Sunday, November 1, 1998


My laptop is tied to the world
by a thin silver cable

and I am tied to you by that sullen electronic string--
but for the image in my mind and the wired words
"we" would not exist--
at times the most frightening thought.

feeling from the bottom of
the soul
the gut
from the bottom root of everything
my chakras and your chakras
forever tied and granted blessings of

(we communicate on seven levels, highest to lowest to lower than lowest,
each level a color to listen to: red orange yellow green blue indigo

kiss my rain with your light
hold this hand with your hand
with my one hand in your both hands
with the one thought
in our both minds

stretch the wire tight
into my wrists
rope burn your image into
my tight mind
and crush my mind with the depth of you
til only the diver heart is left
to swim your blue ocean, your blue ocean
a sky inverted, clouds and waves:

send your fire across me now
connected fire, fire fly over the water
and find me feverish and bedeviled
by your icy heat

i am you
i your name
your people me
you my only cure

deeper still than any words
read from a computer screen
blue screen light screen
in the damp hotel room

break the wire
break the screen
stand up and shout without connection
but only through the true connection
my heart to your heart- direct
my heart to your heart- direct Now
and i will hear you to the bottom of my waters:
You are here
This morning is Ours
-Tim Allen

Sunday, September 27, 1998


*Dancing* (Raleigh, North Carolina, 27 Sep 98)
My father before me
I see him now,
now solid and ridiculous
in his brown chair throne

But then...
Then he was light-- took my mother's wrist smoothly
gently, but firmly,
and planted the first steps that would bloom
to a blossomed foxtrot,
slide glide across the parquet floor,
shining back up the reflection of my mother:
Now a housewife past,
Then a diafanous cloud,
a driad swaying lazily and gracefully as a willow,
draped over my father's shoulder.

This pair that I never believed in as a boy
had only each other to believe in for so long
that they need no one else
and in their eyes I saw shine that same miracle
as they stepped out to "Take the 'A' Train"

Hard to believe
this stooped grey couple protecting each other
as they cross streets
once was the couple to watch on the dance floor
He the dashing Captain of Marines
tall and thin and dazzling in his Dress Blue uniform
And she the most beautiful and unusual woman
most men had seen
Oriental but dark, with an accent that melted men's hearts

They wrote letters as we do now, my love
never knowing for sure if they were right
for years they wrote,
talked about the little things of the day
things friends had said
what color shirt they had bought

Without instructions they found each other,
discovered the spell to conjure each other up
to hold each other when times were bad,
or just when they felt like holding each other
though they were physically three time zones apart

They held each other in their hearts
as we now hold each other in our hearts
your image as real to me now as the tear running down my face,
your voice as real to me now as the sound of the North Carolina wind

Let me hold your hands in mine
and press your fingers to my lips
and thank the universe
that we spent so much time holding hands
that we remember what it felt like
(remember-- my right hand in your left, mine behind yours)
I am with you now
and you with me
so close together
that we can hear each other breathing

Close your eyes
and listen to us laughing
so much like music
and the notes playing high and higher
and the floor beckoning
take my hands, Älskling,
take my hands
and if this song sounds right to you,
Would you care to dance?
-Tim Allen

Thursday, September 24, 1998

Iron Tower

Iron Tower (980924 - Raleigh, North Carolina)
Behind my Grandmother's house
behind the place we played in the turtle ditch
where there was mud in our toes
and a tire swing that smelled like horse urine

A rusted iron bell tower stood, bell-less

Undefiant, it was as inanimate as the church it stood next to
strangely out of place in the small southern town
a thing more suited to a third world country, or Spain

and we, only three feet high, would climb
it seemed weeks from bottom to top
and we would sit and read the scratched in inscriptions
until we were not afraid to look out over the city

the iron tower had lost most of its paint,
turned reddish brown of rust
and the wind was almost white with heat
a heat that had baked the life out of the churchyard grass
which shook in the breeze below, a broad expanse
of yellow, punctuated by the brown mud hills
of crawfish mounds

from here we could look beyond my grandmother's house
and see far, far away, to the red brick methodist church several blocks away
I still do not know what kind of church erected the iron tower
but it was not methodist.

And the Silsbee summer was almost silent in those days,
silent but for the occasional car drifting past in no hurry
the only other sound the wind through the line of
short maple trees between my grandmother's property and the churchyard.
Honeysuckle blossoms stained the wind a sweet incense smell

We sat in the iron tower and pretended to play
but mostly we were silent, thinking about nothing,
moving clouds with our minds
I do not remember if we realized how magic that time was
if we knew how good we had it,
but it seems that we did

On my last trip home I went by the old churchyard,
but the iron tower was gone
sad, because I had intended to climb it again,
though now I am 25 years older
and I know about tetanus
knowing that you can never really go home
does not seem to make it any easier
were I a child, I would return there
and will, when I am that age again.
-Tim Allen

Friday, September 11, 1998


Rut respondió:
"no insistas en que te deje, retirándome de ti:
porque adonde tú vayas iré yo,
y donde tú mores moraré yo.
Tú pueblo será mi pueblo,
y tú Dios será mi Dios.
Donde tú murieres, moriré you, y allí seré sepultada.
Que Yahvé me castigue de todos maneras si otra cosa que la muerte me separe de ti."

And Ruth answered:
"Please, please. Entreat me not to leave you, or thrust me away from you:
Where you go, I will go,
and where you pitch your tent will I sleep.
Your people will be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, there will I lay me down, and be buried.
God watch over me that nothing but death ever keep me from you."
-The Book of Ruth

How fast do minds have to run
before they catch up with what's in the soul?
fold paper forward
fold the soul back
fold the ingredients together until
they aren't what they were
but something else altogether.

The mind folds into itself
a sharp edge at the corner
carefully sharpened
not to cut the finger that folds
a red cut to match the red lips
the sunlight red through closed lids.

Two ingredients
equal parts of equal partners

Open your eyes now
the red still there
the question still in the air and the answer breaking the birth water
I'm drowning in you and watching you breathe again
will this breath fuel your next word
or fuel my insecurities further?

Life forms the long question mark,
curled around us as we curl around each other
naked in this bed
your hair tickling my leg
folded up under yours
following the fold of your elbow with my index finger

Breathe again
the heat on my cheek
your nose pressed to my face now
your eye dark and deep
as close to mine
an inch away now

and your chest pressed against mine, now
now-love a question for the then-love

We only have less than this day
this breath
this air hanging between the question and the answer
folding us together
or apart
and no space between us now
between the beat of my heart and your heart
the seconds tick
the breaths tick
the answers tick
the clock
-Tim Allen
Antigua, Guatemala, August 1998
Copyright 1998 Tim Allen

Wednesday, September 2, 1998

Connected II

*Connected II*
I love you
and feel you
tight against me in every moment.
Let that passion awaken in you, --
I need you to be right here,
tight against my skin, as my own skin.

I dream of kissing your hair,
of smelling the taste of you,
of remembering the lines of your face,
of your feet,
of your hands,
with my fingers.

Make me alive with your life,
with our life,
with the lives of our unborn children,
make me alive with you,
with the fire and the water of you,
with the cold earth and the hot wind
of you,
with the music and the silence and the spark and the turn of you.

Touch my feet with your feet
and laugh until we can't breath,
and wet each others' cheeks
with the laugh tears,
and take this feeling seriously,
because it is only one that matters,
as close as life,
as death,
as the importance of the sun:
find my hands with your hands,
my fire/water,
and never never lose my hands.
-Tim Allen

Saturday, August 29, 1998

Leftover Milk in a Little Cup

Leftover Milk in a Little Cup
Don't mind me
looking at the leftover milk in my little cup
whiteness watching whiter-ness
staring hard

If there's an answer
it's at the bottom of this cup
leftover lightness, white on white
the porcelean cracked and stained with yesterday's coffee

I cup my hands to catch the milky rain
and lift it to my wet mouth
my cheeks cold numbed and blued
and wonder at the cold sting in my toes
tight in my cowboy boots

This highway so recently so hot
the images so recently wavering in the road heat
Dallas dust dry and white
white as the insanely hot Irving sky
your image a wavering image
dry and white and your cheeks cold and blue
and for this single moment I am you
in my rain
in my heat
in my little white cup
in my leftover milk.
-Tim Allen
Antigua, Guatemala, August 1998

Friday, August 28, 1998

Crowded and late chicken bus

Crowded and late chicken bus
"Dios me guia" the glittering letters shout
two glittering bathing beautiies reclining to either side of the words
I imagine the terror of reading these insane words
as the bus runs me down

But not now
the fifty colored ex-Nebraska school system International Harvester School bus
is so late and so crowded on this street
that it's a wonder we get anywhere at all
and a greater wonder that we can get off when we get there

My plastic bag of blankets sits on my lap
crushed by a Quechican man in a Texas Ranger's cap
breathing vodka fumes on me in a loud Quechican accent
Hey Gringo, Where You Coming From
and then turns back to his seat mate
and breaths vodka Quechican at her for a while

And I am so late and so crowded that I'll never get there
I'll be on this bus when the final horn sounds
and I'll be sentenced to a dusty half Quechican hell
of my own making
I chose to do this
I chose to do this!
and they just wouldn't believe this back in Irving now would they?

And this Quechican hell still tastes of dusty Texas heaven
heaven for Texans
where the sound of fifty different radios
tuned to fifty different stations
would sound like Gabriel's horn
blowing away the
plastic-titted denizens of my hometown

"Budweiser: Autentico, como tú":
At least this is honest
at least this is indigenous
and we the intruders
at least this is part of the real history of the real world

But right now my underwear is crawling up my ass
and my seat is not shaped for my butt
and I'm so damn late
and so damn crowded.
-Tim Allen
Antigua, Guatemala, August 1998

Thursday, August 27, 1998


I put my foot direct
tied straight
to the wheels
cold power
and amerikan
and steer
to be a man here means image
and I've got image somewhere
I learned it
from John Wayne or Ronald Reagan
but I sure can stop a car
everything I do
I mean to do
I'll convince you too
and anyway it's the thing we want to
believe that we all know
how to behave
for example
this car has wheels
like yours
and you have a head turned away
to watch the light turn
and I'm Watching You Hard
like men do
in Dallas
in Summer
in heat that doesn't ever stop
'cause I like it just as hot as hell
and I even like my hat
just like John Wayne or Ronald Reagan
and I say American hard
and Watch It
'cuz I'm Watching You Too.
-Tim Allen
Antigua, Guatemala, August 1998

The Fear

The Fear
Bottle glass goes mostly green
and sometimes blue (not often)

I watch you
face shrink into the close end of the bottle bottom
and screw the clap cap under the lid
you flew by the bar another brew
and felt the fear catch
and latch around my core
tighten and wonder
feel the cuffs on my wrists
and twist my legs up under
in the cop car back fiber seat glass seats
and wonder as I thrust
my last glass last gasp creditcardmagic under the bar
and stopped to tip the tap from where I sat
on the stool and half faced the bouncer
as I slept then wandered the street
to find my car parked where
then start and fogged the glass
past the other cars' lights
star lighting my windshield glass
and then
and awake
and dry the tears that under
my ducts caked
and o god half sick and half wake
the glass stares back
and I stare too
broke and only half awake
how did I get home and what did I say
and now back here
the bar
and the bottle glass
mostly brown
some green
and always always
-Tim Allen
Antigua, Guatemala, August 1998

Thursday, June 11, 1998

Red Kayak

I wrote this for my dad for Father's Day in 1998.

Red Kayak
I was five
We built it of canvas and wood, and
You let me help paint it
Bright red as my bicycle
It still smelled of paint and glue
When we carried it to the Ocean
Which was and still is
The largest thing I've ever seen
But I wasn't worried (much)
Because my dad was
The strongest man in the world
And smarter than the ocean
You put me in the kayak
Got in behind me
And we began paddling
I could not see over the wave
Until we crested it, and the
Sunlight dazzled my eyes
Across the brown water
I could hear you singing
As you pulled at the water
The biggest wave in the Ocean
Crested before us
I wanted to cry out and drop my paddle
But you had given me a job to do
And a paddle to help keep the boat straight
And you were not afraid
The wave crested in front of us
And we glided over the water
I was close to the world
Close to the water
And close to my father
Nothing could hurt me
We turned to shore
And landed the red kayak
I don't recall ever going out in it again
But I've returned to that Ocean many times
Grasped my paddle and pulled the water
And knew that you were behind me
The first man I ever met
And still the best man I ever met
Singing and pulling the water with me.

Tuesday, April 28, 1998


The glass that broke in the frame reflected the wary face
wearied by time's charms and devils
and saddened by so much happiness
that once started
ended too quickly
-Tim Allen