Saturday 18 May 2024

Three Poems by Craig Kirchner



Man, worded, souled,

sees visions, sustains all flaws.

Chaucer disported, Poe frightened,

Maya Angelo grieved,

Millay reminded that,

Time does not bring relief.

Creatures, death ignorant,

have no voice, sense storms. Mortality,

draws slow dark auras, like mountains to dusk,

haunts most of one’s day.

Images, thick glass

windows of soul or

bonfire burnt paper hearts,

fly in moonless sky and vanish.

Words snail-like,

remain on the floor,

in the corner,

worn shoes of a leper,

runted odour of deformed,

do not utter, or turn to

face the room, cannot write.

Then suddenly reawaken,

nestlings left to right,

on skinny blue lines,

venerating our ether world,

destining others to reward,

trying desperately

to dream the next line -

to amuse, to punish, to mourn.

Attempting to perceive

anything undefined,

define anything worthy,

make worthy anything,

begging to be discovered.

Sunday Morning

The first is listening,

listen closer, closer still.

The sharp snap of fingers

in the distance,

nothing else sounds quite the same,

friction pressured to a pop,

air has moved.

The dog jumps from the bed,

knowing the beckon

of his friend’s keeper,

pla-plops down the steps,

steam mists from her yellow stain

in the new snow,

first floor neighbours leave for church.

Vaguely the coffee

perking acquiesces,

is dominated by the mahogany smell,

only one sense is working at a time.

The paper has not

yet been delivered,

the ritual is not complete,

nonetheless the touch and rub

of bed clothes fondles warm

reluctant risers, and the winter sun

grudgingly reveals itself.

The air moving now brings the shiver,

of familiar skin to skin

meeting the chill of the new day.

The Stogie

He carefully folded back the tissue,

stroked the jacquard sash and burgundy silk lapel.

It felt aristocratic.

It was the last piece of the plan,

and the eve of the event.

He would wear it over cashmere and ascot.

He sipped brandy,

remembering the epiphany

as he watched the bag lady

scoop up a still lit, skinny cigarillo,

check that she was the only taker,

tuck it in her sleeve and move on.

From that moment all he saw

were crushed white and buff butts,


They were the constant.

He became a voyeur of the second ownership,

following these more appreciative users,

spying as the prize became the best part of their day,

ambrosia in grey curls.

He added depth to the hobby,

by becoming a collector.

He picked the specimen to be his first.

It was a tight, thin, gold-banded,

barely smoked piece that had been released from

a jewelled holder and a regal, petite hand

attached to an evening gown,

not wanting to make its re-entrance to

the theatre on the drag.

Cognac poured,

the antique clock struck nine.

He sat in the leather chair,

in the corner of the special room

designed, to house the vintage specimens.

The walls were covered floor to ceiling with

impressionism, his other collectible,

but it was the eyes of the Self Portrait,

of the post-impressionist Matisse

that seemed to be staring into his soul.

Among the climate-controlled glass cases

with their hydro-stones,

and dates and locations on cards per piece,

feeling as alone as he could recall,

he lit the gold band.

The second drag cured the assaulting pain of the first.

The room took on a new immediacy.

Warm blood worked its way

across his neck and shoulders.

The cases seemed fluid, in flux,

the words on the cards slithered and pulsated,

the clock smiled.

He folded the jacket,

and with an entirely new gait,

beyond all former perception,

he walked into the night,

not bothering to close

the ornate oak door behind him.

Craig Kirchner is retired and thinks of poetry as hobo art. He loves storytelling and the aesthetics of the paper and pen. He has had two poems nominated for the Pushcart, and has a book of poetry, Roomful of Navels. After a writing hiatus he was recently published in Poetry Quarterly, Decadent Review, New World Writing, Neologism, The Light Ekphrastic, Unlikely Stories, Wild Violet, Last Stanza, Unbroken, The Globe Review, Skinny, Your Impossible Voice, Fairfield Scribes, Spillwords, WitCraft, Bombfire, Ink in Thirds, Ginosko, Last Leaves, Literary Heist, Blotter, Quail Bell , Ariel Chart, Lit Shark, Gas, Teach-Write, Cape Magazine, Scars, Yellow Mama, Rundelania, Flora Fiction, Young Ravens, Loud Coffee Press, Edge of Humanity, Carolina Muse, and the Journal of Expressive Writing and has work forthcoming in Valiant Scribe, Chiron Review, Sybil, Timalda’s Diary, Vine Leaf Press, Wise Owl, Moria, The Argyle, Same Faces, Floyd County Moonshine, and Coneflower Café.


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