It's True, Pigs Can Fly (but only on Air Force One)   Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A  found poem; a tale of a hero

praise God from whom all blessings flow

a man
on a motorbike
pulled alongside
her
asked
what seemed an ordinary question

"Are you going to school?"

then he pulled her burka
from her head
and sprayed her face
with burning acid

17 years old
and bravely back in school,
she says

"They want us to be stupid
things."

(New York Times, Front Page
January 14, 2009

praise God...
in all his cruel and hideous
forms

amen







I got involved in trying to do another extended flash-fiction narrative this past week and didn't do as many poems as usual. So the lot of my poems this week won't be new, but from my  book of travel poems, Places and Spaces, a collection of extended poems from various travels.

The flash-fiction narrative thing stalled for now.



 Me
praise God from  whom all blessings  flow
 
Me
filling new  pages

Carol Coffee Reposa
Summer Sky

Me 
(from "Places and Spaces")
spring storm
home court

Eric Greinke
More Perspective

Me
days in Central Texas

Chris Itz
Photos

Me
(from "Places and Spaces")
Silver City and Beyond"

Nanoe Sakaki
Ancestors of Japan

Me
obsolence is a point off view

Iva Kortla
Under the Skin
In Moments of Piety
Growing Up

Me
(from "Places and Spaces")
Sleeping with Andy Devin

Stephen Dunn
The Reverse Side
             
 Me
soft neon

Catullus
(from "The Poems of Catullus)
Numbers 47,  49, 53,  54

Me
(from "Places and Spaces")
To the Rockies

Jose  Emilio Pacheco
Rain Drop
Sunday Light
The Defenseless
In Passing

Me
the commute

George Santayana
On a Piece of Tapstry

Me
(from "Places and Spaces)
On the Cusp of Confederate Winter

Francisco X.Alacon
Number VI

Me
crowds that feed me    
     
 

 
    








Dee and I took a little three day drive through the hill country a couple of weeks ago, a time to ourselves to celebrate my birthday (73) and our wedding anniversary (40).

I hesitate to call this a poem, more like a travel journal.












filling new pages

the distance
between Johnson City and
Fredericksburg on Hwy 290 is,
according to the desk clerk at our hotel
in Johnson City, 32 miles, or
27 wineries...

this was of interest to Dee,
who enjoys wine tastings,
but not so to me
whose
last  encounter with wine
was at age 16 when I, with
the help of a couple  of friends,
consumed on a hot summer afternoon
a half gallon of Strawberry Hill 
and a quart of white lightning corn whiskey
and I have had no interest 
in either wine
or corn whiskey in the 50 plus years since...

but it is a kind of interesting thing to learn,
central Texas wine country now produces nearly
one vineyard and winery per mile...

and what good is a weekend of travel
if you don't learn something
interesting -

for  example,
visiting LBJ Ranch and ranch house
near Stonewall, Texas, I learned
that Lady Bird Johnson, a very cultivated lady
with two college degrees (History and Journalism),
both from the University of Texas, was not happy
at first, living so far out of the city and especially
on a ranch, which she also did not like, for, among
other things, sh did not like the cows, an 
essential feature of ranching, that leave
ranches and ranchers living with an unpleasant
and, in her view, unhealthy smell, disliking
them to such an extent that, within
just few weeks of Lyndon's death she sold
the entire herd, since replaced, following her death,
 with their genetic offspring. who today graze beautifully
in the ranches green fields...

interesting things,
again,
what purpose if travel not for the
opportunity to learn interesting things,
like for example a side trip to Marble Falls,
a very nice little town and arts haven, primarily
for the purpose of taking pictures of the water
falling over the marble, learning when we got there
that  the falls were flooded with the creation
of Lake LBJ and can no  longer be seen, a disappointment
alleviating somewhat by the art lining the meridian
of town's historic district main street...

learning new things sometimes mean
learning new, disappointing things - a chance
you take when you set out to learn new
things

which was the point  of our weekend hill country
adventure, a strange way to spend a 40th anniversary
weekend, some might sat,  out together alone
all new things in our relatively near
neighborhood, a chance to learn new and interesting 
addendum, unknown things and therefore
mysterious things, a chance while learning those things
to learn together new and interesting things
about each other, even after 40 years together,
to fill, together, new pages to our own book
of mysteries and marvels...








First from my library this week is this poem by San Antonio poet Carol Coffee Reposa. The poem is from her book, Underground Musicians, published in 2013 by Lamar University Press.

Reposa earned a BA and an MA from the University of Texas. She also did post-graduate work at UT, Trinity University in San Antonio, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. She teaches at San Antonio College,  one of a number of  branches of a very good local community college system.







Summer Sky

Clouds  sprawl across late afternoon
Like a harem
Nudes billowing
In Strawberry cream
And languishing toward  dusk,
Luminous shapes
That Rubens might have heaped
Onto his canvas every night,
Gently pushing
Those voluptuous arms
Into position
Folding fingers
Just behind the neck
Taking a moment
To  arrange the strands
Of  red gold hair
Before he found his brush
And painted them
Into the the heavens,
Streaming light, across the evening,
Dripping colors on the floor.













I began and ended, Places and Spaces, my book of travel poems, with these two bookends. The person pictured is my son, Chris. This is the first of two of my book covers where he appears.










spring  storm

clouds
dark as the devil's black eyes
behind
as we race to clear skies 
ahead



home court

there is pleasure
in travel
but comfort 
in routine and the everyday

so
I'm back

second table from the rear,
by the window,
back to the river,
looking out on the corner
of Martin
and Solidad,
San Antonio, Texas

life
in the slow lane,
looking
for a poem
in all the old familiar places









Next from my library,  poet Eric Greinke, from his book  Wild Strawberries. The book was published by Presa :S: Press in 2008.

Greinke is author of several books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. He has a Masters degree in Social Work and has 25 years of experience working with disturbed and disabled children. He has also  taught creative writing in  alternate high  school and worked in the Michigan Poets int the Schools program








More Perspective

If you live on
A river or stream,
You must float
In place.     You will need
A good anchor.

*

Vegas glitters
In the  northwest.
The stars above
The curved edge
Of the Horizon
Match the stars
In front of you.

*

Bundle up & go outside.
The sky will look bigger
Than it does on paper.








Here's some more from our long weekend  in the Texas hill country.

The cow pictured is from the LBJ Ranch where the livestock seemed as interested in studying the tourists as the tourists were the cows.









 days in Central Texas

days in Central Texas,
sunshine
cool
and bright,
the reason people
settled here
despite the fields of stone
and cactus
and snakes slumbering
on flat rocks
along the slow-moving
Pedernales River,
a land of half my ancestors,
tough people, farmers, ranchers,
shepherds who built
their homes and fences
from their rocky fields, making 
pasture and open meadows
for grazing and farming...

today, climate like parts of Africa,
exotic wild life replacing
the sheep and goats
and moody cattle

today, climate like parts 
of southern Europe, fields and meadows
replaced by vineyards and the creation of 
Texas wines...

but a few of the peach orchards
remain, such a finicky business
this peach growing, seems every year
too much rain, too little rain, winter too
warm, winter too  cold,wine
a much better  deal, wine tasting tending
to  cloud judgement in a way a jar of peaches
seldom does...

my cousin who I don't know,  some many times
removed, still sells his peaches downtown
when he has them, but also pickled jalapenos,
okra, gherkins and dills, accommodation to  realities... 

it's why the early ones cleared  stony fields
to build their stony houses, their barns and fences, it's why
they, refugees from the strife-torn baronies of Germany,
made the first ever peace treaty with the Comanche,
why they died to free the slaves...

~~~~~

a beautiful, blue-sky weekend
in the hills where I spent part of every summer
of my youth, a chance to remember
the stories of that time...









 I mentioned that the cover for my eBook, Places and Spaces, includes a picture of my son, Chris. It was taken during one of his many hiking and camping trips, at Guadalupe National Park on the border of Texas and New Mexico.

The park is for heavy duty hikers and campers only, with access only on foot and only primitive camp sites. I decided to post here several pictures Chris took on one of his visits. (Including another picture of him taken by his hiking companion.



























Places and Spaces consists of five long poems (plus the two bookend poems). The structure of the poems is prose poems that move the story alone broken up by more poetic (hopefully) pieces that describe a mood or a scene.

These bits are from the last poem in the book, "Silver City and Beyond."









From the initial part of the journey, San Antonio to El Paso (558 miles), and then on into New Mexico and back.


stone-wrapped hills
to long-stretched fingers
of pink Chihuahua Desert

blue sky, blue on blue
on deep ocean blue sky,
to jagged  clouds
dark and sharply racing

*****

on the ridge
a line of dead trees,
oak blight killing scrub oak
all around

reminding me of a picture
I once saw 
of a lone  tree,
bare and burned,
among the ruins at
Hiroshima

~~~

these trees like that,
bare limbs
black 
reaching up, grasping
at the sky

in the pasture below
a mare and her foal eat grass
generous and green

~~~


layers of geologic time...



there,
near the top,
a woman and a man passed,
nearly human,
and down  by my feet 
a fish
struggled
crawled awkwardly
from the sea

~~~

a cloud billows up
from the Chisos  Basin

like a white rose
opening to the sun

~~~

three horses
crossing
a green pasture,
grass high,
up to their knees

crossing
in single file
one after  the other

like carousel horses
with somewhere  to go

~~~

a very large buck
and 25 to 30 doe and fawns,
fluffy white and brown stub tails 
flicking
in the wind,
all together as a  group
coming down the mountain
in great bounds, over the road
then back up the other side
winged creatures
who, through fate or folly
lost their wings
but still try to fly, almost
succeeding
with each great leap








Nanao Sakaki is the next poet from my library. His poem is from his book, Break the Mirror, published by North Point Press in 1987.

Born  in  1923, Sakaki died in 2008. With no formal education after the age of twelve, as a draftee in the military, he used his spare time to  educate himself in the great western philosophers. Widely varied in his artistic endeavors, he taught himself English while following primitive art and collaborating with a wood sculptor. Leaving that art behind,  he took up literature and poetry, living with a fellow poet, following the practice of never sleeping in the same place twice.

Coming to the attention of Gary Snyder, he came to the United States where he stayed for ten years,  primarily in San Francisco and Taos where he gathered his own following that became known as "the tribe."

At the time of his death, he was back in Japan, living with friends in the mountains of Nagano prefecture.







Ancestors of Japanese

September night. Almost full moon.
In a clean kitchen, certainly no cockroach -
A drunkard, all naked except necktie, shouts,
          "Our ancestor is the Ainu."

No,  absolutely not!
Neither Ainu nor American
but cockroach is the real ancestor of Japanese.

Here in Hokkaido, part of prosperous Japan
There is a community which wants to eat
The garbage of nuclear power plants
             "for better homes and gardens."

There are government officials
who want to cut down everybody's woods
called National Forests.
Living in a flower garden of fossil  fuel and plastics
they import from Korea thirty-three million  dollars a  year
of Matsutake mushrooms as a delicacy.

And from China they buy
ten million Mamushi vipers as an aphrodisiac.
There are now one hundred million middle class
cockroaches in Japan they say.

The Japanese cockroach is also gulping down
The Amazonian rain forest for toilet paper.
For future generations,
they work vigorously and joyously
laving the soil full of agrichemicals,
leaving rivers and lakes terribly polluted
leaving graveyards of coral reefs.


In honor of the glorious Constitution of Japan
"toward the happy and cultural  life"
they ask for more Koalas and missiles

In an old forest of yeddo spruces
             a grizzly bear watches  the full moon.

Reading this, I  have the terrible sense I'm reading future-America after the last  election.












A poem from last week.











obsolence is a point of view

the rooster
crows
in the pre-first light
of mornings dark,
undeterred
by his obsolence
in the human world
of alarm clocks
and digital geegaws

never crowed
for the human world
anyway...

is the ladies in the henhouse
he seeks to impress








The next three short poems are by Iva Kortla, from, at the time, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic - since split into two countries,  Czech Republic and Slovakia. The poem is from the anthology, Spirits of the Age - Poets of Conscience, published in Quarry Press in 1989.

Kortla was a dissident and was banned during the days of Communist Czechoslovakia. Mother of five  children, she was harassed and called for  interrogation by the government for offenses related to her poetry only a few weeks after the birth of her fifth child. While still in hospital, her  home was searched and all of her writing since 1966 was confiscated.

In the picture, the woman on the left is the poet. It wasn't clear in poor translation who the man on her right was, but the young woman next to his was his niece.





Under the Skin

Memories collect
like books laid on top of another
in a second-hand bookshop

So  I think of love
I look
partly through your eyes

What will you tell me
when you are alone

The moon was motionless
reminding me of desire

That is no sin there are others
which have  name


In Moments of Piety

That lonely cross on Golgotha -
     A periscope
through which the Earth observes us.
Out of the dust
     we're dust shedding tears
In adult unhappiness
when the Son in the arms of his
     Mother
is the  only password
opening the gates of Paradise...


Growing Up

     In the years
when the secret police
took down our faces
     as we  left the church
we reached out
     into our dreams

Every evening
adulthood came, with a lamp,
to our bedside,
     quietly drew aside the curtains
and spoke to us
     gently, like a mother











The fourth of the five long poems in Places and Spaces is titled "Sleeping with Andy Devine," named from the night (in Las Vegas I think) when my hotel was on Andy Devine Street.

This trip was from San Antonio to Lake Tahoe and back.







In New Mexico

on the right
a Rio Grande river  delta valley,
green and cultivated
fields,
pecan
 orchards,
houses
stores
church steeples
yellow school buses
flashing
red lights
on two lane 
highways

hanging over all this

mountains


~~~


a hawk,
dead in the middle of the  road,
a casualty
of flying too low
flying too slow

a single wing
like a flag stands
above the mess
of bloody
meat and bone 

brown and white feathers
flutter 
in the wind


~~~


nearing Gallup,
I reach snow  level,
patches first,
mostly in shadowed areas
where the day's sun
could not reach

then more and more,
until the desert is covered in  white,
a thin layer,
little individual sprigs
of desert grass poke though
here and there,
like Kilroy
with a really bad haircut

~~~

Into Arizona



through the high  desert,
flat
as far as you can see

then mountains
on the horizon,north and west

snow  capped


~~~


tumbleweeds
whip across the road
in  front of me,
chasing the wind,
never catching it

I've known people like this,
blown always
by capricious
winds,
never finding
rest

I  see  a buffalo
in its shaggy brown 
coat
eating green sprouts
between giant red boulders

```
~~~

In Nevada.



snow clouds
flow
over mountain peaks
on both sides off me
like buttermilk
over hot cornbread

light snow 
dusts desert stones
and plants
with points of silvery
shadow

the snow falls
faster
and soon they all
sport white
caps
until 
they all disappear
under the white sea

a herd of horses,
twenty or thirty of them,
chase and play
in the field of snow


~~~


In Lake Tahoe.

from my tenth floor window
I  watch snow clouds
cross the north mountains,
then begin a slow
drift  across the water
toward us

the "little cat feet"
whisper
over cold water


~~~

Walking my dog along the lake.


we are not the first
to  break the snow, little
duck tracks, triangles
divided by a line
from point to base,
and tracks of some bird 
of a larger sort, tridents
in the snow

a white sailboat sits
offshore
half hidden in the 
snow

there yesterday
as well


~~~

Heading home via California, I-10.



past
white-robed mountains,
the virgin-brides
of western California

past
San Bernardino
and the car-choked
debris
of Los Angeles
to the dry brown
hills of north Arizona

bright yellow 
flowers, brush and thick,
climb the hills like
sunspots
across
the rising drab and dreary









The next poem is by Stephen Dunn. It's taken from his Pulitzer Prize winning book,  Different Hours, published by W.W. Norton in 2000. Born in 1939, Dunn is recipient of many awards an honors and has taught at several universities.









The Reverse Side

                 The reverse side also has a revers side
                                       -  a Japanese Proverb

It's why when we speak a truth
some of us instantly feel foolish
as if a deck inside us has been shuffled
and there it is - the opposite
of what we said.

And perhaps whey as we fall in love
we're already falling out of it.

It's why the terrified and the simple
latch onto one story,
just one version of the great mystery.

Image & after image, oh even
the open-minded yearn for a fiction
to rein things in -
the snapshot, the lie of a frame.

How do we not go crazy,
we who have found ourselves compelled
to  live with the circle, the ellipsis, the word
not yet written.













First new  poem of March.











soft neon

soft neon
pastels
over a blooming rose
of red taillights

a river
starting-stopping
pulsing
with movements
of the herd

night begins
its steady advance,
ending the time for day dreams,
opening the closet
of night dreams never
shared...

a soft bed
fluffy pillows.
the silent secrets
of night








Catullus, born  84 and died 54 B.C., was a Roman poet and wit best remembered as the spearhead of a new poetic movement in the days of the late Roman Republic. A master of colloquial language with astute psychological perception, his direct language often cloaked a complex personality.

In addition to his lyric poetry, I like his short and pithy insult poetry. In our day h would have been King of Facebook and Twitter, a Don Rickles for his time.

These  poems are  from The Poems of Catullus,  published in 1966 by Penguin Books. The poems are translated by Peter Whigham,








Number 47 (from the book)

Lucius Calpurnius Piso Casonius
one circumcised Piapus of a proconsul
apparently prefers the company
          of a couple of society-mongers
Porcius & Socration
          his own mangy hirelings
to that of my dearest Veraniolus
my own dear Fabullus,
they dining well at the best places
you forced to hang about the street-corners
          angling for invitations.


Number 49 (from the book)

Silver-tongued among the sons of Rome
the dead, the living & the yet unborn,
Catullus, least of poets, sends
Marcus Tullius his warmest thanks:

- as much the least of poets
as he a prince of lawyers.


Number 53 (from the book)

I laughed,  Calvus, I laughed today
when someone in the courtroom crowd,hearing
your quite brilliant expose of
the Vatinian affair,lifted his hands up
in proper amazement, and cried suddenly:
"A cock  that size...and it spouts!"
I laughed Calvus, I laughed.


Number  54 (from the book)

If not by all that his friends boast,
at least by pin-headed Otto's  unattractive pate
by loutish Erius's half-washed legs
by Libo's smooth & judicious farts
by Suffico's  old man's lust turned green
may great Cesar be  duly revolted. Once  more
my naive iambics strike home...
                                                   unique general!
















These little pieces are from the third poem in Places and Spaces, "To the Rockies."











From the first, long  day's drive, San Antonio to El Paso.


a palomino
with twin colts -
gold dancing
on a green field

a gathering 
of buzzards,  fifteen, at last,
on a little hill  on the side of the  road

so unusual
to see them together like this
with no  carrion
in sight


~~~

the mesa,
formed by wind and rain
for thousands of years
to resemble a breast
complete with erect nipple 
kissed
by the blue West Texas  sky 


~~~

New Mexico



little twisters cross brown  fields
on both sides of the  highway,
most throwing up clouds of dust
that move with the wind,
but one,
a smaller one, forms a perfect funnel
about five feet  across, keeping
its shape up to a hundred or more
feet  above the ground

a tumbleweed the size of a beach ball
blows in front of me,
seems to  pace the car for several seconds,
then crosses the road


~~~

Colorado



further north,
as  we cross into Colorado,
the winter grass is almost white,
the almost white 
of sand on gulf beaches,
broken here and there by red barns
like red umbrellas
on a vast beach that has no sea


~~~


as I approach  Colorado Springs
I see black storm clouds
pouring over mountain crests

I enter the front of the storm

rain,  sleet, snow and fog
all at once
and in alternating bursts 


~~~

Approaching Denver.

looking out my window
I can see, about a mile away,
the tall buildings of downtown
fade in and out of view
as rain and snow clouds
rise and fall


~~~


watching 
from the coffeeshop  window
I see a small boy
climb into the back seat
of his family's sedan

closes his door

a conversation with his mother
in the front seat

a moment passes -
the car does not move

the boy's door opens again
and a snowball drops from the car


~~~

the sun rises
orange
light
awakens a blue crystal sky

west,
the Rockies covered in snow
from foothills to peaks, blinding
in their white

~~~


Leaving the city, starting home.



twelve bison
in a line across a snowy slope,
each following the tail of the other
at the head of this strung out regiment a bull,
the leader,
knows where to go
and when to go there...

and two or three miles down the road,
elk  scattered among a stand of pines, pushing
aside the snow and pine needles
to graze


~~~

at ten thousand feet
the melt sloshes down the rocky
mountain in a torrent

at eleven thousand,
thick icicles, long, long as a tall man
hang for overhangs on the canyon walls,
dripping


~~~

at the crest
a big horn sheep
stands by the road
and watches me pass


~~~


Back in Texas, El Paso.

deep desert blue
seeping
through the black night sky

the air is desert chilled

a pin thread on the east horizon
suggests the coming of a rising sun


~~~


the pink thread widens -

a shadowing light spreads-

from the north foothills
a coyote
howls 








Next, I have three short poems by Jose Emilio Pacheco, from his book City of Memory and other poems. The book was published in 1997 by City Lights. It is a bilingual book,  Spanish and English on facing pages.

Pacheco was a Mexican poet, essayist, novelist, and short story writer, born in Mexico City in 1939 and died there in 2014. Considered one of the major Mexican poets of the second half of the 20th century,  he taught in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The poems in the book  were translated from Spanish by Cynthia Steele and David  Lauer.






Rain Drop

A raindrop quivered on the vine.

All of night was caught in the damp darkness

suddenly illuminated

by the moon.


Sunday Light

Sunday light.Domestic
quietude. trills
amid the yellow ivy.

Afternoon
turns to night
in the ash trees.

For one moment
the tempest of history
is silenced.

Floating down from the air,
a moment's peace,
for which I give thanks.

(I wish so much that I could write a poem like this one.)


The Defenseless

You never could stand operations
in the movies or on TV. And now you, too,
will be a lump of bleeding fish.
Maybe one more  dead man  among the dead.

How the tyranny of anesthesia
has humbled you as it enters your being.
But first you comprehend
in that lucid instant before the darkness,
why we commit Evil, why we seek
the omnipotence that breeds hatred.

We are the defenseless sinking into
the unbidden light.


In Passing

Time did not pass by:
Here it is.
We passed by.

Only we are the past.

Migrating birds that passed overhead
and now,
little by little,
are passing away.












Here's another from early March.












the commute

orange and purple
clouds
and
above them
the clear morning sky,
turquoise,
like the deepest ocean

traffic
doesn't even slow..

the wonders of a beautiful morning
lost
behind clouds
of
get-with-it concerns
of workers hostage to the economic
miracles of capitalism,
eating the soul even as
it fills the belly

"look at the sky,"
I  want to south, "drink in the beauty
of this day before you drown in the
time-clock murk of your own
making,  remember,
of your own making"












Here's a short poem by George Santayana, from  Poems of George Santayana, published by Dover Publications in 1970.










On a Piece  of Tapestry

Hold high the woof, dear friends, that we may see
The cunning mixture of its colors rare.
Nothing in nature purposely is fair, -
Her beauties in their freedom  disagree;
But here all vivid dyes that garish be,
To that mellowed which the sense will bear,
Glow, and not wound the eye that, resting there,
Lingers to feed its gentle ecstasy.
Crimson and purple and all hues of wine,
Saffron and russet,brown and sober green
Are rich the shadowy depths of blue between;
While silver threads with golden intertwine,
To catch the glimmer  of a fickle sheen, -
All the long labor of some captive queen.











The first travel  poem in Places and Spaces is "On the Cusp of  Confederate Winter" This was a trip through the South to Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway, then a different route through the South and home. It was a long drive of several thousand miles. The second poem, which I'm not including here, was about a shorter trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico and back. Not that much fun.









This was one of the few trips we've made where we went East instead of West, leaving Texas through Dallas rather than  El Paso or Fort Stockton - Pecos/



a  pick-up pulling a horse trailer,
alone in the back, one horse, a palomino,
golden mane and tail and eyelashes
flaring in the wind,
brown eyes watching  as I pass


~~~


a hawk
slips slowly from the air
to land on a fence post, watches,
sees all with yellow eyes
that view  all that moves  as 
potential prey


~~~


East Texas, on the way to Arkansas.



orange sky,
the mist through a forest
of orange leaves

lakes and ponds and waterfowl

a crane passes over the road,
low, long neck outstretched,
wings spread ,
a dark shadow against 
a nearly dark sky


~~~


Arkansas



red sky in my rear view,
the road like a tunnel through the dark,
tall, thick  forest on either side


~~~


Reba asleep in her little bed in the corner,
11 hours on the road and I  would join her
but for the woman singing badly
in the next room over


~~~


Tennessee. Expressing my disappoint  at being  unable to find a national newspaper since leaving  Texas.



I wanted to write about the forest,
the colors,gold and yellow,
and the red-brown  color the Crayola  people
used Indian Red or Indian Brown 
or something like  that,
and in the middle of all the gold and yellow
and red-brown Indian whatever, some low brush
that's bright flaming red scattered  among the trees
like little fires
burning in the woods...

and I wanted to  write
about the flock of ducks that flew over
in perfect V formation, near enough to the ground
so that each duck could could be seen and counted
as an individual, close enough to the ground
that I could hear the flapping of their wings and
the mutter-quacks among the ranks

and I wanted to write  about  the hills, reminding me
of the hill country of home, soft hills, none  of the
hard face of caliche and cactus and mesquite, just soft
forest hills,  trunks climbing close  together

I wanted to write about the sun this morning
and how it lit the colors of the trees and covered the sky
from mid-afternoon, bringing shadow and mystery
and darker color  of the night 


~~~


West Virginia



the forest colors have changed,
the yellows gone as we have traveled further north
and the gold is starting to fall as well, 
a shower of golden leaves around  me
as I stand by the river...


~~~


the colors now are mostly shades of red
and brown


~~~

on a  hill
surrounded on four sides by forest
a horse enjoys a pasture all his own


~~~

in a dell
green as spring, a small church,
white clapboard with a white wooden steeple
rising twice the height of the church.
rows of tombstone in rank and file
climbing  the hillside like steps to an afterlife that,
if we  are lucky, would look exactly like
this little green dell and this little white church


~~~


Virginia

I  stop  at a park just across the state line
so Reba can walk and pee

just across the highway, three cows
line ridge,  dark cut-outs against the sky


~~~


the road rises in front of me, 
bordered as  always by red and brown forests,
at the top, a silver-dollar moon on a pale blue sky 


~~~


Columbus, Ohio.

another
dark day,
gray and overcast again,
rain handing back like the work
that gets caught on the tip  of your tongue,
there, but not there

the day
waiting in the wings,
waiting for its cue to bring on the storm 


~~~


Approaching  Virginia.

a white house on a hill
surrounded by leaf-bare  trees,
and behind them,
mountains
showing bits and  pieces  through fog

on  the road, short, thick-foliaged pines stand ,
crowded side by side, like spectators
standing shoulder to shoulder, watching
a passing parade

or, I think of the hundreds of clay soldiers
lined in rank after rank
buried with the Chinese emperor
of their time

fog drifts around them,
and in that shifting fog, the soldiers,
seem to move, coming alive while their emperor
still lies as dust


~~~


Jefferson's other plantation.

from his grand veranda, Jefferson
could look down on the nearest
of his 4,000 plus acres

large poplar trees, yellow leaves
still holding on despite the lateness 
of the season 

a gently slope of close-cut grass;
a creek running fast;
another pasture, tobacco fields
in Jefferson's time, a crop he despised
but planted anyway because he need the cash
brought in; a forest of poplar trees, broken
by a winding crushed-shell drive

around the side and in the back, slave quarters,
not for the cultivated eyes of the gentlemen
and ladies of the Commonwealth of Virginia

slavery, a vile practice in his eyes, despoiling 
the country he helped to created, but, like tobacco,
economically dependent on them

never freed a slave until his  death, and then
only his own slave family 











Last from my library this week, this poem by Francisco X. Alarcon. The poem is from a small hardbound book (only 16 poems) of poetry and illustrations by the artist Ray Rice. The book is De Amor  Oscuro/Of Dark Love, published by Moving Parts Press. It is a  bilingual book, Spanish and English on facing pages.









Number VI (From the book)

asleep you become a continent -
long, mysterious, undiscovered,
the mountain ranges of your legs
encircle valleys and ravines

night slips past your eyelids,
your breath the swaying of the sea,
you stretch out so tenderly on the bed
like a dolphin beached on a shore

your mouth the mouth of a resting volcano,
o fragrant  timber, what  fire burns you?
you are so are, nd yet so far

as you doze like a lily at my side,
I undo myself and invoke the moon:
now I am this dog watching over your  sleep












Like a lot of writers I know, I can't work at home. A coffeehouse writer, I need the crowds to light the fuse.











crowds that feed me

she asks,
why don't  you write at home?

you have a nice little office,
why don't you write there?

why can you only write in a crowd?

~~~

sh does not understand that for me
creativity
requires tension
and it is the tension of a crowd
that feeds me, the psychic energy
of conversation flowing
like a river
around me,
listening to them,
the soft, muted love stories,
the anger of  love gone wrong,
the pain of lost friends,
last chances,
lost  lives

the businessmen making deals,
breaking  deals,
character assassination,
betrayal,
the crisply dressed women
in high heel and gym-bodies
in their own business circles,
the grandfather
sharing a cinnamon milk  shake
with the small bit of future
left to him...

a crowd of humanity
with all of humanities' grace and strength
and wiles and low ambitions,
stories  that make poems chattering
all around me, so many stories, if you listen,
they almost write themselves...

that's why I can only write in crowds

home is where the tensions ease,
where creativity rests up,
prepares for the next day coming,
the next day's creations...










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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