Gerda Govine Ituarte

Gerda in GreeneditedGerda Govine Ituarte published her first poetry art book, Oh Where is My Candle Hat? in collaboration with artist Luis Ituarte in English and Spanish in November 2012. A CD recording of the book was produced in both languages. Her second poetry art book, Alterations Thread Light Through Eye of Storm, will be published March 2015 in English, also with art work by Ituarte. Her poetry has appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Poetry and Cookies, HomeTown Pasadena, and Frontera-Esquina magazine in Tijuana, Mexico. She is a member of poetry writing workshops led by Kate Gale, of Red Hen Press, and Rae Ballard, and of the International Black Writers and Artists Association and Public Address, an artist think tank. In addition to being a poet, curator, and columnist, she is the head of G. Govine Consulting and serves as an expert witness, litigation consultant, and mediator in the area of gender, race, and age discrimination. Born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, she emigrated to New York City in the mid-fifties and now lives in California.

From “Via de Guadalupe / South of the Border”

He appeared inside a blink   walked out of the vineyard
sun at his back   elbowed a space in my eyes   curiosity
took hold   breeze whistled softly   silence expectant

his outfit beige linen suit   white shirt no collar   white
mexican cowboy hat   band that matched caramel
suede vest   brown leather satchel tilted shoulder

feet in leather cowboy boots   too cool to sweat
friend’s voice plucked me out of trance   hi luis
introduced as artist   shook my hand slowly   earth

shifted   rattled   heart on lockdown he began to draw
captured last light of day   headed towards pulsating
music   he joined us   danced like wild fire   partners


Susanna, daughter of a dear friend, invited me to join her, her new boyfriend, and her mom for a weekend trip to the Cetto wine festival in Via de Guadalupe, Ensenada. I know that she wanted to spend more time with her boyfriend than with her mother and me. The morning of the event, I wore a white shirt, white skirt, matching silver jewelry, sandals, and a stylish bag. During the three-hour drive, I held Elba’s attention with conversation, jokes, and stories that kept her giggling while the love birds cooed.

As we walked into Cetto, there was a grape-stomping contest (shoes off), wine tasting, and an announcement and display of three paintings featuring grapes that won the art competition. I saw my first bullfight; it was unsettling and graceful. Food tables were stacked with food. Each dish tasted better than the one before it. Beef, chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, wine, and more than I can remember. The magic of the sunset lingered.

I met Luis, a friend of Susanna. I had locked the door to my heart and thrown away the key, built a moat with a live alligator, strung up barbed-wire fencing to keep intruders out, and I realized that it also kept me in. When I later asked Luis how he got all up into my life, he said, “I was very careful.” Introducing him to my friends was an interesting “rite of passage.” I remember one of them said that she was determined not to like Luis because no one could be good enough for me. After dinner one night she confessed, “Oh, I just love him.” We got married two years after we met, and my single friends say “there is still hope for us.”

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