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Everything Old

Posted by BKS | No comments
Who could have imagined that the universities would be the first to go? Anyplace where you went to learn how to think. The trades turned out to be much harder ...

Turtles

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“I can’t help it, Rob. And I can’t explain it either. Well, I can, but it will never be a satisfying explanation.” “That’s certainly true,” Rob ...

I Want to Kill the Ice Cream M ...

It’s that damned cloying song again, rising slowly in the distance as his boxy white truck approaches. The tune itself varies from place to place. For me – Turkey in the Straw, but only four measures, four gut-wrenching measures repeating endlessly, repeating endlessly. Like someone pounding the blunt end of a xylophone into the side of my head with a five-pound sledgehammer.   And as that satanic vehicle wends its cursed way through my neighborhood, the insipid melody waxes and wanes in tortuous doppler-shifted tones that lead relentlessly to my house, the vile cacophony building to a crescendo that makes my eyes bulge— my head throb.   It’s all I can do to feign a smile as my neighbor’s seven-year-old peers up at the ...

As God is My Witness

The grandfather clock in the corner chimed 6:30 as Buster sat deeply and comfortably ensconced in his recliner, repeatedly belching up the taste of the spaghetti with sausage and marinara sauce leftovers he had nuked for supper. He loved the sausage, though he knew well that he would still be tasting it well past bedtime. The TV was tuned to the evening news, or at least what Buster still preferred to regard in that way. It wasn’t the evening news any more, though, was it? It was the all-the-goddamned-time news. It was just that Buster had spent most of his adult life in the era of three channels, each of which aired a half hour of local news from 6:00 to 6:30, followed by national and international news from 6:30 to 7:00. And if you ...

The Fall

On the faintest of breezes the glowing white cherry blossom in my backyard garden, final flower of spring, quivers and breaks free, twirls a time or two descending on currents unseen. It is perfect only in that moment, its ephemeral fall, set free from the nurturing branch, It lights upon the grass where already the tips begin to curl and brown, soon to become the ground, the tree, then the branch, and finally, once more, next season’s ...

Overthinking

Damn it, I am going to sit down and I am going to write this poem if it kills me.   It will have subtle rhymes, vital images, and visceral rhythm. I will employ nuance and texture, and just a touch of irony in exactly the right spot. If I really put my mind to it, I may conjure a metaphor or allegory that uses big obscure words. And, for the finishing touch, a gratuitous out-of-context foreign epigraph that makes dubious sense, but looks impressive when italicized.   I’m certain I have what it takes. I only need to stop procrastinating, and make it happen.   Instead, I sit hunched over the blank page, chew my pencil to sawdust, and stare at the eraser, which stares back as if to say, go ahead, write something, I dare ...

Heaven

Heaven is beneath your mother’s feet. A friend said this to me, and though I smiled, I did not understand. It means many things, she said. Many things to many people. It means what you want it to mean. What you need it to mean. But there is beauty as well in the simple melodious words. They speak to me, paint a picture in my mind. And though I cannot describe it to you, I see it clear as morning sun. I feel it in my bones. I hear it in the breathing of the trees. As close to a genuine truth as I have encountered in this life. Perhaps as close as I will ever ...

The Horse Thief

Billy Hale was descended from a long line of miscreants and vagabonds, and when the day came at last and they sent him away for stealing horses from the farm in the same town as my own, no one was much surprised, least of all Billy. It was generally felt that his life—all thirty-two years of it—had been building to some sort of unfortunate crescendo, and the only question in the minds of those who knew him was whether or not the climax would include incarceration, death, or quite possibly both. That he ended up merely imprisoned was regarded by most as an unexpected windfall. Ours is an area of the state in which men are routinely shot for taking things that aren’t theirs to take, with the authorities in such cases more likely to ...

Moonlight

The dogs stand at the window and bark at the deer outside. Two a.m. and this is what I wake to. Every night. Since I am up now, I kneel with them at the window, look out into the garden, see the nighttime deer eating the flowers. I cannot make the dogs stop barking. They cannot make the deer stop eating. And the deer … Well, the deer eat flowers in the moonlight at two a.m., which is actually kind of beautiful in its way, except for the whole two a.m. wake-up call thing. And the fact that they’re my flowers. So I go back to bed. The dogs lie on the floor whining pitifully. The deer eat flowers in my garden by the light of the moon. And the world turns, just like ...

The Substitute

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. Mark Twain   “Good morning!” he said, smiling broadly, “and welcome to third period.” The man—tall but not too; in shape, but not quite enough—stood at the front of the room in gray blazer, black button-down shirt, khakis, and sneakers. Before him sat seventeen students, distributed roughly equally between boys and girls. They were silent, not acknowledging his greeting, only looking with dubious curiosity at a teacher they’d never seen before. “You appear to be an astute lot,” he continued, pacing slightly back and forth, ...

Found Poem

and not a moment too soon, let me tell you. The trenchant and tremulous words and images that gave so freely of themselves to be a part of this poem had all begun to give up hope, locked away for so long, festering, growing old in the bottom of some dark dank drawer, wedged in between the poet’s 1986 federal tax return and the paperwork that came with that Gremlin he thought was such a great idea.   It is a glorious thing to at long last bask in the sunshine of relevance, to be read, heard, debated, discussed. Even to be hated and vilified is to at least be regarded as something worthy of opinion. And, really, that’s all any poem asks.   Read me, hear me, consider me, give me my due. Judge me if you must. But please ...

Tuesday Morning

The 6:00 a.m. alarm tears through Drew Benton’s dream, and he sits up in bed, heart racing, unsurprised to find himself alone. Kelly has always been a hard-core morning person, typically out of bed and dealing with the kids at least an hour before her husband’s alarm goes off. More often than not, she’s gotten in a full workout and eaten breakfast before undertaking the daily drama of getting their son and daughter up and ready for school. But this morning is different. When Drew, yawning loudly, walks out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, instead of a family of three seated at the breakfast table, there is only his daughter Kimberley, quietly eating a bowl of cereal and watching a cartoon on the small kitchen television. She ...