Discussing the True Nature of Things With My Dog   Tuesday, September 03, 2019





discussing the true nature of things with my dog

discussing
the true nature of things
with my dog
on a brisk winter's day

I find she and I have
only a few areas of agreement
but in those area our agreement is
intense, like, for example,
the issue of birds' nests hanging
high and alone at the top
of winter-bare trees which to both
of us is a lonely sight, yet equally a sign
of hope, for though the home
is vacant during these months, it remains,
waiting for the spring and spring's
new chicks, hanging there in their
bushy bed, protected and fed by their mother
singing, preparing them for their life's first flight

dog and I both see life lessons
in these empty nests and the certainty
that in their time they will be filled again
with new life, persistent life, coming
again in good time, not deterred by
the difficulties of a passing season...

dog knows that while there may not be
a soup bone today, the power that governs all
is preparing her bone for tomorrow, that is her lesson
taken from today's empty nests,
for me, I am reminded that tomorrow
is not yet lost,
only waiting for me to find it,
to fill it again with
life,
like a mother bird coaching
flight out of her chicks,
like her chicks, finding  the courage
to take mother's advice to defy
the seemingly insurmountable force of
gravity, to confront the inertia of fear and
soar among the high clouds
according to creation's grand
design










Standard post.

About to get very busy working on a video reading of my book, Peace in Our Time, with narration (by me), photos, and music by my son.

I mention this as a marker for me. Hard to back out if I'm publicly committed.

In the meantime, in this post:

Me
discussing the true nature of things with my dog



Me

whoo-diddie-whoo, or something like that



Erica Funkhouser 

What a Liar



Me

big thoughts



Me

me and Jimmy Carter



Hsia Yu

Written for Others



Me

night at a desert camp



Me

a drive in the country

William Stobb
The Naturalist and the Ant Lion



Me

Sunday morning at Starbucks



Me

I apologize if it bothers you



Charles Bukowski

In a Lady's Bedroom



Me

knock, knock, knocking on heaven's door



Me

my morning, my day

Mary Rose O'Reilley
Snowblind
We Keep Asking the Prairie



Me

insomniac moon



Jeannette Lozano

Cold Flame



Me 

let us consider blood and water



Me

let us consider dreams









After wearing a boot and then a cast for a period of three weeks, they discovered that doo dad doodle between my ankle and hell was not connected as god intended so they did a sonic whapafloogle and fixed it right up.




whoo-diddie-whoo, or something like that

one hour
of magnetic resonance imaging
and I am assured
that I have one left foot
attached firmly by way of one left ankle
to one left leg and
wiggling upon that foot, five toes,
ranging in size from large to small
(or small to large, depending
on upon which end of said foot
you start counting

overcome with relief
I sit myself down to write a poem
commiserate to the event
and I suppose this is it,
a quiet appreciation
of the moment

much more exuberant would it be,
I admit, had one hour of
magnetic resonance imaging
revealed
not just the presence of such appendages
(after all is not the presence of such appendages
par for the course, unless of course you are
a wounded war hero, in which case, the very
continuing presence of foot,
ankle, toes, etc would be an outcome to be greeted
with enormous joy and relief
and possibly a parade)

but in my case. not being a wounded war hero
the presence of that which is expected. while
happy news, is not celebrated nearly as it would be
were the reason  the ankle, connector of left foot and toes
to the appropriate leg, continues to be a source
of great pain and especially at night, which interferes
with my sleep which in turn interferes with my joi de vive
which is French for I got both feet and neither hurt
so lets go dancing the whoo-diddie-whoo
or maybe just a walk in the park
in the golden glow of twilight, or something like
that...















First from my library this post, Erica Funkhouser, with a poem from her book Earthly. The book was published in 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Funkhouser is the author of four previous books of poetry and is a lecturerer in the Department of Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT.



What a Liar

What a liar, the grave,
No one, nothing
is buried there.
Every bit of the  body returns -

little flick
of the index finger
against the thumb, soles of feet rocking
across a threshold.
Not one eyelash
stays under ground.

Even the hole,
that uniform black loaf,
shows up - over here,
where we think we see
a river otter, or there,
where an argument
divides two women.

Every day some new accessory
to the fact -
half-smoked cigar
or slide rule -
will turn up sweaty
in our hands










About a big storm and big thoughts.




big thoughts

was thinking
this would be the day for "big thoughts"

but the only thing I can think of is the big thunderstorm
that passed over last night,
almost an hour and a half of boomers booming
like the guns of Navarone booming,
like the curtains of everlasting ripped open
upon the crucifixion of Christ.
booming...

hell of a storm
is what I'm saying,
right outside my bedroom window,
booming,
like a mountain opening,
the four horsemen
coming
to take us all,
like the beginning and ending
of creation together
booming
right outside my bedroom window

woke the wife,
scared the dog right into bed with me
and she's hardly ever scared of
nothing
but I could see prospects of dog heaven
dancing in her eyes

which reminds me the pope says
dogs can go to heaven too,
which means, they being morally superior creatures
to us in every meaningful way,
that they'll probably be more of them
than of us so we'll probably have to accommodate
the canine majority, learn to chase balls, sniff butts,
 and pee on hydrants
and such
and
like I said, a hell of a storm
right outside
bedroom
window

booming









All us horny old guys.




me and Jimmy Carter

I have thought
an occasional dirty
thought

(wait...
there goes one now)

I used to feel bad
about it

but then I figured

hell!
I'm a human being

and the last time we didn't
have dirty thoughts
was in that mystical mythical
garden
where snakes got equal time
with lions and unicorns
and brontosauri

at least until snake had his dirty
way and the rains came
and (how unfair) the dirty snake
got lifted above the waters
while the gentle brontosauri
and pure-as-driven-snow unicorn
got left behind to paddle through the waters
until they finally sank into the depths
of mystery and lose...

so,
given that history,
my conclusion is that the Holiest on High
must have meant for us to have
dirty thoughts, else why would He have saved
the original generator of
devilish and dirty
thought
while
damning into forever
never some others who were pure-
as- the-driven- snow?

even suggesting to me that the Holiest on High
may have some dirty thoughts of His own
and maybe snake wasn't smart or dirty enough on his own
and had some help from the H on H in those dirty thoughts he infiltrated
into the minds of the original you and me whose garden vacation
was prematurely ended by succumbing to the dirty thoughts instigated
through snake by H on H Himself, maybe because fauna and flora
upkeep in the garden got more expensive than anticipated and budget
reductions were required...

anyway,
I take this to mean
that the dirty thoughts with which I occasionally entertain myself
are part of the Holiest on High's plan and I should cultivate
them as homage to His
Holy Plan

so I will do as part of my duty to honor
the great Him who sets all the rules both pure
and unbelievably dirty

(look,
there goes another
one...)









This poem is by Hsia Yu, taken from Issue IV, 2000 of Poetry International.

Hsia  is widely considered to be the first woman poet writing in Chinese to treat love and romance in a manner that broke radically from the conventions of Chinese  women's poetry. A Taiwanese writer, author of four volumes of poetry at the time of publication, divided her time between Paris and Taipei, where she made her living as a song lyricist and translator.




Written for Others

I write a Chinese character in the palm of his hand
Making it as intricate as I can in the  interest of
Arousing his interest write it wrong so I can rub
It our and write it right from scratch stroke by stroke
Drawing him into one pictographic raft after another
Until I let the air out of the raft and we sink
Into the lake until I say I love you
With neither root nor branch nor a nest to rest
I love you I love you and I slow us down
Until we barely move at all until we hear
The very mesh of the gears upon our flesh
There is a cone of light that bares the fact that whoever
Invented the motion picture did so just so we would turn
Down the lights and learn how to make love like this
In slow motion and in the slowest possible motion
I love you as we slowly
Dissolve into grains of light  I love you
Until we turn wafer thin
Without end O I love you
I love you
Until we come to be strangers to ourselves
So that others will come to imagine
They have seen through us.











Remembering earlier days.



night at a desert camp

night on the desert,
the orange crash of sunset
hours ago,
no light now
but the red glow
of our fire burned down to coals...

and the stars...

don't look at the fire we were told...

turn your back to the fire
if you want to see the stars, he said

and we did

and once we did the stars blazed
and we could see across the flat desert floor,
the undulating dunes, the cactus reaching like fingers,
grasping for the very stars we discovered
and claimed as our own..

I try to imagine how it must have been
to sleep every night under such a sky,
such a diamond field of stars...

sunrise
a daily loss
as all the star-bright  beauty is leached out by
morning light

and the Hindu Kush, lost to the night,
returns,
a smudge on the north horizon









a drive in the country

700 miles

a little less than 350
today,
a turn-around in Alpine
and a little more than 350 miles
going home
tomorrow

700 miles
just for a few hours breathing
Big Bend air,
cool and dry, deserts
to mountains
and back again through
the wooded hills
of central Texas, and along the way,
the towns, tiny and not so,
the names mysterious to me
in years passed, lyrical now,
like a song I sing
in passing

Hondo
Uvalde
Del Rio (a river-width from Cuidad Acuna)
Langtry
Marathon
Alpine
Marfa
Ft. Davis
Saragosa
Balmorha
Ozona
Senora

Hwy 90 north and west, the
Interstate 10 South, and home,
maybe for the last
time
as life changes around me
and within me,
breathing deeply,
singing
the songs of tiny towns
alone in the endless passages
of West Texas, where people
in the desert live in the shadow
of mountains, where people in the mountains
can see past their skirt of high forests
to the boundless pink desert
spread like a tabletop
below..

one more time,
leaving in a hour...














This poem is by William Stobb. I took it from his book, absentia, published in 2011 by Penguin Books.

Stobb is the author of five poetry collection, including the 2007 National Poetry Series Selection, Nervous Systems. A native of Minnesota, he attended the University of North Dakota where he studied in the graduate writing program. He later earned a PhD at the University of Nevada.




The Naturalist and the Ant Lion

The naturalist notices a pit in the sand.
He draws his audience closer, scans
the surface, bends, pinches an ant,
drops the ant in the pit, which is a cone
cast at the angle of repose
so, watching, everyone knows
the ant can't escape.
Ant scrambles. Sand shivers.
From the pit base
mandibles emerge.
It's a nightmare for ants,
a crab trap transition that can't be
untriggered except
like magic the naturalist extracts
and separates predator from prey.
The ant bumbles away as we
merely examine the bulbous ant lion
- bloated, glamourless, a moment's demonstration
of intelligence shaping and transferring energy.










Sunday morning at Starbucks


beautiful young woman
at Starbucks,
delicate face framed
by a deep blue hijab,
speaking in rapid Arabic
to a girlfriend, I imagine,
on this early Sunday
morning...

why do all languages
we do not understand
sound so musical when
spoken, Spanish, Italian,
Gaelic, Navajo, even
Russian and German,
so harsh and thick on the tongue
yet so pleasing to the ear,
the sound of the classics
singing, grocery lists
and directions to the nearest
bus stop, and traffic-stop
arguments, sounding like
Mussorgsky opening
his gates at Kiev, such majesty,
Wagner singing the tragic story
of doomed Tristan and Isolde

and the hijab, how beautifully
it reveals that which is not
concealed, are there western eyes
so bright, lips so full...

beyond the attraction
of the exotic,
framed like a museum
portrait,
fresh as a rich green island
on the horizon after a month
at sea...













I apologize if it bothers  you

I know a poet,
one of my favorites,
a blue-collar fella like me,
but with a sharper edge, makes
me think when I read his poems
of the love and loss
of Mickey Spillane as a romantic...

he says
poetry should be free
and follows through on that philosophy
with wonderful little chapbooks
he gives away

as a beginning poet
I thought that was nuts
until after a few years I figured out
I wasn't making any money at it
so I might as well be giving
the shit away
and I
did,
suffering no noticeable loss
of income

but sometimes I feel a need
for the affirmation
that comes from selling a book

so I market a bit,
tell people about my books
and where they can buy them

even here I'll be doing that
for a while

I apologize if it bothers
you

just think of it as what I do
when my dog gets pissed
and won't talk
to me














Next , a poem from Charles Bukowski, from New Poems Book 2, one of a number of books of previously unpublished poems published after his death. This one was published in 2003 by Virgin Books.

I have a number of Bukowski's books. I was just puzzling to myself why they don't appear more often here through my method of random selection.




In a Lady' Bedroom

trying to write a poem
in a lady's bedroom
(onions on my breath)
while she cuts a dress
out of freshly bought
material.

I suppose, as material,
I'm not so fresh
especially with onions
on my breath.

well, let's see -
there's a lady in Echo Park,
one in Pasadena, one
in Sacramento, one on
Harvard Ave.
perhaps one of them would be more interested
in me
than in a dress (for a while,
anyhow).

meanwhile I sit in this
lady's bedroom
by a hot window
while she sits at her
sewing machine.

here, she said, here's a
paper and pen,
write something
all right. I'll be kind:
some ladies fuck like mink
and dance like nymphs
and some create
nice dresses and lonely poets
on hot July
afternoons.









knock, knock, knocking on heaven's door

so
maybe it's not
exactly
breaking news
but in the whirrllybobble scale
of the universe
900 million years is something like
week before last

that's when a black hole
ate,
one bite, whole,
a neutron star, gulp and gone,
and the crunch of the gulp
caused ripples, like potato chips
exploding from the corner of an inattentive bit
of chomp, ripples they say,
that wrinkled through our little piece
of the holy shite universe
8,550 million trillion kilometers
away from our latest sunrise

(and thinking of this makes me think
maybe we ought to re-evaluate
our assumptions about
sunrises
and sunsets
and who knows the day
when the latest might be
the last)

religious folk
often think of their god as almighty
and I wonder if they have any idea at all
of what almighty really is...

almighty,
I'm thinking
is a pretty presumptuous claim
for a puny little god on our tiny lump
of clay,
shaking in it's little clay boots,
when almighty happened 8,550 million trillion
kilometers away...

knocking down the walls of Jericho
doesn't seem like such a big
deal when you think
about it...










my morning, my day

high winds aloft
push dark clouds
northwest from the gulf
toward Oklahoma and the
mountain states

here on the ground
only a faint breeze passes,
leaves stir in the languid light
of early morning, the theater curtain
size flag on the Chrysler dealer's lot
half furls and unfurls,
slowly
limply...

in an hour or so
the clouds will have passed
and under a blazing sky
another hot August day will begin
and I will fold myself into an oasis
of air conditioning that the Bedouin
would sell their camels for

and my day is done...














Here are two short poems by Mary Rose O'Reilley from her book, Half Wild, winner of the 2005 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. It was published by the Louisiana State University Press in 2006.

O'Reilley lives in Minnesota and is a professor of English at the University of St Thomas. Active in Quaker ministry, she has also taken Buddhist precepts as a lay practitioner.




Snowblind

Driving backroads to Northfield
in drifting snow,
losing the lay of farms
and the lift of sky,
I'm forced to enter the prairie.
Sun's glare
erases the margin.
It's all white to you then -
a rapture like divers feel
leaving air, memory of land:
love's hands, the gray cup
of a junco.
Surrendered to longing
a flare opens under the bone,
a wound you pour from
into the prairie light.


We keep Asking the Prairie

I'm drawn into the clearing,
a remnant prairie skirted in oaks
now in their brown season.

A doe stalls in the woods,
shook by her longing to break
into plain space:

this is a well she could fall down forever
loose enough to be scattered,
her myths untwining to streamers of DNA.

Hawks circle,
abandoned to updraft,
river birch gather to practice jumps.

As if we all come her to fall
and take off again,
tumblers in love.












insomniac moon

adrift
in an uncertain sky

a jumble
tumbling
time
&
places
people
known
people
unknown
reminded of
by people
known
dog wants
out
dog wants
in
a-jumble-tumble
moon set
sun rise
another day
to lose
after another
lost night








This is from The Movements of Water/Los momentos del agua, a bilingual (English/Spanish) collection of poems by Jeannette Lozano. The book was published in 2006 by Ediciones Poligrafa with English translation by Ron Hudson.

In addition to being a poet and translator, Lozano has spent many year teaching and writing about the
ancient philosophy and religion of Pre-Hispanic cultures, focusing in particular on myth and how it affects individuals.




Cold Flame

As if it would beat out a silence
the gold of the fireflies between voices
was impassioned.

The light was falling on the water and you were moving away
like one who exits a scene
without one's body.

Fire amidst the water,
was tracing a wake without knowing
that the sun was looking at you

for the first time.










I did a collection of poems that I called my "let us consider" series. Here are two of them.



let us consider blood and water

water is the blood
that lets our blood flow,
the blood of all life,
the blood of the forest
and of the meadow
and of pastures
and bluebonnets,
and daisies and the
blood-red rose,
the blood that erases
drought, that allows
farmers to plant and sow,
that allows the cow and pig
and lamb to grow to fill
our stomach, the blood
that we rise at midnight
to lubricated our dry mouth,
the blood that washes
away desert dust at
a noon oasis, panacea
for both our hunger
and our thirst...

water is the blood that
flows between rivals
in dry times, blood is the
disputed creek or river,
the range war,
neighbor on neighbor,
water is the blood that
flows as aquifers are drained
for some at the expense
of others...

water is the blood
of wars coming, the blood
for which we will fight,
the blood to be shed in the
fighting, yours for mine, mine
for yours..

water is the blood of all
our future desires


let us consider dreams

sometimes
I dream I am the hero

flying on a white horse
across a purple waving prairie;

sometimes
I dream I am the prairie,
ancient,
clean,
vibrant and fertile,
forever waving beneath
the sun and clouds slowly
drifting;

sometime
I am the clouds
soft and billowy,
traveling continents
and oceans
beneath the warming sun,
beneath the cool, yellow moon;

sometimes
I am the sun and moon,
sisters in a sky on the edge
of stars gleaming,
stars afire in the black eternal
space of a god deeply
sleeping;

sometimes I am that sleeping god,
dreaming
that I am a white horse
flying across the purple waving pastures
of my forever-spreading
home...

sometimes
I wake, sorry to be
still lonely among my find, sorry
to be awake
again
in the world of
undreaming...










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Fiction

Sonyador - The Dreamer



                                                            

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Previous Entries
Discussing the True Nature of Things With My Dog
Protecting Our Constitutional Rights
White -Boy World
The Price of Potatoes in Pittsburgh
How Reporters Helped Me Write Better Poems
Everything That Will Be Must Be
The People's Republic of Austin
Ennui
Let Us Consider the Random Occurrence of Good and ...
Too Damn Much Fun
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