Ennui   Tuesday, June 18, 2019


always liked that

sounds like some
African antelope
or anteater
from South America
or maybe a bird
high in the trees
on some small South Pacific
atoll, crying

maybe I caught it
from the birds

12 hours sleep
last night
and another hour
already this afternoon
and I feel like I ought o go
back to bed right now

the sun seems dimmed,
sound smothered
as if through a thick wool blanket,
brain like a blind dog
in the fog,
all sharpness
all passion
buried in a burlap bag
on a dull plain

I'll quit this poem

my fingers
are tired of typing

Standard post - me and poets from my library


from where I sit

mondo weirdo

coffee with a friend
daydreaming as my coffee goes cold
morning light

John Popielaski
Gathering Wood

gauging the lust market


my cat looks like Charles Laughton

Gary Soto
Ode to Family Photographs

never felt so lost and abandoned

so sad


Jimmy Santiago Baca

peas in our time

Solzhenitsyn didn't know how good he had it

it's a Christian Nation I'm told

Carol Coffee Reposa 
Alamo Plaza at Night

something must be done

A winter poem which feels good as summer tightens its fist.

from where I sit

where I sit
I can see past
a small grove of
winter-bare red oak
to Interstate-10. east & west
routes, the one to Houston
and, through Houston, Louisiana
and points east and beyond

the other route, followed westerly
600 miles though Hill Country
& high desert to El Paso,
and, 4 states beyond,
the orange setting sun
on Pacific waters

most of
the people I see passing
are not going so far,
most know
the further you travel
in any direction
the closer you get to home,
so why not just stay
but satisfied,
right where you and your life

I don't know that I've ever
been at home,
so I'm always pulled
leave and stay

under a cold, overcast sky
I think I want to


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 between

About film classics from the past.

mondo weirdo

don't know why I thought of this
but I remember
reading in Believe It or Not
about this businessman, an
owner of a big company back East
who had himself stuffed or embalmed
or whatever when he died
back in 1837 or something like that,
a long time ago, anyway, who
put a clause in his will that
his body be wheeled out
to set at the head of the table
at every board of directors meeting

this had been going on since he died
back in whenever, up to 1955 or 1956
when I read about him in my
Believe it or Not  book

I was 12 or 13 years old at the time
and I loved that boo full as it was
of great stuff like that...

and several years later,
the Italian movie
Mondo Cane

a cinematic
Believe it or Not
with a few naked people
and a theme song, More,
remembered today,
while its source is forgotten
by most, as are the many
mondo-movie rip-offs, usually
with even stranger stuff than the original
and increasing numbers with each
new version of naked people,
and eventually naked people
simulating sex, naked people
having sex, and, finally, naked
people having weird sex...

and they're still making them,
you know,
except they're on TV now,
shows that don't go off
to some far-away exotic land
to find the strange and twisted,
but right next door instead,
to our neighbors, those staid
upright-looking people who,
it seems,
will do anything to be on
to be famous,
to be famous for doing things
not discussed in the world I was growing
up in back in 1955...

I saw all those mondo-movies,
loved them
from my young perch  in the
world of the mid-50s,
loved them for the shock
of their strangeness

shock and strangeness
were not in big supply
where I came from
and finding it in a movie
theater was a gift
for a young inquiring mind...

this new stuff -

I don't watch it

living right in the middle
of all that weirdness
is a little unsettling
for an older guy like me -
long past
any young fascination
with shock and awe

Here are a couple of more recent short poems, the first two from April, the third from May.

coffee with a friend

with a friend,
a chance meeting,
dull routine

passes from behind
a cloud

lights the

daydreaming as my coffee goes cold

very thin blond girl
with a very large hawk nose
comes into the coffeehouse yawning,
and I hear Mussorgsky opening his great gate of Kiev,
walking as if she's the duly elected president
of the United States of Skin and Bones, working
the rope line, acknowledging the throngs come to receive her,
smiling such a great presidential smile, smiling at me
as if I am a favorite subject, a tiny wave of her hand that only
I can see and how happy I am to be recognized
by the queen, imagining her feather light as I lift her
in my arms...

and I am rushed by a cadre of burly men in sunglasses...

apparently, someone called security

so I smile back to her
and return to my
cold cup of coffee

morning light

a young barista
at the coffeehouse,
young, not as in the age
of a daughter I don't have,
but young as the granddaughter
I'll never have..

thin and pretty, she smiles
and dances as she pours my coffee

the light of her in the early morning
lightens my day

This poem is by John Popielaski, taken from his book Isn't It Romantic? published by Texas Review Press in 2012.

Popielaski, born in New York, attended the State University of New York at Stony Brook and at American University. He is an award winning poet with several collections of his work published. He lives in Connecticut and Maine.

Gathering Wood

The practical coyote, padding all night
in the fractured woods, pauses
to observe a small mutt pissing
on the patch of withered golden rod
that hems my neighbor's dawning yard

I weigh my obligation as I freeze
beside the woodpile, breathe
as if I'm stalking. I recall
Sassetta's painting of Saint Francis
shaking on the new deal with the wolf.

But who am I to strong arm this coyote,
to insist that death will not be stomached
on my watch when I say nothing
to the capped men I've seen pass here
on their way to check their traps?

From the coffeehouse in May.

gauging the lust market

early morning
at the coffeehouse,
but not that early,
awake and alert, but
not that awake an alert,
though awake and alert enough
to notice the woman at the table across from mine
looking at me like I was a poppin'-fresh
apple dumpling, mid-thirties
I'd say she is, but also
looking a bit worn as you might expect
from the young boy sitting next to her
with his breakfast...

certainly not an expert
at getting the look, but it looks
to me like I'm getting the look right now,
the hungry kind of look that says, with a side-eyed
check on the boy, if only, if only, if only...

and I'm thinking maybe there is still a place in the lust market
for 75-year-old fat men with white hair and short,
cowboy-scruffy beards...

maybe she just go up late
and wants her damn coffee
and wants it right now

Back to 2009, a political comment.


Kitty Pride,
my old, going on
calico, being like
all cats
of French heritage
with a C'est la vie attitude
about all the things
that drive dogs crazy
with worry, didn't do much
when she was young,
and does next to nothing
now that she's old, getting up
twice a day from the little cave
I made for her out of pillows,
first, in the morning, waddling, with
hanging belly flaps wagging
side to side, twice a day
to the food dish and once a day
to the litter box, the rest of the time
a happy little feline, asleep
in the dark and quiet of her cave

safe, she knows, from all the
ills and interruptions that might
otherwise plague a old cat's life

safe, like those people frightened
by the threat from evil terrorists, they
want to be and afraid we would never be safe
 if we try and execute the creatures
responsible for flying into the towers
on that day in September
right there in New York where
they committed their crime
against us - so much safer they say
if we hide all this away in the cave
we have on that faraway island
run by those people we don't like
and so who cares about them

fearful people, like Kitty Pride, but
without her excuse of age and frailty,
hiding in the dark of their

cowardly people,
eager to fight any war
as long as it is at least 3,000 miles
and they don't have to go to it

Still in 2009. More about my ancient cat, Kitty Pride.

my cat looks like Charles Laughton

my old cat
looks like Charles Laughton
in Witness for the Prosecution

during her dramatic

when she wakes up
to discover

her food dish
is empty -
same quivering

same fierce glare
from beneath stormy

though it is true
that Kitty has only one

one eye can glare
double the ferocity

of two,
giving her dramatic advantage
over Laughton

an advantage
undone by her willingness
to forgive

and forget all
when allowed
to curl up on my lap

which Laughton
would never do

The next poem is by Gary Soto,  from his book Neighborhood Odes,with illustrations by David Diaz. The book was published by Harcourt Brace in 1992. It's odd that I can't find my hard bound version of the book anywhere. The paperback versions I found have the cover shown above, not nearly as bright and interesting as the cover on my hard bound copy.

It's billed as a juvenile book, but I enjoyed it. Not surprising, since Soto is one of my favorite poets.

Ode to Family Photographs

This is the pond, and these are my feet.
This is the rooster, and this is more of my feet.

Mama was never good at pictures.

This is a statue of a famous general who lost an arm,
And this is me with my head cut off.

This is a trash can chained to a gate,
This is my father with his eyes half-closed.

This is a photograph of my sister
And a giraffe looking over her shoulder.

This is our car's front bumper.
This is a bird with a pretzel in its beak.
This is my brother Pedro standing on one leg on a rock
With a smear of chocolate on his face.

Mama sneezed when she looked
Behind the camera: the snapshots are blurry,
The angles dizzy ss a spin on a merry-go-round

But we had fun when Mama picked up the camera.
How can I tell?
Each of us is laughing hard.
Can you see? I have candy in my mouth

I am by nature an optimistic kind of fella, considering that people who fear the future live in that fearful future before the future ever comes.

But my optimism is challenged daily in these days. This from last May.

On the good side, the threat to my city mentioned in the poem has, at least temporarily, been forestalled.

never felt so lost and abandoned

felt so lost and abandoned
in a universe
by the stupidest dicks on the recess playground

so many people
lost in ideologies of immorality
and self-destruction

in my own country,
the pig who would be king

around the world,
the ethics of self-abuse,
Brexit, a masturbatory exercise,
politicians beating-off to the pornography of imagined glory,
suckers, fools, non compos mentis a winning political platform

and in my own country again,
and again and again
a child with a new toy box,
and reasonable people forgo reason
and Christians worship
the Golden Calf while Moses wanders
lost in the desert...

in my own city,
a ten-year path to greatness
threatened by people who have no greatness
in them, future-thinkers threatened, as is the case so often now,
by a crouching, fearful mob of discontent with their lives,
certain, as is the case so often now, that their own hollowness
must be the consequence of some conspiracy of evil forces
while the true evil they never recognize, their own incompetence
and those who lead them in their quest
for redemption as revenge
on those who are not
so cowed by life
and their own shallow expectations

I have never felt so lost an abandoned...

This one also from last May.

so sad

at first distracted
by the young woman
working on her computer
at the table in the corner, short
skirt riding high, tan legs all the way
up to, well, you know, crossed...

almost miss the sad-faced woman at the long table
against the wall, dear gods, how sad, sadness
that seems to rise up from her very core, writing
on a tablet, reading something from her telephone,
sighing, talking softly to herself, head nodding
in emphasis, as if any moment she will begin
to weep...

such troubles that must have come to this woman overnight,
such troubles for this woman,
too young to be middle-aged, too old to be young,
sadness shadowing her as the day begins

Mary, holding the crucified body of Christ
in her arms...

yes, that sad

This one from February.


an apple tree
for my birthday,
a tree to sit under
in due time, in the shade
of nature's budding nectar,
beautiful red apples, too,
one perhaps to fall
knowingly on my head
imparting genius, imagining,
not gravity, for that's already done,
so who knows what wonder will be revealed...

but, before genius,
a shovel to plant this miraculous

even from Newton's time,
genus does not come
to those who will not
work at it

Another of my favorite Chicano poets ( I read today that that old term is coming back), is Jimmy Santiago Baca. This is one of his poems from his book, Healing Earthquakes, published by in 2001 by Grove Press.

Baca was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A prolific poet, he has received numerous awards and honors including the Wallace Stevens Chair at Yale and the National Endowment of Poetry Award. and American Book Award.

This is the final poem in an 18 poem series titled "Meeting My Love, True to My Heart and Loyal to My Soul." Read the poem and understand the whole book is equally gorgeous. I have often though of Neruda as the ultimate poet of love. Baca matches him.


 How a wife packs  lunch of favorite foods
for a husband leaving to serve military duty
for his country in a war
           take this poem with you
           to remember me.
Read it around the campfire after trekking ten miles
with a sixty-pound backpack,
            hold this poem in your hands, sweet woman,
            let it kiss your sore ankles,
            let it caress your calves,
            let it befriend your heart like an unbloomed rose
            cultivated in your heart and uprooted
                     to find nourishment
                     and bloom in your gaze and touch.
Compare me to the stones,
the heat, the endless bleak miles,
those things that induce pain, yearning for other things,
yearning for other places,
              I offer you through this poem
              no water or rest or comfort,
just a kind of truth as the boulder that is loyal
to the desert landscape,
this is one poem-stone loyal to the landscape
of your heart, in its alternating blistered hot days
and flesh-trembling cold nights,
                     this poem-stone
                     has been here for a long time.
I tell you, take this with you, use it
to spark against flint to start a fire
then carry that fire into the darkness you encounter
hold this poem in your hand and get a feel for the lay
of my heartland.
sense in it the thousands of years I have loved you,
how I have waited in this place
               acclimated to thirst,
               to loneliness
               accompanied by moon, stars, wind and silence.

Then throw it away,
let the dusty  wind cover it up again,
                and someday the unsuspeating hiker's boot
                           will uncover it,
                           appreciate it,
                           and she will value its color, its form, its hardness,
                           its truth,
                           and she will  put it in her mouth an suck it
                                    and it will quench her thirst.

From 2009, homage to my favorite vegetable.

peas in our time

last night
at Grisinis'

penne pasta
with some kind
of orangish sauce

tiny pieces of ham

the peas
did it for me
since peas are my
second favorite
vegetable -
peas & corn
being my favorite

someone mentioned
that it was strange, my
liking peas so much,
since no one was

that's hardly
a surprise to me
since the world slips
into decline
with every passing day

Summer 2009.

Solzhenitsyn didn't know how good he had it

103 degrees
and who
how hot
in the sun
and I don't know
I'm here
when I
be home
soaking up
some cool in
my easy chair
of iceberg
broad green
slightly damp
from icebox
laid cold across
my face
in my easy
that's where
I was and that's
where Dee is
and why
the hell I left
to come here
to try
and write
a real poem
is beyond my
when I ought
to know by now
that I can't write
when it's 103
just sweats
right out
of me
I'm talking
wilts right
to a soggy
of I don't
know nothing
never knew
don't wanna
me alone
when it's
103 degrees
didn't know
how good
he had it
out there
on that frozen
where it
may have been
but was
103 freaking

A rant from 2009.

it's a Christian Nation I'm told

though long has been
my belief
that I lived in a nation
of freedom and liberty,
I learned
this week
that I live in a
Christian Nation
and people like me
aren't supposed to be here
and maybe you too if you are

Unitarian Universallist
and many others


like me
just don't have much interest
or patience
with any of that hocus-

if you are any of those Christ-denying
just face it,
you aren't supposed to be
in this Christian Nation
any more than I am
and are allowed to stay
(provisional status only)
by temporary grant of the Council
of Christ's Own Holy PooBaas
who meet every Thursday
over the sacred sacraments

-sweet tea, chicken fried steak
and pecan pie -

there in Waco, Texas
right down the road from
where those crazy people
burned up all their kids
cause they didn't think the kids
could ever grow up holy enough
without the AK-47s, the black
helicopter gov'ment guys
wanted to pry from their cold
dead fingers...

it's my own continued tenure in this
Great Christian Nation
that's decided every week
right at God's Little Steakhouse
and Wine Bar, and yours too if
you are not, like me, at one with out
holy bejabbers Christian Nation, one
nation, under the big dark eye
of Christ the watcher of all, highly
divisible into the us'es and pagan
thems who better damn sure
watch themselves, with liberty
and justice for the us'es but not for
thems who never learned the necessary
arts of proper prostrating -

thems being me
and maybe  you-

who, like I said, better watch it
or their asses are going to be burning
in hell sooner rather than later, like
we all know they're going to be anyway

- see, it's anti-Christian comments
just like that that are going to get
me thrown right out of this country
some day, I mean, hellfire and
tarnation, how can you be a
really good soldier for Christ
like those poor dead Waco children
tried to be, without you AK-47 and grenade
launcher and ballistic missiles
and Starwar fibrillating bodymass
disintegrator, I mean, holy sweet potatoes,
Jesus needs all the help he can get
and if he can't get it from you, you
might just as well turn in you temporary
non-Christian resident card -

so that's mainly what I leaned this week
about how this is a Christian Nation
and all my damned humanistic, anti-Christ thinking
is bound to get me shipped out to France
for sure...

so see you later, gator, maybe
on the Champs de Ellesse -
maybe we can split an espresso
and baguette - though one of us
is going to have to play the
accordion if we want to fit in

The last poem this post from my library is by Carol Coffee Reposa, from her book, Facts of Life, published by Brower Springs Press in 2002. In the book, she writes of her life in San Antonio, her hometown, and from experiences traveling around the world.

Reposa earned her BA and MA at the University of Texas at Austin and has completed post-graduate work at University of Texas, Austin, Trinity University, and University of Texas, San Antonio. Widely published, she earned two Fulbright/Hayes Fellowships (in Russia and Peru and Ecuador) and was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. At the time the book was published, she taught  English at San Antonio College.

Alamo Plaza at Night

Even now, tourists come
To gaze at the chipped facade,
Weathered double door,
Oaks twisting into dark, floodlights
Trained along their branches.
Cameras flash against white limestone
Pocked with centuries
And gunshots long ago.

Within the walls
And Roman arches
Heavy with their bars
Are tidy gardens:
Boston fern droops languidly
Toward fresh-cut grass
And copper plants.
Goldfish wallow in their quiet ponds.

Outside people talk about the mission,
Where to go, what to eat.
Visitors brood over maps
And time-lapse shots, children peering
At old plaques, words lost
Within a diesel's whine, the clop-clop
Of a horses hooves, wind rising
In dark trees, voices gathered
Into the stones.

A fresh rant from just a couple of weeks ago.

there's money to be made here

it's not the continuing flow
of obscenity,
from the mouth of the pig
we call president
or the barrel of a gun,
it's the reaction,
pundits and politicians
gravely announce
"something must be done"
and the angished wails
of family and on-lookers,
"something must be done,"
the universal demand,
the same every time,
as if it hasn't happened before
as if atrocity has not become
the hallmark of our civilization,
so much grief, so many alibis,
such an outpouring
of thoughts and prayers,
better to pray for a god
that gives a shit
than this mindless
better to pray that
the pious purveyors of empty promise
be visited themselves
by the grief of their own
lose, that the "feel the  pain"
as true pain feels, that it is they
who stand by the casket
of lost love that it is they, themselves,
who must dig the hole to bury
their hopes in...

I wait for the day one of the
pundits and politicians
tell the truth,
"tough shit," I want to hear them say,
"but it's a pretty penny I make
off the death of your son, daughter, mother,
father, neighbor, whoever, ends
bloody and unknown on the hard streets
you have allowed, despite warning
after warning, lose after lose, atrocity
after atrocity"

"tough shit," they say "now let me get
my thoughts and prayers speech done
so that I can get on with my life"

"there is money to be made here,
and I want my piece of it"

I appreciate hearing from readers. Although they do not appear here, your comment,, if you choose to make them is available to me. So feel free to pass on any reaction, comments, or opinions by clicking on the "comment" button below.

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, 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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