Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Halloween at Sunbrick   By D. E. Allen                                                                                                                                                                                                        

A friend in the UK takes her writing class on photographic field trips to give them writing prompts.  She recently took her class to the Quaker Burial Mound in Sunbrick.  The burial mound is surrounded by a high fieldstone wall with a single gate.  Her black and white photo of the place was eerie to say the least.  Here is the poem it inspired.

Halloween at Sunbrick

By the stone circle wall at Sunbrick, gather ye sons and mothers too.
On the eve of All Hallows, when the night mist is thick as dew.

Come and see the shadows move, stay past midnight if you dare.
But if the shadows turn to look at you, beware their deadly stare.

With fog-like feet they glide past you, and on to their ancient sacred well.
This is where the restive souls of the Quakers wander, or so the bards do tell.

Like the waves upon the open sea, they are here, then there, then gone.
Up from the mound, and through the gate, they roam all night till dawn.

Oh why do the specters wonder, are the spirits still troubled and in pain?
Well now, why don’t you just go ask one, and have the ghost explain?

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Original 6 Page Work Called 

A Walk in the Park

The "A Walk in the Park" story posted a few weeks ago on this blog is a 1 page re-write done for a writing workshop about a year ago.  This is the original 6 page version of "A Walk in the Park" that is a much different story, as you will discover after the first two paragraphs.  I think you will like both of these stories, born of the same seed.... Enjoy.

I had finally escaped the office for 3 days of hiking in the Okanogan National Forest in my home state of Washington.  Just me, my sleeping bag, and a 50-pound backpack filled with all the comforts of, well, maybe not home, but close enough.  Half way up the side of the ridge I decided to take the path least traveled, picking my way between loose gravel and broken rocks, I was sure going to give my new hiking boots a good workout.

Once up over the ridge, and down into a hollow I saw a huge field of beautiful wildflowers.  I could not resist.  I dropped my pack and grabbed my new 7 mega-pixel camera and tripod.  I framed the shot in the picture viewer, and set camera to “Trap Focus” so it would capture every movement once I was on my mark.  Like a little girl I bounded to the spot I figured to be center frame and I started mugging for the camera.

CLICK… I looked to my right, and there in the tall grass I thought I saw something. 

CLICK… I jumped up to get a better view.
CLICK…  It was an injured hiker.  I started to tremble.  He was bleeding profusely from a large cut on his neck. 

CLICK… As I approached him I could see he was blinking so I knew he was alive.

CLICK…  I took out my phone to call 911 and …CLICK.


Two months later.

“Ranger base, this is Ranger 2 over.”

“Go ahead Ranger 2, over.”

“Mike, I’m circling the Northwest side of Hadley ridge. I’m observing what looks like a discarded backpack in a field, and some matted grass not far off, I’m going to set it down and take a closer look. Over.”

“Copy that Ranger 2, and Jim-bo, report your progress to base every 15 minutes, over.”

“Affirmative Ranger Base, Ranger 2, over and out.”

Jim Maguire was an experienced pilot.  The landing was a piece of cake.  He put his chopper down right between the backpack and the matted patch of grass.  He mumbled to himself as he surveyed the scene.

What do we have we here … a camera on a tripod… the backpack is intact … Oh OK this must have been where the camera was packed away.  Camera’s dead.  Kind of pointing at that patch of tall grass and the matted patch over there.  Where the heck is our photographer friend at?

I started walking to the patch of matted grass that I had seen from the air.

What the heck was he filming …. Whoa, what’s this? Oh Crap.  I ran back to my chopper as quick as I could.

“Ranger base, Ranger Base, this is Ranger 2. Do you copy?”

“Ranger 2, this is Ranger Base, why so excited Jim-bo?”

“Looks like a lot of blood, but I don’t think it was a deer hunter.  Maybe was, maybe not.  I can’t find signs of a gut pile anywhere.  That abandoned equipment is giving me a bad feeling. I think we better get the State Troopers up here with a test kit to check it out. Over.”

“Roger Jim-bo, I’ll get a hold of State and see what they want to do, but don’t hold your breath, the State Fair in Calhoun has them stretched pretty thin. Over.”

“Ranger 2 standing by. Over”


“Ranger 2 this is Ranger Base, over.”

“Ranger Base, go ahead Mike, over.”

“Yeah Jim-bo State is real interested, they think every runaway kid and escaped nut heads for our pretty little park.  They’re gonna chopper in a team to your coordinates, ETA 2 hours.”

“Crap, Mike call my mom and tell her not to hold dinner.”

“Roger Jim-bo,  Ranger Base standing by.”

“Ranger 2 standing by.”

State was interested all right; they had their team on site in an hour and a half.  It took them all of 5 minutes after touching down to prove the dried blood I discovered was not only human, but also that it was from 2 different people.

Well, past experience told me that at this point the State folks would ignore me like a piece of crap so I went back to my chopper and sat comfortably in the pilots seat while they went about their business.  Surprisingly, after about an hour the head of the crime scene team came over and sat in my co-pilots position.

“How much daylight we have left up here Ranger?”

“Dusk in .. oh… half an hour … dark as a witch’s cape in two.”

The lead CSI stepped out of my chopper and yelled to his crew, “OK People, lets wrap it up, pack it up, and move this investigation indoors.”

CRACK.  The unmistakable sound of a rifle shot tore through the crisp mountain air and the lead CSI’s head exploded in a spray red mist.  Instinctively I grabbed my rifle and dove out the door of my chopper as two more shots were fired and the windscreen directly in front of my Pilots position was shattered.

Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, he put 3 rounds into the State chopper.  CRACK, and a streak of red, a tracer round shattered against the engine compartment of the State chopper.  CRACK-Streak, a second tracer round smashed into the State bird, and that was it. Black smoke and a little bit of flame signaled the end of the State choppers flight log, and the shooter had inadvertently told me what part of the woods he was shooting from.  The shooter had forgotten a cardinal rule; tracers work both ways.

I settled into a safe position, and got ready to return fire. Then heroics took charge of the situation, or stupidity interfered.  It depends on how you look at it.  A young female CSI ran to the burning State chopper to retrieve some evidence she had already stowed on board, and CRACK, she caught one in the hip. Their Pilot reacted by getting up on his knees and ineffectively returning fire with his .38 caliber service revolver. CRACK, he caught a bullet in his chest, and paid the ultimate price.

Crack-Clang, Crack-Clang, the shooter was putting armor piercing rounds into my chopper’s engine compartment now.  I settled in over my sight and waited for the tracers.  Crack-Clang, the third armor piercing round, now if he were a creature of habit, he would sign his death warrant with tracers.

CRACK-Streak … POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP, I fired half my clip at his position.  The resulting dead silence was only broken by the moans of the wounded CSI who was lying dangerously close to the State chopper, now fully engulfed in flame.

I had to do something.  I jumped to my feet, and dropped to the ground quickly to see if I would draw any fire.  Nothing. Good.  I got into a low crawl position and darted a few yards, and dropped to the ground again.  Still, no more gunfire coming from the tree line.  The shooter was dead, wounded, gone, or playing possum. 

I made for the state bird and pulled the wounded CSI clear of the burning hulk.  Once I was sure she was OK I made my way back to my bird and got on the radio.

“Mayday, mayday, mayday.  Ranger Base, this is Ranger 2. 

“Ranger Base, what is your emergency Ranger 2? Over.”

“Shots fired, 3 officers down. Choppers disabled, no egress available. Need medevac stat. Over.”

“Jim-bo, stay down boy, I’m gonna call the cavalry.  Mayday Mayday, Shots fired, Officers down, all stations respond.”

“Ranger Base, Ranger 1 available, and standing by.”

“Ranger Base, this is County Air Rescue. We are on the pad at Memorial, and available. Over.”

“Ranger 1 this is Ranger Base.  Get in the ATV and make your way along the firebreak to the Northwest side of Hadley ridge.  Wear your night vision equipment and report anything hot.  We got us a shooter out there.  Do not approach, just report.  You got that son?”

“Affirmative Base.  Ranger 1, on my way, ETA 3 hours.  Ranger 1 out.”

 “County Air Rescue, this is Ranger Base.”

“C.A.R. is by, Go ahead Ranger Base.”

“CAR, we have not yet ascertained if the area is safe.  I can’t expect you to go in there, but we got Officers Down.”

 “Ranger Base, I have 2 Sheriffs Department Deputies on board with me and my EMT.  We are in route.  ETA 30 minutes”

“God bless ya CAR. Stand by for Comm. instructions.”

CAR, this is Ranger Base.  Tune to Ranger Frequency 191.7 Repeat, 191.7, and radio check when you get there. Over.”

“Copy that Ranger Base, One Nine-er One, dot Seven.  Ranger Base this is County Air Rescue on One Nine-er One, dot Seven, do you copy?”

“Ranger Base has you 5 by 5 CAR. Over”

“County Air Rescue, this is Ranger 2, that you Shaky?”

“Ranger 2, Damn Jim-bo, what’s goin’ on down there? Over.”

“CAR I’ve got 2 KIA and one Whiskey-IA.  The Whiskey needs immediate evac, she’s lost a lot of blood.  Be careful. We had a shooter in the tree line.  He’s been quiet since I unloaded a half clip of .308 at him. He’s either dead, dieing, or boogying out. Over.”

“Yeah Jim-bo, I have visual on a fire up on the ridge.”

“Affirmative Shaky, that’s the State's bird.  Come in from due South of it.  My chopper is disabled and will be 20 yards to the 8 o’clock position of the fire.  The area to the 4 o’clock of the fire is open flat field.  Clear for landing.”

“Roger that Ranger 2.  I’m going to make a pass over the landing zone with my Infra Red before putting her down. Over”


“All Rangers on frequency, this is CAR.  I have one heat signature next to the creek, just inside the tree line on the north end of the field.  I have one possible weapon, and no movement.  I’m coming round to the South to put her down.  How’s our Whiskey –I-A doing Jim-bo? Over.”

“She’s hanging in there CAR. Ranger 2 out.”

Shaky put his bird down right where we needed it.  There was no gunfire from the tree line.  Shaky got to my position next to the wounded CSI with a stretcher and a field dressing kit.  He patched her up and we carried her back to the Rescue Bird while the EMT checked over the two other CSI and confirmed what I already knew.  The two Sheriffs Deputies split left and right and leapfrogged each other as they made their way to the tree line at the north end of the field.

The EMT joined us at the chopper and tended to the wounded CSI.  Shaky jumped into his pilots seat, and I stepped off the Rescue chopper and yelled at Shaky.

“Shaky.  This is my park, I’ll catch the next ride.”

We gave each other a “thumbs up” as Shaky hit the throttle and took our surviving casualty to the hospital.

I stood around for 20 minutes or so in the cool mountain air with only two silent corpses to keep me company.  They lay there in the flickering shadows of the field illuminated by the State choppers slowly dying firelight, and the half moon rising in the night.

“Hello the camp!”

“Come on in Deputy.”  One of the Sheriff’s men joined me back at my chopper.

“How do Ranger, I’m Paul.  Ronny is back with the shooter.  Bastard’s breathing, but he ain’t gonna make it till morning.  He’s just about all bled out.  You got him good in the thigh.  Let’s get County Rescue back here quick.”

I ran the few steps to my cockpit and grabbed the radio microphone. 

“CAR this is Ranger 2.  CAR, Ranger 2, over.  CAR this is Ranger 2.  Come in CAR this is Ranger 2, over.”

“Ranger 2, this is CAR.  I’m on final approach to the hospital.  What’s up Jim-bo? Over.”

“Shaky.  Turn it around as quick as you can, the shooter is still alive. Over”

“Affirmative good buddy.  You might want to know; Doc gave our Whiskey CSI an I.V. and she has a big ol’ smile on her face.  I’m on my way back to you just as soon as they roll her into emergency.  Over.”

There was silence on the radio.

“Ranger 2, this is CAR.  You copy?  Ranger 2?  Ranger 2 do you copy. Over?”

“Yeah I got ya Shaky.  Cancel that return trip.  Nothing left to do up here but a morgue run.  We'll have Ranger 1 take care of it. Over.”

While Shaky was giving me the good news about the CSI with the slug in her hip, Deputy Ronny had joined us at camp, carrying the scoped hunting rifle used by the shooter.

“You sure Ronny?”

“Yes Sir.  He started to rattle in his chest right before he stopped breathing. Sure enough he peed and crapped his pants.  He’s done, put a fork in ‘em.”

“Now Ronny you get back up there and make sure the critters don’t mess up the body.  I’ll be down here with the Ranger and the two victims.”

“Yes Sir.”


Three weeks later I was instructed to report to State Police Headquarters wearing my dress uniform for “a Little Something Special.”  When I got there I met a number of Police Officials, and a very pretty young CSI on crutches.  Shaky was right, she had quite a nice smile.  This was not going to be a ceremony in the usual sense of the word.  I wasn’t going to get a medal or even a citation.  What I was going to get was a special showing of the digital pictures on that camera I had found in the field back when this all started.

I took a seat next to my attractive young CSI lady friend. Lights out. 

Click, a Turkey Buzzard flying high. 
Click, a duck in a creek. 
Click, wild flowers. 
Click, the back of a young girl in shorts, tank top and a bandana, running. 
Click, same girl sitting near the flowers. 
Click, she is standing up, looking at something. 
Click, she is moving almost completely out of frame. 
Click, she is kneeling, but only her boots are in frame. 
Click, oh no, from the other side of the frame, is it a bear? 
Click, no, it’s a man in camouflage, holding a huge knife. 
Click, I can’t watch the screen.  I turn my head and I watch the young CSI’s eyes instead. 
Click, her eyes flinch just a bit. 
Click, she turns her head just for a second, then returns her professional gaze back to the screen.  
Click, her eyes start to get wet. 
Click … 
Click … a single tear runs from her eye and down her soft young cheek. 
Click... she turns to look at me, both our faces wet with tears. I help her to her feet, and we leave the room together.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


By D. E. Allen

 I just learned that Cliff Bleidner, respected Poet and Chairmen of the Performance Poets Association, lost his mother yesterday.  I wrote this poem some time ago while reflecting on experiences I had after losses in my life.  So here is; Reunion, for Cliff, and all of us who have suffered loss.

I thought I saw you again today.
But it was just a glint of sunlight where the shadow of a tree should be.
My eyes playing tricks on my mind, and for a moment, it brought you back to me.

The feeling was so different.
For that fleeting moment the empty spot in my heart was full once more.
Then again in a moment, the emptiness returns, for you have gone to the other shore.

The days drag on and on.
I know that soon enough it will be my turn to cross over to eternity.
Even though I can feel you all around me, I still question if reunion is a certainty.

I must stay strong in faith.
I must believe that reunion is assured for if I believe otherwise…. You’re gone.
Oh no, if I dare to think otherwise you’d be lost forever, and my heart could not go on.

I thought I saw you again today.
And in a moment of perfect clarity I realize that I did see you, I did, I did I say.
Because you knew that if I saw you, even if only in a flash, it would help me, to find my way.

Friday, September 14, 2012


God thought and I was.
In His image He made me.
We are eternal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Your Most Precious Possessions, One Shelf Limit                                                                  

Genesis 1:1   In the Beginning…
            My Kindergarten class picture, there’s old Mrs. Krumpman.  Oh, the thin girl in the front row. I remember her, how sad, she died in third grade.  Something to do with her kidneys as I recall; she was so young; what a shame.

Numbers 11:27   And there ran a young man…

Once again my fingers touch what remains of a pink carnation pressed between sheets of wax paper.  I wonder what’s worse for ware, the carnation, the wax paper, or me?  That’s easy, me.  I sure looked good with that pink carnation on my white sports coat… Oh what a night that was!

 Ecclesiastes 3:8    A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war…                      

Oh wow, my squad, Ramirez, what a piece of work he was. He must have 20 great-grand kids by now.  Ramirez, you were a nut, but when the bullets were flying, I wanted you more than anyone else, close at hand.

Matthew 22:9    Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Smith are proud to announce the marriage of their daughter Greta Ann Smith …..  Standing before the alter in St. Paul’s, when you raised her veil, and kissed her cheek, then gave her hand to me, you turned the page to open the greatest chapter of my life.  Thank you again Poppa Smith.

“What the hell is taking you so long in there?”
“I’ll be with you in just a minute, keep your shorts on!”

John 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life…

            A rose, just one dried rose from not so long ago. The wax paper that enfolds it is still in pretty good shape.  My dear, dear Greta; Once the petals of this rose were soft and moist … You know when I used to tell you that your lips were as soft and as tender as the petals of a red rose from the garden? I meant every word of it.  Every word of it, every time I said it, all through the years.

“Come on Dad, it’s time to go.  We have to sign you in by 2. “

I closed the family bible and slipped it into the canvas tote bag slung over the side bar of my walker.  Personal items are limited to what can fit on one shelf in my, semi-private room.  That room, that semi-private room, will be my new home, where all I will have for company, for the rest of my life, will be a roommate named Jack, and my precious memories… of a life that was once full.

Friday, September 7, 2012

They, Pray, Payday, Replay                                       

By D. E. Allen

Luck won’t you be a lady, and come with me today.
Come dance around my roulette wheel, add magic to my play.
As long as I come out ahead, a few thousand would be okay.
I yearn to see you cast your spell and send good fortune without delay.

Dear Lady play my slot machine a while, and tell me you will stay.
Please bring a thrill to this old man, with his hair of gray.
If you could simply smile at me, it would make my heart so gay.
Yet I know that in the morning, you must be on your way.

Oh you fickle Lady Luck, don’t let my gambler’s bankroll decay.
Must I beg you to come back to me, what Pythian words must I say?
When you come, will you stand by me, or will once again you stray?
Please come and play with me a while longer, and keep poverty at bay.

If I could but put you in a bottle, and squirrel you away
I know that I could face the world, each crisis, come what may.
Like Knights defending Damsels, life’s dragons I would slay.
With you at my side, the world would be mine, served on a silver tray.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Walk in the Park                                                

I had finally escaped the office for 3 days of hiking in the Okanogan National Forest in my home state of Washington. Just me, my sleeping bag, and a 50-pound backpack filled with all the comforts of, well, maybe not home, but close enough. Half way up the side of the ridge I decided to take the path least traveled, picking my way between loose gravel and broken rocks, I was sure going to give my new hiking boots a good workout.

Once up over the ridge, and down into a hollow I saw a beautiful field of wild flowers. I could not resist. I dropped my pack and grabbed my new 7 mega-pixel camera and tripod. I framed the shot in the picture viewer, and set the delay timer for 30 seconds. Like a little girl I bounded to the spot I figured to be center frame and I stood there counting. Once I was sure 30 seconds had passed I bounced happily back to my camera to look at the picture.

Oh Crap, was that dirt on the lens? No the lens is clean. I looked back at the field and sure enough, about 50 feet behind where I had been standing a Turkey Buzzard had landed to feast on some dead rabbit or something. Oh well, no shot of cute little me in my field of flowers, but maybe some nice nature shots of a feasting buzzard.

I took the camera off the tripod and snapped, and walked, ever so slowly and cautiously doing my best impersonation of a nature photographer. I was about 10 feet away when I could see that the buzzard was perched on a rock … Oh my God, it was looking down on an injured hiker, and getting ready to bite him! I reached down and grabbed a rock and hit the buzzard square in the side, causing it to take off with a loud squawk. I ran over to the hiker, he was still alive, but bleeding profusely from a deep cut on his neck.

Instinctively I called 911. I was told that a Park Ranger helicopter was in the immediate vicinity and I should apply pressure to the neck wound to slow the flow of blood, but to be careful not to cut off the victim’s airway. No sooner had I pushed my clean-enough bandana against the wound, that I heard the unmistakable sound of the helicopter. Mere seconds later the dust and dry grass storm of the landing chopper washed over me, and my unknown friend.

“Miss, I’m EMS, let me get to him.” I pulled back and the EMS tech took over. I caught myself nervously talking a mile a minute about what had happened, but the EMS guy only said, “Get your gear together, we have to move quickly.” So I scurried back for my pack and tri-pod while the Rangers loaded the poor guy into the chopper.

The Park Ranger Pilot was on the radio with the police as I was put into the front seat next to him, and the EMS trained Ranger got into the back to care for the injured hiker. Just 10 minutes by air and we were at the Hospital landing pad where the chopper was met by a pack of scurrying medical professionals, and I was met by the Police.

“Miss, please come with us, we need you to make a statement.” It was creepy as all Hell to be in the back seat of a police cruiser for the first time, and I almost wet myself when they put me into an interrogation room complete with that one-way mirror you always see on TV. My mind was blank and numb at the same time when Sergeant Perci asked me if he could look at the pictures in my camera.

“Yes, go right ahead.” I had nothing to hide, but still should I be asking for a lawyer or should I just be cooperative? Sergeant Perci left the room and returned a few minutes later.

“So, Miss Cooper, correct?”


“What happened out there?”

I opened my mouth to speak, but a buzzer sounded and a voice on an intercom said, “Sergeant, one moment, right now.” Sgt. Perci left the room for an eternity, or so it seemed. When he returned, he was still wearing the same medium gray suit, but he was not wearing the friendly expression on his face that he had left with.

“Miss Cooper … our John Doe Hiker … didn’t make it. Do you care to tell me for the record what happened out there?”

“Do I need a Lawyer?”

“Depends on what you have to say.”

I put my faith in the power of truth, and I told Sgt. Perci my entire story. Then the damn buzzer went off again. “Sergeant, we have something you better look at on the camera.”

Not long after leaving for a second time, Sgt. Perci came back and escorted me to a viewing room where the picture of me in the flower field was blown up on a large movie screen. With a series of mouse clicks the police technician zoomed in on the corner of the picture. There in the tree line on the far side of the flower field, was a man dressed in camouflage, with a big knife in his hand, watching me.

“Miss Cooper, you are one lucky lady. That man is an escaped murderer. Here’s my card. If you plan to leave the state you must contact me. You may also be contacted by a police officer or an officer of the court in a few days. This Patrolman will take you back to your vehicle, and escort you home. Goodnight Miss Cooper.” That was it. My bizarre adventure was over.

I got to ride in the front seat of the police cruiser on the way back to my car.  The Patrolman was kind of cute, and single.  He gave me his number and said “If there’s anything I can do, or if you just need to talk…”  Maybe I’ll give him a call and we’ll chat over coffee in a few days.