John Thomas Allen


If I can't ask for good music even amongst
the news, please thank me later on. A man
with bleary red egg yolk for eyes fell down
a ravine and re-emerged from the city bathhouse
drain as the second coming of Christ still in
a grainy color edition of a B-film. His hair
is a light blonde, his eyes a skinned blue halo.
The water is a vinyl black freezing in rivulets
which are guitar picks for a moment, frosty
constellates pausing on each zipped flat
of his cardigan guitar case, torn as he moves
towards me from the itches of rust all over him.


(for James Tate)

I was bored so I pulled a teenage girl into a pet store in the mall. How do they do it? I wondered. Shine these bright rainbow bold next to Victoria's Secret, McDonald's? The like. This baby bird was resting on a small barbed wire perch. It sang beautifully. An alouette. The feathers beat in my heart, mine beat in its. I wanted to call the salivated cooing "Paris Angelicus". "Interesting", the girl said, eyes glazed. I continued to stare into the bird's soft dot eyes. "Old man", she said. "Old man, we talked about this one, you talked about it. "The bird is an unreconstructed form from primitive.." "Grammatology", she drooled on all the while the bird cooed and the manager started playing muzak. Dot an eye. "Derrida talked about the bird.." By this time my hands were shaking. I had destroyed the cash register, smashed the cobra's cages, and held the dying bird's song in my hand. There was a ruckus outside, rent-a-cops, the bars to the store pulled down. I opened my arms as the critters came at me one by one.

John Thomas Allen is a 29 year old poet living in Albany, NY. Having worked with the homeless/mentally ill/chemically addicted for many years, his work is an attempt to highlight the neglected in modern civilization. His work has appeared in many journals. A short book of his poems, The Other Guy, will be available from Crisis Chronicles Press this summer. Suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease, he now gets out when he can and has a really cool collapsible cane.
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