The Constructs of a Life   Wednesday, July 26, 2017

the constructs of a life

time
is a construct
of the human mind,
existing nowhere but in
the human mind,
a way to track the moments
in a lifetime,
only a living of one now after
another...

it is the human drive
for order
that requires things to make orderly sense,
beyond a need for the human mind
but an absolute requirement,
for the human mind 
cannot deal with a universe
of random timelessness

like I need to be at my coffeehouse
by 6:45 a.m. if I am to get a parking place
which will provide shade for Bella
until 10:30 a.m.

Bella
who knows nothing of 6:45 a.m. or 10:30 a.m.
knowing only that it is cool and shady
until it is not

satisfied with that knowledge,
she is content to leave the details of it,
the east to west movement of the sun
in our early sky,
the advance of shade in the summer,
the tick-ticking of a clock
to me...

the life of a dog
free of the artificial constructs
that govern so much of
my life








Standard week, new and old from me, poems from my library and a poem from a poet-friend from far away.


Me
the constructs of a life

Me
explaining the unearthly glow in which I am suffused

Ryokan
Winter Night

Me
I have a secret

Robert A. Fink
Incident

Me
speaking of rabbits and butterflies

Me
slow dawn

Hayan Charara
Mindleaving

Me
6X6

Me
the truth of things, one of many to discover

Bharat Shekhar
21 hrs.

Me
another 6X6

Sharan Strange
Matador

Me
waiting for a sign

John Kinsella
Goading Storms Out of a Darkening Field

Me
so much for the end of the world

Kristen Henderson
Clarity and All Its Clutter

Me
I like to watch the young girls dance

Dana Gioia
Equations of the Light

Me
walking my cat on the morning of December 2nd

Enheduanna
Inanna and the Holy Light

Yu Kuanji
From Hidden Mist Pavilion
Answering Li Ying Who Showed Me His Poems About Summer Fishing

Nelly Sachs
Someone Is Alone

Luci Brock-Broido
Soul Keeping Company

Me
same o' same o'








Sometimes people threaten to pray for me. Sometimes the intentions are good, praying out of concern for one thing or another; other times prayer is used as an attack, a statement of my unsuitability that the prayer's God needs to fix. I try to be understanding about it in both instances, but the fact is in either instance I resent it as a kind of attack, where for good or ill, of my basic beliefs.







explaining the unearthly glow in which I am suffused

if you happen
to notice the unearthly glow
in which I am suffused. be not concerned
for it is not a case of alien abduction
in progress, only that currently
a number of people are praying for my immortal soul

well meant, I'm sure
but still
I resent it for such soul as I might have
is of an independent sort, not welcoming
induction into other people's
voodoo, as well,
not pleased with the suggestion
that such soul as I might have is not already of the highest
quality, triple "A" prime just because it prefers
to dance naked in the forest than sit with them
piously on a hard bench, minding other people's 
business with no demonstrated interest in the sorely
challenged business of their own,
their sins
as believers, certainly no less egregious
than the sins of my non-believing self,
each and all, our transgressions as noted in the Mother's log
to be someday weighed, with consequences allotted
according to the Book of Good Living...

and it all boils down to this,
thanks for all the praying, but I'm pretty sure
I'll do better without the imprint of your
self-serving prayers embossed
upon my innocent
soul








                                                         


First from my library, this piece by the hermit-monk Ryokan (1758-1831), beloved in Japan for his poetry and his character as one of the great Zen eccentrics of China and Japan.

The poem is from the collection of his work, One Robe, One Bowl - the Zen Poetry of Ryokan, published Weatherhill (Shambhala Publications),  from its15th printing in 2005. Translation was by John Stevens.








Winter Night

Concealed in a dense forest, my hermitage lies far beyond
     the village river.
A thousand peaks, ten thousand mountain streams, yet no sign
     of anyone.
A long, cold winter's night - slowly a piece of wood burns
     in the fireplace.
Nothing can be heard except the sound of snow striking
     the window.

~~~

Who can sympathize with my life?
My hut lies near the top of a mountain,
And the path leading here is covered with weeds.
On the fence, a single gourd.
From across the river, the sound of logging.
Ill, I lie on the pillow and watch the sunrise.
A bird cries in the distance -
My only consolation.


~~~


The number of days since I left the world and
Entrusted myself to Heaven is long forgotten.
Yesterday, siting peacefully in the green mountains;
This morning, playing with the village children.
My robe is full of patches and
I cannot remember how long I have had the same bowl
     for begging.
On clear nights I walk with my staff and chant poems;
During the day I spread out a straw mat and nap.
Who says many cannot lead such a life?
Just follow my example.


~~~


Finishing a day of begging,
I return home through the green mountains.
The setting sun is hidden behind the western cliffs
And the moon shines weakly on the stream below.
I stop by a rock and wash my feet.
Lightning some incense, I sit peacefully in zazen.
Again a one-man brotherhood of monks;
Ah....how quickly the stream of time sweeps by.








                                         


First this week from 2012.

Nearly five years later, and the simultaneous slowing down and speeding up of everything that comes with age, continues.





I have a secret

I mentioned
Ma and Pa Kettle
in a crowded room
yesterday
and no one knew what
I was talking about...

this,
as in a couple of weeks
I complete my 68th and begin
my 69th ear on this earth,
a reminder of the things I know
that those still struggling with the
challenges of youth
do not

important things
not restricted to Ma and Pa Kettle
and The Bowery Boys
and Boston Blackie

important things,
like,
I can see,
for better or worse, the string of my life fraying
and know that the string which frays will someday
break

an epiphany
denied to the young of 28
or 38 or 48 or even 58
who never notice
the string of life 
they traverse
in the humdrum of their daily
day
until the day
its sorry state is made clear to them

until then,
death is an unfortunate event
affecting others,
never them in all their glorious
immortality

not that they ever think in those terms


mortality
and immortality,
issues, like the price of potatoes
in Cambodia,
that just don't apply to them
no matter how many they see
laid out cold and still in a box,
no matter how many they follow
with their eyes as the unfortunate
are lowered into the earth, no matter
how many losses of those they know
they experience in their lives -

the idea that one day it might be them,
them cold and still,
their physical essence beneath a mound of fresh-turned earth

an abstract
like the collision of galaxies in a faraway star system

the relevance of death to all living creatures,
the inevitability of decay's deconstruction,
is the shock that comes unbidden
on a birthday like the one I have coming,
the unwelcome candle that flutters and dies,
this flesh and blood recognition of the fate
of our own flesh and blood
comes only with the fatigue of age,
it cannot be imagined before the dues are paid -
innocence must be lost
before the loss of innocence can be known

this is when
some,
like me, begin to face
the all we still want to do
and the uncertain time we have to do it








                                                           
I bought two new half-priced books last week. The last time I bought a book from the Half-Price Book chain I went to one of the newer, recently remodeled stores and was very unhappy to discover they had reduced their poetry from two full bookcases to four shelves on one bookcase. So, not anticipating every going back to that store, I went to the chain's original store on Broadway and was relieved to find the poetry section unchanged.
The first of the two books I bought at the old store is Strange You Never Knew by Robert A. Fink. The book was published by Wings Press in 2013.

After a three-year stint in the Marines (1968-1971), Fink obtained his Ph.D. in 1977 at Texas Tech University. Since 1995 he has been professor of English and director of the Creative Writing program at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene.

Also, any poet who takes his book jacket photo with his dog is my kind of fella.





Incident

At first, I thought the German shepherd pup materialized,
a fluff of brown and black skidding past my peripheral vision
as I clung to my five-mile  pace fifty yards from the end
of my noontime run. Had it been raining, I might have believed
the overburdened metaphor I've never understood,
another mystery like the virgin mother, Mary, or the young woman
padding her bodice with explosives, until sequestered
in the crowded marketplace, she unclenches her fingers.
It's amazing what our brains record in seconds we replay
as if time really is relative, and turning back again and again
we glimpse the tailgate of the pickup truck, black, we think,
no scream of tires, only the blur of vehicle, blur of pup.

I have read that roadside bombs concussion memory
and then there are the consequences of the all-too-faithful brain
records. The pup seemed nothing more than startled,
the shock of one hind leg asleep. No screaming, no flopping
in the road. Even when I took him in my arms and held him
to my chest, I knew I was no longer a teacher of poets celebrating
Walt Whitman's Romantic balance of birth and that other,
more inevitable event. Nature provides for all who walk the earth
or tumble from the bed of pickups accelerating past.
I was a photograph in a news magazine, a father lifting
his child who could only seconds earlier had been running ahead
toward the promise of a sweet from the beckoning vendor.







                                              

                                       



A memory of a misunderstanding.










speaking of rabbits and butterflies

speaking
of rabbits and butterflies
on a day when I struggle to put past me
the lingering effects of a seriously sucky head cold
makes me want to escape with my own
rabbit/butterfly poem

but the best I can come up with
is the day y grandfather
insisted he could see rabbits
in the bushes across the road
while my young eyes could see clearly
there were no rabbits there,
none at all, leading me to the conclusion
that grandpa was a crazy old coot...

in those young years
I was even more of a literalist
than I am today, having
not yet learned the magic of metaphor
and simile and such

meaning it was years later before I figured out
that crazy old grandpa was playing with me,
trying to introduce me to the magic
of imagination, a lesson which I totally
missed and it was only years
after his passing that I mourned him,
understanding, finally, those very lessons
lost to me at the time...







                           


Another from 2012 when I was still having my breakfast ever day at a restaurant alongside Interstate-10. It was a good place to watch the movement of a day's beginning, commuters and long-distance travelers going either direction on the highway.




slow dawn

slow dawn
today

night
hanging on

its black grip
tight and unyielding

commuters
on the interstate
don't notice

hell
or high water
coming or not

their day will begin
with or without
the light

judgment day
and no one notices
but me








                                                                                                                  
The second of my half-price book purchases last week is The Alchemist's Diary by Hayan Charara. The book was published by Hanging Loose Press in 2001.

A poet and editor, Charara was born in  Detroit, the son of Lebanese immigrants. Wit a Ph.D. from the University of Houston, this is the first of his three published books.





Mindleaving

      - after Maxine Kumin and Greg Kuzma

Mindleaving,
the son calls it, the way his father
is unable to distinguish the kitchen sink
from the refrigerator.
The way the faces of his children
are like birch leaves that drop on the sidewalk.
He talks about the crates
of pomegranates at Eastern Market,
but he was never there.
He forgets to eat;
undresses before a mirror in the dark
and knows how much he once weighed,
how much has departed his life.
Always amused at the Ford
parked in the driveway refuses to start,
he sits at the breakfast table each morning,
grateful once more for how cigarettes taste.
His son never says anything.
If he does, it is weather this and weather that.
The father sit stiff and thinks about it.
The clouds pass over.
The pussy willows sway back and forth.
The son says it looks like a downpour.
And then the downpour.








                     


Some short pieces from 2012.

These are in a form I invented, 10 words on 6 lines, and called barku (sized to fit on a bar napkin).








6X6

stealth rain
comes-goes
unnoticed
like my eggs,
over
easy

esperanzas
in full bloom
sun glow
clouds
hugging 
the hillside

esperanzas
usually yellow,
one growing
orange
and ten feet
tall

the moon
a crescent
sliver
veiled
like a midnight 
bride

deer
graze on
wet pasture -
I graze
on scrambled
eggs

hobo
rests under park
trees -
old man
heavy pack
dragging

outside
at midnight,
a bullfrog
groans - 
a rhinoceros
at my gate








                                               




Finding common truths.









the truth of things, one of many to discover

I like the way
the early morning sun
falls into the open-air atrium,
a soft light, the light green leaves
of the tree trembling
in the fall of it

a new day...

clouds passing over the new sun
bring a breeze to sustain
the leaves in their trembling

it's true,
on this day and all others,
if it's not one thing
it's another








                                                              




Next a longer poem by my poet friend Bharat Shekhar, a free lance writer from New Delhi, a Whitmanesque rendering of a place I'll probably never see.





21 hrs -

    "Every city has a sex and age..."  John Berger


That being so
Delhi is an aging,
paan chewing,
spittle spewing
cross dresser

The first indication
of its dual inclination
emerges at crossroads
where expensive,
almost state of the art
Jaguars, BMSs, Mercs,
Hondas, and Toyotas
screech to a halt 
at the traffic light.

In the draft
created by impatient revving
of their exhausts,
our cross dressers skirt lifts
to reveal unshaven legs -
Mendicants lurch from curb to car
clattering begging bowls.
Itinerant sellers with sad eyes
thrust their wares
at fogged, air-conditioned windows,
whose horns impatiently honk,
raring for a green signal
to race away from this revelation
of their insides.

II

The muddle of identities
becomes bunched in
that jumble of dresses,
high and low,
that lie side by side
in or cross dresser's wardrobe.

Flung around
magnificent medieval minarets
mange of this city wraps itself
in unsightly, moth-eaten patches.
Immigrant's shanties,
middle class balconies
bulging with bania baroque,
metroworks, makeover malls,
flyovers and feeder roads
all vie for space here 
skeletons in the cupboard,
dancing to the tune of heavy machines.

III

Our cross dresser
has had seven makeovers
or more,
her ruined beauty
still glimpsed
in remains strewn across
from South to North -
Kutub, Rai Pithora, Tughlakabad,
Siri, Nizmuddin, Lodi, Old Fort,
Shihianabad, Chawri bazaar, Ballimaran,
Civil Lines...

IV

In between these relics,
the living city
breathes in gulps,
its fragmented identity of Ps-
Pollution, Power, Politics,
all with a 'capital'  P.

Sometimes it's a Haryanayi
crew cut wearing a police dress
and a mask
directing traffic at some
chaotic crossing.

Sometimes it's a balding
politician's flunky in Lutyens" Land
turned on by VIP sirens
as he accompanies mensahib
for an exclusive manicure.

Sometimes, it is burly men in beards,
and hidden women in burqas,
going about their daily lives,
stirring preconceived prejudices
of passersby who are on their way
to a political rally here
saffron robes and flags will flutter
and fluster the breeze.

Sometimes it is a Sardarni
coming out of a Gurudwara.
Sometimes it is an off-duty nurse
under he lustful gaze of strange men,
walking to her rented accommodation,
far, far away from her home in Kerala.

Sometimes it is the rage
of fists and hockey sticks
erupting on some random road.

Sometimes, it is the trees,
leaning tiredly over pavements.
Sometimes it is the encircling
asphalt necklace,
slowly choking the life out of them.

Sometimes, it is the remains
of a greenbelt that once encircled
the waist of the cross dresser,
now torn in strips,
revealing its underbelly
of bulging builders' flats.

Sometimes, it is that choked thread of water,
a mighty river of the past
that now looks and smells more
like the ooze that comes from
under the doors of public urinals.

Sometimes, it is a blessing Dargahs.
Sometimes it is a curse of abuses.
Sometimes it is scorching.
Sometimes it is shivering. 

Sometimes, it is the rasping
cough of asthma.
Sometimes it is the bully
Sometimes it is the bullied.
Sometimes, it is the camaraderie
of drunken friends swaying an evening
Sometimes, it is the ooze of lonesome booze.

Sometimes, it is the entitlement
of gated, middle-class residents
issuing passes to control the entry
of Bengali maids, cleaners and drivers,
for mistreatment
as their 'rights' of passage.

Sometimes, it is the cold wind
whipping through a makeshift
hammock between poles
that a Bihari mother has made
for her weakly wailing infant,
as she carries bricks on her head
at some building site.

And sometimes
our city is just that -
a cross dresser,
a Punjabi pun
that reflects in suited, booted
angry middle aged executives,
rushing to serve
their hours of corporate servitude.

V

It is only a night
when the city takes off
its clothes
and settles down to sleep
in rang mahals and rain  beseras,
that it openly, nakedly
reveals the flip side of its personality,
its tired Janus face that just longs to sleep
(and sometimes, heaven forbid, to weep)








                     



And again, more barku. I like these, kind of a free verse version of haiku.








another 6X6

first light -
orange shadows - 
deer
leave  night
woods
to graze


crow-
quick-step
bruise
on the sidewalk -
biscuit crumbs -
country breakfast

small man,
tall man,
pin-striped
for meeting -
doers and 
deciders


tiny woman
flits
like bird,
doer
but not decider -
arranger


sun-bright 
day -
rebuilding 
back fence
three boards
at a time


sliver-moon
arc
over red
setting sun -
camera found
too late








                                                                   


Next, this poem by    Sharan Strange is from her book, Ash, published by Beacon Press in 2001.

Born in 1959 in South Carolina, Strange is a poet and professor who earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. She currently teaches writing at Spelman College and has previously been writer-in-residence at number of colleges and universities.








Matador

Large crowds gather
           at public killings
craving justice
           or something
with that warm feel to it.
            The ritual winds
in patterns of figure 8s, turned
             on their side, to symbolize
infinity, eternity.
              The red cape wiggles
like a tongue goading
                a loose tooth. It trembles
like a question, a private toy, a vivid
                 host absorbing desire.
Seduction is a dance
                 the children already know
and each move here glitters
                 like a promise. Anticipation
is a hollow egg
                 balanced on a sword tip. How is
the brute to know
                 life is made for this?
No matter, matador.
                 A thirst for death looms in us all.
Show him red;
                 show the bull what's to come.








                               



Another little morning poem.










waiting for a sign

the morning sun,
large and bright as a neon tangerine
hangs half risen,
the day hesitant, waits
for confirmation
that its time
has come








                                                                                 

This is a poem by John Kinsella. It is taken from his book Peripheral Light, published in 2004 by W.W. Norton.

Born in 1963, Kinsella is an Australian poet, novelist, critic, essayist and editor.







Goading Storms Out of a Darkening Field

Goading storms out of a darkening field,
Cockeyed bobs seeding the salt, the farmer
Cursing the dry, cursing the bitter yield.

And while lightning would savage him with skilled
Thrusts, and floods strip the topsoil, it's better
Goading storms out of a darkening field

Than sit distraught on the veranda, killed
bu the "quitter's syndrome" - it's much safer
Cursing the dry, cursing the bitter yield.

Field bins empty, coffers bare, should have sold
Two years back when prices were halfway there.
Goading storms out of a darkening field.

Red harvest, charred hills, dry wells filled and sealed.
Sheep on their last legs. Dams crusted over.
Cursing the dry, cursing the bitter yield.

It's tempting when prayers and patience have failed,
Diviners have lost track of ground water.
Goading storms out of a darkening field.
Cursing the dry, cursing the bitter yield.








                                         

Apocalypse next week. This one just for practice.

I think this was on the occasion of another failed crackpot's end of the world prediction. And once again, it didn't happen.

So in great disarray, the crackpots elected a president.










so much for the end of the world

I
expected
a bigger
bang

burning clouds

blue-white
lightning
ozone hissing
prairie-fire
world

wailing

gnashing...

true
hearts
ascending

the rest of us
tumbling

fiery
pits
blazing
like the sting
of a
quadrajillion
angry
bees

wailing

gnashing...

maybe
next time








                                                                         



Next, here's poet Kristen Henderson, from her book, Drum Machine, published in 2012 by ALVA Press.

Henderson, with an MSW from SUNY Albany and an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona, has earned numerous awards and honors with her poetry.








Clarity and All Its Clutter

The week we quit
drinking of course we returned to the moon, and the sun,
because it is so hard to look at, comes in
second, like an older brother we want to impress
when our parents aren't around. And if only we could be sure
God lived up there, somewhere. Some face
sunset when they pray, but our necks hurt,
as if sentenced to front row seats,
waiting for the Big Picture. How could we
not be self-conscious, as under and under we go,
dragging clarity and all its clutter, like a bag of heavy,
jingling change?









                                           



Moments of grace and beauty appreciated.










I like to watch the young girls dance

I like to watch
the young girls
dance
as if their bodies
become the music
and the music
absorbs their bodies
and there is no longer
two things,
body and music,
happening together,
but one thing
integral
to its parts
and the body-music-universe
become an expression
of the one soul
that is over the essence
of all souls,
one becoming all
as the dancer becomes
the music
and the music becomes
the dancer









                                                                             
 The next poem is by Dana Gioia, taken from his book The Gods of Winter, published by Graywolf Press in 2001.

Gioia, born in 1950, spent the first 15 years of his writing career, writing at night while working for General Foods. He quit his day job to concentrate on writing in 1991. Later serving as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts between 2003 and 2005 while publishing 5 books of poetry and 3 of literary criticism. He became California State Poet Laureate in 2015 and now is Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of California.



Equations of the Light

Turning the corner, we discover it
just as the old wrought-iron lamps went on -
a quiet, tree-lined street, only one block long
resting between the noisy avenues.

The streetlights splashed the shadows of leaves
across the whitewashed brick, and reach tall window
glowing through the ivy-decked facade
promised lives as perfect as the light.

Walking beneath the trees, we counted all
the high black doors of houses bolted shut.
And yet we could have opened any door,
entered any room the evening offered.

Or were we so deluded by the strange
equations of the light, the vagrant wind
searching the trees, that we believed this brief
conjunction of our separate lives was real?

It seemed that moment lingered like a ghost,
a flicker in the air, smaller than a moth,
a curl of smoke flaring from a match,
haunting a world it could not touch or hear.

There should have been a greeting or a sign,
the smile of a stranger, something beyond
the soft refusals of the summer air
and children trading secrets on the steps.

Traffic bellowed from the avenue.
Our shadows moved across the street's long wall,
and at the end what else could we have dong
but turn the corner back into our lives?








                                             


Unfortunately, the dog's favorite cat passed on after the first of the year.









walking my cat on the morning of December 2nd

I walked my cat this morning,
not that I meant to,
but cats happen...

it started a week ago
when Bella
chased off an intruder cat
who was threatening
our front-porch cat, hissing
and eating the food
I had put out...

since then,
front-porch cat
has developed a serious
dog-crush,
following along with us
as Bella and I take our morning
walk, the two of us
on one side of the street
while front-porch cat,
observing propriety, walks
quietly on the other side

(also insuring plausible
deniability
should we meet up with
a gathering of her feline kind -
who me? I can hear her say,
walking with a dog? never happened,
pure coincidence that we were just going
the same way
at the same
time)

obviously a serious
misunderstanding, a mis-reading
of the situation,
as she just happens to be walking
on the same street
as the dog, stopping
to sniff
when the dog stops to sniff,
stopping to scratch
when the dog stops to
scratch, clearly into the same moment
as the dog, a cat moment
in a dog moment and the dog
doesn't understand it anymore
that I do and cares even less -

though it was difficult
the first couple of days, it
being hard to get anywhere
when the dog stopped every twelve
feet to check the cat's
relative position,
but she has on this day
at last accepted
that she does not walk
alone, that she has a cat
accompaniment in her morning
aria and so what, though she, too,
will deny such a thing
if mention is made
of it...

````

the cat, a feral female,
fixed
so that she might
enjoy a more cosmopolitan lifestyle
rather than her previous life
constantly under the eye of horny
Toms, lives on our
front porch, waiting for me
several times a day, displaying
her willingness to accept food
from m hand, a tribute to her tire-
less work porch-guarding, and
other than that, we have no relationship,
refusing to be touched by me -
though we do exchange several
meow every morning - so it's not like
she doesn't recognize my existence
as part of her world...

but let's face,
she never followed me around before,
so it has to be all about
her hero, the
dog...

not that there's anything wrong
with that








                                                          



Last from my library this week, here are several short poems from the anthology Voices of Light, with the very long subtitle, "Spiritual and Visionary Poem by Women Around the World from Ancient Sumeria to Now."

The book was published by Shambhala in 1999.









The Akkadian/Sumerian poet Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) is the world's first author known by name. Daughter of Sargon of Akkad (Sargon the Great) and high priestess of the goddess Inanna and the moon god Nanna in the Sumerian city-state Ur.


Inanna and the Holy Light

You with your voices of light,
Lady of all the essences
whom heaven and earth love,
temple friend of An,
you wear immense ornaments,
you desire the tiara of the high priestess
whose hand holds the seven essences.
O my lady, guardian of all the great essences,
you have picked them up and hang them
over your fingers
You gather the holy essences and wear them
tightly on your breasts.

Translated by Aliki Barnstone and Willis Barnstone


Yu Xuanji (843-868) was a poet and courtesan of the late Tang dynasty. She was one of the most famous women ;poets of that dynasty.


From Hidden Mist Pavilion

Spring flowers and autumn moon enter poems.
Bright days and clear nights are fit for idle gods.

Raised in vain the pearl screen, never lowered.
Long ago, I moved my couch to face the mountain.


Answering Li Ying Who Showed Me His Poems about Summer Fishing

Though we lived in the same lane,
A whole year we didn't meet,

Until his tender phrases touche this aging woman.
I broke a new cinnamon branch.

The Tao nature cheats ice and snow.
The enlightened heart laughs at summer silks.

Footsteps climb the River of Clouds
Lost beyond the roads in a sea of mist.

Translated by Geoffrey Waters




Nelly Sachs was a Swedish poet and playwright born in 1891 of German Jews. Her experiences during the Nazi era made her a fervent spokesperson for the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jews. She died in 1970.


Someone Is Alone

Someone is alone
is looking to the east
where the melancholy shines in the face of dawn

Red is the east with cockcrow

O hear me -

To die
in the equator's
whipping lightning

O hear me -

To shrivel with the child  faces of the cherubim
in the evening

O hear me -

Om the blue north of the compass
waking at night
already a bud of death in the eyelids

now to the source...

Translated by Willis Barnstone



Born in Pittsburgh in 1956, Luci Brock-Broido was educated at John Hopkins and Columbia and currently serves as the director of poetry in the writing division of the Columbia School of the Arts.


Soul Keeping Company

The hours between washing & the well
Of burial are the soul's most troubled time.

I sat with her in keeping company
All the the afflict of the night, keeping

Soul constant, a second self. Each is have
& I made no wish, save being

Merely magical. I am magical
No more. This I well remember well

In the secret thereafter the impress
Of the senses will be tattooed to

The whole world reveling in the clemency
Of an autumn of Octobers, all that bounty

Bountiful & the oaks specifically
Afire as everything dies off, inclining

To the merciful. I would have made of my body
A body to protect her, anything to keep

Her well & here
Soul, in the good night of my company.








                               




Last new poem for the week.









same o' same o'

it is the changing
of things
and the simultaneous
sameness
of things that discombobulates

the world is 
always changing,
moment by moment,
becoming moment by moment
more of the same

"change is your friend"
I was told
at a time when change was being
not so friendly to me

and I'm still confused,
like a friendless hobo
waiting for the bus
of a better fate, the friendly bur
years overdue

same o' same o' thinks the hobo
waiting for the hag-bitch
of change to save the life
he hasn't lived yet
again







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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