Autumn Light   Wednesday, October 04, 2017

This poem is from my fifth and last, so far, poetry eBook, Between this collection of poems and my earlier poetry books, I did two fiction books one short stories and the other flash fiction. I have in my files enough poems to do at least three or four more books (and write another one ever day), but suffer from a lack of the ambition required to begin the very tedious task of pulling the material together for books.

All my eBooks are available wherever eBooks are sold.

autumn light

I've read
all my housemates' poems
and it's time
to write my own
and I'm thinking about
the autumn light I read about
in one poem, thinking how true
it is, the idea that autumn light is different,
orange, reflection of pumpkins
scattered for sale
in a parking lot, jack-o-laterns
for the poor and hungry and untutored
in the grace of Lord Jesus Christ, Savior
of all, but especially savior of those who will
buy a pumpkin for the poor, demonstrating
their deep and Christian concern for pumpkin farmers
and others less fortunate among their human
fellows, that's why autumn light
has an organgish tint, I think, although I'm sure
there will be some who prefer a more scientific
explanation, not involving in any way, pumpkins and t he poor...

but who would you rather believe in, some
grubby scientist or Santa Clause...

and of course, summer light is entirely different,
thick and heavy and shimmery,
steam-soupy venting from the Devil's
subterranean glen of the simmering wicked,
air full of curses and foul fulminations,
air with all the sweetness of a rattlesnake's
insistent tongue...

entirely different
from winter air, flowing across the prairies
direct from the high mountains
where giant snow leopards leave their lairs
to hunt at night, sharp, frigid, unrelenting light that
pushes the heart to pump, makes the lungs expand
to draw the richness of oxygen that turns
the pumping blood red and rich, air re-conditioned
in the light, cleansed of sweat-heavy
summer air hanging on past its time,
air that breaks the morning dark
for sharp winter light, sharp, that's the word
for winter light, sharp like the daily-sharpened
blade of a hunter in the woods cleaning his kill,
or the butcher, behind his counter
of fresh cut

not at all like spring air, soft and
almost weightless, airy light
that floats above the passions of
spring re-birthing, light
with a smell of hope that all does not end,
that come again, spring to light to clean the thick musk
of a house closed for months, tight against winter's
sharp intrusions, smelling of days like a prisoner's
cell, confined, waiting for release, spring-lit air, the release,
clouds of re-commitment to life and all its pleasures...

but all the light,
it's autumn's I love the best,
escape for me from the weight of summer's

so I slept this morning
outside in the dawning autumn light, covered
against the chill but welcoming its relief
from the hanging dog of

this, again,
to remember a sweater in the

This week, another standard collection of poems, plus pictures, all from a trip we made down the Blue Ridge Parkway in October, 2009.

autumn light

though I bear no ill will toward his kind, I am not believed

Sandra Mortola Gilbert

Barry Seiler
Digging in the Streets of Gold

among the rituals of the darkening night

Diane Glancy
The Imaginary Indian

how lucky are we to have the seasons

Gary Blankenship
Watching Leaves Blow in the Wind

morning after rain

Frances Trevino
She Told Her Mother Not to Worry
Observations on a Woman in Her Thirties Preparing for a Date

on the death of Tomas de Torquemada

Naomi Shihab Nye

there is no other light like the sunlight here

Howard Moss
Have You Forgotten

it does it again

Frances Trevino


Joyce Carol Oates
Honeymoon: 40 Years


Pamela Kircher
Desperate Angel

a winter sky

raulsalinas (Autumn Sun)
Prayer for a Newborn

about the cold winds that blow

here come da judge

A little goof of a poem.

though I bear no ill will toward his kind, I am not believed

walking across
the Home Depot
parking lot
a crow
very concerned
about my path
behind his
over his shoulder
yellow BB
in panic
and I try
to convince him
I'm not following
that it's just
a coincidence
that we're both
the same way
this Sunday
on this Home
parking lot
I can tell from
his yellow
doesn't believe
maybe he's a
psychic bird
who is tapping
my subconscious
from when
I was a child
a nickel a piece
to the curandero
the block
who made his
every Saturday
a true
of blackbird pie was
but not
I just wanted
the nickel
I bear no
ill will
toward black
of any variety
why, if
he's tuned to this
early memory
he might be
with me trailing
and I would too
be hurrying
my skinny
trident feet
I was

First from my library this morning, two poets from Unsettling America - An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry. The book is a Penguin Book, published in 1994.

The first poet is Sandra Mortola Gilbert. Born in 1936, Gilbert is Professor Emeritus at the University of California - Davis. She is a poet and literary critic who has published in the fields of feminist literary criticism, feminist theory, and psychoanalytical criticism.


Frank Costello eating spaghetti in a cell at San Quentin,
Lucky Luciano mixing up a mess of bullets and
calling for Parmesan cheese,
Al Capone baking a sawed-off shotgun into a
huge lasagna -
                         are you my uncles ,
only uncles?

bad uncles of the batten
cliffs of Sicily - was it only you
that they transported in barrels
like pure olive oil
across the Atlantic?

                           Was it only you
who got out at Ellis Island with
black scarves on your heads and cheap cigars
and no English and a dozen children?

No carts were waiting, gallant with paint,
no little donkeys plumed like the dreams of peacocks.
Only the red eyes of a thousand buildings
stared across the echoing debarkation center,
making it seem so much smaller than a piazza,

only a half dozen Puritan millionaires stood on the wharf,
in the wind colder than the impossible snows of the Abruzzi,
ready with country clubs and dynamos

to grind the organs out of you.

The second of the two poets is Barry Seiler. He is a native of the Bronx with a  BA in English from Queens College in New York and an MFA in creative writing from the University of California - Irvine.

Digging in the Streets of Gold

My parents were fish.
The came from Europe, swimming.

This was before Hitler was invented,
when a wheelbarrow of money
got you a loaf of bread.

Twice, they voted for Stevenson,
and he dropped dead on the streets of London.

Mamie was drunk. McCarthy mad.

They did their jobs.
They didn't weep over the Rosenbergs.

They tried to buy their way
out of history.
The rising elevator was their armor.
The wold at the door the family crest.

Two weeks before he died, my father smiled wisely
over murdered Kennedy, and he lifted his shovel
and bent his back,
and went to dig in the streets of gold.

This October poem from last year.

among the rituals of the darkening night

October dusk

a yellow moon,
like a giant balloon
with the quiet
of night

and a thousand grackles
scream their demands
to the falling sun,
shaking the trees
with their agitation

October night

and still the thousand grackles
under cover of their
dark shaking


From her book,   Lone Dog's Winter Count, this poem is by Diane Glancy. The book was published in 1991 by West End Press.

Born in 1941, Glancy is a poet, author and playwright of Cherokee descent.

The Imaginary Indian

He looks at his winter count his whirlwind of time.
He knows the ages pass roughly as a rockslide

Where was he since the 1st water he came from?
Is not the eardrum a spiral shell?
Do not words still crawl to dry ground?

Lone Dog knows the winter count starts with death.
then spirals outward from the core.

He traces pictographs of furry horses dirt lodges
the lost buffalo tracks.

Lone Dog knows afterwards
warriors chase beavers the squirrel wild turkey.
The spotted horses with "hail" war paint.

He knows afterwards the faceless warriors hang beaver-
tails on their scalp-shirts.

He follows with his finger the black moon
the exploding sun.

Having been through two seasons and back again in the last week and a half  here in South Texas I am particularly sensitive to seasonal change.

how lucky are we to have the seasons

on this dim Sunday morning
when the passing of seasons is
so clearly in the air, I am reminded
of how limited I am, we are,
by the limits of our lifetime, how
we are perpetually in the middle,
never seeing the beginning of things,
gone to our graves before the end arrives

reminding me how luck I am, we are,
to see seasons passing, the steady passing
of time in our time, the beginning and ending
of seasons, markers complete despite
the limitations we live and die
with, the temporal necessity
that binds us

This poem is by my poet friend Gary Blankenship.

Though better at it than me, Gary is, like me, a second life poet. He lives in Bremerton, Washington.

Watching Leaves Blow in the Wind

Standing at the sink, peeling potatoes,
Would she still shiver in anticipation
If I brushed her hair with my hand?

If I kissed that hidden hollow,
Would she still remembering so anxious,
I rose with rug burns on my knees?

If I kissed her tiny freckles,
Would she turn them away from e,
Offering darker spots instead?

Once she used to say
I drew int her so deep
She could taste me in the back of her throat.
Forgetting the easy quip,
I let her speak for me.

She said through all the years
Of our thrusts and parries,
There is still a spot I missed,
A place not yet touched or tasted.

If I stroked her electric skin,
Would she stop peeling
And let me find the spot?

The wind has stripped
The wild cherry of leaves tonight.
Will we lose our wrappings,
And go where we are blown?

The harvest moon at morning, 2015..

morning after rain

it is a soft
morning, rain puddling
every low place, remnant
of last night's midnight storm,
ripples reflecting the baby blue sky,
robins' egg blue, the blue of blood pulsing
beneath a baby's soft skin

and above the sky, the moon,
bight, near full, that glowing face with smudges
moon mountains
as the sight of it has been called all the generations
of man, and pre-man, standing beside its terrestrial mountain,
leaning back, hairy hands reaching for the beauty
of the night passing, and even further before,
one of the giants stops its constant eating, lifts its long neck
and stares with yellow, lidless eyes and beholds the brilliance of the night

so long it has been there before gracing this morning,
my morning, under a softened sun, a robins' egg sky, and the radiant orb,
the princes of all nights from  the first to now
and I am so pleased and proud
to be alive under its beautiful, ancient face, embraced
by all that is this world and it guardian

These two poems are by San Antonio poet, Frances Trevino, from her book, Cayetana, published by Wings Press in 2007.

In 1999, Trevino was a fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities for integrating U.S. Latino Literature into the secondary classroom. From 1999 to 2002 she was a member of "Women of Ill Repute:Refute" - a performance group that deconstructed issues of culture and identity. At the time the book was published, she taught British Literature for the San Antonio Independent School District.

She Told Her Mother Not to Worry

The young woman
tended her agave, her aloe,
her wild scallions and violets
grown amuck in the yard.
She had conversations with her
grandmother who passed
into the other world. She lived
in her house with burglar bars
in the shape of the horizon,
didn't miss the television when
they stole it. She slept to the
hum of cargo trains, the
thump of bass from cars
low to the ground During the
day she waved at neighbors,
wrote letters, listened to Brazilian
drums, fell asleep in her jeans
and woke to humid Texas mornings.
With that she was happy and
told her mother to keep praying
and not to worry.

Observations on a woman in Her Thirties Preparing for a Date

Bathed in
store fragrance
sprayed across
legs lotioned
down to smooth
like olive silk
olive like the
finest hues from
the branches
of Jerusalem
kettled in that
perfume I have
come to know.

Such special days as this should be marked, just as I'm saving space on my calendar to mark the impeachment of our current slimebucket-in-chief.

on the death of Tomas de Torquemada

this day,
the 519th anniversary
of the death of Tomas de Torquemada,
infamous chief of the Catholic inquisition,
a quiet and gently death,
so I'm told, unlike the many unfortunates
upon whom his attention was directed
in his much-too-long


so many dead
since that day so long ago,
most good, as we, giving mercy to ourselves
define it, some deservedly dead...

for the good, we celebrate
their birth - for the other, it is
the death of them that gives cause to celebration,
like today, noted, a black mark on our kind

(well, not actually erased for evil
can never be erased, only defeated in its time)

I think of this
as I learn of another death,
closer, this one, a person known to me,
part of my life, a regular person, neither as good
as some nor nearly as bad as others...

a regular person, like you and me,
with things we hope will be remembered
when out time comes, and equally,
things we hope are forever

just regular people, in our last parade,
the inevitable death march
for which we were born

hoping for the best...

Here's another San Antonio poet, one of my very favorite poets, in fact, Naomi Shihab Nye. The poem is from her book, Fuel, published by BOA Editions in 1998.

Daughter of an American mother and a Palestinian, Nye grew up in Jerusalem and St. Louis, moving to San Antonio during her high school years. She is poetry editor for The Texas Observer and her work has been featured in two PBS poetry specials. She has taught as a visiting writer in schools, museums, and community centers and has traveled abroad on Arts America tours sponsored by the United States Information Agency.


    We thought of ourselves as people of culture.
    How long will it be till others see us that way again.
                                                             Iraqi Friend

In her first home each book had a light around it.
Te voices of distant countries
floated in through open windows,
entering her soup and her mirror.
They slept with her in the same thick ed.

Someday she would go there.
Her voice, among all those voices.
In Iraq a book never had one owner - it had ten.
Lucky books, to be held often
and gently, by so many hands

Later in American libraries she felt sad
for books no one ever checked out.

She lived in a country house beside a pond
and kept ducks, two male, one female.
She worried over the difficult relations
of triangles. One of the ducks
often seemed depressed.
But not the same one.

During the war between her two countries
she watched the ducks more than usual.
She stayed quiet with he ducks/
Some days they huddled among reeds
or floated together.

She could not all her family in Basra
which had grown farther away than ever
nor could they call her. For nearly a year
she would not know who was alive,
who was dead.

The ducks were building a nest.

Another from October, this one, October, 2014.

A side note - the picture on the left is from our last visit to Santa Fe, two years ago, unfortunately, and we are overdue to return.

there is no other light like the sunlight here

there is no other light
like sunlight here
at 9 a.m. on a late October

so bright -

i all the world a stage
and every day a play upon it
then this day's presentation
a story of radiance,
a story of the glow in heaven,
all the saints arrayed
in their purity through days
of eternal glory lit
by all the brilliant star
that surround it,
a celestial backdrop
that is the reward for
the greatest of all virtues -

forever shining light
o all the jealous

Next, a poem by Howard Moss from his book, Notes from the Castle, published in 1979 by Antheneum.

Moss, born in 1922, was a poet, dramatist, critic, and poetry editor for the New Yorker magazine from 1948 until his death in 1987.

Have You Forgotten

Have you forgotten the sweetness of women,
Their treble cries, the underworld of milk?
How in the fleshy inside of an elbow
The warm hollow trembles with blue silk -
All luscious opaque roundness u a blur
Of bedroom coverlet, of rind and mound,
Those supple thighs I nested in at twelve
Whose milk-white form melted the horizon's
Aggregate of birds into empty distance.

To walk by heavy mirrors of a myth
With the greedy mouth everyone begins with
And feed on nothing but the self reflected
Is to know how pleasure ceases, does away with
Savor, and the attributes of Eden
End up in the darkroom of details,
Or a day of too much light whose sun erases
Privacies gone flat, communication
A letter bomb arriving in the mails.

Celebrating a new day.

it does it again

of a poem for the day
and I see the pink cloud
of a rising sun behind the dark cloud
of night's loosening hold

day starts
in all its orange and pink splendor

day starts
pushes aside any lingering dreams of night
and its shadow domain of mystery and

day starts


it does it again

another day and another
to live up to the promise
of light and

day starts again
for us all

Several poems up, I posted two poems by Frances Trevino. Here's another since I really like it.


I have been told I come
from northern regions
of jagged Pyrenees mountains,
phonetics of a language the
will bewilder linguists.

I have been told the
curve of my nose,
the olive tint of
fair skin and hazel eyes
are Hebrew.

I have been told my
great grandmother was
a Mayan princess, her dark
skin like midnight
in the Coahuilan desert.

I have been told I come
from a long line of women
much smarter that the
men they chose, or who chose them,
women who stood their ground,
shotgun in hand in times of revolution,
fought defending deeds too small
plots of land, sent their children away,
left them orphans rather than
chased away from their homes.

I have been told the women in my
family were self taught: my
grandmother's flat nose
perfected roasted peppers
over an open flame, my mother's
amber eyes spotted predators
waiting for little girls, my aunts
black skin withstood the slam of
restaurant and clothing shop stores
on any Saturday in downtown
San Antonio.

Seamstresses, cooks, translators,
teachers, healers, mothers, women
who stayed with husbands,
who left after beatings,
who divorced after twenty-seven
years of marriage for no reason at all,
lesbians who moved away
and never came back.

Mexican women unafraid
of revolution or displacement,
ready to move onward,
trunks, boxes, luggage
packed right, ready to shuffle
quickly at the earliest of day,
or at night's brightest star.

Another October morning; this one from 2013.


I like having breakfast
in the dark,
watching the day wake,
night passing,
dark hanging off the baton
in an endless relay, a circling cycle of
universal goings-on
forever before and forever after
becoming light
until it becomes dark again

the mysteries of early mornings,
movement in the dim light,
wind stirring trees,
cats passing from shadow
to shadow...

but not this morning...

as the hand-off is made
from dark time
to light-time
there is no wind
stirring the trees, no cats

instead there is an absolute
before the storm
that I know will not come

noting moves...

but in the trees
as the orange disc
pushes past the day-light line
at the edge of the world
birds, hundreds,
birds of many kinds
sing bright morning songs
of every kind
and I've not heard this
like this
before, all these birds together
and I wonder why
I have not heard this before -
have I not been listening,
all my dark to dawn moments,
why have I not heard this before?...

or is this gathering of singing birds
a new thing, a special gathering, all together
for me, telling me something
the day just breaking across the horizon

such noisy babble'
such sweet
cacophony on this still

who are they all here for

if not for me?

what are they saying?

I should question not
the is of the moment, perhaps
I should just

Known primarily as a novelist and short story writer, Joyce Carol Oates was also a fine poet. As with this poem from her book, The Time Traveler, ,published  by E. P. Dutton in 1989.

Honeymoon: Forty Years

Tarpaper roof, and the floorboards like something floating.
The silo was a black funnel stained with swill.
I laughed, and the sound ran out into the fields
like summer lightning. Do it to me again, I said,
and you did.

The bubble in my thighs became a head, and hard,
and hurt. Damn big man, even your thumbs hurt.
Giggling in the cornhusks there to be hurt.

     Mostly the years are just dry sounds rattling
in the fields, old jukebox songs up the highway. Thistles
where the kids' pony grazed. Tiny blue eye burning
in the gas stove. Some of them telephone and some don't.
Send cards or don't. I could count but I don't.
Nothing on TV and the picture's bad or we need some voice
not here. I'm waiting for you to die so
I can remember you kindly.

Celebrating autumn's premature arrival.


and the sun continues its seasonal
retreat from day, sleeping in while those of us
who keep a more regular schedule
adjust to the dark that hangs on
as the right hangs back

last week's cooling
passed and days warm up again,
through in this last gasp of summer
warm means low 90s instead of
triple digits...


while the painter occupies
my house today,
I expect I'll  be outside trimming
some overgrown brush that escaped
my shears when the sun was too cruel
and the heat like an Arabian
desert, but wet, a wet desert -

imagine that...

and thank god for he or she who
air conditioning first invented,
the great enabler of the
world I live in

This slightly strange poem is by Pamela Kircher. It's taken from her book, Whole Sky, published by Four Way Books in 1996.

Born in Indiana, Kircher has lived in Ohio for most of her life. She earned her MFA at Woodrow Wilson College. Widely published, one of her poems is inscribed in braille on a sculpture by Todd Slaughter installed at the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Desperate Angel

At night they must be walking
on the knives and spoons,
pissing and sniffing the spatula's thin edge
not knowing I sleep in another room,
having undressed once more, having lain down again
with the thought tomorrow. Between that
and the day's false start of simple light
is nothing but the furnace's senseless chunk
and hum. Open the drawer. Again
the trap is flung on its back,
the mouse wedged in beneath the wire
like a desperate angel squeezing into heaven.
The tail lays straight;
a last oval shit clings
to the white fur that ripples
beneath a breath.
Turn the head just right
and its eyes glint
as if some thought were caught
beneath its skull, familiar,
having nagged for days and days
and only given time
might make all the difference.

I write a lot of morning poems because I'm usually up early and thus have often used myself up brain-wise early as well. This piece is from a morning in October, 2012.

I was experimenting in 2012 with a left margin orientation for some of my poems. It's a different architecture for the poems. Thinking of a poem as a concrete structure, the architecture of my poems on the page has always interested to me and is something I pay attention to.

The experiment with a left-margin structure didn't produce much beyond reader confusion so I quite doing it.

a winter sky

a winter sky
like a gray smoke
wrapping the moon
and stars
in cold embrace

the night
tossed in a thin sheen
of troubled

the morning
bright and clear,
but no so cold
I cannot write outside,
here between the trees
under a baby-blue 

across the way
emerge from the trees
to feed with me
under the same blue sky

and the world 
has turned again,
from dark to light, from
sorrow to acceptance, from
troubled to serene

and though I see her sometimes
when there is a flash
of movement
in the corner of my eye,
the world has turned again
as it always does,
and I breathe
with the deer
the morning
of this wondrous

Last from my library this week, raulsalinas (AKA Autumn Sun) with a poem from his book, Indio Tails - a Xicano Odyssey Through Indian Country. The book was published by Wings Press in 2006.

Born in 1934 in San Antonio, the poet spent his early life in Austin. After difficult years, including prison time, he returned to Austin to open Resistencia Bookstore and became a mentor and activist in the literary and political arenas. He was an activist and vocal champions for many social causes from farm workers rights to the Native American movement of the 70's.

He died in 2008.

Prayer for a Newborn

                for Ha'kwa'stobsh

         spinning through
weeks-long garbage
on smokeshop cabin
front porch,
brings on
good feelings.

Blue Jays do breakfast
by kitchen-sink window
fry bread
- today's portion of a meal -
honoring our dead
as flying smiles
& soaring souls
      bleed hearsong
of elders and all:
  "For those generations gone before us...,
          for the generations yet unborn."
Eagle wings/fluttering feathers
Medicine Mn fans
auras in good faith.
Some die, so others live,
that's how it gots to be.
All of us must struggle,
so that someone may be free.
Because it's good to be alive
we ask our grandpas & grandmas
to walk 'n' talk with you.
We welcome you,
Red Cedar Man.

         Suquamish, Washington

A bit of a goof, October, 2011.

about those cold winds that blow

I was sitting
outside last night
in my lawn chair, abut
nine-thirty, two
hours past sundown,
all blanketed up, planning
to enjoy the on-rush of the cold front
that was on-rushing in, trees
swoosh-dancing , dingle-dangles
hanging from the eaves
dang-dingling, wind damn-cold-blowing
at fifty degrees
and forty miles an hour
right up my blanket, near
freezing my tallulahs, not to
mention old satchmo and I gave it up
and went inside and satisfied myself with
just listening to the wind, tallulahs and old satchmo
safe and warm...

but it did set me to thinking about women
wearing dresses in the winter and even though,
bereft as they are of tallulahs or even old
satchmo, they must be doing some freezing
when that old north wind whips up their dresses
like a teenage boyfriend beer-drunk
on prom night...

and I'm thinking
that surely explains a lot about
how women get with the weather
gets all cold and blowsey and leaves me
with a whole new attitude
of respect for women and the challenges
of their gender...

and I guess that also applies
to the Scots, maybe even more since
their skirts are so short winter
spring summer and fall

their tallulahs and satchmos
must be wonders
to behold...

just guessing, of

Last for the week, another coffeehouse observational.

here come da judge

a short fella
in cowboy boots

comes in for coffee
couple days a week, meets
his coffee buddies
who address him as "Judge,"
so, he must be coming in
form one of the courthouses
down the street

maybe there's a beauty pageant
or pie-eating contest
going on
I didn't hear about

I suppose
if I had my choosing
I'd want to be a judge
at the pie-eating contest
rather than having to deal with
the legal mangle downtown

unless I was a younger fella

if I was a younger fella
I'd probably make the beauty pageant
my choice of judging...

meet lots of nice girls
that way

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 accusatory, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad

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

  Just click the "Comment" tab below.


New Days & New Ways

Places and Spaces 

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio

Seven Beats a Second


Sonyador - The Dreamer


  Peace in Our Time


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Loch Raven Review
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