City of Slow Water and Beautiful Women   Saturday, March 14, 2020

city of slow water and beautiful women

San Antonio women,
long legs
like liquid cinnamon
muscles flexing as they
stroll the Riverwalk, languid like
the soft-shell turtles resting
triangular heads
the mirror surface
of dark green water

placid afternoon
on the river's Museum Reach,
large pecan trees
atwitch, squirrels
playing frantic games of chase up and down
wide trunks, across, tree to tree, full-leafed branches
that overhang the river's slow flow, blanketing the rumble
of cars and VIA buses
crossing the St. Mary's Street Bridge,
the summer heat of the city above near-forgotten
to the river-walkers like me and Bella
and those San Antonio women, long legs
under short summer dresses, like liquid cinnamon
flowing, muscles flexing as they walk
beside the quietly moving


this city of cinnamon women,
city of multiple revolutions
and many flags, city
where history like its green river
flows slowly through it, this city, already old
when the first July cannons
half a continent away,
celebrates again on this early July afternoon
with those who came late
to it

A short post. Short because it's a second attempt after accidentally deleting the first attempt just as I was finishing it up.

city of slow water and beautiful women

a while longer

the invisible man at work

Siegfried Sassoon
The Subaltern

dispatches from the time of dinosaurs and broad-leafed plants

Baku express

Virginia Cerenio
the revolutionary

strange time, strange place

fear not, Pancake Queen

if we had pumpkins


Helena Mesa
Stasis at Fifteen

the best poem of all

a while longer

I woke at midnight
in the dark of middle night
to the memory of a day
long ago, crossing
a parking lot, holding hands as we always
held hands when walking on a street, or, like
this day, crossing a busy parking lot,
and suddenly his hand felt so large and it seemed
the years of holding his hand must be over,
that he was of an age when that tie
must be broken if he was to take his next step
into manhood

so I took my hand from his
and draped my hand over his shoulder
and we walked that way
until the day when it seemed
time for another step had come...

a sad memory, that moment on that
parking lot, of another bittersweet

sad that I did not ignore
that impulse,
now how inevitable are such breaks
and separation and how I wish I had pushed back
against the passage of time, how I wish I had held on
to his hand, even if only for a little while

learning with age how the best moments in a life
come only once, so many of them I wish
I had held on to, even if only for a little while

so many moments lost in the years,
sad memories now in the darkest hours of night...

the invisible man at work

a bee
in a stripped suit
hidden among the drooping petals
of a flower


until a photograph is taken
and studied closely

the bee in the stripped bee
right there,
his bee-work
for me
for you

These two short pieces are by Siegfried Sassoon, from his book, The War Poems, published by faber and faber in 1983.

Sassoon is one of a number of excellent poets who found their poetic voices in the trenches of World War I. Many did not survive the war; Sassoon was one of the lucky ones who did. An English poet, he was born in 1886 and died in 1969.

Both of these poems were written in 1916, from the trenches.


Through darkness curves a spume of falling flares
That flood the field with shallow, blanching light.
     The huddled sentry stares
     On gloom at war with white
     And white receding slow, submerged in gloom.
     Guns into mimic thunder burst and boom,
     And mirthless laughter rakes the whistling night.
The sentry keeps his watch where no one stirs
But the brown rats, the nimble scavengers.

March 1916

Written in trenches. The weather beastly wet and the place was like
the end of the world.

A Subaltern

He turned to me with his kind, sleepy gaze
And fresh face slowly brightening to the grin
That sets my memory back to summer days,
With twenty runs to make, and last man in.
He told me he'd been having a bloody time
In trenches, crouching for the crumps to burst,
While squeaking rats scampered across the slime
And the gray palsied weather did its worst.
But as he stamped and shivered in the rain,
My stale philosophies had served him well;
Dreaming about his girl had send his brain
Blanker than ever - she'd no place in Hell...
"Good God!" he laughed, and slowly filled his pipe,
Wondering why he always talks such tripe."

March 1916

D.C. Thomas killed on March 18. I wrote this about ten days before,
when he had been telling me how my sage advice had helped him

dispatches from the time of dinosaurs and broad-leafed plants

how quaint
this pen and flowing ink thing

the inspiration flow
as well
as it flows when electricity couses
in a dry, red stream along that dark wire,
pulling ideas from the dry recesses of sheet rocked walls
where mice and dust bunnies play, pushing the ideas
to my keyboard infecting my fingers
with the electricity of creation, shaking awake
the portions of my mind open to creation, my muse
energized and ready to play
for another

approaching downtown
on Interstate-10...

tall buildings
passing through clouds
of light gauze

the sky lowered
to brush the tops
of big-haired ladies
and their Elvis-pomadoured
settling at the end of shift
for pancakes
at The Pig Stand
on Broadway

long nights
and slow starting days
for the men
and their ladies

early light

and clear

the air cleaned
by overnight storms,
not enough to break
the drought, but
chasing from the new day
months of dreary, dry
and vacant

days been nowhere,
going nowhere,
in time
sucking life, leaving for us
only still and sterile

a break from all that
this morning

new light infectious
with life


crickets cricking
frogs croaking

(the basso profondo call
of bullfrog leader of the pack
ripples the water in the

rooster from down the street
and dogs on both sides
and the backyard trees
in the morning breeze

all life
awake and waiting for the morning to begin
except that single
that requires a newspaper
and a pot of coffee at Jim's
(with some first-light sass, Belinda
as she pours out that first cup
of black awakening

that would be me
waiting for my first cup of liquid alert

all that before
the starting pistol can sound...

and even so,
at best only half-awake, still ahead
of the rest of my kind still snug-abed -
waiting or the silence of the morning creatures
to return as they get on with their daily does-its,
I whisper to Bella, rattling her collar
as we sneak out the front door, eager
to wrap ourselves in the morning bedlam before
the serious silences of day

self-aware in our own slow way, and eager for Belinda's morning administration
of coffee-consciousness that will bring us, even in its limited
dawn-orange way,
to the wise-guy antics of another
turn of the universal wheel
of then and now

beginning day six without my computer
and the sands of time
across the face of
so slowly,
beneath the sands of minutes
turned to hours, sands of Solitaire,
the game of lost minds, trickling
slow card upon slow
the sands of time
like the will to live
slowly trickling
for digital resurrection,
bits and bytes of sand trickling
through my dust-filled

Barku, an invention of mine, 10 words on 6 lines in the spirit of the haiku. The source of the invention, a need to write down a poem before I lost it in my mind when the only paper to write on was a bar napkin.

barku express

an envelope
around me -
marked, "return
to sender"


parked bus
in the dark,
first poem


the continental divide -
soft snow
drifting, first


walking -
to downtown -
falling cold,
soft angels touching


homes carved
in cliffs,
fires, cold
deserted -
all lost


Indian boys
replay Bighorn
revenge -
flatten grass
Custer's grave


mountains -
white on blue
like clouds
cresting -
first snow


dog pees
doesn't see
in the brush


journey ends
for the day -
dog snores,
rabbits -

This poem is by Virginia R. Cerenio, a second-generation Filipino-American whose work has appeared in numerous publications. The poem is from her book, Trespassing Innocence. It was published by Kearny Street Workshop Press in 1989.

the revolutionary

he had just returned after a long time
gone to photograph the revolution
how to overthrow a dictator
told in black & white pictures
the streets of maynila breathe quietly now
but still he struggles through life
whether to love his art          his woman        his children       his country
when each consumes another waking moment
and his dreams too
i asked how the revolution really was
his eyes filled with tears like moonless lakes
for the wife still fighting in the hills
for the newborn child left behind
for the little girl calling "daddy, daddy, where are you?
where did you go?"
in his face the revolution has taken on flesh and heartaches
even his photographs could not capture
the battle continues for the delicate balance of his soul

strange time, strange place

jungle smell
at 5 a.m.

the sun rises
to burn it off in desert fire

until then
dank dark wraps tight
around me

a black shape
through the tree tops

strange time, strange
place, jungle
morning before the burn

fear not, Pancake Queen

a rectangular

press a button
and watch a pancake

slowly extrude itself
from one end of the box

crepe thin
and moderately tasty

but Aunt Jemima should fear not
the effect

of Holiday Inn
on her pancake empire

if we had pumpkins

if we had pumpkins
there'd be frost on the pumpkins
this morning...

but we don't have pumpkins

we have the wide stretch of close-cut grass
alongside Apache Creek, frosted like a silver ribbon
along the green, slow-moving water
reflecting the holiday package of
bright blue morning sky...

Christmas morning
in the hills of Central Texas,
ho ho ho's echoing
ridge to


Peshawar to

high and bare

our small DC-3

as highest peaks
pass below within

arm's reach it seems
from my window seat

life below,
if there is such

must be harsh
and hard

with hard people
harsh and unforgiving

to those who intrude
without invitation...

not to be
messed with

as centuries
of armies and great generals

have learned - from Alexander
to even now, ourselves

ruing the lesson -

if you decide you must fight here

make sure you have
the merciless moonscape mountains

on your side

(flying over the Hindu Kush, April, 1969)

This poem is by Helena Mesa from her book, Horse Dance Underwater, published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 2009.

Mesa was born and raised in Pittsburgh to Cuban parents. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston. She is an assistant professor of English at Albion College.

Stasis at Fifteen

Mid-August, a steady heat hemlocks.
Boats float on water too deep for crabbing
and when you dive, ripples broaden
but the boats remain still. In the distance a radio
cites today's news, same as yesterday -
another hijacked tourist, another heat record.
What's changed? At eight, the want to flee?
At ten, the restlessness for something else?

Dusk, row to the canal's mouth where
stillness ends in a darkness too large
for hands to steer. There, salt laps the air,
a gauze rag that scratches cheeks and gags
the buoy's clangs. Stop. Tie down each oar.
What you want will come, swallow you whole.

the best poem of all

a morning in which
everything worked and I've finished
my breakfast
and thinking about my poem for the day
and it's still dark
and the moon is still
high on the horizon, big and round
and bright,
the kind of early morning sight
that encourages reports
of alien spacecraft
that turn out to be weather balloons...

alien spacecraft
in a dark morning sky,
high above the horizon,
round and bright,
white light
against the black night

what a great poem
that would be...

even better...

taken into the alien spaceship
white on black,
taken to a far shining galaxy
of planets whirling
and twirling,
an honored
to be inducted
into the all-universe-all-star-poet's
hall of fame,
a grand interstellar
convocation and trade show
where my books
are  bought and sold
like the ever-glowing
I know they are...

that, indeed,
would make the best poem
of 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

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, 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


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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