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