Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Pumpkin Prize

Posted: October 18, 2021 in Poetry
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       Pumpkin Prize
       By David Allen

I’m a bumpkin for pumpkins
pies, bread, and pudding,
and spice in my coffee
on cool Autumn morns.

As I drive around town
I see them on stoops, 
stairs, and porches;
gutted and carved
in Halloween screams.

I wonder if any of the gourd artists   
know the legend of Jack O’Lantern,
the Irish drunkard and fast-talking conman
who scammed Satan during a drinking game
into freeing him from Hades.

The centuries-old myth
claims Jack didn’t realize
the Pearly Gates were also
locked for him and, forlorn,
he begged Satan to take him back.

Satan refused. 
But, admiring Jack’s evil,
presented him an ember
to place inside a hollowed-out pumpkin.

A pumpkin prize 
to light Jack’s endless trek
through the netherworld.

The First Leaf

Posted: October 17, 2021 in Poetry
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The First Leaf
By David Allen 

I am the first leaf to fall,
marking the way for my family 
to follow when the days cool
and the trees evict them.
Some drop straight down 
in a suicidal plunge,
others find a breeze 
and swirl away in a last dance.
Eventually we blanket the lawn. 
creating a colorful carpet
until we shrivel and surrender
to winter's woes.

 



Toby Tyler

Posted: October 2, 2021 in Poetry
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TOBY TYLER
By David Allen

“See the elephants,
see the clowns,
see the county police
shut the circus down”

An editor once said 
my story ledes
were pure poetry.
And I was on a roll
in Fort Wayne in 1986.
I was responsible for kicking 
the Toby Tyler Circus out of town. 
and had tons of fun doing it.

The small-time circus
was slated to set 
up its tents in the city’s
Coliseum parking lot..
But the penny-pinching 
pachyderm show had left 
a path of collapsing bleachers
and broken bones in its wake..

“If the circus is coming to town
it better stop by an insurance office first,” 
I chuckled as I wrote..

Citing lack of adequate insurance,
the city balked and the one-ring 
sorry excuse for a great show
searched for a new local venue.

t finally found a farm lot
just north of the city.

“There was a bunch of midgets
putting up a tent in my backyard,”
a bewildered man who rented 
a house on the property said.
The lot owner neglected to
tell him the circus was coming.

About 150 spectators saw
the opening act before police 
closed the circus down.
It left town that night

So, yeah, I killed the circus,
And all the clowns, elephants,
lions, tigers, and bears.

Oh my!


NOTE: This one of three of my poems included in The Last Stanza Poetry Journal (6).  It's a great quarterly  anthology. Get your copy from Amazon.
 
 
 


Remembering

Posted: September 30, 2021 in Poetry
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REMEMBERING
By David Allen

For decades I was 
the elephant in the room,
jotting down what I saw and heard
when I attended trials and responded
to wrecks, fires, murders and mayhem..
I typed up what I saw and heard
and editors splashed the stories
across newspaper pages.

We were the community’s memory.

I spent 20 years 
reporting in the Far East.
On the fiftieth anniversary
of the War in the Pacific
I interviewed scores of veterans,
sharing their memories of  those
harrowing, island-hopping days.

A decade ago I retired
from newspapers and
threw myself into poetry,
remembering in verse
all I experienced
in a life full of words.

 
NOTE: This is one of three poems of mine featured In the new issue of The Last Stanza Poetry Journal (Issue six). It's an excellent magazine. Get it at Amazon.com.

Riding the Elephant

Posted: September 28, 2021 in Poetry
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RIDING THE ELEPHANT
By David Allen

Thailand’s Sin City glowed at night,
neon signs lit Pattaya’s streets packed 
with American sailors and Marines 
who jostled European tourists seeking
drugs, booze and unbridled sex.

I was there to report on
joint military maneuvers,
but was struck silly 
by the maneuvers of
the "Buy-Me-Drinky”' gals 
dressed in schoolgirl uniforms,
plaid skirts and light blue blouses.
They performed bumps and grinds
in club doorways, promising wild sex.

Scantily clad waitresses in the hotel lobby 
knelt next to my chair, gingerly holding
cups to my lips as I sipped my drinks.
Outside, the streets sported cocktail bus-pubs,
and older prostitutes called from darkened doorways, 
that hid their age-warped bodies, selling themselves
for a few Thai bahts or Yankee bucks.

I spent most of my time in my hotel room 
writing about how the day’s exercise went, 
sending the story to my editors in Tokyo,
calling my wife a half ocean away,
and fending off a hallway hostess 
who wanted to give me an hour of 
"the best ever sexual deep massage." 

In the hotel restaurant I saw 
a family with two children 
and asked my interpreter
where they would go for fun.
Besides a few religious shrines,
where would a tourist in 
Sin City take a child?
Even the beautiful beaches 
swarmed with sex.

He laughed and drove me to a zoo 
where children perched on baby elephants 
that were led around a small circular track.
He was taken aback when I asked
if I could scramble atop one and go for a ride.
I didn’t care about seeming silly and laughed 
as I climbed up on Dumbo for what was
the highpoint of my trip to Thailand’s 
version of Sodom and Gomorrah

NOTE: This is one of three poems of mine in the new Last Stanza Poetry Journal (Vol 6). Be sure to order from Amazon.

Sunladen

Posted: September 19, 2021 in Poetry
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SUNLADEN
By David Allen

She was a sunladen maiden,
a bronzed beauty
born of sunkissed beaches
and winter tanning beds.
But the ultraviolent rays
photoaged her
and her darkened skin
turned leathery,
with wallowed wrinkles
and blotched barnacles.
Cancer threatened her days.
She had been sunsuckered.
Brown is beautiful,
the fashion mags stressed.
And now she’s sunsundered,
cloaked head-to-toe
to hide the tandamage. 

NOTE: This poem was a challenge from the Last stanza Poetry Association to write a poem with invented words that sound like they're not. Did you stumble over them?




My Son, the Survivor

Posted: August 6, 2021 in Poetry
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Today is my youngest son’s 37th birthday. A couple of years ago he went into a coma after an old friend gave him a “kill shot” with the intent to rob him. We didn’t know if he’d survive a week, let alone recover. He has since married and moved on, still suffering from short-term memory and other symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. But he’s keeping on keeping on!
Here are poems we wrote about his bad trip.

I CAN’T SLEEP
By David Allen

I can’t sleep
while my son sleeps
this troubled sleep.
A seizure slapped his skull
with a wash of blood
that squeezed his brain
and forced the sleep
with eyes rolled up
and shaking limbs.
A tube plunged down his throat
helps him breathe,
while one in his skull
drains the invading blood.
And we caress him
and hold his hands
and give assurances
of undying love,
as he sleeps
the drug-induced sleep
from which we were told
might never end.
I can’t sleep
while my son sleeps
what well might be
the final dream
about what may
or may not come next.


I WAS ASLEEP
By Matthew Allen

I was asleep for two weeks.
Then I woke up relearning how to speak,
walking on legs that were already weak.
I asked if the hemorrhage was from the tweak.
 Yup
The tweak exploded a vein in my brain 
causing a blood clot,
killin’ parts of the gray matter
that controlled movement on my left side,
my speech, and short term memory. 
It was a little like blowin’ a head gasket
or having a water pipe burst 
and flood the basement.
I’ll tell you about it,
but, don’t ask me too much.
I don’t know why my “friends ”
gave me what the cops called
a “kill shot” to knock me out
and steal stuff from my Dad’s house.
The docs are telling me my memory 
May not ever be the same,
But I know one thing --I’m still fightin’ and will get better
While those “friends” rot in prison.
Matt’s children flew in from Okinawa to visit him. No one knew if he recover or die


Matt and his wife Heather

The Chunky Mouse

Posted: March 26, 2021 in Poetry

Wanderlust

Posted: September 1, 2020 in Poetry
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WANDERLUST
By David Allen

It's a wonder my parents
didn’t get in trouble 
for letting me run free.
From as far back as I remember,
I did things that could have 
brought charges of child neglect
for allowing me to run wild.

I am the oldest of seven children 
and gladly surrendered the role
of mother's little helper
to my sister, two years younger, 
while I discovered the world. 

Trespassing was my usual crime.
Abandoned homes, factories, 
military bases, and the estates 
of Roaring Twenties millionaires,
decayed after the Depression.
They were my playground.

I never knew what I might find
Signs of a ghost?
Old books, photos?
Remains of animals?
Forgotten paintings?
Broken statues?
Stairways to the sky?

I once found the blackened
remainder of a forgotten pie
in an old wood oven.
In a mildewed closet,
I discovered a half-filled diary
that ended with a huge 
hand-drawn exclamation point.
In a flooded factory basement
I used a wooden door as a raft.

I was lucky no one
ever confronted me
as I sought what remained 
when life moved on 
to other structures
and other worlds.
 

No Flow

Posted: July 8, 2020 in Poetry
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No Flow
By David Allen

I wonder 
If the reason 
My fountain pen
Fails to write
An impressive 
Bold black line
Is the same
As my current
Writer's block.

The ink,
Like the words,
Just refuses
To flow.