Bushwa!   Friday, May 04, 2018

Being the hateful mess it is, I would really like to stay away from politics in my poems. But it seems politics always works to find a way in.


the world is blind
to my poetic eye, for a week now,
no beauty or freak of nature suggests lines of interest;
no grotesque or exquisitely formed human
passing stirs the firing of poetic neutrons;
no funny or tragic adventure rises from behind
memory's closed curtain....

in layman's terms, the morning is like a dose of skunk stink
when it comes to plumbing the depths
of human inspiration and poetry

so why am I trying to cultivate something
in this infertile field of rocks
and rattlesnakes?

because it's my job, you know, my daily poem
is a job of work to satisfy the gods
or anyone else who might be listening...

it's a job
and as with any job
there are good days an days when
you ought to just stay home
and watch Hee Haw reruns, or, if you're up for the drama,
Gunsmoke or Kojak or, surely
out of your 3,000 channels, Sgt. Bilco
must be out there somewhere..


sure to be better than this fog
of condensed bushwa - which reminds me

a politician running for re-election
goes to campaign at the Kickapoo reservation
to make a political speech - delivered a stem-winder
and it seems like every promise he makes
the Indian audience stands up and yells, "Bushwa!"
and the politician, when he's through,is certain
he must have done great, earned the vote
of every Indian in attendance, and in his enthusiasm
suggests to the chief that they take a shortcut
across a cow pasture to his car, and the chief says
"okay. just be careful you don't step in the

Several weeks since my last journal post, this one is a little shorter than standard.

But still, interesting things. Some new poems by me from the last couple of weeks, a few more very old poems from my first book, Seven Beats a Second, which I like more and more every time I look at it, and pieces from a tiny collection of Native American poems, prayers and chants, Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail. The book was published by Hallmark in 1973.

In accord with the book's title, each piece from the Native American collection is accompanied by one of my son's photographs. Chris has been an avid back-country hiker and camper. He took these photos while trekking through the Guadalupe Mountains National Park on the Texas-New Mexico border. There are no roads through the park, so to see and enjoy it visitors must hike through it.


the latest contention among the Whoobobbies

From "Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail"
Beauty is before me...

flying a kite with Katie

sorry, it's this damn town

From "Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail"
Algonquin Love Song

how it all comes about

early innovation in interpersonal communication

From "Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail"
The Warrior's Song

still life


flavor fresh off the farm

From "Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail"
A Song of the Deer Ceremony

even as the bang comes undone

Piggly Wiggly promenade

strange moment

git along little dogie

From "Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail"
Tule Love Song

the cruelty of cats at play


My go-to when stuck for inspiration (a not uncommon circumstance in the poem-a-day world) is the Times' Tuesday Science Section. There's almost always something there to inspire.

Having been long on lack of inspiration for a week or so, you will see a number of those poems in this week's post.

the latest contention among the Whoobobbies

the latest contention 
among those Whoobobbies
who worry about this sort of things
relates to the pleasures of the human peoples
and how they find it...

it boils down to this,
they say,
are the pleasures of art
the same as the pleasures of food, sex, candy,
drugs and such?

some say, 
others, highfalutin art critics, mostly,
I'm guessing, say, no, no indeed,
different things entirely, they say, since anyone
can find pleasure in baser things
likes sex and candy, filling an ace-high s straight flush
or bowling twelve consecutive strikes 
on league night...

this would be the subject of conversation
at hoity-toity events
where the hoity-
toity congratulate themselves on the elegance
of their hoity-toitiness, understanding
as they so elegantly do, that only special folk
like them can experience the true 
and entirely different
pleasures of

I admit that with my life-long shortage
of hoity-toity, I am more the candy and sex pleasure
kind of guy (more, as in the art
of the Playboy centerfold, than a Mona Lisa lover,
except if Leonardo had done a nude version, sexy Lisa
reclining on a renaissance bed with curls in abandon
and that come-hither smile)...

I think I'll think about this for a while, also thinking about the history
of human war, usually about food or sex or territory or revenge,
but never in my memory about

which, it seems to me, ought
to settle the

This is the first of pieces from the small collection of  Native American poetry and chants, Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail.

As explained in the introduction to this post, each piece will be accompanied by a photo by my son, Chris, pictured on the left.

Beauty is before me...

Beauty is before me
And beauty behind me,
Above and below me hovers the beautiful,
I am surrounded by it,
I am immersed in it.
In my youth I am aware of it,
And in old age
I shall walk quietly
The beautiful trail.

( from a Navajo Benedictory Chant)

This piece is from my book Seven Beats a Second, one of a number of poems in the book celebrating women.

flying a kite with Katie

and dives
and swoops
and loops the loop,
a blue and white kite
against a blue and white sky

beside me,
brown on brown,
with white teeth
flashing in laughter
at the glory of the day

she holds the string,
pulls as the kite begins to stall
lets loose when a gust of summer wind
lifts the kite and takes it toward the clouds

and I hold her,
not so tight, she says,
this is hard to do, she says,
back off so I can concentrate, she says

and I back away
as a great flurry of wind comes,
billowing her dress against her back and legs,
and she seems to fly like the kite away from me

We spent several days this week in Wimberley, Texas, a small town in the hill country, the north point of a triangle roughly equidistant from Austin and San Antonio. A nice little town, refuge for many artists and musicians who work in Austin, but can't afford to live there. A town that doesn't open up until 8 a.m. - a problem for early-risers like me.

sorry, it's this damn town

well, I've made my comments
to all of yesterday's poems which
I did not do yesterday
when I was supposed to
and it is now five minutes before 8 a.m.
and the sidewalls here in Wimberley
will be unrolled into the morning's
bright sun any minute now
and the "come on in" lights
at the local restaurant will be lit
in a jiff
and a couple of flapjacks
with country sausage is my priority
at the moment, so this, I'm afraid, is the best
you're going to get out of this hungry
poet for this day...

it's this damn town
that doesn't start until two hours
after I wake up
no matter how I try to kick-start

Here's another piece from Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail. This is an example of my problem with some of the book's translations that seem way too frilly. Other translations I've read of native poetry are much more direct, images that are strong on their own, needing no frill.

Again, the picture on the left was taken by my son Chris while trekking in the Guadalupe National Park.

Algonquin Love Song

O! come my beloved and climb with me,
That shining mountain side -
We'll watch the beautiful sun go down,
And talk of the leaves so sere and brown;
And the day you will be my bride,
We'll sit till the beautiful traveler of night
Shines high, o'er the mountainside.

We'll watch the little stars follow their chief,
And the Northern Lights play ball;
The Lightning winking, and lighting her pipe,
We'll list to the Thunder Bird beat with his might,
And the Whirlwind race with the Squall.
We will sit till all living creatures sleep;
But we'll not go to sleep at all.

We will sit on the beautiful mountain, nor mind,
The owl's shrill "Go to sleep all!"
We will watch the stars in their sleepless flight,
As they travel above us the whole of the night,
For they do not mind it at all.
We will sit more closely together, and think,
Of ourselves, and that is all.

Here's another from my special women series from ten or so years ago, a very special woman is this one.

how it all comes about

out there sometime
is the Mother of all,
the prime,
the matriverse,
defying all vocabularies
of science and faith,
in some indefinable dimension
of simultaneous is and is not,
spewing from her womb
all that is that is not her,
creating a cosmos
of time and space and energy
and matter such as you and I ,
multiplied a million billion-fold,
always creating, brewing elements
for new-born stars,
grains of sand in a desert ever growing,
from the essences of nothing
making all

Photo by Dora Ramirez-Itz

This is a new poem from the past couple of weeks.

early innovation in inter-personal communication

a fossilized finger bone recently found may be from the earliest humans on the Arabian Peninsula.
New York Times, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I can see it now,
Fred making tracks
on his dinomobile, 85,000 years ago,
cut off at the pass
by his slow-witted, reckless-driving neighbor, Barney,
hurrying home to his wife Betty because he knows it's Betty's
baking day and her velociraptor pot pie is to die for
and even then it was known that haste
makes waste and Barney almost wasted Fred and Dino,
and Fred being an innovator for his time in the field
of interpersonal communications
shot the first known finger
at Barney, and
that earth-shaking finger, though
presently lost in the sands of the Saudi Arabian
desert, is surely soon to be found
I'm certain
now that fossilologists know where
to look

This again from Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail.

Warrior Song

Weep; not for me, Loved Woman,
Should I die:
But for yourself be weeping!

Weep not for warriors who go
Gladly to battle.
Theirs to revenge
Fallen and slain of our people;
Theirs to lay low
All our foes like them,
Death to make, singing.

Weep not for warriors,
But weep for women!
Oh, weep for all women!

Theirs to be pitied
Most of all creatures
Whose men return not!
How shall their heart be stayed
When we are fallen?

Weep not for me, Loved Woman,
For yourself alone be weeping!

Another new poem from the past couple of weeks.

still life

my backyard, a still-life
in shades of green,
the storms tonight
rushing in over the hills,
a late winter gale of rain and cold,
rushing like a wave from the devil's coldest
regions, where hell's fire is banked and
ice storms pummel the most cold-
hearted of evil, sinners who
steal from the hapless
old and helpless
 babies crying
in their

them too

the worst of us,

dues to be paid
in the after-


meanwhile, my trees are full
and my grass is green
and my cat sleeps
sinless in her

This one I did just a couple of days ago.


I currently have none of my own,
I'm usually pretty good with babies...

a passing smile
will usually get a smile in return, while
for the hardcases, I can bring in my google-eye self
and that will mostly get to them...

at the supermarket
I ran into a real problem case,
a tiny dark-eyed girl
I think
is going to grow up to be a banker
because she wanted no business
with me...

though it's probably too late
for me to have a baby, 
I'd like two,
one who would smile a me
and another
who would grow up to be a banker
and give me interest-free

Another tasty lady from Seven Beats a Second.

flavor fresh off the farm

Sadie's kisses,
sweet, like tomatoes
just pulled from the vine

her skin against my cheek
like the whisper of soft fur
on a kitten's belly

her breasts, rounded and ripe,
nipples like little river pebbles

her ass, snug
in her jeans, inviting
as the soft hills of home

and between her legs,
the glory
of a new morning

wet, like dew on the
pink heart of a rose,
salty on my tongue

Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz

Another from Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail.

A Song of the Deer Ceremony

At the east,
Where the jet ridges of the earth lie...

At the south,
Where the white shell ridges of the earth lie,
Where all kinds of fruit are ripe,
We two shall meet.

From there where the coral ridges of the earth lie,
We two will meet.
Were the ripe fruits are fragrant,
We two will meet.
(San Carlos Apache)

This poem again from a couple of weeks ago, again inspired by the New York Times Tuesday Science Section.

even as the bang comes undone

I've read that
1,900 years ago
and 1, 350 light years away
stars in a giant gas cloud
shining bright behind the Orion Constellation
collided in an orgy of destruction and creation...

as it will be the fate
of our own
when the universal expansion
ends and the time of universal collapse
begins, as stars far and separate
from their brothers and sisters
turn back and approach all that once
was the unimaginable distance
that separated them becomes near
and they become neighbors, then
more than neighbors as they fall into 
and two try to become one
in a space where two together
cannot abide,
the beginning undone,
and soon, when all across the endless
time and space of creation, there can only
be one and the great explosion that began all
whimpers, fades and slips back into the wherever-
whenever from whence
it came...

think of this happening
every day
for billions of cataclysmic days,
consider all that dies those days - everything
in whatever form that fits their reality
in the realm of possibilities,
and one far day, the reality we call
our own...

I'm guessing though most of us know this soccer mom, fewer know her dreams.

Another piece from Seven Beats a Second.

Piggly Wiggly promenade

walking across the parking lot
in high heels and black Capri pants
that draw attention to hips
going a little broad and ass
on the way to droop
and a cotton blouse
tucked tight into her pants,
small breasts,
nipples round and hard as marbles,
nodding with every step...

she struts as she passes me
and smiles and you know

she's having the time of her life,
giving all thee little bag boys
mid-afternoon hard-ons,
free in the parking lot
for at least a while,
free at least until the groceries
are safely loaded into her Volvo
and she's on her way to pick up
little Brittany at ballet

Another coffeehouse poem from a couple of weeks ago.

strange moment

for just a
moment I could see
the strangeness
in the familiar all 
and the light
on neon strip
at once
and cars slowed
and the blond in the red shoes
on the corner stretched
her long arms
with a wicked glint
in her one
I blinked
and it was Sunday
at the Baptist day camp
all over


One more from Seven Beats a Second.

git along little dogie

soft and blond
as sun-bleached tassels
of summer corn
hanging all the way down
to a sassy little bottom
snuggled up in blue denim
tight enough to send Mr. Rogers
through the neighborhood
heidee ho heidee hee

that was Lily Dee, best thing
about a little shitkicker bar
on the south side of San Angelo
where me and Toby shot pool
when we ran short of cash

my oh my,
what a treat was Lily Dee

gave the cowboys
something to think about
on those hot July nights,
sweating alone
in their bunkhouse beds...

git along little dogie,
goddamn it
git along...

One more from Walk Quietly the Beautiful Trail.

Tule Love Song

Many pretty flowers, red, blue, and yellow.
We say to the girls, "Let us go and walk among the flowers."
The wind comes and sways the flowers.
The girls are like that when they dance.
Some are wide-open, large flowers and some are tiny little flowers.
The birds love the sunshine and the starlight,
The flowers smell sweet.
The girls are sweeter than the flowers.

Photo by Dora Ramirez Itz

I said earlier I was through with Seven Beats a Second, but I changed my mind. Here are two from the book to close out this post.

The first is one of the darkest poems in the book, and the second one of the brightest.

the cruelty of cats at play

her black smile
cut like a dagger through the dark
       slicing cleanly to the heart

"I have something to tell you"
         she whispered


I'm not

you truly set me burning
when you walked out those
swinging doors
in your skimpy white short-shorts

tight cheeks flexing against
the soft cotton
like two little monkeys
in a velvet bag

waving goodbye

is the word that comes to mind

If you've a mind to, please comment by clicking on the comment button below and let me know if you have a problem accessing the comment section. I've been told there's a problem but I can't confirm it. I do now that I've not been receiving comments for a while now.

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:

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 I welcome your comments below on this issue and the poetry and photography featured in it.

  Just click the "Comment" tab below.


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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