Whispers of Truth in a Gale of Lies   Wednesday, February 01, 2017



Even if I  can't change anything, I can at least declare for  the right side.

when my country commits atrocities
my country
is committing atrocities
and I don’t want to be a “good German”

who pretends
to be unaware of the assault on humanity
being done in his name

but I am not person
of wealth or power or fame,
just an old man

weak and easily fatigued
and all I can do it speak out
and speaking out

I do
knowing my voice
is not strong enough to matter

but hoping, at least,
that when the hand of history
writes

my name will be posted on the roster of patriots
and not among the contingent
of enablers and appeasers





Photos, poems - what? you were expecting cupcakes?



Me
a hard wind blowing

Wayne Scheer
Making America Great

Me
what we are and what we must never be   

raulsalinas
First Visit to the Font

Me
show,  don't tell

Sarah Patton
Late  February

Me
a poet preservers

Mary Crow
The Heat in Medellin

Me
pretty pink panties

Brian Turner
Trowel
Where the Telemetries End
Kirkurk  Oilfield, 1927
Repatriation  Day

Me
first thing I see upon  entering Starbucks

Ibrahim al-Aswaji
The Tents of  the  Tribe

Me
breakfast in Texas where things are as they should be 

Jimmy Santiago Baca
from Meditations of  the South Valley   

Me
older by the minute, dumber by the hour 

Deborah A. Miranda
While You Were in San  Quentin

Me
two mornings in a row

Wislawa Szymborska
 Moment

Me
our latest unplanned adventure

Jose Emilio Pacheco
Octopus

Me
the dark is especially bright this morning

Chiyo-ni
Ten haiku

Me
the challenge   
          
 










Here's first for the week, written  a couple of weeks ago.










a hard wind blowing

wind  blowing 
today
like from one of those
wind tunnels
where they check
to  make sure airplane wings
won't fall off

at least
I think that's why they do it...

today
if I was a plane
my wings might just
fall off

like
black flow
from Washington
of a couple of days ago,
a hard wind blow blowing
hard, invisible
but for
the trash it blows
up
transparent like the
lies












This brand new poem is by my poet friend Wayne Scheer













Making America Great

My grandparents came to this country
in a wave of immigration more than  a century ago,
speaking no English
and  not worshiping Jesus.

They weren't welcomed,
despite what it said on that statue,
but they managed, living with family
and working the jobs former immigrants snubbed.

They believed a dream
that no matter how crowded the tenement,
no matter how long the work day or poor the sweat shop working conditions
they and their children would be respected as human beings
and would be citizens and thought of as Americans.

They spoke a heavily accented English,
they never learned to read the new language,
so they read newspapers in their language
and they became citizens.

They worked, they voted, they saw themselves as Americans 
even if they were seen as outsiders, as foreigners.
They dreamed of a better life for their children and grandchildren,
and their dream, the American dream, came through.

My grandfather helped organize labor unions.
He walked picket lines, swinging a baseball bat to protect himself from police.
His brother called himself a communist,
proudly reciting the Manifesto in Yiddish.

They mellowed with age,
supported Roosevelt, two world wars, and struggled through a Depression,
always believing in the dream,
a better life for the next  generation.

That's all any immigrant dreams,
no matter their religion or political beliefs.
Despite their culture,  the American culture absorbs them,
changes them and America changes. It's what makes America great. 
That's the America I hope Muslim children and their children 
will know.











I wrote this immediately after reading and being inspired by the poem above.











what we are and what we must never be

a poet writes a poem
about his immigrant heritage,
about his grandparents,
Jews from Europe,
and how they struggled
in their new home,
America,
their faith never failing,
their courage never failing,
their struggle never overwhelming

and as I read, I feel the warm embrace 
of what  has been my country too,
at risk now, a risk of turning into something
more alien than any immigrant has ever been,
and I think of my own heritage, a great-great somebody
who wintered with Washington at Valley Forge,
ad great-great somebodies else who arrived in a boat
from Germany and walked to where they would build
a home in Central Texas, where they would arrive as Mexicans
just in time to become Texicans when the revolution was won,
in time, a few years later, to refuse to become Confederates, in time
for some to die in Texas brush as soldiers of the Union...

and I realize again, we all have these stories of our immigrant past,
stories  that make and justify the America the world knows
and honors, not for its might, but for the very same honor
and decency and freedom that drew our forebearers
whether they came three hundred years ago or just last week
or those immigrants to be who wait for their share
of the glory of what we are meant to be...

I do not shy from the word "evil" for it is that
which threatens our country and its heritage today,
hard won and uniquely ours...

that is what is at stake today...

we must not allow the weak and the ignorant and the depraved
to twist our country and our history into something
abhorrent to every true American
patriot...








Starting my library poems with poet raulsalinas, from his book, Un Trip through the Mind Jail  and  otras Excursions, published in  1999 by Arte Publico Press.

Raul R. Salinas, who published as "raulsalinas", was born in San Antonio and raised in Austin. In prison on drug related charges  from 1959 to  1971, he became known for his  prison poetry and his work with other inmates, including his work in the  prisoner rights movement and various other political movements. From 1981 until his death in 2004, Salinas ran the Austin multicultural and political Resistencia Bookstore as well as Red Salmon Arts, a literary venue and small  press.

I had to look up the meaning of the end of the poem. Turns out it was in 1971, and maybe still now, slang for street n heroin.







First Visit to the Font

Ensconced
          for days and nights
in $3.00 motel room
          besetting love?
a pencil-tongue
          write poetry
across crude caesarean scars
          of such sweet body's slate.
Eraser-like
          a mouth rubs out
stretch-marks, left on bulging breasts
          from many sucklings.

i eat
          you eat
              me/we
float on  passion's seas
          drift off  in slumber sounds
of Gloria Lynne & Bossa Nova.
          Awakened, 'Trane declares
                for US
A Love Supreme...A Love Supreme...A Love Supreme

Months later, finding myself
          obsessed with you
(a worse habit to kick than heroin)
          i baptize you:

                    "DUJI"

                                     Leavenworth/ 1971











Starting my old poems this week with this from 2010 - old writer's wisdom re-purposed. 2010 is also about when the picture on the left was taken.










show, don't tell

so  inadequate,
us poor poets, writing
our inadequate love poems, trying
to speak that
which cannot  be spoken

for there is no true
language
for love, only
crude  approximations,
like hand puppets
signing
their lines to  a deaf audience

a child's smile,
a flower's bloom opening in spring sunlight,
a mother's  kiss
on fevered brow
a father's embrace,
love
in all its truest forms -
all things
too deep  and fine
for any clumsy accumulation
of nouns and verbs  and  adjectival
elaboration

such human truth
can only be mimed,
actions
speaking louder than poor
constricted words -

so don't say you love me -

show  me
with your eyes
and your smile
and your welcoming  arms
show  your love
to me

and I will show you back
in all the ways
I can.








This poem is by Sarah Patton, taken from her book,  The Joy of Old Horses,  published in 1999 by Scopcraft Press.

The only extended information I could find on the poet was her  obituary. Born in 1938 in Dallas, she died in Kerrville (about 80 miles north of San Antonio) in 2003 after a long illness. She graduated from North Texas State University and did graduate work at the University of Missouri and at the Creative  Writing Workshop at the University of Wisconsin.










Late February

The sparrows
don't know what
they're watching,

a purse of bones,
a bag of feathers,
terrible windows
trembling with tears
and roses,

you all stone
and singing roots,
I slow in your savy bones,

the way the chairs
don't move,

and your eyes reflect me
as if sending me away.

The trees
have lived it all
and will stay
to live again

as will forsythia
already bearing yellow stars
on its arms.

Gaunt fingers
probe the iron sky
for a fissure
through which
to thrust a root.












Poetry not so easily derailed.










a poet preservers

a wall of cedar
between here and north
of here and every time
the north wind blows
cedar pollen
swirls
across us
like a blanket of devil dust
making
life
for us mortals
cedar-fever miserable,
like me,
like now, my nose a patch
of permanent pain
my eyes itching like
I washed my face with
poison ivy, and I scratch
and I blow and it
all
just
makes everything worse
with the temps
falling
to
2
0

d
e
g
r
ee
two nights in a row
and the dogs want their walk
anyway,
both being furry beasts
need to poop
and pee
and not giving
a woof or a warp
that my feet are cold
and my nose is
frozen
trooping through the dark
at 5 of the a.m.
and
I'm not asking for 
sympathy,
just want everyone to know
what  determined soul
I am
writing this is such inhumane
conditions as I preserve
through it all
right now

~~~~~~~~~~

I need someone to come
warm my nose
before
it  falls
off 
.
.
.
.
.
but that's another
story








Mary Crow is a poet, professor and translator. She has published 5 books of her own poems and 4 books of her  translations. She was Poet Laureate of Colorado for 24 years and is presently Emeritus Professor of English at Colorado State University.

Her poem this week is from her book, Borders, published in 1999 by BOA Editions, LTD.








The Heat in Medellin

In Beiria  Park
the armless and legless
look up from grey pallets
beside the church
with staring eyes.
Dirty children are rising
from their concrete beds
over the warm air vents
and the  blind man
calls out his  lottery numbers.
Morning in Medellin:
my heart is already hard.

Rubber stamps drum in the bank
and the eyes of waiting people are dull.
As I  leave, a woman walks p,
stark naked; people laugh
and say she's crazy,
She walks into the reflecting pool,
her dimpled flesh quivering, oblivious,
and I envy her.
In Junin street the kiosks display
pale freesias with their smell
of death; stiff yellow callas
for the grave are being watered
while the suburbs have no water
and the poor drink from the river.
Every morning we read about children
who died. Ad there is no light,
because the rains are late this year.
From their glass stands, vendors sell
peaches and grapes imported from Chili,
from California.
Further down the block,
a vendor makes the sign of the cross
over his cigarettes
as he begins his day.

Morning in Medellin:
a man sits down on the sidewalk
and lifts his trousers
so we can pity his open wound.
Morning in Medellin:
here comes the crazy man in his rags,
bearing his cardboard box
with the red chicken and the white,
one pink rose, a small flag, and a ribbon
displayed on top. He holds it all up
as he talks to God
from his perfect world.












Now this, from 2011, a morning when my daily poem was interrupted by pretty pink panties.









pretty pink panties

pretty young woman
sits across from
me
at the high  table
with the high chairs
that I don't like to  sit in
myself,
acrophobia, maybe,
or maybe it's just I don't
like to sit with my legs
dangling - being somewhat tall,
dangling legs
is an unusual and uncomfortable
configuration for me...

the pretty young woman
in  her sheath-like
dress, don't know what
you're  supposed to call it,
looks like a long  tee-shirt except
it's very short,
above  mid-thigh,
and she  apparently doesn't
like to dangle either
because she sits with
feet  on the chair's leg supports,
knees up,
sheath,or whatever you call it, dress
up approaching, sometimes
surpassing
Holy Moses territory

doing all sorts  of tricks
with her legs,
keeping one eye on me
all  the time
and I'm okay with that,
just a little weirded-out
since gray plunk
that I am, I don't usually
get floor shows from high places
by pretty young women I don't know, or,
even pretty young women
I do  know, but
by this time I know this particular
pretty young woman
pretty damn  well and  in fact
in all my knowing I' having a very
hard time keeping my mind
on my poetry, heart beating
ka-plunka, ka-plunka, except quickly
and in inverse  proportion
to the  speed at which I am accomplishing
my poem-writing  distraction

until

the pretty young woman
puts an end to playtime, with
a little wink  as  she passes
on her way out

and I'm feeling pretty good
about my manly-type magnetism,
disregarding the fact
that it was her game and not mine
and that she left and I"m still here with
cold coffee and a over-heated poem
and hell, I know, from that secret
part of my heart  from whence
truth sometimes emerges,
struggling, staggering,
fighting back the curse of self -
knowledge, admitting to the state of this affair,
which is that it wasn't in any way about me
or my animal attraction,
such as it was, used to be, at least
in my imagination,
never going to be again, even
in my imagination,  such
manly me-Tarzan manliness
as remains in my testosterone bank
a mere  Chihuahua
in a junkyard of pissed-off  pit bulls

but
then it  could be I misread
the whole situation, probably, I'm thinking,
nothing to do with me,nothing to do with
anyone's  growly intentions,
but only the pretty pink panties
she just bought at Montgomery-Roebuck
that she  so wanted to show  off...

I guess I could have just  told her
how pretty and pink
her panties were and gotten on with
my poem  for the
day








This poem by Brian Turner is from his book, Here, Bullet, published by Alice James Books in 2005.

Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving seven years in the US Army, including a year in Iraq as an infantry team leader with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat  Team an Infantry Division. Prior to that he served with the 10th Mountain Brigade in Bosnia -Herzegovina. His poetry has won numerous awards including the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award for this book.








Trowel

The day before the Kurdish holiday
Hussein and Abid stir the muddy paste
with a shovel and their bare hands.

Because Hussein's arm is scarred
elbow to wrist from the long war with Iran,
he holds the trowel in his left hand, pushing

mud against a bullet-pocked wall, the cement
an appeasement which Hussein pauses over,
waiting out his hand's familiar tremor,

then buying the lead, its signatures
like dirt-filled sockets of bone
which he smooths over and over.


Where the Telemetries End

Such a life:
we make love and the dry sheets
crackle in blue sparks. Water
slides vein by vein
over the face of stone.
We share a long night
of breathing. And when the dead
speak to us, we must ask them
to wait, to be patient,
for the night is still ours
on the rooftops of Al Ma'badi,
with a tracery of lights
falling all around us.


Kirkuk Oilfield, 1927

We live on  the roof of Hell, he says,
and Ahmed believes it, he's watched the gas flares
rise from holes in the earth, he's  seen the black river
wash through the village in a flood of oil
as if the drillers  struck a vein
deep in the skull of God, and the old man says,
Bot, you must learn how to live here -
where the dead are buried deep in the mind
of God,  manifest in man and woman,
given to earth in dark blood,
give to earth in fire.



Repatriation Day
                      Shalamcheh, at the Iran-Iraq border

The skeletons rest in their boxes
still slack-jawed  twenty years later,
as if amazed at their own death.

I want to lie down among them,
to be wrapped in sheets like the flags
of nations, banded in light and shadow.

I want the Red Cross worker to lean over,
so I can see the tired look in  her eyes
as she writes down my name.

                          For Koder












Wrote this last week.












first thing I  see  upon  entering Starbucks

first thing I  see upon
entering
Starbucks
is an old fella
(and by old fella
I mean a fella maybe
a year older than
me)
and he's wearing a pair
of those "relaxed fit" 
Levis (and by "relaxed" I mean
enough  room in the rear
and crotch and legs
for about six of everything
he's got)

I wear Levis now all the time
since my last retirement
(except when someone dies;
I have a black suit, white shirt 
and red tie for such occasions as
that)

and I would never put my butt
and associated parts
in a relaxed fit because,
god,  I'm old and I don't
need reminding by walking around
with a Barnum  & Bailey tent
flapping around my
parts
such as they may be...

and second upon my entrance
to Starbucks,
a very thin black man with
three ruler-straight scars,
apparently purposefully inflicted
by himself or someone
else
running parallel from his ears
to the corner of his eyes...

probably a much more interesting
story there than the old man
with the tent pants
but
I know the old man, being
one myself, and cannot even
imagine the  story of the
very thin black man
with the parallel
scars
and
though I could just make
something up,
given the fact that the scars
may be religiously or culturally
significant,
that might seem
insensitive,  maybe
even
disrespectful
so I'll
leave it to you
to  imagine
your own
story
thereby earning your own
voodoo curse








The next poem from my library is rather lengthy, but it is the story of a quest for love. You can't short change that sort of thing.

The poem is by Ibrahim al-Awaji, from his book The Tents of the Tribe - a Bilingual Collection of Arabic Poetry.  The poet, with a MPA in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in Public Affairs (Government) from the University of Virgina, is a leading contemporary Saudi Arabian poet, with several collections of poetry in Arabic and one in French. This book, published by Echoes in 1996 is his first in English (with Arabic text on facing pages). The translations to English are by Maryam Ishaq Al-Khalif Sharief. Although the translation isn't great, the love story shines through.








The Tents of the Tribe

I

I once believed
That my beloved dwelt
In the desert.
Upon whose flanks,
All the stars drowsed and slumbered.

A desert,
Which awakened the
Hope of wanderers.
And, whose secrets are known
To the Prophets
And to the saintly,

A desert,
Which in Springtime is covered
In chamomile flowers
The color of dreams.
And, where the sweetness
Of breath draws on its cheeks
All kinds of kisses.

A desert,
Where the story of my past
Is drenched in fragrance of the
khozmah flower.
And, where my passion
For the taste of affliction and
My very sense of being
Are felt like remnants
Of eternity.

II

I, frequently entered
The tents of the tribe;
To dance with the beautiful women.
To make battle with the Knights.

I, believed all beauties
To be one and the same.
For you were not there
In the tent with me,
On that day when,
Strained by exhaustion
I fell paralyzed.

III

I, voyaged in the sea
Searching in the wilderness
For its very edge.

I, was not in a boat
And I knew not
How to swim,
Nor about the way
Of the waves.

I, pined for you
And longed to find you
Drunk in the abandon
Of a languorous mood.

I, began to search
For your eyes.
I asked every shell
And every reef
In the sea
Until my strength
Was almost  drained

Suddenly the ancient call
From the desert came to me
Reminding me, that desert
Flora such as myself
Know how to resist
The voice of ennui.

IV

Thus, in my firm stance
I found salvation.
For you came to me
Escorting all the gems
And pearls from the sea.

In your hands you held
A vessel of air,
A drink of water.
And you said that
The seas,  like our desert
Are made of mystery
And of love.
And you are in love.

When am near you,
I am like a fish
In the sea.
I, can swim now
Like I used to
In days of old
On the saddle of a camel.












From 2012, striking a blow for  truth , justice  and the Texican way.











breakfast in Texas where things are as they should be

having a basic Texas born-and-bred urge
this morning
for a real Tex-Mex  breakfast
and my regular breakfast place
being of Colorado origin
and a victim of the black bean  fallacy,
I did a Marty McFly
and returned to one of my back-to-the-future
breakfast places
of yore, a traditional  Texas diner
where the role of the pinto bean
is recognized and
honored
as the centerpiece f Mexican coking,
not some yuppie, mountain-based
bean of the night
beloved in those states southwest
so shy when it comes to their Mexican
heritage,
preferring instead to identify their cuisine
with the Spanish imperialists
and their conquistadors,
black bean eaters, all of them,
not like those proud
people
native to the lands
conquered, subsumed
along with their simple pinto bean
by the colonial priests
and their soldier
cohort...

and how  proud I am this morning
to be in Texas
where the conquered conquered
the conquerors,
eating my huevos rancheros
and refried pinto
beans
in true Tex-Mex fashion,
survivors
all
in a restaurant where no  black bean
has  ever passed through
its  doors








Next, I have a short piece by Jimmy Santiago Baca from the "Meditations of the South Valley" section of his two-poem book, Martin & Meditations on the South Valley. It is a New Directions Book published in 1987. I have used poetry from this book many times and always including a short bio of Baca's hard and ultimately successful life. It's a great story. Instead of including it again I just refer you to his biography on the web. It's a great story of struggle and emergence of  poet out of adversity.







from Meditations of the South Valley

IV

Send me news Rafa
of the pack dogs sleeping
in wrecked cars in empty yards,
or los veteranos
dreaming in their whiskey bottles
on porches
of the past, full of glory and fear.
The black smell of wet earth
seeps into old leaning adobes,
and prowls like a black panther through open windows.
Austere-faced hombres
hoeing their jardines
de chile y maiz in the morning,
crush beer cans and stuff them in gunny sacks
and pedal on rusty bicycles
in the afternoon to the recycling scale,
and at Coco's  chante
at dusk tecatoes se juntan,
la concina jammed like the stock exchange lobby,
as  los vatos raise their fingers
indicating cuanto quieren,
There is much more I miss  Rafa,
so send me the news.














I wrote this early last month. Just never got back to it until now













older by the minute, dumber by the hour

getting
older by the minute
and dumber by the day

I remember
when I was a young fella
and smart as a whip
besides

never was much
of a good-looking fella
but I didn't mind
because
I was young and smart...

now I'm getting
older by the minute
and dumber by the hour
and still neither sexy nor
good-looking

it's a helluva a thing...

this getting old
and 
dumb 
all at the  same time








This poem  is by Deborah A. Miranda, taken from her  book, Indian Cartography, published by Greenfield Review Press in 1999 through a grant from the literature Program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Miranda is Native American of  her father's side (from the Esselen and Chumash peoples). Her mother was of French and Jewish ancestry.  Born in 1961 in Los Angeles, she earned her Ph.D. in English at the University of Washington and is currently associate professor of English at Washington and Lee University. She is widely published in literary and scholarly publications.






While You Were in San Quentin

        Eight Years for my father

1

I became a stepdaughter.
We moved to Washington State
in a year of  drought.
I didn't have a brother and sister anymore.
I lost my front teeth.

2

One teacher said I was too dark,
too quiet, too slow.
Another teacher cherished me.
I learned to read.
We moved again.

3

Hannah became my best friend.
My mother had an affair.
This man molested me.
This same man molested my best friend.
She told.
Our mothers believed us;
the sheriff didn't.
We moved again.

4

You sent three cards.
In each one you called me
Darling Daughter
I never wrote back.
Kittens were born under my bed.
We moved again.

5

I memorized  tavern phone numbers:
Mecca, Ad Lib, Sugar Shack.
I grew my hair long.
My step-father left;
then, he tried to sell the trailer we lived in.
We  bought macaroni, hot dogs, and ice cream
with food stamps.

6

My mother studied all night at the kitchen table.
She had a new boyfriend named Joe.
He was kind to us. I hated him,
his Oklahoma accent, the way
he wanted me to trust him.
In the summer we picked berries.
I told people my father was Indian.
I told people I had six sisters,
named them.

7

A man walked on the moon again.
I failed the multiplication tables over
and over.
I grew breasts,hips and got my first period in fifth grade.
My grandmother bought me the ugly clothes
for fat girls.
I forgot what little Spanish I knew.

8

I  took up drums instead of typing.
I waited for a new best friend.
I tried cigarettes.
I kept a journal of my dreams.
I began to wonder what I looked like.
I  wondered if I looked
like you.












This from December, 2013.












two mornings  in a row

two mornings
in a row,
moon above the mist
on Apache Creek,
a button,
bright as a baby sun
surfing
the stream on the vapor
above it...

two
December mornings
in a row,
Christmas  moon
bright
as the star
atop the tree,
watching
over the pale drifting shadows
of slow winter
night









Next I have a poem by Polish poet, essayist, translator and winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for  Literature, Wislawa Szymborska, taken from her book, Monologue of a Dog. The book was published in 2002 by Harcourt. Translators for the book  were Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw  Baranczak.









Moment

I walk  on the slope of a hill  gone green.
Grass, little flowers in the grass,
as in  a children's illustration.
the misty sky's already turning blue.
A view of other hills unfolds in silence.

As if there'd never  been any Cambrians,Silurians,
rocks snarling at crags,
upturned abysses,
no nights in flames
and days in clouds of darkness.

As if plains hadn't pushed their way here
in malignant fevers,
icy shivers.

As if seas had  seethed only elsewhere,
shredding the shores of the horizons.

It's nine thirty local time,.
Everything in its place and in polite agreement.
In the valley a little brook  cast as  little brook.
A path in the role of a path from always to ever.

Woods disguised as woods  alive without end,
and above them birds in flight play birds in flight.

This moment  reigns as  far as the eye can reach.
One of those earthly moments
invited to linger.












This is from a couple of weeks ago.












our latest unplanned adventure

the bane of living
in a temperate climate
is the way every new day
is a near repeat of the day before

it makes even the slightest
variation
a big deal, a time of celebration,
as when a norther blows
through and the the ladies get out
their furs and boots for maybe
the once a year blowout of cold,
feeling like Hollywood or like 5th avenue,
cold is cool  for a couple of days,  then
it's more like jeez, it's cold and I'm
freezing my ass,  when is this arctic
torture going to end
like
the rain when the rain comes,
heavy rain and everyone
is splashing happy
until it soaks through their shoes
and up their pant leg
and there is no going anywhere
dray and the ladies' hair
looks like a dust mop
and they cry,  rain, damn  rain,
will it ever stop

and I'm like that, except
I'm sensing a change
and loving it...

20 degrees last week, 80 degrees outside
right now,gushes of rain two weeks ago,
ground cracks growing as you watch
now,  I mean,
how
can anyone possibly be bored
in the midst  of such
random attacks
of, ha!, you
just wait  until next  week
and we'll show you 
our latest unplanned
adventure,
another
wild ride
on that bronco
called
climate change







This is by Jose Emilio Pacheco, from the book An Ark for the Next Millennium, published in 1993 by the University of Texas Press. It is a bilingual  look (Spanish and English on facing pages) with translation by Margaret  Sayers Peden. It is illustrated by one of Mexico's most prominent artists, Francisco Toledo.

Pacheco, born in  1939 and died in 2014, was a poet (considered one of the major Mexican poets of  the second half of the twentieth century), essayist, novelist and short story writer.






Octopus

Dark god of the deep,
fern, mushroom, hyacinth
among rocks unseen  by man,  hidden  in the abyss
where at dawn, against the fire of the sun,
night falls to the bottom of the se  where the octopus
absorbs its murky ink through the suckers of its tentacles
Radiant, nocturnal beauty, it pulses
through the caliginous brine of mother waters
it perceives as fresh and crystalline.
But on the beach contaminated by plastic garbage
that fleshy jewel of viscous vertigo
is a monster...and people are killing it,
clubbing the beached,  defenseless creature.
Someone hurls a harpoon and the octopus breathes death
through the wound,  second suffocation.
No blood flows from its mouth but night spews out,
mourning darkens the sea, obscures the earth,
as slowly, slowly the octopus dies.











Another December poem, this one from 2014.












the dark is especially bright this morning

the dark
is especially bright this morning

low hanging clouds cloaking the neighborhood
with insinuations of wet,
reflecting the never-dark shadows
of big  city luminance back to
earth, my backyard like a sun-shiny day
on one of the outer planets, light measure
in unnaturally active  lightning bug units

it will rain today
they say,
hard, heavy thunderstorms,
flash floods in the creeks, sometime
during the afternoon,
right now the insolence of not-yet,
suggestions of rain with the don't-give-a-shit attitude
of teenage boys smoking Malboros
on a broken-lamp lit
street corner...

right now,
just a succession of in-between moments,
like a movie where the hero
drives from here to there
and drives and drives,  the promise of something happening  soon
draining from the screen like milk from a leaky
bucket...

I  guess I'll just  wait, I mean
that's what  we do,  isn't it, wait and wait
for the big moment,like  we planned when we were thirteen
years old, our face like Vesuvius erupting, and certain
a big moment was coming and riding to the rescue
was the certain outcome, and the pretty girl
so  graceful and eager for an extravaganza of explosive sex
as we could best imagine it in our pimple-plagued
adolescent brain...

moments like that -

and we wait and we wait
and we wait some
more...

any day now,
that moment when we become
what we are sure we were always meant
to be









Last from my library, haiku by Chiyo-ni, from Chiyo-ni, Woman Haiku Master, published by Tuttle Publishing in1998.

Buddhist nun Chiyo-ni was born in 1703 and died 1775, She was a poet of the Edo period and is  widely regarded as one of the greatest female haiku poets.

Her poems were translated for the book by Patricia Donegan and Yoshie Ishibashi.










the butterfly
is standing on tiptoes
at the ebb tide

``````

everything I pick up
is alive -
ebb tide

``````

squatting
the frog observes
the clouds

``````

galloping horses also
smell their legs -
the wild violets

``````

among a field
of horsetail weeds -
temple ruins

``````

even the butterfly
voiceless -
Buddhist service

``````

keeping cool -
in the deep night
strangers on the bridge

``````

the coolness -
of the bottom of her kimono
in the bamboo grove

``````

change of kimono:
showing only her back
to the blossom's fragrance

`````

roughed lips
forgotten -
clear springwater











Finish  the week with a reminder of  the challenge before us













the challenge

the challenge
for the next thousand plus days
is to believe in normal

like the poet
searching for something else
to think about
as the first corpses of the
black death are burned
in the streets
how he must have
struggled
to find beauty
for is verse

and now
me

my mission
to search every dark cloud
for the silver lining
that our common myth
tells us must be there;
to  separate from the  gloom
of  every dim day
that ray of sunshine that promises
better times a'coming;
to believe in communities
of love  to guard
the gates
from approaching
armies of fear and spite
and hate and perversion
and the plain
dumb-faced
ignorance 
of cows in a field
waiting
for the clover they were
promised
as the slaughter house
appears on the
horizon...








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
 

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