Monthly Archive March 2020

ByKevin Kuzma

Dangling innocence

Lying on my back
on the picnic table
in my grandparents’ backyard
I used to sing to the birds
in the high branches
of the catalpa tree
My grandparents called it the cigar tree
because of the long,
arching pods
that dangled from
the limbs
These appeared as though
you could pluck them
take a lighter to them
and smoke them
but I never tried
Their backyard
was almost all shade
with a little sunshine
for a courtyard area
and a brick fireplace
But I kept to the shade
that filtered the sunlight
and created a shimmer
when the wind blew the branches
It was almost like being underwater
at the bottom of a clear ocean
or fish tank
Sunlight shimmering
Leaves turning over white
in the breeze
I sang and sang
whistle after whistle
to the singing birdies
maybe the only walking creature
who paid them any attention
or realized they were there
I felt safe
and never once dreamed
the birds might swoop down
afraid of the interloper
interrupting their song
and peck at my eyes
my neck
anywhere that frightens or hurts
I never once dreamed
someone I didn’t know
might come walking out of the backwoods
and find me there
no more than 5 years old
blue eyes
and try to take me home
A little boy
dangling innocence
from the cigar tree

ByKevin Kuzma

Message from a former lover

This one came
not in glass bottle
not washed up to
not hand-written
not whispered
not with scream, followed by door slam
not radio waves
not satellite redirect
This once came rendered
much anguish
transmitted by
broken heart
through spirit
sent along the invisible cord
that forever links
two people who lived
lives together
shared a bed
and other intimacies
I felt it come to me
in that unexplainable way
arriving months after
our most recent
No salutation needed
“I hope this message finds you well.
I reach out with much trepidation
due to how we interact with each other,
which can be hurtful.
From my point of view,
I am over-desiring a romantic relationship
with you 100%.
I often think of you
and how you might ruin my life
and waste my time
some more
but as friends only.
No sex.
Please, text or call.
I miss our arguments
and general distaste for one another.
Sincerely, Lover 3,671
My response
is forthcoming

ByKevin Kuzma

Remorseless destroyer

Drown their armies!
The big ants
moving in the tree bark
Running in and out
of the creases
Hiding in the shadows and
then breaking out into the light
I’d run and grab the hose
off the guest house
My grandparents called it
the Little House
And I’d pick them off
with the trigger sprayer
Splashing then into the air
I’d stuff the hose
down into their hill houses
and flush them all out
Up they’d come, black
like a sudden oil geyser
spilling out into the bare spots
where the tree shade
murdered the grass
I was sadistic
their destroyer
their maker, for all they knew
filling up their tunnel system
with the great flood
I never got tired of it
I’d attack, usually weekday mornings
when my grandparents watched me
the wild blonde boy
I must have seemed like the reaper
to those ants, bringing
Lost souls everyday
I would play
until my grandfather
rapped on the back window
That meant to turn the hose off
the water bill was running high
I’d turn off the water and
wrap the hose back up
The innocent, blonde-headed
blue-eyed boy
Pure evil
The conqueror of
a million-strong

ByKevin Kuzma

Foreign fantasy

It is foreign to a man
how a woman will keep a fantasy
and not want to live it out
To her, it’s a dream
An illicit one, maybe
the idea of which is fun to entertain
but forbidden to pursue
‘Fantasy’ is merely a label
a categorization
for the idea to be shelved
turned over and over
in the mind
then put away

For a man,
a fantasy is
a dreamed reality
An experience not too far removed
from the realm of possibility
An experience to pursue
A feeling to
With every part of him
that makes him a man
His quest is to turn it
alter it
from dream state
to something real
To have a fantasy is to possess
a mission
to achieve it
And when he finally does,
when the barriers are broken
when it’s all there before him
he makes it his
drowns himself in it
what kind of man
he is
Usually …
which leaves him
in the same state
as the woman

ByKevin Kuzma

Poem for RR

They have likened many women to Marilyn Monroe
But they go off of the most superficial of comparisons
Hair color: blonde
Breast size: large
And to a slight degree, facial structure: baby doll with a touch of sex in the eyes
Those are the cheapest connections to draw
The easiest to come by
Those features can be bought
and soldered
onto any woman
Tonight, I am thinking of a new Marilyn
Not yet with a following
she would not fancy me (for obvious reasons)
because she fancies women
I don’t know what Marilyn’s private sexual persuasions were
but this woman has all the sex appeal of the great Norma Jean
Raw and spilling off the screen
In her voice
The slit of her eyes
The raise of the chin
and in the slight absence of
give a fuck
about other women
or men
and what they think about her
Tonight, I am thinking of a new Marilyn
whose aesthetic is nothing like Ms. Monroe
Short-cropped black hair
Leather jacket
And from what I remember
No breasts
And yet
There she is
in all her glory
Walking sex
Talking sex
Living sex
But not one sees it
The legend
of the silver screen
The conqueror of presidents
and ball players
and writers
Maybe, just maybe
I have a shot after all

ByKevin Kuzma

The poet endures

The poet endures
While morning birds swoop and dive
The world collapsing
To their glorious birdsong

The poet endures
While dry spring flowers
Sob in a plastic cup
On the breakfast bar

The poet endures
While the lonely housewife
Longs for feigned love
On the empty bedroom set

The poet endures
While the lights shut off
The pilot goes out
When the old house must be shuttered or sold

The poet endures
While romance strains
Standing naked in the bathroom mirror
Admiring its own flawed form

The poet endures
While natural light seeps in
The beauty of a rising star
Warming the paint on the walls

The poet endures
While the summer novel sells
And the true artist starves for the craft
In complete anonymity

The poet endures
While the poem loses its danger
Overrun by studious lines
Absent the raw hunger of the tortured

The poet endures
While searching for a single thread
A loose but divine connection
To an immortal soul

ByKevin Kuzma

A poem written in my bathtub

Of course, it depends on the woman. But generally speaking, it’s not looks or money or anything material. The desire isn’t a certain lifestyle or destination, the aptitude or potential of a man. The longing is for one different than the others. Who knows what no other man knows. She wants a man willing to exchange souls: a man stripped down to his core. Keeping no secrets, dedicated to her heart. And when she finally finds it, she passes her soul on—to the man whose window light clears her morning fog. He hears her. Available and near her. This all runs contrary to what a man is. The brute at his core who savages. Collects bodies. Conquers prey. We were devised this way. Both, one born from his rib. A Creator’s hands shaped us and we set ourselves at odds. But when the impossible aligns and souls go floating, the perfection He intended cannot be broken by any man, especially the commoner.

ByKevin Kuzma

Poor penmanship

Better than a padlock
or security alarm
is the garbled handwriting
with which I keep my journals.
Printed in faint pencil lead,
the words go
from margin to margin,
(crossover margins)
to the edge
of the notebook page.
Front and back,
the hard-pressed words
push through
to the other side
of the paper.
My dreams lean
on blue lines.
Each entry
tells a fantasy.
Gives confession.
Each entry
arranged by date.
You are welcome
to come read
them sometime.
You are welcome
to try
to make them out.
But you can’t.
They are hand-written
with intent.
A soul poured out
on paper
yet still cannot be read.
Any decent writer knows:
you give it all away,
day after day.
But there is that one bit
no one can get at.
No one can reach.
You keep it for yourself,
whether it is worth something
or not.

ByKevin Kuzma


Waiting on my muse,
Kicking up bedsheets on the first dull day of spring
Waiting on my muse,
After the last one tried to tamp my spirit
Waiting on my muse,
After another lonely night, in another lonely room, getting the word down
Waiting on my muse,
Feeling my coffee high letting go
Waiting on my muse,
With the anxiety of Monday waiting in the darkness
Waiting on my muse,
Still waiting, ready to capture her beauty with words so gorgeous, they make her feel faint
Waiting on my muse,
I know I’d be ravaged on either coast, and maybe in the south, but instead
I’m here
Where are you?

ByKevin Kuzma

On the way somewhere

Ahead, a car flinches as its brake lights slam red.
From nowhere, a hawk comes gliding across the country highway.
First, the two northbound lanes.
Then, the median of dead grass.
Then, the southbound lanes.
And finally, over to the bare tree branches at the edge of the wood.
The branches bend under its weight as it flutters its wings closed and finds its perch.
In a moment, the ruckus is over and the traffic immediately resumes its rush.
I drive on, my mind still in the tree branches and open air with the hawk,
looking down on the strange flow of machines.
Unbridled by laws, by lanes, by time.
Wild and free from the rest of us animals.