Monday, November 27, 2006

Okay, we're back from our annual Winter Break......heading into December and 2006 is almost over....can you feel it? 2007....a new year...something special....a good'll be a great year for the ULA....

To kick things off, we have poetry by Literary Adventures regular Karl Koweski. Enjoy.

can’t kill a man born to hang

when the clinic
diagnosed my mother with
non hodgkin’s lymphoma
I vowed to finish the
novel I’d been piecing
together paragraph
by paragraph for the
last three years

it seemed imperative
my mother die with the
consolation that at
least her son’s a
published novelist

but as the tumors receded
beneath the onslaught
of chemotherapy and
aggressive medication
so my literary
urgency eroded until
the doctors pronounced
by mother cancer free
and I relegated the sixty
pages of my novel
to the bottom drawer
beneath my porno mags

three years later
the cancer has returned
and I’m still not
a published novelist
as the cycle of radiation
treatments begin anew
my novel remains buried
beneath the knowledge
that my mother’s death
and my novel’s life
are mutually exclusive
and equally meaningless


my friend’s son, Heith
is the quarterback of
the town’s high school
varsity football team
which puts him one rung below
the mayor in terms of
importance, celebrity

for Heith
it’s a new accolade
every week
I even find myself
trying to curry his favor

“hell of a game, last night
you really controlled the ball
grinding out the yardage
as it were
reminds me of my senior year
as captain of the chess team”

“oh yeah?”

“yes, chess is a big thing
up north, you know
football... not so much so”

“that’s crazy”

“well... you have to realize
at my high school
I was also the editor
of the school newspaper
and you know what they say,
those who control the media
controls the minds of the masses”

“I guess so”

“so bi-weekly
the football team would
get a half inch column
glossing over their latest defeat
while a 32 point headline
would trumpet my latest conquest
over the cross town rival’s
16th level grand champion
during homecoming
yep, those were the days”

“why are you talking
with an Irish accent
all of the sudden?”

“huh? oh, well good luck
with next week’s game
and if your school’s
chess team ever needs
an assistant coach
feel free to call me”

devotion to the dead

following James’s suicide
Stephanie visited the
family’s tattoo artist

two hours of tears and ink

she left with twin ravens
scorched into her chest
along with the numerical
margins of her husband’s
bullet shortened life

devotion to the dead
takes a little less celibacy
than loyalty to the living

James expressed himself just
as artistically, tattooing
across the bedroom walls
with blood and brain matter

fuck Buk

it was until I began submitting
and publishing in the small press
that my former hero worship
of Charles Bukowski evolved
into a cynical dislike

I’m reminded of the time when
The Crow hit theaters
I thought it was a good movie
and then my buddy, Keith,
saw it, over and over again

it was all he talked about
he listened to the soundtrack
incessantly, he papered
the walls of his apartment
with posters of Brandon Lee
looking like an angsty mime

then came the combat boots...
the black leather pants...
One day I stopped by his place
and he’d cut his hair shoulder
length and dyed it black
no amount of pancake make-up
could obscure his freckles

I anticipated receiving
a phone call informing me
Keith had been shot dead
by Michael Masse

it reached the point
I couldn’t tolerate The Crow
I pawned the VHS cassette
I ditched my entire ebony
wardrobe in favor of
short pants and Acapulco shirts

in the same way I can
no longer read Bukowski
can barely stomach entering
a tavern or betting on horses
cats piss me off

it’s all I can do
to even write this poem

meal ticket

standing in the fast food limbo
between ordering and receiving
my daughter stands beside me
a rare lunch for the two of us
together, two hours before I
clock in for a ten hour shift

the plant controller and one of
his key punching subordinates
enters and orders and I don’t
notice them until they are standing
next to me awaiting their meal

I make up my mind immediately –
when the plant controller nods at
me and asks how I’m doing, I’m
going to tell him he doesn’t
communicate with me inside the
factory, there’s no reason for him
to acknowledge me outside the factory

damn the consequences if he
doesn’t appreciate my tone of
voice or challenging stare

but he never speaks a word to me
and my daughter and I pick a table
and eat our food, silently, as,
three tables away, the plant controller
drones on about profit margins and
ideas to increase productivity

on empty September Thursday nights

you want some fun...
drop low grade blotter acid
go to a foreign high school
in a strange town
for their homecoming pep rally

stand near the band
as they play “Louie Louie”
the drum line pummeling your head
with cartoon thunder
while the color guard
wave their flags
like animated fireworks
in your peripheral vision

catch the eyes of cheerleader moms
give them long meaningful gazes

pick the smallest, skinniest
bench riding kid on the team
point to him and in a knowing way
tell anyone who will listen
“that boys going to have
a stellar career in the NFL”

exalt in the freshly discovered
hallways of regret
behind doors you thought
you sealed a long time ago

run naked
down the recently painted sidelines
until you’re chased down
and beaten with zestful school spirit
by blue and white clad strangers
uninterested in excuses

lay on a thin cot in a cold cell
stare at the geometrical patterns
forming on the
water-stained ceiling
and wait for the
secrets of the universe
to reveal themselves

you’ll find the school colors
never match the colors
of the town’s prison garb

The Indiana Road Show Extravaganza
brought you to by McDonald’s,
Bob’s Beaver Shack and
Nervous Charlie’s
Fireworks and
Hard Liquor

the billboards obscuring
the flat lands along I-65
are the road signs
to a fulfilling life

it eases my mind
knowing I’m never more
than twenty miles away
from a Big Mac and fries

the billboards remind me
Indiana’s largest
adult bookstore
is just off the next exit

the billboard promises
live nude girls
especially important for
discerning men like me
who demand a pulse
from their show girls

drawing closer to Chicago
the billboards become
obsessed with money

interspersed with constant
advertisements for the
casinos continually cropping
up throughout northern
Indiana’s industrial
wastelands are enticements
to sell your ramshackle
heavily taxed home to

the better life...
trade in your old car
on a 2007 model
1.8% financing
for those who qualify

I never qualify

religion is spoken for

paid for by
the Blood of Christ, Redeemer

I don’t qualify
for what they’re selling

I just keep driving
through this
two hundred mile
long commercial
I keep driving


Tim Peeler said...

These are excellent poems. I always expect some lameass Bukowski imitation when I see anything titled underground. Even though the underground literary scene was over forty years ago, these poems are hopeful if they represent what it claims to be.

Pat_King said...

Um....what? The Underground literary scene is thriving right now. This blog is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

But, yes, Koweski is one of the Underground's best.