Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow   Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This found poem from 2009, though about a specific incident, is not an indictment of any one religion, but of all religion because they all, as history demonstrates, carry the seed that, at the right time and under the right circumstances, will bloom into this type of righteous rage. The danger of that rage is as real and immediate in this country as it is anywhere in the world.

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 burqa
from her head
and sprayed her face
with burning acid

17 years old
and bravely back in school

"They want us to be stupid
things," she says

(New York Times, Front Page, January 14, 2009)

praise God..

in all his cruel and hideous
forms

amen








Again this week, all my poems will be new as I work off the surplus that I developed somehow. Along with that, poems from my library as usual.

Me
praise God from whom all blessings flow

Me
my path to Nirvana

Marina Tsvetaeva
14

Me
quickly here and quickly gone

Mark Scott
Passive

Me
red-headed boy

Andrei Codrescu
Belligerence

Me
butterflies and turtles

Czeslaw Milosz
In Common

Me
kids these days, what's for us to do?

Laura Von Prooyen
Decade

Me
counting on my special-delivery, all-electric, chrome finished, break-glass-in-case-of -emergency automatic poemarator

Ralph Angel
Inside a World the World Fits Into

Me
a no-thinking day, I insist

Jack Kerouac
122nd Chorus

Me
maybe there's something to this prayer business after all

Jeanette Lozano
Image of a Canvas of Winter

Me
marooned on the featureless sea of summer

Hue Tao
Gazing at Spring II & III

Mao Zedong
Militia Women

Me
how bright and full and yellow grand

Andre Lorde
jessehelms

Me
when the bill comes due











Dipping my toe into New Age thinking.









my path to Nirvana

although
I prefer to think otherwise,
truth is, I'm an uptight type person,
tending to frantically 
doing the things
I do
in the manner of a general
planning an assault
on and enemies
unassailable
position

just have to push harder,
faster, with greater determination
and confidence in the 
mission...

I've decided I need to change

Considering 
a Zen approach, setting aside
thoughts of battle, concentrating on thoughts
of post-war peace, accepting the quiet
of battle's cessation,
win or lose, bury the dead and move on

this is not in my nature, the quietude
of Zen meditation, to me too much like
mindlessness, an unnatural state
to my way of thinking...

thinking now
that instead of doing a full-bore belly-flop
into Zen, I should, perhaps set my own way,
set my own small goals
that achieved one small step at a time
will lead me, perhaps better, deposit me,
at the mountain top, the apex of all natural forces
to which I am attuned and trusting

small goals
that reflect a new, less greedy, less driven,
less desperate way of thinking, perhaps recognizing
time not as a thing running out, but maybe as a small,
still pond in a sylvan setting, a place to lie among
the birds and fishes, settling into their
reality...

I consider option for the goals to lead me
to that Nirvana, that which achieved
will lead me to that mountain,
to that state of grace to which I aspire

and of all things at which I might begin,
I think of this, this tiny piece of my life so reflective
of a new state of being if actually
achieved...

henceforth,
I determine,
from the hour of my next HBO movie forward,
and unto the day I am greeted by all the wise men
atop the mountain,
I pledge to eat my popcorn
one kernel at a
time...







First from my library this week, Russia poet Marina Tsvetaeva. The collection is Poem of the End, Selected Narrative and Lyrical Poems published by Ardis Publishers in 2004, with translation by Nina Kossman.

Tsvetaeva was born in Imperial Russian and lived through and wrote about the Revolution of 1917 and the Moscow famine that followed. Born in 1892, she died by her own hand in 1941, following the starvation of her daughter and the execution of her husband.

Her work is considered among the best of 20th century Russian literature.



In tears
Bitter taste
Of goosefoot.
And tomorrow,
When I wake?

14

The descent like a sheep -
Path. City noise.
Three tarts come towards us.
Laughing. At your tears.

They laugh, their wombs like ripe noon,
Their swelling crests of waves,
They laugh at your unseemly,
Disgraceful, male -

At your tears, visible
Through the rain like welts;
Like pearls, shameful
on a warrior's bronze.

At your first and last
Tears - Let them flow!
At your tears, the pearls
In my crown!

I won't lower my eyes.
I stare through the downpour.
Stare, puppets of Venus,
Stare! This bond

Is closer than
Luring and laying.
Even the Song of Songs
Yields to our speech.

To us, obscure little birds,
Even Solomon bows,
For our weeping together
Surpasses a dream.

So, into the hollow waves
Of darkness - hunched over -
Without a sound, without a trace,
As a ship sinks.

    Prague, 1 February 1924 - Ilovisci, 8 June 1924











A small piece from a briefly rainy day.








quickly here and quickly gone

rain
like a coquette's kiss,
flirtatious
and fleeting,
quickly here and quickly gone

and lightning,
a flash of passion
elates the dry and pining 
heart..








Next from my library, this poem by Mark Scott, from his book Tactile Values. The book was published in 2000 by Western University Press.

Scott lives in Omaha and has worked and studied in Italy, England and China. Though he has published in numerous journals, this was his first book.







Passive

        for Amy

Passive to that I could have been
the long night through,
patient in the front seat there,
done anything for open to.

The whole of our knowing was with your
sideways moving quite new,
kisses less shy, much moister:
you said, "I know you."

There had been lightning at dinner,
then rain you wanted nearer
with its mint of silver change
along the avenues, porches of the town.

Passion quick as yours
burst upon us awkwardly,
free at midnight from our longing:
fifteen years for me, five for you.

I said, "I've never been this close to you."
And now I cover my mouth with my hand
to keep the warm love in,
the wild-for, the always-have-been.












Another small piece, an observational.









red-headed boy

little
red-headed 
boy
so read
he could ride point
on the hood of a firetruck

goes through his early life
a warning to all who pass, a
stop sign to those insufficient
in good sense

such an important
little
red-headed boy
and such a tiny voice
to carry the weight of it








Next, Andrei Codrescu, with the title poem from his book, Belligerence, published in 1991 by Coffee House Press.

Born in 1946 in Romania, Codrescu is a poet, essayist, novelist, screenwriter, and commentator on National Public Radio. From 1984 until his retirement in 2009 he was distinguished professor of English at Louisiana State University.









Belligerence


In the irruptive mode
I wear no hat
& hate what I see
in the rearview mirror
except silver balls.
When I was all the rage
I was in disruptive mode
& wore the instructions
on my Reeboks to a frazzle
between the lines of what
everybody read and the high-
way stripes painted there.
Actually shoes in those days
had no names but I was futurist.
Mealtimes at Hojo's & Wendy's
the plastic tablecloths
had squares in them and squares
in them and the prices were cheap
obsessively and people
in those days laughed
until their faces
became tic-tac-toe boards
& few could tell death to shut up.
Life was no fucking (pre)text.
Menus with everything under one
dollar, were not unknown.
Anyway, only the greatest
could write it down. I was
among them. Since the volcanoes
were miniaturized,
everyone gets to be
a little sick. I know
everyone who works here,
they are not happy.
I wear a dunce cap.












A poem brought on by another's poem, bringing back memories of poem I wrote years ago.







butterflies and turtles

read a new poem today
about butterflies,
reminding me of a poem I wrote
years ago about butterflies
that have gathered for all remembered time
at a specific place in a Mexican jungle,
gone there to mate, create the next  generation,
I suppose, like so many creatures
gather to express their love of life
and creation and a future of their kind,
so many butterflies gathered
that the weight if them nesting
can break tree limbs...

hearing several years ago
that the number who gather
every year has been in decline,
the arduous migration 
of thousands of miles and more
getting harder and more deadly
as they cross lands transformed
by the hand of man, crossing busy
highways, becoming yellow splotches
on speeding windshields, the cycle
of propagation millennia old broken,
near to forever broken, leaving
the beautiful monarchs to never again
grace our gardens and meadows...

`````

the hatching time for Ridley turtles
on South Padre Island is now
and with the help of concerned guardians
tiny turtles emerge and begin the dangerous
scurry to sea under the hungry eye
of predators..

the Ridley turtles
near to extinction just a few years ago
have been saved by the same hands of man
who earlier put them at risk
of forever gone...

`````

so where now are the guardians
of the butterfly?
who will protect them, who will
look out for them as they make their long trek
from Canada to the Mexican jungle
that for the life of many cultures and races has
served as their hope for survival,
their Eden from whence must come the progeny 
that will continue their species?

beach roads are closed on South Padre
during hatching season,
so that the tiny turtles can safely cross
the band of sand that separates them from the ocean
that is their natural home...

how many roads will we close to save the 
butterfly?

not so many, I'm afraid










Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz is next on the menu. His poem is from his book Provinces, published by Ecco Press in 1991. The book was translated by the poet and Robert Hass.

Milosz was born in 1911 and died in 2004. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980.










In Common

What is good? Garlic. A leg of lamb on a spit.
Wine with a view of boats rocking in a cove.
A starry sky in August. A rest on a mountain peak.

What is good? After a long drive water in a pool and a sauna.
Lovemaking and falling asleep, embraced, your legs touching hers.
Mist in the morning, translucent, announcing a sunny day.

I am submerged in everything that is common to us, the living.
Experiencing this earth for them, in my flesh.
Walking past the vague outline of skyscrapers? anti-temples?
In valleys of beautiful, though poisoned, rivers.














There are questions that just must be answered.









kids these days, what's for us to do?

so
I'm finally old enough
to understand
the old gray mare
isn't about a horse
and too old to remember
who someone's in the kitchen with
and whose banjo it is
and who's strumming on it
and are we sure that's perfectly legal
and how 'bout the tuffet kid
how do we know it's her tuffet
she's sitting on and not part of some
tuffet-steeling juvenile gang
stealing tuffets left
and right
and that other kid,
Mary,
losing her damn lamb
every other day,
how does she keep her job,
sleeping with the top shepherd
is what I'm thinking
and
Jack
and his beanstalk,
what a dumbass, ought
to run for congress, he could do it,
Republicans are always in the market
for young talent that don't know beans
'bout beans
and
meanwhile
can someone do something 
about that kid in the apartment
above me, jumping over furniture, 
candlesticks, assorted personal items,
jumping, jumping, jumping,
how's anybody supposed to get some sleep
with all that jumping overhead
and meanwhile I need to stop here
cause some friends just came in, Fat Jack
and his skinny wife, and I need to say hello,
buy their coffee and maybe a biscuit for Jack
or maybe a pancake
or maybe a coconut creme cake,
or a double creme soda ice cream shake
or maybe just a pina colada
 or maybe a bunch of pina coladas
or maybe all of the above while me
and Mildred, Jack's skinny wife who's really
not so skinny, kind of shapely in face,
split a biscuit
maybe
get naughty in the back
while Jack
is filing his very ponderous
belly,
it's a plan, take my mind off those
two kids who keep falling down hills
and the other two lost for days now
in Gingerbread Forest

I really worry a lot about those kids,
even though they ignored my advice
to drop biscuit crumbs along
the path...

kids these days,
what's for us to do?









Next from my library I have this poem by San Antonio poet, Laura Van Prooyen. The poem is from her book Our House Was on Fire, published by the Ashland Poetry Press in 2015. This is her second collection of poetry.

Van Prooyen has 20 years experience teaching poetry and writing and currently teaches at the Miami University low-residency Creative Writing MFA program and facilitates therapeutic writing sessions with soldiers with PTSD in an intensive outpatient program at San Antonio's Fort Sam Houston.






Decade

 The life I live is the one you imagined. Yes, in summer
I pick tomatoes in afternoon heat.
I line my sill with almost ripe fruit; gauzy

curtains blow against a crooked quartet
of pictures on the wall. Sunlight's been tangling
my hair the same way for a decade,

yet there's no on here you'd know. A girl
gazes into a glass bowl where a goldfish
sucks and spits out stones. Her sister

lounges on the floor, reading aloud
the chapter where wolves circle the heroine's house.
In more than one ream, you've turned to me,

wearing a different face. Once, at the butcher's shop,
I stood with arms full of tightly wrapped packages
when you appeared behind the counter.

You've shown up in the yard, petting my neighbor's dog.
Here, I live my life. The dog is only imagined. Yet,
you go on stroking its fur.










Breaking glass on account of emergency.










counting on my special-delivery, all-electric, chrome-finished, break-glass-in-case-of-emergency, automatic poemarator

two
crispy tacos
at Jack in the Box,
$1.19 a pair and not
so bad, Janice offered a little piece of her heart
overhead as I check on my morning laptop
doodly-dos

winging it in unfamiliar
territory, waiting for Firestone
to fix my flat, unfamiliar now
but used to spend a lot of time
in this area when my kid was a kid,
going to school nearby, playing baseball nearby,
Skateland right over there
all the etceteras that accompany parents
following their kids being kids, and
Jack in the Box, my first time ever where
the kid being a kid ate every meal for about
three years...

Less disgusting than I imagined

(who am I kidding, pretty good tacos, being anti-kid
only because it's a parent's sacred obligation to question
every kid-choice when it comes to food)

now
tire fixed,
car ready, said it would take two and a half hours
but it was only an hour and a half, the advantage of being
a regular customer through several cars, they
always try to do a little better tan expected, so anyway,
have my car now, headed downtown to my coffeehouse -
see it there's a spare poem for today left in the
automatic poemarator...









My next poet is Ralph Angel, with a poem from his book Neither World, published by Miami University Press in 1995. 

Born in 1951 in Seattle of Sephardic descent, has published five collections of poetry and has appeared frequently in various poetry and literary journals.









Inside a World the World Fits Into

The lit match! As if I could really
see just now. The long streets, and longer river,
skyscrapers, and the arched bridges, all
that dusk has darkened,
all the distance they're related to.

And his voice is a sound gone wrong, a nosily
flapping one-winged bird. If not clean,
which word? His low, his spiraling, the heave and
thud of cold freight derailing, if not
orderly, what defends him from the truth
he already stands accused of?

As if, really, we'd been seen. In shaded areas,
in the hard, glazed open, standing in circles, laughing
at the worst possible time.










Sometimes thinking is just to hard to do on a hot, busy day.










a no-thinking day,  insist

a busy schedule 
today,
my preference
to get it done without
much thinking
beyond 
this not-much-thinking
I'm doing at the moment

no details 
required, other than
it involves highway miles
and a significant amount of money
which,
later this morning
will be formerly mine

and that's more than enough
incentive
i.e. justification
to forgo thinking for the rest
of the day...











This poem is by Jack Kerouac, from his book Mexico City Blues, published by Grove Press in 1959.









122nd Chorus

We cannot break
Something that doesnt exist

Derange past a tendresse,
Don't break your tenderness

Is advise that comes to "me"

What a poem the knowledge
        that Time
With is Pasts & Presents
         & Appurtenant
Futures is One Thing
THE THING ONE WHOLE MASS
Getting dimmer and dimmer
                   to the feel

What glorious repose knowing
What a Golden Age
            of Silent Darkness
            in my Happy Heart
            as I lay contemplating
            the fact that I shall die
        anyhow regardless of race
            regardless of grace











Not a religious person myself, but I know a real one when I see one.








maybe there's something to this prayer business after all

a religious battle
with a Facebook friend
continues

what she doesn't know
is I know a True Christian
and it isn't her,
despite all her bellowing
piety,
part of a religious movement
that builds its faith
around hatred and vengeance
and fear of anything foreign
to her limited
experience

The True Christian I know cares
for none of that, like the first disciples,
her Christianity, beginning to end,
instead on the simple belief
that Jesus Christ is present with her
always and attendant, always, to her
prayers...

I of course
believe
none of that,
but respect deeply the
purity of her belief

we talk about it often
in the course of our weekly
games of Gin
and 
I must say,
considering the regularity 
of her beating me at the game, there
may be something to this
prayer business
after
all









This poem is by Jeanette Lozano, from her beautifully illustrated (by Victor Ramirez) bilingual book, The Movement of Water/Los momentos del agua, with English and Spanish translations by Ron Hudson on facing pages. The book was published by  Ediciones Poligrafa of Barcelona, Spain, in 2006.

Lozano, whose own work has been translated into many other languages is a translator herself, including her translations of major American poets.








Image of a Canvas of Winter

The trill of the angelus scatters its snow
on the wings of the herons
and the ice skaters are not yet here.

Perhaps tomorrow the nightingale will return.
The muddy fountain without birds. Where will they drink?

The rumor of the chisel in the stairwell,
the dust
in the laurel leave.

Hands of tenderness pall with the hours.

Beneath the peach-flame sky the flight of the gull,
the path covered by thorny limbs

cannot be crossed.















                                                 

Some days inspiration just won't walk through the door and the poem-a-day poet just has to improvise.









marooned on the featureless sea of summer

I am in
my poetic pondering pose,
legs crossed at the ankles, arms
clasped across my belly

I ponder

I wait, then ponder
some more

I wait
and I ponder

and
if someone interesting doesn't come through the door
soon
I'm going to say fuck it
and go out for a 
beer

because
even though
I study
beer
no more,
I do recall more interesting, poem-worthy people
at the last bar I visited
than here...

such are the trials of a poem-a-day poet
marooned on featureless sea
of summer











Next, three poets from Chinese Love Poetry, published in 2004 by Barnes & Nobel Books. The book includes poetry from the Tang Dynasty to Chairman Mao. Translators are numerous and not credited.











The first two poems are by Xue Tao (768 - c. 832)




Gazing at Spring II & III

I gather herbs
and tie
a lover's knot

to send to one
who understands my songs.

So now I've cut
that springtime sorrow
off

And now the spring-struck birds
renew their cries

```

Windblown flowers
grow older day by day.

And our best season
dwindles in the past.

Without someone
to tie the knot
of love

no use to tie up
all those love-knot herbs.



And, since I mentioned him, this one is by Mao Zedong (1893-1976)


Militia Women

Early rays of sun illumine the parade grounds
and these handsome girls heroic in the wind,
     with rifles five feet long.
Daughters of China with  marvelous will,
you prefer hardy uniforms to colorful silk.











An appreciation of the ending day.








how bright and full and yellow grand

how bright
and full and yellow grand
is the moon in the western sky
this morning,
its traverse near complete
as I, having slept late,
arise

an omen
of a full, fair day?

could be, but I place no faith
in omens

I just relish the beauty
as it passes...








The last poem this week from my library is by Audre Lorde, from her book The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance. The book was published in 1993 by W. W. Norton.

Lorde, 1934-1992, was a writer, feminist, womanist (a new word to me, generally used to describe a new wave of feminism) and civil rights activist.

For those too young to remember (a surprisingly large number), Jesse Helms was a former U.S. Senator whose greatest service to the nation was his dying. His death one of the reasons I wish I believed in Hell.




jessehelms

I am a black woman
writing my way to the future
off a garbage scow knit from moral fiber
stuck together with jessehelms'
come       where Art is  dirty word
scrawled on the wall
of Bilbos memorial outhouse
and obscenity is catching
even I'd like to hear you scream
ream out your pussy
with my dildo called Nicaragua
ram Grenada up your fighole
till Panama runs out of you
like Savimbi aflame.

But your prefer to do it
on the senate floor
amid a sackful of paper pricks
keeping time to a 195 million dollar
military band
safe-sex dipping from your tongue
into avid senatorial ears.

Later you'll get yours
behind the senate toilets
where they're waiting for you jessehelms
those white boys with their pendulous rules
bumping against the rear door of Europe
spread-eagle across the globe
their crystal balls poised over Africa
ass-up the old glory.

Your turn now jessehelms
come on its time
to lick the handwriting
off the walls.











Last for the week, thinking of accounts due.









when the bill comes due


fever

on a very hot day

misery compounded

coughing, sneezing -

nature's allergen response
to humanity's invasion of the hills

I didn't do it,
I plead to the Mother

but to no avail
for I am of the destructive kind

and must, in justice
suffer along with my tribe, the
fate of the Kind

as I will suffer when the waters rise
and the gale winds blow...

when the world spins
and topples
under the weight
of the tribe
and it's deprecations

it is one of the truisms
of fate, we are all victims
of the ignorance
evil
carelessness
callousness
stupidity
of the tribe

we are bound together,
all of us,
by our Good and by our Bad

the tragedy of the tribe -
so little Good
and so much
Bad
for all the price
to pay
when the bill comes
due...







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



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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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