Posts Tagged ‘poem’

NEwsroom

Newsrooms, Petersburg (Va.)Progress-Index, 1978.

ON DEADLINE
By David Allen

The one thing I miss the most
about those busy newspaper days
is the energy rush responding
to calls on the police radio;
racing to beat the ambulances
and squad cars to the scene
of accidents and crimes.
Yeah, I was a disaster junky.
“Hey, Allen, we got two hours!”
an editor once shouted
as I left the noisy newsroom
to chase down a missing child report.
“You want a two or three hanky story?”
I yelled back, stuffing a notebook into
my back pocket as I scurried away.
I usually got to view the bodies
before the police tape went up
and interviewed families
before the news horde arrived.
My newsmates dubbed me “Dr. Death”
and my cubicle was roped off
by yellow police tape.
A sign above my desk read:
“Deadlines Amuse Me.”
The police radio always played
in the background – at work,
at play, and beside my bed at night.

Late in my career, in the Far East
as a Bureau Chief for Stars and Stripes,
the police radio was replaced
by emergency broadcasts
warning of typhoons, tsunamis,
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

I never examined why I was drawn
to the darker side of life
until I retired and pondered
about the emptiness I felt
when sirens wailed in the distance
and I didn’t have to go.
I loved chasing the news
because that’s when I felt alive.
And I told the stories better
than anybody else.

The Reporter 1979 (2)

Cop reporter at the Petersburg (Va.) Progress Index 1978.

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The Funeral

Posted: February 4, 2017 in Poetry
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nan-nan-and-her-grandkids-about-1960

THE FUNERAL
By David Allen

The chapel smelled sweet
flowers surrounded the coffin
that displayed my grandmother,
my Nan Nan, with a smile on her lips
that was foreign to the face.
 
She had never looked like that.
Her living smile was more subtle
quick to bend when a barrage of words
annoyingly asked why I was staring at her.
But I knew her secret — she just acted tough.
She was a former police matron who
acquired a thick shell that hid her true feelings.

But I knew better.
She was more than my grandmother,
she was my friend, the pal I ran to
when the drama at home became strained.
I was her first grandchild, her “Little Monkey.”
She always had a banana for me
and was repaid with a puppy dog hug.

The person in the casket
Was not my Nan Nan.
She was always larger than life,
this body was dead.

I was on leave from the Navy
and stood there in my uniform
weirdly feeling I was wearing some
new outfit she’d bought just for me.

Ten rows of chairs, eight across, filled the room.
Few were used; most of the attendees congregated
in the rear of the room, animatedly chatting
about anything other than my why they were there.
They caught up on the adventures of acquaintances
and introduced new additions to their families.

They hushed as a priest led the small group in prayer.
He never knew her, but called her a “Good Soul” anyway.
It was strange to hear him call her Charlotte.
That made it even tougher for me to believe
the still body behind him was my old friend.

When the priest finished, my grandfather,
my Pop Pop, slowly approached the coffin.
His weathered face contorted in a painful frown
as he bent over the top of the casket .
His trembling hand softly touched the corpse’s cheek.
He kissed her and trembled, shaking as he turned.
The mortician gently helped him walk away.

His two sons, Nan Nan’s stepsons , kissed her next.
Then, in an order unrehearsed, it was my turn.
I knelt before the box and fought my fear.
I felt like a child again, worried she’d yell if I stared.
Shaking, I stood and leaned over the coffin.
She was covered with a blanket from the waist down
so no one would see she had but one leg,
the other was amputated years ago, a sacrifice to diabetes.
She was pale. The funeral parlor make-up was unnatural.
I hesitated, then kissed a cold cheek and turned away.
I had touched my lips to a powdered statue.

I walked away sobbing softly to myself
and joined Pop Pop in the foyer, holding him,
his head resting on my shoulder as we watched
others file by the coffin, their conversations resuming
after shaking his hand and heading for the parking lot.
Pop Pop and I were alone after the casket was carried away.
I slowly turned and looked into his sad eyes

“That’s not Nan Nan,” I said
“I know, son,” he sighed. “I know.”

Note: The picture is of Nan Nan, our grandmother, and the Allen kids (l to : David, Donald, Michael, Jean, Kathy, Chuck and Ricky in Nan Nan’s arms). Circa 1960, Roslyn Heights, Long island.

MY MUSE COOK

Posted: December 24, 2016 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , ,

muse-cook-1

MY MUSE COOK
By David Allen
 
She reads cookbooks
Like Romance novels,
Dog-earing pages
For future kitchen trysts.
She whips up wonders,
Finessing the recipes,
Adding her signature touch,
Transforming deserts
Like Black Forest Trifle
Into “Oohies” that words
Cannot describe.
She holds kitchen court
With our grandkids,
Crushing Oreo cookies,
Sifting, pouring, stirring.
Flour covered faces and hands
Announce another magic cheesecake
Has been born.

A CHRISTMAS TALE

Posted: December 22, 2016 in Poetry
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A CHRISTMAS TALE
By David Allen
 
This is the giving time of year
To do something for others
Not as well off as you

One of my clearest memories
Of this merry time of year
Has little to do with decorating trees
Unwrapping presents, or a Christmas feast.
It’s the day I sat in my paper’s district office
After helping the manager cover unclaimed routes.
I was 13 and getting ready to bike back
To my family’s housing project home
When I paged through the paper
And casually came to the list of needy families
The Paper – Long island’s Newsday – was sponsoring

I came across a dead-on description of my family’s plight.
There was no doubt the woman with seven children
And a husband who had lost his post office job
Due to self-medicating mental wounds from the war
Was my mom, a suspicion confirmed Christmas morning
When we opened more presents than we’d seen in years,
New toys and clothes, not the hand-me-downs of Christmas past
People unknown to us gave us the best holiday ever

Now, decades later, my wife and I give what we can
To brighten the season for others,
Perhaps hats and gloves for the homeless,
Or bags of food for women and children
Huddled in domestic abuse shelters.
It’s the giving time of year, you see
Time for sharing with those much more needy.

 

 

 

Winding Way

Posted: October 28, 2016 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , ,

winding-way

WINDING WAY
By David Allen

There’s a street in town
called Winding Way
that I swear was designed by fiends.
I turned onto it once to find a yard sale
and spent hours lost in a puzzling scene.
No matter the way, straight, left or right,
I passed the same playgrounds, houses and lots.
And when I turned onto a side street ,
like some horror book plot,
it dumped me back on Winding Way.

Confused and dazed, I thought
this was some awful dream.
This is what Hades must be like.
Searching to find some value in life,
I was just spinning my wheels
My whole life was a Winding Way.

But finally, like most fruitless quests,
this one did come to an end.
And I was able to wend my way out
onto a main road, where my growling gut told
me I’d best stop for some food and a drink.
I found a drive-in, but had to skip it when
I read the sign on the “Steak City” board
advertisimg burgers and something called “Phyllis.”

Was this some misspelling for a Philly Steak?
Or was it something more chilling?
Had some poor Phyllis died
On her Winding Way drive
And her body cooked up by some villain?
I didn’t dare ask, and instead just passed
What surely must be the village’s cannibal diner.

 

phyllis-steak

dental-fuss

Dental Fuss
By David Allen

Went to the dentist today
And, as I was being prepped
For another root canal,
I checked out his new goatee.

“So, is that so you won’t
Be recognized when
You go out in public?”
I asked.

Silence.

A pain-filled hour later
I realized I
Never did have
Good comedic timing

revolutionary-war-15839

It’s in My Blood
By David Allen

Some 240 years ago
Several Allens fought
For American independence
From the British Royal Crown.
While great x-times
Cousin Ethan Allen
Led his Green Mountain Boys
In a revolutionary rampage,
The Allen clan on Long Island’s
North Shore kept Great Neck
A rebel island amidst
Tory King’s County.
One young Allen lad
Even signed up to beat the drum
For General Washington’s troops.
And was wounded
During the Battle of New York.
So, how’s this history feel
After all these generations?
Not so free,
Not so independent.
The Democracy the
Founding fathers fostered
Has become an oligarchy.
We’re ruled by the corporate elite,
The new royalty.
Maybe it’s time for a new …

Um, maybe tomorrow,
Tonight we’re binge watching
Game of Thrones.

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I AM WAITING, TOO
By David Allen
(With apologies to Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

I am waiting for my time to arrive
And I am waiting
For a renewed Age of Reason
And I am waiting for a woman
To be elected president
And drive the Teabaggers crazy
And I am waiting
For the world’s religious leaders
To agree to coexisit.
And I am waiting for the rich
To pay their fair share
And I am waiting for when
No child goes hungry
And I am waiting for the day
When the pen defeats the sword
And I am waiting for the time
Poets will be revered
As much as NFL quarterbacks
An I am waiting
For Social Security to be secure
And health care guaranteed
And I am waiting
For a renewed Age of Reason.

I am waiting for my ducks
To line up in a row
And I am waiting
For that one winning scratch off card
And I am waiting
For an early spring
And for fences to be mended
And potholes to be filled
And I am waiting
To hear Dylan live one more time
And I am waiting
For a cure for cancer
And an end to Monsanto food
And I am still waiting
For a renewed Age of Reason.

I am waiting
For the perfect cheeseburger
And I am waiting
For a time when being gay
Is no big deal.
And I am waiting
For my wife to admit
That I am funny
And can sing.
And I am waiting for the U.S.
To end being Cops of the World
And peace is given a real chance
And I am waiting
To regain my balance
And throw away my cane
And I remain waiting
For a new Age of Reason.

don't let poetry die

 

WORDS
By David Allen

Nameless nouns
Nod at the nuanced
Adjectives attracting
All the attention
Of the adverbs,
As the verbs ventilate
Their vile visions
Of the poems poured
Painfully from pens
The poet pressed
To the page.

 

 

Graduation

  Advice For College Grads

I

To new grads:
Don’t take any advice
Without a ton of salt
Especially from me.
 
II
 

So, you want to go
Into journalism?
Well, first grab
Your forearm.
Pinch it.
Then take out
Your wallet.
Feel it.
That’s your future
As a journalist.
You’ll have to be
Thick skinned and
Be satisfied with
A thin wallet.

 III
 

It does no good
To piss and moan.
It’s better to just
Drink your beer
And piss.