Posted: January 19, 2016 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , ,


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!
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/

  1. whimsygizmo says:

    Powerful pieces, both.


  2. Sienna says:

    “To bite the hand
    that feeds you is not a crime,
    but a compliment.” … No kidding.

    “What sin did they commit to
    have to keep their thoughts to themselves?” … I’d like to know this as well.

    “Chase your balls” … Ha.

    “My mind is made up, there’s going to be trouble.
    You should have seen me reading Bukowski.” … I love this.

    I enjoyed your work. Thank you for sharing.


  3. Mary says:

    Wow, David, these are both brilliant. As a dog lover, I especially got into your first one. You really captured the mentality of the canine, and loved the characterization of the bipeds, of which I am one. Smiles. “The wild dog you invited to share your campfire is within us.” — so true. Something we bipeds sometime forget. Oh I could mention so many favorite lines. Your second one is impressive too…some strong truths there, many of which made me nod. Thanks for participating at dVerse, and hope to see you again!


  4. Crimes of domestication..
    humans come first..
    prehensile thumb
    scratches alphabet
    with sticks in
    sand.. sanskrit
    comes next..
    tools become
    human.. human
    no longer free
    and wild..
    sit in Kennels
    behind screens
    no less than ‘scream’..:)


  5. Oh this is so darn brilliant… two excellent responses… Howl is a great springboard to write poetry and the dog perspective is very much to the point.. who do we really think that we are. I cannot comment so much on America, as I think it’s mostly a problem for the American people… but we see the results of American foreign policy every day… I meet people in the subway every day who wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for war in Middle East…


  6. Love the first one. Great take on Howl


  7. Bodhirose says:

    I love both of your poems and was particularly amused by your howl/dog narration. Dogs are unbelievably patient with us bipeds! Sadly, your America observations are all too true…ugh.


  8. Glenn Buttkus says:

    America, America, a film by Kazan, an immigrant dream until recently; a nation of, built by & maintained by immigrants suddenly panicking, like we did with the internment camps during WWII; complex issues, no easy or immediate solutions. You doubled our pleasure with this fine pair of Ginsberg responses. He has always been one of my ersatz mentors; all the Beat poets actually.


  9. Grace says:

    You just let it rip….I admire both pieces ~ Thanks for sharing this ~


  10. C.C. says:

    Love the perspective of voice in the first one 🙂


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