Three poems by Tyrel Kessinger

My Left Hand

I wish
even half the things Bukowski said
were true.
It’d be nice to know
that passion
doesn’t evacuate the body
at the first sign of creased skin,
a wrecked liver
and bloody bowel movements.

I wish
my memories were more like
commemorative half-dollars
treasured by collectors
and not just any old goddamn penny
settled on the sea-floor
of the mall’s centerpiece fountain.

I wish
my dog had never seen fit
to quit being a pup.
As an unreasoning beast,
I’m sure he never had
this thought himself.
If he did, then we just buried
the world’s most philosophical canine.

I wish
my Mom had kept
the reality of magic
to her own damn self.
Want in the right hand
and shit in the left,
she said.
See which fills up faster.

I wish
I didn’t wish
nearly so much.
Possum Meat

After high school
I worked at a hospital
With this guy
A janitor
Named Frank
Older man
Salt and peppered black beard
Squirrelly eyes
Some sort of strange toughness
Like he was half made of stardust
And half ground coffee
Always asking me if I knew he played the trumpet
Then farting and laughing with a cigarette cackle
But I saw underneath his withered smile
He gave me from time to time
How the scalpel of life
Had carved out a layer
Once, he told me
Why he never wore seatbelts
Something to do
With his dead daughter
He didn’t cotton to the hospital director
Called him an ass
Said that just because he cleaned up shit
Didn’t mean he’d take it
In the heart of that merciless summer
I saw him plant a bloated possum carcass
Under the seat of a car
Parked where important people parked
I knew whose it was
He put his finger to his lips and winked
Telling me how
A little bit of possum meat never hurt no one
And while I had my doubts
I kept them to myself

Take Your Time & Dance With Me

there are two sides to every story but always just the one ending
sure, your eyes are open more than closed
but you still lose something in the ballpark of 1/3 of your life to sleep
brush teeth, rinse and spit
a cycle like so many other things
walk the dog while as you’re dying then go to bed
a thing like so many other cycles
joan jett says she loves rock and roll fourteen times
in “i love rock ‘n’ roll”
i think we get the point
when i was eight
i fell from a churning merry-go-round & bled out
blood black as night
when I just assumed it’d be red
symbolically speaking, what’s the difference?
round & round we go
round & round i went
put another dime
in the jukebox baby

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