Archive for the Karl Koweski Category

the veteran stationed outside Foodland by Karl Koweski

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags on September 28, 2014 by Scot

mourns the moral dissolution
destroying this once great nation
made apparent by the
poor posture of today’s youth
and their sudden interest
in their fancy computer phones
as they approach the card table
set up near the coke machines
next to the Foodland entrance

the old man with the VFW hat
like a syphilitic Philipino vagina
perched on his liver-spotted head
wants to tell these whelps its because
of his efforts defeating the Koreans
they now enjoy the ability to
tweet the twitter #freedomaintfree

is it too much to ask these consumers
here by the grace of god, guns and
the geopolitical war machine
that they give up their pocket change
for a swatch of the stars and stripes
stapled to a toothpick in China?

Three poems by Karl Koweski

Posted in Karl Koweski, Uncategorized with tags on May 12, 2012 by Scot

apt 402

I tend to my rectangular plot of sky
adorned with distant pine trees
and a hint of mountain
jet planes make an Etch A Sketch
of the light blue tableau
and I smoke cigarettes
as the sun shifts perspective

this could be some sort of life
a balcony seat to this
theatre of apartment existence
murder behind every door
and television windows
offer mute witness, empty eyes
leaving only the sky
immune to the drama below

there must be an escape
from this domestic retreat
how was I capable of
leaving a family I love
while resisting the need
to quit a job I’m miserable with?
the quick succession of days
leading to a rectangular plot of soil
and a black immutable sky

Continue reading

Occupy Wal-Mart by Karl Koweski

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags , , , on December 13, 2011 by Scot

they convey only
a vague notion of politics
their idealism accidentally
mirroring the Republican
mindset in that
they are gathered here
inside this Wal-Mart
on this Black Friday
with no greater agenda
than to spend more money
than they have budgeted

though they have the
sheer numbers needed
to bypass capitalism
in favor of anarchy
the rabble save the rioting
for the two dollar waffle irons
and fifty dollar blu-ray players
revolution to their
regional universal minds
involves nothing more chaotic
that switching their allegiances
in college football teams

the consumers occupy Wal-Mart
they way maggots occupy
a raccoon carcass
beneficial to a system
rotting from the inside out
eventually leaving

Two Poems by Karl Koweski

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags on February 6, 2011 by Scot

bones inscribed with the language of adoration

eyes all around me
like collapsed stars
black hole vortexes
allowing nothing to escape
until you arrived with
all the rapture of
a new mythology
the twin suns of your eyes
offers my only illumination
your eyes harbor
the solitary warmth
caressing my skin
your eyes inspire worship
if faith moves mountains
my love can shatter them
I would build pyramids
from the rubble
two hundred ton monoliths
stacked a mile high
so I might rise up
and scorch away my flesh
with the heat of our lust
leaving behind this
fused skeleton
bones inscribed with
the language of adoration
as a testament
to your divinity



a shiny silver piece of you

I find your earring behind
the passenger seat
this shiny silver piece of you
dislodged the night before
this shiny silver piece of you
inside you as once
I was inside you

I find your face in my mind
framed with black sunshine
this shadow memory of you
nestled in my embrace
this shadow memory of you
will you remember
as long as I will?

Karl Koweski…Two Poems

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags on June 7, 2010 by Scot

the death and rebirth of a mechanical engineer

Jeff returned from
tending his garden
florid faced
his chest constricted
with pains he blamed
on acid reflux

ten minutes later
he laid between the
couch and coffee table
dead of a massive
heart attack
believing to the last
it was just something he ate

you can look through
the glass of his
office window and
see his safety glasses
folded on his desk
surrounded by a
conspiracy of
yellow post-it notes
bearing neatly printed
numbers and letters
that lost all meaning
last Saturday afternoon

the pictures of his children
like three little Jeffs
trapped in cryogenic sleep
their faces frozen in
perpetually staged smiles
lacking any conception
of a fatherless future

the tongues hang out
of his work boots
laces crossed like
autopsy stitches

no one will ever
wear those boots again
leather and flesh
rendered equally useless

he left Friday
with no doubt
he’d return Monday

two weeks from now
there will be a new body
occupying the empty chair
rebuilding a confederacy
of pink post-it notes
with a hieroglyphic trove
of important numerals
and another
cryogenically slumbering
brood no less unaware
of the surprise
party mortality
waiting to be sprung


judas kiss

widow’s peak and fingers steepled
before the Satanic church of her lips
a congregation of mischief seated
behind the blue green altars
her neck adorned with flowers
forever fresh and scented with poeme
and I am the priest
the monsignor of this one church,
one goddess with a hundred administrations
I light her candles for evening mass
I kneel before her open gospel
reciting my favorite passage
to a litany of hallelujahs
I kiss the seven stars leading to heaven
nightly, I ordain myself in her ministry
I cloak myself in the vestments
of her omniscience
her faithful servant
until the seas run red with blood
and the dead walk the earth again

the poet by Karl Koweski

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags on January 27, 2010 by Scot

the poet
mimics the occasional
decent line
while remaining incapable
of creating
a memorable poem
in lieu of
voicing his own thoughts
in his own words
the poet resurrects the dead
to speak for him
with oft-quoted passages
of Bukowski cliches
and Ginsberg observations
the poet
pontificates on the sad state
of the small press
while envisioning
a conglomeration of houses
aligned by their dedication
in propagating
his predictably bleak verse
until then
it’s facebook posts
and myspace blogs
likes and kudos from the poets
possessed of lesser talents,
the devoted rocks upon which
he dreams of building his church
his verse constituting
a bible of second hand despair
but the grave
embraces the meek
before god ever would
and the little poets gripping
their little saddle-stapled gospels
will realize soon enough
god doesn’t favor the faithful
when the poet fails
to return their adulation,
these unanswered prayers,
the acolytes will take
their bylines elsewhere
leaving the poet with
the blank page
he failed to convert
in the beginning

Hunting Kuntz by Karl Koweski

Posted in FLASH FICTION, Karl Koweski with tags , , on December 23, 2009 by Scot

     Beneath the glass counter at Bleacher Bums card shop lies a modern day reliquary for the memento mori of the only saints who matter any more.  Rather than the knucklebone of Saint Andrew or Saint Felix the Eviscerated’s toenail, Bleacher Bums deals in the relics of sport’s saints, those enshrined in the Hall of Fame and those yet to be canonized.  There are bits of game worn jerseys and scraps of game-used bats pressed into cardboard.
     I hover over the artifacts from the patron saints of the north side.  A swath of Andre Dawson’s all star jersey and a section of elastic band from Ryne Sandberg’s jockstrap offered by Topps Triple Thread.  Only one of three in existence and a steal at the low price of two hundred and fifty dollars.
     “Can I help you, fella?”
     The guy running things looks old enough to have witnessed the last Cubbies World Series appearance.  His shirt pisses me off immediately, two disparate tees sewn together down the center like a Windy City Frankenstein. The blue side bears the Cubbies insignia, the black side… The bullshit White Sox.
     “You suppose to be some kinda Chi-Town Switzerland?”
     Swiss Miss cocks a bristled eyebrow and crosses his arms above his Old Style keg of a belly.  “You come in here to bust my balls?  Or is there something else you might be needing?  Cause Zambrano’s on the mound, buddy, and he’s carrying a no-hitter into the bottom of the second.”
     “I’m hunting Kuntz.  Rusty Kuntz.  The greatest .230 career hitter ever to swat a lazy fly ball to center field with the bases loaded.”
     “Hmph.”  He braces his hands on the counter, flexing the beer flab in a vaguely muscular way.  “Kuntz, you say?”
     “Rusty Kuntz.  I have the largest collection of Kuntz memorabilia in the country.”
     Granted, that only encompasses about five years of baseball cards from the late seventies to early eighties.  There are no game-used paraphernalia cards bearing Kuntz swag.  I procured a Twins jersey worn by Kuntz for ten dollars and a half case of Schlitz.
     “I seem to remember a Koontz coming up with the White Sox organization.  Retired from the Tigers after the ‘84 World Series.”
     “That’s him.  Except it’s Kuntz.  Like a vagina.”
     “It’s Koontz.  Like the writer of Phantoms.”
     “Kuntz, I say.  There ain’t no Os in his name.”
     “So, you’re a Koontz expect?”
     “I know a thing or two about Kuntz.”
     “What?  You a relative?”
     “More like a brother-in-arms.  They call me Philip Kuntz.”
     “Yeah, buddy, I can tell by the way you’re standing, you couldn’t fill up a shot glass.”
     We stand there on opposite sides of the counter, arms crossed over our chests.  He stares at my forehead.  I stare at a plaque of Nolan Ryan, blood dripping from his nose onto his jersey, as though the picture were saying “see, baseball’s not a sport for pussies.”
     “You can’t tell that by the way I’m standing.”
     “I can tell that by you being a thirty-something year-old man asking for the baseball cards of a man with a funny name.”
     “All right, I’ll concede your point, old man.  So you gonna get me all your Rusty Kuntz or not?”
     “No.  I don’t have any Rusty Koontz for you.  You bought all the Rusty Koontz cards I had in the inventory when you came sniffing around here for Rusty Koontz last year.”
     “You not remember having this same exact conversation with me last time?”
     “I actually have this conversation all the time.”
     “Yeah, I suspected as much.  You see that bat hanging up there?  The one autographed by Keith Moreland, Jody Davis and Leon Durham?”
     “Yeah.  Three hundred bucks is a little steep to be asking for it, ain’t it?”
     “Next time you walk in here asking for Rusty Koontz–”
     “Next time I catch you in here, I’m gonna take that bat off the wall and hit you in the face with it.  Understand?”
     “Good.  Now fuck off.”
     I walk out into the hazy sunlight and breathe in the refinery tinged air.  There’s time to kill and not a lot of murder implements at my disposal. 
     Somewhere, Rusty Kuntz possesses a World Series ring and Ryne Sandberg does not.  That’s the kind of world we live in.

factory pretty by Karl Koweski

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags on October 21, 2009 by Scot

Stephanie entered the factory
like a golden apple of Discordia
creating a tumultuous flurry
of combed hair and clean shirts

like the golden ring of Sauron
wedding bands were pocketed
facial hair sculpted, trimmed
or shaved off all together

at breaks, Stephanie, aloof
talked lovingly of her fiancee
engaged us in polite conversation
and ignored prolonged eye contact

outside the factory walls
we might not have noticed her
her quaint face and narrow hips
nose a bit crooked, eyes too big

inside the factory walls
we talked constantly about her
trading scraps of information
creating facts in lieu of truth

we thought about her at night
trapped in the Mordor of matrimony
fantasizing about freedoms
ten, twenty years behind us

later, talk turned to disappointments
she lined the cups of her
fiancée’s empty promises before us
we competed for the chance to pour

Stephanie radiated sex
began flaunting her tattoos
the cat’s eyes at her belt line
being my personal favorite

the strolls past her machine
progressed to an hourly procession
our eyes acclimated to
her factory beauty

her fiancee receded to punch line
our wives lost factory reality
when the dust settled, Jon,
the barrel welder, became her lover

news of his impending divorce spread
he discovered his swagger
we cursed his name and
wished testicular cancer upon him

Jon and Stephanie’s first night alone
Stephanie’s jilted fiancee
blew his brains out his ear
with a .38 to the temple

we treated Jon as though
he had pulled the trigger
punishing him for his one night
and the resulting factory swagger

Jon claimed innocence
looking as guilty as any man
who’s ever rode in a white Bronco
pistol pressed against cranium

a week after the funereal
Stephanie returned freshly tattooed
two ravens perched on a tombstone
bearing her fiancée’s numerical margins

we laughed and said if she’s
going to get a bird for every man
she buries in an early grave
she’ll end up a flesh aviary

I would like to be a
brightly colored macaw tattooed
on her left ass cheek
I think when she smiles at me

the UAW killed my daddy…by Karl Koweski

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags on May 13, 2009 by Scot

two days before the union vote
Hydra CEO, Dick Whitaker,
drove his BMW roadster
down from the corporate offices
in a last ditch effort to avert
a UAW victory

as the third shifters leaned back
in their folding chairs,
perpetually tired and
ready to just get it all over with,
Whitaker stepped in front of the assembly
and loosened his tie for a third time.
a calculated move
as though by easing the ligature
around his neck
was all it took to gain the confidence
of a roomful of machinists
who’d had their wages frozen
the last two years
and their benefits chipped away
to nothing

for the third time
at this third meeting
Whitaker allowed his eyes to mist
and his voice crack with emotion
when he announced
the union killed his father
with the cold certainty
of a bullet to the heart

to hear Whitaker tell it,
his daddy was the best damn paint mixer
DuPont Industries had ever seen.
he could match paint
with a precision
no computer could compete with.
when DuPont went union
it nearly broke his daddy’s heart.
with the union promises of
competitive wages, retirement program,
and employee rights,
his daddy knew his time at the
factory was numbered.

and he was right.
four years later, DuPont decided
they no longer needed his expertise.
however, considering his time invested,
they were willing to offer him
a position at a DuPont plant
located clear across the country.

clear across the country,
Whitaker repeated.
my daddy lived his entire life in Iowa,
except for his time serving
our country in the Air Force.
the decision to leave the only place
he’d ever really known
tormented my daddy.
it ate him up, made it so
he could hardly sleep at night.

here, Whitaker turned away from the assembly,
dabbing at his dusty, reptilian eyes.
after a reasonable amount of silence
and two shoulder hitches,
he faced the machinists.

the last time I saw my daddy,
at the Kinnick stadium
where I was a starting cornerback
for the Hawkeyes,
I barely recognized him,
so great the toll the union took on him.
his… his… heart… gave out on him
at the end of the third quarter
of that game.
now, I have no doubt in my mind
the union was responsible for his death.
after the union came into DuPont,
my daddy was never the same man.

now, I’m not going to tell you how to vote.
I only ask that you think of your children
and what kind of effect
a union shop will have on them.

the workers glanced at each other
with equally dazed what-the-fuck expressions.
finally Roger the raised his hand
and stood up, nervously addressing
his boss and co-workers.

I feel for your loss, Mr. Whitaker.
I, too, lost my father to the unions.

Whitaker tightened his lips in sympathy,
or maybe to kill the creeping smile.

my father, Roger continued, was at a bar
when a teamster mistook him for the guy
who pissed on his camaro and
punched him in the face.
two years later, my daddy died of
pancreatic cancer.