You Must Remember This   Tuesday, August 11, 2020









you must remember this

I remember
both things that are
and things that aren’t

I remember Holmes
in the “Hound of the Baskervilles”
deducing from scratches around a keyhole
that a character drinks too much
and too often , comes home
drunk and has trouble fitting his door key
into the keyhole

I remember that
every time I have difficulty
unlocking my door in the dark, feeling a need
to reassure the neighbors
that, no, I am not 
drunk

I also remember
a middle section in the book,
a subplot that is the author's feint, suggesting
a motive for the nefarious affairs

afoot, a subplot that provides
a back story on Holmes’ client, Sir Charles Baskerville,
who, it turns out, was a detective in his earlier life,
infiltrating the Molly Maguires,
then being discovered and, eventually,
becoming convinced
of the rightness of their cause…

but it turns out, no matter how clearly
I remember it,
this is not found anywhere in the “Hound of the Baskervilles,”
being instead from another book, (the last Holmes book) “The Valley of Fear”
which I do not remember ever reading, or even ever
knowing of before…

such is the memory of an elder poet, content
to make up memories when the annals of real life
do not sufficiently amuse, an entertainment
for long days and nights, but a danger 
when the made-up becomes the better part
of reality…

leaving a fear that persists, like that of falling, in knowing
that much of the most interesting parts of my life,
places I’ve been, people I’ve known
could well be only the remembered dreams
of a poet with too much invention
in his life

(a note for Netflicks subscribers - see “The Molly Maguires,” an old
and very good movie starring Sean Connery…)










This is an "all-me" post, as well as being short and late.

I have been dealing with lingering effects of food poison from a month ago - weakness, fatigue, bouts of dizziness and faintness. It is hard to get anything done when the place you would always rather be is asleep in your bed. Thus - late, short, all me.




Here and Now
You Must Remember This
Herenow.7beats.com

 

Me 

you must remember this

morning briefs

the best of the day

nights on southern beaches

“Sahib”

no end to it

hat trick

the rose

circuit rider












morning  briefs


birds
chirp and chatter,
morning sun breaks
the last surviving dark

---

dog
stops to pee,
cat loses interest,
goes home

---

creek
in first light,
shines, bubbles
over limestone rocks

---

lightning blasted
tree
still stands, hollowed out,
supported by the force of habit

---

dominos
clatter at the VFW,
old soldiers never die,
they just play moon
till the habit of life,
forgotten,
passes










the best of the day

after four nights
in hotels,
my shower at home
is a shower fit for kings
and princes, its warm, pulsating 
spray melting away miles
and nights
on unfamiliar beds

a good hot shower
in a home you call your own,
it is, along with the familiar street
and the flowers at the front
door, blooming, roses, red, 
sunflowers, yellow, and the orange
plant of whose name I have
not a clue, the flowers, and the street,
and the cat waiting in the 
drive way,
and a hot shower under
a strong and muscle massaging spray,
that is the reward of travel,
the returning home…

the best of this long 
day,
except for the woman
at the rest stop in Sonora,
walking her cat, black as desert night,
on a leash in the pet poop
area

that was truly the high point
of the day, 
this woman walking a cat…

but the street and the flowers
and my old cat 
who walks with us, also, but on her own,
following or leading, as she wishes,
and the hot shower
in my bathroom in my house…

all that was pretty damn good
as well









nights on southern beaches

nights
on southern beaches,
lying flat
in the low wet
of a new rising tide, surf
low and lowly rumbling
as it takes back the beach
under a full yellow
moon
rising with small waves
from the water

in my little pop-up camper,
towels to dry
ourselves
and each other,
a bottle of wine,
and a narrow bed
where we lie together
closely

we smell
of gulf water
and the swimming fish
and beach-crawling
crabs
that feed in it

people 
of the close sea
lying
together
arms encircled
bodies tight
each against the other
as the yellow moon
passes









The pending revolution mentioned in the poem came ten months after I got into the country. For several months we were restricted to our small outpost while riots raged downtown. Finally, the existing pro-U.S. government was overthrown and within weeks we and our supposedly secret base were ordered out of the country. Few of us objected since most of us had been ready to leave the day we arrived. In my case, the eviction led to my release from service five months before my enlistment was scheduled to end.





“Sahib”


two days in Karachi,
a very large city, strange in the way
cities caught in cultural flux
often are, like cities in Mexico
along the border where the beggars
wear Dallas Cowboy t-shirts
and thrice-removed, knock-off LeBron James
tennis shoes liberated
from someone’s trash bucket

a city in flux, Karachi,
a carnival in the parking lot
beside our hotel, no different
from any carnival I’ve ever seen
anywhere I’ve ever lived, the same rides,
the same midway, the same food, culturally adjusted,
and women on street corners, one walking as if
with Mohammad’s wives, the “Mothers
of the Believers,” and the other on her way
to a record store for “Sgt. Pepper” the Beatles record
sweeping the world in 1967,
or at least,
the world as she would prefer it,
and the fantastic, psychedelic-progenitor-art painted
buses and golf cart taxi cabs, and the clatter of a great
vibrant city breathing, living, eating, defecating
its way into the 20th century

---

then a short flight to Lahore, near crash-landing
on its ultra-short runway, and, breath caught,
another flight to the frontier, to Peshawar and
our base on the Northwest Frontier,
the Hindu Kush a distant shadow on the desert horizon,
and a short bus ride
to our "secret" base between
tribal areas and the dusty town, our home for a year

passing crowded streets seeming unusually silent,
hundreds of silent young men
squatting on curbs, on bridge rails, the makings
of the revolution that was coming
unbeknownst to us,
20th century innocents
in a land on the cusp of another kind of flux,
leaving, in the tribal areas, the 15th century, 
finding new meaning and purpose in the 20th

---

the dusty road between where we lived
and where we worked
a centuries’ old caravan stop, where the camels
were allowed to eat and drink
and caravan merchants
haggled with the innocents for pieces of their
past…

I bought an oil painting of a old shepherd,
bearded under his dark turban,
like the old men,
we paid to clean our rooms
and make our beds and shine our
shoes, prized jobs for the area going to
the tribal elders who never looked us in the eye,
who addressed us according to colonial protocol as
“Sahib”
if they spoke at all…

our contribution to the
revolution
coming











no end to it

so tired
of living in a world
so full of stupid people

fools every day, impossible
to live a full life without exposing
oneself to them, caves and hermits and mountain tops
not appealing to one
not yet ready
to do without the rest of his kind…

politics
in general, whatever the current debate…

this time, guns - on one side slime people
willing to facilitate murder
for profit,
on the other side hapless liberals
who flutter and fritter
and wail and moan
about the injustice of rule

by the corrupt winners
of corrupt games
played in the name of poor dead and debased
democracy, justice, “the people” -

the people,
dim, compliant victims
of their own thirst for the comfort
of lies
and well-paid liars, sellers of soap
who soft-soap the murder
of children

---

there will be no change
to it,
no end
to it,
no matter how tired I am
of it






hat trick

I wore
western boots
most of my life, in fact,
for forty or fifty years, boots
were the only kind of footwear in my closet

and I like to wear western shirts,
nice designs, with snaps for buttons,
no fringe though, a little bit too Roy Rogers
for me…

and jeans, Levis mostly, when I was a kid
and now, if you see me someplace
that's not a wedding or a funeral you can be sure
I’m wearing jeans

jeans, at my age - can’t imagine my father
wearing jeans - the only men my age wearing jeans
that I can remember from when I was a kid would have been
the guy down at the dairy
milking cows
in his bib overalls

never wore any kind of jewelry
except for my wedding
ring, which I thought was kind of cowboy
of me, you know, riding the herd,
chasing down the dogies,
rolling the ring on my finger,
thinking of the lil’ miss back home
while sitting around the camp fire
crackling as the cows
moan and moo under the starlight…

not the gold chain around my neck, not me,
definitely not cowboy, the Italian version of Roy Rogers
fringe

and I always wanted to wear a western hat…

but whenever I put one on
I imagine everyone snickering, laughing at me

easy for me to imagine that,
since I snicker and laugh myself
at the image of me in a cowboy hat

leaving me in a kind of existential despair
as the Texas cowboy
whose head won’t accommodate a cowboy hat
without becoming an object
of ridicule
to the true sun-cured, leather-worn set…

finally,
I guess, it’s time to give up on my cowboy fixation…

a poet now
and not a cowboy,
maybe I could wear a beret

but wait,
imagining that makes me snicker and laugh too

so might as well go with a bowler
if the effect of any head wear
is going to be comic

all I need
is a skinny guy
to be my Laurel…










the rose

I saw the sun
rise
this morning…

half of a rose-colored disc
resting on the horizon, clear in the soft morning light,
the contradiction
of cold flames roiling its pastel surface,
no suggestion
of heat, not like the burning orange-red
of most morning’s rising,
soft,

instead,
like the petals of a rose
rising round
to take the sky…

a sun
for a soft and easy
day,
a good day for garden
dreamers








circuit rider


I could write 
a weather poem today
it would be easy
I could take any one
of a number of recent poems
and just add sleet 
and rumors of snow in the hill country
to my complaints about the dismal dark and cold
days during this particular seasonal
cycle and, voila, a new poem
but, overtaken by the ghost of Richard Nixon
as many my age occasionally are, I ask,
would it be the right thing to do?

better that this mention
of a seasonal cycle
lead me deeper, or at least
different-from-the-weather
thoughts
the circle of life, perhaps,
the collection of spinning atoms
that joined to produce
the circuitry
of me
and their eventual dispersal
as the fact of me becomes a fiction
in the cycles of the universe, atom
spinning again
that had made me, forgets me, then
joined into another circuitry of something else
like the spinning of my top
when I was a child,
thrown from a tight-wrapped string
to the dust, to spin, to make circles
in the dust, until the dying wobble
and the tipping over, inert in the dust,
needing another throw to begin
another cycle of circles

like the traffic round-about
on San Pedro, where three streets
come together, where cars must circle
to go straight, like the circle around
the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, multiple lanes
circling, each packed with cars seen
from the top of the monument as a mass of
disorganization, the true and purposeful

circuitry of the cycle apparent only after study,
like the spinning of atoms may seem
random and purposeless, until the larger structure
of organized circling and cycling is seen, a rock,
a flower, a cricket in the grass, you, me, spinning
inside as we, in our temporary form, ride the circles
and cycles of the universal circuitry of creation
and destruction, the waves we ride until
we are overcome by its inevitability...
and we end up on a winter day, the normal
season cycle on an arc between summer and spring,
and a poem like other poems, differing only
by the addition of sleet and rumors
of snow in the hill country









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.



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Poetry

New Days & New Ways


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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














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