“Raise Me Up”

Poppa, where are you now?

You should see the boy you left behind

You’re the only person I could’ve turned to

You should’ve been the friend I needed now

Poppa, did you find your way?

Could you have taken your son with you?

Is there any room where you are? 

Will they run a tab for a schlub like me?

Poppa, are they charging rent?

Do they still take MasterCard?

Brother, can you spare a halo?

Is my money any good there?

Poppa, are you happy where you are?

Do your favorite bands still play?

Is Hendrix still a nut?

Is Morrison still as high as fuck?

Are they all playing together now?

Poppa, is faith a real currency?

Are they taking Agnostics?

Do they still have MTv?

Is it even what it used to be?

Poppa, is it bright where you are?

Are you looking down on me?

Can you see what I’ve become?

Have you seen what I can be?

Poppa, do you think they’ll drop the bomb?

Do you even see the latest news?

Our leaders have lost their minds

But I guess you’d know this anyway

Poppa, where does your faith lie now?

We’re taught to believe that alcohol is okay

But weed is the Devil’s work

What do you believe?

What have you seen?

Dear old Dad,

What have we become?

— David Allen

“Without Further Ado”

Prologue: What I’ve posted below is one of several unpublished poems that I’ve written about someone whom I briefly dated in 2015. This particular poem was written about a half a year ago, at a time when I still had tears to shed over her. Shortly after I wrote it, however, it became painfully clear to me that my love for her was never reciprocated, nor could it ever be. And it was at that moment that my healing process finally began. I suppose it’s never too late to accept a loss and move on. But there will always be a part of me that still loves her, as well as certain memories that she can never destroy (no matter how hard she tries).

I’m glad I kept all of the writings that I’ve accumulated over these past two years. They were painful memories, and still are. But they are mine, and that’s the one thing she can never take away from me. I learned this valuable lesson a few years ago while watching a documentary about one of my favorite poets/songwriters, Leonard Cohen. It was in this documentary that Bono, singer of U2, had said — and I’m quoting this only from memory — “There are probably things that Leonard discarded in the trash that would humble another writer.” Truer words have never been uttered, and it taught me to never throw out things that I’ve written or felt, even if those feelings no longer exist.

Well, there are so many things that I’ve written about this particular person over the past two years — some of which were published, while others were not — some of which were written purely out of love, while others were written out of anger. But I’m glad I’ve saved them all. What I wouldn’t give to be able to sift through Leonard’s trash. And what I wouldn’t give to be able to sort things out with the greatest love of my life, even though she treated our relationship like trash. So, “without further ado,” here are the last words of love I had written about someone whom I meant absolutely nothing to.

“Without Further Ado”

Nothing seems real since you’re gone

And my flesh feels like a blank canvas

But I no longer bleed red

I only spill black and blue

And only for you

So, accept me as I was

Or take me as I am

But take me, for I am yours

And always was

And forever shall be

Devoted to you

— David Allen

“Winter’s Elegy”

Wild bull thistle puncture my dreams

As the whip-poor-will wake me with song

There’s a sweetness on the air, even in sorrow

And it’s carried on our backs like a broken tune

Telephone poles are slick with morning ice

And the lines are adorned with fallen seed pod

They dangle like musical notes on a musical bar

Swaying in tune as Old Man Winter composes again

An overture for the ears of another season

A symphony on the wind of change

Soft sleet on a tin roof begins the percussion

While the bravest of birds flap their wings against the chill

Raising the rhythm and setting the tempo

Starts anew, a lullaby for an icy world

As a blanket of white is unfurled

— David Allen

“Far from Nowhere”

I shield my eyes to a blood-red sky

Raising my hands to blot out the sun

While all around me, ash is falling

Charcoal and gray flakes to mark the earth at my feet

A stream seeps out from a spring in the ground

Tunneling a funeral procession of soot and sand

And floating on the back of this gurgling sludge,

A single white feather, lengthy and pure

The brightest of white, so virginal and undefiled

The last sign of life in this dusty realm

Between a crimson heaven and a blackened earth,

This, the final remnant of beauty of a scorched and barren terrain

And from in between the rocks, a quaking voice was heard,

Drowning out the thunderous roiling of the clouds above

And with an outstretched hand, a tall black figure appears

Pointing a finger so grotesquely long and slender

And with an accusatory scorn directed at me,

He shouted his disdain and commanded me to leave this place

I did not belong here

I was not welcome to walk among the dead and decrepit

I couldn’t agree more

It was not my choice to be here

So I knelt down and picked up the pale white feather

Raising it high above my head

And with one strong breeze I was carried away

Soaring high above the sand and detritus

To find a new home somewhere far from here

Where the air is not so thick

And the sky is not so heavy

—David Allen

“My Almost Other Half”

I was nearly whole when I met you

Broken and empty, but intact in sum

And yet, you still wanted more than I was

And the pain had only just begun

You should’ve cut out my tongue if it pleased you

Talking proved useless anyway

Nothing I ever said to you mattered

And you never heard a word I had to say

My pleas had echoed upon deaf ears

A pained cry that you could not hear

It was lost in a flux between fact and fiction

So please feel free to take my ears

Your hatred is deafening to me

And your beauty has made me blind

So don’t forget to take my eyes

Squeeze them in between your hands

Like you ripped my weary soul apart

Just as you had planned to do

Just as you had warned me in advance

But leave my goddamn heart alone

I didn’t give it to you to throw away

There’s something about the way you love

It leaves so much to be desired

I thought you and I fit like a glove

But now I’m cold, and oh so tired

So go ahead and take my legs

I have no place to go to anyway

You’re the only thing I ever ran to

And now I can’t run far enough away

And as for my arms, they’ve grown too heavy

Without you in them to hold me up

So you can have those, too

They were for you anyway

The pain is now just weighing me down

My entire body has all but given up

But as for my spirit

As broken as it is

That you cannot have

It’s all I have left

And this is how It’ll have to stay

Empty and disfigured

A hollow shell of the man I was

Left gutted, the way love often does

— David Allen

(Inspired by Leonard Cohen’s “Take this Longing.” Rest in peace, you Beautiful Loser. You’ll always be a winner in my book. Sept. 21, 1934 – Nov. 7, 2016)

“Hate Me Not”

I’ve watched your eyes as they spilled their pain

They told a story that your lips contrived in vain

I’ve heard your nightmares in the middle of the night

I’ve comforted you and held you tight

But now I see that I didn’t know you at all

Or at least, that’s what you’ve told yourself

You’ve held my heart as it bled in your hands

…for you

And that’s why I understand

I knew the pain that you were in

Because I felt it, too

And I did see the real you

Because everyone has a story within

And I sympathized with yours

But the power of persuasion is not a win

And we were never at war

— David Allen

“La Petite Mort”

Not a trace of you did I keep

Not a scrap to throw to the wind

Not a photograph, nor a letter

The flood has taken everything

Stains are all that’s left now

Just dirt-rings and dry-rot

The mess you’ve left behind

Fading over time

Your friends, they came and went

…mostly, they went

Weary of your echo-chamber acoustics

Your endless drone of self-indulgence and pride

Mixed with a pinch of self-loathing and depreciation 

But never a single regret

No, not you

Even your shortcomings are planned and calculated

You’ve become so accustomed to failure, you can no longer count your own losses

And now my love for you is torn

And the heart around it no less worn

Did I need to split a vein to prove that I too bleed red?

If red be your color, I would’ve endlessly bled for you

Will I ever be a whole man after all I’ve spilt?

Can you even feel a shred of guilt?

You laughed as I wriggled in pain

You snickered while you drove me insane

And now I hear you’ve moved on

You have another fly in your web

Another victim

Another stain on your bed

Another drop of blood to shed

Another death be it on your head

—David Allen