I read and write poetry whenever and wherever possible. My published poems include “Spring Gift” in the anthology Arizona’s Best Emerging Poets, “List of Lists” in The Tunnels (Spring 2016), “Dublin” in Burningword Literary Journal (Fall 2015), and “Portrait of the city as a Love Story” and “Fatherhood” in NEAT (Summer 2015). Below you will find a few samples of my poetry. Feel free to read them and comment as you wish.

 Writer's Paradise

Broken Buddhas                                                        Carpe Nix

Still awake, I stare                                                       There may be no good days to be useless,
at wooden figures                                                       but what use is today
religious icons                                                              when it snows three inches, when professors
sitting on my shelf.
If my buddhas work                                                    grow pale over glasses of wine,
I’ll wake up on time
but if not I’ll dream                                                     when coffee shops contract like muscles
I’m a butterfly.                                                             as students file in one by one
If my buddhas break                                                  preparing for public execution
I’ll email my soul                                                          sanctioned by professors
to myself in case                                                         with sharp wine on their breath?
I crash, splinter shards
like leaves under boots.                                            What good is today
I’d also email                                                               over any other day
my buddhas if they                                                    when we can’t make snow angels together
would stop running off                                             because there are convoluted superstructures
with my jesuses                                                          to deconstruct into postmodernity?
in butterfly pairs
one fat, the other                                                      But I insist on today’s uselessness. I lean in
skeletal, both brown                                                 and whisper to you that you need not
wooden men gnarled                                               sever your ear and mail it to the Dean
from some dried up log                                           of Arts and Letters for inspection.
sneaking off at night
behind my alarm,                                                     That can wait, but
or bathing in wine                                                    snow angels dance only for so long
shoulders on the rim                                               before curling up in blankets of mud,
of the glass, like teeth,                                             just as you and I will curl up beneath six feet
both heads reclining                                                of fattened worms and swollen soil.
thrown back in laughter                                         Today it snows voraciously
as they remember
just how much money                                            and you spend three hours conducting surgery
I spent buying them.                                               on Albert Camus’s footnotes.

Let them soak for a while in Chardonnay.
The snow angels are calling to us,
announcing a need for dance partners
atop their moistened deathbeds.

Today is a fine day to be useless,
even though coffee-stained idols
must be composed for wine-drunk priests
holding the keys to our future.

But what good is a field of grass
beneath three inches of snow,

or a poet beneath a tombstone?
No more useful than warm fingers,
smooth hands, or sloping shoulders
if they freeze holding a pen
tucked indignantly over the nail-solid logic

of how useless it is to be useful for so long.

Funeral March for Gabo                                             Birthday Poem for Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Your life must have begun                                                                                                        Dear Gabo,
when death rang the doorbell.                                                                     Thank you for showing me
You shook hands                                                                    that even if angels did plummet to Earth,
in a business deal                                                                                     we would probably treat them
and negotiated terms and conditions.                                         as we treat all strangers. Thank you
What did death’s suitcase smell like?                                                              for your humor and your
Was there the mold                                                                         observations on the banality of life,
that comes with stillness,                                                                       which is our own fault. We may
or was it more like the dew                                                            in fact be in the company of angels,
licking the flowers left on gravestones?                                                          but we would not notice.
That must be when life began,                                       We take the magic of this world for granted,
when you signed a contract                                          just as we would take real magic for granted.
in red letter day ink                                                          I can listen to music from a tiny, shining box
there on your doorstep.                               through two buds connected by a smooth, white rope,
Who else could have lived so fully                                                and I take it for granted. I can travel
without first dealing with death?                                                               to your country and visit you
You must have forgotten                                                                            by hopping on a winged ship
where you’d left the contract years later,                                                     with a thousand travelers,
on the table near the fruit bowl,                                                    and I take it for granted. I can write
beneath your books or letters,                                              a letter to you on a humming typewriter
or misplaced somewhere                                                              powered by manufactured lightning
in your own seasoned suitcase.                                                extracted from three holes in the wall
When the contractors arrived                                                      through plastic and metal plumbing,
you probably made them coffee                                 then send that letter through space and time
while they waited for you to locate                           to an ethereal cloud encompassing the planet,
your death certificate beneath your fan letters                        with the possibility of you reading it.
and photographs and rough drafts.                                                    As a writer, you made beautiful
They waited patiently                                                                                                  that which was ugly
as you danced around the room                                                     and ugly that which was beautiful,
unpacking the puzzle-work of your life.                                                                       and you exposed
I’m sure you smiled                                                                        the underestimated incompleteness
when you finally found the contract.                                           of the world. For that, I am grateful.
That’s how you left the world, Gabo,                                            Sincerely,
by bragging to death                                                                                                                               JK.
about the masterpiece you made of your life.

All poems and photographs are copyrighted work of Keene Short, 2018. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Poetry

  1. Pingback: How to Buy an Authentic American Autumn | Pens and Pencils

  2. pixieannie

    Oh my. I’m particularly drawn to ‘Birthday Poem for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ and am motivated to wander over to my book shelves and pick up one of his books and dive in with an open mind and a wandering heart. I must however, remain focused on the task in hand. You are incredibly gifted. This piece found me with my head resting on my chin and my gaze wandering far out to nowhere in particular….a most tranquil place. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person


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