Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

The Last Leaf

Posted: January 5, 2020 in Poetry
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Photo by D.H.Allen

THE LAST LEAF
By David Allen 

I am the last leaf, 
the last on the bough.
Brown and brittle,
I’ve taken a vow
to mourn for my more 
colorful friends
who took the plunge
to drift to the ground.
I saw them settle
into piles on the lawn, 
where they were raked or rotted, 
no matter, they’re gone. 
And as the days drift by,
I keep watch on a few
other lonely leaves, 
wondering who
will be the last to fall.

My New Pen

Posted: December 28, 2019 in Poetry
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MY NEW PEN
By David Allen 

Is there a difference 
between writing a poem
with a fountain pen
instead of a ballpoint?
Will the words 
be more polished?
More elegant?
Or will I have to
shake it up more
to get the lines to flow?
The pen demanding 
more ink, like opening a vein?
Is a ballpoint pen
simply more mundane?
If so, what about poems
born from platens
or electronic bytes?
Are they too mechanical?
Too removed from emotion?
I wonder as I write. 

 

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THANKSGIVING’S STAIN
By David Allen

Like many holidays,
Thanksgiving has a dark side.
Much like Columbus Day.
Don’t get me wrong,
I love the idea of getting family 
and friends together for an Autumnal feast 
to celebrate surviving another year.
That was the reason for the gathering
of Indians and pilgrims that day
some 398 years ago.
The Pilgrims had survived a horrendous year.

Of the 102 who survived the Mayflower’s trip,
only 51 survived the first winter — 
22 men, 25 children, and 4 women. 
75 percent of the women had died.
The local Indian tribe, the Wampanoag,
helped that first year, showing the Pilgrims
how to farm the New World and 90 of them joined
in the English tradition of celebrating the Fall harvest. 

The tribe was repaid over the next 50 years
With murders and massacres.
In 1675, their situation was so dire,
many of them joined in an uprising
called King Philip’s War
The Colonists were too strong by then
And another 40 percent of the tribe were killed.
Many of the Male Indian survivors
were sold into slavery in the Caribbean,
their women and children became farm 
and house slaves in New England.

I doubt many of their descendants
Think of this holiday as very thankful.

 

THANKS, NO THANKS

Posted: November 22, 2019 in Poetry
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THANKS, NO THANKS
By David Allen

It’s late November again
Thanksgiving’s at hand
A time to feast with family and friends;
Time to reflect and to give thanks.

I’m giving thanks that my spine
Survived another knifeless year,
Though my back, racked by rods
And pins, bent my back a bit
and stole inches from my height. 

I am thankful for my muse, my wife,
We’ve survived another year –
Twenty-nine more than the two she promised
When we first exchanged our vows.

“I’ll give you two years, Allen, “she said
The day she agreed to marry me.
“So you better straighten up!” she warned.”
I never did and yet, she still stands by my side.

And let’s not forget to thank
My Hoosier poet friends
For giving me an outlet for 
My observations on life. 
Open mics and scribe gatherings 
Fill my nights, hopefully
Encouraging new poets 
To follow this path.

But this season also leaves me
Thinking of things I am not thankful for.
Mass deaths in shootings in schools and churches,
The rise of White Nationalism.
And attacks on our rights
In “The Land of the Free.”
Children torn from their parents
And thrown in cages because
They were born in some other country.
Soldiers and sailors discharged 
And flown to exile in countries
Even though they served us honorably.
A presidential liar whose graft knows no limits
Who daily commits crimes
His followers just brush away.

But I’m hopeful next year
Will overflow with thanks
To new faces who erase
Trump and his thugs from our ranks.

House of Lies

Old Age

Posted: October 12, 2019 in Poetry
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(Stock Image)

OLD AGE
By David Allen

Bent posture
Grouchy nature
Prescription pill bottles
Wild walking waddles.

Memory lapses
Cheap reading glasses
Hair shedding
Tummy spreading.

Cane walking
Unsteady talking
Teeth in a glass
Passing much gas.

Spinal hardware
Keys are not there
Midnight pee calls
Numbing pratfalls.

Artery stents
Obscene vents
Diner discounts
Joint bank accounts.

Skin splotches
Year’s end notches
TV bingeing
X-ray cringing.

Children have grown
Remortgaged home
Much makes me enraged
This must be old age. 

Words Gone

Posted: October 11, 2019 in Poetry
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Words Gone
By David Allen

The words were gone.
The poet sulked at his desk,
staring at the blank computer screen.
His Muse stood beside him,
sobbing while she stroked his neck.
“I don’t know what’s happening,” she said.
“I want to help you, but the words won’t come.
This is more than a simple writer’s block.
It’s more like the words absconded with the images,
the ideas are idle, blurry concepts just beyond reach.
I have failed you.”

“Don’t say that,” the Poet said, 
turning to face his Muse.
“It’s not your fault.”
“It is,” she said. 
“There’s too much darkness.
Too many things are piling up.
The words are suffocating under 
the heap of today’s failures
and tomorrow’s fears.
I’m just not good for you.”
She turned and ran from the room.

The Poet muttered a few “damns” under his breath.
He wondered awhile whether to follow her.
Should he scrap the play
or go on to Act 2? 
After a painfully slow minute,
he shook his head, then rose and left the room.

He climbed the stairs to their bedroom.
She sat cross-legged on the bed, 
a pen in her right hand and a notepad on her lap.

“Look, I’m so…” he started.
But she cut him off, looking up,
Sadness and defeat contorted her face.
“So, did you come upstairs 
To edit my suicide note?” she asked.

He walked to her side and kissed her cheek.
“No, just checking to make sure 
you have no knives or pills up here,” he said.
His Muse’s frown turned into a slight smile.
“I just wish I was better at this,” she said.
“You are,” the Poet said as he left the room.

A few minutes later, he was back at the computer
typing slowly as a poem formed on the screen. 

 

Panic in Times Square CBS News
 The Light's Gone Out
By David Allen

It’s getting darker in America
We have somehow lost the dawn
We move slowly as the light dims
And wonder what went wrong

Lady Liberty’s torch is out
It no longer lights the way
We choke on the wisps of smoke 
As we face darker days.

Fear and hate now rule the land
It’s the opposite of our dawn
When we welcomed the huddled mass
Escaping foreign wrongs.

But now a motorcycle backfire
Scares hundreds in Times Square
Afraid the next mass shooting
Could very well be there.

And we train children in our schools
How to hide or run or duck
When some shooter comes calling
Some crazed soul run amok.

It’s the opposite of dawn
This nightmare land of fear
And when we’ll see the sun again
Isn’t very clear. 


									

Shoe Pile

Posted: August 4, 2019 in Poetry
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SHOE PILE
By David Allen

I saw a pile of shoes tonight
On the TV news,
And cried the tears
I thought had dried
From crying in the early morn.

At 3 a.m. I awoke to pee
And glanced at the tv
I keep on to drown
My ear’s tinnitus roar.
I wished I had stayed
On that inner ear shore
Instead of discovering
Another mass shooting
Tore up an American town.

The bodies were blurred
And I finally slept,
My body aching,
Feeling the pain
Of the survivors.
But 13 hours later
The news did not censor
The pile of shoes left
By the dead and the fleeing.

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BRAIN 6

BRAIN MALWARE
By David Allen

The past caught up
to my second son
on a warm June day.
It lay in wait
in his old home town
until he returned
from an island life
that soured with divorce
and drunken days
that turned into weeks.
Months.

Matt had come to visit
and clean himself up,
pledging he was done
with booze and drugs;
and would start to climb
the 12 steps to sobriety.

But an old friend visited,
bringing a gift.
“Something to take the edge off,”
to ease the alkie shakes.
His past edged the present aside
and he took a hit.

It sent his blood pressure soaring.
Blood rushed into his brain,
squeezing the frontal lobes,
clotting into a cranial pool.
It knocked him out.
Fate had come a-calling.

His brother and I followed
our dog’s freaked out barking
to the backyard where
Matt lay unconscious
under the hammock,
his eyes cloudy white,
pupils rolled up in retreat.

He was in a coma
for over a week.
The seizure was caused
by what the cops called
a junkie’s “hot shot” —
a dose of drugs offered
as a friendly high
that knocks the mark out
and easy to rob.
Matt’s was a combo of meth,
opioids, and stimulants.

“It finally happened,”
was my first thought.
The horror he evaded five years ago,
when he flew back to his island
and his ex-girlfriend killed her new beau
with a heroin overdose,
had come to settle a score.

The damage done to my son
will take years to heal.
The brain is fragile.
A traumatic brain injury
is like a malware program
that scrambles a computer’s
memory; a virus that destroys
the settings that directed a life.

To fix it, sometimes,
you just have to turn it off,
wait a few seconds or weeks,
then turn it back on and
download new settings.
But you have to be patient,
it may take a while
for the new programs to sync
and life starts anew.

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Is now available at:
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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.