Monday, July 30, 2012

A  stroll down the driveway on the third day of spring.
By D. E. Allen

I walk in cold mist.
Above me, a sky of gray.
The world is vacant.

It should be Springtime.
Winter, please go away now.
Dampness chills my bones.

Spring tries to come forth.
Winter refuses to leave.
Cool air surrounds me.

Blanket of flowers.
Quietly you are waiting.
Hidden by moist earth.

Asparagus patch.
I hear you call me softly,
“Please make me ready.”

Look, there, Daffodils.
Too soon I say, it’s too cold.
Chills still embrace me.

Patience, patience all.
Summers toil comes soon enough.
We will yearn for rest.

Let us all relax.
Enjoy this spring transition.
Be still, and at peace.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Senryu of the Broken Heart
By D. E. Allen

Love has gone away.
My heart is deeply wounded.
Death would be welcome.

Beautiful weather?
The sunshine has no meaning.
Darkness lets me sleep.

I feel abandoned.
Television is a bore.
My world is empty.

Meet some new people.
Love will come to me again.
Are you kidding me?

My soul is sleeping.
I prefer to let it rest.
Come back tomorrow.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Answered the Call           

By Donald E. Allen


I answered the call of freedom at Bunker Hill,
I froze half to death at Valley Forge.
I gave every ounce of blood and sweat in Viet Nam,
I took a mini-ball in the knee at Stones River Gorge.

I had my lungs burned out by German mustard gas,
I suffered the Bataan death march in the Philippines.
I held on for dear life at the Pusan perimeter,
I stood with Andy Jackson at New Orleans.

I’m fighting now in Eastern lands,
Their languages I do not speak.
On my shoulder is the flag of the USA,
I have an honored tradition to keep.

My name … it does not matter,
But I’ll tell you who I am anyway.
I am every American Veteran,
And November 11th, is MY day!

Changing Priorities                                               

By D. E. Allen

It was October 17th 1989, and a little after 5 at night.  I only live a few blocks from Candlestick Park, but I could not get a ticket to the game.  I was sitting in my kitchen, eating my TV dinner a little early, listening to the World Series on my radio, wishing I were there.   I had a term paper due for my history class in a few days, but right then, that game was more important than college, well maybe not as important as my baseball scholarship, but right at that minute, that game was my number 1 priority.  Then, out of the blue, an earthquake.

My next memory was of the pain in my face, I had a broken jaw.  Then the darkness hit me, I was not blind, I saw a white blade of evening sunlight piercing the darkness of the rubble.  RUBBLE?

I tried to move, but I could not. I could feel all my fingers and all my toes but I could only rock my head a fraction of an inch before the pain shut down any head movement.  I could freely move my right arm about 18 inches, and twist and turn my left leg a little.  My right leg hurt, and although I could wiggle my toes, my right leg was pinned in place by something, something very heavy.  My left arm was pinned behind my back, it hurt, but I could wiggle the fingers of my left hand.  I could breathe, not a deep breath, but I could breathe.  That blade of sunlight meant air, and air meant life.  All I cared about in the world was that blade of sunlight, and the air it brought to me. My priorities had become focused on the most miniscule of details.

“Oh God, I don’t want to die!”  I tried to call out, but I could only make loud moaning sounds.  I heard voices, and somehow they heard me.  They pushed a wire down towards my right hand, and said, “Grab it.” There was nothing in the world more challenging, or as important in those few minutes.  My priorities had shifted again.  With a lot of trouble I was able to get the end of the wire to my hand. 

“It tugged! I swear some one’s alive down there.  Can you get the loop on your finger?”  Again with a great deal of maneuvering I was able to get the cloth-like band around my finger.  “We have a pulse, get me a bottle of O2 with a 6 foot tube.”  My fading blade of sunlight piercing the rubble suddenly turned to bright silver as if Heavens gate had opened above me, but when I heard the roar of the generators I knew they had turned on some heavy-duty portable lights.

They were going to bring in a heavy lift crane to move a prefab concrete wall that was obstructing their access to the steel beam that was on top of my right leg.  But their priorities changed before it got to me.  The heavy lifter was sent instead to the freeway where they feared many dozens of people were trapped.  I was only one man.  They had to use the manpower and equipment where they thought it would do the most good.  Priorities can be so fleeting.

Unable to move the concrete wall, to get to the beam that had me trapped, they dug me out from my head and shoulders, and amputated my right leg to free me.  I learned later that they only recovered dead bodies from that section of the freeway.

My priorities changed.  I am not a Baseball Player, or a Historian.  Today I am a Trauma Surgeon, and a volunteer first responder with the City of San Francisco, Emergency Services. 

Remember, even if you have set your priorities in life … life will change them for you in a flash.

Message in a Bottle                                                  

By D. E. Allen

I am blessed to live near the bay, except when the full moon and a Nor’ Easter bless me with a house, in the bay.  Most evenings my wife and I stroll on Amity Harbors sandy private beach.  This past Wednesday as we strolled I spotted a silver flask bobbing up and down in the seaweed gathered by one of the beaches groins.  It looked like a brand new thermos bottle.  I got closer and plucked it out of the seaweed.  It was metallic, and yet even though it was filled with seawater it had been bobbing like a cork.  As I poured out the seawater, to my surprise the flask contained a tan colored metallic straw that floated out of the flask on the stream of seawater, but when the straw hit the beach, it unfolded into an ultra thin, fragile looking sheet of tinfoil like material, the size of a normal sheet of typing paper.

I picked it up and I could see strange writing of some sort on the metal sheet.  Just then a strong gust of wind blew, but the sheet of foil did not make a flutter, not a bend in the breeze.  My wife, who loves doing Cryptoquotes in the newspaper, was already reading the sheet over my shoulder.  “Strange symbols, but it looks like English, just from the letter pattern, I bet that word is THE, and that single symbol is I or A.”  Her Cryptoquote mind was in overdrive as we reached the house.

We went inside and placed the sheet of whatever this stuff was on the dining room table.  Smokie, our cat, immediately jumped up on the table and sat on it.  My wife grabbed the cat to lift her off of it, but not before the cats claws had put a few puncture marks in the foil like material.  Puncture marks that healed themselves up before our very eyes.

My wife went to work solving this mysterious puzzle.  The message was longer than most puzzles in her puzzle books.  This one took my wife nearly, 15 or 20 minutes to decipher.  The message read:
Mayday, Mayday.  Stranded here twenty days ago following a solar plasma ejection that disabled all ships functions.  Fate of all other crewmembers is unknown.  Water surrounding the island is not potable.  Water scavenged from plumbing of ruins is highly radioactive.  Ships anti-matter engines appear to have torn a rift in the time space continuum.  The time rift has swallowed up two previous attempts to release signal buoys with messages inside.  All sorts of twenty-first century trash has been bombarding me through the rift day and night. This is my third, and final chance to release a message buoy.

 If I perish before this message buoy is found by sub-orbital reconnaissance, tell everyone back on Mars Colony that we must continue our quest to return to Earth.  We knew that our mission to explore post apocalyptic Manhattan was dangerous, but we must not give up.  Always remember the words of our Leader, “Return, Repopulate, Renew.”

All my love to Anna
I remain forever in service to my Colony,
Sir David Sorenson, Captain Commanding, Phoenix One
I should have left the thermos looking thing on the beach. It was indeed generating a signal. A signal followed by the authorities to my home. My wife and I were interviewed by the “Men in Black,” and released after just a few hours. They knew that I would be telling this story today, but they did not care. They knew full well that none of you would ever believe a story like this, coming from a fiction writer like me.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A South Shore Summer Sonata                              
By D. E. Allen

I can hear my tires click across
the evenly spaced expansion grooves
of the parkways well worn pavement.
They are tapping out a steady beat,
in response to Long Island’s summer heat.
They gather to play a familiar tune,
a South Shore summer sonata.

Watching a Captree open fishing boat
slip sideways beneath Robert Moses’ twin spans,
wind and tide push the ship slowly;
a perfect drift for fluke.
A young couple dances past me on the sand,
I am sure in their heads they are listening to
A South Shore summer sonata.

As evening nears and the heat fades
I turn the handle of the shower stand
washing away the sand from between my toes.
My beach blanket flapping in the wind.
It's sound brings me back in time once again
and I start to sing of sandcastle memories,
A South Shore summer sonata.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Reincarnation?  By D. E. Allen

The kids were up from the city for a visit, and our 4-year-old granddaughter Kelly would spend the night with us.  It would be her first sleep over, a chance for my Son and Daughter-in-law to have a whole night to themselves, and reconnect to the romance in their lives.

After dinner, 4 year-old Kelly, my wife Helene, and I gathered in the living room for a quiet evening.

“Hi sweetheart, what are you doing?”


“Oh, Mickey Mouse, looks like fun.”

“No, it’s Minnie Mouse.”

“Oh I see, a nice red polka-dot dress, that’s Minnie Mouse alright.”

Well Grandpa had already blown it with the elder female at the dinner table with a badly timed remark about the gravy, so now it looks like I’m 0 for 2 with the ladies.

I settled down into my recliner and clicked on the History channel.  I had a half hour of TV time before my darling wife, queen of the remote control, would stretch out her hand to me signaling an end to my TV viewing, and the start of her watching crime solving super team shows for the rest of the night.  You know what shows I mean.  The ones with acronyms infused in the name, S.V.U.; C. S. I.; N.C.I.S.; I jokingly call them all E.I.E.I.O. Old McDonalds Farm Bureau Investigators.

But tonight, would be a little different.  Tonight that 4 year-old little girl would change our perception of reality.

The History channel had on another rehash of 9-11 conspiracy stories.  It was mostly talk, and the usual B.S., but, yes, I should have realized that certain images inappropriate for younger viewers might be on the screen.

Then, the TV flashed those all too familiar horror filled moments, just as the plane went slicing into the second tower, and my granddaughter looked up at the TV and said, “That’s when I died.”

Talk about shock and awe.

My wife reacted first, “Honey, many OTHER people died, it was a very sad day.”

“No Grandma, we heard the noise, and smoke came and we all went into the corner, and—“

That was enough.  My wife looked at me to turn off the TV, but I beat her to the punch, the damn TV was off before her eyes met mine.

Then Grandpa spoke the kind of words that come to Grandpas at times like these.

“Hey, let’s go into town and get some ice cream!”

The rest of the evening was awkward to say the least, but we made it through OK.

The following morning, when her mom and dad came to get her, I spoke with my son about his little girl’s imagination. 

The look on my sons face revealed a far different story.

“Dad, ever since she was a newborn, the sound of a low flying jet would make her cry. We thought it was just the loud noise, but the crying was too intense, even for a baby. The doctor just said, “She’s got one heck of a good set of lungs.””

“You should also know, we lied to you and mom, her first words were not Daddy and Mommy like we told you, those came later. Her first words were “Bad plane. Bad plane.”   When we get home, she will be getting some special help, because lately she is waking up at night, saying some very… very…”

My son stopped, gathered himself for a moment, then continued, “ This past Christmas Eve, she cried out in her sleep, “Help us!” Not help me, help us, clear as day.”

“We should have warned you, we thought having her stay with you over night, out here in the country, she would be far away, she would be safe.  We forgot about Television. We should have told you.  Sorry Dad.”


Reincarnation?  For my poor little granddaughter “Reincarnation” may be the name of a long and scary road she will have to travel.  Grandma and I will do all we can to comfort her along the way.