Dee Allen


No new images, no new sentences,
No snappy similes, no stand-alone metaphors,
No new situations to describe,
No new tales to tell,
No passionate ink
To spend
On this moment.

Instead of moving 
Held between my fingers,
The rollerpoint pen 
Lays idle.

At last, the creative 
Well within
Ran bone-dry.

Inspiration—miles away.
Frustration—sets in.
Anger at myself
Comes easier 
Than ideas.

The open, unlined
Hardcover notebook pages
And my mind's interior
Are an ideal match:

Totally bare, plain,
Wordless, a blank.

Worst fears 
Of a writer
Confirmed on this
Fourth month set aside for poetry.

Colour me useless—


Storing them into the black 
North Face© Recon back-pack
Before catching my ride
On the Poetry Express*:

Hand sanitiser—check.
Tall boy bottled water—check.
The paperback “Assata”
By Assata Shakur—check,
Black cap Sharpie©—check.
Chump change—check.
Wide-ruled spiral notebook—check.


Some days I feel
Like the rollerpoint
Ink pen clipped on
A hoop in my back-pack,
Front compartment:

Slim, reachable, reliable and
Ready to put in work
Without the exploitation

Usually linked working for others.

Spreading my black ink
Across open spaces with rules,
Formed into paragraphs & sentences
With hella bold lines that either amazes 

Or alienates the eyes meeting them.
No matter the outcome, attention on my flow
Is caught for a scant five minutes or less.


African Italian Tsalagi*
Sired in the year of many revolutions 1968
Approaches a flat empty space
Begging to be filled
When pen makes contact and
One's ornate penstrokes
Unleashes one's visceral
Honesty all around.
What one feels,
What one knows,
What one sees,
Three fundamental rules 
To scribbling creatively
Not printed anywhere,
Put into much-needed practise
As one bends the English language to
One driven, focused will.
Better than
Lying on a psychologist's couch,
Reaching for the pen and using 
Plain white parchment as one
Playground to vent
Is the best therapy.
Should one say, essential?
Must be averted.
Surrender to spreading 
Internal flame must no occur
If parchment and pen
Are both available
To this 

            *What the Cherokee Indians call themselves. Pronounced: “Chah-lah-gee.”

Dee Allen is a African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California U.S.A. Active on creative writing & Spoken Word since the early 1990s. Author of 7 books–Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater, Skeletal Black [ all from POOR Press ], Elohi Unitsi [ Conviction 2 Change Publishing ] and his 2 newest, Rusty Gallows: Passages Against Hate [ Vagabond Books ] and Plans [ Nomadic Press ]–and 46 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.

Flights, Issue Four, April 2022