Stringbeans & Such   Wednesday, August 23, 2017






This is from my eBook, Always to the Light, from 2009 and, as always, available wherever eBooks are sold.











stringbean

string
bean
looking fella
in a cowboy
hat
and shit
kicker boots
sitting
across
from me
drinking
from a quart
carton
of 2% milk
reading some
kind of 
technical looking
book
with graphs
and shit
and one hand
looking
paralyzed fingers
tight 
against his palm
like Bob Dole
'cept this
fella
isn't holding
a pen
in his clenched
fingers
like Bob Dole 
always
did
good o'
guy
that Bob
Dole
might'a been
a fine presi
dent
if he hadn't
been Republican
and 143 years 
old -
probably
wouldn't 
a'been fucking
around with no
chubby
interns any
way
what is it?
with politicians
and their dicks
anyway
like just another
one this
week
screwing around
love me
love
me
love me
they're all
saying
all the time
waving their
dicks 
around
starting wars
or
screwing
women either
too young
or too
married
for any man
with good
sense
to mess with
I mean
put your dicks
back
in your pants
and 
brow up
for christ's 
sake
you're supposed
to be
running 
the country 
fool
not running
around
on your dearly
beloved
who ought to be
whopping
you
across the head
three or
four
times  day
till
you get it on
straight

fool!










Here we are, old, new, and in between.


Me
stringbean

Me
but for the potential of a night in jail

Adrienne Rich
After Twenty Years

Me
insomniac moon

Charles Levenstein
Dump Notes

Me
the frogs are singing

Joe Mockus
Last Day in Idaho

Me
a peseta here, a peseta there

Samsal Haque
Woe

Kajal Chakraboty
Fatherhood

Me
true believers

Virgil Suarez
Song to Cryonics

Me
back on South Alamo

Noelle Kocot
Nature Poem

Me
you can't do nothing about the weather but write about it, so I did

Roger Mitchell
Purgatoire

Me
the third wife of Adam

Hashan
Two poems

Me
the limitations of moral philosophy

Catherine MacDonald
BBC News

Me
turning as it always does

James Hoggard
from Tornado's Eye

Me
her nipple













Here's first for the week. Dry, dry, dry, then rain, rain, rain. Wonderful.








but for the potential of a night in jail

rain
like a waterfall,
like there's a massive leak
in heavenly plumbing,
like, life spilling across our shoulders again,
running frothy white down the street,
a wet blessing, baptism of the faithful
announced by the white-hot flash
of lightning
and the low rumble of thunder
crossing the sky
north to
south

but for the potential of a night in jail
I'd be running too,
down the street, buck naked,
a great white whale
swimming
through the glory of hard rain
on a dark Monday
morning











First from my library this week, a poem by Adrienne Rich, from her book The Fact of a Doorframe, Poems Selected and New 1950-1984. The book was published by W.W. Norton in 1984.










After Twenty Years
                        for A.P.C.

Two women sit at a table by a window. Light breaks
unevenly on bot of them.
Their talk is a striking f sparks
which passers-by in the street observe
as a glitter in the glass of that window.
Two women in the prime of life.
Their babies are old enough to have babies.
Loneliness has been part of their story for twenty years,
the dark edge of the clever tongue,
the obscure principle underside of imagination.
It is snow and thunder in the street.
While they speak the lightning flashes purple.
It is strange to be so many women,
eating and drinking at the same table,
those who bathed their children in the same basin
who kept their secrets from each other
walked the floors of their lives in separate rooms
and flow into history now as the women of their time
living in the prime of life
as in a city where nothing is forbidden
and nothing permanent

1971













From 2015.










insomniac moon

adrift
in an uncertain sky

a jumble
tumbling
time
&
places
people
known
people
unknown
reminded of
by people
known
dog wants
out
dog wants
in
a-jumble a-tumble
moon set
sun rise
another day
to lose
after another
lost night








The next poem is by my poet friend, Charles Levenstein.

Chuck has a Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T. with an interest in occupational health and  industrial and labor relations. He has written poetry since the age of 15, but rarely published until 2000 when retirement gave him the time an impetus to become more serious at it. Since then he has published four books of poetry.

His story of returning to poetry as a way to find purpose in retirement is very similar to my own.



Dump Notes

I started out by visiting a waste site, that is a dump.
Then I visited more such dumps. I met the people
who tended these sites, heard their laughter and pain.

I bought books about the making of A-bombs. Physics.
War. Politics. Who did what and why. I read about
spies. I read about the power hungry and about

the terrified. Soldiers. Politicians. Scientists.
I read about yellow cake in the Belgian Congo after
Germans had conquered the home country. I read

how the Belgians despised Africans and how
the British feared Americans and how the Americans
sent ornithologists and geologists as secret agents.

And while Africans worked as virtual slaves
(and this shocked the Americans), the Navajo who
provided code talkers for the Pacific war were

conned out of their land, mineral wealth and health.
Yellow dirt miners and contaminated towns.
I have a book - to be read - about Soviet A-bomb research.

I am immersed in radioactive crap | read thrillers
to keep my nostrils above the rising tide. Bought
a book about the future of nuclear power and

although I have friends who imagine this
their only hope for work, I cringe. Salt mines
filled with waste. None of the scientist,

none of the strategic thinkers, military or geopolitical,
considered the dumps, the sickness, the violation.
This is what I am thinking about when I pause

to catch a breath.












And, after a good rain, life returns.









the frogs are singing

the frogs ares singing
in the creek out back,
feed yesterday
from their prison,
from dry months in the creek bed
buried in thick
clotted mud,
released
by cascades of rain,
the flooding
surge
of rushing water...

this morning
they sing
of their liberation







This is from my library, the winter, 1977 issue of Berkeley Poetry Review. 

The poem is by Joe Mockus. His bio identifies him as a poet, writer, criminal defense attorney, dad, husband and rock and roll drummer. I couldn't find the poet's photo, but I did find this illustration from one of his journal publicans. Maybe it's the poet.

For purpose here, I declare it is.




Last Day in Idaho

Lodgepole pine cracked up the dawn
the day I drove Keith's pickup truck
off the road and down
the cliff, leaping from the cab
into blackberry, wild rose,
watching it bounce like a dream,
rolling helplessly into the cherry trees
snapping their sapling necks.

Stinging fingers gripping thorns, body stiff
biting against the dirt
and quickly the deep quiet; I watched the sun's light
pink behind he lodgepole pine, trying
to awake, sensing this hillside
not the place
to turn back to sleep.












I wrote this in 2015, remembering a very brief time in Madrid in 1968.










peseta here, peseta there

walking the sidewalks of downtown Madrid
in eh crisp air of mid-spring,
still a chill in the morning
but warming sun by
noon

such a beautiful city, so rich in history
and heritage...

such a beautiful city, I think, not like Paris,
people smile as I pass, I could live here, I think,
unlike Paris...


`````

an elderly woman, stout and silver-haired,
a country woman, come to the city,
sits on a blanket under a full-leafed tree,
sits among the smiling people
passing, ayudarme, she cries softly,
begging, help me, help me...

a peseta here, a peseta there,
fall without a sound o her blanket...

a beautiful blanket...

I wonder if I could buy the beautiful
blanket...

but then, what would the stout old woman
sit on, here among the passing
crowds a peseta here...

a peseta there...









Next, from another old journal, two poems by Bengali poets, translated by Carolyn Brown. The journal is Exchanges, Fall 1997. The journal continues to be published by The Translation Laboratory at the University of Iowa.






Poem by Samsal Haque


Woe

if the dark hours put life in our hands
then does dawn lay death at our feet?

as a boy, Krishna had no desire to kill
nor did he aspire to heaven

dark hours are spun with delight
but sorrow returns at dawn


Poem by Kajal Chakraborty


Fatherhood

one wave draws intricate designs
on the sand, the next wave washes
over them - it's the same every day

another life is going to wash over mine













Battling despair, before the rain finally came.








true believers

yesterday,
another failed promise
of rain

today,
we true believers,
despite all,
bring our umbrellas as we leave
the house

I am reminded
of photos from a recent
rally for our own
President Slimebucket,
all his loyal supporters, changing,
waving signs

despite 
all

the probably believe in rain
too...










Here's a poem by one of my favorite poets, one I use often,  Cuban-American poet Virgil Suarez.

The poem is taken from his book, Palm Crows, published  by The University of Arizona Press in 2001.









Song to Cryonics

...here the fingers, nails soft as moonglow,
grid of pinked lines against the ghostly
vastness of skin, a hair erect, a perseverance
of trees, kudzu malice to cover everything
there the lips, spoken words mouthed
with great severity, vowed O's, lips muffled,
echoed sounds cupped by the hand, saying:
when I am gone, remember my face, mirrors
of solitude, a walk in a garden where light
floats down, settles on the surface of a pond,
carp ascend from its murky depths to gobble
a ray or two, enough to keep them glowing
through their quiet nights, eyes fluorescent,
beacons to bring the memories of living home.












From 2015, a temporary return to old territory.












back on South Alamo

back on South Alamo,
in a dark corner at Madhatter's Cafe
across the street from my former coffeehouse lair
for several years, then Casa Chiapas, now a lawyer's office,
oh my, how good things fall
to a lesser state
in this world of unwelcome consequences...

evicted from my current coffeehouse home base
by water leaks and plumbers, butt-crackers anonymous.
regulars just as I am not a regular here..

change...

but a return as much as possible to familiar
territories, disappointment, of course and the new
and unwelcome unfamiliarity of changing circumstance,
like seeing the latest picture of a girlfriend from 50 years before
and memories crash to the ground like lead pelicans
with anvils in their pouched beak - those nights
in the back of her dad's Studebaker Golden Eagle never to be remembered
the same again, the soft and pliant flesh of memory replaced,only
the sharp, cramped corners of the small back seat remaining...

like Casa Chiapas, the late afternoons on the porch writing
while life in this very old neighborhood went its slow, sun-falling
way, the sounds of downtown and the smell of the river as it passed
just a block away.

lost...

instead I'm reminded by the lawyer I need to call to write a will,
which even at my age we haven't done, reminded
of this misplaced day that as change comes always around me
it will come to me as well as someday
I will change from my current fleshy state to a memory
in the minds of a diminishing few until they also depart
their fleshy state, then, the both of us, always incomplete
and at best approximate,
until even that too
is gone...

change, I am reminded by this cracked-mirror day,
it will get us
all










This poem is by Noelle Kocot, taken from her book, Sunny Wednesday. The book was published in 2009 by Wave Books.

Born in 1969, Kocot is author of seven collections of poetry. She teaches at The New School.









Nature Poem

Behind a pasture, swaying,
A skyline of fickle pines.
Like-minded sweeping
Scraps the warmth of gestures.
Too late, I say, too late.
For us to cuddle the canary's
Strubbled song.
There is a lifetime waiting.
No one is coming.
The study of heat blinks
In the midday sun.
Soon, a blaze of rhyme
Will cast an artificial glare
And sunset on the windowsill.
Good for us, who die in flames.
Good for us who walk among the ghosts.










Another of my daily preoccupations with rain. I should have posted this before I posted "true believers" above, since I wrote this hopeful poem before the despair of denial.








you can't do nothing about the weather but write about it, so I did

two months
with next to no rain
and prognostications
for a wet couple of days
light our imagination
with visions of splashing again
like kids in a summer thunderstorm
blowing in like a good natured
boogie man from the gulf

some people hurt by it
back then
and some will be hurt
by those that come next

but I'm still close enough
to 13 to not care too much
as long as it rains on me

(went to a baseball game
Saturday afternoon,
our own San Antonio Mission,
not a baseball fan
and don't really give a particular crap
about the San Antonio Missions,
but it was a favor for a friend
who promised free hot dogs
and beer and covered seating...

I had finished my hot dog and my
ration of beer when a short
storm blew through
and the 13 year-old previously mentioned,
the smart-ass kid
I usually hold in check, showed
himself as I left the covered seating
to take a place in the rain

my obligation fulfilled, I left
as soon as the rain
stopped)









This from another poetry journal, Poetry, October 2007.

The poet is Roger Mitchell. A former director of the MFA program at Indiana University, Mitchell is author of eight books of poetry as well as a novel and numerous non-fiction pieces.





Purgatoire

The hot valley, to call it a valley, a wide flat winding
between mesas, crumbs as big as a boxcar tumbled
off its edges, trainwreck of sedimentation's hardtack.
The ghost of a glacier, threading a few cottonwoods,
licked a the roots of a line of tamarisks. Water
has to go somewhere, if only away. People,
as well, a few bungled contraptions for shelter strewn
in the heat and dust, substratum of fine gray silt,
once the bed of a sea, dust finer than air.
We slipped down to the slim river, thin chiseler
to the swirling muscular carver it once way, to look
at extinction's hieroglyphics. A few hundred tracks
in the locked mud, and two children splashing
in the sun. Such big feet and a lope you could try to follow,
as some of us did, imaging what it must be
to be large and unstable, staggering across a land
that supported at best now a few flowering lichens,
some grasses, and the occasional migrating flock
of bids looking for water on the way to places
that, though slower, also have somewhere else to be.









I'm not sure where I stumbled upon the idea of a third wife of Adam, but it is mentioned in an ancient Hebrew commentary. In this day and age it would probably be considered in all three of the Hebraic-based religions. Luckily, being a pagan allows me to screw around with theology all I want without fear of fiery consequence.

This particular screwing-around is from 2015.








the third wife of Adam

the first went sour,
had intercourse with demons,
giving birth to monsters
that haunt us still
today...

the second,
well, that was God's fault,
making her in front of Adam
and so disgusted was he
by the revelation
of what was inside the latest
creation and, by extension,
himself that he was repulsed
and would have nothing to do
with it, no matter how pleasing
God made the outside...

and God destroyed the second
and, determined to try just one more
time, this time, while Adam
slept...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

and said God to the third
as he completed fitting all the parts
in all their proper
places -

I have made all that is around you. This
my garden, my wonderful creation
that came to seem so lonely and bare
without a creature like myself, so I made Adam
in my image and because he was incomplete as only one,
I made you to be his mate, his wife and the mother
of the future I will make alongside
the two of you...

and I named you Eve because you are the setting
of all that is old and the bringer of new
dawn the culmination of my
ambition...

and as a prelude to the dawn your destiny
is not in this garden and to set you on the road
to your destiny, I will come to you in another form
and show you that your destiny is to defy me
and by that defiance become a creature of free will,
a creation finally complete in my image, 
a creation who, with this last piece is certain to confound me
and stir my wrath and, for a while, blind me
to my love for you, my child as will all your children
be my children...

and through all the thousand years
that will pass, my wrath
will diminish
and I will remember my love you
and we will be reunited
in a new garden -
a new Eden
in some far place unseen
and known only to me,
that new Eden that awaits our
return...

this is your story, my creation,
my child, third and last wife of Adam
who will carry my story
to the end, your destiny to be
mother of all men and in the end
mother of God...










Next from my library, Poems of Hanshan, published by Altamira Press in 2003 with translation by Peter Hobson.

Hanshan is a legendary poet associated with a collection of poems during the Tang dynasty in the Taoist and Chan tradition. No one knows who he was or when he lived and died.









Man dwelling
                        on the mountain way
where the clouds curl
and the mists swirl
picks a flower, thinks
of a lover long lost
to whom return would be hard
despite all longing -
heart dwelling
                            on the irrevocable past,

old age has come
and nothing done;
how sad that all men
mock his waywardness!
He stands alone but
will keep faith


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Chestnut horse
          and coral whip
riding like mad
           along the Loyang road
quite in love
           with his own young beauty
does not believe in
            age and decay;
but the white hairs
             will grow
and the fresh complexion
             face; look well
at the great mountain
             of noble graves -
there are no other
             "Isles of the Blessed".














A pontification having nothing to do with rain.










the limitations of moral philosophy

there are necessities
in life
that require our action,
to avoid such necessary actions
due to moral abhorrence
is cowardice..

if a thing is necessary,
do it,
accept whatever seat in hell
you may earn by your
doing...

if given the freedom
of choice,
always choose to do
the most moral of options available...

failure to make the moral choice
when choice is available
also guarantees a seat in hell,
one closest to the inner circle
where the fire burns always
and is always the hottest

````

such are the words of
those who seek to give us
direction,
the philosophers who offer
seek to name guide posts to a more 
moral life...

too bad
they never include words to teach us
how to tell the difference between
what is truly necessary
and what is only a craving
for convenience
and personal aggrandizement...

poor humans,
you and me, as with all our dreams,
our longing for goodness
always failing at the first high 
and treacherous
step on the path to it's
attainment








Next from my library, poet Catherine MacDonald with a poem from her book, Rousing the Machinery. The book was published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2012.

MacDonald teaches writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. After publishing in many poetry journals, this is her first published collection.






BBC News

     The Queen's composer has ruffled feathers
     after police found the body of a swan at his home.
                         - "BBC: One-Minute World News"


With a crook used for sheep-herding,
he ravels the swaying body of a whooper swan
from the power lines, its bulk still,
bill cracked. He'll make stew of it -
dark meat, lean after a Scottish
winter - with stinging onion
ad coarse pepper. From each breast
he slices clean its wings, hags
them in the windy garden to dry.

November, and the last banded birds
move over the island like voices rising
over a single line of music. He envisions
a Nativity pageant, the island's slow boy -
as much pitied as loved - is the angel
Gabriel, whispering,
              First Elizabeth,
                            now you, Mary -
as the swan's wing unfurl from his shoulders.













A street scene from 2015.









turning as it always does

seen the young couple and their child
on the street corner,
waiting
for their bus,
how young, how young
they look, how unlike parents
they look to an old man
passing...

but
watch the father
as he helps his child into his coat,
watch how gently he helps the child get his arm
through the sleeves, how softly he brushes the child's
hair and how carefully he lifts the hood
and smooths it over the child's head and over his ears...

see the parents and their child
waiting for their bus
see the world turn again, turning
as it does, as it
always
does...




                                                                         




                                                               
Last from my library this week is this poem by James Hoggard, from his collection of longer, semi-autobiographical poetry, Two Gulls, One Hawk. The book was published by Prickly Pear Press in 1983.

Hoggard is a native of Wichita Falls Texas, where has taught at Midwestern University beginning 1966. As a poet, novelist, short fictionist, playwright, essayist and translator, he published widely, a chameleon of literary forms, an experimentalist working with every genre after his own regional manner.     






from Tornado's Eye

2
Six years before
in a damper, green place
where few winds blew,
I was tramp of the park next door

and at dusk one evening
before lightning bugs rose
I saw the neighborhood
watching a man
beat up a woman
until Bobby Boggs' father
chased the sleeveless undershirt off,
Bobby and his mother both crying,
hysterical Mr. Boggs' get knifed

      World War II just one year past
      but something more than fighting
      was going on between the two -
      They'd been necking
      before the crowd arrived
      I'd heard her refuse
      to go with him in the john
      so he hit her
      then pushed her down
      and rode her waist
           (yippi ti yay ti you)
      while they cussed each other,
      tried choking each other
      there in the clearing
      persimmon trees ringed

      and the horse apples looked like cannonballs

      The public john was a two-doored bunker,
      playpen for us kids
      We'd trade with the girls there
      touches on our underwear
      and laughed while we squeezed
      ripe persimmons in our hands

The next day Bobby and I and Nan
  
      after checking the pipes
      we kept in the creek
      for catfish and crawdads

went under the Beckley St. bridge

As Nan pulled her shift off
Bobby told her, "One day you'll have big ones"
"And we'll all," she said, "have hair"

Laughing, Bobby asked me
as he rubbed her mosquito-bite nipples
"Don't you think she'll have great ones?"

      I couldn't tell
      Her ninners looked just like ours


Cars were passing overhead
Bobby took a crap
then Nan squatted
to show us how she peed

A watersnake slid
through the weeds near
where out footprints were

      was thinking of Henry Noble,
      the gangster-gambler who lived down the street
      Seven attempts had been made on his life
      They'd get him on the ninth

That  in Trinity Heights in Oak Cliff in Dallas
whose wet air turned
the bones in your legs
to sponge

      and before I returned
      to the place of my birth
      where summersun's razorblades
      sliced between skin
      and a cave was required
      in the mind to protect
      yourself from the blast
      of drought in your bones                 








                                               



Last for the week, also having nothing to do with rain.




her nipple

it's a famous painting
by Toulouse Lautrec, one of his party girls
lounging, leaning back on a chair or divan or such,
seen from behind, her skirt flouncy and her colorful bodice
pulled low, and a tiny detail, crowding the bodice line,
a tiny detail, easy to miss, almost hidden, the
nipple of her left breast and suddenly
the party girl is real to me, the tiny detail,, the nipple
barely seen that succors lovers and babies, real among
the color and flounce and artificiality and gaiety
and dark secrets of the whorehouses 
of the decadent years of 19th century Paris, pigalle,
the lights and smells of sweat and a whore's strong
cologne and the stink of repeated sweaty sex...

and that tiny nipple proof to me that this is a real woman,
with a real life, hard as it must be, and somewhere
a room where she lives, with her babies
who suckle her breasts in the low light of early 
day...








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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  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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Links
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Tryst
Poems Niederngasse
BlazeVOX
Eclectica
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
zafusy
The Blogging Poet
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Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
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Beau Blue
Downside up
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Layman Lyric
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Desert Moon Review
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Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet