Finding My Book In A Second-Hand Book Store   Saturday, August 11, 2018

finding my book in a second-hand book store

so I found my first book
in a second-hand book store
in a city and a state
far from home

do I think:

O, wonderful, someone from far away
read my book and brought it here
so that it might be purchased
and enjoyed by another reader...


O woe, this book, this labor of love,
discarded, done, old news, no
leaves pressed between the pages,
no careful preservation for poetry-minded
progeny, a remembrance forgot,
not to be cherished and saved for another generation,
or maybe for a current lover
who will hold it dear as
they hold you,
O, wonderful sensitive people
who sleep ever night with a book of fine
poetry tucked beneath their pillow
never to sleep over

or, simply,

O look, someone bought my book, money
in my pocket, easy-earned cash from a few
small scribbles -

on the road to riches now,
lets go out for


taking in the sights
in a new city, finding
the familiar
where never expected...

Standard stuff, except that all my poems, but for the last two, are from 2013 and are poems I'm  particularly pleased with. Good stuff from my library as well.

finding my book in a second-hand book store

bright day

Judy Beaston
He Once Walked Miles

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people (1-4)

Francis X. Alarcon
Never Alone

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people (5-8)

Coleman Barks
Easter Morning, 1992
Light, Many-Footed Sound in the Leaves

in a Mexican courtyard, 1959

Nicole Cooley
Good Friday, Alice Liddell

visit Sierra Blanca and other diversions

Mairym Cruz-Bernal
. . . but I married a man

center of the universe

Mary Jo Salter

only God can make an egg

Elsa Cross
Balancing Act 

aliens discuss their plumbing

Jane Hirshfield
To Drink

to rant, to scream, to kick some ass

random ponderables while dog pees on her favorite tree

learning my place

Ron Slate
Beginning with a Line by Madeleine des Roches

an ambulance passes, patient cabin lit

racing the night away
just a taste

A new day poem in January.

bright day

bright day
morning clouds
burn away; sunshine
folds itself around
afternoon shadows

This poem is by my poet friend and House of 30 housemate, Judy Beaston, from Oregon.

The poem moved me as I remembered my own father's long decline and his final end, unconscious for his last weeks and depending on machines to keep alive when all that he ever was was already gone.

He Once Walked Miles

If I travel back through time's imperfect lens
I locate my father, his thick hair black as tar,
his discipline matching that heat and harshness,
but he lifted us up, my siblings and I,
tossed us into the air when we were young,
later launched us into the cool waters of lakes
visited on hot summer weekends,
his slim body sturdy on long legs, feet planted

with confidence in the sand, unlike present
days when mind and body disconnect,
commands sent to his feet seem to jog and jag,
set his hands and arms into flailing motion
attempting to locate, grasp a rail, table,
anything to prevent what also happens too frequently
when his feet and legs fail, send him sprawling
to the ground, wrists bruised, though thus far his hip not
broken, only his spirit slides into shadows.

Notes he sends me project images of self
once real, pipe dreams now, about intentions
for adventure, plans to embark on solo journeys,
desires to embrace a path into life's final
years where independence rises like cream
to the top of every day's morning greetings.

I hear him, I recognize the fight against lost
freedom, whether of the mind, body or worst
of all for him, loss of his home, symbol of value
earned by his own hard work and adherence
to saving learned during the lean years of youth.

Each stumble forces him down dark corridors
where he must feel imprisoned by a body
that once walked miles without concern,
his mind also dropping bits and pieces
without his knowing their absence,
seeing only this betrayal of life,
a life finally freed of the constraint
imposed by the years of caring for his wife,
freed at last to adventure denied
by the merciless censure of age.

You can also follow Judy at her blog, Flights of Fancy

These are the first four of an eight-part series I wrote in 2013. In posting them I have to admit that, though they are included in my 2013 file, I did not initially remember writing them, though I will say that a number of parts and lines sound very much like me.

I'll post the second four parts shortly.

And to settle the question of authorship, I have completed transcribing all 8 pieces and it appears
after doing the first one (they were all done one a day on the poem a day forum) it became clear to me that I was being much too serious about something that begged for humor

The humor, beginning in the second is very definitely mine.

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #1
    Respectful of human personality always kind, generous, polite and ready to give in to others

retain always
a belief
in the possibility
that we
may be better than the creatures
of the forest and the field

the fools who rebuke you
for your wit and sensibility;
though they may be, but still human
as you, subject to the same fears
as you, though exaggerated to moronic levels,
they are as frightened
as you would be
if you shared in their delusions
of inadequacy
in face of turmoil they do not understand

have pity;
all of them to rant on
as if they had something of value to say

do not puncture
the balloon of their over inflated self-esteem
for they can turn quite rabid
if faced with the collapse of their irrational constructs

as of course would you be as well
if you suffered the same hallucinatory
visions of reality

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #2
     The have sympathy not for beggars and cats alone.

unneutered cats
who pee on your front porch
and street corner bums
who scatter cardboard "will work for food" lies
about like feathers from a molting duck -

some people love these creatures,
those people whom we call Saints,
like St. Francis of Assisi, who
overcome by guilt after a wanton life
consuming blackbird pie daily,
sought to redeem himself in the eyes
of the Lord
by being kindly to hungry birds, spiders,
fleas and small children...

not so many of us can live up to the standards
of the saints, but Chekhov says we don't have -
leave such low things to the saints, he says,
non-saintly people can be quiet cultured simply
by being kind to regular people
like bankers, barbers, bartenders,
basket weavers, boilermakers, emu breeders,
and insurance agents...

being a cultured person is generally much easier
than being a saint

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #3
     They respect the property of others and therefore pay their debts.

installment debt
is a wonderful financial instrument
for those of us
who expect to die in a fiery airplane crash
with a huge insurance
payoff -

and especially wonderful
for those of us who think we know a way
to fake our death
in a fiery airplane crash
with a huge insurance

the sandy beaches
of many Caribbean islands
being especially
welcoming to those of us
who enjoy the benefit of a huge insurance

not being one of the clever
or lucky ones
I have never gone to a fiery death
in an airplane crash
nor have I figured out how to fake one,
leaving me stuck with an ever-continuing monthly payment
on my 1956 Frigidaire, concentrating
all my investments in
such as bacon and pinto beans
at my local supermarket

and owing my soul
to the company store
that left me with 346 books
of worthless Green Stamps when they went
corporate and

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #4
     They are not given to babbling and forcing their uninvited confidences on others. Out of respect to other people's ears they more often keep silent than talk

you hear
my Facebook 

my very

have to
to tell

Here are some short pieces from Snake Poems, An Aztec Invocation, a collection songs of and chants from the original Aztec, collected and translated by a Catholic priest at the time of the Spanish conquest, plus some poems written by the author of the book, Francisco X. Alarcon.

The priest was directed by the church to collect these poems and chants to determine if Aztec tradition was being used to subvert the accepted church rites and beliefs. The irony is his collection is the most complete and contemporaneous record of Aztec poetry at the time of their conquest.


          my dark

         would brush
         her long hair

         seated out
         on her patio

          even ferns
          would bow

          to her splendor
          and her power


          at the end
          I found


          the other end
          of the rope


          the whale
          can't stop
          from the bottom
          of the sea

Never Alone

          this caressing

          this Earth
          to our feet

          this boundless
          of being



          open at


          in my sleep
          I smell
          the roots
          of this flower

Returning to the last 4 of the Chekhov 8-part series I started earlier.

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #5
     They do not play on the strings of other people's hearts so that they may sign and make much or

Manfred Wiggins
is about to have a heart attack
and he's pleased to tell me about it,
but it's not as bad
as it could be
he says,
after all a heart attack is relatively quick,
much quicker
than the cancer he's been telling me about,
or the brain tumor,
he's felt coming on for years
probably radiation from his cell phone
he tells me,
and these sniffles
he's had
for three days, the over head
electric wires
the ozone layer,
stirring up the filimentatious obviouses
in his lungs, can't
you smell it, he asks, saying,
and I probably broke my toe
last night
on the chair as I went
to the bathroom
to look at these dark circles
under my eyes,
can't you see them, he complains,
it's a sure sign of legionnaires disease
from what I've
he says,

ah, he sighs

it'll be great to be dead
he says,
and relatively

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #6
     They have no shallow vanity.

it being rodeo days
I thought I'd get
a new feather
for my cowboy hat
a tail feather from a hawk,
I was thinking, or maybe emu
or peacock, or even some
of that Japanese plastic
parrot plumage, but
the salesman said none of that
would do any good unless
I did something about my hair,
maybe some blond streaks
moussed up a bit, with some
curls around my ears, and
that wouldn't do any good either
if I didn't do a little Botox
for those crow's feet and the
frown lines and maybe something
more serious for the double chin,
and a manicure, of course, and
a pedicure wouldn't hurt around
the pool and of course there's
the Speedo with the built in
crotch enhancer that enhances
swimming pool experiences
immensely, immensely, of course
being the point of it all...

and I was thinking,
well hell,
all I wanted was a new feather
in my hat, but if you think
the other will help, I'm willing
to give it a try

it's a whole new kind
of rodeo these
you know

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #7
     If they have a talent they respect it. They sacrifice to it rest, women, wine, vanity - they are proud of their talent...

I'm the gol-darndest punkin pie-
eater you ever did see

and it ain't easy

you have to suffer
for your art
or you can't call yourself
any kind of

don't let anyone
tell  you punkin pie-eating
isn't no art

it is
by damn
and I'm an artist at it
and at 438 pounds no one can say
I haven't suffered
for my art

I've been thinking 'bout
my artistic endeavor to pecan pie-
eating, but I don't know

It being a different milieu
offering different kinds of aesthetic

it's all them little pecan pieces
you got to chew up, punkin pie, hell,
your can darn near swallow
one of them things

I'm thinking I might ought'a stick
to the art I know, you know like that Van Gogh
guy, wasn't no good at all
on the tuba
and the Spanish guy who drew
all them funny pictures
of screwy women
could barely
his way
through chopsticks
without embarrassing
his whole family (all them wives)
and the whole Spanish

Chekhov's 8 qualities of cultured people - #8
 They develop the aesthetic feeling in themselves.

gets an 
in himself
at least
a day

he likes
a lot


the warts
getting to
a problem

Two poems now by Coleman Barks, taken from his book Gourd Seed, published by Maypop Books in 1993.

Easter Morning, 1992

A bright copper and brown striped lizard,
big for this area, seven inches long,
has taken over my mop
drying on the back fence.
Here four hours, bent over
like some clearly crazed old man
humping the back of the head of his goddess,
his goddess who was only the back of a head all round.
Not that there's pelvic motion,
but he looks tranced, the perfect five-fingered
hands spread for pleasure and grip.
He never minds my face so near, not I his.
It may look like love but it is
that that keeps us in this head
over head over head, eons.

Light, Man-Footed Sound in the Leaves

This is what Benjamin heard in the pre-dawn,
studying at his dining table with the windows open,
on the graduate student triplex he shares
with his wife and new child, as he was
mine, as I was, and she theirs,
a rain of water oak acorns
in no even slightest breeze, overflow
gratitude so early, an elegance,
harpsichord, to spring necklaces of,
and say these are the toboggan people,
much loved and touched, and always losing their hats.
Hello little darling smooth face, a forming close
to the mother's throat and forehead of the father.

Written in 2013 based on a memory from many years back.

in a Mexican courtyard, 1959

a Mexican courtyard
under a rhinestone studded sky
on a black, border town night

she dances,
slowly, like a cat,
around the courtyard,
pausing before every table
to stretch, again, like a cat,
perfect in its shadow body,
bare feet barely brushing
the dirt floor, compact,
sleek, full breasts,
dark, Indian nipples
no burlesque,
no go-go dancer, nothing overtly
sexual, more like
a cat stretching, except she is
naked and it is a whorehouse
and it has to be about sex,
sex as a can can be like sex,
slow and sensual in every step,
every smooth, silky step
a caress of the night...

15-year-old boys
clutch their tight crotches under the table
and wonder if the girls
they know
could ever be like this

This poem was written by Nicole Cooley. It is taken from her book, Resurrection, published by Louisiana State University Press in 1996. It was winner of the 1995 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets.

Good Friday, Alice Liddell


The sun sticks like an aspirin in the sky.


Mother, I've come back for the cure, back
to the afternoons when we lie flat on the grass
in the yard to offer our bodies to God,
to offer our bodies to you.


In the kitchen Mother preaches denial,
tells us the tricks - lemon slices spread on the tongue,
glasses of vinegar and ice to thin out the blood.


This is the one day she looks forward to all year.
This is the one day her daughters are hers.


Years later I will cross through the streets of another city
looking for the man who will bring me here,
to the place she invented.
You don't need the body for love.
You need refusal.
This is the Body of Christ.
This is the Bread of Heaven.
This is the thrill along my spine when I don't take him in.


To reach God, Saint Rose takes in nothing.
Hunger is beautiful.
In the garden she wants to rise close to him.


I am waiting for this simple retrieval.
As the man in the bed grips my wrists,
I turn lighter and lighter in his arms
till I rise toward the yellow disc of the sun,
transparent and free.


I don't eat for days. I can't get enough of your refusal.


Lifting the sheet form my shoulders,
I open the cage of my ribs to show him our secret,
the small fire at the center of my body,
the interior ecstatic light.


In the story of childhood Alice has no lover.
She knows nothing of radiance.
In the story the body shuts up like a telescope.
Alice has no mother.


In the bed I will open my body to God.


On the kitchen sill the votive candles flicker
in their red glasses,
you singing Holy, holy, holy.
I want each touch to return me to you.
Mother, enter my body like a lit-up room,
cure me with your miraculous light.

As with the rest in this post, written in 2013, another of my travel poems.

visit Sierra Blanca and other diversions

for four days, returning south
mountains in the rearview,
desert ahead...


between Alamogordo
and El Paso,
like a sheet of bubble-wrap,
soft, peach-colored sand
with tufts of desert
at the top of each mound,
desert gnomes,
their pink balding heads
from the arid wasteland


La Senora restaurant,
El Paso,
enchiladas, red,
the taste of New Mexican
enchiladas, infiltrating Tex-Mex through
the borderland...

young woman
carrying her baby,
behind, carrying all the
that travels with  young family
and their babe-in-arms, the
young husband and father, the baby,
at the table facing me,
looks at me,
breaks into a wide, toothless smile,
the father turns to me,
wants to make sure I saw it,
"ain't it something," his look says,
"aint' it the goddamdest thing
you ever saw"


the sign on the highway
says, "visit historic Sierra Blanca" -
so we do...

three old churches
and an old man tending
his goat
by the highway

and we've visited historic
Sierra Blanca


the day sets on us
in Van Horn, just inside the
central time zone, officially back
in Texas

El Capitan Hotel,
grand old hotel, restored
several  years ago at a cost of
several million

(a transom over the door
to our room, Dee had never seen one
and had to be introduced
to what it was and what it was for - another
of the hazards of consorting with younger women,
so much to be explained...)

El Capitan Hotel,
Van Horn's oldest and finest,
about the only thing
in the only town
within a hundred miles in either


on the patio by the fountain

(the dog drinks
from the fountain, is startled
by the large red koi
swimming under her nose)
a flavorsome step back
in time, the room comfortable,
the beds soft nd inviting,
a quiet town...

a good night's sleep and

cat, I know,
will be waiting in the
driveway, missing for a week
her morning walk with
her dog

might say hello
to me

This poem is by Mairym Cruz- Bernal, from her book, On Her Face the Light of La Luna. The book was published by Provincetown Arts Press in 1977.

. . . but I married a man

I press my eyes to see stars of many colors.
Time is ending and there is something I must do.
Fear breathes through my pores. I m never afraid.
Today I am afraid of dying. I don't want to see a doctor.
I press my eyes to see stars of many colors
and imagine those colors and imagine those stars.
My house is a mountain with cool breeze.
My house is tree with wide arms for my rest.
Green arms, green stars,
a green mountain blossoming in winter.
But I am so apart from my house, from the music
of that piano I used to play as a child.
A piano that was bought for me and Fur Elise.
Now my fingers are gnarled and bent.
I should have kept that piano, those pieces of music.
I wanted to be a mother like my mother.
I wanted to have a father forever...

Product of a thousand days of coffeehouse observation, feeling more irrelevant every day.

center of the universe

you've seen them
in the early morning

professional women
in suits,, high heels, and two hundred dollar
business breakfast,
in their ambition to be
all that someone told them
they ought to be

having no chance
in this new world rising,
making its stealthy way,
redundancy becoming irreversibly
as each new generation of women
moves the center of the

This poem is by Mary Jo Salter. It is taken from her book, Henry Purcell in Japan, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1985.


There's nothing green,
it would seem in the past
of this petrified pod,
stuffed until burst-
ing cotton from wood;
it is so human,

how far a thing ends
from where it began.
As though it's blown
out its brains, it stands
bobbing, the neck
a quarter-inch thick;

but (this is odd)
the tip of each lock
of baby-hair's tied
with seeds strung on sheer
ribbons of air.
One brown plume in back

one salted bird tail
of intransigent leaf,
yet postures as if
what passes for dead
needs a hat - and may well
be alive, for milkweed

runs its own kind of  blood.
When  a breeze comes to split
top from stalk, the snap
releases instead
a slow, gummy sap:
it's chillingly white.

Another Sunday morning poem of a theological nature. It is good to know one's limitations.

only God can make an egg

Sunday morning in San Antonio...

church is out
and the prospectively saved
invade my pagan

time for me to
go back to my dark
of iniquity, the light of the righteous
is blinding
my disbelieving

but I am not forever
vanquished, for
even if it's
only God can make an egg,
he can't enjoy it
on wheat toast with strawberry jam
and super-extra-crispy bacon
an I can...

I win

Next, I have three short poems from an anthology, Reversible Monuments, Contemporary Mexican Poetry, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2002. The poet I selected is Elsa Cross. Born in Mexico City in 1946, Cross has a PhD. in philosophy and has be publishing regularly since the early sixties.

Her poems included in the book were translated by Margaret 
Sayers Peden.

Balancing Act

Rope strung over an abyss,
I move along it,
                          walking with tentative steps,
I sway,
            I stop.

And if I fell?
And if I fell, what then?
                                        fall? where?
Where can I fall that you are not there?


Your body is night
                               descending toward me.
Will for form.
Points of light give order to  your profile
on high and far below,
in the narrow and the ample,
in the lost,
in the forgotten,
in what is recovered.
And there is nothing untouched by your presence.


Dark dwelling place of meaning
limits and prisons
of what is given us in silence.

Ah, words, which still may
            your image, by then dispersed.

Their forces are reconciled in vain,
for they cannot salvage
that leap made from speech
                                             to thought
and from thinking to self-absorption.

They come alone and speak of the "white chamber"

Coffeehouses, what great places, almost as fun as National Geographies.

aliens discuss their plumbing

I was going
to write about the beautiful morning,
so bright,
so cool, third day in a row, after three days
of triple digit heat

but I can't...

the women in the booth across from me
are so remarkable,
the older of the two,
short and dumpy, wrinkles on wrinkles,
thick ankles drooping over sensible shoes,
an indescribably deep
East Texas accent, so broad
it's like pine trees stirring in the morning breeze
right outside our window, wafting
the essence of wet pine every time
the door opens...

the other woman related
to the first
from their conversation, though so starkly different
from the other it's hard to imagine a common
bloodline, tall, slim, broad shouldered, large breasted,
most likely older than she looks,
straight hair, white and long to the center
of her back, face all angles and planes, cheek
bones like an ice shelf hanging
over the ocean, a stunning woman
at whatever age, a revelation of the possibilities
of human beauty  in a natural state,
a Nordic face, with a pass through Indian country

strange -

I can't recall her eyes,
but her voice as she spoke to the other woman,
deep, husky, flat, fly-over country
accent that isn't an accent,

like they talk on the
TV news...


what a gorgeous day it is, but even
in all its beauty, it's an every-day day like I've seen before,
like I'm certain to see again soon if I wait a bit...

but these women, so strange and so close, making the day
more than the every-day, a mystery to the poet..

but their conversation, so bland, so banal, so every day,
so out of character
with the characters I imagined from their appearance -

the contrast,
like hearing aliens
from a far galaxy talking about
their plumbing problems

Next are two poems by Jane Hirschfield. They are taken from her book Of Gravity & Angels published in 1988 by Wesleyan University Press.

To Drink

I want to gather your darkness
in my hands, to cup like water
and drink.
I want this in the same way
as I want to touch your cheek -
as in the same -
the way a moth will come
to the bedroom window in late September,
beating and beating its wings against cold glass;
the way a horse will lower
his long head to water, and drink,
and pause to lift his head and look,
and drink again,
taking everything in with the water,


Here, we are one geography:
ever part of us inked on a map
where, across all the blue waters,
continents'edges inexplicably match.

I move closer to you in the dark,
feel the slow heat
that embers you deeper into the night.
Where all fires descend a few hours
into their own slow-dreaming hearts.
Where the ravine hides in its own steepness
no matter how long, how fiercely we love.

This is from 2013, back when I didn't realize what a wonderful time I was having, back when the assholes were raising hell but powerless to do anything about it. The good old days, in fact.

to rant, to scream, to kick some ass

it is my job
to write a poem this very minute

but after
reading today's newspaper,
piled on newspapers from the past several weeks

I don't want to write a poem...

I want to scream,
to rant,
to register my discontent
with suitable
impolite action,
to raise hell,
to be offensive,
to shout obscenities,
to kick some ass,
to get into a bar fight with a pool cue
and busted beer bottle as my
weapons of choice,
the one
for severe blows about the head of the subjects
of my rage
and the second to
castrate those same evil, political motherfucker lowlifes
so that there is no possibility
that the scourge they bring can be biologically reproduced...

that's what I want to do,
a rant, a scream, a waste of time
for me and for any reader
so unfortunate
as to stumble across it this early
beautiful day
rants should be restricted to crazy people

which I am not,
though greatly tempted
by this insane, paranoid time
to join the crowd
of loose
roaming like rabid dogs
the plains and woods and mountains high
of my country...

A dog-walk in morning, early.

random ponderables while dog pees on her favorite trees

my dog
makes children
and pretty girls smile

and makes old women
go coochie-coo


a man dies
on TV
and I think of my dad
dead going on 40  years now

how could that be...

dead at 65,
what a young age
that seem now
for a man to
be dying


young women
in my own youth
were such a mystery,
silken creatures
from a different universe...

young women today,
so lean and beautiful
and smart and strong,
different creatures
even than

I smile and I speak
to them

- the cute old man
at the coffee

how far I imagine I have


lust after young women,
like Jimmy Carter did,
a little for their sex, mostly
for their youth


women have evolved
it seems to me
to be even better, to be even more mystical
and mysterious than they were before


I don't' know about young men,
dull and seeming thick

I'm not impressed


at our drive-in
include two biscuits
with receipts if they see
a dog in your car

is very smart

knows this, moves to the front seat,
presses head against the
to make sure she is seen


I am past the age
when I don't want to act my age

I see old men now,
trying so hard to be the studly gents
they imagine they were in their

I'm quite happy
being old and slow
and have no illusions
I was any more enhanced
in days long ago...

to long in my life
I have been a

(except sometimes, on
a slow day,
I am the hero in a mid-afternoon
dream, and the girl is
and she wants me to do
all manner of speak-able things
to her ripe and luscious

(then I wake
and am only sometimes
and only temporarily


likes country music,
blue grass
with banjo and fiddle
the best, but with always a soft spot
for Johnny Cash and Merle

she sings along in the car
on long afternoons, especially when driving
through the desert -
she's a Marty Robbins dog
in the desert
and Patsy Cline on fresh-scented
country roads

we share our taste in
music, but
I'm of better voice...

but what can I say, she's
still a darn good

Another travel poem, this one an explanation of  why I always traveling car.

And transcribing this for the post, thinking, what wonderful things I've seen and how lucky I am have them to remember.

learning my place

I will leave on Saturday
for some time in the

I will not fly,
after you've seen the other side of clouds
once, that's it, no much else to see
from 40,000 feet

I will drive
as I always do because any journey
if not as much about the getting there
as the being here, seems
a waste of my
and having not so much
of that one-time gift
I will not waste
any of it...

I will drive
since only by driving can one stop
along the highway
in Utah
to introduce one's self and one's young son
to three bison, to see,
to smell them - an important part
of the bison experience -
standing by the fence waiting for
I don't know what...

like the cowboys in Nevada,
siting in the back of a coffeehouse,
singing the old cowboy standards,
and songs of their own composition...

and the herd of cattle somewhere in Arizona
who came rushing to the fence,
all twenty-five of them, when I stopped to take
their pictures, expecting, I guess,
to be fed; like the goats
near Little Rock, with
deep brown eyes and long stringy beards
who thrust their heads through the fence
so that I could scratch their broad
foreheads; or the llama,
with its little topnot
of hair right at the top of his head,
posing for me, reminding me
for all the world of pictures of the Beatles
in 1963, especially Ringo, the same wide-eyed
look - this sight, on a tiny two-lane
a little west of Comfort, Texas;
or the palomino in the horse trailer,
eyeing me with fiery eyes
as I passed; or the three cows
on a hill, silhouetted
against a setting sun;
or the dark horses, crossing a snowy field;
or the elks huddled under a tree
in a snowstorm; or deer jumping across
a muddy road as if with wings...

this, all of this,
seen at dirt level, where the world is, not in the sky
where it isn't, those passing above at
nonhuman height and
nonhuman pace
none of it...

so much more of the world
I know as I pass through it,
seeing it from the ancestral vantage
of my kind...

like the golden dome of the state capitol as I pass
through Charleston, West Virginia; and
the small, cold stream somewhere
in Colorado, banked
on either side by snow; or the tall
trees of northern California, huge,
as big around the base
as several small trucks parked parallel to each other,
their trunks and green branches
reaching high, high into the sky,
seen from a passing airplane,
if anyone bothers to look,
like just another green splotch on a circling
globe, never seeing it as I see it,
wrapped within their dim shadows -
cool shadows on even
the brightest, warmest day...

my friends flying above the dust of reality
that made us, flying over
our provider and maker of our home,
our inspiration, leaving on us
its mark no matter how high away
we fly, never seeing this,
never  understanding by the feel of its grit
how we are bound to this our mother earth...


such a long piece this could be as I recount all my years
of passing, dirt-bound and seeing...

too long for anyone to read,
so I sill just leave it here,
waving to you as you fly away,
while I return to my own plodding ways,
mile by mile, learning my place with each mile passed,
exploring the mysteries with each stop

This is the last poem from my library for this issue. The poet is Ron Slate, and the book is The Great Wave. The book was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2009.

Slate has an unusual background for a poet. Nominated for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize of the Academy of American Poets, his resume includes more than 30 years of business experience, including vice presidency of global communications for a Fortune 500 technology company, chief operating officer of a life sciences company and cofounder of a social network for family caregivers.

Beginning with a Line by Madeleine des Roches

Would you know traveler, what I used to be?
A young man speaking, harder and harder
to hear. Vanishing into the world's will.
But like you I wanted to persist
with a body and a voice making a case
from the body's service.
I exceeded all expectations in that regard.
People believed I was a bridge
a cambered arch aspiring in two directions
over black waters. I could go west to the prove,
I could go east to the not-yet-invented.
But I was a man, not a bridge,
leaning on a rail and looking down
at the dredging for the missing person.
A body may condense to its proper shape,
but too late in time to keep its tone,
while the voice negotiates on its own
for a bodily place in an actual world.

An observation on the highway.

an ambulance passes, patient cabin lit

old woman, white hair,
some lying across her forehead
like foam advancing
from an impatient tide,
cheeks sharp-edged, planed
like lava run on the side of a mountain,
asleep, blue
blanket pulled to
her chin, attendant quiet and still beside her
no lights, no siren,  unhurried
passage home,
far-traveled trail-rider
nearing trail's

A bonus, two new poems from the past two weeks.

racing the night away

a cool morning,
clear, light breeze,
stars sweeping across
the blue-black sky, dawn
not yet crossing the threshold,
but close, the night holds its breath,
surrenders, waits
for the first orange tinge
of new day banishing night...

dog rushes, racing the coming
of the new day

I struggle to keep up...

just a taste

the orange light
of sunset immediately
after a taste of rain,
the air shimmering
golden in the half light,
smelling of wet dirt
after long dry days and

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.

As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and to me

Also as usual, I am Allen Itz owner and producer of this blog, and a not so diligent seller of books, specifically these and specifically here:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Sony accusatory, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad

 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 6:34 PM Blogger judysnwnotes said...

your irreverence, sarcasm and humor play out nicely in those Chekhov poems -- I'm still chuckling!

at 11:30 AM Blogger Here and Now said...

checking comment problems

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The Last
Thoughts At the End of Another Long Summer, 2020
Slow Day at the Flapjack Emporium
Lunatics - a Short Morning Inventory
The Downside of Easy Pickings
My Literary Evolution
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Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Poems Niederngasse
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
The Blogging Poet
Wild Poetry Forum
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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
Shawn Nacona Stroud
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