Poetry by Kim Rush

Used Books

I buy only used books
With curled corners, fuzzy at the peaks, like curved
Grey-white caterpillars predicting the maybe future
Blacked over prices
The “used” tape on a spine makes it mine

If characters contained aren’t bits of a friend
I’ll try another
But, old friends are the known best
In omniscience I drive the tale two/on/too
Safe, alive
Traveling pages of all dimensions, places, and times
Comfortable with the weight of a friend in hand

“Used,” others have been here too, creating one to me
Scribbles in margins–riddles of their minds
Suppleness of used spine, feelings left behind
Corners bent, important to remember
In words of my friend, I spend with others
Life in magical metaphor
And never to shut
Sapere Aude mind’s I

Mass Transit

Waiting, sheltered by an open hut, we stare down
the salt-grey road for our ride
No one talks, but all shiver
in the winter white wind

Squealing and shaking like a mythical dragon it arrives
We queue up to enter as jaws hiss open; chivalry’s forgotten
Dropping fares we walk the aisle choosing a seat
with the least threat

A chunk of woman sits, alone, coughing to throw out lungs
A connoisseur of wines snores on the back seat
last night’s
selections dripping from pant legs like melting ice

Thrown into our choices, the ride begins
No one speaks as we rumble and bounce our way to almost-
“RIDE WITH PRIDE, M.T.” shakes on a sign above

Stomach disagreements rub together in the air around us
Conversation between a man and himself
agitates to heated argument
inside the dragon’s belly it is warm

Screeching and shuddering to a stop,
a hiss and we disgorge
With a puff of smoke, “Ride the bus, leave the driving to
us.” begins again
and dragons still fly

Flashing Colors

A flash of young yellow-gold stopped me on a grey day
She marched to a peace rally, trying to stop a war
unnoticed by me
She brought to surface a color, forgotten, stashed, long
covered by the dusty dwindle of living

When hormones ran my body wild
and invincible,
I met a guy, who was more

His name forgotten, but not his knuckled touch
I remember him as red

He circled me behind Griffin’s candy store
fists held up; we the mirror
I stared at his red lined eyes
watching for movement
that I did not stop

After closing my eye and mashing my lips
he left me on the concrete
steaming revenge
but he came back after cackling peers rounded
the corner
his nose dripping red
and offered me a hand up
I slapped it away—the last touch

A year gone by the paper read
he—lost to Vietnam
Colors flash
Yellow-gold, red, to empty-handed black of death

See, Sea, Be

long life; as short as it will
crystal/dull shining prism band
ends to circle round

stewing brown commonality
golden star swims in sea
tender fish; eyes both ways

wet, the water calls
clear, sky blue, heavy, burnished
pull of string to life kite mobile

nuclear fire; skin to skin again
atom struggle in fluid fusion
quark of symmetry; minute curiosity

siren sounds serene severe
human ballad soft cruel
baby cry oh my oh my—why oh why

Kronos bonus moment reality
body blows; stand more stronger
bloody knuckle life cell; flies free

and that has been me;
not from English B

Gather Zucchinis While Ye May

She walks in elegance of swirling wind
Toe-taps dangers of only within
Stomps the earth to tremble the sky
Breathes out honeysuckle gales to tempests blow
Turns human food to mythical grace
Through a mind celestial fathom
Holds soft the anger of man
Kisses the child fear to nothing
Gathers zucchinis in laughter sprawl
Sweet taste of body/belly delight
She creates life in magnificence
Touches to wonder
Why with me did she choose to be?
This prolific jumble-gem of woman to live
In a gardener’s poor house she makes home
To gather zucchinis while she may?

Odd Old Shoes

Two odds from two different pair
Though each for a right foot to wear
People will stare at this odd pair dare
I don’t care–I don’t care–I don’t care

Soft from worn lived after they were born
A bump at the big toe shows a suffering of corn
A woman cackles at what I dare to adorn
An ugly spirit sticks under her breast; her future thorn

One, a bit too big, flops in the step of walk
It recalls another’s sole with its now hear me flop talk
A man points in coat held sniker; brush off his mock
But all in the norm gawk and gawk; me not caught in their stock

They all grist under the moneymakers’ gristle grind
Buy, buy, buy this profit the only value is their kind
Softly the shoes step for me on hot sand to find
Saltwater, from life beginning, seeps; odd shoes no mind

Sea water laps at knees; shoes, feet safe from glass shard sand
Water splashes cool to face with empty hand
Rainbow oil spectrum spread surface floats from offshore oil stand
Was this what nature and human had evolution planed?

Flop, squish, flop, squish go the shoes back on man’s street
They all laugh because I don’t dare money follow compete?
What has happened to true man and all soft bare feet?
Is all that is norm of man now in owned profit deceit?

A pair of odd shoes uniquely fit my feat

Mind Life Image

I remember: his face in the lighting of his pipe at night.
The white flash to yellow flare sucked to the bowl. The whip
of wrist to stretch the flame out. And the deep red glow
of burning tobacco. I remember: sweet garden peas, giant
hands, the magic of spitting into a tree knot hole, the clank
of horseshoes on peg, a rough chuckle catching on age.
Sucking on the pipe stem: the white flash to yellow flare
sucked to the bowl glowing red; I remember.

Save Thyself Rally

I stand, alone, with a crowd, high above,
looking down
at the solid flat
seven stories below.

“The Almighty Saves,” chants a hollow voice
rasping friction to air
around me.
Outside, the grey day wind
bows fall stick trees to submission,
skating schools of shriveled leaves across
cold concrete.

Tight against the wind
a flurry of tiny white wings
clings to an outside ledge.
A moth, alien; out of its own.

A black bird on windy waves
swoops to the ledge,
stick-leg walks toward
the moth.
“Through a glass darkly,”
black bead eyes
on me
behind clear pane.

White wings flutter faster
throwing the bug into the blasting
blue–a white dot, gone.

The voice screams:
“Sinners will burn,”
stale air white hot,
melting me into the elevator
to drip
story by story
to earth.

Where I pool
and bleed under the door,
shrivel to dry flesh flakes
loosed to the wind.

Homonym Romance

Eye saw, but I didn’t
what was mine,
but a mine can explode

Altar will alter
two to

When new,
we knew
it right

Complement together
compliment thought

but like thyme to sweet,
time bittered
us wrong

not principal
to dissent

A part chasmed apart
one to two

Yellow Bowl

Rolling ridges flow up to its always open mouth
Tastes, laughs, loves, squeals, wet sadness, life bits in clay belly;
what does the Golden Mean:
“Careful of that yellow bowl—it can break,” says Grandmom, Mom, daughter, son, Dad; friends’
in-hand now;
“Oh, may I get my Yellow Bowl? I left it with you guys–before you moved.”

. . . . . . ?

Yellow Bowl?
Yellow Bowl?
Yellow Bowl?
Wrap, pack, box, move; carry, carry, carry, careful it may break
Unpack, unbox, unwrap: Yellow Bowl flash gold in darkened cabinet

Quest pushes quick start quick, but swift demands no knowing
Each cabinet hollow, time-filled; slow comes life wisdom
Singing flowers; Grandmom’s Christmas laugh
Single army boot behind plastic sealed wedding gown
Brown porcelain cat under dust
Curled diploma
Chewed dog collar round empty flower pot
Spark of sun under folded baby blanket
Yellow Bowl
A breath of living—in-hand

Softly wrapped
like a mother’s love
the Yellow Bowl goes


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