Termites have chewed
At the wood and bark.
Too many tiny teeth
Had their way with
The pine tree’s structure.
Its coniferous body grew
Weak, susceptible to disease, brittle
As the years
And the storms
Quickly coast by.
Is it too late
To be salvaged?
Is it too late
To heal?


The same old
Homilies I’ve heard
My whole life

“There’s someone for everyone”
“You’ll find Miss Right”
“Someday, your princess will come”

Aren’t any more
Truthful Right Now
Than they were Back Then.

Last time I checked,

The U.$.A.
Was no
Disney cartoon, so
Princesses don’t live here,

Miss Right
Is a woman
I have
Never met

And there’s plenty
Of someones for everyone,
But I missed that boat
& this boat & the last 5 before—

To be
Single & alone
W/out a female
Companion or love shown.

That truth
Is devastating

Ice-cold fact
Dropped from the sky.
I’m here to live
W/ the resulting damage.

Displays of affection
Happens to everybody else.
Shared body heat
Happens to everybody else.

The pleasure of kissing
Happens to everybody else.
Consensual stroking
Happens to everybody else.

I wish I could feel
Spiritual, emotional, chemical


Couples say they feel
After first contact—

Felled by
Uncomfortable fact
By the thing I most lack:

A mate. Currently though,

Io sonno sgradito,*
Nobody’s lover,
Tesoro di nessuno,**
W/out significant other—

One is truly
A lonely digit—

Whenever I see couples
Enjoying each other’s
Presence & touch, it warms my heart
To scorching. Envy has that effect.

Two other people’s shared
Moments, cuddling, pillow talk, city walks
Have me questioning over & over
“Why doesn’t this bliss happen to me?”

To be
Single & alone
W/out a female
Companion, despair has grown.

Is nil. Hope, deader than dust.
Recognition of this
Stone-hard reality devastates me still,

Like a dead man’s body
Flung from an open hatch
Of a prison transport plane
Powered by propellers
25,000 feet in the air
Straight line plummet
Top speed drop


Abrupt landing
On a Volvo station wagon
At a stop light
Entire front end
Smashed to scrap metal
And window glass broken
From the hammering impact

*ITALIAN: “I am undesirable.”
**ITALIAN: “Nobody’s sweetheart.”


The way back to secure
Begins with gathering dry logs,
Butane and grill lighter.
Build a pile of wood
Inside a metal pit.
Bathe the logs in butane.
Touch of a grill lighter’s wick
Starts the flaming birth
Of your perfect pyre.
Once the pyre
Obtains size, strength, warmth,
Take an inkpen.
Tear a sheet of paper
Into little scraps.
Write down your fears
Upon each bare scrap.
Cast your soul-chewing
Phobias into the pyre.
They deserve to burn.
Courage in facing
The unknown stands
As a viable replacement—

Dee Allen is an African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. 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 ], Rusty Gallows [ Vagabond Books ] and Plans [ Nomadic Press ]–and 67 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far. Currently seeking a new publisher to turn his finished manuscript into a finished, printed 8th book.