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  Allen Itz is a native South Texan, moving slowly over the years from a small town on the border in deep South Texas to San Antonio and the Texas hill country. He began as a writer in the late 1960's, published a few poems, then quit writing for nearly 30 years. He returned to poetry when he retired several years ago and has since published more than 200 poems in various on-line and print literary journals and has recently released his first book, Seven Beats a Second.  Go to Allen's website at www.7beats.com for information on the art, poetry and music that make up his Seven Beats Project.  


Fall 2007

Table of Contents - Vol. III, No. 3

Poetry    Translations    Interview    Essays    Fiction    Book Notes & Reviews

 

Allen Itz

 

2 am to 2 pm

there was a time
when I drove a
yellow cab in
a small city in
south texas

barely 21
and just a
couple of months
of legal age
for the job,
I drove 2 pm
to 2 am, 7 days
a week and on
a good week
might have made
$30 which was
crap for money even
for south texas
in 1965

I made the
airport runs,
took little old
ladies to the
supermarket
in the afternoon,
picked up the
whores when
the sun went
down for a trip
across town
to a couple
of the motels
that specialized
in assuring cotton
buyers had interesting
company
in the evening
when they came in
from the fields
hot, hungry and
horny,
and, of course,
between
whores,
the semi-drunks
on their way
to total blackout
smash-
dom
at any one of the five
hundred cantinas
on the south
side,
knowing I'd see them
again at 1 am when
the bars closed

I hated
that last hour,
the hour of the drunks,
smelling them
passed out
in my back seat,
watching
couples
in my rear view
mirror
either in a state
of semi-fuck or
punching each other
out, hauling the old
shrimper who came home
every three months
with a pocketful of money
that he usually
got beaten out of him
in some dark bar or another,
getting into my cab all beat
to shit, drunk, struggling
to come up with the 75 cents
he needed to get home
to his mother,
a ninety year old
crone
he cursed
from the time
he got into the cab
until he got home,
stumbling
to his front door,
and I'll not forget
the guy with the knife,
drunk enough to think
he could mug me,
so drunk
he dropped his knife
and while he was
crawling around
the backseat
looking for it
I was able to pull over
and toss him out on the
street, spitting
and cussing at me
in spanish
and some other
language
foreign to me
and maybe to him
as well

I hated the job,
but I was driving
an old '49 chevy
fastback
junker
and it was nice
to drive around in a
new taxicab all day and
as for the lousy pay,
if I had been willing
to work a lot harder
I could have made more money
picking
cotton,
but I did that once
never wanted to do it again

 

fulton street hustlers

it's eleven
in the morning
and you can tell
the drinkers,
the
down-
but-not-
outers,
squinting
in the mid-
day sun
as they cross
fulton street,
leaving their
$40-a-week
motel room,
heading for
breakfast
at one of
the dozen
taco shops
in the neigh
borhood,
chorizo and
eggs with
a side of
re-fried
beans, two
flour tortillas
black sludge
coffee and
six aspirin
for the head
that won't stop
aching until
they get their
first beer,
their scrambled
eggs chaser
that officially
starts the day

mostly men,
careful with
appearances,
fresh shined
boots, sharp
creased jeans
and starched
long-sleeve
cowboy shirts
with fake pearl
snaps,
pool shooters,
dart throwers,
penny tossers,
pinball wizards,
and hustlers of
most every kind,
living on the edge
always, on the edge
of losing usually,
they live on alcohol
and beer nuts,
cheap
meals at flytrap
eateries and
dark places where
the truth is only
what you can seen
in a smoked bar
mirror, where pre-
tending is easier
than not

 

Allen Itz

Poetry    Translations    Interview    Essays    Fiction    Book Notes & Reviews

   
     

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