3 poems by James Kowalczyk

James Kowalczyk


our memories
spread across 
uneven eons 
a second-hand tapestry of woes

naked shame 
clothe thy name

genuine prayer can drill 
a sacred screw into the poisoned blood 
like viscous iron
smelting the night

between the eyes 
it climbs a fence
like caged ivy

on Vena Cava Lane 
even Joey Gentile drops
her digital pacifier 

we charge thee
with apocryphal bible belt bullshit 
in the south 

rumor consumer ads
squirt like fish through an endless 
stream of consciousness

heading north


before the first ending fractured               the
amplitude's erosion                                and erosion 							imagination gene                            emauled the 
millenial mind 

and 						                                                                         tongue-tied language to telepathy             with
aqua-turtles and nuclear babies            shedding
dead tears                    	   diluted by living 
room rain	              conjured by miasmas and Mohawks

at curtain 			               the 
bankrupt skeletons 	                    confess in a 
decrpit church of                    dream hoarders 
inside a pile of spiders                 yet, when they 
get home yesterday                blood juice will flow 
                                               a chore 
to ignore for sure                       as dragonflies 
helicopter                   through irrational rashes 
of tangled truth

Snarky Ignorance

4:oo am eggs and coffee and out the door                                                                                                       Junior the shoeshine ma                                                                                                                                  age sixty-five                                                                                                                                       walks from Amsterdam Avenue to Lexington Avenue                                                                                    and catches the #4 to Grand Central Station                                                                                                                                   his box concealed in a backpack                                                                                                                           along with expertise in handling                                                                                           Balmorals, Blüchurs, Cap Toes and Wingtips
locating the subtle depression his box has made in                                                                          the marble floor over the years                                                                                                             he settles in                                                                                                                                                  the new snot-nose regular waiting for him
“you’re late Junior” from behind The Wall Street Journal                                                                                                hiding a smirk                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    like a teacher who secretly enjoys                                                                                                issuing detention slips
subway ain’t what it used to be                                                                                                              Junior remarks to the headlines                                                                                                   maybe we need Mussolini in this city                                                                                               make them run on time
who?                                                                                                                                                    Junior smiles and shakes his head
11:00 am                                                                                                                                           brunch and white wine and margaritas                                                                                             Domingo the waiter                                                                                                                      hurriedly bussing the alfresco table                                                                                                                        for trust-fund hipsters                                                                                                                  chatting about organic berries                                                                                                            and quoting lines from Hamilton 
“hey you                                                                                                                                                                               just forget it                                                                                                                                            you’re taking too long                                                                                                                                   we’ll sit inside”
                                                                                                                                                                               9:00 pm                                                                                                                                                             after his triple shift                                                                                                                                                                  Domingo walks from Columbus Avenue                                                                                                                              to Central Park West and catches the A train                                                                                down to West 4th Street                                                                                                                                                                                                             walks over to the Lower East Side                                                                                                          a new art gallery opening                                                                                                                where his paintings are are being displayed                                                                                      across the room Domingo hears 
“I absolutely must have this!                                                                                                                                     it’s post-postmodern                                                                                                                                 a bit of kitch and yet authentic social critique                                                                                     subversive executed as high art                                                                                                                                             I absolutely must have this!      
it is the new Eurotrash Domingo served at brunch earlier                                                                   he walks over to the small crowd now standing in front of his painting                                       to the loudest Eurotrash he says graciously I couldn’t help but hear you admiring my painting, for you $1000                                                                                                                           I’ll take a check 
“you painting this?”                                                                                                                                       yes Domingo replies with a smile                                                                                                         “bullshit”  after the stunned silence                                                                                              a voice in the back of the crowd bellows
if that loser doesn’t want it-I’ll take it                                                                                               who do I make the check out to?
you’re late Junior                                                                                                                                     he says                                                                                                                                                              to the shoeshine man                                                                                                                    feigning perkiness                                                                                                                                  like the teacher                                                                                                                                        who secretly                                                                                                                                                         enjoys                                                                                                                                                  giving detention 
The New York Times  								                  hides a smirk                                                                                                                                             from the shoeshine man      							authentic malice

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James Kowalczyk was born and raised in Brooklyn but now lives in Northern California with his wife, two daughters and four cats. He teaches English at the high school and college levels. His work has appeared both online and in print.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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