Angry

Posted: June 22, 2018 in Poetry
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ANGRY
By David Allen

I’m white
And I’m not proud.
I’m an American
And I’m embarrassed.

This country’s tilted
Far to the Right
And I’m rolling off
Into the abyss
Of what Trump
Has wrought.
I don’t feel safe
I’m worried blue.

The Trumpists blare
And I feel scared.
But not as much
As a Guatemalan Mom
Whose arms are empty
Her children gone
And placed in cages
In internment towns.

It’s a replay
Of the ugly days
When we chose
To lock up folks
With yellow skin.
Now the skin’s brown,
But it’s still a sin
We commit today
Against the folks
Who chose to run away
From terror at home.

June Thoughts

Posted: June 10, 2018 in Poetry
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JUNE THOUGHTS
By David Allen

June is the month
That comes between
The holiday for heroes
Who died protecting
The freedoms guaranteed
By the second holiday.
 
The deadly shots of the first
Turn into fireworks for the second.

Decades ago, I first wondered ,
While listening to Marines
Jaw drunkenly  in a San Juan bar
About the horrors of Vietnam,
Whether our brave military dead
Might be rolling in their graves.

Did they feel forgotten and betrayed
By the politicians who sent them to die
In a nightmare conflict that had nothing
To do with protecting their freedoms at home?

I was just a lucky sailor sent to do my two years
Of active duty on a rusting Landing Ship
That took war-hardened Marines on
Pleasure cruises, supposedly protecting
The Caribbean against Communism.

Mostly, we just drank and whored
And forgot about the still-raging blood fest
That would darken the souls of some veteran’s
Years after their uniforms were packed away.

This June I continue to scratch my head
Wondering what the dead from recent war-torn fronts
May feel about dying for oil, religion, despots and
The oligarchs that control the shifting sands
Of history from behind the screens.

 

 

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SCATTERED
By David Allen

While driving down Anderson’s miles
Of struggling stores and an empty mall,
I realized the name of the four-lane road
Was appropriately named Scatterfield.
The strip malls are pocked with “closing” signs
And bright lights shining on empty shelves.
Even the pawn shop has given up any hope
Of making money from jobless clerks
Hocking their futures for a few bucks
To buy a gallon of milk at the Dollar Store.
Success seems scattered on Scatterfield.
A flea market dominates a once thriving strip.
Nearby, cheap, damaged bulk items are stocked
In a former brand name big box store.

The drivers negotiating the pot-holed boulevard
Scatter down Scatterfield, many on their way
To drug stores, cut-rate medical mills,
“No Credit Needed” used car lots,
And the always crowded Goodwill.

I drive on, shake my head and wonder
Why our country’s economic boom
Has bypassed this Middle American mess
Until I realize I missed my turn a mile back.
I’m scatterbrained on Scatterfield.

 

The Boot

Posted: May 28, 2018 in Poetry
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boot

THE BOOT
By David Allen

The worn combat boot
Stands alone in the sand
Weather-baked faded leather,
Toe scraped and colorless,
It’s mate nowhere to be seen.
Laced halfway, the loose strands
Fall to the ground, run under the heel
And then trail off in the white sand.
The sweltering sun creates a lonesome shadow.

Is this some landing beach
From a decades-old Pacific war?
Or a desert scene from a more recent conflict?
The boot is not saying
It just stands at attention
Proud, perhaps, that it hasn’t fallen.
It keeps watch over something.

I stare and wonder where the wearer went
Was he a survivor, blown out of his boot
By a mine — now footless but free?
Or was the boot planted here
To honor a fallen friend?
The boot is still not talking
It just stands there, silent,
Leaving it’s meaning
To whoever meanders by.

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WHATCHA LOOKIN’ FOR?
By David Allen

Cruisin’ slow through the neighborhood,
Causing my passenger to mutter,
“Whatcha lookin’ for, some sign from God?”

Nah, I’m lookin’ for
A sign for a yard —
Sale, that is,
Some place where I can rummage
Through someone else’s life,
Examine the pieces of their past,
Old books with broken spines
And underlined passages
That once meant more
Than the 25 cent sticker
Pasted on the cover’s corner;
Maybe a video in a format
Almost as forgotten as
The romantic night on the couch
Munching more than popcorn;
Or a toolbelt retired
From the job at the shuttered mill
In the aging town with overgrown lots
As empty as the old lady’s eyes
As she sells frayed towels in faded colors
And her creaking rocker.
The grandchildren she sang to sleep are gone.
What else might I find?
Maybe a dented bicycle helmet,
Reminder of a scary night in the ER;
Fishing gear sold by the wheelchair
Bound diabetic amputee;
Cookbooks with place holders
Marking recipes long forgotten
By the widow who dines alone.

Yeah, I’m lookin’ for a yard sign marking
Some place with memories for sale,
Some place where I can lose myself
In someone else’s dimming past
As I run away from my own.

NOTE: Schedulding our first major yardsailing trip thie weekend with my Muse. Reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years ago.

Emojis

Posted: May 14, 2018 in Poetry
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EMOJIS
By David Allen

There they are again —
Thumbs Up, Smiley, Wow, and Anger,
All waiting for me to choose one
As a picture comment of my feelings
About a Facebook post.
But what do they really mean?
Is  Smiley laughing at the humor posted,
Or at the user who dumbly shared it?
And is Wow amazed at the post’s incredible insight,
Or that someone would fall for such nonsense?
And Anger? Who is it directed at?
Is it the hilarious post about dimwitted Trump,
Or the poster for publishing such treasonous stuff?
Take your pick.

Emojis, like the words they seek to replace,
Mean what you read into them.
It’s another gift from the Japanese
Who confound us with “Japlish,”
The English they use on tee shirts, signs
And notebook covers, that confound
Us with their unintentional Zen.
They were born in Japan,
The word means “picture character.”
Years before Zuckerberg possessed our souls.

In the late 1990s, Tokyo Thumbalinas
Ruled the net, speedily posting messages
On cell phones, choosing an emoji
To quickly share their feelings.

At first, just a dozen or so yellow-faced emojis were created
Now there are thousands used internationally.

 

The Leaves

Posted: May 12, 2018 in Poetry
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THE LEAVES
By David Allen

On the last day of April
I raked the leaves of Autumn
That had piled around my home
When they were given a reprieve
From a November pyre
While I recovered from
An operation on my spine.
The oak leaves found a refuge
Piled high against my walls
Blown there by brisk winter winds
Which saved them from the snow.

So, feeling I was able, I ambled
To my backyard, armed with
Two rakes and a cold ice tea.
And I attacked the dry mounds
Raking the leaves away,
Enjoying the exercise on
A welcomed sunny day.
I heaped the dry, mildewed mess
Into one large heap and added twigs
And woody garbage I thought
Would serve as a gala bonfire
To celebrate my long-sought victory.

But no, the forecast calls for
A heat wave, we’re “red flagged”
There’s danger in the dry air
Outdoor fires could quickly spread.

And so, the leaf pile sits there
A foliage fiend thumbing its nose
A the raker warrior at the window
Swallowing a handful of aspirin
While the nightly forecast calls
For the hot day to be followed
By two days of flooding rain.

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Here’s a fun poetry prompt for April 30, the last day of National Poetry Month

At the Last Stanza, a poetry group that meets twice a month, we always assign a challenge for our next meeting. Last week’s challenge was to go to a bookcase and write a poem based on what you have on the shelves. Ready, set, go —

Here’s the poem I wrote:

THE SPAWN OF STEPHEN KING
By David Allen

The spawn of Stephen King
dwell in my living room
On the top two shelves
Of the wall of books
It’s scary sometimes.

At Four Past Midnight I can hear
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Under the Dome in Misery moan
About The Drawing of the Three
In the Pet Cemetery.

The Tommy Knockers
Hide behind a huge Dream Catcher
As The Regulators worry about Carrie,
A marathon runner who failed
To cross The Green Mile.

When she failed to end Gerald’s Game,
She refused to eat at the Feast of Fear
The diet progressively turned her Thinner
Until she was little more
Than a Bag of Bones.

On the second shelf I saw Christine,
who screamed From a Buick 8,
Careening along the Roadwork
Towards The Wastelands where
Ghouls there waited in The Dark Half,
Watching It reach The Dead Zone.

That’s where Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Present naked Fear Itself, as clouds
Turn the scene to Full Dark, No Stars.
A bit left of the chaos, Needful Things
Also waited in Desperation.

There, inside the Black House, where on 11-22-63
Doctor Sleep remembered Different Seasons,
Firestarter, an arsonist hired by King,
Burned Cujo during a sacrificial rite on
The Cycle of the Werewolf.

On the far left, hiding behind a pile of paperbacks,
Hardbacks announce the Skeleton Crew kneels
Before The Eye of a Dragon, presenting
A tribute to The Talisman who serves
A  Wizard and Glass eyes.

But that’s Lisey’s Story
About Mr. Mercedes and
The Duma Key and I’m
Saving that for a stormy night.

 

LUNCH
AMBASSADOR’S LUNCH
By David Allen

What’s wrong
with this picture?
The U.S. Ambassador
to Japan is to address
Okinawa business leaders
at a lunch today and
here we are in the press corral
sitting at roped off tables
watching everyone else
eat while we sip our water
and wait for the ambassador
to wipe his lips and
nod in thanks for
the pleasant introduction
from the governor
and spin a speech
about how great
the U.S.-Japan alliance is.
Meanwhile, the press’s unfed
stomachs rumble.
We weren’t fed and
a good free meal
is the major reason I came.

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WHAT D’YA DO?
By David Allen

It was a great night
at the Eat Write Café.
About a dozen poets,
fueled by cold beer
and raw feelings that filled
the pages they clutched as they
climbed the stage steps,
shared their poems
with the Friday night crowd.

While they read, I paced fidgety
at the rear of the room, smiling
whenever the barmaid passed
with tray full of beer for the tables.
I had already read and I was like
a punch-drunk pug anxious
to get back in the ring.

Out of the corner of my eye
I saw a young man with a
severe Marine haircut
climb off a stool at the bar
and walk toward me with
a napkin in an outstretched hand.

“Hey, man, I just wrote this,” he shyly said,
handing me the ink-stained tissue.
“Think I can read?”
“Sure,” I said and read his poem.
It was short, about a dozen lines,
a wavy scrawl with some crossed-out words
about a lost love, left behind at some
Philippine back street shanty.

He slowly got up on stage
when the emcee, “The Mic,” asked
If anyone new wanted to share.
When the young Marine read,
there was a respectful silence.
The crowd clapped and roared
their approval when he smiled
and shyly left the stage.

Later, he bought me a beer,
thanking me for the chance to share.
“I sometimes write, but the guys in my squad
make fun of it,” he said. “They think it’s gay.”
“Screw ‘em,” I said. “No one understands poets.
We have to write like we have to breathe.”

We talked on, joined by other poets
downing mugs of inspiration.
They were Marines, Airmen,
Sailors and soldiers, civilian teachers,
contractors and older Americans who had made
Okinawa their home. Gathering
to share their addiction to the printed word.
They encouraged him to continue writing.

After a few more beers, the young poet
turned to me, saying he could tell by my beard
and graying, long hair that I was obviously
not a member of the military.
“What do you do?” he asked.

I smiled and drained my Guinness.

“Yeah,” I mused. “What d’ya do?”

 

Buy my books! The Story So Far and (more) are available at Amazon.com.

https://www.amazon.com/David-Allen/e/B00DT6TM7Y?ref_=pe_1724030_132998060