2 poems by Ken Kakareka

How I Learned to Write

I went to The Cellar
2 nights before Christmas
where I proposed
over a yr. ago.
The shipwreck of nerves
came flooding back.
It took
2 old fashions
to level me
I don’t care what –
if you aren’t a mess
during your proposal,
it ain’t right.
An old couple
hunkered down
next to me
at the bar.
I think she was
after his money.
Despite his senility
and her delay
to everything,
they drank martinis
before martinis
with dinner.
A commonality
they shared.
Some people
have none.
She ran a non-profit org.
whose mission
was to educate
about education
and wanted me
to write
an article.
I didn’t know
about education
except that
most of mine
was received
in seedy cities
and books.
‘How I Learned to Write.’
Hell if I knew!
Some things
don’t have reasons,
like love.
But I forged
some corny bullshit
on her (and him
when he was present)
to speed towards
the end of
the conversation.
She handed me
her card
when their table
was ready.
I emailed her
because I, too,
wanted to know
how I learned
to write.
Only writers
there are things
you don’t know
you know
until they poof
out of thin air
and flop like fish
on the page
in front of you.
That’s how I planned
to learn
how I learned
to write.


Maroon 5
‘She Will Be Loved’
fills the silence
I’d rather hear
in Starbucks.
There’s a man
sitting in the corner
writing a novel,
a table
of 3 Korean women,
and me.
I don’t know
what’s going on
in their heads
but it doesn’t look
as bleak
as mine.
I have
a scalding coffee
before me
and I want to
pour it down
my throat
to punish myself
for what I ruined
last night.
I’m in ruins –
they shower me
with guilt
and swirl around
my brain
like a pile of laundry.
the man
writing his novel
stands up
and writhes,
The Korean women
and the staff
are faceless.
And I lose it
like a stoned teenager
it will never
get old.


Ken Kakareka lives in California with his lovely wife. He is the author of Late to Bed, Late to Rise (Black Rose Writing, 2013). Ken’s words have appeared or are on their way in a number of rags including Gargoyle Magazine, Route 7 Review, The Beatnik Cowboy and so on. A list of selected publications can be found at kenkakareka.com.

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