Protecting Our Constitutional Rights   Monday, August 19, 2019

protecting our constitutional rights

I believe
every American
has certain inalienable rights,
among them the constitutional right
to complain often
and vigorously about whatever
peeves their goat

and I further believe
that every constitutional right
must be regularly exercised if it is to be

I believe every American
has, not only have a right
to complain,
but a patriotic obligation
to be unreasonably obnoxious
about something trivial to the rest of the world
at least once a day

this is an obligation
I address seriously every day, at least once,
finding at least one thing about which hell
must be raised...

this morning though,
this bright, sunny day, blue cloudless sky
smiling for love of all creature
below, a light breeze whispering
welcome to this day, the orange morning light
casting cool orange shadows beneath
oak trees' wide arching limbs, grass at their base
calling, sit here, it here, join the happy
squirrels who live here, share an acorn as you watch
for the wonders coming with this wonderful

patriot that I am, it is hard
on such a day to do my constitutional duty,
but, as I prepare to drive downtown
on the expressway in morning commuter traffic
I am confident that something\
will come
to inspire me

Standard post, me, mostly old-stuff, and poets from my library.

Almost forgot to mention, interview with Author Voices at

protecting our constitutional rights

visit Sierra Blanca and other diversions

David Ray Vance
III. [Cartography]

the eve before the eve before the morning

the rules of wax and wane

Ivy Alvarez
to a daughter born 1974
a memory of breasts
the second heart

just a little, just once

red embrace

David Waltner-Toews
The Next Ten Years


in a Mexican courtyard, 1959

Reginald Gibbons
In cold spring air

gray day

it's just not normal

Octavio Paz
On the Wing (2)

this is not a Valentines Day poem

Returning home from one of our drive-arounds.

visit Sierra Blanca and other diversions

for four days, returning south
mountains in the rearview,
desert ahead


between Alamogordo
and El Paso,
like a sheet of bubble-wrap,
soft, peach-colored sand
with tufts of desert
at the top of each mound,
desert gnomes,
their pink, balding heads
from the arid wasteland


La Senora restaurant,
El Paso,
enchiladas, red,
the taste of New Mexican
enchiladas, infiltrating Tex-Mex through the

young woman
carrying her baby,
behind, carrying all the
that travels with a young family
and their babe-in-arms, the
young husband and father, the baby sitting
at the table facing me,
looks at me,
breaks into a wide, toothless smile,
the father turns to me,
wants to make sure I saw it,
"ain't it something," his look says,
"ain't it the goddamdest thing
you ever saw?"


a sign on the highway
says, "visit historic Sierra Blanca" -
so we do...

three old churches
and an old man tending
his goat
by the highway

and we've visited historic
Sierra Blanca


the day sets on us
in Van Horn, just inside the
Central Time Zone, officially back
in Texas

El Capitan Hotel,
grand old hotel, restored
several years ago at a cost of
some millions

(a transom over the door
to our room, Dee had never seen one
and had to be introduced
to what it was and what it was for - another
of the hazards of consorting with younger women,
so much to be explained,,,)

El Capitan Hotel,
Van Horn's oldest an finest,
about the only thing
in the only town
within a hundred miles in any


on the patio by the fountain

(the dog drinks
from the fountain, is startled
by the large red koi
swimming under her nose)

a flavorsome step back
in time, the room comfortable,
the beds soft and inviting,
a quiet town...

a good night's sleep and

cat,  I know
will be waiting in the
driveway, missing for a week
her morning walk with
her dog

might say hello
to me

First from my library, this poem by David Ray Vance, from his book Vitreous, published by Del Sol Press in 2007 and was the 2005 Del Sol Press Poetry Prize Winner.

The book is an interesting mix of science, medical textbook and poetry.

The poet, at the time of publication, was a doctoral candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston, co-editor of the journal American Letters and Commentary, and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

From Recantos

III. [Cartography]

dance, the honey bee dances
rhythm and rhyme its own symbology

     to flowers' nectar bees to make honey
     dance and sing distance
     and angle to sun, heredity

bound in pulse and limb as we dance
sing and spin ourselves to God
and Allah

     truck wheels turned onto desert floor
     onto another day

exalted earth fired into clay, a pot
for Chrissake to piss in
vessels our hands possess, a parting
pardoning lyric

Scrooge finds something good about Christmas.

the eve before the eve before the morning

it is
the eve
before the eve
so many place
such hope

was cured
of all that magical thinking
when I was about
after I discovered
on the morning after
the eve that we still had no money,
my bicycle still had two flat tires,
and girls still didn't like me

my dog did

waking me in the morning
after the eve
with a squiggle under the covers,
licking my feet
in her usual good morning way,
just as she did in all the previous eves
before the eve
before the morning...

I'm thinking it was before
the morning after the eve, a good year
as I remember it,
and the 1958 morning after the eve
as well, with nothing  really important
changing between me
and my best

As Pogo said 50 years ago, "we have found the enemy, and he is us."

the rules of wax and wane

the moon
in its orbit

the tides
as they rise and fall

like dark to light;
sunset to dawn

like the bluebonnet,
seed to blue meadow
stirring to gentle spring

to seed

all obey the rules
of wax and wane

all but

our kind struggling
against every natural rule

like a sun that refuses
to set
or a moon that stops
in mid-sky halfway through
its east to west
we struggle through
our waning
seek to deny the inevitability
of the natural
of all that is

it is what makes us human

it is what makes us special

it is what makes us such a danger
to all that follow
the rules

Next from my library, three short pieces by Ivy Alvarez from her book Mortal. The book was published by The Red Morning Press in 2006.

Alvarez, born in the Philippines,grew up in Tasmania, Australia. She has held fellowships to both the MacDowell Colony and Hawthornden Castle (UK). She now lives in Wales.

to a daughter born 1974

in your dusky blue dress
you lean

in its low cut
the curve of a breast

a memory of breasts

I show my mother a book of breasts. At first, she's
shocked and pulls away. But then she returns to
them, and looks at the pictures on the cover. She
points to one. The breasts are creamy and
voluptuous, arms gloved to the elbows, crossed in
front. "I like these ones," she says. "They are elegant."

the second heart

I cannot accept it. How can
one be ready for this gift? My
belly cannot curve to tightness,
my skin cannot hold a drum (that

second heart). I cannot accept
it - limbs bursting buds. I cannot
have the end to blood. I cannot
bear your blood, child, and I think of

you, often.

I guess you could just say I'm willing to try anything, even if just once

just a little, just once

letting my hair
all long un-
ruly and my beard too,
and my eyebrows
flaring out over my forehead
like the spread white wings
of a crane gliding over Oso

it's Tolstoy
I seek to channel,
the great novelist, the Russian master,
the greatest of them all, Tolstoy,
with his cold, winter eyes
and great heart pulsing
beneath his thick fur robes
for love and for his people and for
his land, and I'm thinking
if I can get the look
maybe some of his genius
will wear off on me
as well - just a little,
a slight kiss on his forehead
as his spirit passes,
just enough for one tiny little

just a little of his


My neighbor has a bright light in his backyard that ruins the dark of the night. I'm often tempted to get a BB gun and deal with it.

red embrace

so many lights in the neighborhood...

porch lights
area lights
motion sensor lights

the battle of human
against night and the dark
continues with every downing of the sun

thus it was, always so -

freedom from the black travelers
of night, held at bay
at the flickering red edge
of the camp fire

always waiting
for the fire
to die...

still they wait today,
those shadow things always
there on the black edge
of our imagination

and still we push them back,
from the falling to the rising sun
we make our circles
and build our
wrapping all we love
in the fire's

The next two poems are by Canadian poet, David Waltner-Toews, one of three poets featured in Three Mennonite Poets published in 1986 by Good Books.

The poet was born in 1948 in Manitoba, Canada to Russian-born Mennonite parents. He was educated first as a writer, then as a veterinarian, and later as an epidemiologist.

I have had this book in my library for a couple of years and have used the other two poets in the book here several time. But as far as I can remember this is my first reading of this poet. Turns out I like him a lot.

The Next Ten Years
     for Kathy, a tenth anniversary poem

Let us be messy lovers
drunk before breakfast
spilling the white milk everywhere
Let our love be a stain
on the world's tablecloth

Our love is beans
O love we have spilled them
They have grown feet
They are running to the children
running to the neighbors
running to El Salvador
Somalia and Poland
They are nosing underground
They shall come wantonly
tipsily green       leaning
arms entangled in the wind
clutching a spray of white flowers


 built this place,
searching out the strong
green words,
chipped and trimmed them,
chinked them with commas,
thatched a title
between the frozen page
and the hardwood frame.

I have been watching for you
here, beside the fire,
between the lines,
cords of unused words
stacked up around me.
I've left enough unsaid
to keep us warm
all winter

Another of my many coffeehouse adventures.


two youngsters,
old enough, maybe, to be traveling
across country, but not so old as to be worn
by the game,
stopped by the coffeehouse last week,
walking down Broadway, on their way, who knows
where, in their mind, wheresoever's next
I suppose, stuffed backpacks
and three large dogs on homemade leashes,
well-mannered hobos, well-mannered dogs...

skinny-as-sticks kids,
the young man tattooed
and shaved head, the young woman,
thin-featured, almost ferret-faced beneath
hair that hung long over her face,
ordered coffee inside, then went outside to sit
under the trees with their dogs...

they were arriving as I was leaving
and I noticed as I went to my car that the young woman
was reading a book as she sat under the trees,
apparently a book she carries with her
in the stuffed pack...

a flash of title was all I say,
just enough to know this wasn't light reading,
some kind of philosophy/psychology, something of that nature,
not what you would expect from a kid living on the road...

so pleased to see such a determined reader,
I went back inside and got on of my
books - my compliments, I said, as I gave it to her
I hope you like poetry


a fellow poet today
wrote of the meaning of sanity insanity,
and remembering those two
young hobos, I wonder about my own definitions

how would I describe the life they chose?

is it an adventure, or a kind of restless insanity?

I don't know,
but I did see the young woman reading my poems
as I left
and maybe it is my own particular kind of insanity
to find such pleasure in seeing that
and imagining my book on the road with the
ferret-faced girl

A different time in a different place.

in a Mexican courtyard 1959

a Mexican courtyard
under rhinestone studded sky
on a black border town night...

she dances,
slowly, like a cat,
round the courtyard,
pausing before every table
to stretch, again, like a cat,
perfect in its shadow body,
bare feet barely brushing
the dirt floor, compact,
sleek, full breasts,
dark, Indian nipples
no burlesque,
no go-go dancer, nothing overtly
sexual, more like
a cat stretching except she is
naked and it is a whorehouse
and it has to be about sex,
sex as a cat can be like sex,
slow and sensual in every step,
every smooth, silky step
a caress of the night...

15 year old boys
clutch their tight crotch under the table
and wonder if the girls
they know
could ever be like this

This short poem is by Reginald Gibbons, taken from his book, National Book Award Finalist, creatures of the day. The book was published Louisiana State University Press in 2008.

Author of seven previous volumes of poetry, translations of Spanish and Mexican poetry and ancient Greek tragedy, a short story collection and a novel, Gibbons is a native of Texas currently living in Illinois where he is professor of English and classics at Northwestern University.

In cold spring air

In cold
           spring air the
white wisp
breath of
            a blackbird
singing -
            we don't know
to un-tie
             these blind-
folds we
             keep thinking
we are
             seeing through

A bit of respite from me on the ninth day in a row when the air temperature has been over 100 degrees, making even a dim, dreary winter day seem a relief.

gray day

I could write a poem
about a cold, dreary
December day and though
it is, in face, such a day
today, exactly such a
cold, dreary December
day, my descriptors
would be more about me
than about the actual day

in the third day
of recovery from a particularly
virulent episode
of food poisoning, I remain
gray of face and lifeless of affect,
empty-bellied, but afraid
to fill it
for even the smallest bite
sets the roils to a-rolling

enough about me

it is a gray, dreary December day,
perfect for sitting outside
by a fire in my chiminea,
which I have done
and felt better doing it,
but as with all life's fires
the wood burns only as temporary
respite before the fire within
is exhausted

the the hollow,
the gray December hollow

Unlike the last piece from 2013 claiming the burden of winter, this, from last week, suffering from winter envy.

To set the stage, the day I wrote this it was 103 degrees at 5:45 in the afternoon.

it's just not normal

I've walked across
airport tarmac at high noon
in Saudi Arabia...

it's not quite that bad
but close,
air temperatures above 100 degrees
for nine days in a row,
at least another five days predicted
before a cool front comes through
that will drop the high to only 99,
rain sometime in the unpredictable future
when frogs in the creek will break through
the dried mud under which they have slept
and call and croak through the night
until the hot next day sends them scurrying
back under new mud...

this will happen again, I am convinced,
sometime in my lifetime -

until then watch every green thing
die around you...

even so, it's not the heat that's the worst,
it's the humidity,
like living in the Sahara Desert
and a Honduran rain forest
at the same time

it this is global warming
as warned,
it sucks

it is just not normal

Next, these short pieces from The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz (1990 Nobel Laureate) 1957-1987.

It is a New Directions Book published in 1991. It is a bilingual book, Spanish and English on facing pages, with translation by Eliot Weinberger, with additional translations by Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Lysender Kemp, Denise Levetov, John Frederick Nims, and Charles Tomlinson.

Paz was a poet and diplomat, born in Mexico City in 1914, dying there of cancer in 1998.

On the Wing (2)

In Defense of Pyrrho
for Julian

Julian, you've cured
my fears, but not my doubts.
Against Pyrrho you said:
The scept didn't know
if he was alive or dead.
But death knew.
And you - how do you know?

Epitaph for a Dandy

in a cemetery of neckties
a portrait aflame.
Ignis fatuus.

The Constellation of Virgo

Hypatia, if I look at the pure lights
there up above, the Virgin's mansion,
I spell our, not words, but stars:
your discourse is clauses of fire.

Ancient Landscape

High sun. The plain sleeps
Nothing moves,
between the rocks, Echo spies.


Mud in a still puddle:
tomorrow dust
dancing in the streets

After 43 years this year, a non-Valentine Day poem on Valentine's Day some years back.

this is not a Valentine Day poem

it being February 14th,
this poem should be a Valentine,
but I'm no good at that lovey-dovey,
smoochie, smoochie stuff
so this is not a Valentine Day poem

this is a poem about...

well, I'm not sure yet
what this poem is about
but I'll work it out as I go

while I'm thinking about
what kind of poem this is, I'm
also thinking about how we met -

a work-related romance, you
a counselor for a job training program
and me, trying to find jobs
for young, minimally-educated draftees
just returning from the Asian jungle, their pre-draft
employment mostly in the fields or standing
on street corners smoking
funny cigarettes -

no pull for these guys, no big-wheel daddies
in Washington,no college
or pro football coaches,
no deep pockets
to buy a slot in the Texas Air National Guard

but no, this is not that kind of poem

no politics

my guys

had none of those advantages,
drafted at 18, then
home after a long tour of
VC snappers and ever kind of poisonous insect
and lizard and fungus rot that ever lived
in a jungle

and they weren't interested
in the only kind of jobs they were qualified for
so I found training slots for them,
meeting you, visiting you daily
(all for official purposes of course)
ending with more young Veterans in training
than anyone else in this very large
and sometimes great state...

and that makes me think of our first date -
you, 22, a flower of youth waiting,
me, 32, the two of us
separated by my extra ten years of
been there, done that living,
hesitant, finally making the phone call,
a movie (something with Liza Minnelli and
Burt Reynolds and someone else
that I remember nothing about)
and fries and a malt at the Sonic Drive-In
near where you lived,
and then dropped you off
and picked up my dog at my parents' house
on the way home, warning her, Sam,
I said, things might be changing

and I could do on and on about my great
pal, Sam, but this is not that
kind of poem either

which reminds me of the first time
I told you I loved you
and you said you would have to think about it,
which I did not find encouraging..

remind me of the first time

wait, this is certainly not that kind of
a poem...

remembering when we met
with your parents to ask for their blessing

(young Hispanic girl living at home - weddings
did no happen easily without parent's consent)

you translated for me and I don't actually know for sure
what you said, but it worked out, since 43 years later
they haven't said "no" yet...

and remembering the arrival of our child,
adopted, a 24-hour pregnancy,
called at 10 a.m. one morning to be told there was a baby
for us to pic up the day at the same time, meeting
at our favorite restaurant that same day
to decide on our new son's name,
Benjamin or Christopher,
walking the baby aisle at Target that night, trying to figure out
what our baby would need, and our family
that came up to be with us that next
day to be with us for the adoption ceremony,
and I remember everyone leaving right after
and our moments of panic
as we realized we were
with our baby we didn't know anything
about just two days before...

I remember lots of things like that,
and more,
and if this was a Valentine Day poem
I'd probably write about all of it

but this is not a Valentine Day
poem, so I won't

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


Post a Comment

return to 7beats
Previous Entries
The Days Come as Always
Slow Lane
Habits of Mercy
The Rules of Silence
The Last
Thoughts At the End of Another Long Summer, 2020
Slow Day at the Flapjack Emporium
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
October 2020
November 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