My name is John Thomas Allen. I am 23 years old, having lived here in Albany for the majority of my life apart from some travelling here and there. As a result, my imagination is definitely informed by the urban. I’ve been interested in poetry and anything related to it since I was about 14. My chief concern in my own work is returning to the tradition created by poets like Charles Baudelaire, David Gascoyne Andre Breton–the more visionary thing. Modern poets like Franz Wright and Mary Oliver are the ones I find myself most attracted to now. I feel the poet should also have a political function in these times and not live in an ivory tower, which is why I devote a great deal of my time to leftist political activities. I currently work as one of three editors for Breath and Shadow, a magazine and attend college at St. Rose. I have also been published in:Ygdrasil: A Journal of the Poetic Arts, dreampeople, RealEight View, Illiterate Hooligan Press, ThunderSandwich #26, Breath and Shadow, Forever Underground, Falling Star, Nupenz Online, Poetically Speaking, Falling Star, 3 0 Cup Morning, Sein Un Werden, Zygote In My Coffee , dreamvirus, Tipton Poetry Journal, Prism Quarterly, Flutter, and Thick With Conviction.

POEMS

 

CANS

melted snow crawls at a snail’s
pace down his threadless, stinking
brown work bootsunwittingly imitating his
brain waves. zigzagging through
the senseless rubber maze
of a sleeping heel and reaching
his own dead end on loose floorboards,
it adds a new continent
to the puddle made from tears and
other things that have formed like a
moist waste land over three years.
occasionally he is sure that the
shrill voiced neighbor downstairs
who complains loudly about the
noise is his daughter. who else,
after all, could care enough to
wake him up. never having the energy
to go and find out, he will forget.
this will not matter, since the man below is 85
and was put in a nursing home
last night. none of this may ever matter,
since downtown his dreams
are on sale for 50 cents a can.

 

JOSE

J.

when i think of the boy
or man, depending upon
your perspective
locked in a white hallway
between two
steel doors,
staring through
meshed windows with
eyes dead
as a bored shark,
diffident smile
crusting brown skin, i
can only think:wrong.
but his fists moved when
free, dry knuckles
tapping the needy–
those always in
line for medication.
lightly,
but tapping nonetheless
a hungry
animal scratching at
an absent
owners’ door.
then, maybe
i think:right. but then
i remember the
faint handshake
he gave me one night,
leaving some white
digressions on madness
in my sweating palms.
then i think of
when he finally
tapped me, and what
does it matter to you?
there was only
later on
the popcorn crunch
of handcuffs, a scream
and the sound of
police tires like
tired oceans
bringing in
the night’s polluted currents

 

OCULAR

Your face is always in the cold.

I run away when your eyes turn to

meet me, because the iridescent

hesitance of your pain shoots outward

like weeping hieroglyphs etched with eyelashes.

I’m afraid to grasp for you,

eaten by the crocodile calm of the days.