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Karl Koweski  (email)


About the Poet:

Karl is a 33 year old displaced Chicagoan now living on top of a mountain in Alabama.  His poetry and stories have been published throughout the small press.   His latest poetry chapbook, Diminishing Returns, is available at www.sunnyoutside.com



back door draft
at Mister Moeís Bar
during a lull in karaoke
DJ Sammy plays
"Proud To Be An American"
Letti announces her son
Ricky is scheduled for
a second Iraq deployment
on the 11th of November
itís the same announcement
she makes every night
at the tavern since
her sonís orders came through
Letti hugs Ricky to her bosom
and promises
"heís coming back
heís coming home safe"
and everybody sings
along with the song
the sudden patriotism
outweighs financial frugality
as the patrons argue
over the honor of
buying Ricky the next
draft beer and shot
Ricky slips out
before the song ends
he canít stand the thought
of another drunken hug
from some steel worker
who starts every sentence with
"I canít imagine
what youíre going through, but..."
he walks back to his room
in his motherís boyfriendís house
and marks another day
off a calendar
that doesnít extend
past November
if you remain in your car
all you can see
is the breakwater.
ragged chunks of concrete
pieces of rebar jutting out
like mummified fingers.
Lake Michigan lays there
a dead ocean
indistinguishable from
its mortuary slab.
smell the embalming fluid,
a noxious mixture
of detergent and petroleum
byproducts pumped in
by the refinery and
the surrounding mills.
after climbing the breakwater
and finding a smooth boulder
of concrete to perch on
I watch the February storm
approach from the northeast.
the sky and sea seem
to merge creating a
seamless shirt of the world.
ten years gone
and nothing really changes.
Chicago still glimmers to
the west;
the distillation towers
of Amoco refinery sulks
in the east.
and all I ever succeeded
in doing this last decade
was killing time.
I murdered ten years
so cleanly
I didnít leave so much
as a witness.
subsexual verses
small press poets
like dandelions
across internet fields
not needed
for the setting
of seeds
bright yellow petals
a thousand