Jul/Aug 2010 Poetry

Three Poems

by Timothy Kercher

Artwork by Costel Iarca

My Little Car

Finally arriving where I'm going,
I put up the Open for Business sign,
take out a pen from my trunk
and start taking inventory. I count
the stars, but not to sell them. With the
numbers I find, I'm able to crunch
out figures-a crow, a wolf, a bear;
I take any that wishes
for a ride. We don't drive
in this country of me, but on
some vast highway without a name.
We drive until we park high above
my brain's city, & as we watch the empty
streets together, the crow begins to caw,
the wolf howl, the bear roar,
creating a wind that drags leaves
through the streets, shaking
homes and buildings, rattling
doors and windows off their hinges,
opening a few, to show me
things can never be the same.


How I Lost My Handkerchief

I sat next to a devil on a plane—
he offered me his snuff box.
I refused, remembering
the apple, the garden. Here
I was, flying above the clouds
where I feel as if I'm in the heavens,
but right next to me sat the devil,
horns hidden by a hat, beard pointing
down. He seemed friendly. Wanted
to start a conversation. I ignored
him, feigning sleep, like
I was lost in my headphones.
I could tell he was looking my way,
waiting like a snake for a word.
An eleven hour flight. How could I
ignore him the entire time? He passed
the journey by reading Kafka,
this devil riding on an eastbound plane
in the middle of the night. Tears welled in
his eyes as he read how a business man
transformed into a cockroach. I offered
him my handkerchief; he smiled and took
that white cloth I had been carrying
in my breast pocket, and in it, he wept,
20,000 feet above sea level
soaking my handkerchief with tears.
He offered it back, but what could I do?


Company Picnic

I have to tell you, the me from a week ago completely
disagrees, but the me of today has to put his foot down or the me of
tomorrow will be hard to appease, because he'll
be thinking about the me of three weeks from now, who might
not make it, but how can I convince the head-strong me
who set this all up to begin with? There was such
passion in that Byronic me of thirteen years ago, staying up all
hours writing the worst poetry
in the history of poetry, and then the red-eyed me
of eleven years ago-fresh
out of school filled with so
much promise in the middle of a war-
torn Bosnia, which the Grizzly Adams me of sixteen years ago would
have completely avoided if he
would have known how
it affected this slight, melancholy me, but
the gangly me of eighteen years ago took a few
blows, too, and I swear
I am the better for it; now
the wallflower me of twenty years ago couldn't
handle any of this, which
is almost my point-can I really
be counted in the same breath as the me
of this minute, when I feel so
much conflict between the me
of this second and the klutz of 7:30 a.m.? The Jesus
freak me of fifteen years ago would
say I'm the only one who matters-that not
one other me of any moment ever
has a say. I must
tell you, if the shit-faced me from six days ago can garner enough
support, anything can happen
assuming the Charlie Brown me of a minute and a half from now
and the Che Guevara me of next Tuesday with his army of mes from the future
have enough sway
with the me of my death, Death himself.


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