Shadow-land 2   Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A  busy, busy week for me, so a short post.

I have more photos on the shadow-land  theme from two weeks ago.

Nothing from my library this week; it's all  me instead, some of my new  poems from the week and old poems from my second book and first eBook, Pushing Clouds Against the Wind, a collection of poems  from 2007-2008.

Las Mananitas

From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"
this old bed

From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"

From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"

yo soy El Rey

From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"
just in case I can't get the fire started

From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"
fast times in Birdland


From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"  
false springs are welcome too

how it is now where  I grew up

From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"
to hell with politics

From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"

temperature indices

From "Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind"
this is what  I learned so far  today

all I want 

An overnight trip back to where I came from for a couple of birthdays.

"Las  Mananitas"

300 miles for a birthday

the tall  grass of the coastal plains
waves in  constant wind
from the Gulf
like a green  tide
coming in
and the mesquite
and huisache  bend above the waves

Vickie's Restaurant,
in little San Benito, the family
around a long table,
the five surviving children, the youngest
in his early fifties, the oldest, Dee,
in her early sixties,
and with them the grandchildren,
each, the children and the grandchildren
tell their stories of their lifetimes
with him, the father, the one  from whom
they all spring, some with humor,
some with tears, tears
from the youngest who sense
the soon passing, as quiet tears
slip down from his 86-year-old  eyes
while another old man
almost as old
the birthday song,

"Las Mananitas"


With jasmine and flowers
Today I come to greet you
Today because it is your saint's day
We  come to sing to you.

Here it is, the first of my many old poems this week from  my first eBook,  Pushing Clouds Against the Wind.

this old bed

I sleep
on the bed
where my father
was  born
100 years ago,
second child of Celeste
and August,
amid rocky hills
and pecan and oak and
flowing streams
in the little
Tex-German  town
of Fredericksburg...

I sleep
on the bed
that has slept my family
through two world wars,
a cold war
and multiple wars of lesser scope,
threw 21 Presidents
of  the United States,
some wise,
some not,
some equal
to the needs of their time,
some not,
through musical genres
from ragtime
to hip hop,
through prohibition
and bathtub gin,
through the gilded age,
the jazz age,
fire bombing,
atom bombing,
getting bombed
in the suburbs
and getting sober
with AA,
through seven presidential
assassination  attempts,
in Dallas
death on the launch pad,
in near-earth orbit,
Kitty Hawk
to men on the moon,
the cries of the dead
from famine,
from genocide,
from indifference
of the ruling class,
through Bull Connor
and his police dogs,
through King
and his dreams
and his death
on a motel balcony...

to Barack Obama
and the triumph
of dreams,
through the triumph
of good
and the re-emergence
of evil,
the cycle played out
over and over again
in the days of yellow
journalism,  through
Murrow and Cronkite
and  Brinkley and Huntley,
on the radio and TV
and on the web,
Wikipedia fact
and Facebook fancy,
truth swaying
on a tumbling pedestal,
lies flying in the wind,
plain racists,
and everyday bloody

through it all,
all the times of reaping
and sowing,
the bed has calmed  the nights
through three generations
of sleep and passion
and midnight dreams,
waiting now
for the final sleep
of  this generation
and  the lying down
to  rest
of  the next

I remember years ago, attending a conference put on by a state agency for service to the deaf. Deaf individuals from all over the state attended. During the lunch break the first day everyone adjourned to the hotel restaurant. The room was nearly silent as a hundred conversations in American Sign went on all around me,  across tables and across the room. This piece from my second book (my first eBook), Pushing Clouds Against the Wind, was inspired by a similar event, watching two young women converse at a coffeehouse.


I've named her
and I love
to watch
her talk -
American Sign Language -
with flashing eyes
and Gwendolyn
that seems to involve
part of her physical being...

as I watch
I have no  idea
what she's talking about
but, by God,
it looks exciting


 From Pushing Clouds Against the Wind.


i'm getting
really really
bored with myself

thought about
getting rid of the beard
and shaving my head
but then i'd  be
just another
bald beardless  bored guy

not much of an  improvement,
so thought about joining the Marines
but think they might not want me now
and back when i was of Marine age
i did everything i could to avoid
all Marinish ways,
except for drinking
and carousing
and i'm too old to do that now too..

thought about
driving down to the coast
to take sailing lessons
but i get seasick
if i fill the bathtub too full
so my guess i
that won't work  either

could have a deep  romantic affair
with a beautiful
but already did that once
and after 40 years, though
it is the joy and comfort of my life,
it is not the
shoot the moon  adventure
that by the blandness
of my nature
i would most certainly

the beautiful
dark-haired woman
and i
could have a romantic interlude
on a mountain top

but wait,
i climbed a mountain
and it wasn't  boring
but it scared the crap out of me
and  scared crapless
is even worse

i could write
a truly great poem
i suppose
but it has come to me
as i edit my poems for my next book
that they are entirely about me,
like transcripts from inside my head,
which,  sad to say,
is much like
being inside the head
of the guy ahead of you in the grocery line,
preoccupied with what it is he's forgetting, thinking,
jeez, i shoulda made a list...


Here's another  from my trip back  to from where I came, the Rio Grande Valley on the Rio Grande River, the far south border with Mexico.

I have heard  the song, El Rey, probably a thousand time, sung  by  professional and at sometime not entirely sober backyard sing-alongs. I have always heard the last line of the chorus as  "Yo soy El Re" - a simple, strong declarative, "I am the King." Only when verifying the lyrics for this poem did I discover that I have apparently been  hearing it wrong all these years. But I still prefer my version, a stronger statement.

Yo  soy El Rey

300 miles
yesterday. 300 miles back north
this day, through the sorghum plains,
through the great ranches,
and the mid-coast green rolling hills,
and old oak groves,
the strong gulf winds
that pushed against  us yesterday
will push us home today... 

300 miles, plus 300 more,
two birthdays,
lunch and then dinner,
lunch for the father, dinner for the mother,
two who no longer celebrate together,
but the same children and grandchildren,
plus cross-border cousins
from Matamoros...

a busy,noisy restaurant
crowded  wall to wall,
mariachis hired for a half-hour serenade
for the party and soon
we at our long table
join in the singing,
as do all those at adjoining tables,
until the mariachis' time 
is ended ant the restaurant
bur for  us

"on dinero ye sin dinero
Yo hago siempre lo de quiero
Pero sigo siendo el rey"

(With money or without money,
I  always do what I want
but I'm still the king)

"Y mi palabra es la  ley"

(And my  word  is the law,
I sing)


great song, 
but nobody believes me
when I say

Another from Pushing Clouds Against the Wind.

just in case  I  can't get the fire started

a  cold, cold day

and a little wet

bee up since 6:30
and now
it's eleven hours  later

and i'm
in my coffeehouse
looking for  something

in any part
off those long hours
that suggests the possibility

so what did i  do

i  finished the first
finished draft
of the first
of the four chapbooks
i  want to do this year

but that was all  drudge work

no poetry there

i  spent
a couple of hours at home
waiting for the chimney sweep
so i'd be bale to have a nice fire tonight

but though
that might spark a poem  tonight
it does  diddly for me right now

i went to the used book store
and bought four books,
a Neruda and three other worthies
i never heard of
but since i  haven't read
any of the books yet
i can see no way to
a poem out of it

looking around the coffeehouse
i see about ten people

but none of them
on my poetry radar

for  the skinny blond
with the  straight bleach-white hair,
serious, don't-fuck-with me-glasses
and an attitude
that suggests if i wrote a poem about her
and she found out about  it
she'd have to kill me

she's not a happy
pissed about something,
to do with a  ma,
i think,
and being one such
i don't want  to know  any more.

it might b safer
to just sit in front of the fire
and write
some doofus
about  the glow
of the dancing flames
and you know,

This is another poem from my book, Pushing Clouds Against  the Wind.

fast times in Birdland

I hit a bird this morning

ran right over him
when he flew to low
and too slow

dumbass bird

I drove on

stuck in my Cadillac's
checkerboard grill,
beak forward,
around his black BB eyes
ruffling in the wind,

he dies

goddamn, look at me go

the fastest bird
in this whole freaking town

This is a new poem from last week. It is a disquieting time.


my roots are tribal

that's the way it was
when I was growing up

there were these
and those
and ours

and while fights
were rare
the were not unheard of

but for a South Texas
white boy
I've come a ways since,
as  across the world
it seemed tribal lines
were easing, fences, coming
down and "others' becoming

that's been the march
of culture
in my lifetime, but now
all seems to be turning
back toward separation,
new tribal roots
old roots greening again

and it frightens me,
not for me for I am old,
but  for my son 
who will live in a world
far less kind and
than mine

as the tribes
divisions upon divisions
the darkest clouds
of history
gathering again

Another from Pushing  Clouds... - poems  from 2007-2008.

false springs are welcome too

i was in the coffeehouse
engaged in
by donut
when i looked around
and noticed
the place was knee deep
in fat old men with beards,
most of them,
those not dozing,
from the young girl
in little white shorts
who just walked through...

it's a weather phenomena thing.
false spring
bringing warm  days
and chill nights,
little green buds
on every tree
and little twig nests
with little speckled white eggs
and fiercely protective
little doomed buds,
poor little thin-shelled eggs
soon to be thrown to the ground
by returning winter winds...

but not so tragic
this false spring for the fat
old men with beards,
for they dream anyway
and dreams cannot be fooled,
will not freeze
will not blow  away
in the fiercest  wind,
so while that the long bare legs scurrying
all around town
like the bird and the bud
on the tree by the kitchen window
may return to winter cover soon,
the dreams
they stirred will prevail

And speaking of going back to from where I came, it changed a lot since I left 50 year ago, mostly for the better.

how  it is now where I  grew up

old farmers
in their new Ford pickups
and even older tourists
in their Winnebagos
drive 40  miles an hour
on the highway


the land of the Tejanos  
and the culture of
mariachis and pechangas
and grilled fajitas  with rice and jalapenos
and  boracho beans at Pendelton Park
and pinatas hanging from birthday trees,
little sluggers swinging,
and steamy summer backyards
and old men in broad-brimmed hats
strumming guitars and singing 
sad old songs of love and revolution
under midnight mesquites,
and on the Fourth of July,
tios and tias
visiting from Mexico
and cousins playing football
in green backyards, front yards blooming
with every color on the calendar,
and small houses stuffed
with children who
struggle  to speak their halting Spanish
with Abuelo  y Abuela, children of a new time,
growing, planning a future
not to be imagined
a generation

generations  passed,
and the old order passed with them,
for the hold-outs,
the old farmer sin their new pickups
and the even  older tourists
in their Winnebagos, cruising down the highway
at 40 miles an hour

while the rest of the world
honks and curses
behind them...

but they don't care,
like all the old
holding on to another time... 

their time

This was written at and about a coffeehouse I frequented for several months. It was not a friendly place and I quit going as soon as I could find an acceptable alternative.

The piece is another from Pushing Clouds Against the Wind.

 to hell with politics

sitting in one of the little
places they have set aside
for laptop users,
and while it's better than
trying to work at on e of the waxed tables
that leave you chasing your laptop
as it slips this way and that
with ever keystroke,
I'd still be
though not entirely surprised
if someone tossed me a banana
and did one of those gynyecke-gynyecke-gynyeke
monkey noises in front of me...

speaking of higher life forms

across the room
I can see the parking lot
through the big north-facing windows
and out of six cars
I see three,
not including my own,
with Obama stickers. not
entirely surprising, since
Obama took San Antonio
and Bexar County with about 53 percent of the vote,
but still, this is one of the richest parts
of the city, fat cats on every corner
not often tempted to vote Democrat and
even more not willing to advertise it when they do

it has to do with winning
I suppose -
even rich folk
like to be on he winning side,
they just happen to be more accustomed to it
than I am...


a pretty
young girl
in a purple fedora
just sat down in front of me
blocking my view
of the parking lot,
the cars
and the Obama stickers

with politics

This is from  even another coffeehouse from  my past. It was a great place, right on the river.


across the stage
as she delivers
my order of decaf
and a scone,
then back again,
still dancing,
still in the music

the abandon
of dance
and rhythm
and music

and youth,
a moment of light
to an  old soul
with the news of the day

I grew up in way-south Texas, on the border, about as far south, except for a little island at the tip of Florida, as you can go in the United States.

I grew  up there before air conditioning and I  don't know how any of us survived. The only answer I can come up with is that it's a lot hotter now than it was then, miserable as it was then. Or maybe we're just not  as tough as we used to be.

temperature indices

a cool week in store...

only one day predicted in
triple digits...

the other four days
at just 99 degrees bring us
the closest we'll come in Jul
to a South Texas cool front

of course, using the"temperature indices"
that the forecasters use now to  destroy any hope,
the days will actually be,by that measure,
105 to 115...

damn science,
there is no hiding from its pernicious effect
on our future prospects for 
an agreeable survival...

I sit here in the coffee shop
in my normal place, the bright July sun
stuck between the corner of the building
and the oak trees, shining directly on me,  blinding me,
making me burn like yesterday's fried potatoes
at the "Eats"  restaurant (at your own risk)...

the inadequate rotation of the planet,
not moving fast enough to get me some shade


Here's  the last this week from  Pushing Clouds Against the Wind.

this is what i  learned so far today

little frogs
for sex

how do
they do that
you might ask

(this is the interesting part)

big frogs
have deep
bass  voices

little frogs
have little
squeaky voices

lady frogs
don't care
the size
of the
some little frogs
learn how to deepen
their voice
so they sound
really big
and really
much of their
from the pond
and leaving
all the little
green girlie frog
to themselves

anyone who's spent
an evening
at any West Texas
will understand
the principle

Basically, it boils down to this - I'm tired.

all I want

I'm an old guy,
72, edging on 73,
past my sell-by date

and that's the way
I want it,
I want to be like the old guys
who spent their days in  rocking chairs
in front of the American Legion Hall, 
reliving past  glories...

I don't want to
learn anything new,
I still  know a lot of old  things
that could use some more

I don't want to go to new  places
when I have so many old places
that call me back...

I  have a cell  phone,
a necessary  adjustment to the requirements of the day,
but it's an old fashioned  Capt. Kirk flip-fone type,
doesn't access the internet
and I  don't  text or tweet or tweedle or twaddle
or any of the other things the kids
do as the world passes
them by unnoticed

it takes calls,  makes calls,
and tells time, and even that
a medical accommodation since  wrist watches
cause a rash...

I'm content to face it,
my brain
a coal-fired thinking plant,
and due for shut-down sooner
than I want,
replaced in this world
by some solar-powered gizmo
that'll keep right keeping on
long after I'm gone 
and mostly

and knowing that
this is all I want -

non-demanding peace,
a bit of lively
and a significant number of additional years
to enjoy my daily life  of
on  the lessons of  my life,
the last of which I  hope I've already learned... 

doesn't  seem like all  that much
to me

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, iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, 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)


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


Sonyador - The Dreamer

  Peace in Our Time


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