louis
Nevada Red Blues

north wind on a southern  beach
before the estate sale
Baby Stuff
on the corner  of Filmore & Grand   
once in Mississippi

Cecil Bodker

flavor straight off the farm
first frost
explaining  it all to my dog Reba
dreams of early frost
dinner plate  moon
conversations at  the end of day
cat dance    

Here's my first poem for the week. I wrote this in 2000; it was published in Hawkwind a year later.

barrel racing

it's about
agility, communion
between horse and rider,
the fluid movement
of two as one,
each alternately
controlling, anticipating,
becoming a single creature,
two together, dancing through
the dust

that's the way of barrel racing,
best done when horse and rider
are evenly matched...

I had a horse once
who always threw me
on the second barrel
and a long-time lover
who did the same

just a little better
at the game
than me...

that's the way
of barrel racing
and that's the way
of love

My first anthology this week is New European Poets, published by Graywolf Press in 2008.

The poem I selected from the book is by Croatian poet Tatjana Gromaca. Born in 1971, Gromaca is a poet and fiction writer who works for Feral Tribune, a weekly magazine known for its political satire. Her first book of poems, Something Wrong, Maybe, was received favorably by critics and was subsequently translated into German and Polish.

The poem's title makes me think of Cab Calloway's Everybody Eats When They Come to My House.

I like It When You Come Around with Your Friends

I like it when you come around with your friends after soccer
And I cook some apple pie ad cheesecake

Afterward we drink wine and schnapps from the refrigerator
And we talk loudly, without being wonky.

The radio is on
And the neon light above the sink.

We talk  about war criminals,
about possible options for our future
and about anything that suggests
there is no life  in this country.

It is summer and all the windows are open.
The people some floors below us
Can clearly hear our voices.
Sitting at the dining table,  they may
Get  an objective impression  of the situation
And see  what all this is turning into.

        Translated from  Croatian by Andrew Wachtel

Here's another, this one written in 2004, never published, that late, probably never sent it out because that's about the time I quit doing that.


bellies are sexy
down low,
that place where
the waist tapers to its thinnest
and the flare of the hip begin, and
right there, a tattoo,
a rose, or a butterfly
that shows for just a flash
with each shift of a soft
jersey with every step,
every routing
of a tight body
of its power

bellies and backs
and pretty toes
for dancing
on a a beach around
a driftwood fire, pretty
toes on packed sand
on a starlit
summer night,
wood smoke like clouds
across the moon

The next anthology is Under the Rock Umbrella, Contemporary American Poets from 1951-1977. The book  was published by Mercer University Press in 2006.

The poem I selected is by Li-Young Lee. Born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, he fled Indonesia with the rest of his family and lived in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan before settling in the United States in 1964. The author of three collections of poetry, his work has won him numerous awards and grants. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Arizona and the state university of New York and he has taught at several universities, including Northwestern and the University of Iowa.

One  Heart

Look at the birds. Even flying
is born

out of nothing. The first sky
is inside you, open

at either end of day.
The work of wings

was always freedom, fastening
one heart to every falling thing.

I wrote this one in 2001. There's no indication I ever sent it anywhere.

road sign

blue sky

red cacophony
on black asphalt

yellow sheet
like a flag
in  the wind

lowered slowly
over the still


blue sky
yellow flag

The next poem is by Tracie Morris,  taken from the anthology, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, published by Thunder's Mouth Press in 1999.

Morris is a poet, vocalist, page-based writer (?), critic, scholar, band leader, actor, multi-media performer originally from Brooklyn.

Project Princess

Teeny feet rock layered double socks
Popping side piping of
many colored loose lace-ups
Racing toe, keeps up with fancy free  gear,
slick  slide, just pressed, recently weaved hair.

Jeans oversized belay her hip, back, thighs, have made guys sigh
for milleni-year

Topped by an attractive jacket
her  suit's not for flacking, flunkies, junkies, or punk homies on the stroll.

Hands the mobile thrones of today's urban goddess
Clinking rings link dragon fingers no need to be modest.

One or two gap teeth coolin'
sport gold initials
Doubt you get to  her name
Check from the side,
please chill.

Multidimensional shrimp earrings
frame her cinnamon face

Crimson with a compliment if a
comment hits the right place

Don't step to the plate with datelines from '88
Spare your simple, fragile feelings  with the same  sense that you came

Color woman variation reworks the french twist
Crinkle-cut platinum frosted bangs from  a spray can's mist

Never dissed, she insists: "No you can't touch this."
And, if pissed,  bedecked fist stops boys who must persist.

She's the one. Give her some. Under fire. Smoking gun. Of which songs
    are sung, raps are spun, bells are rung, rocked,  pistols cocked,
    unwanted advances, blocked, swell-stacked, she's  jock. It's all about you
    girl. You go on. Don't you dare stop.

I wrote this in 2000 in response to a bag word challenge. A bag word challenge  is a game where  you're given a "bag" with a certain number of words and you're supposed to write a poem using all the words. In this case if was five words. The level of the challenge can vary depending on the words in the bag. (Everyone who has ever posted on an online poetry forum has played this challenge game. I always had fun with it.)

I have no idea which five words generated this piece.

 scenes from an Italian restaurant

the scene is set
candlelight reflected
in glittering crystal,
your face shaded
in flickering shadows.

the extras are in their

your lip curls,
and your eyes
look away.

how beautiful you were
on the night
you said goodbye

The next anthology is Twentieth-Century Latin American Poets, published in 2011 by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

The poem I selected from the book is by Cuban poet Dulce Maria Loynaz. Daughter of a Cuban Liberation Army hero, the poet was born in 1902 in Havana and died there in 1997. She lived a privileged life, traveling around the world and obtaining a Doctor of Civil Law  degree at the University of Havana in 1927 though she practiced rarely.

After the revolution she stopped writing,even, according to friends, for her own pleasure. But after  more than 25 years of internals exile she was rediscovered  by her countrymen in the 1980s and her work was treated with wide acclaim.

Love Is...

To love the delicate grace
of the blue swan and he pink rose;
to  love the light of dawn
and the stars opening up
and the smiles prolonging themselves...
To love the tree's plenitude,
to love the music of water
and the sweetness of  fruit
and the sweetness of sweet
souls...to love what's lovable isn't love:
love is to turn oneself into a pillow
for the tiredness of every day;
to put the living sun in the anxious,
blind seed that lost its path
searching for light, imprisoned
in its soil,, defeated... Love is to untangle spiderwebs
of roads in darkness:
Love is this loving of what pains us,
what makes us  bleed
It is to enter the heart
of night and guess
which is the star in gestation... The star's
hope!...To love is loving from the black root.
Love is to forgive, and more than
to forgive, to understand...
Love is holding tight to the cross, and nailing
oneself to the cross,
and dying and resurrecting...

Love is to resurrect!

         Translated from Spanish by Ilan Stavans

I also wrote this next piece in 2000. It was inspired by a traveling exhibit of photographs of lynchings I read about. What especially struck me about the photographs were the people watching, so normal looking, as if visiting a county fair.

I the title came from thinking about Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition as musical accompaniment  to viewing the photos.

I sent the poem around, but never found anyone interested in publishing it.

pictures from an american lynching

it's not the hanging black bodies
that chill me;
it's the smiling white faces below.

so familiar,  these faces.

the white man standing
under the swinging body
of the young black girl,
beer in his hand, hat cocked to one side
like he was a movie  star.

the two pretty girls
arm in arm beneath the carnage,
posing for the camera
like for a picture at the county fair.

the child
in dusty overalls
standing at his mother's side,
holding on to her dress
with one hand,
with the other
to the bare feet of the black man
dangling over his head.

so familiar, these faces.

like from the family albums
I looked at  as a child,
seeking among the pictures there
the story of how I came to be.

so damn familiar!

This poem by John Hollander is taken from The Norton Anthology of Modern American Poetry (Vol. 2 Contemporary Poetry. The anthology was published by Norton and Norton in 2001.

Hollander was a poet and literary critic. At the time of his death in 2013, he was Sterling Professor  Emeritus at Yale University.

Under Cancer

On the Memorial building's
Terrace the sun has been buzzing
Unbearably, all the while
The white baking happens
To the shadow of the table's
White-painted iron. It darkens,
Meaning that the sun is stronger,
That I am invisible darkening
Too, the while I whiten.
And only after the stretching
And getting up, still sweating
My shirt striped like an awning
Drawn on over airlessness;
After the cool shades
(As if of  a long arcade
Where footsteps echo gravely)
Have devoured the light;
Only after the cold of
Plunge and shower, the pale
Scent of deodorant stick
Smelling like gin and limes,
And another stripy shirt
Can come,  homing in at lase,
The buzzing of having been burnt.
Only then, intimations
Of tossing, hot in the dark
Night,  where all the long while
Silently,  along edges,
There is flaking away.

In this short while of light
My shadow darkens without
Lengthening ever, ever.


Next, several shorter poems.

the cruelty of cats at play

her black smile
cut like a dagger through the dark,
     slicing cleanly to the heart

"I have something to tell you,"
     she whispered.




so small
and thin
and happy-eyed
you dance
the floor
and backtome

who do you tell of your child
and scars and tired  feet



 (Published in The Poet's Canvas, 2001) 

so sorry

so sorry to hear
you've been ill

so sorry to hear
you're going to hell
from the illness
that is god's punishment
for the sin
that is sending you to hell
when you die
from this illness

but don't get to close


storm warning

gray and white gulls
swirl overhead
like a cloud
blown in the wind
like smoke
from a cane field fire

the shipyard
across the bay
is hidden
by black clouds
of rain
lying across the water
like crepe on a coffin

arcs between the clouds
and thunder echoes
against the bluff

I hear you in the driveway
slamming the car door
with a crack
like a rifle in the dark

          (Published in The Horsethief's Journal in 2003)


sun lies low
behind gangly scrub oak branches

yellow jigsaw

at end of day


Harper's Anthology of  20th Century Native American Poetry, published in 1998, has been around a while, but it's still the best collection of these  poets I know.

I like a good story and the Native American writers and poets I've read are great story-tellers, as with this poet, Gladys Cardiff. Born in 1942, Cardiff is Irish and Welsh on her mother's side and of the Eastern Band of Cherokee on her father's. Recipient of many awards and  honors,  she is associate professor at Oakland University.

Tsa'lagi  Council Tree

This is a story my father told me
when I was a girl.

Hilahi', long ago,
before the whites,
hilahi'yu, long, long ago
in  buckskin days,
the old men and women of the people
met at the place of the Principle  Wood.
The elders held  council,
some  sitting in the branches
of  this u'tanu ata'a.

They smoked the old tobacco
in a whitestone pipe.
The pipe had seven bores, one for each.
They spoke of many mysteries
and matters of law
words that  were pleasing to all
who heard them.
Here, trails form every direction met.
Tsa' nadiska, they say
the rustling leaves sang green enchantments,
red and yellow songs,
reminding always to honor ela e'ladi,
the earth below, the place of  roots.

Now we burn the wood of oak trees,
and do not  believe that bugle weed
will necessarily make our children
eloquent. But this is what the old man
said to him when he was a boy,
hilahi, hilahi' yu, long ago

I wrote this in 2002. Never found anyone interested in it, probably because there's nothing special about it but to me as a vivid memory.

sunrise from 6-E

the sun is a red-orange smudge
on the horizon,  rising
over bay waters black with night,
waters shifting
with the hint of daylight
to a dark blue
that will come and go in minutes
before washing out in full sun
to a light,  frothy green,
like watercolor mixed too thin...

around the crescent shoreline,
hotel lights line the far side of the bay,
beacons to the gulf, showing the way
to the high arch of Harbor Bridge lights
that frame the narrow channel...

sailboats rest in their berths
while bay shrimpers begin
their working day, the lights of both
swaying with the soft waves
of the protected marina, pinpricks
in the fading cloth of night

Next, two short poems by Bertolt Brecht from one of the most interesting anthologies in  my library, German Poetry in Transition, 1945-1990. The book was published by University Press of New England in 1999. It's a bilingual book, the poets' original German and English translation on facing pages.


My native city, however  shall I find her!
Following the swarms of bombers
I come home.
Well, where is she? Where the colossal
Mountains of smoke  stand.
That thing among the fires
Is her.

My native city, how will she receive me?
Before me go the bombers. Deadly swarms
Announce my homecoming to you. Conflagrations
Precede your  son.

         Translated by Derek Bowman

When in My White Room at the Charite

When in my white room at the Charite
I woke up towards morning
And heard the blackbird, I understood
Better. Already for some time
I had lost all fear of death. For nothing
Can go  wrong with me if I myself
Am nothing. Now
I managed to enjoy
The song of the blackbird after me too.

          Translated by Ralph Mannheim

This is a long piece. I wrote the original version of it with the most advanced technology available to me at the time (i.e. #2 pencil and a legal pad) in 1966 in the library at Indiana University.

Fifty years later I still bump into it from time to and want to "fix" it.

During the course of those years I've tried ever sort of thing, including at various times, a short story version and, even at one point, a short play.

I recognize it's not worth the effort I've put into it, so the last time I looked at it I decided to leave it as it began, some kind of bastard prose/poetry thing.

Some foreshadowing that included a hint of motivation would have make it better, but I still think it's a pretty good, creepy story.

slow dancing on a rainy day


I awoke
to her slow breathing
beside me, then
turned on my side
to watch her sleep.

a study in brown on a gray day.

a brown dress I had seen her wear
a hundred time, small for her,
high-necked and tight
to the waist where it flared out
to end above her knees,

the color a match to her  hair
and a shaded contrast
to her tanned skin and her
yellow-flecked eyes
now in sleep.

I brushed a wisp of hair
from her forehead,
traced the path of her eyebrow
and ran my finger down
the line of her nose,

passed my fingertips
over her lips and chin and
down the curve of her neck,
then back to the pale whispers
of down on her upper lip.

she laughed in her sleep
and ran her tongue over her lips,
 her teeth a flash of white
in the bedroom shadows.

I cupped her chin
and kissed her lightly.

her eyelids fluttered
and opened her eyes,
bright in the tangled dimness
of our bed.

she raised her hand to me
an stated to speak,
but I stopped her, kissing
her palm, her eyes,
sealing her lips.

laying back beside her
I  closed my eyes, felt the bed
move as she go up.

I heard the bathroom door close,
then open, felt
her beside me again.

I turned and opened my arms to her.

the rain came louder,
tapping the tin roof as I pulled her close.


it was still raining when I woke
in the late afternoon.

I  walked to the window,
opened it, pressed my face
against the wet screen, drew in
the cool, damp air.

fine droplets of rain
passed through the screen
and I opened my mouth
catching a few drops
with my tongue,
passing my tongue
over the screen, swallowing
the rusty rain.

I turned my back to the window
and looked to her,
asleep again atop the covers,
watched the rise and fall
of her small breasts,
passed my hand over them,
over the war rise of her belly,
then back again to the tiny freckles
that ran across her chest
and up her throat.

I held my hands around her throat,
tighter and tighter, wondering what
it would be like, deciding,
tighter and tighter...

outside the rain stopped.

and for a moment the room was bright
with a glare of light beaming through the window.

but it passed.

with a faint rumbling of thunder in the distance
the rain began again, soft and slow,
like lovers consumed
by passion on a rainy afternoon.

Another interesting anthology from my  library is Atomic Ghost - Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age, published by Coffee House Press in 1995.

From the book, this poem is by Adrian C. Louis. Born in 1946, Louis is a Lovelock Paiute author from Nevada now living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Educated at Brown University, he has taught at Oglala Lakota University.

Nevada Red Blues

Where live fire began to inhabit you
- Pablo Neruda

We live under
slot machine
that jackpot
into the black
mirror the greed
of the creatures who soiled our land.

it was 
to make
our sacred land
a living

to  drop
hydrogen bombs
of years
of our blood
spirits lie

Six poems posted for  no reason except there they were.

north wind on a southern beach

a north wind blows strong
against the incoming tide
and all across the bay
whitecaps flash in the sun
like handkerchiefs
fluttering across a field
of salty-sea green...

a beachcomber,
dressed for the day
in a silver windbreaker,
walks the beach barefoot,
shoes tied by their strings
to hang around his neck...

he throws bread to gulls,
greedy birds, swooping,  fighting
each other and the wind
for every crumb


new world

the first words of Adam to Eve
were like a fresh-born pup
nuzzling its wet nose
against the warm belly
of its mother

blindly groping, afraid,
but no longer alone


neon rain

neon rain
on neon streets
where the neon bitch
of busted odds runs the game

can't quit when she is with me;
can't quit when she is gone

can only stand here wet and waiting
for the kiss of the neon hustler
with the breath of neon despair


looking good

you come into the  room
with your new lover
like Ken and Barbie,
a perfectly matched set
of glowing grace and beauty,
so self-confidently
so put-togetherly
that all light in the room
seems to gather in your present

did I look that good
with you on my arm -

and if I  did
how did you ever leave me...


Mission San Juan

Swirling whirlwinds dance
across the chapel plaza,
tossing clouds of caliche dust
into the simmering air,
little diablitos, skipping
across the sun-backed ground
como los muchachitos al jugar,
untamed by the afternoon mass
and the pieties of the parish priest.

The first shadows of summer dusk
edge slowly across the grassy camposanato
and up the crumbling convento walls.

The cool of the river wood
spreads like the falling sun
through the shaded waters
and thickening shadows
of pecan and oak, willow, and cypress
that surround the mission grounds.

A fresh evening breeze
breaks the afternoon heat as the
long summer day slips away.

Under the yellow rising
of the solstice moon,
the silence of centuries past
falls across the broken stones.


is this a table? no, this is a poem

this is not a table,  no great feasts
of delicacies sweet are laid upon it,
no  melons,  no honey, no rich, dark bread
spread thick with golden butter,
no tender roasted essence of beast or fowl,
no fish from the sea or fruit from the tree,
no  sweet wines crushed
from the fullness of sun-fed grapes.

no,  this is not a table
laid out to feed our fleshy needs,
it is a poem, set full with nourishment
for every weary spirit, sustenance spread
wide with joy for every questing heart.

it is a poem, fully-laden for our feasting,
a banquet set out for all who wish to join
a celebration  of the richness of our kind.


Next, a poem by Martin Espada from Unsettling America, An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry. The book was published in 1994 by Penguin Books.

Espada, born in Brooklyn in 1957 is winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and a National Book Circle Critics Award for Poetry. He was educated at Northeastern University School of Law and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He teaches poetry at the University of Massachusetts.

From an Island You Cannot Name

Thirty Years ago,
your linen-gowned father stood
in the dayroom of the VA hospital,
grabbing at the plastic
identification bracelet
marked Negro,
shouting, "I'm not!
Take it off!
I'm Other!"

The army photograph
pinned to your mirror
says he was,
black, Negro,
dark as West Indian rum.

And this morning,
daughter of a man
from an island you cannot  name,
you gasp tears
trying to explain
that you're Other,
that you're not.

Another poem pile.

blackout at the oasis

listen now...

it's quiet

the sound of a thousand air conditioners suddenly stilled
and our island is one with the desert-blowing night

(Published Hawkwind, 2002)

before the estate sale

quiet walk
a dead man's house

soft steps
in this husk
of a life

of a falling tide

of the end 



crescent moon
hangs white
against the midnight sky,
it's gentle arc
a beacon
to the wear
and day-worn


Baby Stuff

I remember the day,
late March, early spring,
sunshine and a sky scrubbed blue
by a brisk bay breeze.

Our families came from all directions,
arriving in a rush at the last minute,
everything unexpected and unplanned.

We had been called the day before,
barely a week after they told us
to expect a wait of six months to a year.

The call at mid-afternoon,
he'll be ready by noon tomorrow, they said,
and he'll come with only the diaper he wears.

Unprepared, we panicked, rushing to  K-Mart,
pushing a squeaky cart from aisle to aisle.

What does a baby need, we asked each other.

Bottles, a bottle warmer, diapers, or Lord...
What else? Clothes, bassinet, a stroller...

No, that's later - a  car seat...

Oh lord, oh lord,what else?

We fell together in the middle
of the baby stuff section,
holding on to each other,

          (Published by The Green Tricycle, 2000)


old man
head down
in an empty church
shopping bag at your feet

you saw 
the time?

(Published by Hawkwind 2002


 Spring Again!
                       and the earth
                            throws off green
                     like popcorn
                         exploding from
                         a circus-lighted
                            popcorn  machine

Spring Again!
                          and girl brown
                                     themselves in summer
                         dresses and sun
                     light walking

Spring Again!
                  spring again 


on the corner of Filmore & Grand

it's  another Friday night at
La Cantina de los Gatos Negros
and me and my sancha are tilting
at the windmills of love.

      que chula,  I say,
      as I brush a wisp  of brown hair
      from her eye, then bend
      and kiss her cheek. 

we  press closer
in the garish barroom light.

      que macho, she says,
      whispering in my ear.

and the night slows to a crawl
of hot anticipation.


once in Mississippi

once, in
I saw a cotton field.

I  thought
until I had to  
pick it.



my little
sad-eyed whore,
flat on your back
kinky little pubescence a curl
in the garish yellow light

I too
would make it  beautiful
if only I could



late night coffee
sidewalk cafe

all chairs but ours
turned up on the tables

lost till  now
in mutual obsession

we are
last to leave


Now, from my last anthology for the week, Women Poets from Antiquity to Now,  published in 1992 by Schocken Books, Inc., a poem by Danish poet, Cecil Bodker.

Born in 1927, Bodker was trained as a silversmith. In addition to  four volumes of poetry, she has written  several  novels and won the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her children's stories.


One year there were too many
- and maybe mosquitoes.

People talked about the soil's
increased aqauasity
and had it noted
in the calendar.

Last year it was the snails.

And the year before

Thing  will work out, people said:
they'll die off by themselves.
And people talked about mange
and prolonged sickness
rabies -
it will  all come to an end.

Just look at the foxes, people said.

One year there were many
the next year there were none.
That was proof.

This year it is children.

People talk about the soil's
lack or aquasity
an the blighted grain
people talk about responsibility
and lack of responsibility
people talk -

For things  will surely work out
by themselves.
Just look at the foxes
Just look at the mice -
it goes into the calendar.

Next year it will be flies.

        Translated by Nadia Christensen and Alexander Taylor

I'm finishing  the week with another  pile of poems. I'm enjoying the poetry pile-up since most of  these poems I haven't looked at in a long time.

Some of these were published, some not. I didn't feel like going to the trouble of verifying which is which.

flavor straight off the farm

Sadie's kisses,
sweet, like tomatoes
just pulled from the vine;

her skin against my cheek
like the whisper of soft furn
on a kitten's belly;

her breasts rounded and ripe,
nipples like little river pebbles,
hard between my lips;

her ass, snug
in her jeans, inviting
as the soft hills of home;

and between her legs,
the glory
of  new morning,

wet, like dew on the
pink heart of a rose,
salty on my tongue


first frost

first frost
and leaves fall
soft and slow
like red and yellow
drifting in the sun



I dream
of a glass house,
brightly lit,
a beacon amid
broad-trunked trees
in a dark forest,
velvet cushions
of brown and green
piled high
on all the floors

I am split in two,
one of me inside,
among the cushions,
and the other outside
peering in...

there is something
we must tell our self,
we think, something
we must know

and we begin to shout
inside and out,
but the glass is thick
and swallows all sound

frantic now...

beware, we shout



explaining it all to my dog Reba

she stares


big brown eyes
wide, unblinking

hanging on every word
like it was God's own true
revelation she was hearing

and I'm thinking,
I'm really on a roll tonight

submerging myself
in the techniques of instruction,
overwhelming myself
with my own higher-being brilliance



the mid-summer lake
heaves and rustles
like some great animal
in the gathering dark

under pins of
white and yellow light
crickets chip
the soft stone of night

smoke and scents
of campfires rise

falls with the sun


dreams of early frost

I remember stepping onto the tarmac in Dhahran
after a long cool flight  from Charleston
into dry Saudi heat that seemed alive
with purpose and premeditation,
like an animal,  a desert predator
with sandy breath blowing red hot
from the furnace innards of a coal-fired soul...

it's been like that here this summer.

first the dust storms,
blown in from Africa by high winds aloft,
leaving a coat of Kalahari grit over everything
stationary, from mission walls to mall parking lots
to the restaurant umbrellas lining the Riverwalk.

then the wind stopped and the skies cleared
and Central Texas heat flared down  like fire
from above, like the brimstone of prophecy,
and there is no relief, even at night,
when the parched hills and brown meadows
radiate back into the black  open night
heat stored through the fifteen hour day and, just
as it begins to cool, the sun rises again.


dinner plate moon

dinner plate moon
rising luminous
in the April  sky,
spreading pale blush
across the hills and valleys
of our Central Texas home,
casting faint shadows
in groves of oak and pecan
that surround us...

we watch the stars flicker n
as night advances,
appearing one by one -
we see it all,
the moon above
and all the soft night's stars
ageless and unchanged
while our own time passes,
their glow ever-bright
while our own light dims.


The next poem is very important to me, marking the closing out of the most important time of my life, a time that that began the process of turning me into the person I turned out to be.


snow pelts the parking lot
with cotton ball ferocity,
muffling street and city noises,
cloaking the bustle of early evening
in a mantle of winter white...

from behind our frosted
plate glass curtain,
we watch and draw closer
in sympathetic chill

we join  each other in quiet carols...

spring is the proper time
for  leaving friends and old lovers,
when the earth and a reborning universe
demand there be new ones to comfort us -

but Christmas...

Christmas is a sad time
for long, likely final


conversation at the end of day

old man
in a tan stetson hat
sits on the steps in front of his house
at the end off a hot summer day

stroking his cat

with a white stripe
running from chest to belly,
the cat lies on its side
and stretches as cats do,
back arched,
back and fore paws extended
sharp can nails out clawing the air

the man runs his fingers softly
through the soft belly fur
and I see his lips move

talking to his cat...

and I wonder
about the conversation
of an old man and his cat
at the end of a long summer day


cat dance

cat dances brightly through yellow
alley shadows of early afternoon

     she murmurs

     she crouches
     she leaps

death prances lightly through languid
alley shadows of yellow afternoon

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 12:49 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

as usual wonderful photos- u cld make money- going down 1@ 2 both of em, 13 a deck, 15 and 18 the women's faces, 23 book store

now let me look at the poetry (let me go to the potty?)

at 12:58 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

poems? the one by the indian lady powerful

i hope i got the nubering of the choice of photos i liked right- probably even you- yr ego- don't even chek

who reads this stuff (besides yrsaelf and me?)

what does yr wife think of yr stuff (i am taking my girlfriend's advice re my bk- cut cut cut)

no one else comments?

do you think a poem abt stopping trum w some specifics wld get readers?

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