Poem | Kevin Pennington

Photo Credit : Lee La

Shame Spiral 


birds cover the sky.
I hide in the ruins
of a hedge maze
I made in a dream.

Great gusts of wind
make snow drifts as
tall as the house. We
huddled inside for warmth.


I’m broken inside.
Perhaps, in my childhood,
something important died.
I replace the ruin
with poems.

I pour liquid poetry
into my chest:
I give myself freely
to Blake,
Whitman, Shakespeare,
Milton & the rest.


In a one room apartment
candles melt. Texas triple
digits outside.
Feet sizzling on asphalt.
I do the dishes & stack the plates.
Churning in the ocean of my belly.
I start to shake, my hands sweat.
I am out of control again . . .
My heart beats against my chest—
A war cry erupts from my lips:

Fuck you!
Suck my cock!

An explosion of Dadaist proportion!


I sit in the dark, at a computer,
looking at a blank screen.
I’ve taken too many pills
and smoked all the pot.

Kristin calls the ambulance.


tears streak
down my cheek.
who are we
running from?
That’s Ginsberg’s kick!

days in the crazy
house pass slowly; they
took my shoelaces.
I wander tan halls,
wearing slippers
talking in whispers,
sitting in group therapy,
never saying what
I’m really thinking.
never exiting from the shell.
never tearing down the wall.


Medication dulls my voice and ear.
Without it I am crazy: rage & fear.
The chains that bind are
electrical synapses of my mind.
Will I face the grocery store?
Ginsberg whispers in the back of my mind.
I can barely hear. Am I a wrathful angel?
Sphinx of overtures cry out!
Is the spiritual symphony over?
Am I returning to the mental hospital?


Poetry is my only salvation.

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