Explaining the Unearthly Glow in which I Am Suffused   Thursday, May 17, 2018






explaining the unearthly glow in which I am suffused

if your happen
to notice the unearthly glow
in which I am suffused, be not concerned
for it is not a case of alien abduction
in progress only that there are currently
a number of people praying for my immortal soul

well meant, I'm sure
but still
I resent it, such soul as I might have
is of an independent sort, not welcoming
induction into other people's
Voodoo, as well,
not pleased with the suggestion
that such soul as I might have is not already of the highest
quality, triple "A" prime just because it prefers
to dance naked in the forest than sit with them
piously on a hard bench, minding other people's
business with no demonstrated interest in the sorely
challenged business of their own,
their sins
as believers,, certainly no less egregious
than the sins of my non-believing self,
each and all our transgressions as noted in the Mother's Log
to be someday weighted, with consequences allotted
according to the Book of Good Living

it all boiling down to this,
thanks for all the prayers, but I'm pretty sure
I'll do better without the imprint of your
self-serving prayers embossed
upon my innocent soul

Zen-like, I should, perhaps, set my own way,
set my own small goals
that achieved one small step at a time
will lead me. perhaps a better me, and deposit me
at the mountain top, the apex of all natural forces
to which I am attuned and trusting...

small goals
that reflect a new, less greedy, less driven,
less desperate way of thinking, perhaps recognizing
time not as a string running out, but maybe a small
still pond in a sylvan setting, a place to lie among
the birds and fishes, settling into their
reality...

I consider options for the goals that lead me
to that Nirvana, that, which achieved
will lead me to that mountain,
to that state of grace to which I aspire

and of all things at which I might begin,
I think of this, the tiny piece of my life so reflective
of a new state of being if actually
achieved...'

henceforth,
from the hour of my next HBO movie forward,
and unto the day I am greeted by all the wise men
atop the mountain
I pledge to eat my popcorn
one kernel at a
time









This is the problem.

Even though I continue to write a poem every day, I am only posting "Here and Now" every couple weeks. That leaves me a surplus of poems I'd like to expose to gimlet-eyed observers like yourselves.

The consequence of that is this post is all me, except for several pictures by my wife, Dora, and a poem I particularly like by Poem-a-Day housemate and retired professor of English, Wayne Scheer. I read Wayne's poem about a month or so and being like Wayne, a father with a grown-up son, it struck me deeply.

Rest assured, from the large pile of my April leftovers I picked only those few I liked.

Here's what that amounts to.



Me
explaining the unearthly glow in which I am suffused


Wayne Scheer
Fathers and Sons


Me
dark morning

at the sock hop

detour

give the man something to write about

I could write...

in it for the life

it's hopeless

lizard fed, or not

Nefertiti on the rise

reflecting

the trees are full again

somewhere in the trees, always

to study silence

I don't think I can do it

things I'd love to do if I could

what did Picasso see?

two choices today




Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz
@ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin










As I mention in the introduction above, this poem by poet friend and poem-a-day housemate, Wayne Scheer, is the only poem in this post that is not my own.

It is a poem, however, that moved me deeply when I read it the first time.
















Father and Son

At forty-two
I was age-weary
past my prime
joints ached
career set
if not in cement
at least in plaster
a wife and child
joy and responsibility

My son
at forty-two
age-weary
jokes he's closer
to the age
of a baseball manager
than the star player

He'd rather pursue
stand-up comedy
than his career
but they pay him well
for his analyzes
not for his jokes
and he has a wife
and five children
joy and responsibility

At forty-two
he supports a large family
a big house in the suburbs
a closet full of suits
he has achieved far more
than I ever dreamed 
but like me
he wakes
without remembering
his dreams

it's better that way














A left-lover poem from a stormy night in March, and the morning after.















dark morning


dark morning

heavy storms last night

street strewn
with blown and fallen detritus

I'm out
as usual, don't believe

in allowing weather
to control my life

it's metaphysics
or metallurgic
or maybe metalogic
of even meteorologic

whatever...

frightened dog
kept me awake all night

so I'm just going with
meta-sleepy




















Inspired again by the New York Times and their Tuesday Science Section.

















at the sock hop

it turns out
Jupiter is the big enchilada
when it comes to planets within our solar system
(which I choose to name "Jorge" after the big guy who
pushed me around in the sixth grade, not that I'm accusing
our solar Jorge of pushing me around, even though it actually does,
in circles and even if I wanted to leave I couldn't)
meanwhile, the big kahuna I was talking about,
weighing in was a mass of two and one-half times
the mass of all the other kids on the block together,
is the biggest wheel of the wheeling-about children of
Jorge. from very small to incredibly wide circles where abides
the coldest and darkest of us kids,
named after the non-speaking dog in the Disney comics
and I have to say, you'd have to be pretty goofy
to be talking in such cold and dark and besides
who is out there to talk to.

but I digress...


the point is the king of planets, at least in this neighborhood,
is so big it causes Jorge to wobble like a night spent too late
at the cantina, whoosey and boozy, like he was dancing
skit-kicker style on a sawdust dance floor...

and that's the bigger point of this, such small deals are we,
never invited to the dance with the big guys,
happily ignorant of such doings as we work on our taxes
and complain about the weather and our recent
piggly politics...

if only we knew how fragile and insignificant
was our place in the universal
sock hop going on all around
us...















This is from April.















detour

I have no feel
for people under thirty-five

and my deep consideration of that and what it means
about them and me

is, perhaps fatally,
interrupted

by the tight, amply exposed
derriere of the tall blond in short-shorts

seasoning her coffee
at the condiments station directly

in front of my table.
a vision, true,

and vision used to be
one of the elements of my

previous successes. but it was a different
kind of vision that enabled me

and I must say, lost of my previous gift
of relevant vision

this new vision
of a shapely bottom

more than compensates,
and though I know nothing about the young woman

to whom this fine bottom
is attached

I can see
how, out on the patio

the young woman with the visionary bottom
has a small dog in her arms,

cuddling and stroking it and
whispering in its fuzzy ear, thus

demonstrating true love and humane values
and that's good enough for
me

















Another from April. I have a lot of them.



















give the man something to write about

after a solid week
of mushy self-referential, not to mentiom
self-reverential
poems
I'm 
determining
to get out of my head today,
find a poem
that escapes the confines
of me,
like the older fella who shares my coffeehouse
every morning,
a small thin fella with white hair and a spotty white beard,
reminding me of a Jewish jeweler in a caper movie,
writes, bent close to the page
in a small notebook,
and I'm thinking trying to look over his shoulder,
what in the world is he writing,
nothing that has anything to do with me,
I'm sure,
which makes him, an escapee from my little world
even more interesting than a Jewish jeweler in a caper movie...

I don't know the man, never introduced myself...

maybe I should do that tomorrow - give him some me
to write about...




Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz
@ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin















April, again, more on the struggles of a poem-a-day poet.



















I could write...

I could
write about the weather;
or
I could write about
the latest attack on decency
by our Russian stooge president pig;
or
I could write about
the dark-haired girl with the infectious laugh
sitting right across the 
room;
or
I could about my friend
who does something with insurance;
or
I could write about the dark clouds
overhead
and the way the sun halos around them
like schoolboys getting away with it;
or
I could write about the short, stubby
fellow with black cowboy boots
that, contrary to his understanding, accentuates
his short stubbiness;
or
I could write about the disappearance 
of 5 cent cigars
and how they stink up a room;
or
I could write about
how in years past smoking a pipe
to help me stop smoking
always made me want a cigarette;
or
how othe people smoking a pipe
sweetens the air around them;
or
how riding the tilt-a-wheel at the annual
livestock show and rodeo in Mercedes, Texas,
in 1961 made me throw up;
or
how I'll never again drink a pint of Old Grandad
before riding a tilt-a-wheel
under any circumstances or at any stock show or rodeo;
or
how I'll probably never ride a tilt-a-wheel or any other
carnival attraction because of my genetically inherited queasiness,
except maybe
the children's little choo-choo because 
just thinking about throwing up at the Mercedes
livestock show and rodeo makes me want to throw up all over
again - even if they bring back good ol' Dan Blocker
to star in the rodeo show;
or
how I understand how writing a poem every day
for ten or so years guarantees a lot of
lousy poems will be written;
or 
how many of those lousy poems
will turn out a lot like this one;
or 
how I retain the faith that somewhere in me
resides a poet,
if I could only find him to
help me write a non-lousy
poem;
and 
how I can take it either way,
any way I can get it...


















Music, the arts, people struggle to find their muse and live the hard life that goes with the struggle.












in it for the life

too
cool
for school

purple-haired 
girl
sings
in a rock band
and slings coffee
on the side

in it for the life;
in it for the rock and roll

reward
enough for now

too busy
having too much fun
to wonder what's
next




Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz
@ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin
















Old is a bitch who always wants more.


















it's hopeless

so
today was labs day
so I went to the Doc and did my bloody thing,
then hied myself off to the coffeehouse for coffee and a poem
but
alas,
the place was devoid of poem-worthy characters.
they all, I'm told,
having absconded right down the street to
Mee-maws Biscuits and Grits and Chicory-lite
special breakfast restaurant
right down the street on the corner of
Piddle and Peek,
which I would go to
myself
except I left all my howdy-hos 
at home and am,
accordingly 
bereft of Mee-maws very special
password...

meaning,
this morning
I'm stuck with this collection of mid-fifties
squares
so diligently sipping their lattes
and tapping their little feet
to the sounds of Lawrence Welk
and his bubbly a-ones and a-twos
continuously playing the the way-back box
between their ears...

it's hopeless!















April, still, in my backyard.
















lizard-fed or not

sitting in my kitchen,
not actually my kitchen
but a small breakfast nook
attached to my kitchen where I can look out
at my backyard, the cat sitting outside
on the window sill, leaping off to stalk
a green lizard on the patio, a beautiful day
and a beautiful afternoon, the backyard a haven
of green solitude and the roses, the brilliant red roses
blooming...

and a moment of deep sadness, knowing
this is one of so many precious moments, irredeemably passed,
flashes of life, come and gone and never to be visited again,
the sadness of life, the reality of life fading, memories fading,
nothing left but the unreliable future that is never real until it has come
and gone again...

the sadness of life's beauty, like today, one and done, and what momentarily
is, is not to last or see again...

what is real, the cat catches the lizard

the cat misses the lizard

all the same to the cat, only our kind knows the difference, and remembers it,
and thinks of it often again...

the sadness of the cat is our sadness, the cat's victory or loss, ours, the experience of it
never to be experienced again...

knowing all the while the cat doesn't care, and would find, 
if it were not contrary to its cat character.
our sad caring foolishly un-catlike
and irrelevant to the sleep it now enjoys
in the chair by my window,
lizard-fed or
not...

















A coffeehouse poem, still in April.















Nefertiti on the rise


the dark-eyed girl

in the checkered stretch pants
walked
like an Egyptian beauty,
sashayed, she did,
like the Pharaoh's favorite cutie
eeeehaw
as we say here in the Texas
part of Egypt,
that houri does truly shake
the world,
seismically...

Nefertiti on her rise
to the top...




Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz
@ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin












More from our lovely, wet spring, still in April.
















the trees are full again

trees
along the creek
are full again, a green wall
blocking my backyard from neighbor's prying eyes

at my backdoor,
my roses bloom, blossoms open and as big as my hand,
red, with a slight orange tint like the sun rising
over the slow morning tides
of Corpus Christi bay...

spring
cannot be denied,
even by the most jaded and skeptical




Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz
@ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin











Still in April, an unusually beautiful day.

















reflecting

considering
the reflection on the wide window
across the way,
a mural on glass, sun bright on the side of the building,
blue sky above it, spring morning
that feels like spring,
smells, ever here in the middle
of the miscellaneous odors of downtown,
like spring is supposed to smell

I soak in the crisp morning air
like in the luxury of a deep bath
after a long day loading bales of hay,
even though I know, choose to ignore,
the misery of spring's successor...

summer,
god help us,
is coming, lest we forget the awful truths
of life in this place - this spring
almost makes worth
even the misery
coming
















Ah, the great outdoors - with spiders and snakes and mosquitoes and Gila monsters and cacti, who needs it.













somewhere in the trees, always

Sunday morning
Starbucks
beautiful clear morning
but 45 degrees
outside,
45 degrees
here beside the plate-glass
window
also
45 degrees
and I'm sitting
bundled hat and coat
wondering why
I'm in here and not outside
where at least there is a fresh morning smell 
to the cold

guess
I'm just one of those -

lived too long in the caves,
safe
from the open air
and unnatural
predators,
fierce
warrior squirrels,
finger-pointing mockingbirds
mocking
the pale shivering
poet
certain
there has to be a Snake
in that tree somewhere...





Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz
@ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin














A moment of silence, a hard thing to find in these noisy days. 

Finally, this is my last leftover from April.















to study silence

I seek to study 
the art and craft of quietude
in these,
my declining days, the last days,
those days not a product of time passed
but forever
in our lives,
from the earliest day
as I fed at my mother's breast
to the day the reaper comes,
every day that comes and passes
is the last day we ever live that day

so sad
those last days forever past,
and how we would like to enjoy them,
again, in real time, not just in the sweet
memories that dominate
such quiet as I can
rarely find

and I envy the old man at the corner table,
flowing white pony tail anchoring
the bald pate above his equally elegant tidal swirl
of white beard...

such a calm and quiet man - what memories I wonder
sustain his peace











                                           

The poem-a-day poet, always the pressure to get it done and move on.

And this early morning poem, the first leftover from May.

(About the photo - My grandfather, as a young man, with his five brothers, in the rough central Texas hills. The photo taken in 1898)













I don't think I can do it

it is
poem-writing time
and my pal, Bella, is waiting in the car,
windows open,
and a huge, violent storm
is to the north and west of us,
coming or not coming this way
and this must be written
before the storm comes or does not come,
a situation which encourages me
to write about gardening. how my pretty red
flowers I just planted
that look like roses
but are not
and how they need rain
but not thunderous rain with hail
and seventy-mile an hour wind and continuous
lightning and not rain
that would make me run out to my car
getting soaking wet to roll up my windows
so my pal, Bella, doesn't get soaking wet, not to mention
the inside of my car...

a real pressure poem, fighting the odds
and forces of pernicious nature and the uncertainty
of life,
the kind of poem that defines the true
poet
and I don' think I can do it...

being actually pretty sure
I can't
do it...














There are a thousand other things I would like to do, but like most I'm just stuck with doing what I can.















things I'd love to do if I could

I would love to be an artist
and
I would love to be able to play the piano

I would also love to be
an archaeologist
but they tend to hang around places
where spiders and snakes 
abide
and though I probably could be
an archaeologist
but I don't like the company
I'd have to keep

so
I'm stuck in a fallback position -
doing this,
something not so badly done
as the other things
I'd like to do

with no spiders and snakes




Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz
@ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin













From May, these left-overs really pile up since I'm no longer publishing weekly.
















what did Picasso see?

what did Picasso see
when he put the first dab of paint
on a new canvas?

did he see the finished painting
that would grow from that dab, or did he see
the dab as the beginning of a process unfolding
toward an end he would not see
until he applied the very last line or smear?

the act of creation, whether by Picasso, or even me
in my humble way, is like a act
of living, every day's piece of creation leading to ends
we cannot know, the end a continuous daily process
of choosing this way or that way, this surrender
to despair and bad intentions, hoping at the end
of each day that it was a good day, adding to a sum
of good days that will make, when our time comes,
for a good end...

this is important to me as I consider the serendipitous
encounters that offer me every day
a chance to add a day
to the art I am creating with my
living canvas,
never knowing what grace will there be
in my final production




Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz
@ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin












Choices to be made every day for the poem-a-day poet.













two choices today

a family, the elderly father
in a dark suit with a flag pin in the lapel,
and his wife, blond, elderly also, but very well
and obviously expensively maintained,
and two daughters, also blond, one maybe early 40
and her sister, three or four years younger,
the the daughters dressed (short skirts, expensive legs)
and their mother in outfits costing in excel of my monthly
social security check...

cheerleader girls grown up,
still pretty as they ever were jumping and cheering
on the fifty yard line,
still with the constant cheerleader, parade-float smile
bestowed to one and all
and it is clear to me that these people
might as well be to me
from the fifth planet of the constellation
Never In Your Life Will You Get Here So Don't Even Try
meaning that writing about them makes as much sense
as writing about a shadow in a smoky room
I can't even see

...

but then there's the other possibility...

the woman
in a long cotton tee,
long in front, cut out in the rear
to frame her overly-generous stretch-panted
rear

come to think of it -

I don't know what to do with that
either...












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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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