Needed repose

Needed repose

‘And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.’ -T.S. Eliot (“Burnt Coker”)

On December 31st, 1999 I entered my home
and didn’t come out again until January 1st, 2010.

The Millennium’s just a trick of time.
9-11? I read the book.
Subprime meltdown?
Looked out onto my block.
First black president-elect?
Still recall several first mayors
one governor
and a great deal of debt.

A neighbourhood kid cut my grass
trimmed my hedges and raked
the leaves
then when he graduated
he hired his brother for me.

Of this I’m most proud:
through it all I barely touched
an electrical switch.
Detroit Edison presumed me deceased.
They called up one night after fourteen months
a call that was like taking a pulse

It still beats.

Speaking.

Was I the man who stopped paying his bills?
Never stopped, I said
I just don’t get any juice from you I can use.

In 2006,
a man from the News learned all this
and he, too, phoned one night
asking was it true I hadn’t stepped outside
in (then) six years?
What motivated me to withdraw from the world like that?

Well,
George Harrison once wrote
and I quote:
‘Without going out of my door
I can know all things on Earth.’

I never actually withdrew;
things just came into hyper focus.
I saw much within one quarter mile
to allow myself this needed repose.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Wrinkled Legacy of Elder Hands -Kevin Ridgeway

Wrinkled Legacy of Elder Hands

made of paper
from depression era grit
and hard fought survival in the
wisdom
of their raspy breath,
survivors of tent cities
and bread lines and proud
service
their sweet rock candy
mountain optimism
their don’t get fresh sense of
decency
their cosignature of the New
Deal
and their gypsy bonnets in
black and white
scrolls of their humble houses
built with
their bare hands
triumphs over greed
that gave me something
to worship,
their medicine show
power of the people
who built the great nations
and their unwavering
optimism in the
face of bad political machines
they fought
to dismantle from the desire
to
bury what can never be
undone in the minds
of grandchildren who cast
ballots and remember,
always remember what the
old folks said
was right and just and for us
all.

Kevin Ridgeway

Kevin Ridgeway lives and writes in Long Beach, CA. A two-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Trailer Park Quarterly, Big Hammer, San Pedro River Review, Lummox, Spillway and Cultural Weekly, among many others. He is the author of six chapbooks of poetry, including All the Rage (Electric Windmill Press), On the Burning Shore (Arroyo Seco Press) and Contents Under Pressure (Crisis Chronicles Press).