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THANKSGIVING’S STAIN
By David Allen

Like many holidays,
Thanksgiving has a dark side.
Much like Columbus Day.
Don’t get me wrong,
I love the idea of getting family 
and friends together for an Autumnal feast 
to celebrate surviving another year.
That was the reason for the gathering
of Indians and pilgrims that day
some 398 years ago.
The Pilgrims had survived a horrendous year.

Of the 102 who survived the Mayflower’s trip,
only 51 survived the first winter — 
22 men, 25 children, and 4 women. 
75 percent of the women had died.
The local Indian tribe, the Wampanoag,
helped that first year, showing the Pilgrims
how to farm the New World and 90 of them joined
in the English tradition of celebrating the Fall harvest. 

The tribe was repaid over the next 50 years
With murders and massacres.
In 1675, their situation was so dire,
many of them joined in an uprising
called King Philip’s War
The Colonists were too strong by then
And another 40 percent of the tribe were killed.
Many of the Male Indian survivors
were sold into slavery in the Caribbean,
their women and children became farm 
and house slaves in New England.

I doubt many of their descendants
Think of this holiday as very thankful.

 

THANKS, NO THANKS

Posted: November 22, 2019 in Poetry
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THANKS, NO THANKS
By David Allen

It’s late November again
Thanksgiving’s at hand
A time to feast with family and friends;
Time to reflect and to give thanks.

I’m giving thanks that my spine
Survived another knifeless year,
Though my back, racked by rods
And pins, bent my back a bit
and stole inches from my height. 

I am thankful for my muse, my wife,
We’ve survived another year –
Twenty-nine more than the two she promised
When we first exchanged our vows.

“I’ll give you two years, Allen, “she said
The day she agreed to marry me.
“So you better straighten up!” she warned.”
I never did and yet, she still stands by my side.

And let’s not forget to thank
My Hoosier poet friends
For giving me an outlet for 
My observations on life. 
Open mics and scribe gatherings 
Fill my nights, hopefully
Encouraging new poets 
To follow this path.

But this season also leaves me
Thinking of things I am not thankful for.
Mass deaths in shootings in schools and churches,
The rise of White Nationalism.
And attacks on our rights
In “The Land of the Free.”
Children torn from their parents
And thrown in cages because
They were born in some other country.
Soldiers and sailors discharged 
And flown to exile in countries
Even though they served us honorably.
A presidential liar whose graft knows no limits
Who daily commits crimes
His followers just brush away.

But I’m hopeful next year
Will overflow with thanks
To new faces who erase
Trump and his thugs from our ranks.

House of Lies

Old Age

Posted: October 12, 2019 in Poetry
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OLD AGE
By David Allen

Bent posture
Grouchy nature
Prescription pill bottles
Wild walking waddles.

Memory lapses
Cheap reading glasses
Hair shedding
Tummy spreading.

Cane walking
Unsteady talking
Teeth in a glass
Passing much gas.

Spinal hardware
Keys are not there
Midnight pee calls
Numbing pratfalls.

Artery stents
Obscene vents
Diner discounts
Joint bank accounts.

Skin splotches
Year’s end notches
TV bingeing
X-ray cringing.

Children have grown
Remortgaged home
Much makes me enraged
This must be old age. 

Words Gone

Posted: October 11, 2019 in Poetry
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Words Gone
By David Allen

The words were gone.
The poet sulked at his desk,
staring at the blank computer screen.
His Muse stood beside him,
sobbing while she stroked his neck.
“I don’t know what’s happening,” she said.
“I want to help you, but the words won’t come.
This is more than a simple writer’s block.
It’s more like the words absconded with the images,
the ideas are idle, blurry concepts just beyond reach.
I have failed you.”

“Don’t say that,” the Poet said, 
turning to face his Muse.
“It’s not your fault.”
“It is,” she said. 
“There’s too much darkness.
Too many things are piling up.
The words are suffocating under 
the heap of today’s failures
and tomorrow’s fears.
I’m just not good for you.”
She turned and ran from the room.

The Poet muttered a few “damns” under his breath.
He wondered awhile whether to follow her.
Should he scrap the play
or go on to Act 2? 
After a painfully slow minute,
he shook his head, then rose and left the room.

He climbed the stairs to their bedroom.
She sat cross-legged on the bed, 
a pen in her right hand and a notepad on her lap.

“Look, I’m so…” he started.
But she cut him off, looking up,
Sadness and defeat contorted her face.
“So, did you come upstairs 
To edit my suicide note?” she asked.

He walked to her side and kissed her cheek.
“No, just checking to make sure 
you have no knives or pills up here,” he said.
His Muse’s frown turned into a slight smile.
“I just wish I was better at this,” she said.
“You are,” the Poet said as he left the room.

A few minutes later, he was back at the computer
typing slowly as a poem formed on the screen. 

 

Bird Nest

Posted: October 3, 2019 in Poetry
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BIRD NEST
By David Allen

I gave my love a bird’s nest
that I found while mowing
and she marveled and cooed,
“It must have been built
by a mourning dove.”
She examined it carefully,
noting that embedded
in the twigs and grass
was a toothpick.
I wondered where it came from
and how long it lain abandoned?
And why did the bird choose
to use it when more pliable twigs
would be better suited
for her construction project?

Woody

Posted: October 1, 2019 in Poetry
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WOODY
By David Allen

Woody’s been sitting there
for quite some time now.
Centuries have passed.
He’s rooted to a spot
at the edge of the woods,
where he observes the progress
and, sadly, the eventual regress
of the humans in the valley below.
“Why don’t they find their roots
and settle down?” he muses.
“They never stay long enough
to get into the sync of the living earth.”

 

Clothespins

Posted: September 14, 2019 in Poetry
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Clothespins Oil

CLOTHESPINS
By David Allen

They are lonely now
Attached to the line
In the back yard.
Some machine
Inside the house
Now acts like the sun,
Drying the wash
And giving it a perfumed
Scent with no wrinkles.
The wooden pegs
Now point to the blue sky
Wondering why
They were abandoned.

If you like this poem, you’ll love my latest book, “Type Dancing,” now available from Amazon. Or, for a signed copy, send $15 to David Allen, 803 Avalon Lane, Chesterfield, IN 46017.

This Time

Posted: September 13, 2019 in Poetry
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THIS TIME
By David Allen

There’s a lot of time before him,
but he hesitates and is unsure
when to begin.
Why wasn’t his clock set?
Time has been stretched
in all directions and,
as seconds, minutes,
and hours tick by,
he stands limply, head down
wondering if his time
has already passed.

Birthday Battle

Posted: August 27, 2019 in Poetry
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BIRTHDAY BATTLE
By David Allen

Sand falls,
Watch hands beckon,
A shadow creeps.
Time is skewering us all
To the wall
To the wall, scribes!
Man the ramparts!
Sound the alarm!
Pelt time with your poems!
Punish time with your puns!
Rout time with your rhymes!
Push back the years!
Stop time!
 
Aaiiiiiieeeee!!!!
 
It’s no use!
Fall back! Fall back!
Time has become an Ivy Leaguer
A longhaired Master of the Art
Of ruining good poems.
Hair grays.
Eyes, myopic, bag.
Arches fall,
Posture slouches.
Oh, the horror, the horror!
The …

(Ah, forget about it,
It’s just another year.
Where’s the cake?)

 
NOTE: This was aritten for Jenny Kalahar, a great poet novelist, writer, rare bookseller, and leader of the Last Stanza Poetry Association. She’s a wonder.

Shadow

Posted: August 26, 2019 in Poetry
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Shadow
By David Allen 

She’ll be skipping 
that rope forever.
The young girl
left her impression 
on the brick wall
outside her Hiroshima home.
The atomic bomb’s blast 
caught her in mid-air,
capturing her shadow
for the curious 
as long as the wall stands.

I wonder,
does anyone know who she was?
A child caught up in the conflict
between nations, wanting
only to finish her jump rope chant
before the school bell rang;
one of the thousands thrown 
onto what comes after,
at 8:16 on a Monday morning.

………………………………………………………………..