"But first, baby, as you climb and count the stairs (and they total the same), did you, sometime or somewhere, have a different idea?
Is this, baby, what you were born to feel, and do, and be?"

-Kenneth Fearing

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Close Cover Before Striking


He ripped one out and struck it,

watched it flare up like a brand new dream,

sucked the flame through his cigarette.

It burned until all that remained, was the bit

between his fingers, which he flicked out the window;

another useless plaything for the wind.

                                   -Brent Allard

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Setting Up the Carnival


They’re bolting parts together,

and putting down the power lines.

I’m sure there’s nothing new.

But, driving by reminded me

of the cotton candy,

blue for me and pink for you.

We went on all the rides together, 

because you said  "there’s nothing sadder

than a girl alone on the Ferris wheel."

I spent ten dollars on darts

to win the Led Zeppelin mirror,

and I knew how heroes feel.

It rained a little but we didn’t care.

We laughed, so happy then.

                                  -Brent Allard

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The First Taste of Smoke


My first cigarette was stolen.
Jim’s father kept cartons in his truck
and never counted the individual packs.
Behind the garage, we took our first drags
of that death reserved for grown-ups.

In a picture of my father,
he has a cigarette in one hand
and helps me to stand with the other.
I found it easy to smoke them.

And the cigarette stubbed out,
for my first kiss reminded me of that.
so I kissed her, but too hard.

She was afraid of the urgency in my lips,
my futile attempt at communication.
I wanted to tell her everything,
how I missed my father,
how good it was to light a cigarette
when he couldn’t anymore.
She couldn’t get that from a kiss
so she ran away from me.

The first time making love was like that too,
trying to make my body say everything
about every first time I’d ever known,
but all my inexperienced thrusting,
was doomed to saying nothing,
so I lit a cigarette and walked away.

                                      -Brent Allard

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lip Service


You wave your magic hands

as if you can heal when you want to.

As if given the inclination, you could open

the coffin lid, and raise him up,

as soon as you said “Come forth.”

You say that you knew him, as if you remember

that one communion twenty seven years ago.

But you don’t need to know him. You have the notes.

You talked with mother, father, brother.

So when you say he’s “pitching” for us,

you expect us to smile

thinking, isn’t that just like him?

Some of them believe you. They buy your white robes

and your whitening hair. They admire the way you sprinkle water

and the verses you hand selected from condolences in your

holy official concordance.

But I don’t see him in your speech or in your verses,

I think it’s too late to baptize or anoint him.

The clearest fact, is that you didn’t know him, and

no one who did has influenced your notes.

Kind Father, Intercessor, Matchstick Man

                                      -Brent Allard