Cookin'......Dawg   Monday, June 26, 2006




Welcome to Here and Now number I.v. ( I am posting early this week as I am going out ot town for a couple of days looking for pictures>)




A movie I liked

We went to see the Al Gore movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, this week. If you have not seen it, I recommend it to you. I did not learn anything I did not already know, but everything was presented so well, including some pretty scary examples, that I know it now at a level I did not before.

And, of course, there is Al Gore. I voted for Gore for president the first time in the Texas presidential primary in 1988 and voted for him again in the election in 2000. It is almost painful to consider how much different and better off our country would be today if we could have had an honest election in 2000.




A book I'm thinking about liking (maybe)

I am just starting a book, Credo by William Sloan Coffin. It is a collection of mostly aphorisms from his previous writings and may be the last thing from him before his death earlier this year.

I did not give much attention to Coffin in my (and his) younger years, when, as chaplain at Yale, he became known for his antiwar and civil rights activities. I was not as sure at the time of what to do about the VietNam war as was he and most of my cohort, or as I eventually came to be in the end. On civil rights I pretty much discounted him as another white, liberal yankee, much better at finding racism a thousand miles away in some dark corner of the South than in his own back yard. I was much more influenced by people like Harry Golden, a Jewish immigrant from the Ukraine who moved from New York City in 1941 to Charlotte, North Carolina to start his newspaper, The Carolina Israelite. From the beginning his little newspaper was a champion of civil rights, anti-segregation, anti-Jim Crowism and anti-klan in the very bowels of the beast of all the things he spoke against. He learned about segregation and racism from the burning crosses and the bricks that were periodically throw through his windows.

I got a better understanding of how that could happen as I grew older and came to realize that I had grown up in a segregated society and never recognized it for what it was. Like in the North, segregation and racism was a fact of life and tradition, but not of law. In South Texas, there were not any signs at restaurants that said "No Mexicans Allowed" (though such signs were not uncommon in the Texas Panhandle) so it never occurred to me that my friend Carlos and his mom and dad were not eating at our favorite family restaurant because they were not welcome. I guess I just figured they didn't like roast beef and mashed potatoes. Even as I was arguing civil rights with my old-time redneck relatives, I still did not fully get it.

It was not until I was on a bus trip through the deep south in 1967, on my way to Charleston to fly out for my first overseas military assignment, that the veil begin to lift. This was after the Civil Rights Act had passed, including the public accommodations provisions, but at every bus station where we stopped you could still see the separate waiting rooms for blacks and whites and the separate restrooms and water fountains. Though all the markings of segregation and all the legal force of segregation were gone, blacks were still using the black facilities and whites, the white.

Evil, it was finally clear to me, doesn't need the protection of law, it just needs an opportunity to become habitual. In the realm of segregation, once people, both blacks and whites, learned their "place," whether under law or under social expectation, it took a while to unlearn it.

People just do not see what they do not see. In the 1960's that was as true for a South Texas redneck like me as it was for Yankee liberals.

But, that's all digression. If I like the book, I will talk about it later.



This is not a joke

But it is a Bukowski poem that breaks me up.

it's never been so good

it isn't mentioned
too often
but in the old West
many men were simply shot in
the back

this matter of bravely facing
each other
in the street
and drawing their guns
was
rare

the best shooter was
usually
the one who
pulled his gun and
fired first
while the other was
having a drink
or eating
or playing cards
or bedded down with
a lady
or
otherwise
occupied

"dead men don't talk,"
they used to say

in the new West
things haven't changed
at all

just the weaponry:
now they can get in 17 or 18
or
more
shots to the back
quicker than you can say
holy
shit.





Not a rant, though it may seem like one

A controversy came up (well, actually, I brought it up) on an online poetry workshop where I have been posting my new stuff for critique and revision. It involved a poem (not one of mine) that was pulled from one forum and reposted to another "adults only" forum.

I objected.

The workshop has several forums. The principle one (the one I usually posted on is supposed to be "PG-13." I knew that, but it never really struck me as meaningful. Then, there is the "adults only" forum. The rule is that any poem considered unsuitable for anyone 13 years old or younger should be posted on the password protected forum for adults only.

My side of the controversy (and that was pretty much only me) saw three problems with this.

First, we have reached the point where labeling anything as just for adults immediately means, to many people, that it is "dirty." That was confirmed by one of the workshop members who said that she never went to the adult forum because she didn't want to see that kind of stuff.

Second, I disapprove of the idea that we need to put rubber bumpers around the world and everything real in it to protect children from seeing something that might make them grow up too soon, most likely as some kind of pervert. When I was a kid, it was the children who were made to leave the room, not the grown-ups, when the adults wanted to talk about something they did not want the kids to hear.

Finally, I was very disappointed that I seemed to be the only member of the workshop to see anything wrong with this arrangement and the self-censorship that would inevitably arise from it. Although they never used these exact words, member after member made clear that they would happily curtail their own freedom in order to limit the possibility that they might be offended by the free expression of someone else.

If creative people will not value and speak up for creative expression, who will. The answer to that is easy, no one.

It is a terrible thing for all of us when, in this world where freedom is always feeble and under threat, poets and novelists and film makers and artists of all stripes begin to hedge their bets, censoring what they do as they do it in order to be safely within the bounds of whatever acceptability is currently being enforced.

All good art is revolutionary because it helps people see and understand reality. The first requirement of tyranny, whether a dictatorship of one or a dictatorship of the majority, is to control what people see and the first way to do that is to control art.

That is why it is important to never give in, because freedom is always lost incrementally and every increment of control given up makes the next incremental loss more likely.

I suppose this qualifies as my rant of the week, but I don't feel rantish, just saddened that a place I enjoyed is no longer available to me. My poems are just poems. Some are better than others and some are plain lousy, but in terms of intent, they are all equal in my eyes. I cannot post them somewhere where I have to consign some to an adults only ghetto.

some people
think they have a right
to serenity
and I don't get that
because serenity
is not something
we get
but something
we make for ourselves

serenity
is a product
of the way we live
within self;
it is not the clamor
without
that destroys serenity
but the untamed storms
within

so it is that some people
think they have a right
to live without offense
and I don't get that either
because
so much of what I see
hear
smell
feel
in this world
offends me
it seems an abiding
fixture of life

offense, like serenity,
it is not something someone
does to us,
it is something we
allow ourselves
to feel in response
to a world
different from the world
we prefer

the way to avoid offense
is not to deny this
constantly
offending world
but to seek out the good,
knowing always
that it will be rare
and never found
unless we welcome
the possibility of offense
and accept the offending
interruptions
for what they are,
necessary to the search,
but irrelevant to the
goodness
and serenity
we must craft for
ourselves
within





New gallery up

I put a new gallery of photos up on the 7beats photo page last weekend. Trying something different this time, playing with colors, looking for a little bit of psychedelic effect. Do not know how well that works, but they're colorful for sure. To take a look, click the 7beats thingamajig top right, then go to the photo page.

Hasta la pasta

Well, enough of myself, it's time to mosey on down the trail...



see you on the other side.

(Jeez, what a downer this one was.)


first photo by Chris Itz
remaining photos by Allen Itz

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Summertime...And The Cliches Are Abounding   Wednesday, June 21, 2006





Welcome to "Here and Now" Issue IV, (Omigod, Roman Numerals, the classyfication begins.)



First, a mini-attaway for me in the way of old news

I've added a link on the right to The Angry Poet. it is an avant-gardish zine that I like. I surfed by yesterday and notice that they still have several of my poems up from a month ago.

Some good stuff there, if you are of a mind to visit.

Oh, just learned that a piece I wrote for Memoria Day is included in the supplemental to the recent War and Peace issue from Mindfire Renewed. It just went on-line this afternoon.

The title of the piece is regrets. You can read it, and the other fine pieces in the supplemental at:

http://www.mindfirerenew.com/fireweedjune06/WARPEACE.html




A gremlin I like.




Herzog the Vile is a creation of two students at The University of Texas - San Antonio, Stevin Zivadinovic and Daniel Morgan. Herzog began as a school project, but has now, through some 20-odd episodes, taken on a life as his own. He continues his quest, which doesn't seem to be entirely clear to him or anyone else, on a weekly basis, with a new episode posted on-line every Sunday. The art and characterizations in Herzog are clever and dramatic and the script is very funny, reminiscent, to one reader, of early Mad Magazine. Visit Herzog, start with him at the beginning of his quest and you will be checking in on the latest chapter first thing Sunday morning from then on, just like I do

A link to Herzog is included with the links on the right.






A dead poet I really like

Though I call myself a poet, my dirty little secret is that, except when working on the different poetry forums where I workshop my new stuff, I don't read much poetry.

I am a very fast reader, not a fan-the-pages speed-reader, but pretty fast. Even with poets I like, it is very hard for me to slow down and read the poem the way it deserves to be read.

Recently I began reading a poet, Charles Bukowski, who makes reading easy for me because his style of writing so well matches my mode of reading.

The reasons I avoided Bukowski in the past are not important. What is important is that, when I finally set aside my my prejudice and actually read his work, I found him to be an extraordinarily direct and honest poet of great depth. Bukowski is not just honest, but the hardest kind of honest, telling the truth about himself and all his failings. I also found him to be a terrific storyteller, usually in a page or less.

The poem below is not necessarily one of his best or even one of my favorites, but it does show him as he wrote. It also has a line that jumped out at me as the answer as to how is I feel so comfortable reading him. "I write mine the way I like to read it," he says, referring to his poetry.

The line led me to think about my own stuff and about how all the poems of mine I like best are written the way I like to read them. Those that I struggled with to meet some other standard almost never work.

So, the lesson I took from this poem is, not to try to write like Bukowski (though I think I do write in is style when I'm writing well), Instead, the lesson is to match my writing style to my reading style, so that, in the end, I will like what I have done. Maybe, as Bukowski says, if it doesn't bore me, it won't bore others either.

So, all that unnecessarily said, here's the poem.


Christmas poem to a man in jail - by Charles Bukowski

hello Bill Abbot:
I appreciate your passing around my books in
jail there, my poems and stories,
if I can lighten the load for some of those guys with
my books, fine,
but literature, you know, is difficult for the
average man to assimilate (and for the unaverage man too);
I don't like most poetry, for example,
so I write mine the way I like to read it.

poetry does seem to be getting better, more
human,
the clearing up of the language has something to
do with it. (w.c. williams came along and asked
everybody to clear up the language)
then
I came along

but writing's one thing, life's
another, we
seem to have improved the writing a bit
but life (ours and theirs)
doesn't seem to be improving very
much.

maybe if we write well enough
and live a little better
life will improve a bit
just out of shame.
maybe the artists haven't been powerful
enough,
maybe the politicians, the generals, the judges, the
priests, the police, the pimps, the businessmen have been too
strong? I don't
like that thought
but when I look at our pale and precious artists,
past and present, it does seem
possible.

(people don't like it when I talk this way,
Chinaski, get off it, they say,
you're not that great.
but
hell, I'm not talking about being
great.)

what I'm saying is
that art hasn't improved life like it
should, maybe because it has been too
private? and despite the fact that the old poets
and the new poets and myself
all seem to have had the same or similar troubles
with:

women
government
God
love
hate
penury
slavery
insomnia
transportation
weather
wives, and so
forth

you write me now
that the man in the cell next to yours
didn't like my punctuation
the placement of my commas (especially)
and also the way I digress
in order to say something precisely.
ah, he doesn't realize the intent
which is
to loosen up, humanize, relax,
and still make as real as possible
the word on the page, the word should be like
butter or avocados or
steak or hot biscuits, or onion rings or
whatever is really
needed. it should be almost
as if you could pick up the words and
eat them.

(there is some wise-ass somewhere
out there
who will say
if he reads this:
"Chinaski, if I want dinner I'll go out and
order it!")

however
an artist can wander and still maintain
essential form. Dostoevsky did it. he
usually old 3 or 4 stories on the side
while telling the one in the
center (in his novels, that is).
Bach taught us how to lay one melody down on
top of another and another melody on top of
that and
Mahler wandered more than anybody I know
and I find great meaning
in his so-called formlessness.
don't let the form-and-rule boys
like that guy in the cell next to you
put one over on you. just
hand him a copy of Time or Newsweek
and he'll be
happy.

but I'm not defending my work (to you or him)
I'm defending my right to do it the way
that makes me feel best.
I always figure if a writer is bored with his work
the reader is going to be
bored too

and I don't believe in
perfection. I believe in keeping the
bowels loose
so I've got to agree with my critics
when they say I write a lot of shit.

you're doing 19 and 1/2 years
and I've been writing about 40.
we all go on with our things.
we all go on with our lives.
we all write badly at times
or live badly at times,
we all have bad days
and nights.

I ought to send that guy in the next cell to yours
The Collected Works of Robert Browning for Christmas,
that'll give him the form he's looking for
but I need the money for the track,.
Santa Anita is opening on the
26th, so give him a copy of Newsweek
(the dead have no future, no past, no present,
they just worry about commas)
and I have placed the commas here
properly,
Abbott?


The poem ends with commas formed in the shape of a christmas tree.






A CD I like

Chicano Zen is the latest from Charanga Cakewalk, otherwise known as Michael Ramos of Austin, Texas.

I was told by a certain music snob that it was a terrible CD. There is only one thing I can say to that.

Ppppbbbbbllllttttt!!!!

It is a great CD, a genera-bender, mixing everything from Tejano, folklorica, and merengue to garage, ska and raggae with instrumentation going from traditional mexican guitar and bajo sexto to electric and electronica.

Ramos, as a sideman, has worked with John Mellancamp , Patty Griffin and others. In 2004, he set out on his own one-man-band excursion as Charanga Cakewalk with his first CD Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge. Chicano Zen is his followup CD and it is a delight.

I got my copy through Amazon. I assume it is also available through all the other regular CD outlets.



News Break


Loch Ness Monster disappears from family home in Scotland; spotted in Texas, peeing on a rock. Film at eleven.





From Bertha's Box of Boffo Buffoonery

The new manager walks into his office and, while settling into his new desk, finds four envelopes. On one he finds the words "open me first," and the other three are numbered one to three.

He opens the first envelope and finds a letter from his predecessor saying: "These three envelopes will save you a world of trouble. In case of emergency, please open these envelopes in sequential order; envelope one first, envelope two second and envelope three third."

The manager shrugs, puts the envelopes back and forgets about them.

Six months later, the workers go on strike. The company closes and is losing money fast.

After a long night negotiating with the union, he remembers the three envelopes. So, he opens the first one and it says: "Blame me, your predecessor for every thing."

Wonderful idea he thinks, and indeed it works and the crisis comes to its end. His job is saved and everybody's happy.

A few months later, another strike hits. He goes to the drawer and opens the second envelope. It reads: "Blame the government for everything."

It works like a charm, and he breathes a sigh of relief as his job is, once again, saved.

A month later, the workers declare another strike. The manager goes to the third envelope and it reads: "Prepare four new envelopes."






Ok, gotta fly. See you back here in a week.

In the meantime, support net neutrality.

Herzog image by courtesy of Stevin Zivadinovic and Daniel Morgan
Photos by Allen Itz

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Perhaps You Are Wondering Why I Asked You Here   Wednesday, June 14, 2006





Welcome to the 3rd issue of "Here and Now".


First, attaway me.





The latest of Tryst issue has two of my poems, do you take this bird... and and it's another fine day when nothing happens.

The issue also includes this mini-review of Seven Beats a Second by the editor:

Allen Itz's Seven Beats a Second is the bomb! I had so much fun reading this book, listening to the music CD, "The Ray -Guhn Show Choir" that accompanies the book and let me shout this, I am so proud of Allen for putting together this book. In collaboration with Vincent Martinez who provided the artwork for Allen's book, everything about this book is special. Allen's unique sense of humor and outlook on life comes through vibrantly and clearly. I don't know that I've laughed so hard over a book of poetry ever in my life, but what a treat and a nice surprise it was. Thank you, Allen for this tremendous gift, truly.

A full review is promised at a later date. Needless to say, I am looking forward to it.

Finally, a word about the journal, itself. Not only does it showcase excellent talent (ahem, ahem), its presentation also gets more beautiful and well-put-together with every issue.

A link to Tryst is in the link section on the right side of the page.


Also, attaway Vince.





Vincent Martinez, in addition to his painting, also does rap poetry. In the picture above, he is shown performing his work at the Seven Beats a Second book release reception October.

The editor of Zafusy was looking through the 7beats website and ran across and liked Vince's art. He has included, Barbacoa, one of Vince's pieces that appears both on the website and in the book, Seven Beats a Second, in his latest issue.

Zafusy is a journal of experimental poetry and art. A link to the journal is in the link section on the right. Barbacoa is on page 7. Other good stuff is everywhere else.


A place I like





Popingo Videos is a place I like to go to rent my movies. I do not like the big chains.

Blockbuster I do not like because its size and market share is such that it has become an influence on which and how movies are made. especially now that theaters have been taken over mostly by "big" movies and other movies depend so much on the rental market to be seen.

Hollywood Video I do not like because, though it lacks the excessive market clout of Blockbuster, it shares the same "who the hell are you" approach to customer service. My last encounter with Hollywood Video was when a young rental clerk (too much picayune power to someone with not nearly enough experience to learn humility) who I have rented at least 100 movies from refused to rent a movie to me unless I went out to my car to get my drivers license.Let's face it, I'm 6 feet tall and, at 245 pounds, with a white beard and long, mostly white hair, I do not, exactly blend into the crowd. Either he did not recognize me, even though he should have, or he just decided to give me a hard time because he could. Either way, I am out the door and will not be back.

Popingo staff, on the other hand, recognize me every time I go in, no matter when I go in. They know enough about what I like to be able to recommend movies to me and I know them well enough to general take their recommendations. It is true, they do not have 750 copies of every popular movie, but they will hold one of their four or five copies for me if I call. Plus, if I hear of a movie I want that they don't have, they will usually order it for me. The thing is, the movies are the same everywhere. The difference is customer service and customer service is what Popingo does.

For those in the area, Popingo Video is located at 3655 Fredricksburg Road





Seven reasons I wish my son was 5 years old again

Yertle the Turtle
The Big Brag
Cat in the Hat
Green Eggs and Ham
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
Sneetches
Fox in Sox



A note for writers

Telltale Tics and Tremors
Harlen Ellison
from The Complete Ellison, a Thirty Five Year Retrospective
Originally a 1977 column in Unearth Magazine,

Check it out somewhere if you can find it.


Warning Rant Beast Ahead





This might surprise people who know me, but there was a time when I had some affection for Republicans. In those days, the Republican Party and Republicans in general demonstrated healthy doses of common sense and a persistent libertarian inclination, both values/traits I support and admire.

Of course their hearts were usually as hard and a lump of anthracite coal, but that was ok, you just knew not to expect anything from Republicans on issues requiring empathy or human decency.

But now, with hearts no softer than they ever were, they seem to have lost all capacity for common sense. To demonstrate that, much could be said, but only one word is necessary. Iraq. If Iraq does not prove the complete disintegration of all Republican intelligence, then such people as are not convinced are obviously Republicans and not subject to the good sense that used to be a hallmark of their party,

Gone with their common sense is also any impulse to private liberty. Proof of that is their recent action on the so-called defense of marriage amendment.

Some of those involved seem sincere in their belief that same-sex marriage threatens the viability of marriage between men and women. This is based on their abhorrence of the sex acts likely to be committed in same-sex marriage. That, in itself, is not wrong. Abhorrence is in the eye of the beholder. But some go beyond that, to a belief that they have the right to stop such acts from happening through any means necessary, including a constitutional amendment which for the first time (excluding the 19th amendment, of course, which the country quickly ditched as soon as it came to its senses) reduces the freedom of individuals to live their lives unmolested by the intrusive hand of government rather than enhancing such freedom. That is wrong. Such people are closet Fascists (they have the inclination, but are still working on the salute). But you still have give them some credit for acting on true belief rather than political calculation.

Those others, those who do not really believe that Larry and Harry would threaten the institution of marriage by getting hitched, but, are none the less eager to demonize Larry and Harry for political advantage, are beneath contempt, where ever they live and where ever they serve .

This particular rant was brought on by news last week that one of the two or three most decent people I have ever known died some months ago of AIDS. For the entire twenty five years I knew this man, he was in a committed same-sex relationship with the same partner. The idea that he and his partner were, in any way, a threat to anyone else's marriage is, there is no other word, stupid. On the contrary, the fact that half of all heterosexual marriages today end up in divorce, suggests pretty plainly that legalizing the long-term same sex-relationships of such men and women as my friend would, in fact, strengthen the institution of marriage, not weaken it.

(I was originally thinking of a rant concerning Ann Coulter. but, considering the slime trail she leaves behind where ever she goes, I was concerned I would have to wash my blog out with soap afterward, which I am not technically up to at this point.)





Another poet I like

In addition to her work as a web designer (she created this site) and teacher (she taught me how to do some of the simpler things I wanted to do with the 7beats website), Michaela Gabriel is an excellent poet.

Michi lives in Vienna, Austria and, though she has published her poetry in her first language, German, as well as in Italian and Polish, she says she prefers to write in English. She is sometimes a deeply romantic poet, but also has a stark, powerful side, as shown in this poem from her website.

Abortion

Gloved hands take her from me
in a room with silent walls.
clusters of screams hang in corners,
scarlet and fierce.

A violent artificial sun
burns all hope to pale cinders,
dries up each drop of milk,
eclipses the fish's face inside me.

I awake from dreamless sleep
to the coldness of everything white;
walls, blankets, the women like corpses
on deathbeds not their own

A nurse urges me to talk;
her red lipstick offends me.
I crave dark colors, a weeping
winter sky, a black cat's pelt.

Clutching my bundle of clothes,
I watch blood trickle
from my empty body
and fail to understand


More information on Michi's chapbook, apples for adam, is available from Foothills Publishing at this address:

http.//www.foothillspublishing.com/id89.htm.


A link to her website, ekleipsis is in the link section on the right,

I like Michi's work a lot and think you might also. If the publishing company hasn't already sold all of her chapbooks, I recommend it to you.


Some old music I liked (but not too old)

Digging through some stuff the other day, I found a CD from a local ska band called The Alloys. It was their only CD.

My son, Chris, joined the band when he was a junior in high school and played with them until they broke up a couple of years later. It was a six piece band, with drums, guitar, bass guitar and three trombones, including Chris. It was happy music that could blow the doors off any place they played.

They played lots of different venues, punk and reggae clubs, straight out bars that none of them were old enough to go into except as performers, and a variety of special events, including a dusty little corner of VVan'sWarped Tour when it was in San Antonio. Where ever they played, they usually had people dancing by ten bars into their first song. They wrote most of their own music, but one piece that became identified with them was their own ska cover of the 1950's song, Dream, by, I think, the Everly Brothers.





The picture is from the largest gig they played, and also one of the last. They had played the big downtown San Antonio New Year's Eve celebration the year before but that had been on a side stage. This time, December 31, 2002, they were on the main stage, playing for thousands of New Year's revelers.

Though the band is long gone and everyone in it has moved on to other things, I still remember the excitement of their live performance and miss the chance to go hear them play a couple of times a month.





Lame joke of the week

Two guys are out at sea in a small boat. The boat is sinking.

The first guy says, "The boat's sinking. I think we're going to die."

The second guy says, "I think so, too."

The first guy says, "I'd like to pray, but I'm not a religious person and I don't know how to do it."

The second guy says, "Yeah, me too. But I lived next to a Catholic Church for years and could hear them pray often. Maybe I can pray like them."

"Well, let's do it, then," the first guy says, "maybe it'll make us feel better."

"OK," the second guy says. So they kneel down together and the second guy begins,

"N, 27......"





Oh, drat!!

Imagine my chagrin (it's brown, fuzzy and about the size of a small dog, if that helps) when I discovered that my monitor has been lying to me. I have learned that the beautiful, vivid photos I have posted only appear that way on my monitor. On every other computer monitor in the world they appear drab, lifeless, washed out and ugly. I think I have fixed them. If they still appear washed out and overexposed to you, please let me know.





That's about it for this time around, I think. Have to save something for next week.


Book release reception photos by John Strieb
All oher photos by Allen Itz

1 Comments:
at 12:10 PM Blogger michi said...

allen, you are too kind. thank you so much. congrats again on the two poems in tryst! :)) i am in terrific company!
m

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The Second Coming.....Of The Blog   Tuesday, June 06, 2006




Oh, sorry. I thought that was what everyone was waiting for.




Attaway Me!

I have two new poems this week in the Loch Raven Review. The poems are creating perfection and suav-ay. Loch Raven is a very high quality journal and I am very pleased to be included in this latest issue, especially since this is my first appearence there. If you would like to take a look at the zine and my poem, click on the Loch Raven Review link on the right side of the page.

Music

I have been a Johnny Cash fan from all the way back to the Sun Records rockabilly days. I put up with the silly, commercial stuff like the Sue boy thing because I knew that beneath that was a deep and honest soul that could speak for and to anyone with songs like in the Folsom Prison and San Quentin albums and finally in his last years, the American Recordings series.

The most recent release of Johnny Cash recording, Personal File, is a compilation of 49 songs, about half secular and about half not, that he recorded, apparently, just for his own pleasure. The recordings feature just Cash and his guitar doing material he says meant a lot to him over the years. Probably 90 percent of the songs I never heard of before. None of these songs would ever be big on their own, but taken together, they are a testament to honesty and integrity of Johnny Cash and the depth of his love for and committment to the kind of music he grew up with.



Closer to home, Holy Groove Records has just released a CD featuring singer/songwriter Andre Lamar. The title of the CD is Remember. If I ever figure out the mp3 thing, I will include a cut from the CD. Other than that, I can only say it is good stuff. To check out Holy Groove Records, click on the link on the right. To check out the CD go to www.andrelamar.net. Click on news for order iniformation.

Photos

Here are two pictures that took me a month to get. There is a herd (if that is what they call a bunch of deer, maybe just a bunch would be good enough) of ten to 12 deer that live in the area of this picture. They usually come in the evening to graze, but I have never been able to get close enough fast enough to get pictures. This one, for some reason, decided to cooperate, coming out in the middle of the afternoon and posing. (Of course, the cooperation was limited. I had to take the picture through my windshield from about 50 yards out.






I was very glad to get the pictures because it is likely the deer won't be around much longer due to habitate loss. The picture was taken on the edge of the parking lot of a business park. No more than 200 yards past the greenery in the background a large development of garden homes is going up. Very nice, enviro-sensitive homes, in fact, but leaving, still, no room for either buffalo or deer to roam.




Openings

Those readers in or near San Antonio should note that Lawrence Trujillo will be opening at One9Zero6 Gallery June 10th, from 6 to 10 pm. The show will run until July 7th. The gallery is located at 1906 S. Flores near downtown San Antonio.

Some of us know Lawrence from having worked with him. He is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, but has been painting here in San Antonio for several years now.

For more information on the show and Lawrence go to www.1906gallery.com. You can also link with his gallery there to take a look at some of his art.




Another Poet I Like

Dave Ruslander and I have never met in person, but we know each other's work pretty well, having read and critiqued each other on several poetry forums. He has a simple and direct approach to poetry, much as I like to imagine I approach the art.

His recent book Voices In My Head is a very good collection of the kind of work he does. It includes his poetry as well as exceptional illustrative photos, drawings and other art.

Dave lives in rural Virginia and a good part of his work reflects that setting. For example, this is a favorite piece of mine.

Blue Ridge Mountains

Mist spins from the ridge like cotton
and the day begins to cool.
A brace of ducks diamonds the flyway

Vermilion fingers stroke the west face
as the sun melts into the horizon
and black falls out of the blue.

This is the confluence of day
and night


If you are interested in more information on the book, email www.dscpublishingllc.com/voicesinmyhead.

Wrapping Up

This is enough for today, I think. If you want to check back occasionally to see what's going on, I will be posting a new edition of the blog every Wednesday. That's my plan anyway.

In the meantime, I change poems on the new poems page frequently. Sometime during the course of next week, I will be changing the gallery on the photo page. I have some pictures from a day trip to the Corpus Christi/Rockport/North Padre-Mustang Island area I did a couple of months ago. I will be putting those up.

so, sleep well and dream'em if you got'em






Photos by Allen Itz

1 Comments:
at 7:12 PM Blogger BWild said...

Hey Allen

Art here, from Word Distillery. Now that my life's slowed down a bit (school's out till 8/30, university classes just ended!)I can finally take a little time to look at some good stuff, like your site. Good to hear you're a Johnny Cash fan, me too. (But not since way back...must be amazing to have heard him going through the years) One of my favorite things in life is to take a drive for a few days through the southwest, stop in out of the way places (like in the middle of nowhere, parked near railroad tracks) and listen to Johnny Cash and others like him...storytellers, mostly. Have you listened much to his Meaner Than Hell album? Cool stuff (or HOT...and Cash reportedly went out on a limb making that album, going into the desert to get the feel, and needing to be rescued)

Anyway, glad you like him (what a voice of the people...must be why punkers, rockers, down-home countrified people, church-goers and who knows who all like him) (I loved hearing "Onie!" and really related to it, while working on the docks....even though my boss was a woman, she did have it coming..though I didn't "give it" to her, she gave it to herself)

Like your site and your info...makes me lonesome for my southwestern roots...my uncle was Chief of Detectives in Albuquerque in the 60's, (wonderful guy, ended up more friends with his previous "clientele" than with the law enforcement community...he was a good man who valued people above all, including the law) and lots of relatives and friends are in Texas. Good to know there's an art scene happening! I have a feeling I may end up in San Antonio or Austin one day. I have a really conservative friend who lives in San Antonio...a real character, who, though I disagree with him vehemently politically, is a great, great guy--cold be the subject of many a short story or poem...

Anyway, just wanted to say hi, blab a bit, and let you know I appreciate your writing and what you're doing here.

Adios, mi amigo

Art

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