Posts Tagged ‘poems’

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FOR YOU SCAREDYCATS
By David Allen

It’s Friday the 13th
So what?
“What, me worry?”
Has been my life’s theme
Ever since my Aunt Jessie
Gave me an issue of Mad Magazine
Back when I was still in grade school.
So, superstitious? Me?
Bah! In the “Step on a Crack” game
I stepped on every one
And my mother was backache free
Into her 70s.

(Now , it’s true she had a pain in the neck –
Me! Ever since I learned to walk.
And many others have dubbed me
That in the long decades since.)

So, superstitious?
Give me a ladder to walk under
And a black cat’s path to cross.
Why, I’d volunteer to be third
On a match if I smoked.
Phooey on all you superstitious fools!
If I lived in an apartment tower
I’d pick the 13th floor.
Hell, the house I live in now
Is the last on the left on a dead end street,
Where the sidewalk ends,
With dark, thick woods out back.
The perfect place for a horror story.

 

 

NEwsroom

Petersburg, Va. Progress-Index newsroom 1978
 

NOW IT’S PERSONAL
By David Allen

Okay, now it’s personal.
Five journalists were shot dead
Today in a Maryland newsroom
By a maniac upset about a years-old story
That named him a harasser, a serial nut job.
He shot his way through a glass door
And unloaded his shotgun
At people dodging for cover.

Years ago, that could have been me.
For almost four decades I covered the news,
I was threatened many times
By people upset by the truths
My stories uncovered.
Once, I received a note,
Cut-out letters pasted on
An ink-stained piece of paper.
My name was at the top
Of a list of editors and the city mayor,
Declaring, “Death to you.
Death to your families.”
I laughed and photocopied
The note before calling the police.
I reveled at being named first.

I’m not sure I’d laugh today
Violence in this country is rampant
Madmen act out their threats with guns.
I cry for those killed today
And seethe with anger.

But then I remember
Advice I once saw written
On a Japanese tee shirt:
“Don’t let the teardrops
Rust your shining heart.”

I’ll try
But it’s getting damn hard.

*NOTE: The threat I received was at the Fort Wayne, IN, News-Sentinel, but I don’t have a photo of that newsroom.

 

 

Slow Motion Wait

Posted: June 28, 2018 in Poetry
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Slow Motion Wait
By David Allen

The TV in the auto dealership waiting room
Is playing Days of Our Lives.
“Like sand in an hourglass
So are the days of our lives.”
(cue the theme song)

That’s my life today
Nothing to do but wait
While my car gets its 80,000-mile check
Because there’s no one available
To take me to lunch.

Slowly, the grains of sand fall
Maybe a dozen a second
As I ache for a remote control
So I can change the channel
To turn off the damn drama.
But two old ladies in chairs
Across the room are paying
Rapt attention to the soap.

It’s killing me.

I’m in no mood for crosswords.
I mean puzzles,
There’s plenty of obscenities
Lodged in my mind about
The wait
My aching bones
Our crazed POTUS

But I remain silent
Waiting.

I am already preparing
For the time after the oil change,
Tire rotation, and other routine checks,
When the car service guy
Will come in and pleasantly say
“Hi, Mr. Allen. Well we’re done
And your car’s ready. And did you know…
Blah, blah, blah needs to be fixed?
Do you want to set a date?”

I know it will cost me more
Than I can afford.
And I’ll nod and thank him and
Politely say, I’ll think about it
“What will today’s bill be?”

We have the same conversation
Every time I come here.
I’d go elsewhere,
But it’s cheap here.
I am a VIP.

Just as I start to erase those thoughts,
I hear someone say “Sometimes,
I wish I were someplace else.”
“Me, too, pal,” I mutter, realizing
It’s the man hunk on the screen.
His woman says something I don’t quite get.
I wish I had been paying more attention to the show.

“Sometimes, I wish I were someone else,”
The tube guy whispers.
“Well, yeah,” I start, but am interrupted
By a voice behind me.

“Mr. Allen, your car’s ready.
Now the brakes are squeaky … “

Angry

Posted: June 22, 2018 in Poetry
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ANGRY
By David Allen

I’m white
And I’m not proud.
I’m an American
And I’m embarrassed.

This country’s tilted
Far to the Right
And I’m rolling off
Into the abyss
Of what Trump
Has wrought.
I don’t feel safe
I’m worried blue.

The Trumpists blare
And I feel scared.
But not as much
As a Guatemalan Mom
Whose arms are empty
Her children gone
And placed in cages
In internment towns.

It’s a replay
Of the ugly days
When we chose
To lock up folks
With yellow skin.
Now the skin’s brown,
But it’s still a sin
We commit today
Against the folks
Who chose to run away
From terror at home.

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SCATTERED
By David Allen

While driving down Anderson’s miles
Of struggling stores and an empty mall,
I realized the name of the four-lane road
Was appropriately named Scatterfield.
The strip malls are pocked with “closing” signs
And bright lights shining on empty shelves.
Even the pawn shop has given up any hope
Of making money from jobless clerks
Hocking their futures for a few bucks
To buy a gallon of milk at the Dollar Store.
Success seems scattered on Scatterfield.
A flea market dominates a once thriving strip.
Nearby, cheap, damaged bulk items are stocked
In a former brand name big box store.

The drivers negotiating the pot-holed boulevard
Scatter down Scatterfield, many on their way
To drug stores, cut-rate medical mills,
“No Credit Needed” used car lots,
And the always crowded Goodwill.

I drive on, shake my head and wonder
Why our country’s economic boom
Has bypassed this Middle American mess
Until I realize I missed my turn a mile back.
I’m scatterbrained on Scatterfield.

 

The Boot

Posted: May 28, 2018 in Poetry
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boot

THE BOOT
By David Allen

The worn combat boot
Stands alone in the sand
Weather-baked faded leather,
Toe scraped and colorless,
It’s mate nowhere to be seen.
Laced halfway, the loose strands
Fall to the ground, run under the heel
And then trail off in the white sand.
The sweltering sun creates a lonesome shadow.

Is this some landing beach
From a decades-old Pacific war?
Or a desert scene from a more recent conflict?
The boot is not saying
It just stands at attention
Proud, perhaps, that it hasn’t fallen.
It keeps watch over something.

I stare and wonder where the wearer went
Was he a survivor, blown out of his boot
By a mine — now footless but free?
Or was the boot planted here
To honor a fallen friend?
The boot is still not talking
It just stands there, silent,
Leaving it’s meaning
To whoever meanders by.

yard sale

WHATCHA LOOKIN’ FOR?
By David Allen

Cruisin’ slow through the neighborhood,
Causing my passenger to mutter,
“Whatcha lookin’ for, some sign from God?”

Nah, I’m lookin’ for
A sign for a yard —
Sale, that is,
Some place where I can rummage
Through someone else’s life,
Examine the pieces of their past,
Old books with broken spines
And underlined passages
That once meant more
Than the 25 cent sticker
Pasted on the cover’s corner;
Maybe a video in a format
Almost as forgotten as
The romantic night on the couch
Munching more than popcorn;
Or a toolbelt retired
From the job at the shuttered mill
In the aging town with overgrown lots
As empty as the old lady’s eyes
As she sells frayed towels in faded colors
And her creaking rocker.
The grandchildren she sang to sleep are gone.
What else might I find?
Maybe a dented bicycle helmet,
Reminder of a scary night in the ER;
Fishing gear sold by the wheelchair
Bound diabetic amputee;
Cookbooks with place holders
Marking recipes long forgotten
By the widow who dines alone.

Yeah, I’m lookin’ for a yard sign marking
Some place with memories for sale,
Some place where I can lose myself
In someone else’s dimming past
As I run away from my own.

NOTE: Schedulding our first major yardsailing trip thie weekend with my Muse. Reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years ago.

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Here’s a fun poetry prompt for April 30, the last day of National Poetry Month

At the Last Stanza, a poetry group that meets twice a month, we always assign a challenge for our next meeting. Last week’s challenge was to go to a bookcase and write a poem based on what you have on the shelves. Ready, set, go —

Here’s the poem I wrote:

THE SPAWN OF STEPHEN KING
By David Allen

The spawn of Stephen King
dwell in my living room
On the top two shelves
Of the wall of books
It’s scary sometimes.

At Four Past Midnight I can hear
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Under the Dome in Misery moan
About The Drawing of the Three
In the Pet Cemetery.

The Tommy Knockers
Hide behind a huge Dream Catcher
As The Regulators worry about Carrie,
A marathon runner who failed
To cross The Green Mile.

When she failed to end Gerald’s Game,
She refused to eat at the Feast of Fear
The diet progressively turned her Thinner
Until she was little more
Than a Bag of Bones.

On the second shelf I saw Christine,
who screamed From a Buick 8,
Careening along the Roadwork
Towards The Wastelands where
Ghouls there waited in The Dark Half,
Watching It reach The Dead Zone.

That’s where Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Present naked Fear Itself, as clouds
Turn the scene to Full Dark, No Stars.
A bit left of the chaos, Needful Things
Also waited in Desperation.

There, inside the Black House, where on 11-22-63
Doctor Sleep remembered Different Seasons,
Firestarter, an arsonist hired by King,
Burned Cujo during a sacrificial rite on
The Cycle of the Werewolf.

On the far left, hiding behind a pile of paperbacks,
Hardbacks announce the Skeleton Crew kneels
Before The Eye of a Dragon, presenting
A tribute to The Talisman who serves
A  Wizard and Glass eyes.

But that’s Lisey’s Story
About Mr. Mercedes and
The Duma Key and I’m
Saving that for a stormy night.

 

Davidreads

WHAT D’YA DO?
By David Allen

It was a great night
at the Eat Write Café.
About a dozen poets,
fueled by cold beer
and raw feelings that filled
the pages they clutched as they
climbed the stage steps,
shared their poems
with the Friday night crowd.

While they read, I paced fidgety
at the rear of the room, smiling
whenever the barmaid passed
with tray full of beer for the tables.
I had already read and I was like
a punch-drunk pug anxious
to get back in the ring.

Out of the corner of my eye
I saw a young man with a
severe Marine haircut
climb off a stool at the bar
and walk toward me with
a napkin in an outstretched hand.

“Hey, man, I just wrote this,” he shyly said,
handing me the ink-stained tissue.
“Think I can read?”
“Sure,” I said and read his poem.
It was short, about a dozen lines,
a wavy scrawl with some crossed-out words
about a lost love, left behind at some
Philippine back street shanty.

He slowly got up on stage
when the emcee, “The Mic,” asked
If anyone new wanted to share.
When the young Marine read,
there was a respectful silence.
The crowd clapped and roared
their approval when he smiled
and shyly left the stage.

Later, he bought me a beer,
thanking me for the chance to share.
“I sometimes write, but the guys in my squad
make fun of it,” he said. “They think it’s gay.”
“Screw ‘em,” I said. “No one understands poets.
We have to write like we have to breathe.”

We talked on, joined by other poets
downing mugs of inspiration.
They were Marines, Airmen,
Sailors and soldiers, civilian teachers,
contractors and older Americans who had made
Okinawa their home. Gathering
to share their addiction to the printed word.
They encouraged him to continue writing.

After a few more beers, the young poet
turned to me, saying he could tell by my beard
and graying, long hair that I was obviously
not a member of the military.
“What do you do?” he asked.

I smiled and drained my Guinness.

“Yeah,” I mused. “What d’ya do?”

 

Buy my books! The Story So Far and (more) are available at Amazon.com.

https://www.amazon.com/David-Allen/e/B00DT6TM7Y?ref_=pe_1724030_132998060

POEMS

Posted: December 24, 2017 in Poetry
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writers-block

POEMS
By David Allen

Damn!
Now I’ve done it.
It’s Monday
The Last Stanzas meet Friday
And I have no new poem to wow them;
Nothing,
Nada,
Nil.
My brain is as foggy
As the damp December day
Outside my home.

There was a glimmer of hope last night
When I saw an orphan poem
Sitting sadly, lonely,
On my computer’s desktop.
Hundreds of other poems
Gathered in “done” folders.
One massive file contained poems
Published over forty-two years,
Another folder bulged with poems
Prepared for my next book.
But this one poem sat alone.

I opened it and read about
My latest spinal operation
And the nurses who guided
My recovery with caring hands.
There was Tara, who would make
My pain Gone With the Wind,
And Destiny, who said I’d be fine,
But wasn’t so sure about her future.

I smiled and exhaled a sigh of relief
“I don’t think I shared this one,” I said to Myself.
“Good, now go to bed,” he answered.

But in the morning I had doubts
And called the Last Stanza leader
Just to make sure the awesome poem
Had not been shared with the group.
“Send it to me,” she said.
“Aw, it’s upstairs and I’m sipping coffee
Huddled on the couch under a blanket,” I complained.
“It was about my nursing care after my operation.”
She remembered the poem. I read it to the group months ago.
“Just write a new one,” the poetess said.
We said our goodbyes
And I pouted and pulled
At my Holidazed mind
For just a few lines.

And now, this…

It’s a week before Christmas
And all through the house
I searched for a poem
But my inner voice groused.

“Hey buster, forget it
There’s no poem here
Your gift sack is empty
There is no good cheer.

“You’re being punished
You’ve been a bad guy
You laughed at deadlines
When you were a news scribe.

“Now, you’re paying for laying
For days on the couch
Binging on Christmas movies
You’ve been a real slouch.”

“Bah, humbug,” I muttered
“Hey, I have an idea.
I’m thinking of sleeping
Until the New Year.”

I then heard a rumble
Of yells in my head
“Scram!” Inner Voice yelled
“Screw you!” Ego said.

“David still has it,” Ego announced
“Just give him a chance.
He’ll soon find a theme
And the words will dance.”

So, I drained my coffee,
My fifth or sixth cup,
And told the two voices
To shut the hell up.

Then I reached for my pen
And this notebook I filled
With this new poem
I knew fit the bill.

 

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