Tuesday Nov 21

McKernanJohn John McKernan — who grew up in the middle of Omaha Nebraska in the middle of the USA — is now a retired comma herder after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives — mostly — in West Virginia where he is the editor of ABZ Press.  His most recent book is a selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust.  He has published poems in many magazines, from The Atlantic Monthly to Zuzu’s Petals.
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Once a Month I


 
Drive my Studebaker or my Packard downtown
To the Kresge Five & Dime
 
Walk slow past the typewriters
And mimeograph machines
To the school supplies aisle
 
Pick up a pencil
And listen
To the noun Death locked in the lead
For the verb Die hidden in the eraser
 
Then glide over
To the light bulbs in their paper homes
Where I ask
That beautiful green eyed woman
To show me how one of them works
 
 


 
Hidden Objects


 
The pest control guy says   Watch out for
termites and ants
 
The granite slab says Just try and wake up
 
The insurance man says It is best to keep mud
and snakes off  the windows & roof
 
The rock-n-roll song says Just keep screaming
 
My grandfather never said a word to the sugar
maples he keeps feeding
 
The auto mechanic says   There’s not a car made
that two years of rust can’t melt
 
The TV announcer says   Next up a documentary
on Chipmunk Masturbation
 
The blue roses in the twilight say I have a monopoly
on silence

I actually have to tell myself in the morning Wake up
 
I always answer back politely with a quiet   Why?
 
The girl at the bus stop whispers   I’m dizzy from
all the dancing
 


 
 
I Liked to Hear My Father Walk


 
In the middle of the night
Down the hall   Down the stairs
 
Without so much as a firefly
Or a streetlight from outside
To guide him in pure darkness
 
Even then he was preparing
To become pure spirit
The shadow that slides through glass
The word Night inside an ink pen
 
I hated the silence when his shadow grew
As large as that house on Cass Street
Solid as granite
Under a blizzard
Of Omaha December ice