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Alan King
Poems

About the Poet

Alan King is an author, poet, and journalist who blogs about art and social issues at alanwking.com.

He holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Low-Residency Program at the University of Southern Maine.

He's a two-time Pushcart Prize Nominee and was also nominated twice for a Best of the Net selection.

Drift (Aquarius Press, 2012) is his first book.

 


Spring 2015 Poems ~
In Remembrance

--for Amiri Baraka and the D.C. Writers' Corps Fundraiser in 2006


Daylight glazed the Boulevard
at Capital Centre before
poetry made it our Tython,

the glad planet, where weeping
willows hang their chandeliers
of waxy green light,

where the emerald echo of sky
ripples at the wind's cool urging.

I remember the air seemed edible
when the spicy-sweet aroma wandered
from Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles.

You smiled, watching padawan word smiths
spar with the Council of First Knowledge –
DJ Renegade and Laini Mataka
deflecting young lasers
with their saber-bright lines –

poets training in the Jedi Temple
in a city above the clouds
where Tunisian Patchouli were
fragrant finches whisking aromatic trails
through this world built of words.

If poetry is a kind of prayer, a longing
for the soul starved for revelation,
then your sermons were a daily admission
of America's weaknesses,

you master word dancer, conjurer
of the black 'cadabra, Yoda
with his glow stick drawn
when the dark forces crew up
like the Sith Empire.

I'm grateful for your owl spirit
that sees beyond the mask,
even if it meant McGreevey snatching
your state laureate position for declaring
"Somebody Blew Up America":

Who believe the confederate flag need to be flying
Who talk about democracy and be lying

You declared it again on a Thursday in June
before the sun – sky spider
spinning its lacework of light – vanished
and you were an owl on fire, calling:

Who and Who and WHO who who

before the rain, before the dead mike
before the anxious feet scrambling to shelter
.

 

~

Mr. On-Time

Every ex-boyfriend hated me
when I was single. His used-to-be 
got to know me as Mr. On-Time-
To-Pick-Her-Up.
 
Even in a zip-up cardigan
and dress jeans, I show up
like a sky blue Bentley belting out
Peabo Bryson’s Feel the Fire.
 
I was that smile on her face
over Thai basil eggplant and rice
when I said her kiss was a cozy lounge
with a fireplace going and Spacek’s Thursday
spooling through wall speakers.

She kissed like that, enough
to buzz a lesser man’s brain
bright as a heat bulb.

She had those curves that,
if you weren’t ready, made you
a car on a winding road at night
with busted headlights. 

Her smile was a condo on a quiet side 
of town—a dim living room with a coffee table 
holding up a scrabble board, two glasses 
and a bottle of Irish Cream.
 
The songs of lost love is Regret
whimpering in upturned hands,
begging for a road on which to cruise back
into her good graces.
 
But I’m her Dark Knight, now.
My symbol glows in the ether
when Need calls me from my hideout.
 
I show up like a chauffeured Lincoln, ready 
to whisk her away from disappointments.

I’m her speed dial genie dissolving
in a poof, reappearing with
the ground cumin and coriander
that makes her Malaysian dish perfect.
 
His lapse in judgment was
an open window I swung through.
My time like a wad of money
burning to be spent.

 

~

No Substitute

Yes, sweetheart, I stopped guzzling Sierra Mist.
And, I no longer eye a sausage and pepperoni pizza
as if it was a Turkish spice market, as if grease
and cheese mimicked a Hawaiian sunset.
 
Under heat lamps, the glazed toppings
tempt my tongue. OK, OK, of course I know
my veins and arteries are the blood’s highways
and interstates, that too much of what I love
will slow traffic like an accident.
 
Those spicy wings mobbed with fries,
the strawberry shortcake, and that apple pie
with syrup and ice cream will be the death of me.
 
But see my point—walnuts and
dried fruit are no substitute. Tell me, baby,
should we starve desire?

 

Alan King ~

 

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