All Brothers to All Brothers   Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This is from my book, New Days and New Ways, available wherever e-Books are sold.


all brothers to all brothers

yes,
it's true,
I talk to my animals...

even Reba
who can't hear me,
but she sees my lips move

and knows
she's on my mind, like the blind cat
knows she is not alone in the dark

when I stroke her head as I pass,
like the friendly nod
I exchange with people

I pass on the street
because we all need to know we are not
alone in the dark -

such acknowledgement
of our shared passage we should
pass on to the creatures around us -

balm to repair the primordial weld that has bound us all
since creation, the weld that is separating now
as all become remote from the others...

if you believe in God, remember he created us all
as part of his plan and it is not our place
to redraw the blueprints of his creation;

if you don not believe in God,
remember instead
that we are all creatures at base

of common offspring, basic elements
that give us
as our relatives

the snake, the bird, the fish in the ocean,
the lion in the field, our neighbor
across the fence, the daffodil growing

wild as any creature on the meadow,
the earth beneath our feet
and the stars that shine overhead -

all brothers to all brothers
in our most basic
construction








The only thing different his month is that I have a large backlog of new poems, so used none of my old ones. Other than that, my library and a new poem by a new poet friend from San Antonio.


Me
all brothers to all brothers

Me
I really should like the 4th of July

Natalie Watkins
On Vision
Cerebral

Me
waffles and other Saturday morning rambles

Siri Von Reis
Over the Weekend, Rich Masters and His Wife

Me
desert winds

Lorenzo Thomas
Whale Song

Me
freedom is just another word for whatever the hell this is

Robinson Jeffers
Soliloquy

Me
reaper moon passing

Dennis Tourbin
In Cities

Me
a poem for she whose birthday was forgot

Campbell McGrath
Ode to Inspiration

Me
bigger things afoot

Wilfred Owen
Hospital Barge at Cerisy
Beauty
The Last Laugh

Me
life's string reels slowly from the spool of birth

Rita Dove
Best Western Motor Lodge, AAA Approved

Me
Stringing Fence on the Rio Grande

Jane Hirshfield
Reading Chinese Poetry Before Dawn

Me
why I quit drinking

Wendell Berry
The Grandmother
September 2, 1969

Me
I'd rather not celebrate the 4th this year












First for the week, a little bit late.











I really should like the 4th of July

I really
ought to like
the Fourth of July
because I love the music
associated with it...

like remembering the story
every time I hear "Finlandia"
of Sibelius standing in his backyard
with his shotgun shooting at German
planes as they passed overhead during occupation

a musical statement
of courage, patriotism and refusal to bow
to the worst of humanity

I like that a lot

and
of course
Tchaikovsky and his 1812 Overture,
with brass and canon roaring,
celebrating the Russian defense of its homeland
against the advancing armies of the dictator Napoleon

meaningful patriotism

so much more meaningful than our annual celebration
of hot dogs and tiny flags and
plastic patriotism

still,
I like the idea
and would be right out there celebrating
with all the rest
if the founding fathers had the good sense
to do what they did on October 4th
instead of in July...

sorry Founding Fathers,
it being obvious that you didn't have the foresight
not to do what you did
in the middle of South Texas summer,
I'll be content to celebrate without you,
and hold my hot dogs for a more agreeable
season...








My next poem is not from my library but by a San Antonio poet friend I met two weeks ago, Natalie Watkins, our meeting at my coffeehouse facilitated by my artist friend Michelle Shilling.

Nat says she lives in her own fantasy land but calls San Antonio home. She aspires to play the harp but has yet to get past "twinkle twinkle little star." She enjoys family, friends and a very spoiled Labrador.

These two poems are the beginning of a series comparing elements of the human body to mechanical/electronic parts, a subject of interest to her.







On Vision

I takes a snapshot of the world.

Like a shutter lens

Click Click

Perceptions

Illusions

Limitations

What is real
What is not

No infrared
No Gamma
No X-ray

Limited Reality

Perceived Totality...


Cerebral

Layers of reality
Virtual or Not

Innate hardware
Experience Software

Neuronal Networks

Twisted Wires

Connections Made
Spirits Awakened...
























                     




Another new poem.











waffles and other Saturday morning rambles

Saturday morning,
waffles at the coffeehouse,
soft and sweet, like funnel cake,
and extra, super, extra, extra crispy
bacon, they know how to do it here

I don't have anything else to say
about the waffles and bacon
but I thought I'd mention
it because it's a Saturday treat
and I like it...

And then there's our new mayor,
beat the incumbent, San Antonio's first
black female mayor who I refer to as
"not as bad as she could be" mainly
because it seems she wanted the office
but didn't seem to have any plans for once
it was in hand - the new mayor, 40 years old,
in the San Antonio tradition of progressive
visionaries, is, I read of mixed ethnicity,
Hispanic and Jewish, his wife, Hispanic,
Was a migrant farm worker
until she graduated from high school,
while he, I saw in today's paper,
has been an amateur weight lifter
since he was 14 years old,
with a body, biceps like Arnold
and forearms like Popeye,
as shown in the paper working out
in a tank top (and having seen him
here at the coffeehouse several times
in his dark new-mayor suit, you would 
never suspect what lies beneath...

which is what politics is about -
you make your choice and pull
for your candidate's success,
hoping that there is something,
strength, courage, compassion
at the core, the promise you
vote for when you pull the lever
in the voting booth...

and I can't help thinking
about all those poor fools
who pulled the Pig's lever
in the last election and the
delusional gymnastics they are
going through now to protect
their illusions and the hope
they put into them
and though i think they must
be stupid as the rocks
that line the creek behind
my house, I seek to maintain
a civilized sympathy
for them and hope that
I will never have to engage 
in such delusional gymnastics
when it comes to my
very interesting 
weight-lifting
mayor...

and
my waffles and extra, extra, super, extra crispy
bacon, did I mention that?

no delusional gymnastics required
there










From my library, this poem is by Siri von Reis, from her book, The Love-Suicides at Somezaki. The book was published by Zoo Press in 2001.

Born in 1931, von Reis is a author, poet and botanist, previously working as an investigator at the New York Botanical Gardens.










Over the Weekend, Rich Masters and His Wife,

of Lakewood, Colo., mowed their lawn and
wrote a note for the mailman, instructing him

to contact the sheriff's office through
a portable phone placed in their mail-box,

with fifty dollars for his trouble,
the message explaining as well to enter

the house, where to find the two
of them and the names of family members to call,

- all wills, driver's licenses and other
important papers having been put in easy

reach. It seems the middle-aged couple had
spread a quilt, a blanket and a shower curtain over

a love-seat, so it would not be stained,
and, facing one another, each holding a gun,

pulled the triggers. According to Captain
Blackhurst of Jefferson County, neighbors

said the pair had been married
for many years and were very close












New again.













desert winds

cool in the early
morning,
still, lie a pause
in a lazy conversation,
time to wait, nothing moving
but dark clouds blowing
from the southeast,
betrayer clouds in a dry
month promising rain that will
not come

instead
the cool, calm
pushed aside by strong, hot wind,
dry winds and hot, desert winds
that take me back fifty years
to my time in the desert
countries, the sting of grit,
the smell of camels,
a caravan crossing my path, camels
spitting, groaning under their load
of clanking, clanging trade goods,
driven by dark bearded men
and veiled woman
and children, skipping, their toes
in hot desert sand, laughing

but that was then...

here,
now,
it's early and it's cool,
desert memories put aside
until their time comes
again,
later this morning
and the sun bakes us all
again
in the grit of hot desert
blowing









This poem is by Lorenzo Thomas, taken from his book Dancing on Main Street. The book was published by Coffee House Press in 2004.

Thomas was born in Panama and grew up in New York City. He is a poet, critic and professor of English at the University of Houston - Downtown.

A cool vegan poem.






Whale Song

You just don't know
How hard it is
To be uncivilized

You think that everyone you eat
Deserves to be eaten

                                                Lunch for me
Means someone ain't coming home

So what
If breakfast might have been
The tuna that found a cure for cancer?

Damn sure tasty!












Another new one - got lots of them in my bag.













freedom is just another word for whatever the hell this is

in my 73rd year
and third retirement,
I consider that I'm finally free
to do whatever i want
(as long as my wife says it's okay)

I decided nearly 20 years ago
that what I wanted to do 
was write stuff like this, really,
stuff like this...no, not really,
I had imagined better stuff 
than this, but this
is what I got...

my wife says it's okay
as long as i don't spend
any more money on it

who knows what she'd say
if I tried something?

I've become
fairly comfortable doing this,
yes, even this, so I probably won't
bother to find
out...









Next, from his collection, Selected Poems, Robinson Jeffers. The book was published by Random House, Vintage Books, in 1965.

Born in 1887, Jeffers died in 1962. Born in Pennsylvania, he moved to central California and made it and its coast the primary subject of his work. His work is dense and, for me, hard to read. But the rewards of reading him are worth the effort.

This is one of his shorter pieces.







Soliloquy

August and laurelled have been content to speak for an
     age, and the ages to follow
Respect them for that pious fidelity;
But you have disfeatured time for timelessness.
They had heroes for companions, beautiful youths to
    dream of, rose-marble-fingered
Women shed light down the great lines;
But you should have invoked the slime in the skull,
The lymph in the vessels. They have shown men Gods
     like racial dreams, the woman's desire,
The man's fear, the hawk-faced prophet's; but nothing
Human seem happy at the feet of yours.
Therefore though not forgotten, not loved, in gray old
     years in the evening leaning
Over he gray stones of the tower-top,
You shall be called heartless and blind;
And watch new time through old thought, not a face
     strange nor a pain astonishing;
But you living be laird in the rock
That sheds pleasure and pain like hailstones.












An early evening poem, as the crescent moon rises.












reaper moon passing


a memory

that wasn't a memory
but a dream
and a dream of a place
that used to be mine
but isn't any more

dreams
of loss, memories
of losing

the reaper moon
climbs the eastern sky
its bright star follower
close behind

a moment
looking to the sky

making a memory
that will return as a dream

dreams
of life passing











This is by Dennis Tourbin, taken from his book, In Hitler's Window, published in 1991 by the Tellem Press.

Tourbin was a poet, painter, performance artist, novelist and art and poetry magazine publisher. Born in 1946, he died in 1998.








In Cities

In books
the mystery
of stars,
the mysterious
world of stars
is there
in books.

Not people stars
like you-know-who
but real stars
like way-out-there.

In cities
where there is 
traffic and noise
and big steel
buildings,
sometimes
only small pieces
of sky exist
and very few birds,
in cities.

In cities
at night I
want to take
water and lightning
and re-discover
electricity.

Take rope,
make storms,
follow jet streams
downtown right 
to the edge of 
the universe.

In cities
my imagination
explodes, sends
pieces, fragments
of color in
every direction.

In cities
I discover
new worlds
in faces, 
watch birds
crash into 
mirrors,
see lightning
crease the sky.












I mentioned forgetting something earlier. Here's a more serious brand of forgetting











a poem for she whose birthday was forgot

so I got the hint
when she came home from the office
with flowers and the bones of a birthday cake
and since I knew it wasn't 
my birthday
and if it was, I would have had
some of the cake
and didn't

I figured it out...

DAMN!!

a birthday forgot,
first time in 40 plus years
and I have my excuses
and thought for a minute
to bore her with
them,
but decided a hug
and abject
groveling
apology
would be better received

and it was...

so,
a nice dinner with her brothers
(which she paid for, of course, it being
her birthday) and the standard
Mexican restaurant sombrero
and birthday song by
all the servers
and energetic clapping by everyone else,
including me, loudest, trying
to pick up forgiveness
points

and we go home
out fill of enchiladas and tacos
and tamales and chili con queso
and all is well
as I take my usual
early-to-bed retirement 
rituals, fully medicated, settling in
for a good summer night's
escape to dreamland where I don't
forget stuff like who won the world series
in 1936, Rutherford B. Hayes' running mate
in the election of...I forget when that was
and, oh yeah,
my wife's birthday

(I pretend
I don't hear her phone call
to the Alzheimer doctor)










This piece is by Campbell McGrath from Seven Notebooks, his collection of poetry and essays published by Harper Collins in 2008.

Born in 1962, McGrath is author of nine full-length collections of poetry.

The poem is the first in the book.








Ode to Inspiration

Then the imagination withdraws, drifts across the table
to investigate the glass flowers rolled in cloth tape.

It hover, probes the petals,some like galaxies,
some like figs or seashells. Dutiful and penitent,

it shimmers back across the gulf of air,
without a metaphor, to doze away the afternoon.

Rain.
Unseasonably hot day.

Imagination is the builder, the worker bee,
but inspiration is the queen.

And when she leaves me, where does she go
if not back to the hive to gorge on royal jelly,

back into her cave of winds, accumulating
density, growing richer and darker,

like mercury in the bloodstream,
like extravagant honey.














Deep think from the shallow end of the pool











bigger things afoot


I usually call myself

an atheist
but that's too restrictive
to reflect my true beliefs
which are more pagan, more
an affirmation rather denial,
a belief that there is a universal system
of which I am a part, whether I want to be
or not a system that works on a scale
of everything and everywhere
and cares not a bit for me or for you or for
any of the other tiny pieces of the system

such as is our place in the
scheme of such mighty, ever-lasting forces
that surround us and that are us,
our beginning to our
end...

but though tiny and unbeloved, each piece,
and that includes me,
is an integral part of the whole upon which
the whole is as dependent as the pieces are
dependent upon the whole, a true integration of all
even as all's pieces scatter in the wind
of stars birthing and dying...

gods are too small
and talk of gods too confining
when there are
bigger things
afoot








Much of the best of a generation was lost in trenches of the first World War. Among the many artists and writers whose creativity was cut short. Among them was Wilfred Owen, his death, it is said, was announced in his home village as the village church bells announcing the end of the war were run.

These three short pieces by Owen are from The Poetry of Wilfred Owen, published by Wordsworth Classics in 1994.

Owen was one of a handful of poets who served in the trenches and, through their work rebutted all the myths of war's glories







Hospital Barge at Cerisy

Budging the sluggard ripples of the Somme,
A barge round old Cerisy slowly screwed
And chuckled in her, with contented hum.
Till fair tinklings struck their crooning dumb,
And waters rumpling at the stern subdued.
the lock-gate took her bulging amplitude
Gently into the gurgling lock she swum.

One reading that sunset raised his eyes
To watch her lessening westward quietly;
Till, as she neared the bend, her funnel screamed.
And that long lamentation made him wise
How to undo Avalon in agony
Kings passed in the dark barge which Merlin dreamed.


Beauty

(notes for an unfinished poem)

A shrapnel ball
just where the wet skin glistened when he swam.
Like a full-opened sea-anemone.
We both said "What a beauty! What a beauty, lad!"
I knew that in the flower he saw hope
Of living on, and seeing again the roses of his home.
Beauty is that which pleases and delights,
"Not bringing personal advantage" - Kant.
I laughed. But later on I heard
that  canker worked into the crimson flower
And that he sank with it [        ] over
And laid it with the anemones of Dover.


The Last Laugh

"O Jesus Christ! I'm hit," and said; and died.
Whether he vainly cursed, or prayed indeed,
The Bullets chirped - In vain! vain! vain!
Machine-guns chuckled - Tut-tut! Tut-tut!
And the Big Guns guffawed.

Another sighed - "O Mother, mother! Dad!"
Then smiled at nothing, childlike, being dead.
     And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud
     Leisurely gestures - Fool!
     And the falling splinters tittered.

"My Love!" one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood,
Till, slowly lowered, his whole face kissed the mud.
     And the Bayonets' long teeth grinned;
     Rabbles of Shells hooted and groaned;
     And the Gas hissed.












An interesting, if pretentious, opening that went nowhere.











life's string reels slowly from the spool of birth

life's
string
reels
slowly
from the spool
of birth

I have not the slightest idea
what that means,
but it woke me at 3 a.m. last night
which must mean it wants
a poem...

maybe some other day,
some morning when I'm not required
to begin my day at 3 a.m. -

I'm sure it's going to be a good one,
deep,
meaningful,
an expression of the
oneness
of the universe a it turns
at 3 a.m.
on a very early Thursday
morning

in the meantime,
i'm taking a nap, allowing
the universe to turn
without
me










This is a poem by Rita Dove from her book On the Bus with Rosa Parks. The book was published in 1999 by W.W. Norton.

Dove, a poet and essayist, served as Poet Laureate of the United states from 1993 to 1995.







Best Western Motor Lodge, AAA Approved

Where can I find Moon Avenue,
just off Princess Lane? I wandered
the length of the Boulevard of the Spirits,
squandered a wad on Copper Queen Drive;

stood a while at the public drinking fountain,
where a dog curled into his own hair
and a boy knelt, cursing his dirtied
tennis shoes. I tell you, if you feel strange,

strange things will happen to you:
Fallen peacocks on the library shelves
and all those maple trees, plastering
the sidewalks with leaves,

bloody palm prints everywhere.













An attempt to rehab a very old story poem.












Stringing Fence on the Rio Grande

It was dame hot in the summer of 1963,
hot days and lonely nights
when me and my friend Toby
were right out in the middle of it, working
in the cactus and caliche badlands
between Laredo and old Guerrero.

The boss was a fella named Caintrail Lackland,
a banker in Del Rio who bought himself a few head
of stringy cattle and a hundred acres
of Rio Grande brush and decided he was gonna be
a rancher, never mind he didn't know diddly
about range cows and ranching...

I wasn't much of a cowboy either
but Toby knew the work and he'd got me out of scrapes
before and I knew he'd watch out for me, get me across
a pasture without too much cow flop on my boots, keep me
from sitting on a cactus or pissing on a rattlesnake...

Mostly
we was fixing up the fences,
putting in new cedar posts, stringing
barb wire, so I didn't need to know much
about being an actual ranch hand, mainly
just how to turn a post hole digger, though
it's harder to do than talk about. Turns out
putting a hole in hard-packed South Texas caliche
is not so much different from digging a post hole
in an asphalt parking lot in downtown San Antone, except
it's hotter'n hell and the only shade in fifty miles
is under a scrubby huisache brush that's more'n likely
already been claimed by a nest of rattlers...

It was hard work, and the hotter it got the harder
it got and the hotter and harder it got, the thirstier  we got
and the longer seemed the days and nights baking
in the desert, waiting go the paycheck we got
at the end of every month, cept sometimes
30 days was too long to wait
so we'd clean up, put on some good jeans,
polish up our fancy-dan boots and drive the 40 miles to town
to whee the Red Cross Blood Bank stayed open late
for cash-strapped rig hands and cowboys running, dry, tight
and summer-night lonely...

Me and Toby would line up with the other roughnecks
and take our turn to get what we could.

It wasn't much for me, barely enough to buy a couple of six-packs,
but Toby, he had a gold mine running in his veins -
each pint enough to get us across the bridge to Nuevo Laredo
with money for a woman, as much tequila as we could drink,
a couple of good cigars, and a big meal of something besides
pinto beans.








Next, this poem by Jane Hirshfield is from her book The Lives of the Heart published by Harper Collins in 1997.

This is the second week in a row when my random selection of books to use took me to Hirshfield.








Reading Chinese Poetry Before Dawn

Sleepless again,
I get up.
A cold rain
beats at the windows.
Holding m coffee,
I ponder Tu Fu's
overturned wine glass.
At his window, snow,
twelve hundred years fallen;
under his hand,
black ink not yet dry.
"Letters are useless."
The poet is old, alone,
his woodstove is empty.
The fame of centuries
casts off no heat.
In his verse, I know,
is a discipline
lost to translation;
here, only the blizzard remains.












A poem that came from seeing a woman wiggling her toes.












why I quit drinking

the blond woman,
mid-thirties, my guess,
sits, waiting for her coffee,
dressed in her casual just-got-up
get-u, T-shirt, tan pants, flip flops,
twitches her toes,
watches intently as the toes do their dance
as if surprised to see them move...

I've had mornings like that...

it's the reason I quit drinking, waking up
feeling like a dog
lying bloody dead on the street,
surprised
when it moved...








The last two poems from my library this week are by Wendell Berry, taken from his book Collected Poems, 1957-1982. The book was published by North Point Press/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Berry, novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer, was born in 1934.






The Grandmother

Better born than married, misled,
in the heavy summers of the river bottom,"
and the long winters cut off by snow
she would crave gentle dainty things,
"a pretty little cookie or cup of tea,"
but spent her days over a wood stove
cooking cornbread, kettles of jowl and beans
for the heavy, hungry, hard-handed
men she had married and mothered, bent
past unbending by her days of labor
that love had led her to They had to break her
before she would lie down in her coffin.


September 2, 1969

In the evening there were flocks of nighthawks
passing southward over the valley. The tall
sunflowers stood, burning on their stalks
to cold seed, by the river. And high
up the the birds rose into sight against the darkening
clouds. They tossed themselves among the fading
landscapes of the sky, like rags, as in
abandonment to the summons heir blood knew.
And in my mind, where had stood a garden
straining to the light, there grew
an acceptance of decline. Having worked,
I would sleep, my leaves all dissolved in flight.













Last for the week,I wrote this on July 4th, a couple of weeks ago.











I'd rather not celebrate the 4th this year

always proud
to claim kin in the wars of independence
of both the United States and
the Republic of Texas,
I am sad this year to find I do not wish
to celebrate the 4th of July...

there is nothing to celebrate
on this, my nation's 240 anniversary
of the proclamation that changed
world history, when such vile and dangerous
slime sits atop its pyramid of power...

like celebrating a birthday
while locked away in a cellar
by a maniac uncle, unknowing
what perversion he will inflict
next on the body and soul of my
nation...

I think this is a birthday I'd rather
just skip, maybe until next
year with the hope that the uncle
is taken away to the place
where such evil is gathered and
constrained...







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.






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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Tryst
Poems Niederngasse
BlazeVOX
Eclectica
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
zafusy
The Blogging Poet
Poetsarus.Com
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