Ripple On Ripple Makes A Tide   Monday, September 11, 2006

Welcome to "Here and Now," Lucky Number X.iii.

Guest blogger Amanda Evangelista on inspiration

Amanda is a poet from Battle Creek, Michigan. She says she wrote this poem after watching a particularly wild storm at night.


Flashes of brilliance, almost blinding
Like sudden strikes of lightning
Accompanied by clapping thunder,
The adoring audience

So quickly ideas rain down
Crystal clear thoughts illuminated;
Welcome clarity amidst the haze
So bright you can't ignore

These moments of inspiration
Call on you to trust divinity,
Forget the haunting negativity
Believe in your own self, and mind

It won't rain down forever
Your moment to shine will come
Learn from the storms and know
The rainbow is not far away

Though currently at rest, the mini-rant beast may soon be roused

Photobucket, the on-line storage site for all the photos I use here, recently made some "improvements." As usual, when an American company makes an "improvement," customers beware. Previously, I had a bunch of options when it came to sizing the images for posting here. With the "improvements," I now have only 4 choices, all either larger or smaller than I like to use. Also, it appears that changes I make to photos on IPhoto (cropping, changing exposures, increasing sharpness, etc.) may not transfer when I move the photos to Photobucket. If that doesn't change, I will have only original images for use here and not the those I’ve enhanced.

So, as I write this, I have no idea what my images are going to look like. Supposedly, Photobucket is going to fix these problems. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm frustrated, since the images I've used are important to my vision for "Here and Now."

I know there are other ways to adjust image size, but they're all much more complicated. I valued the simplicity of the old Photobucket process because it freed my increasingly inefficient brain from technical considerations and allowed me to concentrate on finding content. I'm a big fan of doing things the easy way and I'm hoping it works out so that I get to continue at that level of laid backisity.

But enough about that, on with the show.

A poem from the book

The September sale continues. Email me at for details.

diminishing the stars

the city approaches

its lights
across the hills
at sunset

the black serenity
of night

diminishing the stars
that shine
in the virgin sky

sounds of the city
soon to follow

then heat

then haze
that blocks
the lights
that spread
across the hills
at sunset

the city approaches
in a fog
of its own detritus

Several from Langston Hughes

Hughes was born in 1902 and died in 1967. He was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and newspaper columnist. He is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. In his work he confronted racial stereotypes, protested social conditions, and expanded African America's image of itself.


Better than

In the barren dusk
Even the snake
That spirals
Terror on the sand --

Better than nobody
In this lonely


as the wind
On the Lincoln

As a bottle of Licker
On a table
All by itself.


We are the desperate
Who do not care,
The hungry
Who have nowhere
To eat,
No place to sleep,
The tearless
Who cannot

Suicide's Note

The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.

Old Walt

Old Walt Whitman
Went finding and seeking,
Finding less than sought
Seeking more than found,
Every detail minding
Of the seeking or the finding.

Pleasured equally
In seeking as in finding,
Each detail minding.
Old Walt went seeking
and finding.

Ku Klux

They took me out
To some lonesome place.
They said, "do you believe
In the great white race?"

I said, "Mister,
To tell you the truth
I'd believe in anything
If you'd just turn me loose."

The white man said, "Boy,
Can it be
You're a standing there
A-sassin' me?"

They hit me in the head
And knocked me down.
And then they kicked me
On the Ground.

A klansman said, "Nigger,
Look me in the face --
And tell me you believe in
The great white race."

Another poem on "inspiration."

Here's lesson number 19 from The Art of Writing by Lu Ji, born in the year 261, died 303

19. Inspiration

As to the flash of inspiration
and traffic laws on writing's path,
What comes can't be stopped,
what leaves will not be restrained.
It hides like fire in a coal
then flares into a shout.
When instinct is swift as a horse
no tangle of thoughts will hold it back;
a thought wind rises in your chest,
a river of words pours out from your mouth,
and so many burgeoning leaves sprout
on the silk from your brush,
that colors brim out of your eyes
and music echoes in your ears.

(Translation by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping)

Inspiration, plus place

Inspiration never finds me at home. I need the right place, in public, but off to the side, around people, but not a crowd, the sounds of life, but not the noise, able to see, but still not noticed. Once I find such a place, writing becomes a waiting game, finding the right place to stay until whatever ideas are circulating through my unconscious break through to the part of my brain that can pick up a pen and write.

I mentioned last week about breakfast at Cafe Chiapas and their front porch where you can sit and watch some of the life of San Antonio pass by on South Alamo Street, and, sometimes, be inspired. (A little rain for the first time in several months helps also.)

Here's a product of that front porch.

from the porch at Cafe Chiapas on a rainy morning

it is a cool morning,
wet at long last, rainwater
pooling atop the table on the patio

on the street
workers are building
curb and gutter forms,
first step in repaving
this old street

I sit
high and dry
on the porch, enjoying
the cool morning,
the rain,
the workers, their yellow
hardhats dripping from the rain,
even the noise,
the hammers, the concrete saw
cutting through old sidewalk,
the screechy beep of the front loader
as it backs up to drop its load
of broken asphalt and concrete
in the idling dump truck

the morning is all around me,
the stink of diesel exhaust,
the big engine of the motor grader, rumbling,
(see how delicate and precise it's cut),
I watch it all, hear it all, smell it all

even the worker on the side,
taking a break, lighting up, letting
lose a cloud of tobacco smoke,
I smell that, too, and remember the taste
and, for the first time in ten years, miss it

I imagine a cigarette between my fingers
and wait for a poem

Bukowski at the track

searching for what?

as one goes to the racetrack year after year one notices
certain individuals who are there every day,
people who are strangely dressed and as desperate of eye
as I am.
there was one who stank badly and had diseased
I often picked him up as he hitchhiked in and I believe
he slept in the bushes along the freeway.
his theory was that all the jockeys got together
before the races and decided which number would
win that day -- they chose a number and only that number
win all day long and that's why all those sons-of-bitches
were rich; they all simply bet the number

and there was another guy I had seen for years at all the
tracks, I was in a hurry and he bumped me with his elbow
and I said, "hey, Mac, watch that shit!" and he said,
"I got a mind to rub your face in the cement!" and I said,
"wait a minute," and I took my coat off and laid it on
a bench but when I turned around he was gone.
I still see him at the track and the strangest thing is
that he seems to be getting thinner and weaker as by
I seem to get younger and stronger, but I don't think
it's my imagination, I think he must be having
a long string of losers.

then there's the blond, she was fat and slow but it
didn't seem to matter, she had a way of picking winners,
and some of the winners were longshots, day after day, she
bet the horses calmly in a very offhand manner and now
I see her in the clubhouse, dressed fine, still fat,
with some young guy at her side,
and she knows that I know but I don't say anything, since
I'm in the clubhouse too maybe I've done some whoring
in my own way

there's another one, dresses dapper, smokes good cigars
but he never bets, he just pokes around in the
trashcans, reaching his fingers down into the
wet coffee containers, napkins, ripped tickets,old news-
papers, stale hot dog buns, beer puke, he just reaches down in
there, inhaling on his cigar, searching for what?

then there's the one who starts running when he sees a late flash
on the board, they are putting them into the gate and
he starts running to the window like he's had a message
from heaven, and he's right, the last flash of the board
is the most important but you can't win that way either,
he's poorly dressed and desperate and come to think of it I
haven't seen him for some weeks now.

I think I've been around the track longer than any of
the other bettors, maybe not longer that the hot walkers,
the trainers or the jocks, they've been here longer
than me, but not the bettors.

all my women (and there have been plenty of them) have said
(with one voice) "my God, everytime I see you
you start talking about HORSES! you'll talk about the
for hours, my God, what a dull man your are! and then you
POEMS about the HORSES! don't your realize how dull
your HORSE poems are? nobody understands them!"

here's another.

In a Bukowski frame of mind

Another one from the book.

why the boys go out on Saturday night



especially when lit in










sex flashes through the night
drawing us through the rushing current





bashing our heads on the sharp rocks
of deceit and desire, all for a chance to
fuck our fish brains out before we die
in the shallow pool of everyday life

The Weepies

I heard talk of this group called The Weepies this morning on NPR. It's a couple, a man and a woman. I haven't bought the CD yet, and don't know that I will. Anybody that calls themselves "The Weepies" has a lot to prove to me. The reason I'm even thinking about it are the opening lines to the song fragment they played on the radio.

I may not have it exactly right, but I'm close.

What should I compare your to?
my shoes...
my red boots...
with angel wings

Now that's some lyrics for a do-it-yourself created pop song.

Some ancient Greeks (no gifts)


Alcman lived from about 654 to 611 B.C.He is thought to have been born in Sardis, capital of ancient Lydia, and brought to Sparta as a slave. He eventually became Sparta's official singer for public rites and spectacles. At one point, it is said, that he became unorthodox in his music until the Spartan authorities "arrested" his lyre and wouldn't give it back until he promised to be more conventional in his performances.

Desire Loosening

    Desire loosening
arms, knees, thighs, she
    looks at me
    more meltingly
than sleep or death, such
sweetness carries her --

    Astymeloisa, swaying
past me, lifts her garland
    high, a star
    skimming the night air,
or green-gold April sprout, or,
softly, a feather....

(Translated by Rosanna Warren)


Sappho was born to an aristocratic family around 612 B.C. Most of her work was lost, probably because she wrote in a difficult dialect which faded from use over time. It is also possible that she was purposefully censored and her work destroyed in the early Christian era because of the homoerotic nature of her work. Much of what is known now of her life and poetry comes from mention in the works of her contemporaries.

Star of Evening

                you bring
            home everything
which light of day dispersed
        home the sheep herds
          home the goat
           home the mother's darling

(Translated by Paul Roche)

A contemporary Chinese poet

Yang Lian was born in 1955 in Switzerland to a family of diplomats. He returned to China while still a baby and was raised in Beijing. During the Cultural Revolution,he was sent to the countryside for "reeducation." While there, he worked as a gravedigger and began to write poetry. He currently lives in London and has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature.

To a Nine Year-Old Girl Killed in the Massacre

They say you tripped on a piece of skipping elastic
And you jumped out of the house of white chalk
On a day of terrifyingly loud rain
Nine bullet holes in your body exude a sweetness
They say that you lost the moon while you were playing
Green grass on the grave        Are new teeth

Sprouting where there is no need for grief
You did not die        They say
You still sit at the small wooden desk

Looks crash noisily against the blackboard
The school bell suddenly rings
A burst of nothingness        Your death is killed

The say    Now    You are a woman and a mother
And each year there is a birthday without you
just as when you were alive

(Translated by Mabel Lee)

And to close out for this week, one more from the book

lotsa hots

I've worked in August
under the noonday sun
digging post holes
in hard-packed caliche
on the Texas-Mexican border

that's one kind of hot

I've won six months pay
throwing dice in Reno

that's another kind of hot

I've seen pretty little whores
in Piedras Negras
hot enough to melt the silver tip
off a cowboy's dress-up boots

that's pretty hot too

but no kind of hot
is as hot
as thinking of you and me
in a big white bed
in a room with curtains whispering
to a low midnight breeze,
soft lights, satin shadows
shifting over pale skin

your dark eyes shining
liquid in their knowing

That's it for this week. I hope by next week, the photo problem will be solved. In fact, if it gets fixed before next week I'll probably come back to this and repost the images the way I want them.

Hasta la Pasta

Late addition. Image size problem resolved. Thank you Michaela Gabriel!

Photos by Allen Itz

at 7:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Allen- Only half way through this page and I am already inspired! I enjoyed the pictures, although I think you could work on the quality of some of the jpgs- let me know if you want my help, I am good with photoshop.

I have a poem in mind to write about the flea market- after Bokowski's take on the racetrack. It's great getting all this information about poetry through the ages. I will be back often to learn more!

at 1:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok Allen, are you a poet or a photographer!? You are good a both so you need to come up with a good by line that fits both of your talents. I need to pull out your old Argus C-3 Standard and send some pictures you way to post. Not sure if I can up to your standard of picture taking but I will try.

John Strieb

Post a Comment

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
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Poems Niederngasse
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
The Blogging Poet
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