Begotten

A poem
by Mikel K
 
We Are The Children
 
We are the children of the sun and the stars.
 
We are the children of the hippies,
who were strung out on peace and love,
and heroin when they conceived us.
 
We are the children of alcoholics,
conceived in blackouts.
 
We are the children of the punk rockers,
screwed into this world on beer and anger.
 
We are the children of the poor,
raised on welfare and food stamps,
and government housing.
 
We are the children of the middle class,
borrowing from the government,
to get an education, to get a job with a pension
from Corporate America who has already fired
our fathers and mothers, before they could retire.
 
We are the children of the rich,
who like our fathers and mothers , before us,
care only about obtaining more wealth.
 
We are the children of the doctors, dentists,
and lawyers who care more about their Porsches,
and their Mercedes than they do their patients.
 
We are the children of the American dream,
roaming the streets with a blanket,
and a garbage bag full of aluminum cans.
 
We are the children, who now have the children,
and we hope they won’t learn racism from us
like we learned it from our moms and dads.
 
We are the children, who can change the inevitable,
alter our destiny, change the future from futile to fruitful.
 
Amen.
 
—————–
Mikel K was recently voted Best Poet in the city of Atlanta three years in a row by the Atlanta weekly, Creative Loafing. His new book of poems, “Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself,” is availabe at Pski’s Porch Publishing. K has also written a stunning memoir called, “The Delivery Guy,” available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/mikelkpoet

Poet Interview #65: Mikel K.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Who/what first inspired you to begin? Who are some your favorite writers and artists (past and/or contemporary)?

I started writing poetry when I was about 27 (I’m 59 now) when I was a member of the Atlanta punk rock scene. I started writing poetry in bars while I was watching bands play.  The music was my inspiration for the words. The music was what first inspired me to write. Eventually I had my own band, The MIkel K Band where I did spoken word with a band that did improvisational rock and roll and noise music. The words were usually the same, but the music was always different at each gig that we played around Atlanta. We put out two cds, Sober, and Don’t Say Hate.

Poets that I like are Sylvia Plath, David Bottoms, Thomas Lux, Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins and Charles Bukowski among others. Writers who I enjoy are Ernest Hemingway, Hunter Thomas, Mary Karr, Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris. I especially enjoy memoirs and have written a bold and exciting one that chronicles my path from being an lsd alcohol soaked punk rocker to a sober father sitting in the little league bleachers cheering my son on. You can buy the memoir at www.lulu.com/spotlight/mikelkpoet

How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … flow? 

For the longest time, I would carry a notebook and a pen with me wherever I went and write whenever a poem came to me, whether it be in the car at a red light, or in the living room watching tv, or at a coffee shop or a bar, back when I was still drinking. These days, I write on the computer, mainly when the poem comes to me. I have never been the type of writer who sets a time to write. I wait until the muse comes to me.

What does poetry mean to you, and has your idea of what it represents changed over the course of time? Where do you see it going in the future?

Poetry has meant a lot to me. It was the main thing that I did for a long, long time when I wasn’t at work or raising my kids.

It is still something that I spend a lot of time doing. I think it represents, now, what it has always meant to me in that it is a creative outlet that I must pursue. In the future I hope to have more books of my poems come out.

You’ve recently released a new book out into the world. Who is your publisher? What inspired the material in this collection? 

The book is called, Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself, and it came out on Pski’s Porch Publlishing, a small press out of New York. It is a collection of poems from over thirty years of writing poetry and includes some new work. You can purchase it at

http://www.pskisporch.com/

Are you on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?

I post a lot of poems on Facebook and use Twitter to post shorter poems. You can find me on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/mikel.poet

and on Twitter: @mikelkpoet.

Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?

I don’t currently belong to a writing group, though I have, in the past. I used to be a regular at a number of Atlanta open mic poetry nights. I recently did a reading at The Pine Lake Lodge that was very well received. As a result of reading out, I was voted Best Poet in Atlanta, three years in a row, by the readers of Creative Loafing, Atlanta’s weekly newspaper. Mainly, recently, I have been reading The Cortland Review, Five Points, Terminus and Rattle.

As 2017 continues rolling along, what are your expectations for the months ahead? Do you have any new projects in the works that you’re particularly excited about?

I expect to keep cranking out the poems, submitting them to poetry publications, and putting together books of poems to send out to publishers. Mainly, I want to continue to enjoy the process as I have for so many, many years.

What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?

Just do it. Don’t wait around waiting for something to happen. Make it happen. When the muse hits you, as it will if you are receptive to it, get it down. If it is really in you, if poetry really means a lot, or everything to you, then never quit. Keep kicking it out. Keep spitting out and sweating out those words.

—————–

Mikel K is a poet and memoirist living in Atlanta, Ga.

He has a BS in English with a minor in Journalism from Georgia State University. He drank his way out of Florida State University one class short of a business degree.

Poetry by Mikel K has, recently, appeared in: Subtle Tea, Inbetwen Hangovers,  Drown In My Own Fears, Your One Phone Call, Harbinger Asylum, Indiana Voice Journal, Dissident Voice, Dead Snakes, Horror Sleaze Trash, Poeticus, Anti-Heroic Chic, Section 8 Magazine, drown in my own fears, poetic diversity, Zygote In My Coffee, High Coupe, The Blue Lake Review, Swimming With Elephants, Ceremony, Visceral Uterus, High Coupe, Fragrance Poetry Magazine, The Piker Press, Vox Poetica, Napalm and Novocaine, Ceremony.

A Big’un

Three poems
by Elisabeth J. Ferrell-Horan
 
One Could Say
 
I lost a goat today.
One could say she’s just a goat
but she’s gone nonetheless.
 
Gone too is a little piece of me, from
my hands that fed her
my arms that hugged her
my feet that followed her up mountains.
my heart that melted a little
each time she called to me from the barn –
asking for hay, for grain, to let her out of the pen.
 
A bear was here today.
He was on my porch.
He ate my compost, my eggs;
he spared the chickens
he took the goat.
My neighbor reported
He was a big’un.
 
I often chastise my neighbors for badmouthing bears
or those gun lovers that hunt them
I have thought
what barbarians –
How could they do that? To
the bear: so wild, majestic:
an easy symbol of our care and concern.
 
But this was my goat,
and I’m so mad at that bear.
How dare he come into my yard and terrorize
my domestics.
 
He lived here once. Perhaps loved here once.
He cares not at all
that we built a house here.
Perhaps we did this below his den
in the uplifted boulders of shale and gneiss
Perhaps he watched us, sniffing the air
disgusted by our messy ways
and wasteful suburbanite bent.
 
Perhaps he procreated here;
ate acorns here.
Defecated the berries in copious mounds of magenta,
the very same that we now pick and
make into wholesome pies –
 
Patting myself on the back for being
such a competent and clever
pioneer housewife,
just like Laura Ingalls Wilder…
Using the land – Reaping its gifts.
 
But he should go somewhere else now
there are goats and chickens and children here now.
I don’t know where to tell him to go
just not here, bear.
 
I lost a goat today.
One could say she’s just a goat.
A bear came by today.
One could say he’s just a bear
that used to live here.
 
 
Keeping Tabs
 
Here I go again
Down the goddamn rabbit hole
Chasing the oily smell
Of my past as only I can do –
 
It’s so dirty
It’s such a waste of time
This hating myself –
 
But I go back anyway
I can’t stay away
Like a lover who promised me forever.
 
Here I go again –
Berating my brain
When I mess up
Instead of making amends
I go deep, I go dark.
 
I use the pain of what I’ve done –
To burn the eyes of those peering into
The destruction zone –
I had cordoned off.
 
My children have learned not to listen when I yell
When I say:
Forgive me babies
Mommy didn’t mean it –
 
They look at me with a hint
Of pity
Which belies their youthful ages
That seems to say
We know she’s nuts
Let’s move on and play quietly over here –
As to not disturb the dragon again.
 
They think of me like a feral cat
That can’t be trusted
Too unpredictable with her claws –
Like a mutt who eats the garbage again and again
Despite the punishments
Despite the slap to her head – that
Reverberates across her guilty tongue.
 
Here I go again
Such a pussy –
Hiding in this isolation
Which so adroitly keeps
Tabs on my chance of being a good person.
 
 
My Dog Charlie
 
She has only three legs.
The ghost one is the left front.
 
When sleeping,
she twitches
her sewn up shoulder, where
the muscle, sinew, tendons and joints
used to casually, effectively interact.
 
I often gaze at her as
she runs through
her dreams,
 
Whimpering and twitching
her lips; chasing chipmunks on
her unbiased canvas,
The loyal canine mind.
 
But when
she is awake
she often falls down.
 
The right front leg
unable to do all the required work and
she falls down stairs, or
she splays on the ice, or
she tumbles off the couch, or
she teeters over while
she is going to the bathroom,
especially during the strain of moving
her bowels.
 
And then
I run to pick her up as
she yelps like a pup for
her mother bitch; then
I am left crying from the guilt, while
she lunges back to standing
and moves on like
a daughter might leave me someday:
 
Off to college, mom.
I got this.
 
Dogs don’t feel bad for themselves.
You must understand.
 
They don’t remember the falling down,
only know that the getting up is necessary and
the desire to lick
your mouth like an
open face turkey sandwich:
 
Innate like breathing,
or a heartbeat da-dumming.
 
They desire to feel your undulating strokes
on the back as if chinchilla;
to be addressed with unwavering
approval of their actions.
 
Hoping always, to receive your
loving gestures as gifts
of delectable kibbles and bits.
 
They also adore french fries, chocolate –
they don’t know it’s bad for them.
She also doesn’t know that
my kind, funny, responsible and stupid
husband backed up out of
the driveway and ran
her over with
his stupid heavy truck.
 
She does not know to be mad, rather
she loves
him still just like
she did before
he essentially ruined things with
that bad mistake with
his stupid heavy truck.
 
It is only
I who remembers how
it happened.
 
If only
I could rinse
my memory clean and hope
in the moment for that
loving praise and
a delicious treat –
 
And wag
my tail while
someone agrees to stroke
my back with undulating praise
like chinchilla.
 
I wish
I could do all that – like
my dog, Charlie did.
 
I know, if only
I could –
I too, could forgive
him for
his stupid mistake and move on like
she did – in
an instant.
 
—————–
Elisabeth J. Ferrell-Horan is a stay at home mom in Vermont raising two young boys, feeding her animals and dreaming in poetry. When not writing, she finds peace and inspiration working with her three very special horses: Deuce, Flynn and Bees. They speak to her without using words.
 
Website:

Knocking Knees

Two poems
by Taylor Leigh Ciambra
 
MICHELLE AT MIDNIGHT
 
The wooden spoon rubs against my calloused hands
and I think there is no other way
to tell her what I am feeling
The nutmeg blends in with my summer skin
and the dark chocolate is melting in its plastic bag
despite the whir of the overhead fan
Today she got on a plane and lives down the street from me
like she always did, until she grew up
and all I can do is keep stirring
Folding questions into the oatmeal and butter
cracking two eggs between my fingers
I ask them in their oozing omniscience
How can I love someone so much and not see them everyday
How could I allow myself to become amnesic to
The way our knees knocked together at yellow lunchtime chairs
or the way my hair knotted in her fingers at midnight sleepovers
She speaks in the same babbling brook cadence she always has
mispronouncing words I don’t dare tease her about anymore
The kitchen timer ticks and tocks counting down to a time where
I was flat chested and she had a broken leg
Ears aching as I listen to the same
recycling of dreams and fears
I am cutting boundaries between the spread out cookies
When she asks
will no one ever love us the way we love each other?
 
I STOPPED WONDERING IF I LIKED YOU OR IF I LOVED YOU
 
I stopped wondering if I liked you or if I loved you
when you told me about the priest stealing your underwear
when you told me about the laps you had to run around the gym
when you told me about the nuns who probably knew
and slapped their rulers at You instead of Him
No
you told him
i believe i said no
we both had to believe
you said No
Rage boiling faster and hotter than the tea kettle on the stove
I watched for a moment, the snow outside
How gently it swirled that December night
like a blessing
like love would not shatter my heart
like the world would feel safe again
The dancing shadows grew sinister on the freshly waxed floor
my heart
it broke
Pouring everything I thought was true into my stomach
innocence consumed by acid
with the nauseous understanding that
Monsters ruthlessly combed your duck blonde hair
before I could even know you
even think of protecting you
even love you
yes
i told you
yes
I love you
 
—————–
Taylor Leigh Ciambra is a writer, poet, and theatre artist based in Connecticut. Her recent work can be read in Otoliths issue #43, the winter 2016 edition of Olentangy Review, TheTrek.co, and FeministWednesday.com. To read more of her work check out: tlciambra.wordpress.com

Sentiments of Hallmark Fraud

Two poems
by Kristine Brown
 
Thoughts at Thanksgiving Dinner, Circa 2008
 
“Do what you hate,”
he chuckled sourly,
not amused, detached,
a bridge with gaps.
 
so there, I stood, wondering how,
and if, to mend my wrongs.
 
I do remember, nine years back,
the dad, so drained, a toxin –
you told me this, to do my best
but when you slapped me ‘cross the face,
I think, perhaps my greatest sin
was doing what I had loved.
 
But this that attracts
the fledgling spark,
or smiles which lack the True Duchenne,
meant no ill in any I’ve planned.
 
Always, you’ve disapproved.
 
So there, I formulate a thought
that warrants time for Hallmark fraud –
though ultimate, these sentiments
bleed, through linens frayed.
 
This Side of Town
 
Like grains of sad rice,
they quiver under stoplights
awaiting relief
from uncertainty’s pursuit
and famished kittens’ mewing.
 
A stop sign punctured
and pieces of glass withdraw
into black concrete,
leaving feet prey to illness,
deceiving tires of Audis.
 
She screams to her boy
that “Here, we do not scavenge,”
syringes plenty,
particles that seep into an unknown,
defective immunity.
 
The dogs, they wander
while cars refuse to slow down
and more people scream, “Stop!”
then shudder, faces crinkled –
a wish list blotted, faded ink.
 
I said to myself
two summers ago, waiting,
that I should have left,
and while I’m not quite steady,
composure is not a dream.
 
—————–
Kristine Brown is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on nostalgia and sensory detail in her work. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Thought Catalog, Dulcet Quarterly, Rambutan Literary, Burningword Literary Journal, Forage Poetry, among others. In late January 2017, her first collection of flash stories and poetry, Scraped Knees, was released by Ugly Sapling Press.
 
Twitter: @CPCranes