Archive for June, 2018

NEwsroom

Petersburg, Va. Progress-Index newsroom 1978
 

NOW IT’S PERSONAL
By David Allen

Okay, now it’s personal.
Five journalists were shot dead
Today in a Maryland newsroom
By a maniac upset about a years-old story
That named him a harasser, a serial nut job.
He shot his way through a glass door
And unloaded his shotgun
At people dodging for cover.

Years ago, that could have been me.
For almost four decades I covered the news,
I was threatened many times
By people upset by the truths
My stories uncovered.
Once, I received a note,
Cut-out letters pasted on
An ink-stained piece of paper.
My name was at the top
Of a list of editors and the city mayor,
Declaring, “Death to you.
Death to your families.”
I laughed and photocopied
The note before calling the police.
I reveled at being named first.

I’m not sure I’d laugh today
Violence in this country is rampant
Madmen act out their threats with guns.
I cry for those killed today
And seethe with anger.

But then I remember
Advice I once saw written
On a Japanese tee shirt:
“Don’t let the teardrops
Rust your shining heart.”

I’ll try
But it’s getting damn hard.

*NOTE: The threat I received was at the Fort Wayne, IN, News-Sentinel, but I don’t have a photo of that newsroom.

 

 

Slow Motion Wait

Posted: June 28, 2018 in Poetry
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tv-waiting-room

Slow Motion Wait
By David Allen

The TV in the auto dealership waiting room
Is playing Days of Our Lives.
“Like sand in an hourglass
So are the days of our lives.”
(cue the theme song)

That’s my life today
Nothing to do but wait
While my car gets its 80,000-mile check
Because there’s no one available
To take me to lunch.

Slowly, the grains of sand fall
Maybe a dozen a second
As I ache for a remote control
So I can change the channel
To turn off the damn drama.
But two old ladies in chairs
Across the room are paying
Rapt attention to the soap.

It’s killing me.

I’m in no mood for crosswords.
I mean puzzles,
There’s plenty of obscenities
Lodged in my mind about
The wait
My aching bones
Our crazed POTUS

But I remain silent
Waiting.

I am already preparing
For the time after the oil change,
Tire rotation, and other routine checks,
When the car service guy
Will come in and pleasantly say
“Hi, Mr. Allen. Well we’re done
And your car’s ready. And did you know…
Blah, blah, blah needs to be fixed?
Do you want to set a date?”

I know it will cost me more
Than I can afford.
And I’ll nod and thank him and
Politely say, I’ll think about it
“What will today’s bill be?”

We have the same conversation
Every time I come here.
I’d go elsewhere,
But it’s cheap here.
I am a VIP.

Just as I start to erase those thoughts,
I hear someone say “Sometimes,
I wish I were someplace else.”
“Me, too, pal,” I mutter, realizing
It’s the man hunk on the screen.
His woman says something I don’t quite get.
I wish I had been paying more attention to the show.

“Sometimes, I wish I were someone else,”
The tube guy whispers.
“Well, yeah,” I start, but am interrupted
By a voice behind me.

“Mr. Allen, your car’s ready.
Now the brakes are squeaky … “

Angry

Posted: June 22, 2018 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , ,

deadline.comtime1

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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Memorial-Day-Images-2018
memorialdaypictures.org

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.