This word has

a terrible memory.

It never forgets






This word lives in Pyrite Valley, Arizona.

It is the father of Richard Nixon and Anna Karenina

and Ernest Hemingway and Daisy Buchanan.

Its teeth are black and blue.

Its soul is made of Spam.

It has the eyes of a Mongolian beekeeper.


Its halitosis will give you a migraine

if you stand next to it for

more than two minutes.


Denied a face at birth, this word

switches masks with Dionysian abandon.

It is often dizzy

with joy, as though Dom Perignon

flowed through its veins.


Then, it wears its hair

in a rainbow.





This word radiates the serenity

of a red rock canyon.

There is such a tremulous grace

to its face.

This word is the color of the law.

Its smile is a known thing.


This word appreciates

the cool treasures of silence.

If you look closely,

you can see the chandeliers hanging

In this word's eyes.





This word heralded the births

of Godzilla, Dracula, and Frankenstein.

It is a skunk and a swan

and somebody's grandmother.

Its face is as ugly as bad luck.

It has the ears of a pachyderm.

Its kisses taste like emphysema.

It loves to suck the brains

out of infants and small children.





This word is

a gray and angry



This word is

alone in its breath.

Its face is rigid and pinched.


Its eyes are two stones

serenading the beautiful dead.


This word bites the ears

like a wounded ghost.


It loves to dance

with cacti and to drink

from burning waters.




David Kowalczyk


David Kowalczyk lives and writes in Oakfield, New York.  He has taught English in Changwon, South Korea, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, as well as at several American colleges, including Arizona State.  His poetry has appeared in seven anthologies and over one hundred magazines, including California Quarterly, Maryland Review, and St. Ann's Review.  He was founding editor of Gentle Strength Quarterly.