Resorting To Drastic Measures   Friday, May 29, 2020






resorting to drastic measures


there
it is again -
that damn blank
screen
i’m supposed
to fill with...

insight?

not likely

grace?

even less likely

passion?

occasionally -
usually
when i’m really pissed
about something
no one else
cares that much about,
which makes me
look

foolish?

often

humor?

sometimes, like

a man
walks into a bar
asks the bartender
if he could get a free drink
if he showed him something special

bartender
says ok

man
pulls a mouse
out of one pocket
and a tiny piano
out of the other

the mouse
stretches, cracks his knuckles,
sits down
and plays the blues

wow!
the bartender says
and gives the man a drink

would you give me free drinks
for the rest of my life
if i showed you something
really, really, really special
the man asks

the bartender says,
sure,
if you can top that last trick

ok
the man says

pulling
the mouse out of his pocket
again
and the tiny piano
out of another pocket
and a bullfrog
out of a third pocket

the little mouse
stretches, cracks his knuckles,
sits down
at the piano and plays the blues
while the bullfrog sings along
with the music

another customer in the bar
rushes over
says
that’s terrific,
tell you what, i’ll give you
$5,000 for the frog

ok
the man says
gives up the frog
and takes the money

the other customer
leaves
with the frog

the bartender
says
$5,000, are you crazy
you could have made millions
with that frog

oh
the frog’s not so great
the man
said -
it’s
just
the mouse is a
pretty darn good
ventriloquist...

commit
silly joke theft

yeah,
that too








 
My  blog host  made some changes which uncovered 63 reader comments going back to2016 which I had not seen before  and didn't know existed. I just approved them all so they may show up somewhere.  






Here and Now
Resorting to Drastic Measures
Herenow.7beats.com

Me

resorting to drastic measures
every postman knows
lessons from John Mayberry
high and mysterious grasses
with Basho in his garden
who knew
pure as the driven snow again
flapjack ruminations


Pablo Neruda

Bleak System
The Fisherman


Me

the thin-thin woman
girl smiling
it’s a Christian nation I’m told
fat man dancing


D. H. Lawrence

topic


Me

old pals

Joanna M. Weston

Taking the Moon
Thread of Motherhood
The Times When
On Dialysis


Me

usual suspects


herenow.7beats.com








From 2010, nothing has changed





every postman knows



read
in the papers
that the Tea Party people
are having trouble
with their national convention,
speakers dropping out,
complaints about high registration fees,
concerns that someone
is making a whole bunch of money
off this thing

not a surprise
to me,
cranks and crybabies
have started many a political movement,
but they always fall in
on themselves,
because

as every postman knows,
ankle-biters
will bite ankles, even if it has to be
their own

it is their nature









lessons from John Mayberry



there was a fella,
i think his name was

John Maberry,
a black soul-singer fella,

who fronted a white
band in and around San

Angelo, Texas,
playing

weekends
at a place called

The 13th Hour,
a big dance-hall type place

near the country
on the north side of San Angelo

where all the white guys and gals
went to get their soul lifted

on Friday
and Saturday nights

it should be said that
John Maberry

was a helluva soul singer,
as good as any of the guys

making the big money, but,
true then as now,

while being good
is good

being good
at the right time and place

is better
and Maberry, good as he was

was never
at the right time and place

so he never went much of
anywhere

but The 13th Hour
where he sang for the white folks

and another little club
on the black side of town


(this was 1966
and news the Civil Rights Act

of 1964
hadn’t completely percolated yet

all the way down
to San Angelo and the rest

of Southwest Texas,
in fact it hadn’t hardly percolated

yet
at all

so there still was a white side
of town

and a black side of town
and we all know what they called

the black side of town back then
so there’s no need to honor the word

by its use
here)

and me and several other fellas -
temporary residents of the city while

going through some advanced training
at Goodfellow Air Force Base -

who never missed Maberry
at The 13th Hour

decide we’d go listen to him
at that little club

on the black side of town
though the 4 of us were all white -

that was me,
a fella from South Carolina

who was the whitest boy white boy
i’ve ever seen,

a Yankee fella
from back east, and another

guy,
who, these 40+ years later

has completely
slipped out of my mind

so the 4 of us
went to the club on the black

side of town
to listen to John Maberry

and walked into this club,
the blackest place i had ever been

up to that night
and probably since,

went to the bar
and ordered a round of Falstaff

and found a table
where we sat by ourselves

for maybe thirty seconds
before about 4 or 5 very large fellas,

regulars at the club
from the looks of them,

came to sit around us
and with very hard stares ask us

why we were there
and we said, for the music,

and they said, well alright then,
and moved on

and, while never losing the consciousness
that we were a very small white

island
in a large black sea,

we sat back and enjoyed
John Maberry and his band

~~~

and this morning
i’m wondering why this scene

from all those years ago
played through my mind last night

as i was trying to go to sleep
except that maybe it’s just another example

of how our minds, when we get older,
seem to skip randomly

through our past,
jumping decades between memories

as thinking of the future
becomes so much less meaningful to us

then thinking of the past
there being so little future

and so much past
to think about -

why
this memory last night and not others,

except that it was the only time
in my life

when music so directly saved me and the only time
in my life, except for the time i stumbled myself

into the middle of an anti-war riot
in Paris in 1968,

when i felt threatened
because of the sole fact of who and what

i was,
making me think about others in this world

for whom
that same threat

for that same reason
is part of their life every day












high and mysterious grasses



i promised
Reba
last night
before i put her

to bed
that i’d take her
for a walk
this morning

and i know
she’s sits by the door
at home
now

waiting
and i’ll be there
to get her
as soon as i finish

this
because the joy to me
of watching her joy
when i reach for the

leash
feeds the new day
like a shot of sunshine
on the cold shoulders

of a sleeping cat
shivering
in the morning chill -
bringing back

the morning dream
of slow and stupid
mice
and warm milk

waiting in a bowl
by the fire
and the safe lap of he
who makes the sun to shine

so bright
on this winter morning
begun by a walk
through high and mysterious

grasses












with Basho in his garden



driving
on I-10
at 7:45 a.m.
is like attending
a linear convention
of type-A personalities,
every one of them
the kind that sees every
little trip to the grocery as
a competition with everyone
else on the road between
home and the supermarket

sometimes i begin to feel
like that, the onset of an insanity
too common in our lives,
and i try to treat it with imaginings
of more peaceful times
and places,
like the little bamboo hut
students built
for the haiku master Basho
where he sometimes found peace
between his travels -

i join him in my mind,
kneeling with him in his garden
of high weeds, flowers
no one else wanted
until he, in his peace, found
their beauty - beauty not of color
or spread of stems, or grand blossoms,
but of their perverse
indifference to the gardener,
their tenacity and will to survive
and spread, their willingness to struggle
for place all others would deny them

useful traits, all,
for poets and philosophers
so like weeds we are
in the Queen’s formal gardens,
as Basho
might well have known
and treasured









who knew



i know
what this poem means
and so do you

but it would be
so great
if we could get together
some rainy afternoon
in a coffee house
on a tree-lined boulevard
in a quiet neighborhood
and talk
and
talk
until you understood
what i wrote
and i knew what
you read













pure as the driven snow, again


a good thing
about getting old

if
you survive it

is that
as the years pass

more and more
of the people you wronged

die off,
allowing remorse

for past sins
with no requirement for restitution -

and how our virtue increases
as each new death and new year’s passing

makes it easier and easier
to be the example

of rectitude
old folks

are supposed to be -
meanwhile, my birthday

next week
takes me to number 76

and i’m thinking
4 or 5 more

and i’ll be pure
as the driven snow -














flapjack ruminations



the fella
right down from me,

the baldheaded fella
with the handlebar mustache,

is having a flapjack,
normally i would say he’s having

a pancake, but men
with handlebar mustaches

(women, too, i guess)
don’t have pancakes, they

have
flapjacks

i had a handlebar mustache
long ago

and i can tell you it’s just the way of the
handlebars...

reminding me of the movie
“machete”

when the super-tough
hero, Machete,

an elemental man
whose bells and whistles

do not include eletronica,
responding

to the sexy chica's invitation, says
“machete don’t text” -

neither do Superman, Batman,
Aquaman and the Flash,

but Spiderman,
he might

wimpy
little arachnomorph...

having nothing to do
with the kid at the table

right over from me, eating
one of the restaurants famous

humongous pancakes

(not a whisper of whisker yet
on the kid

so certainly no handlebar
mustache

so no flapjacks to him today)

his mother bet him $2 he couldn’t
eat the whole thing

and from the size of his father
it’s clear

his mother
must keep a lot of $2 bills

around the house
to pay off bets like that one...

it seems from the conversation
that the family, mother, father, son,

are in the city to day to watch their
older son

graduate from basic training
at Lackland Air Force Base

a ritual i completed
nearly 60 years ago, on a

cold, cold early January morning
in 1966,

a few days into the new year and
a bare month before my 22nd birthday

~~

i had neither handlebar mustache
nor hair

at the time,
but made up for it later

















Here are two short poems by Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pablo Neruda. A literary giant and, for a while, part of the democratically elected government of Chile, overthrown by the United States, the country’s democratically elected president killed and replaced by a military dictatorship supported by the U.S.



The poems are from the book, Neruda, Selected Poems, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1970. The book is bilingual, Spanish and English on facing pages. Four writers contributed to the translation, Anthony Kerrigan, W.S. Merwin, Alastair Reid, and Nathaniel Tarn.



Although they are not included in this collection, I consider Neruda the best author of love poetry of the 20th century.







Bleak System

Out of each of these days black as old irons,

prised open by the sun like fat red oxen,

kept just about alive on air and dreams,

and gone without recall, and lost that suddenly:

nothing has overridden my problematic youth –

and the unequal measures pumped around my heart

are setting there, day and night, in solitude,

made up of shambled, unhappy quantities.



So, like a look-out gone dull and blind

who can’t believe himself condemned to shameful ambush,

facing the wall into which each day of time melts,

my various faces press themselves in and lock

like pale and heavy exhibition blooms

replaced with stubbornness as soon as dead.





The Fisherman



With his long spear the naked fisherman

attacks the fish trapped in the rock pool

the sea the air the man are still

suggesting a rose a gentleness

spreads from the edge of the water and rises

enclosing the bluntness in silence

one by one the minutes seemed

to fold up like a fan

and the heart of the naked fisherman

becalmed its beat in the water

but when the rock was not looking

and the waves had furled their force

in the middle of the mute world

it went off the flash from them man

against the motionless life of the stone

the spear struck in the pure stone

the wounded fish flapped in the light

harsh flag of an uncaring sea

butterfly of bloodstain and salt













the thin-thin woman


the thin-thin
woman
passes with
the hungry look
of a wolf on the prowl

the timid animals
of the forest
tremble
at her passage

as do i

for her muscled shoulders
and torso
suggest she could
take
me
if she wanted

and a man
of peace-love-and-gentle-disposition
such as i
is not
one
to take chances
with wolf-looking
women

so pass on
i say
to this fierce-hungry
beauty

may the predator gods
of your forest
bless you in your
hunt











girl,  smiling



it seems
someone must have told her
as a child
that she should always smile

that people love to see a smile
on a pretty girl's face

that a smile makes friends
and will make her more popular

that smiling adds to her beauty

that she has lovely white teeth
and she should show them

but it also seems
no one told her
about her
eyes
and how they must smile
as well










This was written in 2009. Now, after nearly four years of the lizard in the White House, the scripture-spewing American ayatollahs  have even more political power than they did before and we are four years closer to their dream of an American theocracy.




it’s a Christian nation I’m told



though long has been
my belief
that i lived in a nation
of freedom and liberty,
i learned
instead,
this week
that i live in a
Christian Nation
and people like me
aren’t supposed to be here
and maybe you, too, if you are

Baha’i, Buddhist, Confucian, Hindu, Muslim, Jainist, Jew, Shinto, Sikh, Taoist, Voodooer,
Asatru, Druid, Wiccan, Caodaist, Deist, Druze, Eckankarian, Gnosticism, Gypsie,
Krishnaian, Lukumi, Macumba, Mowahhidoon, Santerian, Satanist, Scientologist,
Unitarian Universalist, Yazdeanist, Zeroastrianian, Itian, Neo-paganist
or

like me
just don’t have much interest
or patience
with any of that hocus-
pocus

if your are any of those Christ-denying
religions,
then
just face it,
you aren’t supposed to be
in this Christian Nation
any more than i am
and are allowed to stay
(provisional status only)
by temporary grant of the Council
of Christ’s Own Holy PooBaas
who meet every Thursday
over the sacred sacraments

- sweet tea, chicken
fried steak and pecan pie -

there in Waco, Texas,
right down the road from
where those crazy people
burned up all their kids
cause they didn’t think their kids
could ever grow up holy enough
without the AK-47’s the black
helicopter gov’ment guys
wanted to pry from their cold
dead fingers

it’s my continued tenure in this
Great Christian Nation,
that’s decided every week
right at God’s Little Steakhouse
and Wine bar, and yours, too, if
you are not, like me, at one with our
holy bejabbers Christian Nation, one
nation, under the big dark eye,
of Christ the watcher of all, highly
divisible into the uses and pagan
thems who better damn sure
watch themselves, with liberty
and justice for the uses but not for
thems who never learned the necessary
arts of proper prostrating -

thems being me
and maybe you -

who, like i said, better watch it
or their asses are going to be burning
in hell sooner rather than later, like
we all know their going to be anyway

- see, it’s anti-Christian comments
just like that that are going to get
me thrown right out of this country
someday, i mean, hellfire and
tarnation, how can you be a
really good soldier for Christ
like those poor dead Waco children
tried to be, without your AK-47 and grenade
launcher and ballistic missiles
and Starwars fibrillating bodymass
disintegrator, i mean, holy sweetpotatoes,
Jesus needs all the help he can get
and if he can’t get it from you, well, you
might just as well turn in you temporary
non-Christian residency card -

so that’s mainly what i learned this week,
about how this is a Christian Nation
and all my damned humanistic, anti-Christ thinking
is bound to get me shipped out to France
for sure

so see you later, maybe,
on the Champs de Ellesse -
we can maybe split an espresso
and baguette - though one of us
is going to have to play the
accordion if we want to fit in












fat man dancing



fat man
dancing throwing
his arms to the
cool
clear
sky -

the kind
of bright spring
day
when
that sort of thing
happens
















This short poem by D. H. Lawrence is from D. H. Lawrence, Selected Poems, published in 1972 by Penguin

Books.

Lawrence’s name and fame trickled all the way down in the mid-fifties to my little town in South Texas, mainly in connection to his scandalous book Lady Chatterley’s Lover. There was no bookstore in my little town and the city library was a volunteer effort in an old two-chair barbershop downtown. There was a paperback bookstore seven miles down the road to the next town. When I was 14 or 15 I would ride the bus to the movies which was next door to the bookstore which was next door. I would always visit the bookstore before getting on the bus to go home. I remember sitting in the bus, paging through my newly purchased copy of Lady Chatterley, looking for the good parts.







Tropic

        From Birds, Beasts and Flowers



Sun, dark sun,

Sun of black void heat,

Sun of torrid mid-day’s horrific darkness



Behold my hair twisting and going black,

Behold my eyes turn tawny yellow

Negroid;

See the milk of northern spume

Coagulating and going black in my veins

Aromatic as frankincense.



Columns dark and soft,

Sunblack men,

Soft shafts sunbreathing mouths,

Eyes of yellow, golden sand

As frictional, as perilous, explosive as brimstone



Rock. Waves of dark heat;

Waves of dark heat, rock. Sway upwards,

Wave perpendicular.



What is the horizonal rolling of water

Compared to the blood of black heat that rolls upwards past my eyes








old pals



old cat,
blind in one eye
and hardly seeing
out of the other,
sleeps just about
all day, curled
up on her pillow,
head hidden
under her front feet,
snoring like thunder
on the near horizon,
rising from her lap
of luxury several times
a day to go stand by
her food dish, confident
someone will notice
and if we don’t, reminding
us with a scream at a pitch and
volume possible for only
the oldest and wisest
of old cats, taking her
exercise on her way back
to bed, boxing with the
shadows on the wall
as she passes

old dog,
with her creaky rheumatoid hips
and cataract-dusty
eyes, sleeps most of the day
as well, as near to us as she can,
beside me on the floor in my office,
on the couch with us as we watch TV,
or, when we’re not there, in her little
bed at the foot of our bed -old
and slow but still treasuring her morning walks,
a chance to sniff out the latest news
of the day, impatient to start, beginning
to bark when we turn on the road that leads
to the road that leads to our walking
area

it’s a slow and leisurely walk, no rush,
no hurry, bush to bush, tree to tree,
old cat, old dog, and me, old pals,
wearing out together, seeing no reason
to race ever faster
to the end of our trail















Next I have four short poems from my poet/friend, Joanna M. Weston. Her published books include her middle-reader, ‘Frame and The McGuire', published by Tradewind Books 2015; and poetry,  ‘A Bedroom of Searchlights’, published by Inanna Publications, 2016. Other books listed at her blog:
http://www.1960willowtree.wordpress.com/








Taking the Moon

as I strolled home
I tucked the moon
in my pocket
then took it out
laid it carefully
on the table
where I could watch
the patchwork sphere
slowly oh so slowly
lose its global curve
and taper to an arc

I wiped the table
and the moon vanished
in complete eclipse



Thread of Motherhood                            

I am the yarn
linking the family
from one crisis
of hair-pulling shouts
to the next lost sock

losing the thread between
early hockey practice
science projects
and milking the cow

trying to remember
that my hands
knit the family fabric
from today until
another tomorrow



The Times When

forget days that turned
my voice to purple thistles
when chores overtook me

lose the time I changed faces
because a child dropped
broke a jar of syrup

ignore the day I hung diapers
from a sagging line
between gusts of summer rain

drop those midnight tears
in a bucket of frustration
and tip it down the drain



On Dialysis

the weather leans on glass
reflected from behind me

branches bend    stretch
leaves ripple towards escape

clouds discover blue
stealing it against future rain

I am immobile
locked in a background hum

with occasional voices
and the revealed weather

I long to be out there
swinging in the wind












usual suspects



the old guys
are here
and the tattooed
fat lady is here
and the always neat
and clean homeless guy
with his tightly wrapped
foam bedroll, heavy looking backpack
and professorial look
behind little half-lens glasses
as he spends the day reading
in the air conditioned
cool,
and the mama
with her little blond girl trailing behind,
baby-doll in one arm and pink little purse
in the other, and little plastic dangly
bracelets on both wrists
that she shakes as she passes, and
the young mother with two little girls,
heading, double-time, for the bathroom
passing a new guy, a long, white haired
Sam Elliott looking guy in short pants
reading “Guns & Ammo” magazine,
and a couple of the medical student
regulars, and the short-haired cowboy guy
with the bad arm, and the two gay guys
that show up a couple of times a week
(and, ok, maybe they’re not gay, but
they sure are sharp dressers),
and the middle-aged woman, a mid-life
student, who always looks like she’s mad
at me because i always get here first
and take the table by the door
next to an electric plug where she’d like to be,
and the dorky looking guy and his dorky looking wife
who come in and stare at each other and never
say a word the whole time they’re here, and
the old guy with the thick glasses and magnifying
glass who writes tiny numbers in tiny columns
in a spiral notebook, eyes inches from the
magnifying glass inches from the paper,
and the table of law students, arguing
with each other like it was a Supreme Court
appearance, and the oriental guy reading
Schopenhauer haiku and the girl with the long auburn
hair and acne scared cheeks, a cheeky girl
with a constant air of amused observation
and i'm thinking if she was 50 years older
she might share the joke with me, assuming
it’s not me that’s the joke, of course,
a possibility i do not discount....

all the familiar faces in all the familiar
places on a mostly typical Thursday













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The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
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