The Rules of Silence   Tuesday, September 29, 2020


the rules of silence

cold and silent as a winter night,
a glance, sharp
like the crack of breaking ice

    sorry, I'm late, I say

    shh, she says
    I'm listening

    to what? I ask?
    I don't hear anything

    I wouldn't think you would
    she says. I wouldn't think so

and she turns her face
to the table, to the cold perfection
of the little squares she draws,
little squares, stacked atop
little squares, pages and pages
of little squares on little squares

I think of the warm summer night,
the summer sounds of children,
laughing, playing in the deepening dark,
laughing, playing in the summer night

    shh, she says, I'm listening

and I listen with her

Here and Now 
The Rules of Silence 


the rules of silence 
Texas BBQ 
our place in the story of space and time 

Jorie Graham 

Two Days (5/2/97 – 5/3/97) 


rethinking the probabilities of god 
the pull of the moon 
the moon rising 

Jill Wiggins 

December Walk with Neruda 
Crystal Goblet 
Blue Chinese Vase 


what do I do not know? 
what God don’t like 
journey’s end 
who will be the poet then?

Texas BBQ

Here it is, Sunday afternoon, and, as the sun begins to fall to the west,
I'm thinking of driving to Leon Springs for dinner.

It's a bit of a drive for a BBQ sandwich, but the brisket there is the best
and sliding along that scarred rail to order, breathing in the mesquite smoke,
watching them pull the meat off the fire, fat all burnt black and dripping juice
as they slice it, reminds me of when I was a kid traveling with my family
through the East Texas piney woods, stopping along the way at rickety stands
half hidden in the tall pine trees that came right up to the edge of the little
two-lane highway, just a lean-to shed, a roof over the pit, sweet smoke wafting
through the trees like ghosts of a time before, great slabs of meat, spicy sauce
hot as South Texas asphalt and big bottles of sweet apple cider, all this I think of,
then settle for steam table mystery meat and canned pinto beans from a generic
BBQ chain closer to home.

Why do we do that, I wonder.

We know what's good, but settle for what's easy, turn our backs on the better days
for the convenience of now, build souless hot tar deserts from the garden that was
the blessing given by the mother of us all, like the hills around the city, stripped of
native cedar and oak to make way for new Walmarts and multi-screen cineplexes
full of pimply faced kids with $10,000 teeth watching soul-dead comedies about
other kids, libidos unleashed, fast-food joints and same-same houses with
central air dens on postage stamp lots, nature fighting to survive, as are we, crab
grass in the cracks of our own creations, innocent, yet the scourge of all we

our place in the story of space and time

we are of the same stuff as stars,
made in the spasm of creation
that began all space and time,
electrical impulses,
static of the expanding universe,
positive and negative influences
that form a thing we call matter
arranged in a manner we call me

our birthing
not the arrival of something new,
but reincarnation,
rearrangement of the elements present
since the first day, sparks
thrown off by that first day's conception

out death not the end,
but another reformation,
a recycling of he stuff that makes us
so that we might be come again
a star or a tree or another babe in arms
or just a speck of universal element
drifting for as long as there is time

until it will finally come
that all the pieces come to rest
and slowly fade away in the darkness
of never-light, never-time, never-space,
never was and never will be again

from nothing came all
and to nothing it will all return


stars brilliant
in the clean nigh sky
so bright they shine
through the ambient light
like a shrouded dome
over the city

     such a bright star night to walk,
     the dog sniffs and pees
     and I walk with my head arched back
     wanting to fold teh night sky around me

a new crescent moon hangs low
in the southwest and beside it
the brightest of all the stars

     Venus, maybe,
     just a poet,
     I don't know the names of things
     just the human feel of them

the two of them, the moon
and it's companion star,
hang like a balance, bringers
of equilibrium to the night

This poem is by Pulitzer Prize winner, Jorie Graham. It is taken from her collection, Swarm. published by The ECCO Press in 2000.

Graham has received numerous awards for her work, including the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. At the time this book was published she had recently been appointed Boylston Professor at Harvard University, dividing her time between Iowa and Massachusetts.

Two Days (5/2/97 - 5/3/97)

Full moon; lays his hand
onto her throat, into his mouth
takes her whole ear.

Noon; this pen hovers
over this empty page. One is 
free to forget.

Noon. The gate fills to
its edges with two sides of
opening. Move.

Noon. Regardless of
the gate, buds open all around,
stare at each other

Noon; evaporation is taking

Full moon; your body before me
a nameless hill.

Full moon' seeing, being-seen;
the cold lies in us all night long

In one spot most especially.

I am not seeking altitude.

Noon; we push until
like a third party
matter rages between us

Noon: pushes us
into the midst to where
Spring stops.

Noon: pushes us
to where a crown emerges and begins to lower
all round our bodies
tiny rips of buds.

Noon: then even the buds push out
into this emptiness.

Noon. The only heaven plays and leaps.

Dusk, with its downslope,
a bride, and one above her
all shivering of mind.

Late dusk: a communication
between what exists and what
is visible (that shore) (who knows

what can be said) -

Full moon; 
lays his hand onto her throat, into his mouth
takes her whole ear.


the bay is flat,
     so flat
underwater currents
can be seen on the surface
     like smoky streaks
     on an antique mirror,
     so still, like time
and the earth's rotation
have stopped and the sun
has stopped overhead, its
burning light sharp and clear,
     while offshore
     a small fish leaps
     and slaps the water
     with a crack
that starts a small wave
pushing out in a circle
from the small, jumping fish,
     the only motion,
spreading across the bay
     to the gulf
small leaping fish pushing
against the Gulf of Mexico
and the Atlantic beyond
     small, leaping fish
     making ripples
in universal waters,
     an anti-tide,
     a nibble surge
against the moon's orbit
and the rightness of all

rethinking the probabilities of god

I approach the 
conversion age
when old atheists
begin to peek
around the corners
of their lives, thinking
maybe they'll find god
hanging out on the 
doorstep after all, 
when memories
are friends
more dead than alive

alas poor Orrick,
not to mention
Bob and Ted and
Fred and Nancy
and Molly with the
long blond hair
and Rennie
whose breasts
I touched in the
back of the bus
and Rennie's 
boyfriend Larry
who claimed her
breasts as his own
and beat the
crap out of me the
next day and damn
thinking about it
makes my fingers 
tingle even now

it's not the fox holes
that persuade us

we were all immortal
then and dumb
as the dirt that
grew wet with the
surprise of our blood

it's driving past
the old folks' home,
they're making
a bed up for you

the pull of the moon

half moon
cut precisely by earth's shadow,
one part shining
in the clear October night
like a great yellow beacon in the sky
and the other, dark and mysterious,
though barely seen by the eye,
still a mover of tides
and midnight meditations

so it is with my love for you,
as the bright in  you pulls me,
even more the secrets
of your darker 

the moon rising

ripples of wind
ruffle bay waters
like a lover's hand
soothing soft tangles
in her beloved's hair

gentle winds

quiet waters

bright stars warm
in the cool
autumn dark

the moon
of the night

Here are a couple of short pieces by Jill Wiggins, taken from the anthology, Feeding the Crow, a publication from Plain View Press New Voices Series in 1998.

As a 30 year old mother with small children Wiggins returned to school, majoring in commercial art. At the time of publication her creative impulses had begun to move away from the visual arts and into poetry. She says her art instincts and training influence her poetry.

December Walk with Neruda

Leaf-broken light,
dappled words of agate, quartz and wheat -
a moment outside time

River shimmer shatters vision,
double sun draws radiance
into dark water - 
I could drown 
in words.

Crystal Goblet

I am as transparent
as a crystal goblet -

A prism bending light and shaping color
filled to overflowing, yet never full.
Touch your finger to my lip and I sing.

Blue Chinese Vase

The cherished blue Chinese vase
is still pretty on the shelf,
glued together,
cracks turned to the back.

A Chinese proverb says
"Never trust a cracked cup."
The vase can never hold water
the heart will heal
before it holds anything again.

what do I do not know?


     I do not know
the price of tea in China

     I do not know
the effect of superstring theory
on the certitudes of revealed religion

     I do not know 
the square root of twenty seven thousand
three hundred and forth three
     I do not know
how Superman can circle the world at
the speed of light causing the world to
reverse in its rotation so that he can save
Lois Lane by backward go time making

     I do not get that at all

What else do I do not know?

     I do not know
how a hummingbird can fly so fast
and not run into trees and things and
     I do not know
how pelicans can fly at all, front-loaded
as they are with fish and salt water and god
knows what else in the droopy pelican cheeks

many lesser things I do not know,
curiosities, facts and fiction, trivial pursuits
good for crossword puzzles and nothing more

     how love grows
     and why it fades
     why hearts break and
     how they're mended,
     why we laugh
     and why we cry
     how we grow
     and when I'll die

all these important things I do not know
and probably never will

so what do I know?

well, that's a subject for
     another time

this poem, you see, is about what
     I do not know

what God don't like

I was seeing this preacher fella on TV the other day
and he was saying that God don't like men fucking men

I don't know how in the world he would know that,
except maybe he was talking to God
and he just straight up and ask him, like, hey, God,
what do you think about this men fucking men thing?

I'd be afraid to do that, but maybe it's okay for preachers,
especially this particular preacher fella
since it seems he's pretty close to God and
like he must talk to him about all sorts of things
because he's all the time on TV
talking about what God likes and don't like

(mostly about what he don't like , from what I've seen)

not just about fucking but about all sorts of things
God don't like, you know, tree huggers and feminazies
and Democrats and evolutionists and poor people
and those wussy-pussy perverts who think
we ought not be killing raghead foreigners
without some kind of pretty good reason

but, mostly what I get from listening to the TV fella
is that mainly what God most often don't like
are people who aren't exactly like that same TV fella

and I'm thinking maybe OI ought to study that fella real good
and try real hard to be as much like him as I can

then maybe God won't don't like me too.

journey's end

star splinters gall,
flaming across the sky
while hermit crags dance
before the rising midnight tide

we sit on packed beach sand
watching, counting the fiery streaks
as they cross to the horizon,
burning to cinder and dispersing gas
at the end of eons of airless flight

     ohhh, you whisper
     as I hold you close
     against the cold

the come from cataclysm,
from a time unimaginably past,
past suns and moons
and the loose, scattered dust of creation,
past all the innumerable
realms of possibility and chance,
past all that is familiar to us 
and all that we can never know,
past all this they came
to die on our doorstep,
bringing glory to our night

     ohhh, you whisper
     as I pull you tight against
     the loneliness of the sky

who will be the poet then?

say that a poem
is not the word spoken
or the word printed or written
in some orderly form
designated as poetic by the fashion
of the time; go instead
to the image the words, however
presented, are meant to provoke
and find the poetry directly
in the vision, images in the air
of real space and time, transmitted
through your senses to that part
of your mind that dwells among
the visual cues and clues of the world,
the de-randomized pieces
that combine to form a picture
that means an emotion, visions
that fire chemical reactions that
push electronic jabs to our frontal
cortex to create context
within which emotions form, think
of a poetry transcending words,
internal vision of the poet going directly
to an external vision to be seen
and shared

(reminding me - the most beautiful poem
I have ever experienced, a French short film
of horses, a herd of horses, running
through fields of high grass, the beauty
of their flesh and their muscled bodies, and the sweat
blown from their nostrils and the steam, also, from
the mouth and nostrils, the internal heat
of their great bodies under great exertion blown
into cold air, and the colors of their coats,
and the grace of their high running
leaps over high grass and shallow
waterways - the most beautiful poem
I have ever experienced and not a word was
seen, not a word was spoken for no words
written or spoken could equal the beauty
and the poetry of the image direct)

think, now, of poetry as visions
transmitted through some visual media
like the screen of you local cinema...

or think of a future poetry
transmitted directly into your dreams

think of the day when drams
are the ultimate poetry
and poets the ultimate dream

who will be the poet then?

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, iBook store, 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


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


Sonyador - The Dreamer


  Peace in Our Time

at 6:13 PM Blogger Here and Now said...

my apologies to the person who commented in Russian in Cyrillic text. i have sold a number of books in Russia, so maybe it was legit. but i don't post what i can't read and though there was a time when I might have been able to read it, that time is long past

Post a Comment

return to 7beats
Previous Entries
Habits of Mercy
The Rules of Silence
The Last
Thoughts At the End of Another Long Summer, 2020
Slow Day at the Flapjack Emporium
Lunatics - a Short Morning Inventory
The Downside of Easy Pickings
My Literary Evolution
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
October 2020
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Poems Niederngasse
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
The Blogging Poet
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