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                                                                                                Gary Blankenship



Seven Beats to the Second,

Poems by Allen Itz




Allen Itz is a familiar voice on the internet, published by the best of ezines (though oddly enough not by this editor, an oversight that will be corrected soon).  The best of his poetry takes its cue from the Texas landscape where Allen lives as in


clear sky, bright sun

the last north wind of the season

pushing hard against me as I drive south 


(from “in the last days of March in South Texas”)


or simple observations from his days


pleasant looking woman

at the grocery checkout,

suburban type, blue pantsuit,

middle aged, hair a little gray


(from “the woman at the checkout”)


but can be edgy in “the cruelty of cats at play” (here in its entirety)


her black smile

cut like a dagger through the dark


          slicing cleanly to the heart


"I have something to tell you,”

she whispered.


and experimental as in ‘sunflowers in flight” and a number of other poems I will not try to duplicate, their layouts too complicated to even cut and paste.


He is not afraid to be political

anti-war poems are easy,

since, in our hearts,

we all know that the logic of war

that says I will kill strangers

until a stranger kills me

is insane


(from “anti-war poems are easy’)


and beyond controversial


I was seeing this preacher fella on tv the other day

and he was saying that God don’t like men fucking men


(from “what God don’t like”)


Regardless of where Allen finds his poetry, it is almost always interesting and is well worth your time.


The volume we are considering is more than Allen’s poetry.  It is a project that blends the poems with art by Vincent Martinez of San Antonio and Victoria, Texas; and a cd, The Ray-Guhn Show Choir, “chimeras, ideals, errors!”.  The recording was produced by Allen’s son, Chris.


Does the project work?


Generally, yes.  The book is large, 154 pages, about 100 poems.  Among them are interspersed with almost as many paintings – modern portraiture and abstracts.  The art compliments Allen’s poems, though some of the portraits are from too much of the scribble or finger paint school.


The CD is largely improvised jazz, with the final 6 cuts really one long piece.  The music is strong – at times harsh, unrelenting; at times gentle; at times, from  the edge; always interesting and lively.  Cut 7 is especially lively and interesting - in other words, much like Allen’s poetry.


The collection, book and CD, ordered directly from Allen at allenitz@sbcglobal.net is $20, a bargain for both.  (And $35 in stores.) 


Support your local poet and give Allen’s poems and Chris’s band a try. 




                                                                                                © Gary Blankenship

triple rule

Loch Raven Review Winter 2005 — Vol. I, No. 2
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