Posts Tagged ‘David Allen’

64907571_10156620523158403_9070103070880301056_n
My wife and our three Okinawan grandkids in the ICU Waiting Room hoping for good news about their Dad.

ICU WAITING ROOM
By David Allen

It’s the waiting
that gets to me.
Watching the unresponsive
body on the intensive care bed,
multiple tubes inserted
into veins, nose, mouth, and brain.
Hoping for a raised thumb
or hand clutching mine.
But he sleeps a drugged rest
and I shuffle to the waiting room.

Sitting with family and friends.
We’re running out of caring talk.
Some check smart phones
for word from the outside world.
I listen to the prayer circle
in the next family space.
A minister prays for Jesus
to intercede.

In another space, a tv plays
a hospital show. The sound is muted,
but blood clearly drenches victims of a car crash.
It makes me scratch my head.
Watch a hospital fiction while
the real drama plays out
in a dozen rooms down the hall?

There’s a lot going on
in the waiting room.
A young girl combs
her Barbie’s hair,
while her brothers
play with plastic Xmen.
Their mother is curled up
asleep in a recliner.
Behind me, a bottle of soda
is dispensed with a bang
from a drink machine.
Three middle aged men
in black biker vests
look for a seat, find none,
and walk away.

It’s the waiting that gets to you.
How long should you stay
until you feel like you paid
your respects, prayed
and delivered words of caring?
Even though you’re not sure
if they are heard?
Only to drive home to wait again
in more familiar surroundings,
until it’s time to drive back
and wait some more.

59429918_465312427545781_3755254717672849408_n
Cover art by Jenny Kalahar

T‘aint Nothin’
By David Allen

“This writing’s not all
that hard,” he said,
peering over the poet’s shoulder.
“After all, you never
even learned
to type,
and look how
well you do.”
(But he never saw the callused pads
of my type-dancing shoes.)

Buy my latest book, “Type Dancing,” now available from Amazon

ROYAL BABY

ROYALTY
By David Allen

Why do Americans
spend so much time
enraptured by British Royalty?
Baby princes and princesses
take up 5 minutes of the nightly news,
pushing some local story
out of the night’s line up.
And who cares
if the Queen Mother
had a fall and stubbed her toe?
Didn’t we fight two wars against these
born to rule and wealth assholes?
Screw them.
(Hell we have our own
entitled rich to take on.)
So, you want to defend royalty?
Put up your dukes!

JUST OUT! My new book, “Type Dancing” is now available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. Check it out.

 

 

 

David Phones

Daily News
By David Allen

No news today
I’m on vacation;
slept late,
no daily work routine,
no papers to read,
no e-mail to answer,
no radio, TV or
Internet news reports
to slog through.
I’m free.

Until the cell phone rings.
An editor from a thousand
miles away says something
big happened today,
can I drop the nothing
I am doing and log-on?
Make some phone calls?
Get some reaction,
find some local color,
something new to feed
the copy beast?
Can I crank out something
for the next news cycle?

Sure, I say, what the hell,
maybe nothing will happen
tomorrow.

14563580_10154767769769369_7458957767532188184_n

My books are available on Amazon, both paperback and Kindle. If you want a signed copy, email me at david@davidallen.nu. Order your copy today! I am like most poets — poor.

Here’s my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/David-Allen/e/B00DT6TM7Y?ref_=pe_1724030_132998060

ap_02101803931

 

BAWLING FOR COLUMBINE
(Aurora, Phoenix, Oak Creek, Newtown, and Parkland)

“From my cold dead hands,”
Moses spoke, raising his gun,
the angels shuddered.

 

NOTE: This week’s gathering of the Gun Nuts — I mean the National Rifle Association — in Indianapolis sent me back to this poem I wrote after watching Charlton Heston speak at an NRA convention shortly after the Columbine High Massacre 20 years ago.

NOTRE DAME

HISTORY BURNS
By David Allen

The past went up in flames last night
lighting up the Paris sky.
A pyre birthing a billowing plume of smoke
as eight centuries of human religious
and engineering history rose to heaven
as bystanders sang sad hymns.

An accident during renovation
resulted in the devastation
and only the massive stone outer walls
with flying buttresses survived.
The gross gargoyles perched on the walls,
protecting the Gothic treasure from outside forces,
failed to scare away the danger from within.

Destruction of the famous place of prayer
preyed on the hearts of those who watched
in person or a world away glued to their TVs.
An ocean away, Americans cried and flooded
social media with their photo memories
of grander days visiting the world’s most famous church.
“Our Lady of Paris is in flames,” the French President cried.
“It’s sad to see this part of us has burned.”

The architectural wonder has seen fire and destruction in the past —
Protestant factions vandalized it several times,
smashing stained glass windows and ripping heads off statues.
And in the wake of the French Revolution, it was used
as a sanctuary and food warehouse for the poor.
But it was always rebuilt and rose in stature as a World Heritage site.
Officials shook their heads when the flames were doused,
announcing they would not know for weeks
what art treasures and religious relics were lost or
whether the cathedral would ever rise from the ashes.

How ironic the fire came during the Holy Easter week.

I Am the Dog

Posted: April 14, 2019 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , ,

20190408_075725

I AM THE DOG
By David Allen

I am the dog you rescued from the streets
and, though I know you cannot receive my thoughts,
I am sure somehow, someday, you’ll just know
I fell in love with you — and the family — instantly.
We dogs can sense good bipeds.
The scent of the other dogs that had you
throughout the years and lives
told me you were good and special.

I love the way you let me stand my forelegs on your lap,
leaning with excited breaths to kiss your face,
even when it interrupts your meal, or reading, or watching the tube.
I love to poke my head through the paper held before you
to ask if we can play another hour or two
of fetch, or tug-it, or please-let-me-out.
I know you secretly want my attention more
than even the crossword puzzles you plead to let you finish.
And I love lying on your lap luxuriating in your touch,
the massages up and down my back,
and scratching places too hard for me to reach.

And the yard! Oh my, the yard!
I love the holes I dig to bury bones and other treats,
the sticks and branches to tear and gnaw,
the plastic rain gutter I like to displace and drag
through the mud to new hiding sites,
the pillow from the swing I ripped,
strewing stuffing about like newly fallen snow.

I love the tasty treats you give me,
the bones, the rawhide,
the baked bone-shaped cookies
and, oh, that fat covered pig thigh
that took me a month to gnaw clean.

And so many other treats — the toys!
I love to tear up the old stuffed bunny,
cotton flying, ears, eyes, and nose
ripped off in the tugging game
(and I apologize deeply for destroying the pillows
and the arm of the antique chair
when you were gone.
I did not know that was not allowed.)

Oh, and I love the little bipeds that visit,
I greet them with wild tail wagging and jumps up
to tell them I will always be their special playmate.

But there are some things I hate,
like that collar with the metal fittings
that clang on the wooden floor
when I drop for a nap near the door,
and the loud noises you make toward me
for reasons I don’t comprehend.

But, still, it’s love I feel
And when I die, I’ll be sure
to leave a contented scent on your heart
for other dogs to sense.
And I’ll tell those in the dog spirit world
about the good times that I spent here,
that there are good bipeds to like and lick,
despite the horrid tales by that grouchy pug
who still writes poems full of contempt and hate
for Billy Collins, his former keeper,

I read that poet dog’s rhymes and lines
And can say as matter-of-fact
He’s not much of a bard, his heart’s too hard,
He’s really nothing but a hack.

 

NOTE: This poem is in response to Billy Collins’ poem “Revenant.”

The Revenant
By: Billy Collins

I am the dog you put to sleep,
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you—not one bit.

When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.

I resented the way you moved,
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.

I would have run away,
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and—greatest of insults—shake hands without a hand.

I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.

You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.

The jingling of my tags drove me mad.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.

While you slept, I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all of my strength
not to raise my head and howl.

Now I am free of the collar,
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place

except what you already supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner—
that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose.

 

Dead Fish

LEAH’S FISH
By David Allen

While feeding the ducks by the shore
8-year-old Leah saw something
lying in the shallow water
a fish had come too close
and was stranded on some rocks.
It lay on its side, fin flapping,
tail splashing,
trying to set itself aright.
“Oh, poor fishy,” Leah yelled,
running to the water’s edge.
“Pop Pop!
I was too far away to see it struggle.
“Is it dead?” I asked.
“No, it’s moving,” Leah said.
She picked up a small stick and poked it.
The fish shivered and shook
flipping in the shallow water.
Leah poked again.
“How can I help it?”
“Get a bigger stick!”
Leah found a longer limb,
picked it up and ran to the fish.
“Here you go!”
She dug at the rocks under the fish
and yanked up sharply.
The fish flopped a foot into the water,
but it was still stuck.
Leah flipped the fish three more times
and the fish was finally freed.
She wiggled her tail in thanks and swam away.
Leah beamed. “I saved an animal!”
“I never did that before!”
“It’s just your first time,” Pop Pop smiled.

Woodstock

Posted: November 20, 2018 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , ,

PNW16WOODSTOCK02

Whetting my whistle before the music

WOODSTOCK
By David Allen

Hard to believe it’s been almost 50 years since
the high-water mark of the Peace and Love movement —
the Woodstock Music and Art Festival.
I was 21, a year out of the Navy and rock radio stations
were hyping a three-day concert in upstate New York
I thought it’d be a fun camp-out,
something like a Central Park Love In.

I was wrong. It was the most bizarre weekend of my life.

We drove to the event in my friend Jim’s beat-up
old white-and-black Blatz beer van
which he sneaked onto the festival grounds.
With us were my younger siblings,
Kathy, 19, who called herself “Sunshine” back then
and Chuck, 17, known back on Long Island as
“Little Brother Charlton,” lead singer a garage band
called the Psychedelic Freight Train.
Jim and I camped out in the beer truck,
we didn’t see them again until Monday

My memories of the weekend are a haze
of music mixed with adventuring
to the far corners of Max Yasgur’s farm,
listening to tunes at the Hog Farm’s free stage,
skinny-dipping in the lake, hearing the freaked-out rants
of the brown-acid victims, tripping over the bodies of lovers
in mud-caked sleeping bags, wandering down a woodsy path
lined with makeshift booths where hippie trinkets and drugs were sold,
and piling into a semitrailer to get out of the rain.

That’s where my almost brush with fame comes in.
A dozen or so folks had made it to the trailer before us
and before too long the bottles of wine were being passed around.
As Joni Mitchell later sang, we were stardust, we were golden.
At some point, Jim started beating on an empty wine bottle with a stick
and some others joined in and broke into the now famous “Rain Chant.”

We had a sound crew in the trailer with us
and they caught our chant on tape.
It was used as the soundtrack for the scene of mud-caked people
under a cloudy sky sliding through the muck.
in the documentary film of the event.
The chant was simple: “Whoa-o, whoa, whoa, whoa,
peace, peace, peace, peace.”
My kazoo picks up on the chant —
one long buzz followed by four short buzzes.
Toward the end, the kazoo is clearer and louder
and leads straight into the intro to Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice.”

It’s a great segue, I salute the guy who mixed it.
But I never saw a nickel for helping Santana out.
On each anniversary of Woodstock, I play the album
and watch the movie and damn the fates.
I could’ve been a rock star. I could be traveling
with some of my favorite acts from that weekend,
maybe opening for The Who or Arlo Guthrie.
Instead, I’m a retired reporter, an unknown poet.

But what really makes me want to scratch my head bald
is that my sister, now a born-again evangelical, is in the movie.
During one of the film’s rain sequences, the screen splits.
one half shows the stage crew scampering to protect equipment
the other half shows the soaking-wet crowd
hunkering down to keep dry.
All except for one dancing blonde flower child,
her arms raised, welcoming the cooling shower.
That’s my sister. That scene riled me for years
Her picture became an icon for the event,
my kazoo virtuoso went unaccredited.
Bah!

But, maybe it will turn out okay as the 50th-anniversary approaches.
A documentary filmmaker read a news story I wrote
about my plight and wants to put me in his movie.
Hey, maybe I’ll get to play my kazoo again.

Note: Originally published in Stars and Stripes for the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

666521645Chuck and me in the crowd

Ring? Ring?

Posted: July 24, 2018 in Poetry
Tags: , , ,

07work5

Ring? Ring?
By David Allen

I don’t know why they keep calling me
I never buy anything by phone
But several times a day
Bored, poorly paid salesmen call
Offering to sell me something
They swear I need
Only, I don’t.

Blocking their numbers don’t work
They have a system of not just randomly calling people
But also of hiding the numbers they are calling from
Someone must know I never buy anything
They must keep records
I don’t understand why they call.

But I don’t angrily hang up
Or yell, or curse them to hell
The poor guys (or gals) at the other end
Are just doing their job
It’s not personal.

So, I answer the call from U.S. Pharmacy
“You’re selling pharmaceuticals to improve
My love life?” I say. “Sorry, I can assure you
There’s no problem down there
Believe me. Love? I’m always up for it”

Another caller says he’s from a Medicare
Approved provider of back braces
No thanks!” I exclaim. “I’d love to talk,
But I need to get ready for my marathon”
A Wall Street bank phone-banker asks
How much equity I have in my home.

He can arrange an assessment.
“Great, but can you come in a few weeks?
I have some guys in the basement now
Getting rid of mold and a termite control guy
Is scheduled for next week,” I say
“Maybe he could come after they
Reinforce my home’s foundation?”
Sometimes it’s not until I mention the police raid
On the crack house across the street that
They end their call.

I don’t know why they keep calling
I never buy anything
Or… maybe they have another purpose
Maybe they’re lonely and need a break from
The clicks and curses that fill their bored days
Maybe my name’s on a list that says
“For a laugh call …”