Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Three Poems by Kevin Ridgeway

Staring at Dogs

The cloth mural sits over
my desk, having dwelled
in this room for decades

dogs playing pool,
smoking cigars,
drinking beer
and staring out
at me vacantly

as a child,
I thought dogs
could smoke
and drink beer
and play billiards

as an adult,
in times of boredom,
I am one hundred
percent convinced
these dogs have
seen more secrets told
and more
nightmarish scenes
of debauchery
in this lonely room
than I ever will
in my lifetime

so I light a cigarette,
swig a beer
and stare at them
until they all blend
together into one
six-headed super beast
of vice and sin
and I glance at my
hand, which is beginning
to resemble a worn paw

Dollar Store Blues

around the corner from my house
sits a massive discount palace
flooded by people at all hours of the day

one day, while perusing the dented cans
of lima beans and the tattered boxes of oatmeal,
a man approached me with a jug of wine
in one hand and a large knife in the other

“This is the only place where you can
get drunk and get a nice sharp knife,”
he whispered to me
fumes of alcohol escaping his
overgrown mustachioed mouth

I wondered to myself if he was
going to kill someone in a
snockered rage and I try to
comfort myself with the thought
that a person could get drunk
and kill someone
for only two dollars,
which, when you think about it,
is a real bargain in these
tight financial times


Claustrophobia kicks in once
the sleepy feet
of this worn
post-vacation traveler drag
the stomping,
chaotic drunken
hesitation of
a bloated
Frankenstein monster
out the gate and
spilling into the
great throat of the
airport terminal where
newspapers flutter,
stained butterflies
of ink and bad news
abbreviated lives
are rolled in luggage
of all shapes and sizes

people of all colors and
blemishes mill about,
awaiting their exit from
this temporary depot into
the mighty skies above
the continent and the oceans
to scattered destinations
across the country and the world

hung over from over consumption,
covered in red mosquito
bite dots in thong sandals that
breathe itchy death against
the toxins of every fuming
soul and their swarm of germs,
I retreat to the nearest shop
and overdose on vitamin C
praying that I make my
connection on time,
bound for the California
shore and far away from
this southern Atlantic
nightmare of iron birds,
peppered accents and drunken
mid-morning mimosa arguments
travelers on their way to
the paradise of vacation
while my paradise has wilted
into weeds bound for
the reality of home

I sit upright in my chair,
the plane jostles violently
into the air and curves over
the rippling waves of the
ocean and the tentacles growing
in my brain swim as I clamor
for the paper bag folded in
the compartment between
my shivering knees

Kevin Ridgeway is a writer from Southern California, where he resides in a shady bungalow with his girlfriend and their one-eyed cat. Recent work has appeared in Emerge Literary Journal, Underground Voices and Gutter Eloquence Magazine. His chapbook of poetry, Burn through Today, is now available from Flutter Press.

1 comment:

  1. Three good ones, Kevin, a nice break from the work day! -- Harry Calhoun