By: Marilyn L. Davis
I suffer from poet envy. I can’t ever get past thinking that roses are red, and then I get stuck.
One person that I’ve always admired is John “Jake” Cosmos Aller. His poetry seems to reflect many thoughts I’ve had about life, love, loss, and loneliness.
Touched by Jake’s Words
We know that any writer who touches us stays with us, and with each subsequent Poetry Break or fiction submission for the Best 1000 words for an Image Prompt, he hasn’t disappointed me.
Take the image of the bench above. Several writers tackled it in the contest, but no one brought that bench to life – literally – as Jake did in his entry for Best 1000 Words for the Image Contest: John Cosmos Aller: The Cosmic Bench in Lithia Park
The bench woke up and spoke to Sam.
“Sam, how are you doing? Old friend of mine, I am delighted that I can speak with you.”
Sam looked around and could not find out where the voice was coming from but realized that the bench had spoken to him. Sam laughed and said, “Well, bench, if you can speak, tell me what you know.”
The bench spoke of Sam’s life and of the lives of others in the community that Sam knew. The bench said he knew everything that occurred in the lives of the people that sat down to rest, reflect, or remember.
And the trees knew, too, as did the cosmic cat and even the squirrels. But people, well, they just did not know how to listen to nature and to the world around them. In a way, it was too bad because the bench had so much wisdom to implant.
I See His Poetry
When I started at Two Drops of Ink in 2014, I claimed the job of finding images for posts. Scott Biddulph was a great editor, but his choice of images sometimes seemed lackluster. Don’t worry, we had that conversation, so I’m not talking behind his back. His response was, “I don’t have an artistic talent; you do.”
I loved the job then and still do. Some of Jake’s poetry has been especially fun to image. It might just be me, but if you squint, I think you can see a little of Jake in the image for Just An Unhinged Lunatic Howling At The Moon
And finally, I had to say something
So I gathered up my manly courage
And walked up to her
And she looked at me
And instantly bewitched my soul
With a devilish grin
I lost all reason
And became a raving lunatic
Just an unhinged lunatic
Howling at the moon
From a female perspective, we sometimes wish we had that kind of influence on a man. But then, Jake switches things up for us in Howling at the Moon. Our love-struck man transforms under the effects of the moon:
Beneath the lunatic rays
Of the blood-red full moon
The lunatic lights of the moon
Casts a wild primeval glow
The hormonal chemicals are unleashed
The wild beast within
Escapes it chain
And I howl with delight
Free at last
Understanding His Characters
The other thing I like about Jake’s poetry is that he writes about subjects I know, if not first hand, then in the retelling by countless men and women I’ve worked with for 30 years. Addiction either robs us, or we give it away, all the things that some people take for granted – a job, home, children, car, or food on the table.
Some of the characters in his poetry are downtrodden, not necessarily from addiction, but the sentiments and experiences of his character in Just Enough for Coffee sound hauntingly familiar.
Alzheimer’s, homelessness, and out-of-work are subjects that most people wouldn’t tackle in poetry, yet Jake does so admirably.
The homeless man
Had been on the streets
For too long
Barely remembered his life
Before early-onset Alzheimer’s
Robbed him of his job
Now he drifted
Waiting for the grim reaper
To call him home
Any day now
He prayed nightly
To a god
That he no longer believed in
Lonely and Laudable Words
Jake delves into loneliness with wonderful mind/word images in many of his poems. Here are some that express the despair of all humans cut off from contact, friendship, and love in Reflections and One Crazy Day.
One dismal night
One lousy, lonely, loathsome demented night
In a godforsaken bar
In the global south
In a tropical hell hole
Drinking my way to hell
As fast as I could
Drinking alone with my buddies
Jack Daniels, Jimmy Walker
Wild Turkey and Old Grandad
I looked up
Looked out at the window
At the full moon
Saw by its lunatic light
Was in the moon
And I looked up
At the light
That crazy light
I was with you
And I woke up
And I woke up
Alone in my bed
Climate Change in Poetry?
I am so impressed with Jake’s ability to take a hot topic and turn it into poetry. Ten Years After Climate Change Collapse envisions the collapsed world through a poet’s eyes. Excerpt:
Sam Adams carried heat
To protect himself
Against the wild animals.
The lions, tigers, coyotes, wolves,
And their running feral dog gangs,
Who prowled the city streets
Preying on deer, feral cows,
feral cats and pigs
Who grazed among the ruins.
And the two legged neo-savage gangs,
And what was left of the city police
Interchangeable with the gangsters,
Battled it out for control.
The second poem in that group, sizes up the situation from the Lion King’s perspective. We’ve spent years killing animals and they finally decide that enough is enough.
The lion king,
Addresses the animal parliament
The question before them
Will humans have to die,
To atone for their sins,
In almost destroying the world.
Through pollution, mismanagement of resources
Subsequent climate change,
Fueled by greed and corruption?
Are all humans guilty as charged
Will they all have to die?
Positive Poetry from Jake Aller
Before you think that all of Jake’s poetry is maudlin and melancholy, there’s a humorous and positive side to many of his poems, too. Dora , The Intergalactic Explorer and Dragonfly in My Mind are two that show his playful, positive side.
Dora, the intergalactic explorer
Is traveling to the strangest planet
of all the known worlds
she is traveling incognito
with a video crew
making a documentary
the planet earth
is known as a planet
of intelligent monkeys
Oh, difficult, negative thoughts
Like the bugs
I’ll squash you like
The evil creatures
You really are
The sweet music
Invades my soul
The evil bugs
And I soar
Like the majestic
The chaos below
Piqued Your Interest for Jake’s Poetry?
I hope I’ve gotten your attention and that you read Jake’s posts here at Two Drops of Ink. Here’s four more for your enjoyment:
I Bet He Could Improve on Roses are Red
I wonder if Jake could help me with my roses are red? Oh, sorry, I digress. But I just know that with the imagination Jake has, he could do something magical. I might just ask him.
Bio: John “Jake” Cosmos Aller
John “Jake” Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet, and former Foreign Service officer, having served 27 years with the U.S. State Department. He toured in ten countries – Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Korea, India, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent, Spain, and Thailand, and traveled to 45 countries during his career.
Jake has been an aspiring novelist for several years. He is pursuing publication on:
- Giant Nazi Spiders: download the first three chapters
- The Great Divorce
- Jurassic Cruise
He has been writing poetry all his life and has published his poetry in electronic poetry forums, including All Poetry, Moon Café, and Duane’s Poetree and literary magazines.
He is looking forward to transitioning to his third career – full-time novelist and poet after completing his second career as a Foreign Service officer and his first career as an educator overseas for six years upon completing his Peace Corps service in South Korea.
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