“Wax Poetic”

I’ve watched and I’ve waited,

For your candle to burn out.

Seen the soot and felt the flame,

That have withstood the rains.

And the smoke that continues to plume,

Unchecked by the staleness of the room.

This flame will not snuff out,

So long as you continue to feed it.

But now you’ve grown impatient,

And let the smoldering begin.

You’ve lit it at both ends,

Burning it all the quicker.

Your fingers nearing a lesson,

As you hold what’s left of this wick.

Inevitably, you’ll have to let it drop,

If you’re to save what’s left of your skin.

— David Allen

“Habeas Corpus” (Produce the Corpse)

Your cats will surely eat you,

Separating life from limb.

Biting the hand that feeds them,

And nestled in between your ribs.

Blessed to be their final meal,

So do not blame the cats.

You’ve offered one more amuse-bouche,

A meal prepared to be their last.

I can just see the look of excitement,

As they finally come to greet you.

A grin from ear to ear,

A Cheshire delight indeed,

As they finally start to eat you.

So don’t be afraid of what they see,

When they find you sprawled upon their plate.

This meal was surely meant to be,

And your heart was always theirs to eat.

—David Allen

“Bartender’s Rag”

Down on the corner where the dead men sing,

The bystanders in leather will do their thing.

Out on the streets where the drifters were raised,

Where the rain is always pouring and the vagrants are glazed.

The lady on the corner is a friend of mine.

She’ll blow the bartender right out of his mind.

Down in the bay where the women are fine,

She’ll stick that bottle where the sun don’t shine.

Rub your two pence together,

If you haven’t got a dime.

Whether it be for a beer,

Or a cheap glass of wine.

Fixed on the corner of the upper east side,

Sits a watering hole where the whiskey stays dry.

There’s a peacock choking on a salty bar nut,

And the toilet’s overflowing with filthy smut.

The barman pours me a lick of gasoline,

She goes down easy, if you know what I mean.

I roll up my sleeves and take a seat.

I ask for a double of scotch dressed neat.

Out on the edge of a rundown street,

There’s a taproom where degenerates meet.

The kids are playing hooky ‘round a broken hydrant.

The colors they make are all but vibrant.

The police don’t care, ‘cause the water is free,

And this is the action they’ve come to see.

Freddy the goomba and Jimmy the mooch,

Can’t find the bottom of a bottle of hooch.

Their rich uncle is rotting in jail,

On a misdemeanor shade of dark blackmail.

Oh, sweet honey, you swirl real smooth,

You go down easy like a sweet vermouth.

You don’t need to be a poet to sit with me,

One only needs to speak easy.

This is not the house of God,

Even though He gets a nod.

And Jesus isn’t here to watch the flock,

Unlike the boys from around the block.

But Christ sees the ghost sitting at the bar,

He can see him shimmer from near or far.

And He sees His face in the suds of a pint of beer,

While the patrons reminisce on all that they hear.

I’ll tell you what it means once I figure it out,

I’ll shout it in a bottle, what it’s all about.

There’s a trickle of sugar running down my leg,

It pours from that swill in the banged up keg.

There’s plenty of that where I come from,

And the bees on the west side are gonna come.

They’re gonna have a feast when the beast comes around.

There’s gonna be a surplus when he comes to town.

When your mind is pried wide open,

And you let the spirits in,

Just gather up some comfort,

And let the festivities begin.

— David Allen

“Another Unholy Hallow’s Eve”

Watchful eyes that peer and peek,

Stare at bodies moist and sleek.

Corpses that are thin and weak,

Bones that crunch and crack and creak.

Summoning those who are used and wasted,

Raising ghosts from a bygone past.

Flesh that begs to be chewed and tasted,

To quench a thirst fulfilled at last.

Demons on the West Side,

Witches on the East.

They all come hither from far and wide,

To gather ‘round for a massive feast.

A bounty for unwilling eyes,

Pondering on useless lies.

A skin that’s pressed and folded and creased,

To satisfy the hungry beast.

We all come forth to spill our grease,

Stirring cauldrons into brew.

The dead have come to congregate.

We watch the zombies slurp and chew,

While necrophiliacs masturbate.

Have I finally reached an overture?

Tell me, for I cannot be sure.

Dancing ‘round a philosopher’s stone,

It’s a comfort to think we’re all alone.

We watch this event by dusk’s porch light,

On this, the everlasting fortnight.

Seeing faces that are no longer grieved,

On another unholy Hallow’s Eve.

Those who are long since dead and gone,

Bones that are almost likely forgotten.

Souls that have yet to fully pass on,

Bodies that are all but bruised and rotten.

Rejoicing as we get down to the wire,

With a match and a gallon of gasoline.

We’ll set the whole goddamn town on fire,

On this forsaken Halloween.

— David Allen

“The Masks We Wear”

I’ve always been an old soul

Now I’m old and tormented

You can see it in my eyes

Revealing yet another disguise

But the masks that we wear

Conceal my discontentment

Obscured is my outward guise

As I peer through the blinds

The world outside is quiet

My world inside is in turmoil

The masks we wear now

They’re just another face

In these, the darkest of times

Place your palm upon my window

Let me feel your warmth

If you’re not yet frozen to the core

There’s a war on both sides

And deep within our hearts

A ruthless killer of all

Seen only in our eyes

Falls a tempered, steely stare

Tearing families apart

We wear each mask well

Like clothing in a store dressing room

The likes of which we cannot afford

—David Allen

“Sine Qua Non (Without Which, Not)”

This nomad has come around

He’s come into his own

Like a man with no land

A man with no home

Tears streamed down my reddened face

Yellow serpent had a taste

Flickering its pale blue tongue

White noise sung

It flies right out of my dreams

On wings of silver and black

I cannot know what it means

But there’s no turning back

It’s how it was intended to be

Swimming in pitch black waters

In this muddy soup do you bathe

A fear of the unknown

There are things that lurk below

Things with eyes that stare

Things with mouths that gape

Things with faces that ripple and fold

Maws with teeth like tentacles

Shaping, turning, sliding, changing

Things that shouldn’t be

Watching me with ill intent

Each delicate tendril an intricate map

Veins full of chlorophyll and mitochondria

The building blocks of nightmares

Like a moth attracted to a fiery death

You didn’t need to drown me here

You only had to break my bonds

In order for me to see

That I’ve been free all this time

I’m gateful to you for releasing me

From this path to Hell that you set

So keep a part of me on land

Just to keep me grounded

Through my blurred and drunken vision

The world around me fades

To the deepest shade of crimson red

While all along the edges

Pulses of black and blue

Distorting all traces

Of the tangible world

A secret space for me and you

A place of muddled faces

—David Allen

“The World Has Gone Insane! And In Other News…Cancel Culture”

After sharing a post on Facebook the other night, three of my “friends” had taken personal offense to it and felt the need to make their feelings known. To be clear, I have always encouraged all of my friends to share their feelings and thoughts with me directly, and I have always been extended the same courtesy and felt welcomed to do the same on any issues that they’ve addressed in the past. However, their responses to what I posted were not addressed in a way that these same “friends” would’ve spoken to me prior to the current “cancel culture” bandwagon that our society has jumped on in the last five years or so. Their responses were more like an attack than the intelligent and respectful debates that we’ve had in the past. So, my first thought was to stay quiet about this altogether, so as not to throw my “friends” under the proverbial bus. But after careful deliberation, I’ve decided that I have a much higher obligation as a writer, and it’s imperative that I speak openly about this issue.

Now, whatever your stance may be on this “cancel culture”, you must’ve already seen things like this in the media in recent years. Maybe you yourself have been attacked for your difference of opinion, or perhaps you yourself have been the attacker. Either way, you’ve seen it, and at some point in time you’ve probably wondered whether or not it was getting out of hand. Well, it has been out of hand right from the very start.

To my memory, what we now refer to as the “cancel culture”, or as I more accurately like to call it, the “boycott culture”, must’ve started with the destruction of certain statues of figures from our past who were known in their era to be slave owners. Can anyone else agree that this was taking things a little too far? I can recall many people stating that this was the beginning of a slippery slope. And not only were they right, but we’re still on that slippery slope. From there, we’ve seen Charles Shultz’ beloved Peanuts special removed from TV because a black character named Franklin was seen sitting alone at Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving table. We’ve seen Aunt Jemima’s syrup called racist and taken off of the shelf. Then the same for Uncle Ben’s rice, Land O’Lakes butter, Mr. Potato Head, and many others. And most recently, we’ve seen 6 Dr. Seuss books taken out of print for containing racial words and imagery. So of course, when I shared someone’s post about this and agreed with it, some people thought I must’ve been condoning Dr. Seuss’ racial images. My post itself wasn’t even about Dr. Seuss at all, and in no way was I defending it, condoning it, or even denying that it was in fact racist. But I do have an issue with censorship. And I do see the damage that our current actions may have on the future.

But even censorship itself is only a fraction of the problem. The bigger picture here is that we are systematically hiding pieces of the past to spare future generations from seeing it. And the reason we’re doing this seems to be because people are offended. This is the slippery slope that we were warned about. When does it end, and how much more of the past will be hidden before people finally feel that they’ve done enough? By shielding the future from these unsavory parts of our horrific past, they will eventually have no basis of comparison to understand how far we’ve come and how much progress we’ve actually made against the real issue at hand—racism.

Racism is still a very real and prevalent issue in most of the world, but it is not found on a grocery store shelf or on a box of rice. It was, however, most definitely found in the 6 Dr. Seuss books that were taken out of publication. But the point is, the more pieces of our past that are brushed under the rug, the less the future will know of its existence. While some people might celebrate that, I believe it’s a bad idea. These things should never be forgotten, and they eventually will be forgotten if we continue to remove them. Our current actions will impact the future, and maybe not in the way that we intended.

Since the beginning of this “cancel culture”, I’ve been wondering what affect it would’ve had on the future, or in fact, even the present, had Jews treated the Holocaust and anti-semitism the same way that we’re now handling our current war on racism, inequality, homophobia and women’s rights. Considering how many times throughout our history someone has attempted to claim that the Holocaust did not happen, what if Jews did not bite back with “Never Forget” and provide photographs, diaries, and even video evidence to the contrary? It makes me wonder whether or not it would’ve been forgotten if we brushed the memory of that era under the rug. And isn’t that precisely what we’re doing right now? How much of our history will be known to our future if we continue down this slippery slope? And how much will be forgotten?

If you really want the children of our future to learn from the past, show it to them. Allow them a chance to see it for themselves and to make up their own minds. But don’t erase it. You’re not erasing racism by doing this. What you’re doing is denying our future generations the knowledge that we currently have. And to delete it from history is serving no other purpose than to placate the fact that we are offended. And you SHOULD be offended. In no way am I saying that these things are not offensive. What I’m saying is that you caught it right now in our present, and you should take what you’ve learned and pass it along. That, my friends, is how you fight racism. I’m saying, stop deleting history.

As of late, people have been finding a lot of details from our past that are clearly disturbing, offensive and racist. And you’re absolutely right for thinking that it’s wrong. And I applaud you for finding it! But now it’s up to you to use it as ammunition. What you’ve found is warfare. Now use it! Show it to the future so that they may arm themselves and continue this war against racism. Otherwise, what are you fighting for? Is the war over? Have we already won?

But racism isn’t the only objective of the “cancel culture”, as we’ve seen other parts of our past being targeted as well. Just as I’ve been writing this article, one of our favorite childhood characters, Pepé Le Pew, is being brushed under the rug. Many celebrities have also lost their place in Hollywood because of the things that they’ve said in the past or written on Twitter. And it’s absolutely wrong to have the power to destroy anything you dislike just because it offends you. And the whole reason people have that power right now is because it was obtained through fear. The riots, the protests, the online petitions, all generated to frighten businesses and corporations into doing what you want them to do. And it works, because companies do fear being shut down, and Hollywood would prefer to let one actor go than to have their name muddied. But to me, that’s nothing more than bullying, and no one is really winning anything by doing this. Well, you know what? Bullying offends me. So let’s get this “cancel culture” canceled. Or perhaps we should attack these issues in a more productive way and start teaching our children properly. Racism is not found in a grocery store or in cartoons, but it is found in the home. It is taught, passed down, and taught again. And the war against it is far from won. So don’t delete history just because it offends you. Pass it down as a lesson to never forget it. Pass it down so our future generations will learn from it and never repeat it.

—David Allen

“The Old Flame’s In Hell”

I’ve never believed in wasted words

By breath or by hand, they’re still in demand

And although your fingers are deep in the angels’ pockets

Your heart is just a smear on Satan’s smock

And by brush or by knife, you’re still in command

Your angels and demons may be at war

But it’s you who still guides the flock

With your hand at the throats of reason and logic

All trace of reality be damned

You’ll pop the little bugger’s eyes right out of their sockets

And sing a hymn for those fallen comrades

Those who you could never keep in line

Who’ve stepped into minefields of lies and despair

Who never knew what they had in store

Whose backs you stomped on without a care

But take care now to remember them well

For you’ve led the lot of them straight to Hell

And wave good-bye to the flies of your past

They were swatted and snuffed out far too fast

—David Allen

“To the Victor!”

A deep and shallow breath

Crept low across the land

The graves whispered

The trees, they moaned

A strained and pitiful sound arose

From the recesses of my throat

Listen to the wind

Ignore the voices it carries

An abattoir of emotion

A tabernacle of love

Lies tattered in pieces

Scattered at your feet

A decaying of flies

Just a spider’s spoiled dinner

—David Allen

Happy Halloween!!