My Afterlife as a Petunia   Wednesday, June 21, 2017

my afterlife as a petunia

as I've explained
I expect to live forever,
at least as forever
as forever
and at least in the form
of the most basic
of me, that is, as
the star parts that came
bursting into universal being
when the big bang
all those parts floating about
ever since,
including the parts that created
the illusion of the Me
that people for seventy-three years now
have seen as Me, star parts circling
in the orderly orbits of creation
making an illusion of solid reality
when in fact there is nothing
solid about anything

and that illusory Me
is quite satisfied with his state
and his future,, understanding
that the star parts that made the illusion
will make equally interesting
new illusions
when this illusion that is Me
returns to its star-burst state
and who knows
what the afterlife for me might be

maybe all the little bits
floating in forever, never quite
coming together to make
a new illusion,
or maybe creating new illusions
one after another, a tree,
a rock, an alien snorkel bug on a planet
where snorkel bugs rule,
or maybe right here in this very plot
of eternity where my parts 
previously lived
a plant, maybe a flower, maybe
even a petunia, I would like
that cause I like
petunias and would not mind at all
spending one of my many 
afterlives as one, reaching for father/mother sun,
luxuriating in the damp and nourishing
soil, brother to the earth worms
and other low creatures risen
to join me in my life
after life as a

who knows when
or where
or what
the circle circles

The usual mix this week of my stuff, old and new, poems from my library, including poet friends, and, though I rarely mention them, my photos, which in my mind, have become as important to "Here and Now" as the poetry.

And speaking of poetry, I was very disappointed when I visited my usual half-price book store and discovered that, in the course of remodeling, they reduced their poetry section from two bookcases to four shelves in one bookcase. This is a chain of half-priced books. I'm anxious to visit the other stores in the city to see if the reduction in poetry is also reflected in their other stores.

It's important to me for a number of reasons, one being that almost 100 percent of the poems I use in "Here and Now" come from used books I buy at secondhand book stores, primarily from this chain.

For the week -

my afterlife as a petunia

Mother's Day

David Eberhardt 
Tribute to Stephen Hawkins & Rene Descartes ("I think therefore I am")

dream weaver

what can we do, they're smarter than we are

stupid pig

Pablo Neruda 
Four from A Book of Questions 

interesting company

Nikki Giovanni
First Chair

a brief rain (and all around welcome)

Ellen Kombiyil
Primal Kiss
Wave Oscillation as Time Loop



scarlet nails

Sunil Freeman
Mescaline, 1971

fresco on the other side of sunset

Juan Felipe Herrera
From Giraffe on Fire

searching for meaning


portrait of a girl at night

Dan Cuddy
A Sadness


A long overdue poem, a confession written and held, thinking I have failed in the past to write the poem I want to write and here again, that maybe if i just hold it I can make it better.

I didn't, but here she is anyway, a mother and proud grandmother.

Mother's Day...

I have come to understand,
over the 20 years since her death,
that my mother was a saint...

the wound of her loss
grown through each of those years,
the regrets,
my failure to understand
the most important

I've never written a proper poem
for her

and I won't today

too much honesty is 

Two poems by my poet friend, David Eberhardt.


My body stands between me and me
In dreams - I'd rather they ended - the loss in them -
The moosh of storytelling - where DID I park my car?
And yet not to worry - I never arrived in a car to begin with!
The table I'm assembling underwater? Interrupted ineluctably -
The body's imperative that is I HAVE GOT TO PEE!!
All I have to do is wake up and
And I've no longer lost my keys....,
Tomorrow in daylight it all scatters -
"Midnight on Bald Mountain" - Mussorgsky's original version -
As a pink coda of dawn appears in the music;
The ogres of confusion shrink to puddles.
Plus my lover saves me from the evil night:
I move closer to the still center
of my wife - my CLEAR WATER!
The one dream that comes true - the only one that matters!

Tribute to Stephen Hawking & Rene Descartes ("I think therefore I am")

The gold fish in a fishbowl
Being carried by a small girl
In a market, their different
Perspectives, laws of nature, reality in ...
Quarks as if bound by rubber?
13.7 billion year history?
Is your "best fit model"
Mind of the beholder,
Between your ears,
What you choose it to be.

From 2007, another coffeehouse observational.

dream weaver

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

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

The allure of smart-ass cats. From 2007.

what can we do, they're smarter than we are

there are 600
housecats in the
from pole to  pole
from all the way
to all the way
and they all
from one of five
wildcats who
in the barely
that filthy-
living human-kind
were vermin
and that living
off the vermin
who lived
humans lived
was a helluva
a lot easier
than trying
to chase down
in the wild
thus did
the cat
on its own
and thus
did little
assume her
air of feline
if you know
the whole story
it's hard
to argue
with them

Just a reminder for anyone who was surprised by the climate accord action.

stupid Pig

puts a gun to our head
and pulls the

some people love him
for it

stupid Pig

stupid people who love him
for it

Back to Pablo Neruda, from The Book of Questions, a bilingual book originally published in 1974, my edition published with translation by William O'Daly by Copper Canyon Press in 1991.


Do you not believe that death lives
inside a cherry's sun?

Cannot a kiss of spring
also kill you?

Do you believe that ahead of you
grief carries the flag of your destiny?

And in the skull do you not discover
your ancestry condemned to bone?


Do you not sense danger
in the sea's laughter?

Do you not see a threat
in the bloody silk of the poppy?

Do you not see that the apple tree flowers
only to die in the apple?

Do you not weep surrounded by laughter
with bottles of oblivion?


To whom does the ragged condor
report after its mission?

What do they call the sadness
of a solitary sheep?

And what happens to the dovecote
in the doves learn to sing?

If the flies make honey
will they offend the bees?


How long does a rhinoceros last
after he's moved to compassion

What's new for the leaves
of recent spring?

What did the tree learn from the earth
to be able to talk with the sky?

It never made any sense to me. Another from 2007.

interesting company

I know people
who believe that if
had just whispered the
little words,
same me"
as the noose
on his neck
he could have
spent eternity
in heavenly fields,
amidst all the popes
and preachers
and holy roller
derby servants
of the son...

bad, he didn't

and Gandhi, too,
such a simple thing,
spoken quickly
as the bullets
pierced his flesh
and he could have been
in the clover forever
and ever and even

but he didn't
and it's too late now,
for both, so
and Gandhi,
of the eternal fire,
are ever roasting
in hell, right now,
even as we speak...

now this doesn't
make any sense to me
but who am I to question
such holy folk
as claim it to be true
there is an upside
to the whole affair:

at least
I can count
on interesting
when the time
of my roasting

This poem by Nikki Giovanni, is from her book Bicycles (Love Poems), a Harper Perennial published in 2009.

First Chair

They say I'm too jazzy
For First Chair

I bring something different
And maybe something nice

But the orchestra is Baroque
And I am Gospel

It is Beethoven
And I'm Rhythm and Blues

It's piano
And I'm honking sax

My problem is
     I make my own muffins
     Ice cream
     And music

Not always the best
But all ways my best

I look good
And I dress well

I definitely have
Stage presence

I want to play
I want to play
I want to play

Rain is an event around here. A rainy couple of weeks, wonderful.

a brief rain (and all around welcomes)

brief rain,
the concrete plaza
shines wet,
mirrors the cloud-broken
sky, the small, spring-green
tree, protected, not jet fully exposed
to the new summer's heat

95 degrees
projected for the day,
all life around
welcomes the temporary, passing
relief of even small storms

for more,
small or large,
through the day's

Originally written in 1969, from the time I spent on Pakistan's Northwest Frontier, reworked in 2007.

Basically stuck behind our own walls due to political unrest, I had to imagine a lot from what I see over the walls and from the local people who worked on our outpost on the edge of the desert.


graze their sheep
in the afternoon sun
as men in the village
in the shade
of a large banyan tree,
the murmur of their voices
drifting through the silence
of the dusty street, whispers
on weak desert breeze

Sexy stuff from 2007.


watch her walk

with each step
the rear of her foot rises
as weight shifts from her heel to her toes
while her shoe lags behind
and between the shoe
and the bottom of her foot
the soft pale flesh
of her instep flashes
like a lover's wink
across a crowded room,
this most beautiful, unseen place,
inviting a caress,
a kiss
flashing like a secret
across a crowded room

Next, a short piece by my poet friend Ellen Kombiyil. The poem is taken from her book, Histories of the Future Perfect, published in 2015 by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective.

Ellen is one of my most favorite poets.

Primal Kiss

            variation on a theme by Marvin Bell

Of the heart on might say that it slows.
The swan's neck unlooses its S
as it does in flight or when caught
on the butcher's block, made to outstretch,
one eye turned to the man wielding the knife
one eye turned to the wood and not blinking.
Fathers look more gray than white in this light
where there will be no more seeing.
For now, the newly blind must compensate.
There's the whoosh of the knife,
a somewhat wild sensation as slice
blooms a carnation. Dank and smell of lake
recalls what swooping tastes like. Look, love is
lava spilling out & cooling into rock.

In fact, I like Ellen so much I decided to do a second poem.

Wave Oscillation as Time Loop

catching a wave or having it
pull you under saltwater up
the nose knowledge that crabs scamper
sideways can't save you now
you've tumbled over seaweed head
sand down you swimsuit bottoms which
way is out for a moment you find
only sky golden orb that blinds
twirling the way astronauts see
sun flanked by black as it flashes past
spinning before reentry
your breath your eyes your face your mouth
agape no time momentary stuck
the blip it takes for valves to open
and shut you speed to a stop
knees scraped tiny sand grains a lost
beach blanket you in the crowd
taking up a carpet's length of space

A coffeehouse observational

scarlet nails

with long scarlet nails
and shoes that sparkle
like the West Texas
sky at summer-midnight

her hair
combed like women
fix their hair when it's Sunday morning
and they just got out of bed
and don't expect to see
anyone they know
at least
anyone they care about

a tattoo,
a cursive statement
of some sort
running up the inside of her
forearm, and another tattoo
I notice under a very expensive-looking
ring on the third finger
of her left hand

there is a story here,
a routine story I think at first
of an every-day woman
having solitary breakfast at a coffeehouse.

but it's the ring and the tattoo
under it that changes
the story,
adds interest and mystery to it

she's in her mid-thirties,
my guess,
a single woman I'm thinking,
facing the world as she makes it
with a tattoo
on her right arm
and on her left hand
an expensive-looking ring
barely concealing, if that was the plan
a small tattoo

and scarlet nails
as the twilight sun
falling over the
Chihuahua Desert


This short poem is by Sunil Freeman, from his book That Would Explain the Violinist. The book was published by Gut Punch Press in 1993.

Mescaline, 1971

The senses are primed go jitterbug
with the things of the senses so I turn

off the lights, crawl into bed,
burrow under a quilt, bring my knees up,
fetal, and close my eyes.

Time forgets to spin itself out.
Nothing but colors and sounds

and something important, maybe my soul,
flowing in and out of a toot
(three left of the left incisor)
like solar flares.

Sounds and dot patterns spin fugues
that shoot form the center of that tooth,
then zoom back into my mouth.

I'm in outer space. There's something
attached to my foot. Oh!
It's the earth.

Twilight time, from 2007.

fresco on the other side of sunset

a ridge of low
as cotton candy
against billows
of virgin white

above the
clouds, a

Next, I have a selection from the title poem to the book Giraffe on Fire by Juan Felipe Herrera. The book was published in 2001 by University of Arizona Press.

I love this book, though I don't understand much of it. Luckily, understanding is not required to enjoy the intense flow of words and images.

from Giraffe on Fire


Hold up the right corner of the sea, pleated. Lift it and find pleasure
snoring, cu open by crystal and stone. Look down at your shadow by the
sands, by the gilded whiteness of your legs.

Below you:
a wrapped hydrogen scarf, an ink cactus stuck to the dry galaxy below the
sky veils. Touch down. Come to the ground, the talc, this desert - peeled
and washed by distant clouds. My hair reddish down to my jaws. When will
I blow the conch shell? Shall I awaken the sleeper below? Who is he
following with eyes closed? The perfume is solar. My nakedness is
simplistic. As the sleeper searches, I find America rising on his back,
mottled, brownish. Above the water, the stone folds, clutches itself, peeks
through holes and rivets. We are playing. All of us, then just one. The sand
has been swept with a wide brush. The girl - pensive as she lifts the folds of
the water. One hand. One arm and on the other the conch shell waits.

I know the stone is the secret. The secret in the shut mouth When I was
five I cut my finger. I cut off my thumb. I delivered ice on the back. Wolves
sang from the mountains. Julian, the violin man next to us, in the Mexican
village paced his floor. Julian knew his wife, Jesus, was shaking and another
man was raising her hair.

But, what does it all mean...

searching for meaning

I have a strong urge
to discover the meaning
of things,
any kind of meaning, I mean,
I won't hold out for anything
profound or even necessarily

like is it true
Missus O'Leary's cow caused
the great Chicago fire
by kicking over a lantern
in the barn

I've been hearing that as much
of my life as I remember
and I'd like to know if it's true

that would be meaningful
to me...

like the meaning of life
as we know it or as we imagined
it in our midnight dreams
when when we were young and hormones

that's the kind of meaning
looks for and I'm no different...

or the meaning of the last
national election's
insane failure of the brain power
resource of the country
and what does it mean about
my eventual search for
refuge in a country
to be named
the boat's not so full
that it sinks 

it'd be good to know that...

and it's be good to know
the meaning of our first alien encounter
what will it mean to us when a scaly squid
with an intellect vastly beyond our own
steps out of its flashing light

I think I'd like to be around for that,
as long as death rays
and brain eating by inserting
sharp pointed tentacles
into the back of my
neck are not part
of the 

it'd be interested to know what it means
if an alien visits and why in the world
they would bother

I mean 
why would super-brilliant aliens
choose to visit a place
I would leave if I could


so much we don't know,
so much I could list here, a long, long
list, like an itinerary for a journey
in search of the various
meanings of here and now and
everywhere and every-when,
a lifetime pursuit
my problem
is that I don't have enough
lifetime left
to do justice to the search

I'll just settle
for learning the meaning
behind the great Chicago fire
and the actions of Missus O'Leary's
cow and how it relates to
the late nineteenth century
transition from a rural to an urban
society and subsequent
overcrowding and

the place of displaced
terrorist cows
in it

Here's another from 2007 from my 2007 coffeehouse, Casa Chiapas (RIP).


I can see
in the loft
across the street
for a new owner

I've heard
it's for that
actor guy,
the one
who had some
on TV
then decided
he was god's
to the movies
only to discover
after a string of
really bad movies
that he heard wrong,
that he was really
god's gift to TV
so he's back now
in a third-rate
that's a rip-off
of a second-rate
that's a rip-off
of the series
he thought he
was too good for

I wonder
how it will be
to sit here on the
drinking my coffee
right across the street
from such an all-around
for downward

A painting at a coffeehouse in 2007, the same coffeehouse as from the poem before this one.

portrait of a girl at night

winter night

scarf coiled
in woolen layers
to chin

face shadowed
in shades

of gray

wide in



Last from my library this week, this poem by my poet friend, Dan Cuddy, from his book Handprint on the Window. The book was published by Three Conditions Press in 2003.

A Sadness

The older generations are breaking apart,
forgotten names
in yellowed crumbling newspaper.

There's little violence among them
though wars there are,
differing opinions
and blunt blind stupid hate,
but there's no strength to rise,
much less to fight,
these armies chained
by the dead weight of their bones.

The new violence is within,
fears, cancers,
sharp as knives within,
a life being hollowed out
like a pumpkin,
the grotesque faces,
the gapped-toothed grins,
the yawns.

The sit in chairs or lie in beds,
wasting the embers of their eyes
on the dust floating
in the rays of fading light,
or on he chattering light
from the little box
that has replaced private thought,
private dream.


How sad
that life becomes
a box without a screen.

A very fine day.


a strong storm pushing through the city,
winds whipping trees, breaking
some, uprooting at least one I saw,
rain pounding like being
a waterfall,
thunder, lightning, god,
was it refreshing
to feel the power, some might say,
wrath of the natural forces we live
so comfortably in most
of the time

my dog,
knowing as dogs do,
the truth of it,
doesn't whine but just sticks
close to me, one step
behind, or, cuddled up next to me
on the couch as, with the patio door open
to the elements raging, I watched the

a light shower this morning

it's been -

or soft and sweet,
the rain is welcome,
near beloved
by some of us who are not
my dog

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

 I welcome your comments below on this issue and the poetry and photography featured in it.

  Just click the "Comment" tab below.


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 1:39 PM Blogger davideberhardt said...

i find it difficult to keep commenting with n ever a response: any way- photos liked this time in order of appearance: 2 compositon 3 complexity 4 beauty 6 cannot read my own writing 7 composition also 8 10 in yr face windows 11 abstract 12 compoaition and also 15
\alan (allen) does any respond like me?

Post a Comment

May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017
November 2017
December 2017
January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018
July 2018
August 2018
September 2018
October 2018
November 2018
December 2018
January 2019
February 2019
March 2019
April 2019
May 2019
June 2019
July 2019
August 2019
September 2019
October 2019
November 2019
December 2019
January 2020
February 2020
March 2020
April 2020
May 2020
June 2020
July 2020
August 2020
September 2020
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
The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
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
S. Thomas Summers
Clif Keller's Music
Vienna's Gallery
Shawn Nacona Stroud
Beau Blue
Downside up
Dan Cuddy
Christine Kiefer
David Anthony
Layman Lyric
Scott Acheson
Christopher George
James Lineberger
Joanna M. Weston
Desert Moon Review
Octopus Beak Inc.
Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet