Dee Allen

selective focus photography of lighted candles

Dee Allen. 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: Passages Against Hate [ vagabond Books ] and Plans [ Nomadic Press ]–and 68 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.

Counterfeit Rebel

Chickens will start
Clucking out loud
When a rat comes
Sneaking into
The hen-house.

Such a rodent
Crawled its way
Into swollen ranks of the
Black Lives Matter
Movement in Colorado Springs

Wearing a masque—
Bright-eyed enthusiasm
For “fighting the good fight”.
She would be found
At a street march

So easily, compared to the rest.
Known for the tightness
Of her halter top
And bubblegum
Pink hair.

Busy lady soldier with big
Energy for a righteous cause.
Is this the profile of a vile rodent?
A few occasions at her spot
Changed the tone to this tale.

Plans were set.
Create the crime.
Run illegal guns through the movement.
Two activists were lured in.
Both refused the bait.

Zeal for racial justice—False.
Her identity—False.
Her sex work—False.
Her long pink hair—False.

Intent to sabotage—Real.
Her entrapment—Real.
Her hidden police rank—Real.
Her F.B.I. handlers—Real.

Poison to the movement—
Chilling effect—
Frighteningly real.

Chickens will start
Clucking out loud
When a rat comes
Sneaking into
The hen-house

Moving in daylight,
Looking not
For eggs,
But for


Best of the Net Nominee 2023

The only physical reminder
I have of my grandmother
Mixed African
And Native American

Is a string of coloured beads.
Crafted, strung together by her
Aged hands whilst sitting in bed, gifted to me
At age 27. Her way of telling her Afro-Punk grandboy:

Never forget your roots.
Roots running deep
In each tiny bead
In Afrocentric primary colours:

Blood of West African
Southeast North American tribes—Red.
Skin of the first people on Earth
Responsible for firsts—Black.

Jungles, woodlands taken
Out of greed and conquest—Green.
Shining sun, restorer of biology
And good vibes—Yellow.

Sole remnant
Of my beloved,
Of mixed heritage,
Hand-made bridge

Between continents
A string of coloured beads
I label as “nothing fancy”

Yet wore on special occasions
With black for the blac
Recalls my grandmother’s unspoken plea:
Never forget your roots.


Drop dead gorgeous
Women are where you find them.

Some will say
At cook-outs, at nightclubs.
Some will say
At college campuses, at stripclubs.

Might I suggest


Where the Khoisan ladies are?
Where the Fulani ladies are?

Indigenous beauty.
Worth a second look. And a third.

*Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Earth Hour

MARCH 26, 2022 – 8:30pm to 9:30pm PT

On this Saturday evening,
I take a break
From electricity.

Decisive move,
Hand to wall switch.
Lights off. Candles on.

Lit match to a few candle wicks.
Shadows on walls and ceiling shimmy,
Dance to flame’s spontaneous rhythm.

Dimly lit
Comfort zone, filled with
Comfort food on a plate, all plant-based.

Black bean burgers on sourdough with
Spicy brown mustard, pickles,
French fries on the side, sea salt-seasoned,

Pineapple juice, ice-cold, in
A glass mug to wash down my
Cruelty-free repast. Purple grapes—saved for later.

My eyes took on a feast of their own:
Documentary on YouTube
On Chernobyl—Nuclear disaster area

Or ecological miracle?
Village rewilds despite slow decay.
Menagerie of animals roam free—Humans long gone.

Ten minutes left.
Like last time,
Meditate. Brown eyes shut. Bald Black head lowered.

Draw deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out.
Thoughts set on her,
Our endangered Earth—

Flash floods on the Gulf Coast,
Typhoons in the Philippines,
American Southwest dry to the extreme,

The Amazon and California burn in the Summer—
Thoughts set on everything
We could lose—

On this Saturday evening,
I take a break
From electricity.

Transient time to reflect on my only home.
Redemption from neglect, though, will take more than 60 minutes.
Lights off. Candles on.