BENNY’S BORN

Posted: February 7, 2016 in Poetry
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Chaos Tour 020

Benjamin David Garza, 12 Oct. 2004

 

BENNY’S BORN
By David Allen

I read the newspaper headlines
early this morning
and wanted to go back to sleep.
My nightmares
are not as crazy
as this waking world.
But then I remembered
my grandson was to be born
this day and, as I dressed
and drove to the hospital,
I despaired.
A cold fog had settled
on the gray Indiana town,
seeming to smother the present,
as my mind clouded
with the news smog
that cloaked the future.
I feared for my grandson.
What kind of weary, warring world
was he inheriting?
However, not much later,
gingerly holding my hour-old
Grandson in my arms,
I saw him smile for what
may have been the very
first time, a sign of pleasure
at the sense of touch.
And, knowing that he had no debts,
no prejudices, no knowledge of religion,
and that hate had yet to find him,
I wondered –
Is there yet hope for us?

Yardale books

OBSERVATIONS ON A YARDSAILING TRIP
By David Allen 

Sitting in the car
While my wife examines
Yard Sale treasures,
I jot down words
I hope become a poem. 

Earlier, we drove by a young man
Walking down the street
With both hands inside
The front of his pants,
Which sagged below his waist.
Couldn’t he afford a belt? 

Faded American flags
Hang in front of homes
In sore need of a
Fresh coat of paint. 

I am writing this
In a notebook
I bought in Japan.
On the cover it states,
“It is our hope
That this item will
Become your good friend
And help make your life
Enjoyable all the time.”
I hope it does. 

I stay in the car
While my muse barters
With the Yardsellers.
I work crossword puzzles
To fill the time when
Writer’s block stalls
The poem’s progress.
Maybe a word up or down
Will fill the blanks. 

Suddenly, my wife
Excitedly opens the car door
And shows me a “find.”
“Look at this forgotten treasure,”
She says. “Cost a dollar.”
It is a copy of the first book
Ever published by Simon and Schuster
“A Cross Word Puzzle Book.”
I’m puzzled it is for sale
And not on some rare books list.

Well, you may think
This poem doesn’t
Make any sense.
That’s okay
Give me two pennies
And it will.
 

temptation 1

TEMPTATION
By David Allen

The piece of paper
Plucked from the poet’s
Brilliant Ideas jar read
“Temptation is sure
To knock on your door…”

Temptation rings so often
It creates a tinnitus hum,
A constant ringing, whooshing
Electric buzz that drowns
Out rationality.
The tempter is the urge
To fix the broken people
Ringing constantly,
Begging, pleading,
Demanding.

The enabler futilely tries
To save them, to prevent
Their final fall, the plunge
To the bottom of the pit
Their addictions create;
Until he, too, breaks
In spirit, helplessly
Caught up in the
Spiraling descent.

Hopeless, he shouts
“Stop this! How can
I stop this?”
And, finally, a voice
In the darkness answers:
“Temptation may ring,
But you don’t have to invite
It to dinner. Say ‘No’
Just say NO!”
It’s then the ringing stops
And there is light.”

 

POEMS FOR dVERSE

Posted: January 19, 2016 in Poetry
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dVerse is a great online poetry group that constantly challenges poets to write better and greater things. Every Tuesday there is a challenge of some sort and this week it’s to write poems in response to poems by your favorite poets. Below I am including two poems I have written in the past inspired by one of my favorite poets, Allen Ginsberg. 

The first is “My Howl,” the second is “America.” It’s easy to Google the originals. Here’s mine:

My Howl
By David Allen

I saw the best pups of my litter
petted, pawed at, pulled
from Mom’s teat too soon.
crammed in cages, placed on view,
prices posted on paper-lined lairs,
dens barely large enough to
turn around in. Sold to strangers,
shampooed, collared, carted away
from cagemates in cars, transported
to new dens ruled by bipeds.
Lonely without litter mates,
we tried to play puppy games.
But our friendly greeting bites
were met with shrill shouts,
“No bite! No bite!”
No bite?
What do they want us to do?
Lie still while the world awaits,
to taste, to smell, to roll in?
Hide our excitement? Be rude?
Passively accept the patting hand,
the petting massage, with
no teeth? To bite the hand
that feeds you is not a crime,
but a compliment. We do not tear at their flesh,
but mouth them, teeth and tongue
become a part of them, forming a We.
Ahh, but bipeds think too slow and
cannot broadcast their thoughts,
or receive, no matter how hard we try to send.
They cannot talk to wind, to leaves, to grass,
to the pack with thoughts.
They bark, but never bite.
What sin did they commit to
have to keep their thoughts to themselves?
Bipeds! Hapless bipeds! You treat my brothers sorely,
You speak with shouts and coos, commands and tempt
us with treats, but we know of Pavlov and
his bells. We trained him. Who was it got to eat?
Bipeds! You can chain us, but never own us.
You can cage our bodies, but our minds run free.
Bipeds! We will shake your hand, come when called,
Chase your balls, catch your Frisbees.
But remember always, it’s our choice
when to obey and when to run.
The wild dog you invited to share
your campfire is within us still.
Bipeds! Hear our growls. Know
you may drive some of us crazy,
you may take the mad ones, the
outcast, abandoned ones away,
cage us together one last time
in death row kennels;
put us to that never waking sleep,
to sleep, perchance to dream, of freedom
that you can never know.
Bipeds! You may force us to
act the fool; dress us as clowns,
make us look ridiculous,
cut our hair in weird designs,
dye our ears, bob our tails, but
you cannot conquer our spirit.
For — I saw the best pups of my litter,
spirit-filled, running free, despite leash and cage.
For we are what you bipeds can never be —
We are dogs!
                                                                         
AMERICA REVISTED
By David Allen

America, I’ve given you all and now I’m something
America, nineteen dollars and twenty seven cents June 27, 2014.
Inflation fried my mind
America, when will we end the Islamic wars?
Go fuck yourself with your drone bombs.
I feel good now, follow me
I write my poems when I’m in my right mind
America, when will you be Humanist?
When will you take off your masks?
When will you look at yourself in the mirror?
When will you be worthy of your pacifists?
America, why are your schools full of fear?
America, when will you feed your poor?
I’m sick of your insanity.
When can I go to the supermarket and buy what I
Need without fear of poison?
America, after all it is you and I who exist now,
Not in some next world.
Your capitalism is destroying us.
You make me want to be Canadian.
There must be some other way to settle this debate.
If I could travel to Japan I don’t think I’d come back.
Are you really serious or is this some kind of reality TV series?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my freedom.
America, stop tapping my phone and internet.
America, your poll numbers are falling.
I read the newspapers every day
And every day somebody goes to prison for drug possession
While the mega-thieves on Wall Street get new tax breaks.
America, I feel sentimental about Carter.
America, I read Ayn Rand when I was a kid
I’m now sorry.
If I could, I’d smoke marijuana all the time.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the news on TV.
I stayed at the Roach Motel and never got saved.
My mind is made up, there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Bukowski.
My Muse insists I must write more.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer at Al-anon meetings.
I have crazy thoughts that bleed into poetry.
America, I still haven’t told you what you did to our
Soldiers after they came back from Iraq.

……………………………………………………………………………………..

Be sure to visit the dVerse Poets Pub ATT http://dversepoets.com/tag/dverse-poets-pub/

Parachute

PARACHUTING
By David Allen

“It was the thrill of a lifetime
A once in a lifetime experience.”

That was the lede of the story
I wrote about the local sky diving club.
The back story was the advice an editor gave
When I pitched the story to him.
“Sounds great,” he said
“Especially if you jump.”
Sure, I thought. Why not?

All during my interview of the instructor
At the local airport I kept thinking to myself,
“I can always back out.”
So, I learned how to strap the parachute on
And practiced jumping off a four-foot stage
Rolling on my side as I hit the ground.

“I can always stay on the plane,” I thought
As we took off with another student.
“I can just sit here,” I reasoned to myself
When the jumper froze after stepping out,
His left foot on a locked wheel,
The other hanging over open space,
His hands tightly clutching the wing strut.
After a few swats on his backside by the instructor,
He pushed himself away, thinking, perhaps,
That falling to the ground was less embarrassing
Than chickening out at the last minute.

Then it was my turn.
The way I always face a challenge
Is to stop overthinking about the danger;
Just do it, get it over with.
I didn’t hesitate to push away from the plane;
I didn’t panic as I started to tumble over
And almost caught my feet in the parachute lines,
A mistake that could cause the chute not to open fully.
I managed to right myself and enjoyed that fall,
Pleased at the view of the Virginia countryside
Climbing towards me.

I landed on the airport tarmac,
Rolling as I had been taught,
And gathered up the parachute.
I walked toward my photographer,
A huge grin stretched across my face.
“Well, that was fun,” I told him.
“You going to join the club?” he asked.
“Hell ,no,” I answered,
“I’d have to pack my own chute
And I’m not that dexterous.”

 
 

IMPATIENCE

Posted: December 19, 2015 in Poetry
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IMPATIENCE
By David Allen
 
I am becoming
Less patient
With patience.
The promised rewards
Are not forthcoming
As advertised.
I am reaching an age
Where they say patience
Is natural and, naturally,
I am impatient
To find mine.
They say patience
Is a virtue and I find
I virtually have
Little left these days.
And so I sit, sip a beer
And wait impatiently
For something
Anything,
To happen.

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HAPPY HOLIDAZE
By David Allen

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year
Hannukah, too, this is my Holiday poem
For you.
 
Let’s remember this December
Other reasons exist
To wish a Festivus for the rest of us,
No matter your bliss.
 
And, speaking of bliss,
This season marks when
Buddha found his.
Now, isn’t that Zen?
 
And shouldn’t we add Saturnalia
To this season’s list?
After all, that old Roman holiday
Was the start of all this.
 
For, one week in December
The Romans gave a big bash
Where everything was permitted,
Like “The Purge,” with thousands cast,
To get drunk, damage property,
Injure strangers and friends
Historians someday will tell us
That’s where “Black Friday” begins.
 
The holiday was so popular
Early Catholics stole the date
To lure pagans to their churches
So they could seal their fate.
 
“But the War on Christmas is upon us,”
The Faux News anchors scream,
But look not only to Humanists
For raising their spleen.
Hardcore Christians, the Puritans
Once took up the torch
To ban Christmas hokum
No day for their church.
 
The reason for the season
To me is just this –
Another year’s over
And we are still here
That’s a reason to party
To throw off our fears
To count all our blessings,
Whatever that’s worth,
Because we haven’t yet
Killed our Mother Earth.

 

Diving in the rain 2

           LOST
           By David Allen

The argument made no sense
The words were hard and harsh
So, I grabbed my keys and headed for my car.
The “I Love Yous,” were thrown
But they were not caught
As I drove from the home of despair.
The sun had set, clouds ruled the sky
And rain started at the first stop sign.
The radio was broken, so I sang to myself
As I turned onto a narrow country lane.
The windshield wipers kept time
As dark thoughts filled the air
Until I opened the window and
Skyward they were blown.
I drove for hours, turning again and again
As if to throw off the weight of despair
The car’s dashboard console went dark
Wiping out my GPS, and so it wasn’t long
Before I was good and lost.
The rain poured in the open window
Cold but somehow refreshing
I drove aimlessly on, meditating
On how things were and used to be.
The longer I drove, the more my heavy heart eased.
Refreshed, I decided to find a way back home
Just as the country lane met a major interchange
And a sign pointed me on my way.
But the closer I got, the darker the sky
And my mood again weighed heavy
I passed my street and drove on
Promising to return when the dawn breaks
To shine a light on what went wrong.
 

……………………………………………………………………………….

Looking for a great Christmas present? Why not give a book of poetry? My second book of poetry, “(more)’ is now available on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is also available. If you want a signed copy, email me at david@davidallen.nu. Order your copy today! I am like most poets — poor.

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http://www.amazon.com/more-David-Allen-ebook/dp/B00N6W3DP8/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=1-2&keywords=%28more%29+by+David+Allen

Here’s a review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Wanting (more), September 2, 2014
By Jenny A. Kalahar “the_story_shop” (Elwood, IN USA)
Here are wonderful, literate poems of longing, wit, wisdom and resistance; justice, injustice, the absurdities of life and of growing older. There are lines full of sensuality at every stage of our existence, and of the waste and usefulness around us. Tinged with the atmosphere of the Orient, they are as luxurious as legs that go all the way up. Mr. Allen’s years as a newspaper man stain his poems with a rougher ink that sticks to your fingers long after you’ve turned his pages. There are losses – parents, loved ones, friends – but there are poems of finding and creating. Children, grandchildren, lovers, partners in crime and art all swirl throughout this collection, humming like a secret humming song. But unlike most hummed songs, these words do matter. They do. So read them now and sing along.

 

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 ALLIGATOR
By David Allen

          So, this guy came up to me the other day and said, “Say, fella, your face looks familiar. Aren’t you…?”  Whereupon I stepped up to him in his mid-sentence, he being a good two or three yards away and still making his approach, and said, “Sure am! Great to see you! Got any spare change?”

            He looked at me for a moment, puzzled, and reached into his pants pocket and pulled out four quarters. I grabbed them before he could change his mind.

            “For a dollar I’ll be anybody you want,” I told him. “Who do you want me to be?” He tried to answer, but the words got all confused on the way from his brain to his mouth and he sounded like he had a fit coming on. Finally, after a few garbled goos and gaas, he said he must be mistaken. I told him that I must be mistaken, too, on account of how much I really wanted to be who he thought I was.

            He ran away before I could ask him to try me out for a while and see how well I would do until the real thing came along. He seemed disappointed and scared. I guess I came on too intense. No wonder I had been standing at the bus stop by myself.

            I had enough money to escape from the city, anyway, so I was relieved I didn’t have to be someone else for awhile. It’s tiring to be someone else all the time. Taking on false identities doesn’t really help me sort out in my mind all the characters I had been in the past, or all the parts I had yet to play. 

          Strange things are happening. It’s as if my spirit is dancing to a jazz existentialist revival. Few people seem real to me. I have a hard time relating to people in any kind of rational way. I react much more favorably to trees. My mind races faster than I can orally express my thoughts and I usually stand alone and speechless. The city has become a movie set. Ah, if only I could sneak around the cardboard façade and drink T-bird wine with the stage crew. This lighting is all wrong. I forgot my lines and I am afraid this character will never develop. I left the script in a knapsack in the country months ago and I haven’t been able to return. I don’t even know why I try anymore.  

            I boarded the next bus for Seven Corners, giving a cheery “good morning” to the driver and watching myself in the rearview mirror as the change clinked and fed his fare machine.

          The bus was sparsely occupied, but in a middle seat my gaze fastened on an old lady sitting by herself. She seemed attached to a huge alligator handbag on her broad lap. The bag had a baby alligator head attached to it and, to look at the thing, he had more life in him than the fossil holding the bag.  

          I was so drawn to the gator head, which looked just like the one I wore around my neck during my stretch in the Navy’s Gator Fleet, that I sat down next to him. It must’ve freaked the old lady out, seeing as there were plenty of empty seats. But she didn’t say anything. She stared ahead and didn’t let on a bit. Occasionally she turned her head slightly to peek at me, but I just smiled. Then she’d turn away and stare into space, frowning. I stared at the head, smiling and desperately trying to communicate with the gator crouched on her lap.

           It seemed alive, beckoning me. I couldn’t look away. You see, I knew he had a lot of answers to the endless questions that plagued me. That is, if he wanted to. He continued to draw my attention and the old lady, who was cadaverously pale, kept catching me staring at her lap. Did she think I was going to steal her purse? Or were her thoughts more Freudian?

          The gator wasn’t talking. And as I stared at him, careful now not to be caught by the woman’s death-grey eyes, he started to smile. The damn gator was smiling at me. He was laughing because he knew I didn’t know and knew he knew that I didn’t know. Shades of sailor knots and R.D. Laing.

          My stop was many miles back and I began to worry that the gator would not talk to me until it was too late – until the bus had circled back to where it picked me up. He continued to smile. I grew furious. Why should he know and not tell me? My hand, of its own volition started to stalk the head. I couldn’t stop it. The hand was going to choke the alligator to death and there was nothing I could do. I watched in mute horror.

         The hand crept. My face froze in a smile of terror. The corpse frowned. The gator knew.

         The bus droned down the highway. At any moment I knew the hand would strangle the gator, the woman would scream and I would be held responsible. At any moment I would murder a dead baby alligator head and would be caught (at least I knew that part). There seemed to be nothing I could do to prevent it.

          Then, like a faint wind nipping at the nape of my neck, someone whispered, “Say, fella, aren’t you…?” I hadn’t seen anyone else near me on the bus and I wasn’t going to confront whoever it was. I quickly got up from the seat and, without checking to see who spoke or whether he had some spare change, I yelled, “I was, but ain’t no more! The alligator and the dead old lady took him away!” I ran off the bus, barely noticing the collection box continued to churn quarters.

         I gave up trying to make it to my friend’s farm. You can’t be too careful about going to the country, you know.

 

MISTER POLITICIAN

Posted: November 10, 2015 in Poetry
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While watching the Clown debate tonight (Nov. 10) I remembered this song I wrote a few years ago:
  
          MISTER POLITICIAN
          By David Allen

Mr. Politician
I want to tell you
What’s on my mind
All I need is
A few moments of your precious time.

How do you feel
When you hear
All those children crying?
How can you sleep
Knowing there are innocent people dying?

             We want to give you
            All of our trust,
            So please remember
            What you do affects all of us.
 

Mr. Politician
I want to show you
You’re turning blind
All that I need is
A few minutes of your precious time.
 

How can you smile
When you see
Refugees in all those lines?
How can you laugh
When you see
The diseased coughing up their lives?

            We want to give you
            All of our trust
            But you don’t remember
            What you do affects all of us. 
 
Mr. Politician
Would you tell me
What’s on your mind?
All that you need is
A few moments of my precious time.

 How do you love
When you are so
filled with all that burning hate?
Open your heart
It’s a start, before it’s way too late.

             We want to give you
            All of our trust
            But you must remember
            What you do affects all of us.

 Mr. Politician
They want to sell
You some TV time.
And all they need is
A few million dollars and your mind.

 How does it feel
When you hear yourself
And know that you are lying?
And how do you keep
At least one of your two faces from crying?

             We want to give you
            All of our trust
            But we’d fell better
            if you trusted us.