As the Moon Through Its Tide Demands   Wednesday, December 06, 2017







as the moon through its tide demands


a thin crescent

moon
holds its own
in a pale, barely-born
morning sky...

errands to run
my day breaks from
its regular ruts

variety,
such random interruptions
to routing
as supposed to invigorate
stale and rut-bound
brains

not for me

its the ruts
that bound the parameters
of my reality, my excuse
for sanity...

a wild and crazy
use-to-be,
my hot blood
long cool and congealed
into regularity

routine
my regulator
and my reassurance
that if it's 9:00 a.m.
and I'm where I'm supposed to be
my grip on sanity
is secure

and the day will happily proceed
as the clock unwinds,
as the moon
through its tide
demands








Back to regular order this week, my library and me, new and old mostly from 2010


Me
as the moon through its tide demands

Me
in the fading dark

Julia Lisella
Song of the Third Generation

Me
winter night

Me
things I rather not think about

Me
surprise

Albert Rios
It Was a Simple Thing to Know

Me
derfluckenflagetta

William J. Higginson
Santa Fe Shopping Carts

Me
reminder of lost years

Catherine Bowman
Jackie in Cambodia
LBJ Ranch Barbecue

Me
Arizona's brown-check stations and other foolishness

Sheila Ortiz Taylor
The Author to Her Former Husband on the Occasion of His Growing Misfortune and Her Accomplished Indifference: An Epistle

Me
like you and me

Luis Cabalquinto
For Emmanuel

Me
till death do we part, amen

Me
mocamuddymacaroooniepunietoonies

Me
I hate to rant on such a wonderful day after Thanksgiving

Diane Wakoski
The Duchess Potatoes

Me
the old soldier's table at Nina's on 14th and Grand

William Bronk
The Mayan Glyphs Unread
Corals and Shells

Me
skip-to-my-lou













An early morning walk.

















in the fading dark

walking
Bella in the dark,
coming even darker
when the time changes,
enjoying the mysteries of dark
going on light, things obscured
in the real dark, shadow outlines
as light creeps up, still unseen, but
there in the slow fading from black

how strange are things
almost
seen,
presence without
familiar
form















First from my library this week, a poem from Unsettling America, an Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, published by Penguin Books in 1994.

The poet I selected is Julia Lisella, teacher of U.S. literature and writing at Regis College.













Song of the Third Generation

I learned to read in the dark,
in the car, wherever the light
moved, shifted. My mother believed
I would burn my eyes out.
Between the breath and the text
my birth and hers kept happening
in the late night
in the daily horoscopes
in the 4:30 Movie
in the huge picture books filled with Hollywood stars.
My Ava Gardner died, my mother says.
My mother learned how to read the text of life
as her mother learned to translate Il Progresso:
by reading a little bit of headline,
any little bit.
They could both predict disasters - my mother's
in American English: divorce, drug addiction
and insane asylums. Nonna's in rich Calabrian dialect:
earthquakes, earthquakes, and food shortages.
Somewhere between our mouths
and what we said is what we leaned.
Somewhere in the old country
we breathed text
without knowing how to read -
I learned in the old way too -
in the corner of the kitchen
watching my mother pour the batter
of flour and zucchini blossoms
into bright spattering oil.
or in the cool basement at the edge of the ironing board,
the lint speckling her dark sweater,
at her elbow as she whipped the cloth
beneath the needle of her industrial Singer,
No other record, no other text
exists but the buzzing and this way of learning
in the old way, which is any way
that we can.













I grew up in South Texas summer, moved north as soon as I could. Only made it 300 miles, close enough so I still hate the summer. Seems to get worse every year I get older.

















winter night

winter night,
in the last moment
before dusk falls
the sky is clear,
light blue,
like the "it's a boy" blankets
you get at the hospital
to warm
a new-born son

thin,
almost transparent blue,

moon bright
in the soft sky,
not full,
flattened a little
on one side like a globe,
flattened at the South Pole
so it won't roll off your desk

Antarctica folded in on itself....

a chill wind
blowing from the top of the hill,
raising a shower of golden leaves
from trees along the creek

light winter-home taste
of chimney smoke in the air

ten degrees
cooler
than the numbers of the thermometer reads...

very quiet








                                                 






My Christmas Eve poem from 2010.














things I'd rather not think about

writing a poem
on Christmas Eve
reminds me that I was

a practicing Christian once;
I practiced and practiced
and practiced

but never got it right
so I cut back
and became, like many

of the Christians I know,
a non-practicing Christian,
and I non-practiced and non-

practiced and never got it
right
so I quit all together

leaving nothing behind I miss
but Christmas joy, which
is hard to sustain when all it's

about is picking non-religious
Christmas cards
and the most colorful wrapping

paper
and listening, politely,
to Christmas songs for three

months, mostly sung by over-the-hill,
sometimes dead, gents in sweaters
roasting their moldy chestnuts, etc...

I mean,
there is something truly uplifting
about the whole Baby Jesus thing

`````

meantime, I'm wearing
my macho-man shirt this morning,
the let's-go-out-and-shoot-Bambi shirt
I bought at Walmart
last year,
it and another just like it except in different colors,
evidence that even I, the complete rationalist, am prey
to occasional lapses
of what-the-hell-was-I-thinking...

the bright-colored hunting motif,
dogs and guns and woodsy images,
embarrasses me;
to be seen in it makes me feel
like a fraud
since I haven't shot anything of an
an animal nature
since I was ten years old, killing
a sparrow with my BB gun,
leaving a tiny, neatly ringed BB-sized hole
right through the bird's head,
a bright blaze of blood
trickling from the side of the hole,
a crimson trail
brilliant in the summer sun
and in my memory

and all these years later
I still feel bad about
it...

it's just not me,
this shirt,
just not in my nature,
but it's cold outside
and it was the warmest shirt
I had already ironed this morning
and I promise
that's all there is to it,
no subliminal pulse of murderous rage
barely contained
beneath this calm and pleasant countenance,
this peaceable exterior,
I promise...

you can come out from behind the sofa now...

I promise -

but since I iron my own shirts,
just don't ask me how this shirt
got ironed
in the first place...

there are things
I'd rather not
think about












Actually, I don't do this often, but not afraid to do it when I'm really curious.














surprise

it's a day off day
for Teresa, 30-something
attorney I finally, after sharing
several coffeehouse with her,
introduce myself to, using my normal
"Hi, I'm a writer and therefore professionally
nosy, so lets talk about you"

surprising
the number of times the police
are not called...













Next from my library, this poem by Albert Rios from his book, The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, published in 2002 by Copper Canyon Press.

Rios was the inaugural Poet Laureate of the state of Arizona, author of many books of poetry.














A Simple Thing to Know

The whole thing is not much: A man
On the border between Douglas and Agua Prieta,

This man, on instructions from his wife -
For the family and because she couldn't,

He went shopping
He crossed from Mexico to the United States,

Walking past the officials who looked busy.
He didn't want to bother them

And he didn't want to wait.
He walked past them, just a little.

But a little bit is enough.
They caught hi and put him in jail.

It was a nice jail, he said later,
he thought they fed you better, though.

He thought they gave you food.
Nobody checked, nobody brought food.

He was so quiet
Nobody knew he was there.

It's a small jail.
The arresting officer forgot to tell the next shift.

On Saturday the janitor found the man
Sitting on his bench.

Why didn't you say something?
The man shrugged his shoulders.

The shrug said he was a good guest.
It said he knew how to behave.

It said the question was the wrong question.
Why didn't he say something?

The question was a trick.
The man would not be fooled.

The man had manners.
He knew going in what was right.

Speak only when spoken to.
And in jail, in jail especially.

It was a simple thing to know.













Here's another from 2010.













derfluckenflagetta

there ought to be
an instruction

in the drivers' manual

that if you insist
on doing something stupid

do it fast

don't creep
through your stupidity

for increasing the extended
period
of your stupid stupidity
a danger to everyone
else on the
road

get the defluckenflagetta out of the way

before you kill someone,
maybe me...

and this is where this story
drifts entirely into fiction because
I almost never say "derfluckenflagetta"

instead, in this situation, normally
it is a much shorter word I use,
but my old Aunt Filomena
in Little Dime Box, Texas sometimes
reads my poems and hates Anglo-Saxons
and thinks they all ought to go back
to where they came from and would waste
a whole box of Depends if she saw me
use that other word of Anglo-Saxonist lineage
and Little Dime Box, being such a small town,
she'd have to drive all the way to Big Dime Box
to buy more Depends,
and she, being eighty nineteen years ago,
everyone else in the county hides
behind large sturdy walls
whenever Aunt Filomena hits the road
and so, by not using the word here
I would normally use in the actual situation
I am safeguarding the peace and tranquility
of Comanche County, Texas,
thank you very much....

so
while it is true
I want it to be a big surprise
when I die

I don't want it to be
because I got
entangled

in someone else's derfluckenflagetta
vehicular stupidity












Here's a three-poem haiku series by William J. Higginson from The Unswept Path, a collection of contemporary American haiku. The book was published by White Pine Press in 2005.

Higginson is a leading expert on haiku as well as poet and translator.
















Santa Fe Shopping Carts

summer storm...
a shopping cart rolls past
the end of the lot


socks hang...
air crisp through the chrome
of the shopping cart


deep in the arroyo
just the red handle
of a shopping cart













It's the life we didn't have that often seems most precious.












reminder of lost years

another's poem reminds me
of a first view,
leaving Texas, crossing
into New Mexico, seeing after a while
mountains ahead, to the left
of the highway,
Sangre de Cristo, I think
blood of Christ,
such a name for a mountain
range,
always
at first sight
thinking they were clouds, until the  image
sharpens and I can see
the craggy line of mountain crests...


not the first view of a mountain range,
but low-land born and raised,
the sight of mountains approaching
always causes a catch to my breath and
a surprise of anticipation
passing down my spine...

some people love the sea
and some the open prairie, some, a white
desert stretching its parched arms
across the horizon...

but I am a mountain man,
exiled for the first years of my life
among the scrubs, always,
in the back of my mind, dreaming
of a higher lie where the air is crisp
and thin and the world lies prostrate
at my feet, reminder
of my lost years
among the thick air
breathers












This poem is by Alaskan butcher and poet, Catherine Bowman, from her book 1-800-Hot-Ribs. The book was published in 1993 by Gibbs-Smith Publisher.

My edition of the book is apparently out of print. However it was reissued by Carnegie Mellon Classics in 2000. It 's not clear if that's still available anywhere but in used copies.












Jackie in Cambodia

The Air Fore jet set down like a god
or a good Limoges teacup on the saucer
shaped plain of the Mekong Delta. She stepped
down from the craft all pointed foot etiquette
and creamy crepe suzettes, her blue serge
walk as marvelous as a White House sunset.
What a beautiful widow in a world
of widows! The name Khmer Rouge swirled
in her head like a new perfume. Half magician,
half princess, she was on a holy mission
with her knowledge of cultures and her pill
box hat medicine and heavenly wardrobe
from iceberg to tangelo she was still
Jacqueline to us, not quite Jackie O.


LBJ Ranch Barbecue

Waist deep, almost naked, evening time soak,
a dozen Rajah bellies, a dozen Titan schnauzers,
wade in chlorinated agua toasting to the tune
of charismatic oratory and little Jimmy swing.
Two thousand pounds of Grade A carne vaporized
the heat. He has the biggest pecker in the pool,
politically speaking, it's his pool, his party,
his hands that snakewrap the testicles
of his guests until they say yes. And they swim
information, smooth Homo sapiens gliding
into the deep end toward the white
telephone poised on the lip of the diving board,
ringing.


















From 2010, making Christmas tamales in the middle of the Arizona attack on brown people.



















Arizona brown-check stations and other foolishness

much as I was looking forward
to visiting Flagstaff
this year, it
seems
Dee and I will b
bypassing Arizona
on our next trip west, both
guilty of the sin of brown,
she by ethnicity, me by
early ears in the sun
much of which crossed
illegally
from the wild border regions
of Mexico...

we could just
take our passports when
passing through the great state
of legalized bigotry,
but stopping
every fifty miles
to present them to Arizona
border guards
really slows down a day's
travel -

and
anyway
it's not as if there
isn't a whole United States
of America to visit - see your own home
before you see someone else's, that's what
I always say - so there's no need
to go visiting foreign countries,
even if they do have very nice Grand
Canyons and saguaro cacti and
other wonders
of the great deserts of the exotic
Southwest

cause there is,
you know,
a whole lot of desert out there
and not all of it in the land of the
white-eyes, which
as a matter of fact borders
on a number of other
very fine places to be
whose palettes are more diversely
rewarding

and
as to the other foolishness
promised
in the title of this Saturday morning's
musings, there is just too much of it
going around, too much for this poet,
who is hoping
to find something else to do on this
fine, fine
day















This poem is by Sheila Ortiz Taylor, from her book Slow Dancing at Miss Polly's. The book was published in 1989 by the Naiad Press. Taylor, principally a writer of fiction, was previously considered the first lesbian Chicana novelist.















The Author to Her Former Husband on the Occasion of His Growing Misfortune and Her Accomplished Indifference: An Epistle

I used to think it was all my fault
(well, wasn't it?)
when for example the rusty Ford
station wagon caught fire
at midnight
just outside Hot Pots, Utah
and it was raining too
(the baby, three months old, had colic)
and the fireman wrapped her in his Levi jacket
and did Humphrey Bogart imitations
all the way to the fire station

You accused me of having a good time

I should have brought your black umbrella
a fire extinguisher
a 50,000 mile warranty
a copy of Dr. Spock
the Book of Mormons

Now, twenty years later -
believing in the power of gifts,
not events -
I publish novels in which you appear
in an ungraceful light.
Your daughter
in shining boots and a yellow slicker
travels by hook and ladder

One thing I know,
nothing is as sure as justice
or as slow.
















The quiet moments of first light as I and the world around me comes alive.
















like you and me

7 a.m.
the top of a tree
on the other side of the building facing me,
just a few thin, leafless branches silhouette against the sun,
bony arms of night-walkers left behind,
refugee ghosts grasping
for the new light...

just like you and me,
even the winter-dead need
the sun










Next, a poem by Filipino poet, Luis Cabalquinto, fro his book Bridgeable Shores (Selected Poems 1969-2001). The book was published by Galatea Speaks in 2001.

Born in the Philippines, Cabalqinto moved to the United States in 1968 to study at Cornell, New York University, and The New School, publishing numerous collections of poetry.















For Emmanuel

When the young Filipino poet took
The fever of the streets
Into his body, he changed:

From his mouth, which had bloomed
A rose, came forth words, like glistening
Tusks of wild boars caught in a trap.

He is with his brothers now in the rain
Forest. At night, hunched over a growing
Fire and holding a gun, not the pen,

He composes death, out of love.











From 2010, a reflection on the art of marriage, some people have it and some don't.














till death do us part, amen

the ceremony
was about over

and the preacher
was saying

well,
you are married now

where there was two
there is now one

together
until one of you dies

and I'm thinking
wow!

talk about a dearth
of options

but we know
its not the way anymore

now
it's more like

till I get tired
of looking at your stupid

ugly face in the morning
do we part, or,

till your boobs sag
do we part

or, till I get my degree
ad can support myself on my own

do we part, or until I get a really hot secretary
or a really hunky pool boy do we part

or, till next Thursday
do we part

or, till one or both of us
sober up

do we part

````

going on 40 plus years tuning into
same time-same station every day

I'm just not a person who understands
all this serial polygamy business -

it's not that I'm against divorce,
its that I don't understand

why it would be so terrible
for gay people to get married

when half the people who
can get married

can't stay that way and it's curious
that the places where people are most

against
gay people getting married

are the same places
where married people are least likely

to stay that way
and the difference I think

between the places where
people are least likely to stay married,

which would be those same places where
bibles and gay people are most enthusiastically

thumped
and those places where married people

are most likely to stay married
once getting that way

is the good old liberal
philosophy

of shacking up
which I would support as a new  "defense of marriage act"

replacing the old "defense of marriage act"
which would outlaws marriage for everyone

until they have lived together as a couple
with their proposed spouse for at least

20 years, having raised at least two children
and putting at least one of them through college,

such a couple will, in my opinion,
by then be truly ready and prepared

for a "till death do us part"
relationship

this is my opinion and I stand behind it
but I think it best we not discuss such

out of the box thinking
with my wife















Another fine anti-Christmas rant, 2010.


















mocamuddymacarooniepunietoonies

Elvis
with a blue blue Christmas
overhead, a strange table, strange people,
strange place, strange echoes
of baristas laughing and strange languages
of mocamuddymacarooniepunietoonies and "talls"
that are short and "grandes" that aren't so
grand..

Starbucks Christmas Day

and trying to write a poem
in the midst of all that "strange" is...well..
STRANGE!  it's the curse of a holiday
when none of the places, activities, people
who normally bring the pleasure of regularity to my regular
every-day day are not available, lost in stockings
hung on the mantle with care and
JC Penny gift cards lost in piles
of torn Xmas wrapping and
hot cocoa by a roaring
fire...

instead,
I have to do with joy to the whole damn world
and Christmas cookies
and fat old bearded men who smell like reindeer
and in the middle of it all
I am a traveler who forgot his visa, a homing pigeon
orphaned and ignorant of home

I hate to be a self-designated
Scrooge
but I will be so glad when this day is over
and the world return
to its customary
orbit













I am so completely disgusted with our slimebucket president and all the little slimebuckets who love him.














I hate to rant on such a wonderful day after Thanksgiving

I hate to rant
on this day after Thanksgiving
but with the constant bombardment
these days by vicious, malicious, spiteful
expressions of a sub-human species
of animal-malice, rants
rise whether invited or not

and sometimes
the provocation is so nearby
that is a venting of spleen
is a therapeutic
necessity

as in Thanksgiving Day
enjoying my favorite breakfast
at my favorite old-fashioned diner,
egg-over-easy, sausage gravy over fluffy biscuit,
when joined at the table next to mine by one
of the cry-baby white me so abundant
in America today...

pig-faced under a gimme cap
above a billy protruding like a trice-stuffed
turkey, a loser by his own hand
who blames everything that's gone wrong
in his life on the usual litany of niggers
and wetbacks and chinks and ragheads,
all aided and abetted in their oppression of him
by the federal government run by liberals
and communists and Jews and the secret cabal
of international bankers....

it was just too much, too close,
too familiar, I had to leave as I felt
the violence in me, usually so carefully controlled,
rising, close to the surface...

I just want to know what happened in my country
that these people feel free to spill their disgusting guts
anywhere but the dark closet where such malevolence used to be
contained, hidden from decent folk...

that is a rhetorical question, knowing as I do,
exactly what happened and who to blame for it

and I am hopeful (if not sure)
we will retake our country in due time...

but in the meantime, my spleen
is daily overworked











This poem is by Diane Wakoski, from her book Emerald Ice, Selected Poems 1962-1987. The book is a large collection published in 1996 by Black Sparrow Press.

Born in 1937, Wakoski is primarily associated with the confessional and Beat poets of the 1960s.















The Duchess Potatoes

my people grew potatoes,
my hair is lanky and split edged and dishwater blonde.
My teeth are strong but yellowish
I have little eyes
I am fleshy without muscles
my energy is thin and sharp like gravy
but I crawl into bed as if I were pulling a counter of rubies over me,
dream past all my lower class barbed wire
walk down the street in a silk glove
try to scrub myself to an aristocratic bone,
and always come back to the faded colors, lumpy shape;
you wonder why I refuse to type well like my mother,
or iron or mend clothes like my grandmother,
am offended by your boorish father
whose only virtue is that he's tended a machine faithfully
for 35 years and
supported
your beautiful mother
her strange children

he is a ghost of the peasant in me
of ugly linoleum floors
and a starch diet. And I,
peasant
have no compassion for the lumps,
the lumpy mashed potatoes
that weren't beaten with enough butter and milk,
and made so fine
so fine
they were called "Duchess"














The fortunate soldiers - those who live to grown old. This, another from 2010.

















old soldier's table at Nina's on 14th and Grand

that one flew B-17s
over Berlin, and that one
lost his left foot
in France, and that one
fought on the other side

that one did his time
in cold Korea, and me...
my time a war
the longest of them
all

there was a time
we walked the earth
like hose great jungle brutes
evolution later swept
aside

now
we pass in silence,
leaving no footprints
in even the softest sand -

holding the table
for those
we know are coming right behind













The last two poems from my library this week are by William Bronk. The poems are taken from the anthology American Poetry Since 1950, published by Marsilio Publishers in 1993.

Born in 1918, Bronk died in 1999. He won the American Book Award for Poetry in 1981.



















The Mayan Glyphs Unread

Yes, the porpoise of course, it could
be of purport to talk to them. See what they say.
Indeed, what wouldn't we give? But the Mayans, - oh,
not but what I'd want to know, I would.
They were different from us in many ways. But we know
something abut them, quite a bit in fact.
The were men, which makes me wonder could they have any more
to say to us than we have to say, ourselves,
to each other, or rather, could they have a better way
to say it that gets cross? It seems to me
we all speak in undeciphered glyphs
as much as they do. OK. I'd like to know.
What's new with them? No, I'd try to talk
with anybody if I thought I could. You.
I'd try to talk to you. What do you know?


Corals and Shells

That which we call reality is that
which except for a dormancy, a kind of death
approaching, we were completely unable to endure.

Do you know what it is? It is that dormancy
itself, the insensate sleep, those stiff
rigors and bones of death where we hide, which we have.

Alive, we couldn't endure it:  we die to endure,
endure to die. It kills us. We are glad it does.
Corals and shells. Shall we ever cover a land?















About the pleasure of watching children play.















skip-to-my-lou

when 
do little girls
no longer skip-to-my-lou
down the sidewalk
on bright or cloudy days?

no matter - it is heart
not the sun or shade
that sends them skipping

a thought
after watching two girls
walking with their mother, the one
a couple years older than the younger,
the younger,
skipping while the older,
emulating her mother,
trudges...

such a loss to us all
when little girls
no longer
skip-to-my-lou
in the bright or cloudy
morning













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Poetry

New Days & New Ways


Places and Spaces 






Always to the Light




Goes Around Comes Around




Pushing Clouds Against the Wind




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


Seven Beats a Second






Fiction


Sonyador - The Dreamer





                                                            


  Peace in Our Time


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Links
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Tryst
Poems Niederngasse
BlazeVOX
Eclectica
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
zafusy
The Blogging Poet
Poetsarus.Com
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
The Writer's Block Poetry Forum
The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
Gary Blankenship
The Hiss Quarterly
Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
Arlene Ang
The Comstock Review
Thane Zander
Pitching Pennies
The Rain In My Purse
Dave Ruslander
S. Thomas Summers
Clif Keller's Music
Vienna's Gallery
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Beau Blue
Downside up
Dan Cuddy
Christine Kiefer
David Anthony
Layman Lyric
Scott Acheson
Christopher George
James Lineberger
Joanna M. Weston
Desert Moon Review
Octopus Beak Inc.
Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet