HERE AND NOW
1-3-22 Fire's Red Embrace
so many lights in the neighborhood…
motion sensor lights
the battle of human
against night and the dark
continues with every downing of the sun
thus it was, always so -
freedom from the black travelers
of night, held at bay
at the flickering red edge
of the camp fire
for the fire
still they wait today
those shadow things always
there on the black edges
of our imagination
and still we push them back,
from the falling to the rising sun
we make our circles
and build our
wrapping all we love
in the fire’s
in a Mexican courtyard, 1959
a Mexican courtyard
under a rhinestone studded sky
on a black, border town night…
slowly, like a cat,
around the courtyard,
pausing before every table
to stretch, again, like a cat,
perfect in its shadow body,
feet barely brushing
the dirt floor, compact,
sleek, full breasts,
dark Indian nipples
no go-go dancer, nothing overtly
sexual, more like
a cat stretching, except she is
naked and it is a whorehouse
and it has to be about sex,
sex as a cat can be like sex,
slow and sensual in every step,
every smooth, silky step
a caress of the night….
clutch their tight crotch under the table
and wonder if the girls
could ever be like this
The rest of the poems in this post are from my book, Always to the Light, available, as are all my eBooks, wherever eBooks are sold, including, most prominently, Amazon.
There is a dark side to life and a light side. One can choose which life to lead, dark or light. This cover, illustrated by the photo, says to always look to the light, the light being a more rewarding and fun and safer approach than the dark side.
From where I sit
where I sit
I cansee past
a small grove of
to Interstate-10, east & west routes,
the one way to Houston and, through Houston,
Louisiana and points east and north beyond
the other route, followed westerly 600 miles
through hill country and high desert to El Paso
and four states beyond,
the orange setting sun reflected on Pacific waters...
most of the people I see passing are not going so far,
most know the futherthest you travel in any direction,
the closer you get to home, so why not just stay there,
untraveled, but satisfied, right where you and your life belong...
I don't know that I've ever been at home
so I'm always pulled between leave and stay...
under a cold, overcast sky,
I think I want to stay
that's why we have night and day,
night a curtain that comes down between old and new,
a sign to us as it rises every morning
that new things are possible after all
what use a curtain if nothing changes
Smile for me
it's the lunch side of Sunday brunch
& the place is packed,
a mixed crowd of church folk in their Sunday best
& the just crawled-out-of-bed crowd in shorts & flip-flops,
bed-hair flat on one one side, sticking out on the other
like a porcupine in heat, & the golfers from the quarry,
clip-clop clip-clop-clip in their golf shoes
& grandmas and pregnant moms with last year's babies
in high chairs, dads in khakis & hard-starched checkered shirts
thinking how simple life is
& that baby again, looking at me from across the room
a big toothless smile for me
this swirl of sound & color is like I'm alone,
unmoving in the center of a whirlpool of sensation,
all moving, sound & color streaming like paint flung in a circle
except the baby,
smiling a big toothless smile
the movie we want to see this week
starts at noon,
so we have some time to kill
I've had my breakfasrt
and the multiple coffees needed to set the world
back to its proper rotation,
and the Sunday morning peasure of both my local paper and the Times,
Dee just out the door for a walk and some window shopping
making me think,
as writing a poem always makes me think,
this time about how much pleasure there is
in these slow Sunday mornings
and how happy I am I'm not hung-over
as so often I used to be because of the way
Sunday mornings always followed the self-abuse
of Saturday night
Scattered in the wide night sky
in the wide night sky
are pinpoints of light bringing star-heat
to worlds like our own
biological stews pining the universal spark on some
and on others, life at its most simple is cradled,
protected from the cosmic storms,
and on a relative few,
creatures who strive and dream like you and I
like some people
know God, such knowledge
a product of longing
in the lonely bright for a comanion
worthy of our best nature
Here are two short poems by Nanao Sakaki, from the collection, Break the Mirror, published by North Point Press in 1987. Sakaki was a Japanese poet, author of Bellyfulls and leading personality of The Tribe, a loose-knit countercultural group in Japan in the 1960s and 70s. He was born to a large family in Kagoshima Prefecture, and raised by parents who ran an indigo dye-house.
After completing compulsory education at age twelve, he worked as an office boy in Kagoshima. He was a draftee radar specialist stationed in Kyushu in the military, and surreptitiously read Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Kropotkin, Marx, and Engels as time allowed. After the war, he went to Tokyo, living in an underpass near Ueno Station.
I clean up windows.
I clean up mind's windows.
I clean up green forest
I clean up the universe.
Now transparent windows-----
Againist the glass
Chickadees, robins, jays
hit their heads
and lose their lives.
I pick them up
eat them up
Winter Flower Trails
After two days snowing
A rosy evening glow.
You remembrr suddenly
The star shining in daytime
And flowers blooming her in summer.
And icy thistle field.
Staggering with heavy boots
You break dry flowers
Into small pieces of the sun.
Shine over the zodiacal light
Along the Milky Way.
A found poem, from a story in the New York Times, Front Page, January 14, 2009
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
on a motorbike
pulled along side her
what seemed an ordinary question
"are you going to school?"
then he pulled her burqa
from her head
and sprayed her face
with burning acid
17 years old
and bravely back in school,
"They want us to be
in all his cruel and
My younger brother, my older brother, (both deceased) and me
Beat down but never backed down
I always admired
those whip-thin guys
who run their lives on instinct
when disrespected, lay the offender out on the floor,
light a cigarette, walk to the bar and order another beer
while I'm still lost
in internal dialogue...
"what did that guy say?
"did that guy just call me a punk-ass motherfucker?
"he did, he did by God. he did just call me
a punk-ass motherfucker.
"why would he do that?" I would query myself.
"Im a nice guy, plus, I never did anything to him.
"well, I don't care. I can't let anyone call me
a punk-ass motherfucker! I'm gonna have to take him down!"
"where'd he go?"
of course, by the time complete my internal dialog and react,
he's probably moved on to his next stop,
laughing with his friends
probably forgot he called anyone a punk-ass motherfucker,
and everone else in the bar, disappointed that there wasn't
no fighting after all, has turned back to their beer
and moved on...
I'm standing in the middle of the room by myself..
one of those whip-thin instince guys
would have swung first
and thought about it later
and you can see from the scars
they swung first when they should have thought about it
maybe just a litle bit longer...
my older brother was one of those whip-thin guys,
gone now for more than fifteen years,
beat down, sometimes,
but never backed
This poem is by Mexican novelist, poet, essayiist and translator Jose Emilio Pacheco from his first book City of Memories. The book, published by City Lights in the United States and Ediciones Era in Mexico was winner of the James Asuncion Silva Award for best book of poetry to appear in Spanish from 1990 to 1995. The American edition is a bilingual book, with Spanish and English translation by Cynthia Steele and David Lauer on facing pages.
It is a true poet's poem, cast our for whoever might want it.
Not a bottle at sea nor vampire's flight,
more like a torn scrap of paper blowing toward you
in the street, the poem.
It's one or the other: you trap it or let it go by;
read it or throw it in the trasn.
The wind blows where it will:
putting it in your hand or steering it toward
It's a miracle that your eyes linerger
on a scrap of paper in the street.
Do with it what you will.
This pictureis from about ten years ago, taken on a day like this day, the second of the new year, in San Antonio, were the sun is bright and the temperature is in the mid-thirties, reminding me of the pleasure sitting outside on a cold moring, by a fire drinking the morning's first cup of coffee.
Pumpkins a little frosty today
pumpkins a little frosty
and the footbridge
across Apache Creek
a little slippery
with a light rime
sheet, dog pulls
I slide along
it’ll be 60 degrees
within two hours
of the sun’s rising…
warmer again tomorrow
we are confused
no more a friend of the cold
dog thinks it’s all
I take her
off the leash
down by the creek
and she runs
and runs and runs,
in the low cut grass,
then stops to jump
up to my chest
for a scratch behind
then runs again
and again and again
in wide circles
in the grass…
wet paw prints
on my coat
where she jumps
a bird on a bush
right outside my window
not sure what kind
maybe a mocking bird,
but feathers so fluffed against the cold
it’s hard to say
a ball of gray fluff,
like the soft lint
you pull off the filter
in your clothes
sharp little beak,
tiny, coal-dust eyes,
at the warm people
on the other side of the glass,
especially at me since I am nearest,
a black stare before it flexes
its fluffed chest
morning it is, a time to prepare
for a slow day
Photo taken near sunrise, January 1, 2010
a small boat
on calm seas, ripple
suggests, but forgotten,
lulled by soft tides
that rise and fall such a very
little bit, day to night, night
to day, drifting
small boat calm
day to night
a tiny whirlpool
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