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Archive for the ‘Karl Koweski’ Category

By Karl Koweski

since Brian’s life ended
beneath the steel wheels
of a diesel truck
on route sixty seven
two miles outside town,
I’ve heard this bullshit platitude
a hundred times
from a hundred people
who needed to believe it
more than I
needed to hear it

when it’s your time to go,
it’s your time to go

brilliant…
who can argue with that logic?

these empty words
must offer some sort of comfort
to those who don’t wish
to consider the infinite
choices and coincidences
which led Brian to be
on that stretch of road
at that exact moment
in the path of a truck
with a blown tire

when it’s your time to go,
it’s your time to go

this sentiment offered no solace
to the man mashed
into the Honda’s upholstery,
left leg torn off at the hip,
chest crushed, lungs perforated,
left eyeball dislodged
with the force of the impact
and still enough life left
to hear the encouraging words
from the first responder

if he had washed dishes
before he left the house
his vision wouldn’t be
fading out to the sight
of pebbled glass strewn
across the floorboards
like blood diamonds
as he struggled for air
his broken body no longer
held a place for

he could have turned
down any street
he could have driven through
the last yellow light

except
it was his time to go

according to the people
who haven’t went yet

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recovery

By Karl Koweski

two hours after the removal
of my wife’s uterus
I’m able to visit her
in the cold anonymity
of her hospital room
in the maternity ward

strange, I think
since she’s as far from
maternity as
I feel from matrimony
yet here we are

I grimace when she groans
I smile, thin-lipped
when she attempts to mask
her pain with a brave face
this familiar façade
my every expression
calculated to deliver
the maximum appearance
of empathy

I deposit ice chips
between her cracked lips
sexually inert tongue
birthing from her mouth
and I wonder when is
the soonest I can leave
without seeming to be
a callous husband

when the cute nurse
enters to record the vitals
I excuse myself to
the bathroom where I pop
a Lortab scavenged from
my wife’s purse

as the nurse performs
her own wooden dance
of enforced sympathy
I flip open my cell phone
checking the messages
I ignore the texts
sent by my daughter
ask how her mom’s
surgery went in favor
of the messages from
my lover informing me
how her pussy is so wet
she can’t wait for me
to touch it

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shrapnel around the heart

By Karl Koweski

the boy sits
beneath the shadow
of the juniper tree
album splayed open
on his lap

his fingers caress
the pieces of his
collection

a friend joins him
an album of his own
tucked under his arm

and they fall into
comparing favorites

the boy proudly displays
rusted corkscrews,
shards of spark plug ceramic
two nails twined
into a crucifixion form
pulled from
the radiator of a bus
near the detonation of
a female suicide bomber
in Tel Aviv

his friend showcases
his own crown jewel
a ragged circle
laced with silver thorns
his father brought home
from work, last week,
pulled from the chest
of a five year-old girl

you can still see
the blood on it,
the boy marvels,
holding the disc up
to the fading sunlight

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breakwater

By Karl Koweski

if you remain in your car
all you can see
is the breakwater.
ragged chunks of concrete
pieces of rebar jutting out
like mummified fingers.

Lake Michigan lays there
a dead ocean
indistinguishable from
its mortuary slab.
smell the embalming fluid,
a noxious mixture
of detergent and petroleum
byproducts pumped in
by the refinery and
the surrounding mills.

after climbing the breakwater
and finding a smooth boulder
of concrete to perch on
I watch the February storm
approach from the northeast.
the sky and sea seem
to merge creating a
seamless shirt of the world.

ten years gone
and nothing really changes.
Chicago still glimmers to
the west;
the distillation towers
of Amoco refinery sulks
in the east.
and all I ever succeeded
in doing this last decade
was killing time.
I murdered ten years
so cleanly
I didn’t leave so much
as a witness.

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