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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Les Keress
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 11:17 AM
American Open Mike:  New American Voices .

** Les Keress **


Father stopped at forty-nine
when the divorce was finalized.
His pictures stopped at forty-nine,
and at sixty-eight he stopped
at a red light.
Peace arrived
with the lights changing
again and again.

Again, death is a cure
for the living.

His ghostly eyes
I remember as green,
his hair vanilla and blood
thicker than water is –
was the only myth of sameness
in us.

My father stopped.

I still kept disowning,
not knowing death checkmated him
years ago.
Dissolved . . . gray ashes
with the wave,
Water's rush separated him
from himself.

Again, deceived.

I, the pawn
thought for years he was
disowning me.
Father kept his secret silent.
Still his picture is
at forty-nine.

The drama of memory
I believed, I thought
and knew not.
Father Time disowned him.

His pictures stopped
in a different album,
in a different house,
in a different bed,
in a different


I hold back, never say things such as . . .
well, I never do.
What would you think if I did,
or used a loaded gun to communicate
all those things I think about?
Shall I?

I have my finger on . . .

and a torn piece of paper in the top drawer says,
"Who, by name shall inherit all the poems I've ever written."

A torn piece, naked as death foreshadows this moment
I write, "Take care, my deadliest admirer."

A torn piece, regrettable of your influence—
made me as I am, and I thank you, hate you
as I write, "You bitch, you give me twitching eyebrows
and the two bottles of wine I drank is all because of you."

A torn piece of paper in the top drawer says,
"To love, to honor, I did. You screwed me."

You are an angel with horns of doom;
and I wonder if you've got a bit of Mae West
in you?

You think I never shall . . . well,

a torn piece represents my life . . .
as I see the stupidity of poetry, the classic ones too,
all have a secret life in stanzas, more mysterious than mine,
more torn than a piece of paper in the top drawer saying,
"Take care, my deadliest admirer, you shall inherit all the poems
I've ever written."


I had a dream.
Found myself surrounded by poets,
what a nightmare!
They were all Republicans writing yuk!
Republican poetry about
other people's children,
working in the silver mines,
coal mines, all kinda mines,
and factories without air-conditioning,
and there was no rebellion,
or defiance;
just those skinny little asses
longing to get the hell
out of this dream.

My dream's fucked.
Oh no, Lincoln's correcting me and saying,
"You don't need help. Look at all these poets here.
Republicans. You'll do just fine."

Get me a dreambuster.
Oh no, Eisenhower's pointing at his bald head and saying,
"See this tattoo, TCB? That's what you gotta do.
Take charge!"

Where's reality when you need it?
Oh no, Tricky Dick's waving a machete and saying,
"Call me irresponsible, but corruption doesn't have a
responsibility. It has me!"

I'm stuck in Republican metaphor-milk, hoping to wake.
Oh no, Reagan's waving an empty glass and saying,
"Got milk?"
I said, "No, I need a kind caring God, who's a Democrat."

"Got milk?"

My muse is AWOL.
Oh no, Bush junior's pointing at his opponents and saying,
"You don't know what you're talking about
Got payroll stubs to prove it."
I said, "My muse is AWOL!"
"Got payroll stubs to prove it," Bush said.

"What a moron!"

Les Keress lives in Hoffman Estates, IL. He has been a member of the Arlington Poetry Project for ten years. "My poetry was published once a long time ago when I was still in my twenties," Keress says. "I work at two jobs, one at a defense plant and the other in a junior college library, which has a serviceable appeal, services my poetry well with loads of free time. Time, the seeds for my poetic metaphoric keyboard addiction, hope to share this 'cause without an audience why write? People need to hear each other."

Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

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