Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Story

after Philip Levine

So, you think you want a story?
Let’s start with a beach, then.
Not the sunny one of thirty years
and one-thousand miles south ago,
the one full of Farrah Fawcett curls,
white crocheted bikinis laced
against smooth brown skin,
and the conquering of waves
you hoped would hide the turmoil
at the very bottom
of your deepest middle.
No, let’s start this story
with the gray beach that came later,
the one that breaks like question marks
into hard packed soak and fog,
the one that is too cold for hiding anything
other than your desire to walk
right into it with your back turned
on a stiff line of people you love,
who watch without reaching
as each step you take carries you
a little further out of focus.
Let’s start there on that beach,
and then let’s just leave it at that.

First appeared in IthacaLit - Winter 2015/2016

The Buddha on the Political Pundit

My children, do not growl yourselves hoarse
snarling back at the victimized ideologue

who knows everything about everything
except introspection. Find peace, my loves,

in providing him the pleasure of listening
to his favorite voice as it returns to his ears

like a forlorn lover through the hollow
nothingness of his pablumatic absurdity.

First appeared in IthacaLit - Winter 2015/2016


Tiny and tired, nestled against my chest,
you cried in stubborn harmony
to my Hush Little Baby.

If that diamond ring turns brass

Bounce-walking to the kitchen window,
I could see the unmowed lawn;
quietly you’d squirm.

Daddy gonna buy you a looking glass

In the hallway, I’d hum Twinkle, Twinkle,
Little Star; the buzz from my chest
steadied your breaths.

Up above the world so high

Meandering past the master bedroom,
we could see her sleeping,
barely covered.

Like a diamond in the sky

In the nursery, beside your crib, I'd coo
The Rainbow Song, home-made
and sung early.

I wish to climb you and slide so far away.
Rainbow, Rainbow, makes a happy day.

This is all my fault.

First appeared in Vayavya -  Winter 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Poems I Admire #11

GW Hurtle, Family Butcher

The sign sticks in my mind: a wooden trestle board
on a street near Hawes, like something worn by men
walking round to announce the end of the world.

A family business, I suppose, handed down from
Hurtle to Hurtle, each ruddy-faced father passing
it on to each ruddy-faced son. Or maybe it meant
meat for all the family – the Sunday roast and so on.

But instead of juicy red mince and stewing steak,
I see legs and livers of uncles, sisters, sons:
Father’s guts, Auntie’s spleen, half-brothers cut
into quarters, dozens of cousins now twice removed;

and in the middle, the head of some toothless grin,
an apple in her mouth, though I’d keep her glasses on.

First appeared in Other Poetry

Will Kemp has won the Envoi International Prize, the Cinnamon Debut Collection Award, the Cinnamon Pamphlet Competition and the Cinnamon Short Story Competition.  Cinnamon has published his collections Nocturnes, Lowland and The Missing Girl, and will publish his next, The Painters Who Studied Clouds, in 2016.  For details, see: www.wkemp.com