Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘I’m always waiting’ and other poems

By: John McKernan


For a tiny splinter
Of wood

Long as this letter l
That weighs more
Than a baseball bat

It will enter my skull
At a 90 degree angle
And leave in two seconds
I won’t even know it was there

So what?
I spend my time
Listening to music
Reading poems
Fasting every morning

I don’t want to die until I’m dead



A Corvette

Candy-apple red
With Florida plates

CD boom-box
Always turned
Extra high
To Mao’s combo on “Money Honey”

He tells everybody
“Lightning’s great
But I’m buying
A 10-ton purple dump truck
With Tennessee tags”



Volvo’s parents took away all his James Dean videos while
he was out cruising with this friends

They were surprised to find no drugs in his room

“Kelp tablets?” each said at the same time as they stared
across the room

They did discover a biography of James Dean under his
mattress and they burned it in the backyard.

As a part of the aversive dream therapy Volvo’s younger
brother Scooter was designated to wake up Volvo
the moment he began dreaming of James Dean

The mayor visited the family on Mondays distributing
capsules of atheism and a DVD of his sermon on
the evil of American football

The mayor always wears a red nylon jacket

Every morning Volvo’s uncle appeared at the kitchen door
with another basket of brown eggs and warn his
brother “If you don’t do something soon about your
son we’ll wake up one morning and find ourselves

Three days before his funeral, Volvo told his parents at
Dinner “I know now there is a God and that he
hates both of you and loves me.”

His father passed him the steak knife but said nothing.


John McKernan grew up in the middle of Omaha Nebraska in the middle of the USA and recently retired from herding commas after teaching for many years at Marshall University He lives in Florida His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, Field, and elsewhere

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