Two Poems by Dr. Blaise Allen
Elegy for Summer, Long Island
For my father
This year, an early August fall night, 53 degrees.
Rising smells of fireplace smoke and mulched leaves.
Dad and I walk the dogs under a pumpkin colored moon.
Our Beefsteak tomato plant, tenderly attended
to all summer, still growing the same rock-hard tomatoes:
two plum-size reddening, the other immature mutants,
green and ochre shiny marbles frozen in the white LED
beam of dad’s flashlight.
I watch my 79-year-old father lumber across the redwood
deck, carry his blind dog down three stairs, to spare her
the struggle. Dad’s neck and shoulders bent over
from a lifetime of carrying the world. Our personal Atlas,
he who sang lullabies and taught five daughters to box-step,
change tires, and drive. The man neighbors called
Tower of Power, strong, fast thinking, handsome athlete
my girlfriends secretly crushed on; rapidly aging,
fighting cancer, enfeebled by treatments.
Vines and leaves of the garden shrivel umber.
Acorns cover the yard, crunch underfoot. Dad asks,
How many moons have we seen this summer?
I name them: Strawberry, Buck, Sturgeon, and Harvest.
When Hunter moon arrives, it’s time for us snowbirds
to fly back to Florida. Each chilling night
we move further from the sun, into longer nights
away from the short summer we shared.
Our faithful blind and hobbled dogs lead us through
the backyard, near thickets by sharp edges of the woods.
Choirs of cicada note our presence, hiss then silence.
Such a short jubilee of flowers, birdsong, and warmth.
I take dads arm. We steady each other over
varicosed roots of oaks protruding across the lawn,
head back into our warm house shining golden
light from each window into the blues of night.
We praise the dogs, and everyone has cookies.
Hi, my name is Poet
I am a poem-aholic.
I can’t imagine life
tweaking, or tinkering.
It affects my marriage.
I use our food money
stockpile alphabet soup,
heat it every meal,
grow fat on feedback.
We live in a house of books.
My husband goes to bed
alone. I habitually stay up
to tease stanzas.
I’d rather an extended
metaphor than orgasm.
I stare out the window,
wait for inspiration.
I can’t resist the pulling
sea of simile.
Wherever I am, poems call
me to hide couplets in pockets,
on the back of receipts,
stanzas on napkins.
I crave the thrust
and well nailed endings.
I am powerless to poetry,
get shaky if I don’t have it,
need more and more
to be satisfied.
I sneak off to readings,
drive to towns where
no one knows me.
I want to hear others’ work
and for them to hear mine.
Old or new it doesn’t matter,
as long as it’s not rhyme.
Blaise Allen, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Director of Community Outreach for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Her poems have been widely published in literary reviews, anthologies, and journals. Blaise bridges her passion of social welfare and the arts through community engagement and project management.