Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

POEMS FOR dVERSE

Posted: January 19, 2016 in Poetry
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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!
                                                                         
AMERICA REVISTED
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/

Parachute

PARACHUTING
By David Allen

“It was the thrill of a lifetime
A once in a lifetime experience.”

That was the lede of the story
I wrote about the local sky diving club.
The back story was the advice an editor gave
When I pitched the story to him.
“Sounds great,” he said
“Especially if you jump.”
Sure, I thought. Why not?

All during my interview of the instructor
At the local airport I kept thinking to myself,
“I can always back out.”
So, I learned how to strap the parachute on
And practiced jumping off a four-foot stage
Rolling on my side as I hit the ground.

“I can always stay on the plane,” I thought
As we took off with another student.
“I can just sit here,” I reasoned to myself
When the jumper froze after stepping out,
His left foot on a locked wheel,
The other hanging over open space,
His hands tightly clutching the wing strut.
After a few swats on his backside by the instructor,
He pushed himself away, thinking, perhaps,
That falling to the ground was less embarrassing
Than chickening out at the last minute.

Then it was my turn.
The way I always face a challenge
Is to stop overthinking about the danger;
Just do it, get it over with.
I didn’t hesitate to push away from the plane;
I didn’t panic as I started to tumble over
And almost caught my feet in the parachute lines,
A mistake that could cause the chute not to open fully.
I managed to right myself and enjoyed that fall,
Pleased at the view of the Virginia countryside
Climbing towards me.

I landed on the airport tarmac,
Rolling as I had been taught,
And gathered up the parachute.
I walked toward my photographer,
A huge grin stretched across my face.
“Well, that was fun,” I told him.
“You going to join the club?” he asked.
“Hell ,no,” I answered,
“I’d have to pack my own chute
And I’m not that dexterous.”

 
 

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AMERICA REVISTED
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.

 

NOTE: This was a “challenge”poem for The Last Stanza Poetry Association, a group of poets that meet regularly in Elwood, Indiana. The challenge was to write a poem that answers or was inspired by a famous poem. I chose Allen Ginsbergs’ “America.” I used just the first stanza. Here it is:

AMERICA 
by Allen Ginsberg

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January
17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I
need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not
the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back
it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical
joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday
somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid
I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses
in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle
Max after he came over from Russia.

 

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 Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Story-So-Far-David-Allen/dp/0925062480/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397184666&sr=1-13&keywords=the+story+so+far) in paperback and Kindle formats, or by sending me $10 at:

David Allen
803 Avalon Lane
Chesterfield, IN 46017