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 
herenow.7beats.com 


Me

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


Jorie Graham 

Two Days (5/2/97 – 5/3/97) 


Me 

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



Jill Wiggins 

December Walk with Neruda 
Crystal Goblet 
Blue Chinese Vase 



Me

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

herenow.7beats.com












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
desire.










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








balance

stars brilliant
in the clean nigh sky
so bright they shine
through the ambient light
hanging
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
place.

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.















ripples

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,
knowing
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 
moods









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
rising 
empress
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
             fragile
             faceted
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?

well...

     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
makers...

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



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Seven Beats a Second






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1 Comments:
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

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