Poems | Kevin Pennington

Artwork : Divya Adusumilli

As Joe Feeds the Koi

I walk in a blackbird's shadow
mumbling poetry I forgot when I was
in the realm of the dead.

I am standing on Joe’s bridge
that crosses his electric creek,
I am both living and dead.

I am writing in a death of prosperous
Lilacs. Everything is seen with eyes
the color of rust.

What are you and I, Joe?
Are we nephilim,
or just a hologram?

We talk comics & watch TV.
He reads me haiku he wrote in
English & Japanese:

a race of orange
under the murky water
as Joe feeds the koi.


Monks pour sand
slowly by hand;
clockwise we spin,
a motion in the wind.
We are a living mandala,
drawn with Dharma
in colored sand.
We are a net thrown wide,
each knot a human heart.
A circle of death, life, and rebirth.
We are Four Gates.
Breath in, breath out.
No rising, no falling.
Brush away fear and pain
until only compassion
and dusty wind remain.

Faded Yellow Kansas

My father still plows
the farm we lost. His back
hurts all the time. He rides
the John Deer of his mind,
planting vast fields; behind
faded yellow Kansas grows
corn, wheat, maize.
A fire-forged Baptist, he taught
me to wake at sunrise,
to drive the blue pickup,
and to piss outside. My father is
a stone, eroded to the core.
In summer, the sunflower faces
live in drainage ditches;
the creeks dry up, ponds empty,
fogs of dust, floating sandpaper
in our eyes, in our skin.
This is the hushed place,
forgotten by all,
only a whisper in the

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