Archive for September, 2015


By David Allen

I’m torn on the idea of graveyards.
Oh, I’d roam through them as shortcuts
And use them as playgrounds as a kid;
They were great for hide and seek.
Much later, I thought they were
Fitting reminders of those who came before us;
Some who died in battle,
Testaments to lives, lived and lost.
But for family grave plots?
Maybe for a generation or two
Some relatives or descendants  
Would place flowers, say a prayer,
Or maybe just meditate on memories.
But, what then? As the generations pass
How many headstones are forgotten?
How many graveyards abandoned?

Let me tell you about one.
Headstones were discovered not so long ago
Stacked against a fence in the backyard of a home
In Great Neck, Long Island,
A place settled by Allens in the late 1600s.
On what was then called Madnan’s Neck.
(Mad Nan was an earlier settler
Who struck her family and friends as a bit loopy.)

The headstones were in a small family graveyard
Started sometime by Daniel Allen in the early 1800s.
In 1938, his great-nephew died and left $500
For the upkeep of the cemetery.
The money was never used.
The family moved on,
Spreading throughout Long Island and points west.
The headstones stood alone and lonely
Then a subdivision fenced the cemetery
Into a small triangle between two backyards.
Sometime early this century the headstones were moved
To make room for a new shed and swing set.

News accounts are not clear on how
The headstones were rediscovered.
But studies of old records were made
And a search of the nearby grounds
Unearthed seven crumbling caskets
Forgotten during the busy decades
Since their, no-doubt, well attended funerals.
They were moved to a corner lot
And reclaimed by the town.

It might be interesting to visit one day,
Out of curiosity.
I am torn. I didn’t know the interred;
I heard no family stories about them.
And why should it matter?
Maybe a part of them lies within me
Perhaps that’s the only memorial
That really counts.


From the Great Neck Record:

Cemetery Project to Move Forward
May 24, 2014

There’s renewed hope that plans for the restoration and preservation of the Allen Cemetery, a 20-foot by 10-foot abandoned property nextled between the backyards of two homes on Pearce Place in Great Neck Plaza can soon move forward. ed property nestled between the backyards of two homes on Pearce Place in Great Neck Plaza can soon move forward. 

The optimism for the project’s completion came from the Town of North Hempstead’s historian Howard Kroplick during his appearance last week as a guest of the Great Neck Historical Society. “We’re going to be meeting with the Great Neck Plaza people, probably, within the next month,” said Kroplick, “and really come up with a plan. We’ve been working with them for about a year-and-a-half.”

“We’ve been working not only with the Plaza but with the Great Neck Historical Society on it, and with the Allen family, too,” he added. “We had to get all of our legal documents together.”

images (9)

By David Allen

I walked to your
back door last night
and saw two legs standing
where mine might have been.
I panicked, stepped backwards
down the stoop steps,
retreated to the side of the house
and plotted.
Then I knocked on your door.
“Are you coming?” I asked.
You were confused, drunk,
shaken by his visit —
but smiling.
“How are you?” I asked his beard.
“I’m coming from behind my mask,”
he said. “My ass,” I thought.
You said you’d be along

I waited through the long night
for your scream
or a slamming door.

telephone 1

By David Allen

do you
tell a
that it

It’s heard
it all
It knows
what rings

It gets
the message.
It knows
and what’s
off the hook.

what do
you tell
a phone?

don’t trust it,
it’s dropped a dime
on everyone
you know.

It’s tapped
into the
party line
that sometimes
gets crossed
and leaves
you disconnected.


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 Order your copy today! I am like most poets — poor.

(more) Cover

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.



Like my poetry? Then buy my book, “The Story So Far,” published by Writers Ink Press, Long Island, N.Y. You can find it on ( in paperback and Kindle formats, or by sending me $10 at:

David Allen
803 Avalon Lane
Chesterfield, IN 46017

Here’s what Fulbright Poet and former Suffolk County N.Y. Poet Laureate David Axelrod had to say in the book’s preface:

Poets are allowed to make lists to tell us their “Story So Far,” as long as it’s an interesting list. David Allen’s is and thus, so are his poems—a good life that makes a good read. American poets, in other countries, are sometimes chided for taking even little details from their lives and turning them into poetry. That’s a large part of the art that David Allen has mastered—solidly, happily in the American tradition.

Allen is not averse to autobiography, not needing that mask of fiction behind which so many artists hide. Of course that is true in his title poem which catalogs his personal journey. It is most poignant in poems such as “Requiem for My Father,” which recites a litany of pain and in so doing purges the past, leaving a “demon-less Dad.” He writes to atone for the fact that “I Never Wrote a Poem About My Mother,” creating a poem even more powerful because it celebrates a life that was so often bullied into a position of powerlessness.

Allen’s poems are a often a plain song in performance of a homey philosophy. For those who search for god, “In the Country” asks “if god/ is afraid of the dark.” In “No Sense,” we contemplate a god who “is either/ absent minded,/ a practical joker,/ or a sadist.” His “Meaning” is something you can “put…in your pocket…go off whistling/ down the street.”

“Anticipation,” delights us with music “like a cool chill on a steaming/ day of city summer stranger streets.” “Nightmares,” turns philosophy into a song, something Allen may have learned from his father who “plays the mandolin/ when life begins to close him in.” Allen even has moments one could liken to Emily Dickinson, as in “Underneath.”

The Pulitzer-prize-winning poet Louis Simpson, himself inclined to cataloging the oddities of “American Poetry,” has also noted that many poets seem to want to be novelists. Allen himself, in “The Final Chapter,” promises “No more novel, play or poem similes.” Luckily, he contradicts this pronouncement many times in this book. His relaxed lines and narrative tendencies might remind you of “novel.” In truth, he has a professional journalist’s talent for writing good lead lines, a poet’s ear for music and the strong endings of a story writer. Blending forms, he is a poet who more than gives us—he gifts us his life in poetry!

He explains his modus operandi in “Running” noting how writing has been his refuge and salvation even as “book walls crumbled/ and, crippled, I learned to crawl.” Indeed, he’s gone much further than that humble admission in the Story So Far. He puts a well-earned, positive slant on his accomplishments in “Seesaw Sensations,” exclaiming “Ah, so this is living.” Hooray for David Allen’s courage, creativity and poetry!

David B. Axelrod, Fulbright Poet


Posted: September 12, 2015 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , ,


  By David Allen

once upon a time,
i found the secret
to the truth
to protect my sanity,
i smashed it
with a rock
and destroyed all trace
of the liar.


By David Allen

Freedom’s not a breakfast food,
I don’t care what cummings said.
It’s the ghost of Freedomland USA,
A short-lived amusement park
With a history theme in the Bronx,
Acres forming a large map of America –
It had New York harbor tugs
And horse-drawn trolleys,
A 19th century brewery, a Jewish deli,
And old Chicago was set afire every 20 minutes.
There was Elsie the Cow in the Midwest,
San Francisco’s Chinatown and the Barbary Coast,
New Orleans Mardis Gras parades
And a huge King Rex carousel.

This gala celebration of America
Lasted barely five years in the early 60s,
Dying from lack of easy access
To the crowds from Jersey and Long Island
And the tourists downtown.

But the thing I remember
About Freedomland most
Are the fights that broke out
Between teenaged newsboys
There for a fun-filled night of freedom
Bought by new subscriptions.
Those who planned the boys night out
Failed to understand they couldn’t
Put us Newsday kids with lads
From the Long Island Press,
Our longstanding rivalry got out of hand.



By David Allen

 I’m glad I’m not young.
I believe we are leaving a hell
for our children
and their children.
(if they live that long).

They inherit the public’s
doubt that Climate Change,
a scientific theory
supported by 97 percent
of scientists and denied
by the majority of our
dumbed down politicians,
who believe money
from the coal and gas
conglomerates outweighs logic. 

And only 38 percent
of Americans believe
the coming warming is real.
They’re too busy
texting each other
about their day.
The future will be a shock to them.

 Many scientists believe
Global Warming
is now irreversible.
So, enjoy the winters
and green fields of corn
while you can.
Your great-great grandchildren
will have to move to
Canada to survive.