To Hell with Politics!   Thursday, June 14, 2018

to hell with politics

sitting in one of the little
places they have set aside
for laptop users
and while it's better that
trying to work at one of the
waxed tables
that leave you chasing your work
as it slips this way and that
with every letter you type,
I'd still be
though not entirely surprised
if someone tossed me a
and did one of those gynyeck-gynyeck-gynyeck
monkey noises in front of me
speaking of higher life forms...
across the room
I can see the parking lot
through the north-facing windows
and out of six cars
I see three including my own
with Obama stickers,
not entirely surprising
since Obama took San Antonio
and Bexar County with about 53%
but still, this is one of the riches parts
of the city, fat cats on every corner
and not often tempted to vote
and even more
not willing to advertise it when they do,
it has to do with winning
I suppose,
even rich folk
like to be on the winning side -
they just happen to be more
accustomed to it than I am...


a pretty
young girl
in a purple fedora
just sat down in front of me
blocking my view
of the parking lot and cars
and Obama stickers


with politics

I'm writing mostly a lot of crap these days and it seems to me that my earlier poems are a lot more fun to read and to write.

Accordingly, all my poems for this edition are old poems from my second book (first eBook) Pushing Clouds Against the Wind. Like all my eBooks, it is available wherever eBooks are sold. I don't talk about this book so much because I tried to go cheap and do the cover myself and ended up with a cover with neither title nor my name. In all my following books, I provide the cover image to the publisher and let their experts do what I was finally willing to pay them to do. The rest of the books all look great, but I'm still embarrassed by that first one, especially because I think it has some really good poems I've been hesitant to promote.

With my poems in this issue, I also have poems from two of my poet friends as well as selected poems from my library.

Here they are.

to hell with politics

red grill
winter postcard

Dan Cuddy
The Tales That Could Be Told

and it's another fine day when nothing much happens

false springs are welcome too

just in case I can't get the fire started

Alice Walker

little man
Millie Sands

Fawziyya Abu Khalid
A Pearl

Ruth Dallas
A New Dress

the girl  with a small mouth and long brown hair

David Eberhardt
After "Bladerunner 2049" and Anton Weber "Piano Variations" Op 27 Rhib fliessen

java note

Pamela Uschuk
She Waits for Amerigo

this is what I learned so far today

Jeanne Murry Walker
Charm for a New Home

approximately excellent

Belle Waring
I Dream I Am Back in Paris

yada yada blah blah

fast times in Birdland

Paisley Rekdal
A Crash of Rhinos

fresco on the other side of sunset

A couple of short poems to help me imagine it's not summer and a hundred something degrees outside.

Have to admit a little WCW inspiration for the first one.

red grill

red grill
on a field 
of brown leaves

autumn come
and almost gone with summer

the long wait
for spring

winter postcard

white horse
on a white field
enclosed by a white fence

I am blinded
by the

This poem is by my poet friend and housemate on the poem-a-day forum, Dan Cuddy.

Some poets write in gentle little streams. Dan writes in torrents, floods of words and images piled upon another, great fun to read, if you can keep up.

The Tales That Could Be Told

all of us
if we had a Tolstoy, a Dickens, an Austen
to write the inside and outside of our lies
have an interesting story to tell

think of all the drama in our minds
the desires regrets, the anger, the love
that makes up the ocean of emotional life
on which we sail everyday

even those who appear so remote
or numbed with drugs, medicinal, or resignedly,
would have a room of dust revealed
like a carnival in bright sun
the odd hairs, the infinitesimal shadows
cast from a grain of dirt, the accumulated
cobwebs hanging from the corners of ceilings,
or gating were baseboards meet at right angles
and look at the airborne dust, stale true,
but magnificent in a beam of light

and that magnificence is the hermit's,
the misanthrope's, the shut-in willed or not
so just think of the social butterflies, the Mrs. Dalloways,
the ruffle of crinoline, the sparkle of a phosphorescent blouse,
the accompanying smile and chatter, no matter the Eliot
women "come and go talking of Michelanelo",
and in a moment's flash, perhaps a color or a sweater,
or the taste of a bon bon, or look at the sky,
the weather, sunlight framing and amorphous cloud,
then in a flash and dash back to childhood memory,
somehow a hopscotch game, a girl hopping on one leg,
or a mother's look of approval, or disapproval
"don't eat so many sweets",
and then back to say hello to Mrs. Costello.

or think of the savagery in some buried memories,
crawling through mud, the tat-tat-tat of machine guns
the concussive sound of blasted shells, the realization
the world wants to kill you for the greater glory of a despot,
the harsh sergeant, the withdrawn captain, the ritual of rank,
salutes as if you were a toy with buttons, the platoon
roaring "yes, sir" in answer to rhetorical command,

or think about the so common but extraordinary details
of our own civilian work-a-day world, the events
and boasts and swallowing of pride, the shames, the self-conscious
gloating, we don't want to be that self-congratulatory,
we know we are just truly, not a Uriah Heep, humble
guy, we try to disguise our bumbling, fumbling,
we step into the mold of confidence, of savor faire,
the straightened tie, the commanding look, the gluing
of compassion in the eye, and we pick up our pen,
sign authoritatively our name,
click our glass with others in toast and dedication
"to friendship", and then when we leave with ourselves,
the plaster cast somewhat nobly, somewhat crudely,
but we fortify with hope, aspiration that we are our better selves,
though statues do crack do flake away with self-questioning,
if lucky if not so cocksure and blind, though the blind often rule
the world with all its splendors, the crack troops, spit-shined boots,
silver helmets reflected in the sun, the pomp of oaks in a breeze,
the pansies or violets planted in odd places lining the accustomed and
special paths through sculpted monuments glorying the past, its life, its death,
but look, look, the innocence in the face of children, the curious but shy eyes -

all of this and infinitely more
stories to be told
in only we had the talent
but damn
let our croaking voices sing
perhaps the noble notes we silently hear
in the inner ear
may catch by chance
like the pieces of a crossword puzzle
a lucky match
the hint o a human tune in the cosmic march
all boom and tinkle and bugle

I am at the quiescent stage of my life - no drama, no excitement, no mysteries to be solved, just long afternoon naps.

and it's another fine day when nothing much happens

it's not
and exciting life I lead
and I'm not such an exciting guy
and that's just fine with me...

so no scary movies or conflict for me...

no rushing to and fro
chasing dreams or demons or wealth
or power over events...

that used to be me,
but now I prefer
to start slow in the morning
and keep that pace for the rest of the day...

nobody cares much for what I think
of the issues of the day, especially not those
who could make things different...

so I prefer smaller thoughts,
closer to home and closer to me...

I like sitting in little coffeehouses
writing little poems that come and go
like saltine crackers, crunchy,
a little salty on your tongue, then gone
and mostly forgotten,,,

I like keeping my decisions small...

that's enough excitement for me

False spring is that week or two when it seems winter's back is broken, warm sunny days, new, green buds and the smells of life awakening. But it's a mirage, winter waits to pounce one more time, a disappointment, but for the week of it, great pleasure.

false springs are welcome too

I was in the coffeehouse,
engaged in
by donut
when I looked around and noticed
the place was knee-deep
in fat old men with beards, most of them,
those not dozing,
from the young girl
in little white shorts who just walked through...

it's a weather phenomena thing,
false spring
bringing warm days
and chill nights,
little green buds on every three,
and little twig nests
with little speckled white eggs
and fiercely protective mothers
watching every approach,
little doomed birds,
poor little thin-shelled eggs
soon to be thrown to the ground
by returning winter winds...

but not so tragic,
this false spring for the fat
old men with beards
for they can dream
and dreams cannot be fooled,
will not freeze,
will not blow away in the fiercest wind,
so that long, bare legs scurrying
all around town,
like the bird and the bud on the tree
by the kitchen window,
may return to winter cover soon,
but the dreams they stirred
will prevail...

There are good days in poetry world, and some not so good.

just in case I can't get the fire started

a cold, cold day,
and a little wet...

been up since 6:30
and now it's eleven hours later
and I'm in my coffee shop
looking for something in any part
of those long hours
that suggests the possibility
of  poetic

so what did I do today?

I finished the first final draft
of the first of the four chapbooks
I want to do this year
but that was all drudge work ...

no poetry there

I spent a couple of hours at home
waiting for the chinney sweep
so I'd be able to have a nice fire tonight,
but though that might spark a poem tonight
it does diddly for m right now...

I went to to the used book store
and bought four books,
including a Neruda and three other worthies
I never heard of, but since I haven't read
any of the books yet I can see no way to weasel
a poem out of them...

looking around the coffeehouse
I see about 10 people
but none of the blip on my poetry radar
except for a skinny blond
with straight bleach-white hair,
serious don't-fuck-with-me glasses
and an attitude that suggests
if I wrote a poem about her and she found out
she'd have to kill me...

she's for sure not a happy camper,
pissed about something, something
to do with a man, I think, and being one such
I don't want to know anymore...

it might be safer
to just sit in front of the fire tonight,
and write some
doofus poem
about the glow of the dancing flames
and, you know,

This poem, long, but written in small bites, is by Alice Walker, and is taken from her book Once, published by The Women's Press in 1987.

Snapshots from the South in the bad old days. Silly we were, thinking they were over and gone forever.



Green lawn
a picket fence
flowers -
My friend smiles
she had heard
that Southern
were drab.

Looking up I see
a strong arm
the Law
Someone n America
is being

                 (from me.)

In the morning
there was
a man in grey
but the sky
was blue.


"Look at that
nigger with those
white folks!"
        My dark
Arrogant friend
turns calmly, curiously
               "Where?" he

It was the fifth
In as many
How glad I am
that I can
look surprised


Running down
With my sign
I see heads

"a nice girl
     like her!"

A Negro cook
            her mistress -

But I had seen
the fingers
near her eyes
    wet with


One day in
Working around
the Negro section
My friend got a
the mail
- the letter
        "I hope you're
having a good
fucking all
            the niggers."

"Sweet." I winced.

That day she sat
         a long time
a little black girl
in pigtails
on her lap

Her eyes were very

She used to tell the big colored ladies
her eyes were just
the same
"I am alone
my mother died."
Though no other


It is true -
I've always loved
the daring
Like the black young
Who tried
to crash
All barriers
at once,
       wanted to
At a white
beach (in Alabama)


Peter always
the only
way to
southern towns
was to
the county
        first thing

Another thing
Peer wanted -
was to be
         but we
        find him
when he needed it.

But he was just a yid

 never liked
white folks
happened quite
       A pair of


I don't think
         into it

You see
   there was
      this little
Standing here
   and her
            went into
that store

then -
       there came by
this little boy
without his
& eating
ice cream cone
- see there it is -

              and the little
                  girl was
                   the little

Who is too



Someone said

          the South

it will do so
the grave."

if the South
he would
               "step on

Dick Gregory
   said that
     if the
        there is

But I say -
if the
It will not
in my presence.


but I don't
          give a fuck
  my daughter
      marries -"
the lady
adorable -
it was a
I remember
her daughter
sat there
beside her
her arm
sixteen -
very shy
very prim


then there
the charming
             half-wit who told
the judge
re: indecent exposure
"but when I
step out
    of the
I look
      Good -
just because
my skin
is black
don't mean
it ain't
                             you old bastard!)
what will we
finally do
with prejudice

some people like
to take a walk
after a bath.


"look, honey
the blond
in the

"I like you
I ain't

but the
lord didn't
give me
to see'im
from a

"But they're so
                          than mine.

Would you really mind?"
he asked
wanting her to dance.


I remember
a little girl,
dreaming - perhaps,
    hit by
    van truck

"That nigger was
in the way!" the
understanding cops.

         But was she?
                She was
                   just eight
                      her mother
      and little
                  her age


then there was
picture of
little black
waving the
holding it
the very
of her

Here are several shorter poems from the book.


across the stage
as she delivers
my order of decaf
and a scone,
then back again
still dancing,
still in the music,
the abandon
of dance
and rhythm
and music 
and youth,
a moment of light
to an old soul
with the news of the day

little man

on a cellphone
with booming voice
there is more to him
than appears

Millie Sands

is afraid
of the dark
and hurries
to give Bixbie
his walk
before shadows
yanks hard at his leash
when he stops to check
his mail at the Robinson's oak

Next for this journal, poems from This Same Sky, "A Collection of Poems from around the World" selected by San Antonio poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. The anthology was published by Aladdin Paperbacks in 1996. The book was recognized as a Booklist Editor's Choice as an ALA Notable Children's Book.

This poem is by Fawziyya Abu Khalid of Saudi Arabia, translated by Salwa Jabsheh and John Heath-Stubbs.

A Pearl

This pearl
was a gift of my grandmother - that great lady -
         to my mother
         and my mother gave it to me
And now I hand it on to you
The three of you and this pearl
Have in common
         simplicity and truth
I give it with all my love
and with the fullness of heart
          you excel in
The girls of Arabia will soon grow
          to full stature
They will look about and say
"She has passed by this road"
and point to the place of sunrise
and the heart's direction

And this poem is by Ruth Dallas of New Zealand

A New Dress

I don't wan a new dress, I said.
My mother plucked from her mouth ninety nine pins.
I suppose there are plenty, she said, girls of ten
Who would be glad to have a new dress.

Snip-snip. Snip-snip. the cold scissors
Are quickly as my white rabbit round my arm

She won't speak to me if I have a new dress!
My feet rattled on the kitchen floor

How can I fit you if you won't stand still?

My tears made a map of Australia
On the sofa cushion, from the hot center
My friend's eyes flashed, fierce as embers
She would not speak to me, perhaps never again
She would paralyze me with one piercing look.

I'd rather have my friend than a new dress!

My mother wouldn't understand, my grownup mother
Whose grasshopper thimble winked at the sun
And whose laughter was made by small waves
Rearranging seashells on Australia's shore.

Another coffeehouse character.

the girl with a small mouth and long brown hair

threw back her hair
with a flip of her head
and smiled,
little mouth a bow
drawn tight like a knot
on a pink and white tie
or a kitten
that curls like a ball
when you tickle
its belly

This poem is by my poet-friend, David Eberhardt.

After "Bladerunner 2049" and Anton Webern "Piano Variations" - Op 27 Ruhib fliessend

Your code is to sing the following tone row:

Pale grave stones the color of Indian Pipe...
"Soundless as dots on a disc of snow"

The difference, replicants, rogue replicants...
Dial me a veritable woman, a vertebrate woman...
Take me to Iceland, to the volcanic fissures
A pale blue luminous landscape. Scan
The whole field. Type in "Emily Dickinson" enlarge...
Access to my memories permitted, unscramble
The plumbago and pale blues I have knitted.
Dead space between stars, a dessiccant,
But I want the real rain that is treasured
Not some hologram rain, interstitial,
To see the world I had to imagine it,
                                            "You are given
5 minutes w Ms. Dickinson - off world papers
But when you return you'll be scanned
Returning from Reykjavik, its hot spring baths,
Report to your memory designer - room 27".

Double click to go full screen...
If you want to be free, join is,
"Peter and the Wolf" - Pipa Passes"

If you hang around coffeehouses, you will see this scene often.

java note

two men
one woman
around a small table
for a coffee shop
business meeting...

the men
early middle-age,
the woman,
well endowed
in a low cut
sun dress,
with fringe...

the men,
talking too much,
nervous chatter
as men sometimes do
when moving their mouth
to cover the furtive,
roaming of their eyes

This is by Pamela Uschuk, from her book, One-Legged Dancer. The book was published by Wings Press in 2002.

She waits for Amerigo

Scaling the snowless Sierra Madres
Amerigo drives the Chihuahua al Pacifico
weaving together railroad tracks
and solitary Tarahumara towns.

Without tequila or cerveza, Amerigo
drives the sober train through
all seasons, his engine a black sheen
of sure controlled muscle.

Alert, inside a green cavern
of sheet metal, his body
is fetal and round, shoulders
sloping like cinammoned dough
to the ends of soft fingers
closed around the throttle's blue neck.

Speed runs through his arm,
enters the canal work of his body,
surrounds the spewing flesh
with a net of vibrating motion,
orbiting as regularly as Cassiopeia
does heaven's dark crown.

He shows me pictures of his children
nine satellites tumbling from his wallet
like the excess credit cards
of the inexcusably rich.
Half-forgotten dreams,
their names cycle in his memory.

Last, he smiles at his wife's face,
moon-shaped and lovely, which rises
above the mound of her belly
polishing the jewel of the tenth unborn.
Glowing from the summit
of her massive peaks, she waits
as heavens turn to ice, for Amerigo.

Continuing education leads to a fuller life.

this is what I learned so far today

little frogs
for sex...

how do
they do that
you might ask...

(this is the interesting part)

big frogs
have deep bass voices

little frogs
have little
squeaky voices...

though lady frogs
don't care
the size
of the croak,
some little frogs
learn how to deepen
their voice
so they sound
like really big
and really
much of their
from the pond
and leaving
all the little
green girlie frog
to themselves...

who's spend
an evening
at any West Texas
will understand
the principle

This poem is by Jeanne Murray Walker, taken from her book, Fugitive Angels. The book was published by Dragon Gate Inc. in 1985.

Born in 1944, Walker is a poet and playwright.

Charm for a New House

In March, the sun turned north, across
your kitchen table. By April may it unfurl
leaves of ivy to toss upon the wall
you look at every day. May weeds and moss
rage on the dormer below and may you take
the trouble to angle a look from where you sit.
Then may their lives damn all your fears to death.
May cats in heat howl briefly and one rung
lower on the ladder of desire if they sing
in your yard at all. May they never satisfy
their hearts' heat with birds. May everything
that prowls beneath your gaze life safe, live long,
and may you understand that their strengths lie
in them because you looked.

                                             May what you see
within your rugs, your books, your pictures, take
you welcome into them. May the brown and blue
still life on your wall be still each time you look
in its own colors. May each thing come back
May each be true, the keys, the shirts, each shoe,
your plants and spoons in their own shapes. And may
the blue stripe that circles your crockery bowl
charm it from flaws as this spell charms away
whatever can cause your heat to crack and fail.

Bought a small mobile home out in the country for our son to use while in college, then rented it out for a couple of years when he was done with it. After several years of problem renters, we decided to sell it, an decision requiring a lot of work to clean up the damage the renters did. To save money (actually in an attempt to break even on the original purchase) we did a  bunch of the work ourselves.

As foretold, I'm not really so good at that kind of stuff.

approximately excellent

was another day
at the money pit...

laying down
kitchen tile this time...

it is said
to be a very precise
this tile-laying thing,
and am not widely
known as a person
of frequent

of an approximation
type guy, that's
but I put that damn tile down
and now my knees hurt
and my...
without bothering to name
all the various parts,
just say everything
hips down

and it may be true.
even precisely true that an individual
of a perfectionist bent
who insists on a true northerly orientation
might find fault
with the trueness of the line
of my tile,
but another person
of a more approximistic nature,
willing to drift his orientation
a degree or two
or even three north northeasterly
could very will look
at how my tiles line up
and find it quite sufficient,
in fact, that person,
knowing tdhat the lowest professional bid
for this work was 965 dollars and 37 cents,
would almost certaintly say
that the free work done today
was in fact

Next, here's Belle Waring, with a poem from her book, Refuge, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1990.

Waring, born in Virginia in 1951. She  holds degrees in Nursing and English are in 1998 received an MFA in Creating Writing at Vermont College. At the time of publication she was on the faculty of the Vermont College M.F.A. program and continued her work as a Registered Nurse.

I dream I Am back in Paris

walking east. It's hard to forgive
anything. The sky billows with a million

wild roses, back lit, as Monseigneur Soleil
crawls up the horizon. Nobody's awake but me & I'm

two places at once: Paris, district twenty, and my
grandparent's house in Virginia with its huge blue

spruce and roses all colors went nuts in summer
and lightning bugs fired with silencers into the dark.

I am going to surprise you on Rue St. Blaise. When I
burst into the courtyard the dream falls

dark like a curtain dropped on the photographer's
head. The government of Paris razed your house & left

a mess of squatter's huts. That house survived
the Revolution. Cows grazed there. You took in

all of us. Middle class renegades. Refugees
blasted from Chile. Algerians. Americans. Mornings.

The world overwhelms us with news, trivial and portentous and the silent moments a mind needs to find calm and clarity get harder and harder to find.

yada yada blah blah blah

I thought a walk along the creek
under a clear sky
and starry nights and all the universe that is
might rehabilitate my mind,
clear it of all the crap that accumulates
between synapses...

but the night is damp cold
and the sky is overcast and dark
and unproductive of clarity, or even
meager inspiration,
so I'm stuck with the same melange
of personal and global preoccupations
that mushifies any semblance
of clear and consistent thought...

Palestinian elections
and Israeli elections
and Iraqi elections
and Bolivian elections
and Sudanese genocide
and Uzbek oil and
my latest lab results
and the mortgage payment
and the latest obscenities
from Trump's Washington
and the kid's student loan
and why the hell can't I get
a good night's sleep anymore
and the radiator leak
and if we don't get some rain soon
we're going to lose all the
yada yada
blah blah blah

I used to be able
to tell the difference between the picayune
and the important stuff
but now I'm lost in a malaise
of inconsequential, leaving me to obsess
over things I can't do a  goddamn
thing to change

Fatal accident on the corner of Clearview and Vine.

fast times in Birdland

I hit a bird this morning,
ran right over him
when he flew too low
and too slow

dumbass bird

I drove on

stuck in my Cadillac's
checkerboard grill,
beak forward
around his black BB eyes
ruffling in the wind,
he dies.
goddamn -
look at me go...

I'm the fastest bird
in this whole freaking

This, my last library poem for this issue, is by Paisley Rekdal. It is taken from her book, A Crash of Rhinos, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2000.

At the time of publication, Rekdal taught at the University of Wyoming.

a crash of rhinos

What's your pet name? Collective noun?
What will Snookums do today? Your bedmate
pulls quarters magically from behind your ear, one
for each hour you've spent together. When he stops
there's fifty cents sliding into the sheets and his tongue
covering the pink cauliflower of your nipple. "Beautiful
defects," he whispers into your body. "Ah, nature," Roll away,
don't care that he calls you "Thumper." By noon you'll be
nose to nose anyway, a sloth of bears, snoozing
your way into a relationship.

Ah, nature. You could tell him its startling fact
is not its defects but its sameness. A uniformity
suggestive of some single-cell prototype, our Adam/Eve
genome plucked, as scientists think,from the thread
of a lightning bolt. Darling, today you're more
than anonymous, one sexy blip among the thousand
couples grunting in each other's arms, defined by Loving,
your action. Flying geese only recognized
by the form they make in the sky.
A crash of rhinos, piece of asses. Stinkhead:
everything comes in boring droves of hogs.

This is how you got here. Mid-morning he tallies your union
in terms of snakes, tarantulas, the evolutionary needs
of common flagellates till you scorn science: its primal
urge to pair like scared cows shoved ass to ass in circles
for defense.  A clutch of penises! What is love but fear?
That soft storm at your periphery, sudden hand
pushing you below surface? Thoughts, as you age or sicken,
sifted from consciousness like dusts of starlings: Love me,
little lamb.No one should die alone.

Sweetheart, all your friends are married.
Packs of teazles? Kerfs of planters? A multiplicity of spouses.
Today only two quarters protect you
from loneliness. It's out of your hands. The job
didn't pan, checks bounce, 2 A.M. is its own
worst child. This is your last magic trick.
"Kumquat," he whispers. Lover. Loved one.
And the soul begs always, Leave me leave me
while the body says simply, Stay.

Now, two short poems to close this issue.

fresco on the other side of sunset

of low clouds
as cotton candy
against billows
virgin white
a mediterranean


sun lies low
behind scrub branches

yellow jigsaw
at end of day

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


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