that her role model is

Lana Turner—she takes many

lovers.  Either they leave her

or she leaves them

before returning to the love

supermarket to look under

wet wrappings and start all


over again.  If I had more

lovers, she says, IÕd be happy.

Love is like religion.

Give yourself to a god

and the god sidetracks

at LoweÕs buying stuff

to build a cage of rules

IÕm to live by.  All that wooing

leads me behind bars

ordering unsalted margaritas.


Perhaps I should cut out

lovers altogether, leave them

to Lana and Brenda,

turn my crucifix into

a pawn shop and see

what I can get.






IÕm eating slightly

skanky pretzels and thinking

about this world, a big subject,

no?  IÕd rather think about

sleep, how I love to sleep

in sleep, applaud it, cry for it,

lick its dangling toes.   But

the world drips on my mind,

Elmer's Glue. IÕm stuck with it. 


Sometimes the world is

an artery slashed

and pulled out of a still

living body.  Other times

itÕs a red dahlia blooming

unapologetically while people

slip into orgies where death

punches a timeclock and looks

bored by a door.  I munch

another handful.  The world


looks at me, at you,

expecting a kiss

on its most poisonous







Almost ready

To open,

A crinum lily—

after five years,

the stalk tall,

the bloom poking

out, ready

to briefly enter where

we miss


                          making its slow

                          way up.






Alex says my mind

is swampy, dangerous

to be lost in.  He can be

insulting but accurate—

alligators swim under steamy

bridges behind my eyes. 


My mind is also a buzz saw. 

I cut off the heads of those

who offend me.  Most people

offend me.  Their words smell

sulphurous, opinions

like tiny gates

to a purgatory

that no one can pray

themselves out of.  Besides,

Alex should talk.

His mind is a Jesus

playpen, God the favorite toy. 


Sometimes I like my mind. 

I change it

like a smoke

detector battery.





Tuesday my mother died. TonightÕs

viewing is bloated with family.  Sure,

some are OK, even nice.

ButÉ too many are toothpaste tubes,

squeezed and sticky.  Please,


are they going to fight?  Uncle Carl

raises his voice to Uncle Leo

and wham, a candy dish

gets overturned. Folding chairs quake

on plush carpet, then collapse. 

I stay by the coffin (mother

would have enjoyed this)—

the funeral director enters and asks

ÒWhat seems to be the problem?Ó

The problem is decades of mis-

understandings, greed, lies mating

with lies.  After Leo and Carl leave,

smiles freeze back on faces,

sympathy does lurid things

behind the podium, and the slightly

mothball-smelling dead air

sags beyond half-open windows.


The last one out, I walk to

my car.  A firecracker oddly

explodes.  A tract under my windshield

wiper warns me of my future.


© Kenneth Pobo


Bio:  Kenneth Pobo has a new book out from Circling Rivers called Loplop in a Red City.  Forthcoming in September is a new chapbook from Grey Borders Press called Dust And Chrysanthemums.  His work has appeared in: Caesura, Mudfish, The Queer South anthology, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.  He loves to garden and enjoys doing his Internet radio show, Obscure Oldies, on Saturdays at widecast.