Ambushed   Friday, June 05, 2020







ambushed

I
have a hitch
in my get-a-long
this morning,
a vintage mid-fifties
phrase, probably planted
in my young brain by
Tennessee Ernie Ford
or some such,
meaning I’m limping around
like an old man
because of a pain in my hip,
the result of my cheapness
in refusing to pay $200
to have someone remove
a fallen tree from my
backyard resulting in
$400 worth of personal
pain and suffering after
trying to do it myself,
plus paying $200 to someone
to do the job I couldn’t finish

but that’s another story

it’s the phrase
I’m interested in this morning,
the phrase that slipped
directly from my brain
like a quarter
passing, unhindered, through
guts and gears of a malfunctioning
vending machine

in what secret fold of our brain
do things like this abide, a homely phrase,
a word you forgot you knew, an ugliness,
deep buried, you think, never to see again
the light of day - and suddenly there
they are again, the good and the bad
and the merely embarrassing, jumping
right out, throwing themselves
at the world like a giggle at your mother’s
funeral, a subversive fart
while having tea with
the queen,
yourself revealed,
not really yourself, you explain,
but little pieces of your earlier self
you though long left behind
long banished or
forgotten

my mother
would sometimes call window shades
window lights,
an embarrassment to her
because she thought it revealed
her country-poor upbringing

my father
stuttered when excited,
like all of us
sometimes ambushed
by the
past







 

 

 

Here and Now

Ambushed

nceHerenow.7beats.com

 

Me

 

ambushed

chapter 76

pestilence

on the cover of Time Magazine

in the way of reassurance upon the onset of dread disease

the deer still graze

pimple-brained nutcaked nitwitted thieving sourball licking witch-sucking lunatic political other guys

quantum effects on poetry

 

 

Robert Bly

 

October Frost

Night Farmyard

 

 

Me

 

it’s the kind of thing nobody wants to talk about

about those who produce and those who consume

 

 

Piotr Sommer

 

Talkativeness

Proofs

Grammar

 

 

Me

 

a few things the goddess wants us to see

intimate moments

diddlysquat

songs of the furthermost seas

  

herenow.7beats.com








chapter 76

 

it’s a great time
of year

when fog slips in early,
liquefying
light;

when party-favor
leaves
are blown
by north winds
crispy-chatter
down the street;

when the air,
fresh in the morning,
is mountain smelling
and sweet;

when my skin
puckers,
all goosebumped
as I stroll my backyard
at midnight;

when the moon
is orange,
slipping
in a watermelon
crescent
between sweet cream clouds;

when dogs howl
at the chocolate shadows
of vanilla-light
night

``

it’s a great
time of year
when the old year
falls
and all the mistakes
and sins of its passage
are finally laid to
rest -
buried,
with all the desiccated leaves
of the season,
as fodder
for another new beginning

a time
to turn the page
and find another,
clean and white, ready
for the writing
of a new chapter
in the story of our lives

~~

chapter 76
for me, such a longer
story
than I had imagined
it would be







pestilence

i saw this yellow
jeep-like rough tough
asshole looking vehicle this morning

had a bumper sticker on the back
said
“Constitution Party”

which,
if there were a truth in bumper sticker law
and the bumper was longer, would have said,

“I Like the Parts of the Constitution I Like
and You Damn Well Better Like Them Too Party”
which means,

everybody gets a gun
and niggers don’t move into my neighborhood
cause i’ve got mine and i’ll use it

i know these people -
grew up with them - pestilence
loose in the country








on the cover of Time magazine

 

she’s a pretty girl,
fifteen, no more than sixteen,
with deep brown eyes

and no nose,
cut off by the guardians
of morality -

the cost
to some of becoming
an educated woman in this place

i want us to kill the people
who did this, and more, and
i don’t care how we do it










in the way of reassurance upon the onset of dread disease

feeling bad

after two days
in bed,
signs of life,
but still need
assurance
that the end
is not nigh

time to take
inventory,
so before the mirror
i stand

good-sized
human,
liberally patched
with white fur

- a apparition
in the dark of a
half-moon night -

belly
like the prow
of a sailing ship
pushing fearlessly
into the highest seas

arms, chest
shoulders still bearing evidence
of a blacksmith’s genes,
but even there,
ample signs
that gravity is in the game,
and winning

internals not so good
but all in all not
so bad
for a body
in its 76th year

the creature
lives!
as the doctor cried

it lives! it lives!









the deer still graze

the deer
still graze
on the hillside pasture

they will retreat
to the woods by the time
i finish breakfast
as clouds clear and the sun
begins
it’s daily scorching

early summer rain
has greened the woods
and the pastures where just weeks ago
bluebonnets held their ground

until, their tenure
done -
they dropped their seed
and settled in beneath the grass
to wait their turn again
next year

as
we wait
with them
for those few weeks of color...

it is the green
that is the marvel now,
green,
where brown grass
and dry cracked earth
is the more expected rule -

a premature celebration, perhaps,
for the fires of hell
could still await us just past the gates of July,
but for now,
i taste the green of new life in the air
and sing the green electric







 

pimple-brained nutcaked nitwitted thieving sourball licking witch-sucking lunatic political other-guys


hark!

the blue open sky
the trees
the gentle falling leaves
the sparrows hip-hopping
branch to branch
the church-clotherd-clot-herd folk
walking bible-in-hand
children skip skipping
to Sunday school
prayers
now i sit me
down to eat
and if i choke
before i swallow
hemlich-me quick
and don’t you tarry
cause i’d rather walk
then be carried on a stretcher
on this autumn bright autumn Sunday
morn in the southern provinces
of you esse
way

but politics swallows my brain today
and trying to walk
lightly slightly brightly
around the subject because
i hate political poison poems and
i know if i get to talking about all those
pimple-brained
nutcaked
nitwitted
thieving
sourball-licking
witch-sucking
lunatic
political
other-guys

i'll never stop

but

hark!!

i say to myself
it is a beautiful open-sky
Sunday-autumn
day
that shouldn’t be spoiled
by such thinking-about
writing-about
reading-about
downtown-downers
as politi-chips
and unsalted pretzel brains

look to the sky
instead
to the birds
to the trees and the leaves
drop dropping
to the ground of many colors

it is Sunday
after
all

let us
pray-prey
on happy happy-
day-thoughts
and be joyful
to the sun and the mountains
and rivers and hills and
streams -

all legal
now
and tax deductible
in London
and surrounding en
virons
from Sherwood flats
to Sherwood meadows
to Sherwood forest
where the king’s deer
now roam safe
&
un
hooded

hark! hark!

goddamn
it i said
hark!









 

quantum effects  on poetry

 


dark outside

lights inside
reflected back inside
by the windows

i watch
myself chew -
the reflection or myself
chewing
because the dark is outside
and the light is inside
turning the windows into
mirrors

one biscuit in the mirror,
gravy on the side
& coffee, lots
of coffee
which i do not
chew
because i don’t chew
coffee and because
watching myself
chew
puts me off chewing
all together

i watch myself
write a poem, or
more correctly, i
watch myself
search
for the first line
which
i will watch myself
write
when i find the line
that will lead to a poem
i will watch myself write

all this has to happen
before the sun
comes up, changing
the window from a mirror
to a window looking out
instead in so that
i would have to go
outside
to watch myself write
a poem
and since that is
impossible
it not being possible
to be in two places
at once, except
maybe not, since
experiments
testing quantum theory
have in fact placed
the same molecule
in two places at once
but only for a couple
of seconds which is
not enough time for me
to write a poem though
it would give me enough
time to watch me
write a poem if i could
write a poem in just
a couple of seconds

this makes my
head hurt

i think the answer is
i just need to write a poem
before the sun
comes up and makes a mess
everything










My introduction to the poetry of Robert Bly were his anti-Viet Nam war poems in which he seemed to claim an authority on the subject of war which he had not earned. It was my opinion at the time that he thought himself to be in the company of the great WWI poets like Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Guillaume Apollinaire who wrote as the fought and, like Owen, died, or, like Apollinaire became an amputee. He is not fit to be in their company. Instead he proved himself to be an expert in the art of pandering to the self-interested, self-satisfied students who fought their war against the war from the safety of a college campus.

 

Bet then I read his simpler and more honest rustic poems, so much better and more true than the snively stuff he wrote for his students.


Poems such as those from this book, This Tree Will Be Here for a Thousand Years, and others, this one published in 1079 by Harper and Row.

 

 

 

October Frost

 

Last night the first heavy frost.

Now the brave alfalfa has sobered

it has folded, as if from geat heat,

and turned away from the north.

The horse’s winter coat has come

through the bark of the trees.

Our ears hear tinier sounds,

reaching faraway east in the early darkness.

 

 

Night Farmyard

 

The horse lay on his knees sleeping.

A rat hopped across scattered hay

and disappeared into the henhouse.

There the chickens sat in stiff darkness

 

Asleep they are bark fallen from an old cottonwood.

yet we know their soul is gone, risen

far into the upper air about the moon.











it’s the kind of thing nobody wants to talk about


as a diabetic,
i know
you got to keep your feet

in good condition
because,
while feet come and go

in this world,
once your own personal feet are gone,
there is no second coming -

except
in a theological sense
where i’m told

when playing
in the Tennis Courts
of the Lord

you do it
on your own two feet,
reconstituted

like freeze-dried
scrambled eggs, since,
the story goes,

when lost to you
in your earthly life,
try were not really lost,

just
stored in the Walk-In
Freezer

of the Lord
until your ascension through
the Pearly Gates of the Lord

for your every-lasting
reward on the
Tennis & Food Courts of the Lord...

but nobody’s told me
what happens
if,

in the event
more likely in my case,
the Pearly Gates of the Lord

are not seen
by my
dead eyes

but warmer climes,
instead, are to be my fate,
an eternity spent

dancing on the hot
rocks
of hell ever-lasting

instead of basking by the Cabanas of the Lord,
will i be dancing
on my own reconstituted

scrambled-egg legs
dispatched
from the Walk-In Freezer of the Lord

immediately
upon determination
of my eternal status

or will i be forced
to do the Savoy Stomp
forever on
the stumps











about those who produce and those who consume




"China buys one third stake in South Texas oil, gas fields"
.....San Antonio Express-News



i was writing a poem today
about the oil business in South Texas
and all its ups and downs

and booms and busts
regular as clockwork, and the yuppies
in their SUVs, damning the industry

and the workers that support
their gluttonous ways, like the woman
caller on NPR demanding a law

against drilling all those oil wells
while she walks, i’ll bet,
no further on any given day

than the distance from her
front door
to the Escalade in the driveway,

unless, of course, she’s walking
through some over-lit, over-air
conditioned oil-guzzling shopping mall,

but then i realized
no one cares, they didn’t
care when the industry crashed

in the 1980s and hundreds
of thousands of workers, laborers
and professionals, lost everything

and, except for the occasional
sloganeering,
they don’t care now

and that they don’t care
doesn’t bother me,
for i am an economic realist,

years looking to the interests
of workers and business people
made clear to me that no one

wins
until someone loses -
that is the edict of the market

inviolable
as gravity or the surety that
you will not buy a winning lottery

ticket
until the day after the lottery
is held -

so it is not the ignorance
or disinterest that flames me
but the sanctimony

of those who feed on
the carcass of hard-tracked prey
but damn the hunter




, 







Next I have a couple of short poems by Polish poet Piotr Sommer. The poems are from his book, Continued, published by Wesleyan University Press in 2005.





Talkativeness


But the citizen should be honest

and tell everything -

after all, the phones have been reconnected

so that he could

communicate with friends

or whoever he wants,

but it would be highly immoral

and, frankly speaking, quite unfair

to ring a friend

and not tell him everything

hinting

in addition

that one knows much more



Proofs 


Don't worry about commas, all those

punctuation marks, colons, semi-colons

and dashes, which you so scrupulously

specify will be, thanks to a proof-

reader's inattentiveness left out; the rhythm

of your sentence, your thinking , your language

will prove less important than

you expected, or maybe than you wanted.

That was nothing but wishful thinking - 

you won't be read to the music of speech

but to the hubbub of things.



Grammar


What was, one should speak of in the past tense,

what isn't, in some other tongue.







a few things the goddess wants us to see


these are a few things
the goddess wants us
to see

a bright yellow moon
on a crisp October night -

reminder that heaven
is far greater
then our dogmas
insist...

a baby nursing
at his mother’s breast -

our better self,
the us the goddess
meant us to be...

meadows
blue and gold
with spring colors -

home
for our hearts
for as long as we let it be...

fog,
phantasmal
cloud
slipping across a darkened sea -

the end, always
approaching, she reminds us,
just as she meant it to be, the
short-lived ecstasy
of a sea, great and free,
covered at times,
lost to the day but
still stirring beneath
the densest shroud...

these and other things
the goddess wants us to see -

the glories
and beauties
and hope
and desire
and tragedies
and death that make
the life, we’re given,
limited
and sometimes
harsh,
but still as full as we
allow it to be

that is what she wants us
to see, how
our short span
is designed to be stretched
by us who live it








intimate moments

 

night falls in the mountains,
the sun dropping
behind ragged peaks

on one side
of the Chisos Basin
while the moon rises

from behind high ridges
on the other,
dark, light to dark

while your attention
turns
from one to the other...

below the mountains,
on the desert floor,
sunset is a slow

and stately progression,
a soft glide
through all the colors

of yellow and orange,
lying at the end
like a bloody red ball

on the west horizon,
as, in the east, the moon rises
over the flat, dry plain,

soft custodian of the desert night,
it is in it’s reflected glow
like a counterweight to the sun,

bringing paler light to sunburned
sand and night-blooming cactus,
reds and yellows and orange blooms

restating in pastel shades
sunset’s vivid
colors...

though each within sight of the other,
they are different worlds,
these mountains and this desert,

each bringing it’s own rise and fall
to the day
and to its ever-lost companion, the night








diddlysquat

 

i already wrote
a poem
this morning
but it’s another
rant
and it’s too nice
a day and too early
in this new year
for a rant

but
goddammit
i want to rant

and so i will

i’ll rant about
all the birds singing
and the sun shining
and the blue sky
and the clear clean air
and the good night’s sleep
that left me refreshed
and reenergized
and my nice house
and my pets
who follow me around
with great brown eyes
dripping with love and
adoration
and my wife
who seems to like me ok
and the fine dinner
she made for me last night
and my good prospects
for a long and productive life
and my computer
and my fingers and my toes
and my social security check
and the tree i sit under
when i feel my nature-boy self
pining for the smell of squirrels
and fragrant flowers
and tickling blades of grass
on my bare feet
and my hair that hasn’t
fallen out yet
and the dried beef sausage
in the fridge and the
false teeth that make it
possible for me
to eat the dried beef sausage
in the fridge
and levis that fit tight
and keep my butt
from sagging
and....well....

i could just go on and on
and on some more
with all the things i have
to rant about,
i could rant about
the cows coming home
and the cow farmers
waiting for them at home
and i could rant about the cows
and their moon jumping
milkshake making
shenanigans
and i could rant about words
like shenanigans
that i have to look up in the
dictionary
cause i can’t spell diddlysquat
and i could rant about diddlysquat...
and often do...

i could even rant about
you, and and if i can, i do,
so i do,
i rant about you
who
got sucked into reading this
on the false assumption
i had something
to say












Elephants and whales, leviathans of land and sea and we kill them for no good reason. And some of us continue to believe that for our kind in a place called "heaven."

This poem is about the whales and the songs they sing.




songs of the furthermost seas

a song
sung over and over

sometimes 
a lone singer

sometimes
all of his kind
singing the same 
song across a wide
ocean, sometimes
singing the same song
together

leviathans
singing leviathan songs

just,
it seems,
for the joy
of the singing

yet,
the slaughter
continues

~~~

but, Christ, the
hunters say

what the hell good
is an animal
if you can’t have the
the pleasure
of killing
it?






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