Where's Vladimir? (Closer than you think)   Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Well, it's true the next four years promises to be a world class shit-storm. Doesn't mean we can't find stuff to be happy about here and there.


i already wrote
a poem
this morning
but it's another
and it's too nice
a day and too early
in this new year 
for a rant

i want to rant

and so i will

i'll rant about
all the birds singing
and the sun shining
and the blue sky
and the clear clean air
and the good night's sleep
that left me refreshed
and re-energized
and my nice house
and my pets
who follow me around
with great brown eyes
dripping with love and
and my wife
who seems to like me okay
and the fine dinner
she made for me last night
and my good prospects
for a long and productive live
and my computer
and my fingers and toes
and my social security check
and the tree i sit under
when i feel my nature-boy self
pining for the smell of squirrels
and fragrant flowers
and tickling blades of grass
on my bare feet
and my hair that hasn't 
fallen out yet
and the dried beef sausage
in the fridge and the
false teeth that make it
possible for me
to eat the dried beef sausage
in the fridge
and Levis that fit tight
and keep my butt
from sagging

i could just go on and on
and on some more 
with all  the things i have
to rant  about,
i could rant about
the cows coming home
and the cow farmers
waiting for them at home
and i could rant about the cows
and their moon-jumping
milkshake making
and i could rant about words
like shenanigans
that i have to look up in the
cause i can't spell diddlysquat
and i could rant about diddlysquat...
and often do..

and i could even rant about
you, and if i can, i  do,
so i do,
i rant about you
got sucked into reading this
on the false assumption
i had something
to say

Random pics, me, others.

better days, and worse

Jill Wiggins
December Walk with Neruda

dream weaver

Gary Blankenship
George Orwell's Fourth Rule

never mind

Arthur Munoz
The Old Breed
23rd Street

walking is so pedestrian

5 poems from the Monyoshu

like a chipmunk with an acorn

Rita Dove
Fox Trot Fridays

you can always count on the bald-headed man

Heather Sellers

an old interview with Peter and Paul

Evangelina Vigil
warm heart contains life

high and mysterious grasses 

Lowell Jaeger

it knows all our stories

Yosano Akiko
6  short poems

understanding the business of art

Sudeep Sen
Night in Times Square

I dreamed last night 

Started the week feeling crappy and ready to tell the world about it.

better days, and worse

I look around
this Saturday morning coffeehouse,
at the people, scattered at tables, alone
and in groups, and look for some common
humanity and have trouble getting past
the biological requirements for human
survival, they eat like I do, but probably better
or at least more expensively, they breath
the same air as I do, though there's a good chance,
judging from their satisfied look, that their air
is to some noticeable degree sweeter than mine,
they do the other things not normally spoke of, though
the young look much more sexually satisfied
than I ever did at their age (the old ones don't look
so deprived either, I notice)

the main thing I think is there is no sign
of struggle in their lives, or maybe it's just
they're better at  hiding the struggle than I am...

my scars show,
they all, young and old, look freshly buffed
beyond what seems reasonable in a normally-lived
life such  as my own...

maybe it's just not a good day
for me,
or at least a better day for them
than for


there was some relief
in the black guy who tried to beg
a dollar from me on the sidewalk in front
of the coffeehouse

I didn't give him a dollar
but I still felt better, finding one of my own
having an even worse day than

I start the week from my library with short poems by Jill Wiggins from the anthology Feeding the Crow, published by Plain View  Press in 199.

Wiggins has  a degree in  art from St. Edward's University and works as a writer and graphic designer.


Leaving work sick of someone else's priorities,
I go home in the rain
play Mozart's "Requiem"
on the upstairs porch
see only wide-screen tree,
bursting April green,
and wet silver-beaded curtain.

The birds:
cardinal, jay, woodpecker, mockingbird, sparrow
harmonizing with the "Lachrymosa,"
filling Mozart's poignant pauses.

My priorities become tree, rain, birds, song.

December Walk with Neruda

Leaf -broken light,
dappled words of agate, quartz and wheat -
a moment outside time.

River shimmer shatters vision,
double sun draws radiance
into dark waters -
I could drown
in words.

Back to old poems, a bit of fun for me since I don't remember most  off  them.

This from 2007. (The photo, 1976.)

dream weaver

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

he dreamed
of her last night
and knows
will soon dream
of him

This library poem is not from my library but from a post on Facebook by my poet friend Gary Blankenship. Gary is well represented in my library, but not this poem.

George Orwell's time has come and it behooves us all to recognize the signs of deception he defined for us.

George Orwell's Fourth Rule

Never use the passive when you can use the active.




Concise to the point,
a lesson that might be learned
if the slogans were not modus operandi
among every government whether
on the right or left

Each able  to operate
among the nine words
with impunity as long
as those assigned as guardians
passively drool  content
as a dowager's lap dog

Peace with honor

the civil rights ad civil  liberties of all Americans including Arab Americans,
Muslim Americans, and Americans from South Asia,
must be protected, and that every effort must be taken to preserve  their safety

Congress shall make  no law...

all  men are created equal

The list could extend
beyond the capability
of loggers to down forests
enough for paper  enough
to contain all the possibilities

I salute you, sir,
a wordsmith of uncommon  talent,
a prophet who only missed
the year not the event

and so it goes

This is from last  December, lost in the cracks, perhaps better left lost.

never mind

out a new coffeehouse 

(at least until my old one
gets re-established)

the new one -

very large, downstairs,
upstairs, a wall of two-story
window, a large open to the air
atrium beyond the window

on the very edge 
of downtown,
a half block from the river,
the kind of geography that 
appeals to me

lots of business types, mostly
young, dressed
for success,
lots of students last  week,
time for finals,
not so many old people,
young people, especially well-dressed

lots of Anglos, not so many 
Latinos, which very foreign to the sea
in which I normally 

do I get the feeling
I've written this before

and did it

I knew I was in a rut,
but not this


never mind

These two pieces are by Arthur Munoz, taken from his book, From a Cop's Journal, published by Corona Publishing in 1984.

Born in a Los Angeles barrio in 1924, Munoz, after two stints in the Marine Corps (WWII and Korean War), attended Texas A&I University, and, for a time St. Mary's Law School. He worked for the San Antonio Police Department for 23 years, as a patrol officer, investigator and homicide detective. From there he worked as an investigator for the Texas Department of Human Resources.

He was writing throughout this time and, at the time the book was published was Poet in the Schools with the San Antonio ISD.

The Old Breed

You can read America
in their faces
and when they talk
there's sand
in their throats
from both shores.

Their hands have known love
but now only a whisper caresses
because they're bent and tired
from years of picking and weeding.

But in their eyes
there's laughter
that can't be silenced;
it's what got them
through the Texas valley,
110 degrees in Indio,
and the dirt of Idaho.

Today they can be found
with friends
on the side of the barrio store,
or down at the square
recalling the Saturday dances
in Fresno.

23rd Street

There used to be fences
on 23rd Street
a forest of pickets
catering to resident flowers,
and trees
whose branches wove
the sun rays into welcome shade.

Now, paint peeling,
they lean and lie
on each other
trying in vain
to keep out the weeds
and the shoving of time.

On 23rd Street
the city is dying

Here's a story about why I don't pick up hitchhikers anymore. The poem is from 2008,  the incident probably sometime in the mid-80s.

walking is so pedestrian

it was about
40 years ago,
the night
I picked up
the King of  Denmark
at a gas station
in San Marcos

I was coming from
for Corpus Christi
by way of San Antonio

I stopped in San Marcos
for  gas and while pumping
noticed this guy
looking at me, like
he was trying to decide
whether he wanted
to talk to me
or not

I topped
off my tank,
went inside to pay
the bill
and it was only
when I came out again
to go to my car
that he stopped
me and asked
where I was going

he said
he was going to
El Paso
and was looking
for a ride

I  never was  one
to pick up a hitchhiker,
having had some
as a hitcher myself
that made me wary,
but he was a decent
looking guy
clean clothes
seemed sober
didn't smell
and was polite
so I though what
the hell
and told him
to get in

we were only
about a mile
and a half  down
the road  when he  started
telling me
his story

he was the
of  Denmark,
he said,
snatched a birth
from  his castle
in Copenhagen
and bought
to  the United States
where he was sold
to a dairy farmer
in Kansas
who worked him
from sun up
to sun down,
dark to dark,
he said,  almost
from the time
he could walk

he ran away
when he was twelve,
he said,
and had been looking
for  a  way to get back
to  Denmark
ever since

he was getting
he said,
and was losing
that he'd
ever get home
but that wasn't
the worst part

the worst part
was he was in  constant
since the pretender
to  the throne
had his assassins
looking for him
since the day
he snuck off
from the farm
and if they found
he was  dead man
for  sure,
he said

it's really put me
under a lot of pressure,
he said,
I don't know how much
I can  take  it

by this time
he reached this point
in his story
we were  on the outskirts
of San Antonio
(a much smaller city
than it is today)
so I told him
I  was heading
while he wanted
to  go north
and I needed to drop
him off

he said he wanted
to go downtown
to the bus station
and I said,
I'm not going that way
but I can drop you
(the corner of
Austin Highway
and Broadway)

it's a ways
I  told him,
but from here you can walk
straight on downtown
to the bus station
where you can catch
a bus to El Paso

he said,
I can't do that,
walking is so
pedestrian -
no way
for a king to make
a royal  entrance
into a city like this

I'll just catch a
city bus

do you have
a quarter
for the fare?

Next, several poems from Ten Thousand Leaves, Love  Poems from the Manyoshu,  published by The Overlook Press in 1988.`

Compiled in its final form during the eighth century, the Manyoshu is an anthology containing 4,516 poems arranged in twenty volumes. More than 400 known poets contributed to the volume, as well as innumerable anonymous poets whose work is included in the collection.

The poems in this book were translated from Japanese by Harold Wright.


Let us not cease
     to enjoy ourselves in drink,
           since the plants and trees
Which bust to bud in springtime
    will but wither in the fall


Your favorite flowers
     that are growing near the house
           have bloomed and faded
Yet the tears that fill my eyes
     have not begun to dry


On the hill near home
     flowers of the fall's clover
           will soon be scattered
How I wish she'd seen them now
     before they're harmed by the wind


When spring arrives
     the frost on the river's moss
          is melted away
In such a way my heart melts
     over longing for your love


Near my loved one's house
     there is now in full bloom
         a flowering plum tree
If it ever gives forth fruit
     then I will know what to do

An observational  from the new coffeehouse mentioned earlier.

like a chipmunk with an acorn

a pretty young woman
with long auburn hair and
a tiny mouth and a slightly sharp
chin, speaking very quickly,
fast talking,
her mouth moving like a chipmunk
working on an acorn
I notice the guy she's talking to
is fixated on her mouth,
just like me,
and I'm wondering
how much 
of what she's saying
he's hearing...

The next poem is from The Best American Poetry - 2003, published by Scribner Poetry.

The poet is a favorite of mine, Rita Dove. Born in 1952, Dove was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995, the first African American appointed to that position.  She also served as "special consultant in poetry" to the Library of Congress for the 1999-2000 bicentennial. In 1987 she became the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She also served as the Poet Laureate for Virginia from 2004 to 2006.

A side note - after forty years of married non-dancing, I gifted my wife for Christmas with lessons at Fred Astaire. Our second session last night, the fox trot. A fool dancing, I'm anticipating my progress to dancing fool.

Fox Trot Fridays

Thank the stars there's a day
each week to tuck in

the grief, lift your pearls, and
stride brush stride

quick-quick with a
heel-ball-toe. Smooth

as Nat King Cole's
slow satin smile,

easy as taking
one day at a time:

one man and
one woman,

rib to rib,
with no heartbreak in sight -

just the sweep of Paradise
and the space of a song

to count all the wonders in it

   (first published Callaloo)

Time to reset the time machine, 2009, this time.

you can always count on the bald-headed man

it's a white tablecloth
type of place,
flowers on every table
and crisply folded napkins

the food is excellent
(it's their pollo e mole
I favor most)
with prices to match

considering the bill
I was expecting
at the end of our meal,
I was shocked
when Chris found a hair
in his food - but not  Chris,

having worked in restaurant
kitchens from fast food
to fine dining, he says
a hair in your food
can  happen
from a hash house
slinging $5.99 blue-plate  specials
to the fanciest
gourmet emporium
on the Champs Elysee,
it happens,  he says,
but you do need to  tell
someone about it because
a free meal
in such a circumstance
is expected

so he called the waiter over
and showed him the hair
and the waiter, a shiny-pated
bald-headed man about
my age, said,  not allowing
a second to pass,
"not  mine"

we all laughed
and Chris got his free dinner
and we all  learned a lesson -
there is no experience so bad
that it can't be made better
by the wit
of a bald-headed man

The next poet is Heather Sellers from her book, Drinking Girls and Their Dresses, published by Ahsahta  Press from Boise State University in 2002.

Born in 1964, Sellers is recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Fiction. With a Ph.D. from Florida State University, she teaches fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction at Hope College in Michigan.


Tonight I watch boys  push up the moon, spill
madras drink. In a moment you will
arrive in stolen telephone
wire hair, a dress of black petals shirred down
you bare back.

We want our lovers to taste December, amber,
these nights with kitchens of stars. Just for fun?
you ask, pulling our bright squeeze into concert.
Yes, yes, I say, dancing, fearing arrest, the end

music which wants us sleeping.
Can we get closer? I wish, kissing
my last green penny, my little car, the ravine
out back where finally we will part like
hats on night thick seas.

Another left-over from late last year.

an old interview with Peter and Paul

an old interview with Peter and Paul
on the radio, Mary already passed,
how they were the voice of my better heart,
whatever goodness in me roused
by Mary's voice, high angel's cry
calling my name

it is such moments as this,
such voices on the radio,
calling our memories of better times
I know cannot return

for how can we explain such
optimism an decency
to the youth of our frightened
indecent world

thinking of our lost past
makes me

The next poet, Evangelina Vigil, was a born and raised San Antonio poet when her first book, 30 an' Seen a Lot, was published by Arte Publico, but that was in 1985. She has moved on since, now an award wining poet, translator and television personality.

The book includes a mix of poems in English, Spanish, and sometimes both.

warm heart contains life
                to our amas

warm hart contains life
heart's warmth
which penetrates through penas
lifeblood that reveals inner thoughts

secrets collected
pressed between pages
to be kissed by lips red
protruding with warmth, desire
sometimes hurt, pain:

like that autumn leaf you singled out
and saved
pressed in-between the memories of your mind
diary never written
but always remembered, felt
scripted en tu mente -
your daughters will never read it
but they'll know it
when they look into your eyes
shining luz de amor, corazon
unspoken, untold
keepsake for our treasure chests
que cargamos aqui adentro
radiant with jewels
sculpted by sentimientos y penas
y bastante amor:

intuition tells us
better to  have lived through pain
than never having felt
life's full  intensity

From 2010, a memory of my lovely Reba.

high and mysterious grasses

I promised
last night
before I put her

to bed
that Id take her
for a walk
this morning

and I know
she sits by the door
at home

knowing I'll  be there
to get her
as soon as I finish

because the jot to me
of watching her joy
when I reach for the

feeds the new day
like a shot of sunshine
on the cold shoulders

of a sleeping cat
in the morning chill -
bringing back

the morning  dream
of slow and stupid
 and warm milk

waiting in a bowl
by the fire
and the safe lap of he
who makes the sun to shine

so  bright
on this winter morning
begun by a walk
through high and mysterious


From his book, War on War, this poem is by Lowell Jaeger. Born and raised in  Wausau, Wisconsin, the poet is a graduate of University of Iowa  Writer's Workshop and  teaches at the Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell. Montana.  He founding editor of Many Voices Press and author of seven collections of poetry.

The  book  was published in  1988 by Utah State University Press.


She got  the mascara
painted on like oils.
Got plaid  tennis shoes
with red laces tied in knots.
Got a ticket for someplace far.

She dance like she be cool,
humming in the bus depot
so me and my new baby, one cop
and maybe twenty old ladies
be an audience she ignore.
Won't sit on the plastic  seats,  just
stand, be looking mean,
smoking on  a plastic stem
half the length of my arm.

She got tattooed blue jeans,
red ink and black ink and blue.
Got a black beret with three gold stars.
A leather jacket. Silk scarves.
Got a button too,
she post it on her chest -
I'm not  weird, it say,

you are.

A couple of moody pieces from the past couple of weeks.

it knows all our stories

bright full moon
hangs high over the multicolored jewels
of suburban night

sees the gaudy display,
saw what came before, will see
what comes after

will outlast
all our vanities
with the patience
of the ages it has ruled
the night

it knows
all our stories
and wold tell
if we would
listen closely
past the silence of its

in the very dark

in the very dark
there is no hand before a face
to be seen,
fall like far-heard thunder
on a trembling ear
and wings
of gypsy fairy moths
blush enigmatically the eyes
of the darkened blind...

broken words
reassemble on a wall
of spectral light

it has all just
and already the heart pounds
like a kettle drum


Next I have short pieces from River of Stars - Selected  Poems of Yosano Akiko, published by Shambhala in 1996.

The poet Yosano Akiko, author of more than seventy-five books and one of the most celebrated Japanese writers of the twentieth century. She was born  in 1878 and died in  1942. Although best known for her  erotic poetry, she also championed the causes of feminism, pacifism, and social  reform.

Her poems in this book were translated from Japanese by Sam Hamill and Keiko Matsui Gibson.

Rather than  trying
to touch the burning passion
pulsing beneath my soft
pale skin, you preach morality.
Aren't you awfully lonely.


The little lamb's eyes,
desperate for  forest water,
must resemble mine.
O you whose love I long for,
how can you understand me?


Feeling you nearby
how could I not come
to walk beneath
this evening moon rising
over flowering  fields.


What can I  put in
my burning mouth now the blood
my lover's finger -
he asked me to kiss it -
begins to  dry on my lips.


Almost transparent
white and soft, my kimono
makes me  despise
this faintly flickering
late night candlelight.


The blossoming plum
bright pink in the morning mist
above this valley -
The mountains are beautiful,
and I am beautiful too.

From 2011, a banner year for me in book publishing. Now if I could just sell a few  of the damn things!

Well, Van Gogh didn't sell until he died. Does anyone know a shortcut to that process.

understanding the business of art 

final draft  read-through
of the next book

off to the publisher

and available to buy
by July 1st...

the next book,  edit complete
this weekend

then to Paraguay
for final

on the retailer's
by October 1st

next up,
the last book of the year -
the road poems

how do you make a book
out of three long poems,  good poems

but still, do you pad the book
with lesser poems just to publish
the good ones?

ePublishing revelation!

cost off publication cheap
whether three poems
or three hundred

apply the WalMart volume theory
of retail merchandising -

publish a three-poem book,
sell  it for a buck ninety-eight
hire street corner

to  work the streets of American,
Poetry Sale Today! Almost-Free Poetry Today!

to beef-up security for
crowd control

as poetry readers gather on opening day, large
women in sweatpants stampeding
in a crush

to the cheap-poetry bin,
the gates of eCommerce -

forward! forward!
poets -
the business of art is now explained


now explain to your wife
why losing money
for the Muse

such a good idea at the time

charge it off to price increases at Starbucks -
she'll never know the difference

Last from my library, a poem by Sudeep Sen, from his book Postmarked India - New and Selected Poems. The book was  published in 1997 by Harper Collins Publishers India.

Born in 1964 in New Delhi, Sudeep Sen is a poet, translator, editor and and artist. He studied English at the University of New Delhi ad earned an MS in journalism at Columbia University. Recognized as one of India's finest young poets, he writes and lives in New Delhi and London.

Night in Times Square

At two in the morning at Times Square,I
     see steam escaping  from man-hole crevices
as its fumes screen the changing colors
     of the competing neon signs.
A homeless person totters across the street,
     stiff and cold, totally unstartled
by the frantic yellow cab that misses
     hitting him by a mere inch.
Late nighters like me, amblers, whores,
     all gesture in silence,
in a language unknown, understanding
     each other with an  everyday skill,
as the chorus of horns drown their murmur
     scintillating with the tiniest flicker of
the many-colored cathode tubes
     illuminating the peculiar normal night.
A tiny island country
     capsules a continent, innocuously, just
as the typical night envelops the square.
     I started walking southward,
down one of the avenues, hear
     the subway underground, its rattles
fleeing the iron-grates on the street.
     Through the silhouette of the buildings,
appears a patch of night sky, and  part of
     the moon, pale orange, reflected faintly,
in the glass and steel canyon
     of downtown, in the city of dreams.

Here's the last of me for the week. I survived, though not  always sure of it.

I dreamed last night

I dreamed last night,
a vivid, intense dream
of a reality where I had found
the solution, not just a solution, but


to all the ills and miseries of our kind
in this time, disease, poverty,
injustice, crime, body odor, flat feet,
bigotry, TV preachers, pot holes after heavy rain,
disrespect for our heroes, anger between  lovers,
love denied, love lost or
never found...


so immediate and close
I could feel it in my sleep,
taste it in my dream, so immediate
and necessary I forced myself awake,
to wake up, to get up, to begin to tell the story
of how all could be made better again,
a new Eden where apples will be free of
consequence and snakes will depart all the forbidden wisdom
of the ages, where we would be made again
the whole we were when we started...


it involves boring two holes
in each tree, holes made to look like
bullet  holes, the secret sign
of the new day...

and that's all I can remember

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 12:07 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

photos: 1,2 & 3 good contrast, 7 flower on stone, 12 frog humor

As to poetry- the Wiggins, Munoz and Sellers I tried putting into prose? There was no difference- I just do not get why people think stuff like this is poetry- It detracts from what they have to say- when I see it- I always hope they have somethinbg gret to say- but half the time I don't even finish stuff falsely claimed to be poetry.

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