Posts Tagged ‘poems’

Railroad Crossing

MEDITATION STOP
By David Allen

Waiting at the train crossing,
a chance to meditate,
ridding pent up stress
to the clickity-clack staccato
of metal twirling on metal.
The alarms keep dinging
and the engineer wails
on his horn as the
flashing red lights hypnotize
the waiting drivers,
who impatiently
lay on their horns
at the dazed lead driver
when crossing arms are raised
and the bells are silenced.

ScottApril

Musings on Scott’s Departure
By David Allen

The poets are gathered again tonight
Jet-streams of thought are taking flight
Riding on rhythms of rhyming verse,
Sometimes free-form, some long, some terse.
Poems to soothe the savage beast
Or to assist in the beast’s release.
And there’s nothing more savage on a given night
Than poems by Scott – Sir Walter’s right
On target with tomes that suck you in
Like quicksand or a desert whirlwind.
Our sorrow tonight is in Scott’s departing
Just as most of us were starting
To see the sanity in his weavings,
Like seeing the pattern in a spider’s web.
(Getting past the horror of the spider’s leavings.)
“Oh, what a tangled web he weaves!”
But now, I confess, I once did deceive
When I told him he was good –
“But not that good!”
Now with his parting I have to say
How wrong I was that beer-filled day
Let me say it now and not be misunderstood –
He is that good! He is that good.
And he’ll be sorely missed.

Cabin Serendip, Okinawa
Aug. 6, 1999

 

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THE POETIC POL
By David Allen

It was 1971,
or maybe ’72,
when Eugene McCarthy
came to my college campus
to speak about his run for president,
and the continuing war in Vietnam.
And those in the audience,
who cut their hair and bought suits
from the Salvation Army
in order to be “Clean for Gene”
back in those heady days of 1968,
raised their right fists in the air and
yelled “Right On!”
 
The former senator from Minnesota
smiled and raised his arms in the air,
and gave the audience the Peace Sign.
Later, sitting with the staff of the campus
weekly newspaper in the cafeteria,
the old pol readied himself for questions
he’d hear thousands of time before.
But he was taken aback when the editor of the paper,
his long blonde hair falling to his shoulders
and a mischievous gleam in his sky blue eyes,
said he was tired of politics.
“Do you have any of your poetry with you?”
the young man asked.
McCarthy’s smile broadened.
“Sure,” he said, reaching into his coat pocket
and pulling out a thin chapbook.
“Please share some with us,” the editor said.

“This is called Courage After Sixty,”
McCarthy said.

“Now it is certain
There is no magic stone
No secret to be found
One must go
With the mind’s winnowed learning…”
 
And he held his small audience in rapt attention
for the next half hour, commenting
when he left that it was the best
time he had spent with students in years.
 
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Freight Yard 1

ON THE RAILROAD
By David Allen

I spent a good part of my youth
playing on the railroad
all my livelong days…

When I lived in Roslyn Heights,
on Long Island’s North Shore,
the tracks were my turf.
Located just a block from
our housing project,
the tracks were where I trolled
for soda bottles to cash in at the local deli.
They are where my friends got in trouble
for dropping rocks from a bridge
onto cars using the new expressway.

The freight yard was where we pretended
to be outlaws, running atop the empty boxcars,
jumping from car to car, shouting
“This is a holdup!”
Once I even rode a boxcar to the next town,
pretending I was a hobo, singing Woody Guthrie songs.

A few years later, living in Huntington Station,
the tracks were where we placed
pennies, collecting them after they
had been flattened by commuter trains.
As teens we rode the trains to the Big Apple,
our playground during the formative years.

Once I waited on the platform
with a hundred other commuters,
on my way to an internship
as a computer programmer.
The train came, but I stayed,
the scene was too depressing
to make it a career.

The last train episode I lived
before I escaped to other adventures,
was as a shipping clerk in the next town.
Every morning I boarded the train and hoped
the conductor wouldn’t get to me before my stop
so I could use the ticket some other day.

Commutersimage

WHERE ARE THE POEMS
By David Allen

Where are the poems?
I looked in all the familiar
places and failed to find
a line that I could use.
I wanted to ask my muse
for a shot of inspiration,
but she slept the sleep
of the jet lagged
and I feared waking her
would result in words too tart.
I looked in the bathroom
and behind the bar,
but found no Bukowski hidden there.
The fridge offered no Ferlinghetti.
So I went out back, but Jack
must’ve been somewhere on the road.
No words, no poems,
no Ginsberg in my ginseng tea.
No Billy Collins cropped
up in my coffee cup.
and Cummings apparently
must’ve come and went
before my feet hit the
bedroom floor.
An unpoetic day, I thought,
that’s what this is.
And so, I left for work
where the news is my muse.
the words always come easy there,
like the snippets I write when a trial drags
and I readily reach
into the recess of my
addled brain and find
the thoughts to kick start
the poetic engine of my being.

 

NOTE: This is one of the poems I read today at a small gathering in Alexandria, Ind., for National Poetry Month

Spring Haikus

Posted: April 22, 2017 in Poetry
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flower oil

SPRING HAIKUS
By David Allen

Spring rain brings rebirth
Flowers, warmth and grassy lawns
My basement’s flooded

Wake up Smokey Bear
Exit your cave, spring is here
Fires must be doused

Warm weather’s returned
Let us walk by the river
“Take a hike!” he said

Time for spring cleaning
Purge clutter, tend the gardens
The hammock awaits

Spring break now begins
Southern beaches, sun and fun
Rising gas prices

Driving windows down
Feeling the warming spring air
Costs just an hour

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http://duanespoetree.blogspot.com/2017/03/david-allen-writes.html#comment-form
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

David Allen writes

COMPARING OUR MEDS

Decades ago
We gathered
And compared
Our favorite drugs,
Which pill sent us soaring,
(“One pill makes you larger,”
The Airplane sang),
And which pill made us retarded?
(“And one pill makes you small?”)
Which pills were discarded
Because they didn’t
Do anything at all?
Flash forward to now
Where we find the balding heads
Sitting on Jim’s back porch,
Listening to him play
Old standards on his squeeze box
While we compare the new pills
That thin our blood
And reduce our cholesterol
And keep our hearts –
And our lives –
On a regular beat.

 

POETRY CONTEST

Posted: January 26, 2017 in Poetry
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POETS!!! Here’s a new contest for you!

The POETRY SOCIETY OF INDIANA
(Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs)
2017
39th Annual Fall Rendezvous Poetry Contest

RUNS JULY 1st – SEPTEMBER 1st, 2017

Get the details here:

http://www.isfpc.org/annual-contest.html

INDIANA VOICE JOURNAL

Posted: October 4, 2016 in Poetry
Tags: , ,

 

 

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I am the poetry Editor of the online arts magazine Indiana Voice Journal.

Here’s a link to our October issue, there’s a lot of great poems, fiction and art:

http://www.indianavoicejournal.com/

And here’s my two two poems about Halloween.

http://www.indianavoicejournal.com/2016/10/two-poems-by-david-allen-halloween-and.html

Whatif

WHATIF (Updated)
By David Allen

Last night, while I lay thinking here
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I don’t wake tomorrow?
Whatif my joy’s less than my sorrow?
Whatif my novel remains unwrote?
Whatif Trump gets all the votes?
Whatif the IRS audits my return?
Whatif I forget what I’ve learned?
Whatif climate change is real?
Whatif I ate my last meal?
Whatif there really is no God?
Whatif there is and he’s a clod?
Whatif thinking was a crime?
Whatif my poems failed to rhyme?
Whatif I should arrive too late?
Whatif a psychic knows my fate?
Whatif my car should fail to start?
Whatif mowing strains my heart?
Whatif my inner voice goes mum?
Whatif I take up chewing gum?
Whatif my identity gets stolen?
Whatif my senior years aren’t golden?
Whatif a twister takes my house?
Whatif I die before my spouse?
What if my chocolate milk goes sour?
Whatif my computer loses power?
Whatif my basement floods again?
Whatif the ink dries up inside this pen?
And then I smiled and cleared my mind
And the whatifs fled, calling me unkind.

 

This was a challenge from the Last Stanza Poetry Association, which meets twice a month in  Elwood, Indiana.  We were to write a poem based on one of our favorites. I chose to update Shel Silverstein’s “Whatif,” which I used to read to my kids and grandkids.