For my golden eighth birthday
John Lennon got murdered
& I got a new Star Wars toy.
Ted Koppel’s hair/soul less
comforting than Mom’s, Back up
there—don’t make me tell you again
as she fork-into-box ate leftover
cake & baby-bottle-fought
with my toddler sister
& I just wanted to know
things’d be alright. This was
just a handful of years after
CLE became nationally known
for union-built Fords exploding
in parking lots, & then the mob
finally got Danny Greene.
Kaboom. Even Rodin’s Thinker
over on the cultured side of town
got nicked in one blast, & maybe
I’m conflating protest bombs, but
he’s still there, contemplating
sulfur, scars, & the Wade Oval
Lagoon. You know, people who
possess power don’t usually
give it up without a fight/blood
or the enormous passage of time,
& stained public concrete is
the worst-case scenario & people
desperately spurned are more
likely to explode than go in
for another attempted hug.
Decency is we still haven’t.

The Opposite of Anthropomorphic

Isn’t having animal, bug, mineral, or vegetable characteristics, just as you’ll never win the argument of tomatoes-as-fruit, even if you’re right, even if everyone incorrectly associates them with Italy more than Mexico. The opposite of pineapple on pizza isn’t pepperoni in your piña colada. The opposite of saying you’re sorry isn’t holding a grudge, & the opposite of a grudge isn’t forgetting how much you were hurt. Time goes by just so fast, but there’s a giant land tortoise who’s outlived all 18th, 19th, & 20th century monarchs. Maybe she knows something about metaphors, survival, & opposites.

+ Inspired by Ross Gay’s ‘Fireflies’ (2019).

Wanna Know How Geography’s Helped with Anxiety?

For Coco

Two main things. First,
there are two US states
bordered by no other
state. And one state
that’s bordered by only
one state: Maine is boxed
in by New Hampshire,
so if by train, Chucks,
boots, skis, or wheels,
you ain’t going in unless
New Hampshire first lets
you in. Or if you chopper,
swim, sail, or Canada. And
just look at how beautiful
Maine is, with her single
protector. Next, India has
1.4 billion people. That’s
almost 4x the people in
our country & 82x
the people in our little
suburban community,
& at most, a person
can only manage 150
relationships at once,
& here & now none
are the blessed people
of India. And likely,
by the time I kick, if
I’m fortunate I’ll meet
a couple dozen of India’s
people on her turf, but
more likely, they’ll never
know I exist. And that’s
kinda liberating.

home improvement

I discovered a single long wave
of your black Irish hair
stuck to the first coat
of gloss white oil
on the living room’s baseboard.
Rather than remove it
with the tweezers
of my bent index & scarred thumb,
I tucked the filament’s end
onto the quarter round,
& with a steady angled cut-in,
on a second pass,
fossilized your DNA
into our planet.
When the alien scientists
come back in 3,000 years,
rather than search for persistence
in amber, a la Jurassic Park,
they can extract it
from just above the floor,
the maple hardwoods still shining.
A whole theme park of Bridgets
will be difficult to contain, &
while I’ll be long gone,
it’ll be one of those attractions
no one will ever look away from,
& why would they want to?

about the artist

Bob King is an Associate Professor of English at Kent State University at Stark. His recent poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Drunk Monkeys, JAKE, Paddler Press, Aôthen Magazine, The Purposeful Mayonnaise, Spare Parts Literary Magazine, The Viridian Door, Ink Sweat & Tears, Alien Buddha Gets Rejected Anthology, Bullshit Lit, The Red Ogre Review, Unlikely Stories Mark V, The Dillydoun Review, Emergence Literary Journal, Narrative Magazine, Muleskinner, & Allium: a Journal of Poetry & Prose. He lives on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife & daughters.

Twitter: @KingRobertJ



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