An Instruction In the Grander Scheme of Things   Sunday, January 12, 2020

an instruction in the grander scheme of things

in the grander
of things
the world is
at least
my part of the world
is wet
which is wet enough
for me
since non-wets
in other parts of the 
don't affect
wet is
the grander
of me and mine 
your non-wet
has entirely
no affect
on my wet
which is the
scheme of my thing
you may have guessed
is wet
and it is cold too
which is the other part
of my grander
scheme of things today
and if you're hot
and dry
in the Gobi desert
big fricking deal
since I can't see
how that has anything
to do with
cold and wet
is my grander scheme 
of things
and searing desert
have no part in

any questions?

Here it is.

an instruction in the grander scheme of things

I dissemble convincingly

Monday notes

Lynn Crosbie
Goodnight, Goodnight

the fella in the booth next to me

a grumble of English teachers

Susan Hollahan
Sister Betty Reads the Whole You

how to make friends in Texas

when your magic twanger of inspiration fails

a map for those who may someday go

Robert Pinsky
Akhmatova's "Summer Garden"

the story of our time

I dissemble convincingly

been up
for nearly three hours now
and the bug
time to get you acey-duecy ass down

work to do
I protest

to keep

maybe I can get all that done this
I dissemble convincingly
to my own self

until then
my acey-duecy ass
is going back to bed

Monday notes

overcast day

too bad

just found my sunglasses
I couldn't find


45 at sunrise
60 by noon, great for squirrel-chasing
at the park, mostly Bella
while me, mostly I'll be watching

she'll never catch a squirrel
but she doesn't know
and I'm not telling

ambition -
it's important
even in a dog's life

First from my library, I have a poem by Lynn Crosbie from her book, Miss Pamela's Mercy. The book was published by Coach House Press in 1991.

Crosbie, born in 1963, is a Canadian poet and novelist. She teaches at the university of Toronto.

Goodnight, Goodnight

to Herve Villechaize

your dress is too tight for you. the holes
cut in the side reveal an angry flux of skin,
that bulges like the embryo of an oracle.
the printed pyramids are stretched, as if
they are housing a chubby pharaoh and those
yellow sphinxes look torpid and sick, the
night is here - you draw two watery triangles
on your brow, and walk away, heels scratching,
waist splashing in, then out. you are tall,
alert on a staircase, and I love the look
of your oily eyes in the wet flower of your

you are polishing a rifle at home. its mouth
yawns, and you slither on the bed with it.
the water under you, the bayonet points to
its reflection. she is quiet in a chair when
you ask for music. a Latin dance, your arms
clamp her thighs in a blur, you mesmerize
me - with your pendulous larynx and the bean
brown plush of your throat. and you tell
me about a summer you spent in France, to
work on a painting. it was a great achievement ,
this heroic portrait. you modelled all day
as Napoleon, and your hands were cramped from
their seclusion. they feel rough and matted,
a surprise on the edge of two dimpled baby's

she keeps phoning in a teary voice, that is
dulled with devotion. and asks about your
lover. I say that he tore the skirt from you
angrily and you sprawled along the pavement.
that he lived with giraffes , and that he bought
you things. I see you wear the sometimes
like careless reminders, the time when your
heavy skirt parted, and showed off marabou
slippers. he pines, and sharpens his pencil.
in a steady voice writes, they won't find
him, to you, a violent wind disturbs your
lipstick. its bright red shows you, dancing
a two-step, dusky hair upon hair in a blizzard
of beauty.

the fella in the booth across from me

the fella 
in the booth
across from me
is a fair-sized guy, but
his feet are enormous, I mean,
I bet he wouldn't get blown
in a hurricane even if he tried to...

I know a big-footed fella
is not the thing most people
would notice
so early in the morning and
even though the moon this morning,
a crescent hook in a velvet black
sky is beautiful and worthy of a pause
and neck-stretching look,
so bright and silver, just hanging up there
with no visible means of support,
all that, and still
it was not nearly as interesting as this fella's
big feet...

now I notice
he has finished his breakfast and is leaving...

I wonder how many eggs it took
to fill those

a grumble of English teachers

every Monday morning
at the coffeehouse, early,
a grumble
of retired English teachers,
my age or maybe a little older,
high school teachers
though from the way they talk
it seems clear they regret
all the universities' loss by their pedagogical absence

(the one, struggling with removing the trash can lid,
looks at me,
"you'd think someone with a PhD wouldn't 
have such a problem with trash can

skinny, with malnourished hair,
toenails like a badger
digging, and a thin, reedy whiny
that would drive me nuts after ten minutes
in a classroom, talks the most -
says fuck this & fuck that
a lot
in the English teacher voice,
like she's fallen into an old Norman Mailer novel
and can't get up,
and it's all I can do
to laugh out loud,
thinking back near 65 years,
imaging old Mrs. Buck,
my 115 year-old high school
English teacher
saying fuck this, 
fuck that...

and thank god my English teacher days
are far behind me

This this is the title poem from the book, Sister Betty Reads the Whole You by Susan Holahan. The book was published by Gibbs-Smith in 1998.

Born in 1940, Holahan has taught writing at the University of Rochester and Yale University and is former editor for Newsday, Yale University Press and other newspapers.

Sister Betty Reads the Whole You

Some people are too nervous to have hands on their head.
Some people don't like you inspecting them, so I keep my
eyes down. I look at hands.

A picture for you now: tops of trees against a gray sky. A
bird flying. Wind blowing. The bird looks like a hawk. You
were in a deep well. The only way to be free was to look up.

I begin to see you in a house of worship. Musty. With a long
pole you're reaching up, opening stained glass windows,
letting the light. In that life you were a sexton. Windows
were your job. You listened to the choir practice. You drank
but you were forgiven. You were kept on - housed, clothed,
fed. In that lifetime you brought your feet to the church.

I am a child in a swing, the kind that boxes you in. Up or
down you can't fall out. There is a mood swing; nowhere to
fall except into your own being. That's why you chose the
mother you did. Who would give you more mistrust?

Give up the illusion that the distraught, angry mother
is God. No longer tell yourself you must be perfect to be

how to make friends in Texas

if it's a man,
admire his dog

if he doesn't have a dog
congratulate him on his choice
of firearm

if it's a woman,
tell her you like what she did
to her hair

if she has no hair, tell you think she has great
boots and are thinking
of buying a pair
for your

(being extra careful to enunciate
clearly, especially if her husband is nearby)

when your magic twanger of  inspiration fails

was thinking
I'd hold off on writing this poem
until some inspiration
stumbled by

but there's the whole issue
of a new ice age
as carbon builds up in the atmosphere
and the magnetosphere
reverses its spin and the earth turns
upside down
and all the other stuff pending
an appropriate doomsday

and I don't want to end up
dangling upside down,
my participles frosting over
while waiting for inspiration
to poke its head.
the Phil whathisname groundhog,
out its hidie hole
and present me with the inspiration
to write an A-number-one poem
so I thought,
what the hell, my defunct magic twanger of inspiration be damned,
let's just write this sucker
and see how it turns

and speaking of ice ages,
I read about the people who do discovering
discovering a camel fossil
in the arctic, left over from the days
when it was cold but not yet
arcticy, a camel 9 feet tall
which scares me even more than
dinosaurs because I've never met
a dinosaur but I do have some experience
camels, nasty, vicious, ugly beasts, spitting
and biting without forewarning
and the idea of a pack of 9-feet tall camels
wandering my neighborhood
would certainly make me want to move

and I'm thinking
that's maybe what happened
to that ice man, the fella from olden times
they found encased in a glacier
when it started melting,
poor fella was just minding his own business
when he ran across a rampaging herd
of 9-foot camels and fearless warrior and hunter
that he was, found the better part of valor
in running away but slipped on the ice
and fell in the glacier,
last known victim of rampaging 9-foot camels
before they also fell into the glacier
and shrunk
into regular sized but equally vicious
camels that we've come to know


just my opinion
of course

a map for those who may someday go

bright button
on a blue
October sky

rills and mountains
plainly shown

of interest
drawn for

a blue-morning map
for those who may someday go

This is a poem by Robert Pinsky from his book Gulf Music published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2007.

Born in 1940, Pinsky, a poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator, served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 to 2000. He is author of nineteen books.

Akhmatova's "Summer Garden"

I want to return to that unique garden walled
By the most magnificent ironwork in the world

Where the statues remember me young and I remember
Them the year they were underwater

And in fragrant silence
Under a royal colonnade of lindens

I imagine the creaking of the ship's masts and the swan
Floats across the centuries admiring its flawless twin.

Asleep there like the dead are hundreds of thousands
of footfalls of friends and enemies, enemies and friends

The procession of those shades is endless
From the granite urn to the doorway of the palace

Where my white nights of those years whisper
About some love grand and mysterious

And everything glows like mother-of-pearl and jasper
Though the source of that light is mysterious.

the stories of our time

I heard of this fella
down where I grew up
who bought a restaurant
in the country...
the restaurant
had three very tall palms
in front, so naturally
he named his new restaurant
"Three Palms" -
that was right before 
he cut down
all three palms...
make of that 
you will, I'm not sure
but am suspecting
it might just be a story of our


on the northside
snow predicted
for this evening
and I'll stay up late
to watch it
maybe 8:30 or 9:00 o'clock
anything that happens after that
is not part of my
make of that
you will, I'm not sure 
but am suspecting
it might just be another story of our


on the river
huddle in the cold
not smart enough
to get out of the river
and go someplace 
warm and dry -
the comfort 
of the known
good sense every time...
make of that 
you will, I'm not sure
but an suspecting
it might be just another story of our


I write poems
even when I don't have
anything to say
but work very diligently
to say it
make of that
you will, I'm not sure
but am suspecting
it might be just one more story of our


so many stories
of our times you would think
at least one
would make sense...'
make of that
you will, I'm not sure
but am suggesting
the story of our time
is that none of the stories
of our time
make any sense
at all

I appreciate hearing from readers. Although they do not appear here, your comment,, if you choose to make them is available to me. So feel free to pass on any reaction, comments, or opinions by clicking on the "comment" button below.

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

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New Days & New Ways

Places and Spaces 

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

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Seven Beats a Second


Sonyador - The Dreamer


  Peace in Our Time


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