The Girl Who Wanted to Learn About Government   Monday, June 22, 2020






The saddest thing about this sad poem - it was written in 2010.




the girl who wanted to  learn about government


lies bloodied and dead on a sidewalk

9 years old
and already a casualty
of the political
wars

don’t tell me
it is nobody’s fault -
that it was just a crazy person
acting out the insanity
of his life

for there are crazy people
everywhere
always
acting out the insanity
of their lives
but they don’t shoot
20 people in a crowd
just any old time

it takes a special time
for that to happen,
a time when
a zeitgeist of hate and
violence
is like poison gas
in the air,
fogging the fog
already in the minds
of the insane -
providing direction
to them

so a little girl
who wanted to know more
about her government
lies bloodied and dead
on a sidewalk

it matters less
whose hand
held
the gun
whose finger
pulled the trigger - more it matters
who brought upon us
this special time
we live
in








Here and Now

The Girl Who Wanted to Learn About Government

Herenow.7beats.com

 

Me

the girl who wanted to learn about government

nothing more you are; nothing better could you be\

 

David Eberhardt

Tribute to Stephen Hawking & Rene Descartes (“I think therefore I am”)

  

Me

the woman with the interesting hair

her lip trembles

the young woman who laughs so big

the blond started it all

 

Alex Stolis


(3:15 A.M.)

Attempting to learn Tai Chi

 

Me 

as the Sahara winds approach

about the three older men

the fish who seeks his sea

 

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sorrow

 

Me

shackin’ up

marking 101

it is hard

herenow.7beats.com







nothing more you are; nothing better could you be


I believe we are creators
of gods,
not the other way
around
and I hold to no religion
based on such inventions,
not the standard types
preached from the pulpit
Sunday mornings, not the god
of tents and religious revivals, not
the god of born again, not the god
of those who prostrate themselves
before the moon every third Thursday
of every third month -

but
if I did want to believe
in a god and could choose
he/she/it to whom I would defer,
I would chose the god of the hill
for whom Annamayya wrote a new song
every day…

not a god who reigns, who rules
his believers with a face
of wrath and a voice of thunder -

instead a god who reflects
his believers, who walks with his believers
humbly, not ahead, not behind, but stride
for stride together, a god that morphs
from you to me
to be for you and for me
what we need our god to be

"People who serve the goddess think you are their goddess.
Different schools of thought measure you by their thoughts.
Small people think of you to get rich, and for them you become small.
Thoughtful minds contemplate you're depths, and for them you are deep"




not a god
who makes and moulds us
in his image ( for who would want
the image of a true god to be
their own?)

but a god
created by us
for purposes imagined by us,
to fill the void that death
leaves
in the passages of all lives -
a god who is holy
because we, creatures of both
the light and night,
are holy even in all our human
incompetencies -

a god who only in us
and with us is complete -
a god who seeks us as we seek
it, for only together are either of us
complete

"There's nothing missing in you,"
says Annamayya, to his god on the hill,
"The lotus spreads to the limits of the lake.
There's water in the Ganges, also in wells on the shore.
You're the god on the hill,
the one who's taken hold of me.
For me, you are real."




but
you are real
and powerful
and out-reaching to all the life
in me
because I made you that way,
he adds -
you are real
he says…

"as real as I imagine"




and nothing more
you are,
I add
in my own voice,
and nothing better could you be

for me










This is from my poet-friend, David Eberhardt




Tribute to Stephen Hawking & Rene Descartes (“I think therefore I am”)


The gold fish in a fishbowl 
Being carried by a small girl 
In a market, all this filmed, the different 
Perspectives, laws of nature, reality in… 
Quarks as if bound by rubber?

13.7 billion year history?

Is your “best fit model”. 
Mind of the beholder, 
Between your ears, 
What you choose it to be










the woman with the interesting hair

she’s older than middle-age
but not yet old,
with retro-hair, at first glance,
war-bride hair,
tightly-permed bun up front
and one more on each side
and my first thought
was Betty Davis in one of those
40’s movies where she’s a haughty bitch
who gets brought down to earth
by a strong man’s good kissing and other stuff
unmentioned
at the time

and though this look
is what I always think of first
when I think of Betty Davis, I do the Google-dance
and can’t find a single picture of her
with that hair style

so I think to myself, goodness sakes,
if it’s not Betty Davis who am I thinking of, then it hits me,
Little Orphan Annie,
but I Google-dance again
and see that it’s not the triple-bun look she has
but a kind of red/orange afro, a helmet thing,
like the motorcycle guys wear, thick, covering forehead
to the nape of her neck, with bumper guards on each side
sticking forward almost to her chin

so, wrong again

then, all of a sudden,
(sudden, being this not a poem where things happen slowly)
suddenly, way back in the most dusty corners of my brain,
where the oatmeal
has turned to redi-mix concrete plugs of
almost forgotten memory,
(like the pretty yellow-haired girl who played with me
on the sidewalk in front of a house
I don’t even remember)
way-back stuff, in other words,
concrete shifts, cracks,
and breaks through it all my to my first
fictional
girlfriend, Lil’ LuLu,
except instead of one brillo-pad bun
centered up front
she has two, along with the two sticking out
behind her ears,
not exactly right, but hell
I’ve already spend 30 minutes thinking
about this, and the woman with the interesting
finished her breakfast and left
long ago, so I don’t even have anymore the real model
to compare my memories to, so anything more
falls into the dead horse beating category,
which I would never do, beat a dead horse or any other animal
alive or dead,
and to avoid beating such dead horse, or any other animal,
dead or alive,
I am satisfied to label this the “Lil’ Lulu” simile,
or metaphor, I never can keep those too straight,
which one is which one, which one is “like”
and which one is “is”
and you could
probably
help 
here by taking over 
while I finish my
coffee
and flapjacks,
except I didn’t really have flapjacks

I just like the word,
has a kind of Rocky Mountain
Bunyon and Babe
flannel shirt
feel to
it
that jump starts my testosterone flow
and pumps up my masculine
imagination
of tall trees and soft grasses











her lip trembles

her lip trembles
and I love her for her
courage

~~~

her day begins
in yellow light, like
lantern light, before
the sun, like an old woman rising
from her dark bed,
crests
the eastern mountain
ridges…

the basin
will be dark
before the sun falls
through the western notch,
the desert floor
a blaze or reds and yellow
and orange…

she stands before the colors
far below,
arms stretched
wide,
embracing the failing light…

this is the way
she wants it to end,
in a glory afire with completion

not soft and unsure, the way
it began












the young woman who laughs so big

young woman,
nice looking, short,
with a gargantuan laugh,
ack, ack, ack,
like an anti-aircraft barrage
over London,
rattling the windows,
amazing
from such a small
person

a full-bodied laugh,
her body
leaning backward
like marsh grass in the face
of a might blowing wind,
head thrown back,
eyes half-closed, mouth open,
like turkeys
in a heavy rain, amazed
at the rain, drowning
in it
as the rain pours
into their open mouth, too
dumb to close it, too
enthralled by the curiosity
of the rain
to shift their gaze
to the ground

endearing,
this happy young woman
might be,
if her caution-to-the-wind
wide-mouthed,
head back
laugh
didn’t remind me
of drowning
turkeys
and if it wasn’t
so damn
loud










the blonde started it all

the blond started
it,
telling a story, loud,
not a funny story but
very loud
like
loud
a substitute for wit

and, of course, since she’s
loud,
the two businessmen sitting
in the next booth
have to loud-up to hear each other,
third quarter sales, the one fellow saying
he deserves a raise, the other fellow,
the boss, I’m thinking, pointing to sales,
explaining the wonders of profit-based bonuses
should there ever been a profit, not so far evident
in the subordinate striver’s
quarterly sales

and that’s pretty damn boring
at seven in the morning unless you happen
to be the guy trying to get a raise, but, for the rest of us,
in the same boring galaxy as
the three women across the room,
the fat woman, the tall woman, and the oriental
woman, talking about the baby shower
for another woman who is not there, a perfect
mess at the shower, they say, gossip, gossip, gossip,
and who’s supposed to be the father,
does anybody know, does
she even know -
pretty nasty stuff, stuff best whispered
in little conspiratorial huddles, not spoken out so loudly,
necessary though loudly might be to be heard over the businessmen’s
talking about third quarter sales and profits and bonuses,
they also speaking very loudly in order to be heard
over the guffawing-blond witless-story teller

and now I can hear the cook in the kitchen
yelling at the waitress
and the volume rises all around, everyone
trying to be heard over everyone else trying to be heard
and it’s like a damn hen house
at sunset, all the fat feathery-bottomed brooder hens
settling in,
cackle cackle cackle,
bragging about their latest ovoid accomplishment,
look at my egg, no, look at mine, no look
at….

and the damn blond started it
all










The next couple of pieces are by my poet/friend, Alex Stolis, from his chapbook, On the run with Dick and Jane, Pudding House Chapbook Series. Alex is a master at using small, very reality-based vignettes that taken together create a narrative. It's the approach I copied for my book, Sonyador, the dreamer as well as my second prose book, Peace in Our Time

I have to thank Alex for the inspiration, if I haven't already.




(3:15 A.M.)

That crack in the sidewalk is more than a crooked line in cement,
it is thin paper

that can be folded into exotic origami animals, it is dishonesty in
the middle of a flat

bone-colored mirror, it is a witness to forgiveness. A man can look
both ways before

running down the street, a man can believe someone will hustle up
the bail money

because hope springs from stolen watches and dead mother's
wedding band.

Anything is possible when it is unknown, then you can hear the sharp
snap of a back

breaking in the ground and understand anything is a lie. The
working girl

on the corner  crosses herself as a cab pulls up - around here
the police ignore everything

but the most brittle sins of the flesh. Desperation has a way
make artists of us all.

I'm an illustrator with no tools of the trade who paints watered
down decisions,

draws birds with broken wings. the night plays tricks with a
flickering street lamp

and my eyes go bloodshot from too many missteps and broken
calculations.

Eventually every hole gets filled, the bodies get buried and all
that's left behind

for the living are stories to fill empty spaces. Some day, we will be
friends, and I 

a day or two after that we will be something more. Until then, I'll
wish we could back

to the beginning - back to the one syllable days that always
included a tomorrow.


Attempting to learn Tai Chi

Dick and a couple of friends hitchhiked and hopped freight trains

to Mexico. The idea was to follow the sun but the sun, as always

was unreliable. Its skin had become rough and its jowls sagged

and in those days the lies came easier. They were led astray

by the promise of no future - the weight of autumn crushed

their denim jackets. Cars clicked past and became blurs

in the back of their minds and the flatbed pick-up truck

that brought them to the Arizona shivered under 

the burden of their expectations










A new poem from me, the first in several months. 

I notice that, even after the hiatus,  I still don't know how to end a poem when I should, leaving them to dribble off into the sunset.




as the Sahara winds approach



with them
the dry desert dust that will dim the sky 
and coat every non-moving creature and thing

but this morning, 
as the desert still floats high over the Atlantic, 
it is the beginning of a cool, wet day, 
a blessedly wet day 
after a couple of weeks 
of dry intense heat 

and I am up and at the new IHOP 
a restaurant just opened 
as the lockdown lifting began…

the coffee is good and it’s a place I trust, 
though I have never eaten anything there 
I ever want to eat again, it is shiny new clean 
and the staff, mostly young women, 
are pleasant and mindful, accustomed to me now 
after just a week, so that my coffee is waiting for me 
at the table as far away from people as I can get I do not 
intend to allow my life to be hostage to COVID scares, 
but I am very cautious about where I go, which amounts to, 
at this point, three places, two diners and a supermarket…

this morning, 
there is a table of six, young Latin men and women, the 
women, so beautiful, long dark hair, and eyelashes, the soft 
tan skin of their bare shoulder, so inviting to a lover’s touch, 
and I imagine the soft curves of their body, the smooth skin
of their arms and legs and their small breasts, 
and the fine silken down at the nexus of their femininity… 

understand, this is not the lust of an old man, but heart-pounding 
appreciation of a vision of beauty, of youth, and all that means 
to an old man, and beauty, the greatest I will see today, the greatest 
think week, maybe, who knows, for the rest of my life, 
beauty like a rose bud just opening, the morning dew of this wet 
day gathered in its hollow… 

I am revived - my shamble a little less pronounced, my gait 
a little smoother and faster – I am revived, but not renewed, 
that would take more than a dozen pretty woman, 
maybe a modern medical miracle or a laying on of hands 
by Pat Robertson or a Billy Bill Prayer-bot, $19.99 at the 
address, with the special offer this day only 
and fidelity CD of his whole choir of sinners turned saint for only $3.98, or, 
if want to double the healing power, 2 of the high quality CDs for just $8.00.

all enticing offers, but at my age,
I think I’ll stick with the pretty women.










about the three older men


about the three
older men
and the two young
women
mentioned earlier...

the men,
easily twenty-five to thirty
years elder to the women,
looked like coaches,
and the women, come to think of it,
had the long, lean look of
athletes,
so it could be the kink
that so entertained me
is in my own mind and not in events
previously or soon to transpire

that is a great disappointment
to me,
for my less than fresh mind
feasts
on imaginations
of older men, maybe even
old men, alive with the passions
of young women -
forgive us, ladies, young
and not, it’s a genetic survival
of the species thing
with men, fear that our species continuation roles
diminished, we might be deemed
obsolete,
tossed aside, banished from the tribe,
and while we know better than anyone
the increasing range of our limitations,
we are not deterred,
no matter, we seek always to maintain
the illusion, no matter
how old we get, we are ever loath
to give up
the pretence
of our own virility and sex
appeal

and it is the certainty
that the women of the world,
all the women of the world,
are waiting for us - such thoughts,
such delusions, the only thing
that keeps us from falling
facedown dead
into our morning bowl of
porridge







the fish who seeks his sea

Rumi
tells of the fish
who vainly sought the sea
while the great ocean
was all around and
within him…

I am the fish

seeking glory
beyond the glory
of my mere existence

seeking beauty
beyond the unmined beauty
of my heart
and in every other heart
that touches mine

seeking wealth
when no wealth can buy
the things I most desire
or the forgetfulness that is
my greatest need

I am the fish

seeking gods
when the only God is within me,
within that cosmic speck
of my self that is born of all selves
but like no other one,
master of my own universe,
a creature of all universes
but like no other one,
my own self that will fade, with its universe,
when the time
for a newer self,
a newer reality,
arrives

I am the fish
and I am the sea I seek
and hope someday
to find





.




This poem is by Edna St. Vincent Millay. It is taken from the anthology, A Mind Apart, subtitled, "Poems of Melancholy, Madness and Addiction." The book was published by Oxford University Press in 2009. 

The poet suffered deep depression through much of the half of her life, as well as addiction to alcohol.






Sorrow

Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
     Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain, -
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor waine,
     Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
     I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown;
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown  
     Or what shoes I wear.









shackin’ up

 

it’s
like the joke
about waking up in the morning

and finding someone
who shouldn’t be there
in the bed next to you - that’s

my old deaf dog
waking up several mornings
in the past couple of weeks to find

blind cat
snuggled up next to her
on her bed - such a shock to all

her canine friends
if they knew
about this feline cohabitation, but

old dog is of an even
disposition,
not likely to demonstrate

a prejudice against any kind, even
the feline kind,
so her response is limited to a deep sigh

a great rolling of her caramel brown eyes
and a quick return
to the early morning dreams of an old dog

with fading memories
of rabbits and squirrels and green pastures
and woods rife with the smell of mystery upon

mystery yet undiscovered -
and blind cat…
unable now, with the frailty of age,

to make the jump to my lap,
but seeking still
warmth on a cold night

and the slow-breathing whisper
of a companion’s sleeping,
settles for such comfort as she can find

in her dark night-wanderings, happy
to settle into the wrap
of a kindred soul, for fur knows fur

and the once wild essence of the furred kind
knows it’s kin
in whatever form it may currently reside…

nature is allowed to find its balance
in my house,
as long as a little corner is left for me,

pleased to be a smooth-skinned
companion
to all the furred or feathered kind

that do not
bite
or poop on the carpet










marketing 101

the vet
I called upon
to euthanize my cat
sent me a condolence card,
signed
by all the clinic staff

being aware
of the magic and mechanics
of marketing,
I know the card is
in base equivalence
to the plastic toy handed out
at McDonald’s with each Big Mac sold

an easy object
of ridicule,
but I don’t mind

because
like the child who holds his new toy dear
I will keep that card
and feel good about receiving it -

thinking
how much sweeter our world would be
if all our manipulations
were laced with
a similar dollops of
compassion










it is hard

sick 
slept all day 
dreams of when 
I made things happen 
sweet 
it was in my 
dreams

~~ 

watching 
the blind cat 
bounce 
like a pin ball 
from wall to wall 
until she finds her way; 
soft bounces, 
her pink nose against the wall, 
then turn

sometimes 
a turn into a bedroom 
that goes nowhere, 
marooned 
in the dark 
beyond her personal dark 
until I find her 
sitting, 
waiting for the world 
to make sense again, then 
I take her 
where I think she wants to go

~~

doctor appointment today, 
five and a half minutes, she will give me 
new pills 
and four and a half minutes 
of advice - 

I will take the first, 
ignore 
the second…

young and pretty, 
what does she know 
about being old?

~~


find comfort 
in my regular place 
around my regular people 

why 
do I ever think 
I need more

~~


find comfort 
in thinking of other places, 
other people, 
where I can be 
the mysterious stranger 
in the back of the 
room 

things 
I might not ever see before 
or since 
people

who know even less about me 
then I know about 
them

~~

it is 
hard 
to be happy

young 
or old, it is hard 
to know 
the true nature 
of happiness 
from temporary 
desire

~~

it is 
hard 
to live in a world 
where nothing happens 
unless you make it









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Goes Around Comes Around




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