Death #4 (Silhouettes) 

Four a.m. and just past
the witching hour
no rustling leaves
no owls calling

air conditioner runs like horses
jacking up the utility bill
will the President cancel
part of my loan?

the garden porch light
rests in abeyance
tantalizing moths and beetles
no whip-poor-will perched

morning songbirds and anoles
take their rightful places
lacking given names, they
become interchangeable and generic

[RK, 7/30/22]

Death #6

Those old fogey leaf silhouettes
hunter green and dusty pale blue
solid black and sunset orange
aspen yellow and purple sky

here on 20th Street and Central
my mentor’s hillside Arizona patio
miasma of the sub-tropical zone
saying, fuck you, we go on forever

[RK, 8/13/22]

Escape Velocity

I waited for the mockingbird
to notice the anole
eating a bug

whole food chains appeared
from T-Rex to the great white
plausibility conundrum

destroying other life forms
is how life forms continue
to live, breathe, breed

with a whoop-de-doo
and a hey-nonnie-nonnie
and a ha-cha-cha

[RK, 8/13/22]

Downward and Outward

I’ve been talking about death since 1968
drawn to the cycle of reincarnation at
age twelve, writing childish rooftop poetry

comparing people to flowers or clouds
zipping in bang endings a la Hergé’s Tintin
practicing the neatness learned in school

no loose ends, apt metaphor for karma and maya
now I dream of that long ago house, sneak
inside in bizarre scenarios that leave me

tossed from the bed, bruised on the concrete floor
immediately wondering if a possible head injury
will trigger the transition to the next

[RK, 8/13/22]

Wrong Number

yes it was this Tuesday, AND next Tuesday
it was this week and all of next year
centuries, millennia, time measured
in James Webb telescope light year images
now they send text messages and emails
to remind you of the appointments
you try so hard to forget

[RK, 8/13/22]


Wrong Channel

The telegram suggests 

that there is something 

I need to respond to


but my next panic attack

isn’t scheduled until this—

or is it next?—Tuesday.

[LSS, 8/8/22]


Onward and Upward

You've been talking about death for as long as I've known you.

Maybe that'll be the opening line of my next poem, 

but first I must rearrange all those bottle tops, fishhooks, 

and oxidized grommets you left piled on the beach 

into a message that you can decipher only when you 

break free of the known universe.

[LSS, 8/2/22]

Escape Velocity 

The water strider bounces on the pond 

until it breaks free of the surface. 

You might think its hard work 

has finally paid off. 

The birds waiting in the willows 

know otherwise.

[LSS, 8/2/22]



Death #3

beachcomber lucks out with a metal detector
reorders sand grains, superbly trained
rearranged to precise atomic clock
second hand sweeps, second hand news

newly fledged, fleshed out with bottle tops
fishhooks, oxidized grommets, gravel by now
frustrated, not finding the golden horde
heard from in heated diatribes

tribal, too loose Toulouse-Lautrec places
a bottle of absinth before the unsuspecting model
a girl, actually lured to the lost and
languid corner of the café

the alarm beeps, she’s found the gold
she tells, she told this story before
the land her ancestors ploughed, long before
buried metallic promises became de rigueur

[RK, 7/29/22]


Death #2

Everything devolved into the
interior of my physical body and
the implication of distant galaxies

forest fires scorch Earth’s surface
the cosmological constant is a beautiful equation
and the radio telescopes are silent

social media connections are sub-par
postage stamp prices keep rising
and entire forests are chipped into toilet paper

the statistic of eight billion humans
barely depleted by four hundred
fifth-six thousand annual murders

Poe was prescient in equating a raven
with death, here at the edge
of the known universe

[RK, 7/20/22]


Death #1

there is no symbolic figure
comprehensive or tall enough
to contain each errant cloud

this becomes a problem when
faced with a feast of exoplanets
with changeable atmospheres

I could fall back on a
melted-face skeleton with
a farm supply store scythe

a bureaucrat from human resources
who keeps checking a smart phone
during the exit interview

the green and blue of Earth’s
visible radiation spectrum
says “look at me!”

red maple tree seeds
whirlybird their way
into my heart

RK [ 7/17/22]

  Death #4 (Silhouettes)  Four a.m. and just past the witching hour no rustling leaves no owls calling air conditioner runs like horses jac...