Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

Three poems by Kevin Ridgeway

 Junk Man

the sores in my eyes simmer
and my internal radio plays the
Sanford and Son theme song
while the engine of his
dented old truck sputters
as he turns onto my street
pulling two ancient
recreation vehicles
covered in weather-beaten
Good Sam stickers
a moving sculpture
of smoke and other
people’s garbage
twisted metal,
deflated rubber
and cracked glass
scream their own
angry song as he
leaves a massive
cloud of
bitter exhaust
in his wake
slowly coming to
a stop where
he sorts
through his
treasure in the
night and
waits for the
sun to burn
the asphalt
and toast
his reptile
skin again
as he continues
the scavenger
hunt that will
never end
feeding
the hole
that remains
open and
unfulfilled

 

The Trolley Man

we first saw you on grainy black-and-white local access television
at the city council meetings dressed
in your catalogue purchased safari jacket and your scarves
waving your hands belligerently over pie charts and graphs
asserting your intention to restore the city’s
long defunct trolley system

you lived in an old trolley that you prowled
up and down the boulevard in
dented red and blue glory with American flags waving
over each rearview mirror in the wind
we saw it parked at every all-night diner and the VFW Hall

we greeted you at Norm’s Restaurant, your hands quivering
as coffee spilled over your nicotine caked hands
your mustache tinted orange, its tips pointed to Heaven
telling us it was going to be much easier yes, to get
around this town

your heart gave out after hundreds of council meetings
and you fell from the front seat of your trolley, dead
months later, we still see the trolley barreling down
Main Street, making a sharp turn at the court house
we look out of the corner of our eyes to discover

no one at the wheel

 

Ripped Off, Ragged & Raging

there’s nothing like
losing money
for something foolish
that makes you
feel better
for only an hour
but people will
take that money
and rip you off
leave you ragged
& raging in front
of the local
liquor store
so they can
feel better for a bit
longer themselves

there’s a thing
to human happiness
I’ve obviously
yet to figure out
I get it from
very few things
that aren’t
booze, weed
or miscellaneous
fuck-you-up’s:

reading classic
writers, reading
exciting new
writers;

music that
is descended
from the blues
and jazz and
the nice
and dirty
thump of
real rock n roll;

drinking an
ice cold cup
of green tea
on a hot
summer day;

staring at my
girlfriend’s
beautiful
legs when
she crosses
them when
she’s telling
me a story
and I try
to make
eye contact
with her but
instead I
get an eyeful
of her knees;

classic films,
films that
are destined
to be classics;

the look of a
large green
mountain
breathing over
my little
inconsequential
life–
such a thing
that makes
me breathe
into my mind
and spirit
until they
glow in
the dark

none of
the things
I huff and puff
about in front
of the liquor store
in front of the
gutter bums,
the loose women,
the drug dealers
and the
neon lights
of the
angry night
mean a thing
when I
reach back
into my
mind’s
back
pocket
and
embrace
those
real
things
that
make
my
demons
return
back to
the
depths
hell
empty-
handed

 

Kevin Ridgeway is from Southern California, where he resides in a shady bungalow with his girlfriend and their one-eyed cat. Recent work has appeared in Underground Voices, Turbulence and Santa Fe Literary Review.

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