John Allen

Rookie (2/26/83 / New Yawk)

Smokebreak - Poem by John Allen


Jose C.

sagging coats
picked limply from
the graffitied cubby.
slipped on like bruised
banana peels


commercial straight-
jackets threaded
with stitched wrists

the zippers open onto
dauchau's rib
indelible slashes
carved masterfully
in animal randomness

A Spanish girl
flaked skin falling
covers her mouth
with a napkin
she's drawn on,

muttering about germs.
filing along like
miscalculated index numbers

wait. 'you, with
the bruises that have
a good memory and a bandaged
wrist. go

sit by the telephone
was carved into the wall
by some earnest unfortunate.

tonight is still CO:
constant observation for
short i will

watch you when my coffee
is strong
when i am weak think
of how you got here,

and avoid anything sharp.'

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Comments about Smokebreak by John Allen

  • (6/1/2006 10:25:00 AM)

    A great piece of writing. For me the lack of capitalisation leaves some of your pieces down.

    The great American poet Oppen was averse to this because he felt that the word is important enough for it to be punctuated. each line of his work starts with capitalisation.

    That said you employ language in a powerful and expressive manner.

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Langston Hughes


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Poem Edited: Sunday, June 17, 2007

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