Interesting Company   Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Written in 2007, considering my chances for an interesting afterlife.

interesting company

I know people
who believe that if
had just whispered the
little words,
save me,
as the noose
on his neck
he could have
spent eternity
in heavenly fields,
amidst all the popes
and preachers
of the son

bad, he didn't

and Gandhi, too,
such a simple thing,
spoken quickly
as the bullets
pierced his flesh
and he could have been
in the clover forever
and ever and even

but, he didn't
and it's too late now
for both, so
and Gandhi,
of the eternal fire,
are ever roasting
in hill, right now
even as we speak...

this doesn't
make any sense to me
but who am I to question
such holy folk
as claim it to be true
here is a upside
to the whole affair:

at least
I can count
on interesting company
when the time
of my roasting

A pretty standard post except that my old poems will come from my book New Days & New Ways, subtitled "Selected Poems January-December 2011." The book is divided into six sections, poem within each section dealing with approximately similar subjects. The poems this week are all from the first section, titled "Passages."

This book, like all my books, are available on Amazon and any where else where eBooks are sold.

All the poems from my library this week are from an anthology, In These Latitudes - Ten Contemporary Poets, published by Wings Press in 2009.

interesting company

the actuary

Nancy Kenny Connolly
Evensong at the Canyon de Chelly

another day

autumn light

big splash in a small pond

Wong Siu-yung
A Snapshot
On the Way to Work

a mid-winter poem

like soft hands

continental style

Assef Al-Jundi
The Night the Arab Came Out

another Sunday morning

mysteries of night and morning

a hidden moon still makes its presence known

Marian Haddad
Driving from El Paso to San Antonio

up at 4:30

night lays in

party time

like a second-grade teacher

Laura Quinn Guidry


no hurry

just don't know what to say about this

The story of a coffeehouse acquaintance.

Bitter, the juxtaposition of this poem, written the same morning the newspaper reported that the effort to save the San Antonio Symphony had collapsed, leaving open the possibility that in the 8th largest city of the United States there would not be a symphony.

The good news a couple of weeks later was that a white knight had donated the funds to save the balance of the season, the possibilities of continuing next year in a new season unknown.

I may have been the worst tuba player to ever come out of the La Feria High School band, but did learn the glories of beautiful music

the actuary

the insurance actuary
who was before
a classical pianist
and symphony conductor...

who begins is daily work
of juggling numbers
here at the coffeehouse
every morning
this morning
when the breath-holding tranquility
of Debussy's La Mer is played overhead
and his numbers lie flat on his table,
as he is mesmerized by the music,
holding his head in his hands
as if in prayer,
I am guessing
by the music and by memories
of his earlier life of the heart, until
the music ends and he sighs
and returns to his now life of the head,
his daily dance with
life an death as unrepentant

The first two poems from this week's anthology are by Nancy Kenny Connolly, poet and Ph.D. Her work has won numerous prizes and has been published in various poetry journals.


Finger the silk Isfahan, its
filigree of tendrils ripe
with pomegranates - it gleams,
an ode to your exquisite taste -
and the more you try
to bargain down the price, the more
the carpet beckons. Then
a petal blinks
stroke away the apparition,

but look again, a leaf
is quivering like a lip, there is
a face. Beneath the sheen,
a face. Unlike
the merchant's jowly mask.
He calls for cups of tea.
Dare another glance
and there, between the fibers,
fingers thin as threads.

Evensong at the Canyon de Chelly

They're gone now. From the canyon floor
the grazing longhorns, the backpackers
with their panoramic film, the blond laughter
that climbed a thousand feet of sheer red rock.

And from the mesa summit, the Navajo vendors
with their unsold turquoise and silver, grandmothers
squatting in specks of juniper shade, raven-haired tots
scampering to close to the edge of ancestral ledges.

We're here alone, my daughter and I, with purple
asters, a mountain bluebird. In sage-scented silence
we stand to watch a setting sun. Sapphire sky
and bleached-bone stone desolate in every direction -

what if our discord stilled this?
Out of nowhere a stray bitch approaches, attaches
herself to us like a guardian spirit. Nose-bleed dry,
we spill our bottled water for the dog.

We all live through daily passages, beginning with the passage from night to day.

The cover picture to the left was taken early on New Year's morning, 2011, two passages in one.

another day

the dim light
of a thinly overcast
filters yellow
into the air and across
the trees and pastures and

looking out
from my breakfast perch,
the day seems
a Chinese brocade, raised
golden thread
embroidered on thick fabric,
gilded scene
of morning life wakened
to the silvered calls
of mourning doves softly
singing songs of daylight's

another day, they sing,
another sunrise,
another chance for me
and you

I'm up very early most mornings. It is during those early hours that I do most of my writing, so I guess it is not a surprise that most of the poems in the "Passages" portion of New Days & New Ways are about the passage of night to day or day to night.

This is one of the exceptions.

autumn light

I've read
all the other poems
and it's time
to write my own
and I'm thinking about
the autumn light I read about
in one of the poems, thinking how true
it is, the idea that autumn light is
orange, reflection of pumpkins
scattered for sale
in a church parking lot, jack-o-lanterns
for the poor and hungry and untutored in the grace
of Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of all,
bu especially a savior
of those who will buy a pumpkin for the poor,
their deep and Christine concern for pumpkin farmers
and others less fortunate among their human fellows...

that's why autumn light
has an orangish tint, I think,
although I am sure
there will be some who prefer
a more scientific explanation, not
involving in any way, pumpkins and the

but, who would you prefer to believe in,
some grubby scientist or Santa


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
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 blood to pump,
makes the lungs expand
to draw the thin richness of oxygen that turns
pumping air 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 flesh...

not at all like spring air, soft and almost
weightless, airy light that floats above the passion
of spring re-birthing, light with a smell of hope
that all does not end, hat all comes again,
spring light to clean thick musk of a house
closed for months, light
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 of all the light,
it is the light of autumn 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, bu welcoming its relief
from the hanging dog of summer

time again
to remember a sweater in the
morning light

Not such a big deal, buy it seemed that way at the time.

big splash in a small pond

walking Bella
in the very cold morning,
I see a tall crane with two men
halfway out on its arm
and beside that tall crane
an even taller crane
either holding up or taking down
the smaller of the two

and I wonder,
this being another of the world's
mysteries that confound me,
how the taller crane is taken down
after it takes down the smaller crane

aside from that,
I am reminded of when
I was about fifteen years old
and one of the TV stations
was building a new transmission tower
in my small town,  when, the tower complete,
installation at the top of the tower
(already the tallest structure in the Rio Grande Valley)
the actual antenna, itself about sixty feet long

and in the middle of the process of hoisting
the antenna ever so high, something happened,
a gust of unexpected wind,
a mechanical failure,
or, more likely, human error,
the antenna plummeted to the ground,
burying parts of itself
in the orchard beneath the tower,
the even, first the planned installation
and then the antenna's fall,
covered live on the radio -

oh, the cries, the screams, the horror, the horror

it wasn't the Hindenburg...

but it was a pretty damn big deal
in that day and

Next, two poems are from the week's anthology by Wong Siu-yung. The poet is Director of Student affairs and UC Berkeley.

A Snapshot

White mountains reflect green pine.

Sheets  of clouds,
       Drifting powder,

                          Quicksilver on the ground,

                                     Sparrows in snow.

Travelers by the fireplace looking out.

On the Way to Work

Sunlight cascading through
        Mist rising from the stream

Frosted branches shimmering above

         Wire fences lined with dewdrops

Icy water rushes under bridges

           Along the winding ranch road

dip my toe in the limestone water at Crossing 11

Another passage, life change, young to old, and the passage of seasons. and the weight of it all.

a mid-winter poem

I have the feel
of a string running out,
a slackness in my lifeline,
all that I am reduced to
loose ends...

I've done many thing in my life,
good and worthwhile things,
though none lasted longer than
it took for my shadow
to fade around the corner

my proudest legacies
remembered only by me -
like clouds blown apart
by the wind, so much more fragile
than I had imagined...

and now the line that anchored me
to the future
has gone slack and I feel just another
of the world's many forgettable
loose ends

Another transition poem from New Days & New Ways.

like soft hands

soft hands

summer breezes
midnight lover

I went through a whole day, seeing poems wherever I looked.

continental style

outside the supermarket,
the small bus
from the
Heritage Oaks assisted living center
gathers up its residents
in a swirl of wrinkles and old lace

the confusions,
a quiescent place,
a tiny old man in a jaunty hat
waits by the bus's door,
waves the old women in
with a sweep of his small hand
and a small continental

From this week's anthology, this is Assef Al-Jundi with two poems.

The poet grew up in Syria and graduated from the University of Texas - Austin with a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering.


How does one walk into a room without depth?
Make himself comfortable on a blue line?

How can one talk to his silent shadows?
Escape the noisy footsteps of others?

in one of your pockets hides a door.

The Night the Arab Came Out

     Masqat, Oman

Was it the gentle night's air?
Spices and incense in the souq's alleyways?
Jagged peaks ringing the Old City?

The Arab came out beaming.
Soul in shoes.

My grief is an indigo ocean.

Again the hold world transitions, day to night, night to day, depending on where you are on it.

another Sunday morning

falling toward the west
slips behind a lacy morning cloud,
the shadows of its ancient


on cue
fly from their nighttime
cover the sky,
dark cape
of the Phantom of the Morning


strong winds,
warm and wet,
smells of the
southern sea across
the stark remains
of northern winter


from a pinched
eastern horizon,
the sky not ready to open
to any new day


moon shadows
as sun shadows
grow toward the


does her morning
stretch -
doubles her length
front to back,
legs reaching in both directions,
belly on the ground,
tail straight in the air,
little red anus
like lantern light
at the end of a train


in her bed,
too old for morning calisthenics -
eyelids lift, up, then
enough for now

The mystery of transitions.

mysteries of night and morning

it began
about nine
with thunder and lightning
and rumors of rain
which,, it turned out, were
only rumors...

but was a nice threat
to ponder any


all that fuss
had settled by four thirty,
with a clear sky
and a full moon, bright
and silver on a soft, black sky,
like a cushion, a night
to rest your head

I lay
in the blazing moon glow
like a white-bellied cat,
lazing on a dim sea shore,
shining under the moon's
ocean of bright,

my head pillowed back,
I watched the moon as it slipped
toward morning - west, behind pale passing
clouds, slowly dipping
behind the trees that line the creek...

no sun yet,
but you can hear the night give up
with a sigh, a rustle of birds
in the trees, dogs sensing the scent
of a new day, barking at the moon
settling around the curvature of the earth,
soft, like a reclining woman's rounded hip,
its night shadows overtaking
the fading light
on the other side of the world,
the part that is not my part,
where other people live lives
as mysterious to me as
the traveling moon itself, ancient
and steady in its orbit,
silver side to me,
dark side unknown...

my day begins
as to what it will be,
another dark side hidden
before its moment arrives,
and untested,
as mysterious, I suppose,
to the others
as theirs is to me

One of the things I like about this time of year are the dark and mysterious mornings.

a hidden moon still makes its presence known

dark morning,
sky overcast under deep clouds,
the moon
bot for its tidal tug on my pulsing

I've made this drive, more than 500 miles, many times in both directions. It used to be an all day trip, now, with 80 mile per hour speed limits most of the way, it is not the exhausting day it used to be. Not much in between the two cities,  rolling hills to high mesa, to rugged near mountain-sized hills, to desert, but what is is usually interesting.

The poet, Marian Haddad, taught creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University and Northwest Vista College, as well as literature at St. Mary's University, all three institutions in San Antonio.

Driving from El Paso to San Antonio

There's  sad part
of the afternoon.

I love the first
light - and the whiteness
of the desert then.

And I love
the high noon
hour - and the sun
that beams.

and becoming.
Even the few
hours after that
are livable.

I am in the stream
of the given day,

But then
it comes -
the hour
after that -
before the darkness -
the end of day -
the end of light -
It says something
the sadness
of endings.
Things that leave us,
the lost beginning.

And when the yellow
hue has trailed
its final sad note -
there is still
light -

a post-light
not yet sunset -
light outside
light - sadness
past - and me
in the middle
of that short hour.

And now
in my rearview
a strong white sheath
spreads itself out
across the sky
- white again -
no sadness here.

I ride alongside
a semi -
following the same
blue sky
that leads us
into night.

This cool
evening -
and the windmills
blow - just past

The sun
behind me -
casting its orange,
its lavender light.

And I await
the evening
sky -
coming closer
to home.

Another daily passage done in a glory of fire.

up at 4:30

are a spectacle here,
vivid, ranging from lemon yellow
to searing red,
but I still prefer the sun as it rises,
less like a movie special effect,
more sedate, a gradual
of the sky
before the sun
slips up over the east horizon...

appropriate, I think,
that as each day ends in a  blaze
of glory,
it begins as a
tiptoe through the dark night
like my own start in the
down the hallway
to the bathroom, careful not to step
on the blind cat
who sometimes gets lost at night
and ends up
on the throw rug
right outside my bedroom

I enjoy the day's beginning.
the sights and sounds
as seen and heard from my patio,
alone in the dark,
then not alone as first light
filters through the trees,
waking birds who begin
their morning calls,
then the first pink of the sun
finally showing itself
over my neighbor's fence,
then full light, the dogs stretch
and bark at the train passing
several miles away,
so quiet the morning
until then that the clatter of their wheels
and the wail of their whistle
sounds so close, just across the creek
and down  the street,
right past the house were the policeman lives
with loud family fight
and parties
every Saturday night,
ka-thunka, ka-thunka, ka-thunka,
conjunto bass shimmering the air
slipping through dancing squeezebox squeals,
sometimes wondering if I should call the police
on the police, remembering
they all carry guns all the time,
ka-thunka, ka-thunka, ka-thunka...

but this morning, none of that,
up at 4:30,
just me and the gathering sun
and the birds
and dogs
and a train like right next door

Above the passage from night to day. Here, the other end, day to night.

night lays in

lays in
with a sigh,
like an old woman
pulling bed covers up to her chin...

rustles trees
like feather dusters
brushing the stars, frogs
come alive in the creek, nighthawks

on my patio
I strip down, lay back in my chair
and join the frog-symphony,
the fresh, cool mud
between a catalog of reeds
on the rain-freshened creek side,
imagine the blood-tasty mosquito
caught on my long green tongue,
settle squish
into the singing

Party time.

party time

recent rain
turned the creek
waking mud-crusted frogs
from their deep summer sleep,
turning the creek
at 2 a.m.
into a cacophony of bull-deep
mating calls
and feminine-froggy squeal of 
procreating pleasure

if the creek was a West Texas
dance hall,
I'd say the joint was

People are marked by their jobs and the people they work with.

like a second-grade teacher

school teacher, has coffee
and breakfast here every morning
with her two little girls

walks with rapid little steps,
like a second-grade teaching keeping up
with her second-grade charges, soft sensible
shoes, like a second-grade teacher, sensible
dark-rimmed glasses, no dash or flash
allowed for second-grade teachers...

a nice-looking woman
in her early thirties, plain and sensible,
almost as quiet as a librarian...

like Marion the Librarian,
beautiful, I bet,
when she takes off her
black-rimmed glasses
at the end of day

heart-stopping, I bet,
as 76 trombones
gleaming in the sun
in a spring day parade

that's just a guess - I'll never know
for sure...

another reason to be thankful
for the gift
of imagination


This is the last poem this week from the anthology In These Latitudes. It was written by Laura Quinn Guidry who began writing poetry only after the death of her son, publishing her first poem at the age of 52. Born in Baton Rouge and raised in New Orleans, she has been published in several anthologies and literary magazines.


The clothes we chose for you -
the jacket you bought for your first real job,
the tie that brought out the green of your eyes
no one will see - I know are there.
But I can think you've gone on
to more important things.

Into the vast, still noon,
a sudden unadorned truth
I can hardly think.

Everything that I will do
or will happen to me
for the rest of my life
will be with your there
and me here
against earth and stone.

Another from an early riser who treasures the beginning of day.


the sun

the river
orange and


as dragonflies

Can't hurry all in its time.

no hurry

in no hurry
and still
the river runs

its Saturday,
another week racing by

but I wait

join the river
when my time comes

Last poem of the week, about natural and not.

just don't know what to say about this

I didn't want to write about this,
but, it's cold, or as my fellow coffee drinker,
the actuary and former symphony conductor from Minnesota,
says, its balmy out...

mid-twenties night before last and last night.
twenty-nine the daytime high yesterday,
projected nineteen tonight with a warm front
bringing it to thirty-four by noon tomorrow,
then back to mid-twenty nights
and mid-forty days through the est of the week

it just ain't natural...

and the worst of it is,
when this is over it'll be summer
and a hundred ten degrees
and that ain't natural either,
except around here
where natural is as rare as three drunk possums
in a flat-top Buick

just don't know what to say about it

If you've a mind to, please comment by clicking on the comment button below and let me know if you have a problem accessing the comment section. I've been told there's a problem but I can't confirm it. I do now that I've not been receiving comments for a while now.

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 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

at 2:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


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