The Long Lost Sultan of Salamarkand   Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Just another goofy poet, goofing in 2011.


the long lost Sultan of Salamarkand

the wanna-be artist
to overcome the complete absence

in him
of any semblance
of talent

by resorting
to a smaller canvas
and the primary combination

of the dark of not color
and the light of all colors

he names his piece
"two-lane blacktop," being ever so much better
at the naming than at the doing

- sometimes, when asked by strangers,
he says it is the secret sign
of the long lost Sultan of Salamarkand -

he is a poet, after all,
aspiring always
to be more than he is...

his spouse
at such times,
aspires only to be somewhere else

Regular stuff, lots of me cause I found some old poems I liked.

the long lost Sultan of Salamarkand

about my good ol' coat

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan

perfect thing

come the resurrection

thanking the lord (but mostly my dog) for this wonderful morning

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Songs for the People

Animas in the a.m.

Charles Levenstein
American Worker

the winners


cold truths of life and death in black and white

Demetria Martinez
Before You

so the dinosaurs aren't extinct after all

three days on the mountain

dust to dust

Tim Seibles

a contender

at the continental divide

a cemetery

T'ao Hung Ching
Freezing Night

The Emperor Wu Of Liang
The Morning Sun Shines

Ho Hsun
The Traveler

Ng Shao
The New Wife


A tribute to an old, well-worn raincoat.

The only picture of me in uniform ever taken and you can barely see me (not entirely an accidental omission). I think I'm the guy, top left, in sun glasses.

about my good ol' coat

not just a rainy
a pouring rainy day

water standing where
water doesn't usually stand,
but we live in the hills
so it won't stand long,
gone in a downhill rush
the wise among us know
to avoid...

an excuse to wear
my fifty-one-year-old raincoat,
issued to me on my first
day of basic training
at Lackland Air Force Base
just a ways down the road
from where I write

a day fifty-one years ago,
a day which missed my twenty-second
birthday by just two weeks,
which explains
my affection for the coat,
we having grown old together,
I admit
with a bit of jealousy,
the coat being,
after these
fifty-one years,
in better shape that

The first poem from my library is by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan. It is taken from her book, Parties, published in 1988 by Louisiana State University Press.

Morgan is a native of Atlanta, living now and for many years in Richmond, Virginia, where she teaches English and creative writing at St. Catherine's School.


Is this the check?
For all the things I gave other names,
for the fun of changing things to suit me,
for naming things I never saw

a mailbox becomes a woman bent
dangerously close to the highway -
and I"m honking at a mailbox like a fool.

Today I read infinity
instead of infertile to my class
and they laughed.
things dis,appear.

At intersections trucks turn gray,
evaporate. Is this the charge
for two-ton realities
I failed to see,
so set on looking?

The big things blur
like (here I go again) Casco Bay
the night the fog absorbed the Broadway lights
of the Nova Scotia cruise ship

When it passed my dock I only knew
I was staring at it
when I heard the music, and people singing.

A morning drive in the hill country, February 2014.

perfect thing

     a golden sunny morning
in Centerpoint, Texas, high in the hills,
where the me wear ten gallon
hats and pretty ladies sashay
in tight jeans
and pointy cowboy boots,
a town two blocks long, 150 year old
stone buildings on either side
of the street, all abandoned and in decay
but for the VFW hall

on the edge of town,
a little park on the Guadalupe River,
a duck swims to me
at eye level
as I look over the concrete dam
at flat green water on the other side,
a waterfall further down the dam where water
spills over like
from a jewel thief's heist,
a young girl sitting on a low tree branch
as it reaches toward the river,
fishing, red coat, hod, fishing reel,
wood boards nailed to another leaning tree branch,
reaching to the top and at the top
a swinging rope
that hangs down to near the water,
a tiny park and a river and a small lake
and a dam spilling water
like jewels,
all perfect for a traveler
on a bright, chill day...


hamburger and curly fires
at Hi Ho Silver's
Last Chance Cafe
in Utopia,
perfect lunch for a traveler
on a bright and blustery hill country

More memories written in 2014.

come the resurrection

the path down and back
is steep and arduous, especially
for older people,
though benches along the way
provide a place to stop and rest,
a moment to breathe thin air
and listen to the wind
between canyon walls,
the stubby trees
restless in response...

birds call along the way
but go silent
among the ruins,
homage to the ghosts
who patrol the crumbling adobe rooms,
guarding the ancient walls
until those who left
return again, pull from the storehouses
the grain and seed they left behind
for this very day of

we are silent visitors,
with the birds, waiting for the
tread of soft
so long absent from their

     (Mesa Verde, 1979)

Another early morning poem.

thanking the lord (but mostly my dog) for this wonderful morning

is my alarm clock
on those mornings when my own
internal clock doesn't work as well
as it might...

knowing 5 a.m.
is my "up"time she waits
by the side of my bed and if 15 minutes
after "up" time I'm not up
she puts her front paws on the bed
and pounds them like we used to hang rugs
outside and pound them with a stick...

and once she sees that I've pried my eyes open,
she turns and walks out of the bedroom, stopping at the door
to look back to be certain I'm moving before going to the kitchen
to check out what the cat didn't eat that she can steal
and if after 5 minutes I'm not moving she returns
to pound again...

a better way to wake up than a screeching alarm clock,
except for the occasional days like today when her own clock
is malfunctioning and she starts pounding
at 4:30 -

the reason I'm up and out the door by 5...

and I'm glad she woke me early, giving me an extra
half hour of the most beautiful morning in months,
quiet and clear and cool, and if I was a country singer
I'd probably be thanking the lord for this morning
and thanking my dog for making it available
to me, and probably thanking my pickup
as well, just because every country should have
a pickup or a cheating woman
or a low-down sleazy
bar and a drunken, hung over, head pounding morning,
and I've had a few of those
so I'll just stick to thanking my dog
and my pick up (and the lord of course)
for this wonderful, beautiful, fantastical

From my library, the anthology is African American Poetry, 1773-1927, published by Dover Publications in 1997.

The poet is Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Born in Baltimore in  1824 of free African American parents, she was a poet, fiction writer, journalist and activist. She died in 1911.

Song for the People

Let me make the songs for the people,
     Songs for the old and young;
Songs to stir like a battle-cry
     Wherever they are song.

Not for the clashing of sabers
     Not carnage nor for strife;
But songs to thrill the hearts of men
     With more abundant life.

Let me make songs for the weary,
     Amid life's fever and fret,
Till hearts shall relax their tension,
     And careworn brows forget.

Let me sing for little children,
     Before their footsteps stray,
Sweet anthems of live and duty,
     To float o'er life's highway.

I would sing for the poor and aged,
     When shadows dim their sight;
Of the bright and restful mansions,
     Where there shall be no night.

Our world, so worn and weary,
     Needs music, pure and strong,
To hush the jangle and discords
     Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.

From 2014, an early morning memory.

Animas in the a.m.

5 a.m.
walking main street

dog impervious to the cold

not me

across the railroad tracks
past the hotel

slick sidewalk
alongside the Animas River

snow deep on both sides
river iced at the bank

solitary duck
climbs frost-glistened


no other sound
but the rustle of the river
as it eddies and curls and slides
over rocks


across the river
five deer gather
in a clearing

silent as the morning

a car crosses
the bridge at the end of the block
lights reflecting on the snow
all around
tires crunching froze-crisp ice shell on the road

and the deer
flipping their tails

(Durango, Colorado, 1997)

This poem is  by my poet friend Charles Levenstein, taken from his book, The Ponderous Galapagos Turtle, published in 2015 by Lulu Publishing. Charles is a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and an adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. He has been active in labor issues for many years.

American Worker

His hands were rough and callused;
he'd try to clean them with Lava soap
or at times with a slippery solvent
that looked like Vaseline but dissolved
any evidence of the day's hard work.
These hands spoke without words.

He held my hand in his
on Sunday tours of construction sites.
He checked the super's cabin door
for the union insignias
while I marveled at the rising skeletons
that when finished would
house New York.

He held my hand in his
as we walked from subway to Town Hall,
where I played one of two pianos
in a competition of duos.
He sat in the uncomfortable straight-backed
chairs listened, and waited.

Once we shared a glimpse of elegance
at tea in the  Boston Athenaeum
after our tourist walk of the revolution.
We were Americans and made this pilgrimage
with all its contradictions. Remember
the delicate teacup in his worker's hands.

Thinking about old times.

the winners

last night, dreaming
of the kids I grew up with

a representative number
dead now
can't argue with that,
we're old, after all, so that
I can deal with...

what's hard
is remembering those not dead,
they all have to be as old as I am...

I can imagine them dead
but thinking of them as old
seems near impossible

but why do the survivors
have to get old...

seems such a Pyrrhic victory
this whole survival

Written in 2014, memories from long ago, flying to Kabul from Pakistan's Northwest Frontier.


high and bare

our small DC-3

as highest peaks
pass below within

arm's reach, it seems
from my window seat

life below
where there is such

must be harsh
and hard

with hard people
harsh and unforgiving

to those who intrude
without invitation...

not to be
messed with

as centuries
of armies and great generals

have learned - from Alexander
to even now ourselves

ruing the lesson -

if you decide to fight here

make sure first you have
the merciless moonscape mountains

on  your side

     (flying over the Hindu Kush, April 1969)

Another memory from earlier days written in 2014.

cold truths of life and death in black and white

atop a rise
a mound of earth
an ancient burial mound
looking out over
a snowed-over field
white field
black skeleton of winterized tree
thin black like of a frozen creek
five black horses
led by a white horse
ghost against the snow
legs lifted high
above the snow

   (Colorado, February 2008)

This poem is by Demetria Martinez. It is taken from her book Breathing Between the Lines, published by the University of Arizona Press in 1997

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1960, Martinez is a poet, novelist, and activist. She is a graduate from Princeton University with a BA from Woodrow Wilson University School of Public and International Affairs. She teaches at the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences. In 1988 she was arrested and charged with conspiracy for transporting two Salvadorian women refugees into the US. She was later acquitted.

Before You

My poems had no you
No eye
of a needle
to pass through
No hot
coals over
which to walk

Nine lives
Sacred heart
Red Nails
Lips open
to the whys of the world

Before you, nothing.

I pin these poems
on you like stars,
tattoo tears

Where you go, these words
go, forever
my suitcase ready at the door

I'd say they're back, but they never left.

On the left, from my first book, by my collaborator, Vincent Martinez

so the dinosaurs aren't extinct after all

aren't extinct after all

in a tree right outside
my house
twittering & tweetering
all over my car

I suppose
for my daily combustion
of their ancestors

Written in 2014, a very old memory from more than fifty
years ago.

three days on the mountain

after two days of climbing
we crossed
from west to east
in a heavy snowstorm,
knee deep in half a winter's
between the trees

it was about 2 in the afternoon
when we crossed
the crest,
within two hours
we found the clearing
where we slept that night
under a diamond strewn

a bright sun
woke us
under a cloudless blue sky
broken only by the thin contrail
of a jet flying higher, even,
in the cold morning firmament
than were we had slept

coffee over an open fire,
and freeze-dried eggs
frying and coffee pot
cleaned in the snow,
breakfast eaten quickly
before the last days trek
down the mountain,
an easy day,
each of us, as we spread out
along the trail,
quiet in our own thoughts,
the past months,
friends now
who we knew, in just a few days
would be gone,
unlikely to ever be seen

our last memories -
the mountain
and the three days
we spent together on it...

     (New Mexico, Monzano Mountains, December 1964)

Apparently I was in to recycling memory in 2014. Here's another one.

dust to dust

sand popping
against our windows
like tiny fingers tapping,
blowing across the highway
thick as a mid-winter fog
on a Gulf coast morning

fly in front of us and behind
like prickly missiles
shot from a silo somewhere
in Iowa or Kansas

a big one,
the size of a small car,
rushing at us broadside,
tossed airborne
right over the top of us,
one side to the other...

     (Texas Panhandle, March 1981)

Next, a poem by Tim Seibles. The poem is from his book, Hurdy-Gurdy, published by the Cleveland University Poetry Center in 1992.

Seibles was born and raised in Philadelphia. He earned a BA at Southern Methodist University and an MFA at Vermont College of Norwich University.

The Motion

Ah, but the spirit moves in physical ways -
the wind swims a field, a teenaged girl grins
slow and shy, and what steady ruckus does the blood make
running the body's blind streets.

The afternoon is a big hours sprung with minutes.
Light chimes on a woman's bright brown hair.
Her strong calves whisper; my heart sings
like a bruise - luck spins like a june-bug crazed

by what glad music - it must be the sky bringing
sky, it must be a tribe of ants whistling
at a crumb. Everything makes a noise,
even crooning wants and ear - everywhere I go

a woman is dressed in her own shining.
A cat lands, a little boy traps his shadow
against a fence, and the eye pins all this
with one fast hand! How can the world

be in the world? My skin grown loose
as a brood of birds, I could fly
out of myself - naked the soul would be
less than a word: a web of air, a

grabbing without fingers,
but the spirit moves in physical ways
and with it rises this righteous fever -

This slight tickling, this light madness -
it's just the dust of a day blown dim.
Night swings its tail.

Another coffeehouse observational.

a contender

beautiful young woman,
first time at the coffeehouse,
tall, slender, large feet
in red sneakers and large hands
with long, expressive, red-tipped fingers

brown eyes
that flash bright in conversation

dusky skinned,
the color of growing up
warm island skies

the glowing healthy look
of Olympic athletes, a runner
or a swimmer, perhaps,
a never-give-up

whatever -
I concede the race
to her

Another memory written in 2014.

at the continental divide

snow field
backed up by pine

7 years old,
the first time he's seen
this much snow,
out of the car
pushing through hip-deep snow...

first snowball
hits me on the chest,
I return fire,
snow battle ensues
until we collapse laughing
in the snow...

shadows pass
in forest silence,
behind the thick pines
giving no apparent notice
to the strangers
and their loud, unfamiliar games
in the virgin snow...

fresh storm coming,
first flakes fall,
wet flakes
hitting with a splat
on our coats,
the windshield...

to get off the mountain

     (Colorado, late October 1990)

From 2014, another travel memory.

a cemetery

a cemetery
on a low mound
between the highway
and the Rio Grande

the humble markers
of poor people
from the cluster
of casitas
I passed a quarter mile
back, small houses
of native stone, the more
elaborate markers,
the ones not rotting wood,
crosses, bowing toward the ground,
native flowers
gathered at the base of some.
stone or wood, nothing,
stone or wood or flowers around
the indentations that mark
the oldest graves, then unmarked,
the never marked, those of transient
markers, none a match for he inevitable
decline of time that leaves these
shallow dimples over a grave
in which nothing but a few scattered
bones remain, poor people,
cowboys and shepherds
who lived and died,
then faded to nothing beneath
dry badland

     (Hwy 170 between Terlingua and Presidio, Texas, May, 2003)

Last from my library this week, several poems from Love and the Turning Year, One Hundred More Poems from the Chinese. The anthology is a New Directions Book published in 1970.

Freezing Night

The night is full of storm clouds.
Overhead the wild geese are frightened,
And cry out with anxiety in the murky darkness.
The icy hills are covered with dense fog.
The only thing visible
Is a beautiful shadow on a gleaming gauze window curtain.

Above the clouds the white moon is cold.
Under the clouds the storm wind is cold.
Heart full of sorrow,
Tears dried up with sorrow,
The unbearable sorrow
Of a heart filled with love -
How can I go on under the beating storm of my thoughts?

by T'ao Hung Ching

The Morning Sun Shines

The morning sun shines
Through the filigree shutters.
A wind full of light
Blows open her thin gauze robe.
A sly smile comes on her lips.
Her moth eyebrows arch
Over her beautiful eyes.

by The Emperor Wu Of Liang

The Traveler

The traveler with his heavy heart
Goes off alone for a thousand miles,
On the dark river in the pouring rain,
White caps scudding before the wind.

by Ho Hsun

The New Wife

Day after Day my silk dresses grow more loose.
The peach and plum blossoms are fading.
I dream of my young husband who never comes home.
When he does he will no longer recognize me.

by Ng Shao

Stumbling through in my normal early morning fog.


is an indeterminate day,
not cool, but not warm either,
but not wet,
maybe not.
undecided, like slow-witted voters
two days before an election,
by choice
or that,
like an uncertain swain
writing his first sweet note
to his first true

it is an
unstipulated day,
this way or

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, Sonyy, 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


Not Expecting Much   Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Starting with a poem from 2011, remembering much earlier years.

not expecting much

I remember waking up
humid wet
hanging half out my bedroom window

to catch the coastal breeze
blowing in from the gulf,
chilled by the wind

across my sweat-damp sheets...

another fifteen-year-old's day
in the mid-1950s - a poor boy

as I remember it now,
but in fact not much poorer
than most of the people I knew

a circle that included
only a few people I thought rich,
those who filled a good portion of my restless

before-sleep, cloud-floating rambles
about being

a boy of mostly secret,
mostly imagined pleasures,
lacking confidence,

long on brains but
failing to see anything good
coming from it, wishing I could wish

away my brains for a car,
for a girlfriend, for a fight I could win,
willing to be dumb if dumb

would improve my position
in the small town pecking order, move me up
a rank or two, enable sex with another person,

lead me to a twenty dollar bill blown onto a mesquite
thorn, hanging, waiting for me to find it in the bushy lot
where I made my den, where I could smoke Parliament

cigarettes, look at naked girl pictures, and dream, not always
of sordid things, ennobling dreams sometimes,
big-plans dreams, the great things I would do someday...

could do someday if I were someone else, someone
who had big plans, someone who did great things,
someone who was not me...

but mostly coupling dreams,
imagining how the flesh
of someone else would feel pressed

against mine, dreams of bodies entangled,
my body enwrapped by pale arms with tiny blond hairs
like gold in the afternoon sun, and,..and...then

things happening I could only vaguely
imagine, lacking the experience o specificity,
but knowing it was good and stiffly exciting

whatever it was...

a small town boy,
not expecting much, not sure
what there was to expect

always in later years
at how things turned out

 Standard stuff - amazing, as always.

not expecting much

dark morning

Colette Inez
Tunnel Songs

the difference between free will and the will to be free

Richard Howard


Jack Myers
Mr. Muscle Breach and the Aerobics Instructor

another note on the refrigerator door

Five songs from the Kanginshu

for the old folks

Victor Hernandez Cruz

damn druids

Charles Bukowski
my failure


Fadwa Tuqan
Enough for Me

Abu Khalid

Gokhan Tok

so much for the end of the world

Gary Blankenship

getting on with it

Zbigniew Herbert
A Button

gray lady

I stood in my natural state

welcome home

Have a raging head, chest, back etc. cold; starting slow with a tiny morning moment.

dark morning

the moon
a silver thread
like a smiley face
on the black morning sky

a bright star
hanging directly below
like a pendant on the breast
of an African queen

First from my library, this from a book of family poems about a family she never had. The poet is Colette Inez and the book is Family Life, published by Story Line Press in 1992.

Born in 1931, Inez is a faulty member at Columbia University's undergraduate writing program.  Her father was a priest, her mother a scholar. After spending early childhood in a catholic orphanage in Brussels, she was moved to America and placed in a foster home. Her first foster mother died an alcoholic and her second was abusive.

Tunnel Songs

Engraved by rain
my father's stone
marks a body
turning in a world
he used as he could.

I was not made lightly
when he and my mother wept
dark tunnels in an iron bed.

Rain on his grave
writes nothing
in a language I can read.

When I was born my mother
hid me in a paragraph.
"No one will notice
if she doesn't cry." she said
running to confess
failure in orthography.

Now she lives like a stone
in her sister's garden.
The rain prepares a speech
to write on her face
in the winter.

When she sleeps I will feel
her turning
in my bed of parentheses
in my house of lost rhymes.

Beginning my old set with this exercise in rueful self-awareness from 2012.

the difference between free will and the will to be free

I spent the bulk of yesterday
doing something
of no consequence, something
the doing of which would bring me only minimal
pleasure and satisfaction,
doing it
simply because
by god,
once started in the doing
it is not in my bones
to quit before it is

so much for intelligence
and free

Again from my library, this poem is by Richard Howard. It is taken from his book Trappings, published by Turtle Point Press in 1999.

Howard is a poet, translator, critic, essayist, and teacher. Born in 1929 in Ohio, he was educated at Columbia where he was still teaching as of his most recent Wikipedia entry.

Every time I turn to this book, I turn to this piece. There is a lot of excellent poetry in the book, but this piece is so funny I can't help but do it over and over again.


The text of Bach's St. John Passion, performed tonight unabridged,
is largely derived from the Gospels, portions of which are alleged
(by some) to be antisemitic. Such passages may well disclose
historical attitudes fastened (by Bach himself) to the Jews,
but must not be taken as having (for that very reason) expressed
convictions or even opinions of the Management or of the cast.

The Rape of the Sabine Women, which the artist painted in Rome,
articulates Rubens treatment of a favorite classical theme.
Proud as we are to display this example of Flemish finesse,
the policy of the Museum is not to be taken amiss:
we oppose all forms of harassment, and just because we have shown
this canvas in no way endorses the actions committed therein.

Ensconced in the Upper Rotunda alongside a fossil musk-ox,
the giant Tyrannosaurus (which the public has nicknamed "Rex"),
although shown in the act of devouring its still-living prey implies
no favor of public officials to zoophagous public displays;
carnivorous Life-Styles are clearly inappropriate  to a State
which has already outlawed tobacco and soon may prohibit meat.

Rain after a dry spell, the whole world and all its creatures celebrate.


a festival day
for the frogs
as puddles puddle
and the creek runs high,
croaking and
to the frog king
in his cave,
maker of rain
and sloshy, slooshy
dismal day,
day the frog
and their wet and sloppy

rainy day,
frog king's delight

rainy day rainy day

This poem is by Jack Myers, from his book One on One, published by Autumn House Press in 1999.

Myers, a poet and educator, was poet laureate of Texas in 2003. He taught in the creative writing program at Southern Methodist University as well as a faculty member of Vermont College's low residency MFA program. He died n 2009.

Mr. Muscle Beach and the Aerobics Instructor

have left each other. They believed deeply
in their Spartan diet, the satori-like clang
of their weights, in teasing each other
like the miniature shaggy dog they co-owned
running obsessively back and forth between them.

I loved being amazed at their bodies,
the sheen of their flawless skin,
as if sheer belief in working out
and the exhilaration of exhaustion
had sculpted minarets out of their bodies.

But tonight I found them all moved out.
The ascetic intensity of right devotional thinking
had swept through their apartment, leaving behind
only a set of weights in one corner, and the puppy
who wouldn't come out, trembling under them.

Well, what can I say?

another note on the refrigerator door
      after William Carlos Williams

this note
is to tell you
I will not be writing
a poem today
and will be having breakfast
with a friend

I'm sorry,
but it will be delicious

Following are three short poems from Simmering Away, Poems from the Kanginshu, published by White Pines Press in 2006, translated by Yasuhiko Moriguchi and David Jenkins.

The Kanginshu is a classic collection of songs of love and wisdom which appeared in Japan in the early 16th century. I can't find a reference on line identifying the poets who created the original collection.

The love I feel
is like the firefly
         by the waterside,


There is no time
I do not have you
in my heart

there is no night
when gently drowsing
I forget


Who is this
        (you naughty boy!)
that hugs me tight
and bites me,
a married woman?

        but it's fun
        we're in full bloom
                 at seventeen
                 we're at full bloom
                 at seventeen

but nibble gently -
if your teeth leave marks,
then he will know


My hair
that I had just tied up
has loosened,
       gently tumbling,
       as my heart
       has fallen for you


The cock crows
        the moon stands
        above the thatched roof
        of the tea house
and on the frost-laden bridge
made him think it
time to leave

         already footprints
               on the frost-laden bridge

         but if I were now
         to cross that bridge
         then all would know
                 my footprints

         so let the tide ebb
         and I can cross
         at the river-mouth

         beneath the bridge
         the tiny fish
         dart to and fro
                    they too
                    not wanting
                    to sleep alone

I think it's harder for us old enough who remember better times and bigger dreams.

for the old folks

for the kind of leader
that would make us want to count
our days of relevancy
are passed

it's just me

This poem is by Victor Hernandez Cruz. It's taken from his book, Red Beans, published in 1991 by Coffee House Press.

Cruz was born in Puerto Rico but moved to New York City with his family when he was five years old. He didn't learn English until two years later when he entered school. He started writing early and at seventeen self-published his first book on a mimeograph machine. Many books later, he was one of the founders of the Before Columbus Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting multi-cultural writers. In 1981, Life magazine named him one of America's most important poets.


The revelation of the revelation
The secrets offered in rhythms
The truth of heaven entering through chorus
Yourself runs into yourself
Through a crack of understanding
As if Falcons landed on a
shoulder of your thoughts
With a letter from your guardian angel -
Like Caribbean mambo dancers
The whirling dervishes go off
spinning into the arms of light
Across a floor of endless squares and circles
Calligraphy brushed into tiles
Painted inside the names of God

2012 again, a disappointing day.

damn druids

back from
Brownsville, came early,
hurried back
cause computer repair
said my computer
would be
but they're
turkey holiday,
druids must think
they work
for the Post Office

I'm going to

Here are two poems by Charles Bukowski, very much in Bukowski, called "Laureate of American Low Life" by Time magazine, mode. The second a bit more introspective than usual. The poems are from the massive posthumous collection, The Pleasures of the Damned, Poems, 151-1993.


sitting in a dark bedroom with 3 junkies
brown paper bags filled with trash are
it is one-thirty in the afternoon.
they talk about madhouses,
they are waiting for a fix.
none of them work.
it's relief and food stamps and

men are usable objects
toward the fix.

it is one-thirty in the afternoon
and outside small plants grow.
their children are still in school.
the females smoke cigarettes
and suck listlessly on beer and
which I have purchased.

I sit with them.
I wait on my fix:
I. am a poetry junkie.

the pulled Ezra through the streets
in a wooden age.
Blake was sure of god.
Villon was a mugger.
Lorca sucked cock.
T. S. Eliot worked a teller's cage.

most poets are swans
at one-thirty in the afternoon.

the smoke pisses upward.

I wait.

death is a nothing jumbo.

one of the females says that she likes
my yellow shirt.

I believe in simple violence.

this is
some of it.

my failure

I think of devils in hell
and stare at a
beautiful vase of
as the woman in my bedroom
angrily switches the light
on and off.
we have had a very bad
and I sit in here smoking
cigarettes from
as on the radio an
opera singer's prayers are
not in my
outside, the window to
my left reveals the night
lights of the
city and I only wish
I had the courage to
break through the simple horror and make things well
but my petty anger

I realize hell is only what we
smoking cigarettes,
waiting here.
wondering here
while in the other room
she continues to
sit and
switch the light
on and off,
on and

An observational, notice of someone rarely noticed by anyone.


skinny and angular
to the point
its uncomfortable to see her
because it looks like it must be
so uncomfortable to
be her -

broad forehead,
chin, fingers
like spider legs,
never quite clean...

she dyed her hair blond
last night

waiting all day
for someone to notice,
her transformation...

no one has
no one will

Next I have three short poems selected by San Antonio poet Naomi Shihab Nye for the anthology The Flag of Childhood, Poems from the Middle East.

The book was published in 1998 by Aladdin Paperbacks.

Poem by Fadwa Tuqan, translated by Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Enough for Me

Enough for me to die on her earth
be buried in her
to melt and vanish into her soil
then spout forth as a flower
played with by a child from my country
Enough for me to remain
in my country's embrace
to be in her close as a handful of dust
    a sprig of grass
             a flower.

Poem by Abu Khalid, translated by Salwa Jabsheh and John Heath-Stubbs.


Without paper or pen
    into your heart I reach
Listening is more poignant
    than any speech.

Poem by Gokhan Tok, translated by Yusuf Eradam


You never hear it
but at breakfast the sweetest talk
in between the jam and the honey.

From 2012, on the occasion of another of the periodic end of the world predictions.

so much for the end of the world

a bigger

burning clouds

ozone hissing




the rest of us

like the sting
a quadrajillion



next time

These two pieces by my poet friend Gary Blankenship.

I've been on this highway, I-10 through Arizona, a contrast of desert and mountain (like most of the great Southwest)



On a straight stretch of Interstate 10
about halfway between Blythe and Phoenix,
as the driver can practice speeding,
you wonder if any land is more desolate
and if any cactus is uglier than a Saguaro
(exempting the Mojave Joshua tree).
Descending the Harquahala Wash,
you read a road sign that says,

In the event of a flash flood,
drive to higher ground.

Western movie lore teaches
flash floods originate
from rain storms in the mountains and
are upon unsuspecting travelers
before they have a clue, which leaves
the question of why the I-10 warning.

Or maybe it is like the cries
of those who predict
global warming,
disaster in Iraq,
the housing bubble will burst,
the southwest will be annexed to Mexico,
there will be a shortage of Tickle-Me-Elmos...

We won't credit the prophets
until it is too late or lack the ability
to tell which sign in bogus
and which we should heed.

Sunbonnet, Meeting

Broad wings of calico hide her plain face,
the bill of a ragged cap hides his eyes.
Rough hands browned from years under the Tombstone sun
touch a blow holding sheaves of flaxen hair.

Well over 3,000 daily poems now, day after day, coming up with something, each morning a challenge, a discovery. Until those mornings when it feels like it's all been said, that there's nothing new to discover.

Time to either quit, or soldier on. I choose to soldier on.

getting on with it

I seek
to write a poem not including mention of
politics, the beauty of the morning, or the strange
characters who seem to cross my path

a serious case of been there,
done that ensues

that I've put my nose to that particular grindstone again,
I find I have nothing left
but what I've done so many times before

I can't even come up with an idea
for a long rambling humorous
poem like I used to do before
when in a slump

it seems
my comic muse, my last-ditch
fallback has

reminds me of anything
new or remotely interesting

so I might as well just
stop here
and get on with the feeling sorry
for myself

Next, several short poems by Zbigniew Herbert from the collection, Elegy for the Departed, published in 1999 by the Ecco Press, with translation from Polish by John and Boddana Carpenter.

Herbert, Polish poet, essayist, playwright, and moralist, was a member of the Polish Resistance movement, The Home Army, during World War II. Born in 1924, he died in 1998, one of the most widely known and translated of post-war Polish writers.

A Button

     The best fairy tales of all are about us, how once we were
small. I like most the one about how I swallowed an ivory button.
My mother was crying.


     He is all black, but has an electric tail. When he sleeps in the
sun he is the blackest thing one can imagine. Even in his sleep
he catches frightened mice. One can see this in the little claws
that area growing from his paws. He is terribly nice and naughty.
He picks birds off the trees before they are ripe.


     At the very corner of this old map is a country I long for. It is
the country of apples, hills, lazy rivers, sour wine, and love. Un-
fortunately a huge spider has spun its web over it, and with
sticky saliva has closed the toll gates of dreams.
     It is always like that: an angel with a fiery sword, a spider,
and conscience.


     Drunkards are people who drink at one gulp, bottoms up.
But they make a face, because at the bottom they see themselves
again. Through the neck of the bottle they observe faraway
worlds. If they had stronger heads and more taste, they would be

A peculiar kind of moon poem, from 2012. Also, another experiment with right margin.

gray lady

gray lady,
round-face drifting,
lightly veiled
by wispy clouds

like frost
in the 

gray lady
the dawn
like cracking
a pale

and then it's
and still she hangs,
gray lady
over another

Tired of transcribing the work of others, here's another old poem from me. It started out a morning ramble, buy ended up political, as much in 2012 did. Little did we know how much worse it could get.

I stood in my natural state

I stood
in my natural state
in my backyard
at midnight,
the moon in its natural state
pass behind a thin veil
of faster passing

this morning
I am surrounded
by voluptuous women
who smile
and ask me what I want...

my favorite part
of breakfast...

but that is not this morning's
for this morning's poem
will be a weighty
and about much more
and interesting
than being surrounded
by voluptuous
though that might be hard
to imagine...

this being a political
moment in the universe of the human
comedy, I will write of
stupid people,
like gophers in soft sand
poke their heads into the open air
and go, aaawk, aaawk,
like they know something the rest of us

how in a political season
stupid people
strut and preen
seeking to impress the rest of us
at how they can walk
and chew gun,
though, being a work in progress,
their attempts
to apply simultaneity to the walking
and gum chewing
leads to more comic
than success

oh, how they seek
to expand the realms
of their stupidity,
bounding up against he borders
of us regular folk
who cannot escape except
through cross-Atlantic
to Greece or Italy
where the numbnuts are institutionalized
and politics makes relative,
if surreal,


'tis the season, no doubt,
for a Mediterranean
vacation, where
the moon shines bright
in its natural state
and voluptuous women
are abounding...

that's my answer to our current
political crisis
where stupid, like the Great White of "Jaws"
is on endless and merciless
in the shallow waters
of good sense...

time to close the beaches,
that's what we need
to do

I missed a day at my poetry "house" - a most unusual occurrence. So unusual, in fact, that I thought I should welcome myself back with this poem.

welcome home

is the small, familiar things
that stand out to you when arriving
home for a long absence

the screen door, too tightly sprung,
that squeaks with every time it's opened
or closed. the sun through the bedroom window,
so bright when early rising, the tree, it's long hanging
branch scratching against the shutters
when the wind blows from the southeast, the wet smell
of that wind, blown a thousand miles across
the gulf, the smell in the kitchen, reminder of years of bread baking,
the small, happy dog that greets you when you step out of the bathroom door,
her tail doing a thumpa, thump, thump rumba,
the smile of your first early awakening on the first morning home

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, Sonyy, 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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