Posts Tagged ‘Last Stanza Poetry’

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Death by exasperation  by Robert Williams

I have always been a fan of poetry challenges and this one was a doozy. The leader of our group, the Last Stanza Poetry Association, showed us some weird art by Robert Williams and challenged us to write a poem about them for the next meeting. I chose to use the titles of the paintings.

Here’s the list: Death by Exasperation, Pathos in Paper Mache, The Fraught Proposal, Purple as an Inexplicable Color, A Farce on an Extravagant Scale, Fast Food Purgatory, Wooden Spirits Persist Where Termites Fear to Tread, Swap Meet Sally,  Flight of the Lost Dodo, Art’s Triumph Over Substance, A Carouser’s Ode to Sentimentality, Mathematics Takes a holiday The Notion that Lurks Inevitably Between Two Adjacent Thoughts, Irene Interfacing with an Astrodynamic Epiphany, Greater Concerns than Mere Puppetry, and Gimme,  Gimme, Gimme.

 

Here are my poems 

IN THE MORGUE
By David Allen

“It was a death by exasperation,” the coroner said.
“She just couldn’t take the fraught proposal that
Her whole life was just a farce on an extravagant scale.”
“Yeah, Swap Meet Sally believed she lived
In a fast food purgatory,” the reporter said,
Looking over the coroner’s shoulder.
“I knew her from her days at the lumber mill,
She thought it was haunted. Said it was
where wooden spirits persist, you know,
where termites feared to tread.
How old was she?”
  “I don’t know,” said the coroner.
“With her, mathematics takes a holiday.
“What’s that lying next to her?” the reporter asked,
Pointing to a torn paper lantern.
A note said it was a pathos in paper mache,”
The coroner said. “It was titled Flight of the lost dodo.”
“Gee, it’s sort’ve art’s triumph over substance. No?”
Who knows,” the coroner said, rearranging the corpse’s arms.
“Look at this. I call this position Irene Interfacing
with an Astrodynamic Epiphany.”
“Do you always play with your subjects?” the reporter asked.
“There are greater concerns than mere puppetry. No?”
“It’s my way of defining the notion that lurks inevitably
Between two adjacent thoughts,” the coroner answered.
“Hmm, interesting,” the reporter said. “Let me try.
C’mon, gimme gimme gimme. “
 

Here’s my second poem:

ROUGH STUFF
By David Allen

I’m in a fast food purgatory
Eating in a McDonald’s
Because I needed to use the free wifi.
But, as I read my email,
Rednecks at the nearby table
Are talking loudly, proudly
About Trump’s most recent tweets.
If I stay here I face
Death by exasperation,
For this a farce on an extravagant scale,
And I feel I will be the punchline,
Considering the fraught proposal
That I am about to deliver to the Trumpites,
Harsh words purple as an inexplicable color.
I search my mind for the perfect phrase
That will shame them,
Hoping to be so clever that I’ll create
The putdown to art’s triumph on sustenance.
But, as I am about to deliver the notion that lurks
Between two adjacent thoughts,
The Trumpers get up and walk out,
Leaving trash on the table,
And I merely scribble my feelings
In my notebook, a pathos in paper,
Remembering my own foolish behavior on
Drunken nights.
My silence is a carouser’s ode to sentimentality.

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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