Spring 2010

Table of Contents - Vol. VI, No. 1


Poetry    Fiction    Reviews   

Allen Itz


or else

the old coot
in the booth down
from me is being
more obnoxious
than any old coot
has a right to be, not
to mention more obnox-
ious than it’s safe to be
given the frail grip
old coots
have on the slippery
slope of life

not to mention
my personal irritation
at his behavior
and the way
it puts all us old coots
in a bad light

i think
if we had a vote
right here
right now
the old coot
would be locked
in a nursing home
in a new york minute
not to mention
i don’t have a clue
how long a new york
minute is
but i’m guessing it’s fast
since all the pictures
i’ve ever seen
of new york shows
people rushing rushing
rushing, not to mention
i’ve never been in new york,
not even for a new york minute,
so i don’t know for sure
about any of this
and like i said
it’s all guesswork

oh, hell,
now the spouse
of coot
has jumped into
the fray, acting
very cootish
herself, complaining
about something,
gripe, gripe, gripe
in her quivering
voice about the
hollandaise sauce
and i’m thinking
holy cripes lady
this is texas
where complaining
about the bar-b-que
sauce is a god-given
right but when it comes
to hollandaise
you should just be
old jake the cook
in the back knows
what it is and if he
thinks it needs a touch
of jalapeño well old
jake is the cook
and he gets to do it
the way he wants

so quit all your old
coot complaining
unless you want to
brace old jake
in the kitchen by his
cook pot yourself

and it’s too dang
hot in here --
i don’t know why
people here have to
turn their heaters
up to 85 inside
the minute it goes
down to 55 outside

not to mention
i think i’m about
a new york minute
away from a heat stroke
here and think i’ll have to
since i’m being driven out
by the heat
before i’ve even finished
my second pot of coffee
not to mention
my butt’s gone to sleep
sitting here
and it’s going to look like
i have a flat-as-a-pancake-butt
when i walk out of here

not to mention
i’ve had ‘bout eighteen
cups of coffee
since i got here
and will need to go pee
in a new york minute
or else


going home some day

are dancing
on the head of a pin
down at the south-facing booth
where, on most days,
i rest my breakfast bones,
a trio of religiosos,
wise men in their field,
arguing out, it sounds like,
the proposed
text of some religious
book or pamphlet

they were at it las week
as well, occupying, then too, my

the three,
one, older, hawk-nosed
and bald, another younger,
rotund to the butterball degree,
and bald, and a third, young
with hair,
argue this week
as to what is the most important
tenet of the Christian religion, virgin birth
or the resurrection

not being of the faith
it’s perhaps not kosher
for me to weigh in on this discussion
but i know lots of Christians
and they, almost all but the Paulists,
think highly of sex
and would most certainly
vote thumbs down on the idea
propagation with
out sex --
most, i’m sure, would find the idea
of putting up with teenagers
withoutv the precedent pleasure
of sex
to be not worth the trouble

are these guys really that wise?

i ask
because it seems obvious to me
the one central element of Christianity
that sustains the belief of all its
is the resurrection of Christ
and his promise
of ever-lasting life for all
who put their faith in him

everlasting life -- that’s
a hard sell to beat -- even i,
the non-believer’s non-believer
am attracted to that, though my
version of such everlastingness
is not predicated on a ride through
the clouds
in a golden chariot,
but a simple, more base rebirth
as the atoms
that temporarily gathered to make me
disperse to a new purpose

and the soul?

i don’t know about the soul,
a slippery concept,
at best,
but i am finding it enticing to believe
that the essence of me
that animated the gathering
of atoms that was my physical self
was just a small part
of a larger essence of us
to which that part which was me
will return, then dissolve into
the everything,
the whole
from which i have been
for these few years of human life
distant and distraught

a return home


© Allen Itz



Poetry    Fiction    Reviews   

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