Slow Day at the Flapjack Emporium   Sunday, September 06, 2020


 





slow day at the flapjack  emporium

slow day
at the flapjack emporium

just me
and a couple of nurses
and the tiny blond police officer
with her partner

outside
the day shrouded
in a dim curtain of premature light

and I’m thinking -
a busy week,
sitting here eating my 387th biscuit with gravy,
writing my 2,99-something poem of the day,
finishing work later today
on my 400 and something weekly literary blog,
preparing for a reading late in the week, squeezing a few fair poems
into 30 minutes of entertainment for family
and friends, maybe selling a book,
maybe selling a photograph,
but probably not, payment, almost certainly, in fun
or no payment at all

thinking,
what is it I am doing, what is my purpose, what is my
meaning….

a slip of truth….

I’m not thinking any of that,
quit thinking about that kind of stuff
long ago, understanding
that my life’s purpose is and will forever be, or at least until it’s too late
to make a difference, unknown to anyone including

and the meaning of what I'm doing
is that what I’m doing all these same same days
is filling a chest of me that will come to rest, dusty and forgotten,
in an attic until someday more room is needed
in its storage space and it is put out on the curb for trash collection day,
until, by chance, it is rescued by an otherwise disinterested
passer-by and taken home, all the scraps of me
dumped in the recycle bin and the chest itself repainted pink or blue
and plastered with decals of cartoon figures of the time,
turned into a toy box
for a child who will forever have to be reminded to put his or her toys
in it instead of scattered on the floor room to room…

and, at first, this saddens me, to think of all those slips of me
scattered while the chest of me becomes a toy box
for forgotten toys,
and then I think, well, is that not so appropriate,
this chest of me, always a toy box, filled daily by me
with my toy of the day, so many by the time it’s over,
things I played with and forgot, just as
this toy also will also be soon
forgot…











Out of curiosity, I looked back to my first "Here and Now" post, May, 2006. Stylistically it hasn't changed in 14 years. Simplicity is my preferred philosophy of most everything, so simple we made it and so simple I kept it. 

But the contents have changed considerably.

The initial conceit was that I would write about things I liked. The photos were a way to divide generally uninteresting text. It was the second or third post, I think, before I included the first poetry.

Since then, "Here and Now" became, first, about poetry. Later, and as now, I began to think of it as both a literary and a photography, and occasionally, art, blog.

I have no idea why I thought anyone would be interested, and, except for a few "mercy" views by people I knew, most weren't. But for reasons that are not clear to me, that has changed as every month the post gets another thousand or two page views than the month before. Topping off last month, with nearly 10,000 views.

Truth is I had grown tired of doing this and was considering putting an end to it. Then this growth in attention Here and Now has been getting set me back to a re-commitment.

It also helps that I discovered a much easier way to do the post than the way I did it for years. Now, instead of every post being a week-long project, I'm able to do the thing in a couple of days.

And so that's the story of the past. Here's what I offer today. 

(You might also notice that the posts are getting shorter)




Here and Now
Slow Day at the Flapjack Emporium


Me

slow day at the flapjack emporium
it’s a sign
French fries
we are people who love our miracles


Arthur Munoz

El Curro”
On F Street
23rd Street


Me

catch the red robin as it flies
a yellow day


5 poems from the Manyoshu


Me

gray day
what we found in Grandma’s attic

Herenow.7beats.com


To mention the "comment" button. For years the comment button didn't work so I basically worked in the dark. It works now, so I invite comments, about the post, about the poems or pictures, or whatever else is grabbing your goat.














it's a sign

this is not
a happy chirpy
day

birds
moan from the trees, 
dogs
whine and cower, 
cats scowl
in aggravation
at the world's
failure
yet again
to recognize
feline pre-eminence
in the order of things

trees
droop their limbs, 
stars, like cheap plastic
jewelry
on a dark-hearted
whore,
do not shine
 
the sun rises, its single
bright eye
sagging above the horizon's edge
like a lay-about drunk
preparing for its day's labors,
again
it seems to say
again and again and again
I rise, it says,
seeking only the dark relief
of night falling 

sister moon, it calls,
stay awhile
longer

let me sleep... 









French fries

I have started
writing my obituary

not because
I expect it to be used

any time soon, but
because it will be the last piece of writing

to appear
under my name

and I want it to be right
and well written

six pages
so far

and just leaving
Lee Elementary for a new life

as a entry-level
junior high scholar

``

I wasn’t aware my life
was so interesting…

so I’m thinking maybe
this isn’t just

an obituary, maybe I’m
writing memoir

which impresses me
because “memoir” sounds like

a French word
and I’ve always admired French writers

``

or maybe I ought to just
take my six pages

and cut it down to
a more reasonable length

like maybe half a
page

because, me - except for French fries -
not having much French stuff

in me












we are people who love our miracles

we are people who love our miracles,
believe in them,
fervent in praying for them, like,
in the middle of a drought, praying
that it won’t rain and ruin
the picnic planned
for the afternoon, and, through God’s loving grace,
it doesn’t

hallelujah, hallelujah
hosannas on the highest


the subject came up yesterday
at a men’s bible study group that meets here
at the restaurant every Thursday (usually
they meet in a separate room, but for reasons
unimportant to the poem, they met in the main room
near me this week) about fifteen or so
middle-aged to older men, and the skinny old priest
I see here often in the morning, whose call, apparently,
is to have free breakfast with boring people
a couple of times a week…

none of the men look particularly hard-up, though
I'm sure each has his own personal challenges like
we all do, but all apparently all are
21st century prosperous, business-types, mid-career
to retired, which made their discussion of charity
interesting, they apparently never having any need
for that kind of stuff, certain that the $30 a week or so
they put in the collection plate could take care
of all the world’s needs if the damn government
would just get out of the way…

but, beside the point…

one of the fellas
from down at the end of the table
made an interesting point
about miracles…

what if Jesus’ miracles never actually
happened? he asked,
what if that talk of miracles
was just a way to get people to pony up
some of their own resources
for a good cause, kind of like, lookee you,
at what Jesus did, surely you can help him
by dropping an extra couple of bucks into the plate
next Sunday, and, anyway, he said, those miracles weren’t
really such big things, like the loaves and fishes and water to wine
thing, big deal, he fed the multitudes for a day, a real miracle, he said,
betraying his main street republican bottom-line good sense,
would have been if he had made a loaves and fishes, water-to-wine
machine that would feed the multitudes for years…

and I have to admit this comment led me to a whole new
understanding of miracles, reminding me
of the miracles of McCormick and his reaper, Morse
and his telegraph, Ford and his Model-T, Salk and his vaccine,
Jobs and his Apple…

all of a sudden the theory of miracles makes sense to me…












Next, two short poems by Arthur Munoz, from his book, From a Cop's Journal, published by Corona Publishing Company in 1984.

Munoz, born in a Los Angles barrio in 1924, served two stints in the Marine Corps ( WWII and Korea), moving to Corpus Christi, Texas with his family where he completed high school. He attended Texas A & I University and, briefly, St Mary's Law School. He served in the San Antonio Police Department for 23 years, as patrol officer, investigator and homicide detective. Following his retirement from the Police Department, he worked as an investigator for the Texas Department of Human Resources and began to write poetry, with his first published poetry appearing in Leatherneck magazine.

This was his second book. Every time I read a poem in this one, I want to read more, such authenticity and whispers in the back of sadness.




El Curro*

With reckless style
he fingers the strings
of his cradled guitar
making it talk,
cry,
sigh, lifting the listener
above the common mire
to join in song
and the palming of hands
a gathering of Gypsies
heeling emotions
on a hardwood floor.

*Flamenco guitar player from San Antonio


On F Street

On the old bed
lies a woman,
her hands,
on her tired thighs.

Haloed by the neon flashings
coming through the window
from the street,
she waits.

He leaves

She places the money she has earned
on the dresser -
less some change, set aside
to buy candles in the morning
for the Lady of Sorrows
whose image hangs on the wall -
then sighs
and goes to sleep


23rd Street

There used to be fences
on 23rd Street
a forest of picets
catering to resident flowers,
and trees
whose branches wove
the sunrays into welcoming shade.

Now, paint peeling,
the lean and lie
on each other
trying in vain
to keep out the weeds
and the shoving of time.

On 23rd Street
the city is dying.






 





catch the red robin as it flies

black clouds
roiling the sky,
just like every day this week,
black clouds
making promises they do not keep

and I think of the old Chinese masters
who in fifteen words or less
would have captured like a bird
in flight the truth
of this sky and this day,
even for today, through the passage of millennia
come and gone,
the truth
for then, for now, for tomorrow

how futile and redundant
my own efforts
seem










a yellow day

a yellow day

yellow sun
yellow light
yellow grass
yellow politicians

(but that’s another story)










grown-up jokes

dinner
with a niece

all grown-up
now

remembering
when she was not
and the games we played

laughs
at my grown-up jokes now
and makes up grown-
up jokes of her
own

I don’t really mind
getting old
myself -

only hate
the way all my favorite
people
are growing older too

leaving me
behind















Next, five very short poems from Ten Thousand Leaves. Love Poems fro the Manyoshu. The book, with translations from the Japanese by Harold Wright, was published by The Overlook Press in 1988.

Paraphrasing from the book's introduction, the Manyoshu is an anthology compiled in its final form in the eight century with 4,516 poems arranged in 20 volumes including over 400 known contributors as well as innumerable anonymous poets who are included in the collection. Folk songs, poems in praise of sake, longer poems on legendary themes, and many bawdy pieces, all, together with scenic descriptions and reflective poems. Whole sections of the work deal with recurring themes of love's sensuality and spirituality, along with the sorrow of separation,.



100.

Wild geese are crying

     while flying above the clouds

          but they will settle

As thickly on the fields of grain

     as the love I feel for you



101.

You are as distant

     as the wild geese that fly

          high above the clouds

But I longed for you so much

     that I trudged along this far



\102.

Do not even ask

     for I do not know the name

          of the man I love

Yet, for him I sand and wait

     all wet from the autumn dew


103.

Rather than to love

     in a town where gossip's thick

          I would much rather

Fly away with the wild geese

     which I hear cry this morning



104.

Even if gossip

     is as thick as the grasses

          in a summer field

So what if my love and I

     have slept entwined together









I wrote this poem in 2013 so the food poisoning I reference is old news. New news is the food poisoning in had two months ago from which it took me a month to recover, making me think the episode in 2013 might not have been so bad after all.



gray day

 

I could write a poem
about  a cold, dreary
December day and though
it is, in fact, such a day
today, exactly such a
cold, dreary December
day, my descriptors
would be more about me
than about the actual day
outside

in the third day
of recovery from a particularly
virulent episode
of food poisoning, I remain
gray of face and lifeless of affect,
empty-bellied, but afraid
to fill it
for even the smallest bite
sets the roils to a-roiling

but
enough about me

it is a gray, dreary December day,
perfect for sitting outside
by a fire in my chimenea,
which I have done
and felt better doing it,
but as with all life’s fires,
the wood burns only as temporary
respite before the fire within
is exhausted

then the hollow,
the gray December hollow
returns









what  we found in Grandma's  attic

memories,
boxes of  memories,
trinkets and seashell treasures
from county fairs
and rodeos
and neighborhood garage sales...

a straw hat,
a guitar with three broken strings
and two missing frets,
a cane pole, with lead sinkers
and a red and white bobber, a  catcher's mitt
and a wooden bat, a
tiny ring inscribed
"Baby Charles"
and none of us know who
Baby Charles is or was, a train ticket,
Laredo to Del Rio,
never used,
a sun bonnet, yellow
with purple flowers,
a collection of Comanche arrowheads,
old maps
with lines drawn in dark, soft pencil lead,
tracing country
roads long since abandoned,
rebuilt for faster, sleeker cars
than ever drove there before, an
old wallet with two five dollar bills
tucked away in a secret pocket,
a bundle of letters
written
in a fine, feminine hand -
we read the first
and no more, for from the first
it was clear the thin, jasmine scented
letters, still smelling so sweet
after so many years since
sent and received,
were saved
for her to read again
and not for
us...

and
photographs,
like memories, old,
faded, torn,  and blurred

forget-me-nots mostly
forgot,

the only one who might remember
now lying still beneath soft
grass in an after-life park of the dead

all
left behind for us
to try to understand,
to try to know a person
familiar to us all our life, but
still at the end
unknown...

a last chance for her to speak...

a last chance for us to
listen








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
















2 Comments:
at 7:56 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

These poems- almost all-might as well be prose- just string the chopped up lines together and tell me- what hath w c wms wrought? all the rage, the fashion, the trend

at 9:39 AM Blogger Here and Now said...

sorry, dave. it's what i do. always proud to be in the company of the great pediatrician

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