.Companions   Saturday, November 14, 2020

 





This poem is for my current companions, Bella and Katy, and a lifetime of furred companions who came before


companions


ten years ago I would have said
I'm old today


but today
it's the old ones at the table
by the wall


three old women and a man,
a good ten years on me,
playing cards at the table by the wall


hearts, I think,
they bid and trump and fuss
and the counting score at the end
of each hand taking longer
than the hand itself...


it 's the man who does the score-keeping,
naturally, producing a result in each case
subject to intense mathematical scrutiny
and eventual compromise


companions of the game, bloodthirsty
in a benign sort of way,
the man,
at each hand's conclusion, dissecting
the mistakes of the women


the women accepting it, ignoring it...


almost like having a husband again -
but better since you don't have to

take him home

with you












Here and Now 
Companions 
Herennow.7beats.com 



Me 

companions 
early morning coffeehouse – usual suspects 
interspecies miscommunication 
an idiot’s guide to happy living 
learning to be straight 
a good reason for summer 



Verses from the Koran 



Me 

dreams of wet 



Robert Pinsky 
Waiting 



Me 

thinking about places I liked to go that have shut down in the past 12 months 
a bad night 
moving on 
can you hear me now? 
fat lady with a parasol passes







early morning coffeehouse - usual suspects

the old guys are here
and the tattooed fat lady is here
and the always neat and clean homeless guy
with his tightly wrapped foam bedroll, heavy backpack,
and professorial look behind little, half-lens glasses
as he spends the day reading in the air conditioned cool...

and the mama with her blond little girl trailing behind,
babydoll in one arm and little pink purse on the other, 
with little plastic dangly bracelets on both wrists
that she shakes as she passes...

and the young mother with two little girls, heading
double-time for the bathroom, passing a new guy. a
long white-haired Sam Elliott-looking guy in short pants
reading "Guns & Ammo" magazine

and a couple of the medical students regulars

and the short-haired cowboy guy with the bar arm

and the two gay guys that show up a couple of times
a week (and, okay maybe they're not gay.
but they sure are sharp dressers)

and the middle-aged woman. a mid-life student
who always looks like she's mad at me because
I always get here first and take the table by the door
next to and electric plug where she'd like to be

and the dorky looking guy and his dorky-looking wife
who come in and stare at each other
and never say a word the whole time they're here

and the old guy with the thick glasses and magnifying glass
who writes tiny numbers in neat columns in a spiral notebook,
eyes inches from the magnifying glass inches from the paper

and the table of law students, arguing with each other
like it was a supreme court appearance

and the Asian guy reading Shopenheimer haiku

and the girl with the long auburn hair and acne scarred face
with a constant air of amused observation, 
and I'm thinking thinking if she was 50-years older
she might share the joke with me, assuming
it's not me that is the joke - a possibility I do not discount

all the familiar faces in all the familiar places
on a mostly typical Thursday morning









interspecies miscommunication

the dog by the wall
says "woof"

while the cat right across says "meow!"

another case of species miscommunication
since the dog at heart
a real pussycat
meant to say "meooooooow"

while the cat just wants to be man's drooly
best friend, it's tongue hanging loose with a friendly
"yip-yip"...

but voice is destiny
and voice for these two requires,
they stand forever entangled in their destined roles

a dog going "woof!" 
and a cat going "meow!"
contrary to their deepest, ,truest desires









an idiot's guide to happy living

how are you? they say, by way of
polite greeting

great, I say, considering
where I started...

this is part of my philosophy
of getting through the day,
being of good cheer whatever
the temptation to be otherwise

that's my life strategy

assume the worst is past, for even
if it isn't, why ruin a perfect sunny day
with thoughts of dark and stormy skies

this good cheer philosophy, it's an idiot's guide
to happy living, denying the truths of close attention -

but a happy idiot I think I'd rather be
than any of those others,
always so miserably aware










learning to be straight

the poet, taking the form of a bump on a log
sits
and sits
and sits
& sits some more...

waiting...

finally listening in on the conversation
of two women at the next table,
talking about men and the foolish women
who let men run their lives, needy women
who allow their life to drain away
waiting for men to say the "L" word...

and yesterday, another bump, another log

sitting next to several men talking about women
and the games you had to play just for a quick feel
and a blow job -

needy women sucking the manly right out or their men...

listening to the two sexes talk among themselves
about the other, wondering how the heck
over-population ever became a problem, thinking
about how seven and eight year old boys & girls
are both sure the other kind has cooties 
and how hard biology must have to work
to get us past that point, or, at least how to appear
to have grown past that point

how hard biology must have to work
to keep us straight










a good reason for summer

some I know are offended 
by young women in low cut summer blouses
and tight short shorts that flex in passing

churchly folk of the tight-assed contingent,
followers of St. Paul who preached against
any suggestion the sex was anything
but a base animal function,
necessary though it was to propagate
the brotherhood of Christ, The Holy Eunuch,
certainly never to be enjoyed,

and feminists of the more flaming-eyed variety,
sharing more with Paul than they usually
are to admit

and those two,
because of the squirming ugliness of their souls,
despise all beauty,
like the Taliban who destroy all statues of the Buddha...

but that's not me...

I like it -
searching every year for a purpose to summer,
the pleasure of such fresh loveliness around me
at the supermarket is the best reason
I've come up with for the season











Now for something a little different, a couple of verses from the Koran, taken from The Essential Koran, The Heart of Islam, published by Castle Books in 1993. 

The verses were selected and translated by Thomas Cleary.

Not a whole lot of difference in these from what I read in my Sunday School classes when I was a kid, except, of course, for the profoundly unchristian affirmation that there is a place in Paradise for any good man or woman, no intercession by any intermediary required.




(Verses 124-126)

Anyone, male or female,
who does what is good
and is faithful
will enter the Garden
and will not be oppressed at all.

And who is better in religion
than those who surrender 
their being to God
and do good
and follow the way of Abraham,
seeking truth?
For God took Abraham
as a friend.

And to God belongs
what is in the heavens
and what is in the earth;
and God encompasses everything.


(Verses 163-166)

We have inspired you,
as We inspired Noah
and the prophets after him;
for We inspired Abraham
and Ishmael and Isaac
and Jacob and the tribes
and Jesus and Job
and Jonas and Aaron
and Solomon;
and we gave David
the Book of Psalms.

And there were messengers
of Whom we told you before,
and messengers of whom
We have not told you.
And God spoke directly to Moses

There were messengers
who brought glad tidings
and who warned,
so humanity might have no dispute
against God
after the messengers.
And God is most mighty, most wise.

But God witnesses
to having revealed to you
God's revelation
by divine knowledge.
And the angels bear witness,
through God 
is enough of a witness.










dreams of wet

the woman with very large feet
orders a latte,
flexes her long red-tipped toes
in her flip-flops and waits

tall,
with the lean, rangy body of an athlete,
blond hair with a look of chlorine burn
hangs down her back in a pony tail...

a swimmer
is my guess,
very active in her sport,
maybe professional, the look of a fish
out of water that good swimmers get
when forced to make their way on dry land,
amidst us dirt people

I can tell she is one of those,
dreams of wet whenever 
dry












This poem is by Robert Pinsky. It is taken from Poetry journal, February 1973.

Pinsky, poet, literary critic, essayist, and  translator, has 19 books and was Poet Laurate of the United States from 1997 to 2000.




Waiting

When the trains go by
The frozen ground shivers
Inwardly like an anvil.

The sky reaches down
Stiffly into the spaces
Among houses and trees.

A wisp of harsh air snakes
Upward between glove
And cuff, quickening

The sense of life
Elsewhere of things, the things
You touched, maybe, numb

Handle of a rake; stone
Of a peach; soiled
Band-Aid; book, pants

Or shirt that you touched
Once in a store...less
The significant fond junk

Of someone's garage, and less
The cinder out of your eye -
Still extant and floating

In Sweden or a bird's crop -
Than the things that you noticed
Or not, watching from a train


The cold river of things
Going by like the cold
Children who stood by the tracks

Holding, for no reason sticks
Or other things, waiting
For no reason for the train.










thinking about places I liked to go to that have shut down in the past 12 months

I am a creature of routine -

my greatest excitement is when everything works out
so that my routine is not interrupted

I take it as validation
that my path is true and karma-appropriate

like all creatures of routine,
part of my routine has to do with places
where I routinely spend my time

places that lend a sense of peace
and feng shui  orientation conducive to writing things
I sometimes cleverly disguise as poems

one unwelcome result of the flow of business and life
over the past 12 months is the lose to me
of places that had become essential to my routine,
places rich with karma and feng shui,
places where legions of trees could fall in the forest
and I would neither hear nor care..

those places gone
and not likely to return
I now ensconce myself at Borders in the morning,
quiet enough most times, other times, like today
overcome with screaming children and mothers
so accustomed to the screams of four-year-olds
that they seem not to hear, as if their children
were screaming in a forest and if they refuse to hear,
no one else would either...

but even on the quiet days
I feel so much older here in the company of old men
who gather each day to curse the Democrats and queers
and others of similar radicalistic bent -

and how I miss the young girls at Ruta Maya
who danced in the morning to the music overhead
as they brought my coffee and pan dulces

and that's why I sit here,
singing polly wolly doodle all day,
thinking about places I use to like to go
that have shut down in the past 12 months










a bad night

a poor night's sleep last night

my brain refusing to stand down,
scrambling instead with the errata of seventy seven years...

old injustices
unresolved, old rages
still smoldering, lovers dead and dying,
as do they all

foolish preoccupations, like trying to run on ice,
slipping, skidding, getting nowhere,
with questions like

_ why do we say kidnaping?

nanny's nap kids, it's kidnappers who nab them -

just stumbling through the night and my brain trips
over something like that and the whole rest of the nap
is crap...

~~~~

or this whole conservative/liberal thing
that has been bugging me for weeks
and now invades my dreams -

how someone can define their being and the being of others
on the basis on some shallow political gospel...

who can ever possibly ever be just one or the other?

like me,
I support the death penalty on the liberal basis
that the money being spend every year to keep murderers alive
could be much better used educating children,
feeding them,
keeping them healthy

and even though I see it as morally questionable,
I support abortion rights on the conservative principle
that government should have no claim of control
over the bodies and moral decisions of its citizens,
male or female

~~~~

and what about this "back and forth" thing? people say?

what rip in the space-time continuum is required before
a person can come back
prior to journeying forth?

or this whole handgun thing?

as a pragmatist I say if people want to carry handguns,
let them, as long as they carry them in the open
where all can see who are the potential murderers among us

~~~~

and my very first dog when I was a little child...

she slips into my mind for the first time in years

Mitzie, a fat old fox terrier, mother of many litters,
until finally, one day, tired, lying down on her stop
in the corner of the kitchen, closing her eyes...

what's wrong with Mitzie?
I asked my mother

she's dying , mom said, stay quiet 
so she can sleep through to her end

~~~~

all these things just swirling and whirling in my brain
when I would much rather surrender to the night

so that I can sleep, so that Mitzie can find her way
in the stillness










moving on

the moon,
again,
bright silver coin against a cloudless, starless sky,
the clouds held back at the coast,
the stars washed away by Day's lesser Goddess,
radiant in Her temporary dominance

and me, again,
under the light, again like a great white
stranded on a grassy beach...

but not really again,
for the moon is higher tonight, more directly overhead
than last night, aimed to settle in an hour between the trees

not really again,
because there cannot ever be again in a universe
where all move in a collaborative dance of orbits
and forces of push and pull

the moon never travels the same path twice,
and neither does the sun or the Milky Way Galaxy
upon whose stage we totter, 
and neither do we, you and I, for whom
each moment lived is a moment of life taken
as we dance in our collaborative, conflicting orbits,
some days we pass, some days we seek other passages,
some days we turn our faces, some days we reach
for a hold as we pass...

but never can we grip for our orbits are our own
and there is never room for more than one in each

~~~~~

it is the physics
of all things,
as we  travel, always,
fast and light









can you hear me now?

another poet speaks of the constant drone
of a radio in a faraway room,
an intruder in the night, a cross-dimensional irritant
from a place you are not and don't want to be

it is modern life -

the life we live in a world with too many people,
too much other people's 
business,
foolishness,
aches,
and sorrows
always bubbling in the periphery of our lives,
turning us into a community of hermits,
bound and forever never alone
with thoughts entirely

~~~~~

the fella over there is trying to sell something
to another fella over there,
and some piece of that mostly unheard conversation
will be with me the rest of the day...

and over there, a man reads the newspaper,
talking to his wife about something he's just read
while she works on her computer, uhhuh, uhhuh, she says
as he talks, marital static, every married person knows
that three-quarters of what we say to each other
is just static, in and out, ear to ear,
except that not all that goes in goes out,
some just hangs there, something remembered
like a dog barking at night is remembered as a dream

~~~~~

uhhuh, uhhuh, 

it 's the way we live,
acknowledging the buzz without ever seeing the bee
that flits from blossom to blossom collecting 
nectar...

but it is the job I take as a poet to be different,
to listen to the murmurs of my fellow hermits, to find 
the bee, to follow the bee as it collects the makings of its honey -
it is what I try to be this morning; it is what I try to do
every day...

as I pretend to know someone hears me
amid the noisy confusion of this day's living










fat lady with a parasol passes

     ambulance
     then fire truck
     then another ambulance

morning rush becomes
morning parking lot four lands across

     crash on the interstate
     going west

fat lady with a parasol passes\
on a bicycle, fat feet pumping on the petals


     passes

     so I guess it's over
     for someone













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






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
October 2020
November 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