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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Karen Havnaer ----- four poems



Power glimmers on the skyline
from the windows of the First Bank Building
where goodness is a carefully
assembled portfolio
where the fully invested
are sorely offended
by a woman whispering
to a child she sees
in the palm of her hand.
Her hair is alive with lice!
Love lurches down the street toward her
with a broken tooth grin
his eyes on her purse.

This is the street of it hasn’t worked out.
This is the street of the devil wins.

He has a bad record, record, record.
He steals drugs while working
as a hospital orderly, illegally sells
government cheese. His father is crazy,
mother unknown. He admits nothing.

Charity blushes brighter than a baboon’s ass.
This is the street of the devil wins.

He claims remorse, says he’ll
pay back everything. The lie wobbles
like a baby, bounces like a bad check.
His spirit spoils like fruit rotting
in the crates of Central American Cities.
He claims his brain was stolen
and his watch. He slumps in doorways.
He sizzles like cold meat on a hot griddle.

He isn’t ready for high tech.

Their eyes smashed like glittering green glass
Dreams slither through the streets
vicious as snakes that poison
our sense of what it is to be human.
This is the world bowed down to
the drunks curve into it
lie like children chilly in the womb
their teeth loose against the dark.

Change, stuck in its own fear,
imprisoned in a tale of woe,
turns its victims round and round:
It’s papa coming through the door
his sleeves rolled up against his arms
his love careless as a slap.

This is the street of it hasn’t worked out.
This is the street of the devil wins.


I’m a free man and so is my wife.
Is she smart? Of course, not.
Whoever heard of a smart woman?
And I mean that respectfully.
And my mother—England or not
am I an immigrant?
No, nor a monkey either.
I’m not a monkey
and I don’t care what they say.
Do I look like a monkey?
Is this a tail?
They ask you to believe
a lot of craziness
but I’m not nuts
or a monkey either
like marriage was made in heaven
but a monkey? Never.
Can you see the difference?
Why not a dog?
Who knows what happened back then?
They couldn’t even write!
Those smart-asses with their eyes
can say what they say;
Democracy will not be mocked
whether they divorce of marry or not.

You think I’m impotent?
I’m not. I’m shell shocked
and I’ll show you a divorce
or any other thing
hanging in a tree or not.
I don’t even like coconuts
and never did—ever.

(“…a little wretched, despicable creature; a worm a mere nothing,
       and less than nothing…” Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758)

Here he is, a little farmer
no longer than a finger
a hairless curl
rosy as an angel’s blush
a showgirl’s wriggle.
Without eyes, ears, nose
he clearly knows I’m here.
He pulls back, draws forward
on bristles invisible as white eyelashes
then shrivels as if he thinks
I’ll mock his labors
make fun of his looks.

“Dainty fellow,” I protest,
“little nibbler, earth mover
aerator, leaf and litter eater
plant feeder, disposer of all that’s left,
I’m not some callow fellow
here to dangle you before crossed eyes,
a gap-toothed, sarcastic grin
or stuff you where I keep my pocket knife
then forgetting sit on you at dinner.”

A hungry crow,
who’s been pecking
at the street,
flaps in to squawk
and scold as if annoyed
by our alliance.
I lift my trowel
And my five-hearted friend* and I
go back to work.

*The earth worm has no lungs, breathes directly into
  his bloodstream and has five hearts.


A bee saws among berry bushes
brambling thick and blossoming down
torn stairs, where sea leaves cling
to sand and stone.

Ducks rest upon their breasts,
rising, they fall upon their watery backs,
one duck turns to shake the water
from his head.

Clouds tow their shadows through
water that glimmers in their wake.
Wobbling between splintery poles,
the ferry clanks into place.


  1. Very powerful-
    "Change, stuck in its own fear,

    imprisoned in a tale of woe"