Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘abandoned by all things’ and other poems

By: Karl Koweski

abandoned by all things

my brother phones
late at night.
he’s been drinking again,
asking if I might write
a few poetic lines
in honor of
our dead father
so Richie G can
temporarily immortalize
the words on
his forearm below
the half-finished angel,
a tribute to a dad
he vaguely remembers
from his early youth.

I haven’t written
in nearly a year.
not sure I want
to start now
with this.

no angel of the
heavenly variety
ever gazed favorably
upon the actions
of our father.
his prayers never
extended beyond
the patron saint
of fast women
and slow horses.

thirty years dead, now,
he lorded over nothing
more regal than
a push broom
and mop bucket.

his navy blue shadow
and watchman cap halo
have receded into
a dull oblivion
of purposefully
forgotten memories.

I have nothing
more to offer
as eulogy.
he lived and died
as we live and die,
abandoned by all things.

hard time

a block away from the house
I came of age in,
the Carmelite Home for Boys
dominated half a city block.
a seven-foot-high brick wall
surrounded the sandstone complex,
the entire edifice
radiating hopelessness.

I thought it was a
prison for bad kids
rather than a home
for boys whose parents
could no longer
provide care for them.

so, when my mother
threatened to send me
there, I thought she had
gotten wise to my
petty criminality
rather than simply
tiring of my company
and looking to
abandon me the most
convenient way possible.
constantly curious of
the Carmelite mysteries,
I would climb the roof
of a neighboring garage
during my ninja
escapades and spy
on the children
imprisoned by circumstance
consorting on the
concrete playground.
the metal equipment
resembled a military
obstacle course rather
than the wood and
composite materials
comprising the apparatus
at the playgrounds
I was free to attend.

I watched the children,
watched how they interacted,
looked for weaknesses
and considered how I might
exploit these weaknesses.

and finally I returned home
and apologized to my mom
for all my twisted transgressions
begging her to keep me
a little while longer.


my inner monologues
are just so much white noise
through which the ghosts of my past
attempt to communicate.

some days I convince myself
the voices have receded,
beaten flat, unrecognizable
by the hammer of factory time.

the penknife of conscience
dulls down to
a shoehorn of indifference
I use to wedge myself
into the tight fit of another day.

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