In the Far-Some In Between   Wednesday, February 28, 2018

NOTE TO REGULAR READERS: I HAVE PUBLISHED "HERE AND NOW" EVERY WEEK, WITH JUST A COUPLE OF EXCEPTIONS, SINCE MAY, 2006. DURING THAT SAME PERIOD I WROTE A POEM EVERY DAY AND PUBLISHED 8 BOOKS. LEAVING ME WEARY AND IN THE MIDST OF SEVERE INSPIRATION DEFICIT DISORDER.

ALL AS AN EXCUSE TO SAY I'M TAKING TIME OFF AND WILL NOT PUBLISH "HERE AND NOW'' AGAIN UNTIL I REDISCOVER THE MAGIC.

IN THE MEANTIME, GOOD READING.



in the far-some in between

in a land so far away
I could never go, a creature
so unlike me we could never meet
extends his sweetly licorice ocular extensions
to view the oh-so-far-away bright that lights my day
and the tiny turning speck circling third from its blazing glory,
this little island that is giver of life for me and the all around me,
and wonders about that place so far away where even he could never go
and if there might be such a creature there so unlike him they could never meet,
creatures such as he and me, so far apart and so unlike, joined with the kindred souls of life
that includes all of him and all of me
and all that could ever be,
souls entwined there in the far-some
in between
thinking
each and all
of all the places
too far to go
and others so unlike
they can only meet
in this forever
conclave
of souls in the
forever
in between









New stuff, old stuff, stuff from my library, as usual. But the treat for the week is the art by Vincent Martinez, my collaborator on my first book, Seven Beats a Second. His work is on every page of the book and, this week, sampled here.


Me
in the far-some inbetween

Me
thoughts and prayers (2)

Renny Goldman
Octavio Ortiz

Me
charcoal cat

Tony Hoagland
Leaving Yourself Behind

Me
a grim morning

Mark Doty
3. To Caravaggio

Me
a day I miss my pigeon

Gary Soto
Russian Pork, 1962

Me
nothing planned but this

Rainer Marie Rilke
First Part: I
Second Part: XIII

Me
sailors on a fading sea

Daniel Donaghy
Elegy for T.L.

Me
lost in the gabble-gabble

Joan McBreen
Classbawn

Me
the shining

Eugenio de Andrade
Since Dawn

Me
breakfast














The joke is stale by now, but here it is anyway.


















thoughts and prayers (2)

fish tacos
a la jalapeno
for breakfast, a little
suspicious
of the picante and
the fish, too...

not feeling well

belly bubbles going
blupp, blupp, blat

las bombas
Mejicana...

thought & prayer,
folks
need some thought
&
prayers

mas rapido
por favor

stat...











This is the first poem from my library this week. It was written by Renny Golden, and was taken from her book of witness poems, The Hour of the Furnaces. The book was published in 2000 by Mid-List Press.

Golden was grew up on Chicago's south side. In the 1980s, she co-founded the Chicago Religious Task Force on Central America. At the time the book was published she was a professor in the Department of Criminology and Sociology at Northeastern Illinois University.













Octavio Ortiz

At the end of your life you shall be judged by your love...How
lovely it is to see a poor priest who renounced all, living with the
simplicity of a field hand.
                                  
                                    Oscar Romero, at the funeral of Octavio Ortiz

Octavio Ortiz and four teenager members of his parish pastoral team were
killed in the early dawn of January 20, 1979, when the National Guard
broke into the Jesuit center, El Despertar, where the priest and the teenagers
were making a retreat. After killing Ortiz, the soldiers rolled a tank over his
body.

     The parishioners of Ortiz's church, San Francisco Mejicanos, buried
him behind the altar. During the war years, the parishioners celebrated a
mass on the anniversary of his death as an act of resistance.










A short poem from 2013 about a cat, a stray that I had neutered who took to living on our patio for a season. She would follow us early in the morning when I walked our dog. Very discreet, wanted to go along, but didn't want to be seen going along.













charcoal cat

charcoal cat
a shadow in the dark,
coat fades into the night,
shifting between trees, picking
her hidden way
between
bushes,
finding all the dark pools
along her way,
a mysterious early-hour specter,
a presence unseen
until she steps too close to the light
and I see her choosing her soft, lurking way
behind us

she is so surprised











Next from my library, a poem by Tony Hoagland. The poem is from his book What Narcissism Means to Me, published by Graywolf Press in 2003 and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Born in 1953 in North Carolina, Hoagland has a B.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona. He currently teaches creative writing in the University of Houston and is on the faculty of the low-residency Woodrow Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.












Leaving Yourself Behind

Carrie says it's more rude to stare at a blind man on the street
than to make a fat-person joke about someone on TV.

Her hyperborean ethical principles would be funny
                                                     if she didn't take them so seriously,
blinking back tears of compassion, unable to finish her Jell-O in the
      cafeteria.

Then she gets up to go, leaving a mess on the tray
                                                       for the Mexican busboy to clear.
Vain and self-destructive, brilliant, well-behaved
                                               when she isn't being hysterical,

terrible lines are forming a conspiracy in her face
as in that 60s song ab out a broken-hearted teenager,
                                                    called  "Then Tracks of My Tears."

If gratuitous suffering paid even minimum wage,
and Carrie kept track of her hours,
she could be behind the wheel of a late-model car by now,

driving through life with low mileage and a smooth suspension.
Instead, she's walking by the side of the road,

getting more and more mud on her boots,
just like the rest of us.













A little bit of silly. Sorry.
















a grim morning

a poet 
tells
a very funny story
and I laugh
and
think, well
I won't be topping that
today
cause I left
all my funny
pots
in
Potsghanistan













From my library, this poem (from a much longer poem) is by Mark Doty, taken from his book, School of the Arts, a Harper Perennial publication from 2005.

Born in 1953, Doty, author of seven books of poetry, was winner of the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. At the time of publication he was a professor at the University of Houston.















From The Vault

3. To Caravaggio

The Hispanic boy beside me - nude, only mildly muscled,
a slight tracing of hair above the heart-searing curve of his upper lip -
is next in line for a massage, so he lies down on the pool table

covered tonight with a sheet of black plywood, a black tarp,
and long rows of paper towels. He's so finely white he's nearly blue,
and as the masseur begins - first a light coating of oil for traction,

then the rub in earnest, down the back, working he neck
and shoulders. the long thighs, turning him over, polishing
the long abdomen, rising toward the ceiling lamp

the firm and slender chest. And now he seems a cadaver,
laid out, or a boy posing as a corpse, inert, eyes at ease,
mouth entirely tranquil. All in a ring around the table,

young me and grizzled elders watching,
and two splendid witnesses like visiting kings
without the fine robes, their perfect skin shading into the darkness.

The the masseur lifts the arms above the head, to stretch
the lats and shoulders and suddenly the boy's the corpus of our Lord
still nailed to his cross, shockingly real, the dark of the room

composing itself in lustrous blacks, around the suspended body.

















Always had pets in my live, including nasty old pigeons.

















a day when I miss my pigeon

this is a day
not to get involved
with; a day to set aside,
like bossy women
and rank smelling old men
with handlebar mustaches,
until something better comes
along...

it is not a day that offers me
immortality
or even life past
the next half-moon...

it is a bad day
when I wear a black heart
and drab perspectives
despite
the green
and splendid colors
all around...

```

but that pigeon,
that pigeon pecking on the parking lot,
beautifully patterned black and
white, pecking on the parking lo,
alone
and happy with it

beautiful pigeon,
winged rats say some
who cannot appreciate
their beauty...

I have kept pigeons,
not especially smart animals, but faithful
to he who feeds them, affectionate
even, perched on my shoulder
as we walk the path
from where to there, enjoying
the ride, and I don't even mind
carrying him about,
for he is not heavy, he is my pigeon...

```

a bad day,
a bad day indeed
when I miss my pigeon
and fear I will never
fly
again











This poem is by Gary Soto, taken from his book, A Simple Plan. The book was published by Chronicle Book in 2007.

Soto, a poet and novelist,was born in Fresno, California, in 1952 to a working class family. As a teenager and college student he worked in the fields in San Joaquin Valley chopping cotton and beets and picking grapes. Not otherwise academically motivated, he developed and interest in poetry in high school, eventually earning an MFA at the University of California - Irvine.
















Russian Pork, 1962

The Russians sent up sputnik,
Then sent over a team to film a family in the Fresno projects,
the Morenos, all tidy and sitting down
To a typical dinner - macaroni with weenies,
Tumblers of Kool-Aid, a salad that resembled
The grass plucked from our hair at day's end.
Loud as pirates, they ate as if with hammer and sickle
From mismatched bowls close to their faces. Mr. Moreno,
Bald as Comrade Khrushchev, turned an eye to the camera.
He hammered his fist on the table, "We don't go to church
But when we do, we're Catholic!" The family all pounded
With their hammers and sickles, and whooped.
Bobby chewed open-mouthed
For the camera, and asked for seconds, then thirds,
More Kool-Aid. Then he to be hung upside down
By his dad - Bobby had been chewing gum
With his macaroni-ad-cheese.

I swear this is true, a sputnik did go up
And the Russians arrived in large black cars
These men in dark suits opened and closed
Every door in the house, as if spying
On a low-class American family. What were
These Russians trying to learn from the Morenos?
The secret of survival in the atomic age?
After all, a father couldn't always be there
To pound gum and macaroni-and-cheese from a child's throat.

I swear the cameras rolled, the men wore back.
We kids, pigeon-chested and bare-footed,
Stood at the window, breathing on the glass,
Fogging up the family's revelry in dessert.
We waited for them to crash those sputnik jawbreakers,
The candy of our time, and for the family of nine
To come out. We wanted their autographs,
These movie stars, these unkillable project kids.











Just a regular day.















nothing planned but this

the day breaks
at 7:a.m....

dim
with a light mist
that gathers on windshields
even though it doesn't seem wet
when you're standing out
in it...

at the coffeehouse,
Jones and Ave. B,
just off Broadway,
Close enough to downtown
that I can see the tower's
ring of lights
against 
the gray morning sky...

a new day,
Saturday, another day
with nothing planned but
this...











Next, I have a couple of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke from his book, The Sonnets of Orpheus published in 1985 by Simon and Schuster. The book contains the entire cycle of 55 poems dedicated to the memory of a young woman whose premature death deeply affected the poet. The poems are presented on facing pages with translation from German to English by Stephen Mitchell.

Born in 1875 and died in 1926, Rilke was an Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German language poets.













First Part: I

A tree ascended there. Oh pure transcendence!
Oh Orpheus sings! Oh tall tree in the ear!
And all things hushed. Yet even in that silence
a new beginning, beckoning, change appeared.

Creatures of stillness crowded from the bright
unbound forest, out of their lairs and nests;
and it was not from any dullness, not
from fear, that they were so quiet in themselves,

seemed small inside their hearts. And where there had been
at most a makeshift but to receive the music,

a shelter nailed up out of their darkest longing,
with an entryway that shuddered in the wind -
you built a temple deep inside their hearing.



Second Part: XIII

Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were
behind you, like the winter that has just gone by.
For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter
that only by wintering through it will your heart survive.

Be forever ahead in Eurydice - more gladly arise
into the seamless life proclaimed in your song.
Here in the realm of decline, among the momentary days,
be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

Be - and yet know the great void where all things begin,
the infinite source of your most intense vibration,
so that, this once you may give it you perfect assent.

To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb
creatures in the world's full reserve, the unsayable sums,
joyfully add yourself and cancel the count.
















From 2013 again, an early morning poem, which seems to be becoming my specialty even five years ago.


















sailors on a fading sea

in the misty
morning
streetlamps pool
light on dark parking lots

brown leaves blow across
the light
like tiny fish
swimming
in a glowing pond

winter night
finding its way 
to day,
taking me
with it, quiet
as the tiny fish
that swim
in their little fading
sea












This poem is by Daniel Donaghy. It is from his book, Street Fighting Poems, published by BMK Press of the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2005.

Donaghy, born in Philadelphia, is assistant professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University.

















Elegy for T.L.

The El's catwalk called to us
while we passed quarts

of Schaefer's someone stole.
Fifty feet up, it stretched

beyond our broken places
in both directions.

I was second to make it to the top.
I stared at your dark form

and streetlights even with our heads,
saw you tightroping the catwalk

straight out of your life
toward the houses of the rich.

You didn't once look down.
You didn't hold the rail.

The only sounds our feet
shuffling the metal walk.

You fell so quietly
no one else knew you were gone.












My birthday (number 74 in the series) was a couple of day before I posted this. It's a time when consideration of aging, biological, cultural and personal, is a natural inclination.











lost in the gabble-gabble

I struggle
some days
in this new world
where I no longer make
waves, these days
when breezes
blow right through me
as if I'm not there,
or, if I am there,
of insufficient substance
to break the wind...

as if in a group discussion
my voice is lost
in a vacuum field
that bottles my voice
like hot coffee in a thermos
on a cold day,
like in a airless
nothing where nothing
gets through...

time was
I spoke with relevance
and authority
and everyone stopped
to listen...

time was
I watched mute old men
and felt sorry
for their loss of presence,
their loss of the fiber of
relevance,
lost
in self-imposed silence
because silence is easier than pretending
someone cares to hear
the voice of the hollow, dusty past,
silent
in the gabble-gabble
of lesser minds, lesser reach,
lesser ambition...

at least they still call me "sir,"
open door for me,
remind me
not to forget to ask for my
senior discount...












Next, I have Irish poet, Joan McBreen, from her book, The Wind Beyond the Wall, published by Story Line Press in 1990. Her papers are archived at Emory University in Atlanta.

Perhaps because the book is nearly 30 years old, but it still seems unusual that I can't find a usable image of the book anywhere. So instead - the poet.















Classibawn

We tied ropes to poles on the street,
and the length of the swing
was the length of the rope.
We drew hopscotch squares there too,
and swore at the meat factory girls
who let water drip from tin buckets
spoiling the chalky game.
We were sent on walks to the Holy Well
because it used to take us ages
and my mother thought the air
and the prayers good for us.
Then one summer my father hired a Ford car
and drove us to Gullaghmore
where I saw Classibawn for the first time.
After than nothing was the same.













The pleasure of a light rain at the end of a dry summer.














the shining

drip
from the patio roof

stepping stones
shine
in the dark night

I stand
under the hidden moon,
presenting
my bare body to the
cool north
wind,
dripping,
like the patio
from tiny raindrops
widely scattered,
the gathered
wet
dripping
from my shoulders
and down my
back...

rain,
not much,
but it is nice
to hear the drip,
to feel the drip;
nice to see the shining stones,
to stand on the
stones,
feeling the shine,
welcoming it into my body
so that I might
shine
too











Last from my library this week is Portuguese poet Eugenio de Andrade. The short poem I selected to use is from his book, Forbidden Words. It is an extensive collection with facing-page translations by Alexis Levitin. The book was published by New Directions in 2003.

Born in 1923, de Andrade is revered in his country as one of the most important contemporary poets of the Portuguese language. He died in 2005.













Since Dawn

Like a sun of dark pulp
to be lifted to one's mouth,
look, my hands:
from the ground they search for you
between the veins of sleep
and memory they search for you:
they open door
to the reeling of the air:

in comes the wind or the wild
smell of an oil lamp,
and suddenly the wound
begins to bleed afresh:

it is time for harvesting; the night
brightens, grape by grape and you emerge
to swallow it at a gulp
like a cry against a wall.

It is I, since dawn,
I - the earth - searching for you.













Finishing my new poems this week with a very short morning moment.












breakfast

commercial airliner
low overhead on its programmed landing pass,
stark against gray-stuffed sky, a morning
eagle, silver winds wide-spreading,
on the hunt for fresh-day
prey












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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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