The Downside of Easy Pickings   Sunday, August 23, 2020

 









the downside of easy picking’s

I’ve decided
my biggest problem is impatience

when I read a poem
I can’t wait to get to the finish

when I write a poem
I can’t wait to find the beginning

too often I take the bird in hand
rather than search out 
the better, fatter bird in the bush

I think I could be a really good poet
if I could just stand to wait
for the really good
poems

like the one
I didn’t wait around to find today
before this stray fowl
came stumbling through the door
and fell dead at my
feet












Here and Now
The Downside of Easy Pickings
herenow.7beats.com


Me

the downside of easy pickings
the end of it all
wanna puck, she asks
under my skin


Wendy Rose

Six Nations Museum – Onchiota, New York – January



Me

rain on the bay
ta-dah



Leon Felipe

Caption for “The Child of Vallecas” by Velazquez


Me

message in a bottle from the coming salty sea
so much sorrow; so little joy
voices from the sky



Hans Magnus Enzensberger


isotope


Me

according to chatter on the net










the end of it all
`
`
in all the usual stories the end of all is seen as a universal contraction, a collapse into fire and fury of colliding stars, the end spectacular as befits the final days of the power and the glory of all that is ` my own guess is the opposite, the all of it all like a clock running down, the forces of all the turning universal gears slowing into entropy as the closed system of our universe declines, reaches static equilibrium, the assumed eternal crescendo of expansion stilled by the decay of time and space as matter brought together by the force that constructed all that is begins to drift apart, atom from atom, the great circles and cycles of creation cease, star-fires dim, molecules disassemble, protons and neutrons and quarks and all the other tiny components of reality unhinge and lose their grasp on the fabrics of what makes all that has been made, cracks in time, a dimension unwound, the end quiet and unnoticed by the others,
our temporary neighbors
we never see residing behind the fences
of other times,
other spaces, 
other dimensions… ` 

all we know, 
like an old man winding down to a final and inevitable end










wanna puck, she asks

a bar
in San Angelo...

pretty waitress,
long blond hair, well-shaped ass
tucked tight
into cut-short  jeans

grabs
the round metal puck
from the bowling game I’m playing

squeezes it into her back pocket

wanna puck? she asks

her boyfriend in the corner,
watching, big
sumbitch…

I switch to
darts,
drink my beer…


alone











under my skin

large red umbrellas
outside
tremble in the breeze

morning
sun
hanging like a golden curtain
from their canvas edges

trees
brilliant
green
behind the umbrellas,
shimmering
in their red penumbra

and behind the trees
traffic passes
on Broadway, silent
as Frank
sings
from the speakers
above

and I have
this bright day
just as he
sings it -

“under my skin”




















Like the Harlem Literary Renaissance of the 1930s and 40s, the Native American Renaissance that began in the mid-sixties brought into national consciousness many great poets unknown before, including many of my favorite poets.

Many, if not most, of those poets are included in Harper's Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry from which I selected the poem below.

What I like about these poets is their clarity and directness. They have stories to tell and they tell them directly, usually without artifice. Reading them makes me think of the opposite, like a poem I read just a couple of days ago. The poet is retelling probably the best known story in Western literature, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Instead of just telling the story, he breaks up his narrative again with literary references, as if the story he wants to tell isn't strong enough without his display of erudition. Poets who do that make me very impatient. The catch me, then throw me back, like a catch and release fisherman.

The poem was written by Wendy Rose. One of those favorites I mentioned.

Born in 1948 in Oakland, California, Rose is from Hopi and 'Me-Wuk ancestry. She attended the University of California Berkeley and has taught there in American Indian Studies, as well as at California State University Fresno. Author of ten volumes of poetry and contributor to more than fifty anthologies, at the time of publication she was coordinator of American Indian Studies at Fresno City College.



Six Nations Museum
Onchiota, New York - January

for Ron, John, Salli and Maurice

In this your special light,
salmon blushing west to sky
and these your tall white pines,
your tangled twigs, the brush
of your fingers through everything

                                                    tobacco to north
                                                    tobacco to east

and this the meaning
of the Eastern Gate.
The faces and feet
crowding between
the silence of willow,
bare waving hands
of redbud, stark
bones of birch
                                                    tobacco to south
                                                   tobacco to west

and the moon that waited
within my belly
for the smoking song
to blossom and fade, the wild turkeys
to appear then gently came
wide open as the wise 
women are

                                                      tobacco to sky
                                                      tobacco to earth

                tobacco 
                to all
                my relations











rain on the bay

the rain came first
as a soft curtain, drifting slowly across the bay,
the giant platforms being built across the water
in Aransas Pass, like shadow monsters
rising
in the mist

two women fishing
hip deep in the surf beneath Bob Hall Pier
continued casting their lines,
unconcerned, good fishing weather, they say,
as darkened skies and light rain
bring fish to the surface to enjoy
the dark and the rain
along

with the rest of us
but as I turn to leave,
to continue my journey up the coast
then across, back to San Antonio,
the weather spins on its axis
like a wobbly top, the wind, gentle at first,
picks up to a roar that makes it hard to stand
without leaning against it, raises whitecaps as it pushes
against the weak tide...

and the rain starts for real, pebble-sized drops
beating hard against my windshield
and the roof of my car, drowning out the radio

lightning strikes, not horizontal flashes across the sky
but straight-down bolts of intense white fire,
slashing the dark morning like jagged arrows,
sending the fishers scurrying from the water
and from the pier and from the jetty's
string of pile upon pile mossed-green boulders...

the rain follows me as I drive across the coastal plain,
fields white with cotton, defoliated and ready
to pick, wind turbines slowly turning
against the wind, splashing streams of water
from their long blades, follows me until I drive
into tiny Bayside and stop along Campano Bay
to watch the dark clouds roil behind me,
and drive on, wipers no longer pumping on high,
but intermittent as fewer and fewer drops
fall, until the wipers screech on dry
glass...

the drive now two lanes through
heavy brush, the reason vaqueros, those first
cowboys, invented leather chaps,
some off the brush, like the old days,
too thick for a horse to
pass

~~~

and then I came to the dead end I expected
and turned left for a short drive to Refugio,
except I wasn't expecting Refugio,
having confused my back roads and
finding myself about 75 miles off course...

recovery -
as I find a road that crosses west
to the road
I expected to find an hour back...

stopping in Pettus, a not-very-wide spot on the road,
at a Dairy Queen for a DQ Dude,
remembering I had a meeting in this,
the only restaurant in the village, more than ten years ago,
the place where I had eaten my first DQ Dude,
finding it delicious as we talked about how to get teachers
to come to little Pettus - population 356 -
when there was no place for them to live,
the restaurant deserted but for me, no interesting talk
this time, and, as is so often the case
with so many things, the Dude
not nearly as good as the first time...


and back on the road, heading northwest on Hwy 181,
a road I've traveled often, but not in a long time,
brush, mesquite, huisache, cactus, and white line
on tar-patterned asphalt all the same as before,
all aging, even the road, much better than
me...

~~~

the good news -

75 miles isn't really so far
in Texas miles, home by seven-thirty,
down in my back for a day mostly driving,
a little late but supper's waiting by the microwave,
a lot better than the Dude I mostly threw
away










ta-dah

took a header on the Riverwalk
by the Pearl yesterday,
not actually a header, knees and knuckles
hitting the concrete, swollen, bruised and scrapped,
but, fortunately, a little strip of hay-like substance alongside
the sidewalk, just wide enough
to accommodate my face, buried my face
into the hay-like substance,
saving me, had my face fallen a couple of inches
to the left, thus meeting the sidewalk
at a significant velocity to insure plastic surgery,
getting instead a mouth full of hay-like substance…

this morning,
sore,
but otherwise undiminished, I continue on to my daily
rendezvous with the immortal muse
of poem-a-day personal history
disguised as poetry…

~~~

the hardest part of the adventure
was that people
were looking, requiring me to leap up,
throw wide my bloody hands
and ask if anyone
wanted to see my trick again…

ta-dah,
cried the clown, deeply bowing
before fading back into
red-faced
obscurity, limping, but not as much
as he will be tomorrow, is
today













The next poem is by Leon Felipe, taken from Roots and Wings, an anthology of poetry from Spain, 1900 - 1975. It was published by White Pine Press in 1976. It is a bilingual book, with Spanish and English translation on facing pages


Felipe, born in 1884, gave up his career as a pharmacist to become a professional actor and poet, publishing his first book of poems at the age of 36. He moved several times in his life, first to the United States where he was a professor of Spanish at Columbia University and at Cornell. He moved to Mexico, then back to the United States and Spain and finally ended up again in Mexico where he spent the remainder of his life until his death in 1968.





Caption For "The Child from Vallecas" by Velazquez

                              

                                                     Basin, helmet, halo,
                                                     this is the order, Sancho

                                     



No one shall leave this place.

While this mangled head
of the Child from Vallacas exists
no one shall leave, no one.
Neither the mystic nor the suicide.

First the wrong must be undone,
first we must solve this enigma.
And we must solve it together,
and we must solve it without cringing,
without fleeing
on muslin-lined wings
or by drilling a hole
in the stage.
No one shall leave this place, no one.
Neither the mystic nor the suicide.

And it is useless,
all flight is useless
(above
or below).
We always return. Always.
Until one day (one fine day!)
when the helmet of Mambrino
- halo by then, not helmet or basis -
will be on Sancho's temples
and on mine and yours,
as if fitted to a T,
as if made to order.
Then we will march together
out into the wings.
You, and I, and Sancho, and the Child from Vallecas
and the mystic and the suicide.

(Translated by Julio de la Torre)












message in a bottle from the coming salty sea

good rain in June,
bringing thick grass, colors every place
where a blossom might bloom

and hope, blooming like the flowers after several years
in varying stages of water rationing, the aquifer
levels sinking lower and lower, rising again
after the rains

but only for the days immediately
after the storms

since -
triple digit temperatures almost daily,
searing sun unrestrained by any moderating clouds,
humidity at Arizona levels, all the green grass
and bright colored flowers wilting, and hope wilting
as the aquifer falls again, nearing again, level-4 rationing

daily,
morning to night,
we watch the desert as it spreads

~~~~

not the first bad drought
in my lifetime, the longest in the 50s,
when pasture land along the coast became rolling sand dunes,
but none in history that came quicker or went deeper
than the one we have now, this possible look at the future
as the salty sea rises and our rocky hills become
once again uplifts in a seabed as they were a million years ago

new sea life returning to family, to the fossils, long dead
sea creatures that lie barely covered
under the surface of our
limestone and caliche hills, those hot hills, dry hills,
desert to come, then a new inundation

and we watch it happen, turn up our air conditioners,
unwilling to admit we are captives
of the earth and its cycles we in our pride
thought was ours to
control












so much sorrow; so little joy

I was there
when the footsteps of man
first stirred the moon’s
powdered dust
and Cronkite wept
with joy

I was there
to hear Frost mumble his poem
in the light snow
of Jack’s inauguration

and I was there to watch
the funeral march
and the martyr’s son’s
salute  and the rider less horse,
when Cronkite
wept
in sorrow

I was there,
watching Bobbie die
under the vicious bright
of television lights,
cold concrete his death bed

and the death of another hero
just days before, shot by an assassin
as he stood on a hotel
balcony, so many
weeping for the loss
of hope

I was there
when a president first echoed
the call of the marchers,
“We shall overcome” he said
and the crowd cheered
and wept
and I too with them

I was there
when the soldiers sloshed
fearfully
though perfidious jungles
and when the Wisconsin’s long guns
fired the opening salvo
of the first gulf war (I had walked
the polished teak deck of that great ship
just months before)

I was there when the first bombs
fell on Bagdad

I was there to watch the despot
beaten
and killed
by those he once ruled
with the fierce hand of homicidal
grandiosity

I was there when the little girl
was pulled from the hole
that was meant to be her grave

I was there when Sadat
was killed, machine-gunned

by his own guards,
along with many who sat with him
to watch the big parade
and I was there with the man,
arm blown off by the machine-gun fire,
lying amid the blood, his own
and the blood of others,
crying for help that seemed
to never come

I was there when the towers fell,
the fires lost in the gray clouds of dust
and half-burned paper
that swept through the streets
like a scene
from a science fiction movie
(though the movies
never show the dust, so gray and thick,
that envelops the action)
and I was there
with them as they ran
that day, and other days in other places,
refugees from around the world
hiking over mountains and high deserts to reach
questionable safety

and I was there when
shuttles exploded…

oh how would this poem
ever end,
with so much seen,
so much shock, first in black and white,
now in color…

I have started
and endless poem, I fear,
image after image
of a world turned upside down
daily
with such a deficit of joy,
so little joy in the passing
of it, so much sorrow -
how do we live with such constant sorrow;
how much happier
the days of our blissful
ignorance

---

Eden, a paradise of not-knowing,
the beasts unnoticed, waiting beyond the gates
of our garden, how we must regret our exile










voices from the sky

the mysteries of faith…

it’s not that I’m
against it,
it’s just that I don’t understand
it

the room behind me is full
of two dozen
older men, sharp-eyed men,
and the old priest
I see often here, skinny,
like he doesn’t get to eat
except for the free breakfasts
he gets for showing up to provide
a priestly presence
to meetings of little old ladies
with blue hair and bumpy
legs, or,
as in this case, a room-full
of elder men, meeting, weekly it seems,
for quiet religious purposes…

I don’t know these particular men
but I’ve known men like them
most of my life, acts of piety
an afterthought through the course
of most of their days, sharp-
penciled, green-eye shade guys
applying evidence and reason
to all their affairs, unimpressed
by flights of fancy,
not subject to paranormal events
or expectations,
except…

for that corner of their brain
they keep separate from the part
that functions daily, a place where
the reason and evidence they normally count on
are not allowed, a space they reserve
for gods and angels and devils
and ghosts and goblins and all sorts of fancy
they would not allow to intrude in any portion
of the rest of their lives…

that’s the part I don’t understand, not faith itself,
but these believers who turn their rational brains into
mewling kittens, flat on their backs, legs spread
high and wild, awaiting celestial visitation…

what, I wonder, is it
they miss in the rest of their lives
that makes them so vulnerable
to such mind-dulling darkness…

I’m always made uncomfortable
by leaders who profess such faith - I’d rather not
hear about it, reminding me as it does
of how my fate might be in the hands of
a leader susceptible to the undependable
quirks of faith in magic and magical
beings

pray for him, some say when a leader
faces quandaries and difficult
decisions, and I can only think how much more
reassuring it would be
to have a leader who wasn't dependent
on my prayers, a leader unwilling to place my future
in the hands of a voices from the
sky















Next, a poem by Hans Magnus Enzensberger taken from the anthology, German Poetry in Transition, 1945 - 1990. The anthology was published University Press of New England in 1999. It is a bilingual book, with German and English translation on facing pages.

Enzensberger, born in 1929, developed a reputation as a radical in the 1960s through his poetry. In addition to poetry, he also writes dramas, translations (primarily Spanish and English) and political and literary essays. 

The poems in the book were translated by the book's editor, Charlotte Melin.






Isotope


Lets blithely reef the umbrellas!
The next deluge won't be deep.
The same old stuff, majors and cows
on high tension towers, the public
rush to Ararat, to Alpine Clubs,
the bedtick  suddenly burst, panic
among the plumbers and cheeky doves
with or without olive branch, a lot
didn't quite stand the test in the end: Always
the same righteous people disembarked from the ark
and negotiated, in scorn of the drowned corpses,
adjustable loans and popes at cost.

Today in the Urals and Arizona
Nobel Prize winners in droves are busy
improving the degree of effectiveness
to spare the ladies knuckles.
Confidence reigns in he labs,
a dew seeps through the door cracks,
a rash, damp and human,
bomb -, death-, and foolproof, fat,
a hoarse sweat, thin as breath.

Gone in the age of experiments,
from the pores of the world
a sterile flood has long since oozed out, and we drown,
well disciplined in front of the ticket counters
knee -deep in cuckoo clocks and iodine










according to chatter on the net


winter night under a clear desert sky

more stars than you ever knew were up there

the Hindu Kush, the sun’s hinge
as it begins its red glow
behind their dry, ravaged peaks

the guard camp
outside our walls begins to stir,
the shuffle of sleepy soldiers awakening
as the over-nighters come weary to their beds

I, a soldier too, but not in their army,
walk to morning mess, then
to work, day shift on Moscow time

a Cold War warrior,
I will listen to their chatter
and write it all down…

the day begins...

an early flight for their highest commander,
crossing the Afghan air gate,
a roundabout destination, to Paris,
his dour Russian wife left behind, it's said,
who suspects, it’s said,
the jolie fille who awaits him
with bonbons au chocolat by her bed

according to chatter on the net
the war will not start today…












GOOD NEWS - the "comment"  function is working again after several years when it did not.

I'd love to have feedback from readers, about the blog, about the poems or pictures, favorite recipes from your old dearly departed Aunt Herminia, or anything else on your mind.



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






Poetry

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






Fiction


Sonyador - The Dreamer





                                                            


  Peace in Our Time




0 Comments:

Post a Comment



Archives
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017
November 2017
December 2017
January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018
July 2018
August 2018
September 2018
October 2018
November 2018
December 2018
January 2019
February 2019
March 2019
April 2019
May 2019
June 2019
July 2019
August 2019
September 2019
October 2019
November 2019
December 2019
January 2020
February 2020
March 2020
April 2020
May 2020
June 2020
July 2020
August 2020
September 2020
Links
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Tryst
Poems Niederngasse
BlazeVOX
Eclectica
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
zafusy
The Blogging Poet
Poetsarus.Com
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
The Writer's Block Poetry Forum
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