Craig Kirchner ~ Four Poems

Summer Rehearsal

People took to us but whis­pered. We talked to every­one. No anx­i­ety. Free. Clowns in a medieval play, reach­ing like new blooms in beat sum­mer sun. We feigned opera in leather jack­ets, drank cran­ber­ry cor­dial from plas­tic cups. Cross-dressed at hap­py hour, mocked psy­che­del­ic phan­toms, land­ed unscathed from shad­ows whis­per­ing Halloween, rarely made it to the bed when we’d get home. We paint­ed faces, pressed your breasts against can­vas, and called it art. Watching plea­sure, mouthing plea­sure, know­ing the play was us, the sea­son was short, run­ning head-on, spon­ta­neous­ly, through leaves of con­tempt, from eyes that have no autumn.


Wouldn’t Weep

Partner-for-life men­tioned,
that’s she’s nev­er seen him cry -
how impor­tant tears are to men­tal health.

His father, a magician,
turned an unfin­ished basement,
into a clu­b­room with wet bar,
a coal room, into a bath with shower.

A sev­en-year-old 2nd grader,
home from recess a sweaty mess –
first chance at the stand-up -
back out to dodge­ball in the alley.

The sor­cer­er, home early,
dis­cov­ers the bar of soap,
inad­ver­tent­ly left on the floor
of the new­ly paint­ed stall.

In war­lock mode, drags him from friends,
beat him with his belt,
admon­ish­ing dis­re­spect for tricks,
tears dis­ap­pear for the rest of years.


Red Light

Bad day at Delaware Park. Lost the last race in a pho­to, and that was the day’s high­light. I tried to out­run a hang­over, with the hair of the dog, no pho­to here, Grey Goose easy win­ner. I’m stopped at the longest light in Wilmington, chin on fist, hurt­ing. This guy pulls along­side, one hand on the wheel, the oth­er chore­o­graph­ing an adamant con­ver­sa­tion with no one, then I real­ize – the head-set thing.

Bad hair­cut and a head­set. What a con­trast we present the afternoon.

Him — impress­ing those both near and far, with his dia­log, his eyes show­ing an altru­is­tic joy, with being so con­nect­ed. Mine — bleed­ing and bored, to the point of let­ting my mind wan­der into Headset’s world, and imag­in­ing his women, pro­fil­ing his importance.

He’s nev­er out of touch. On top and in con­trol. He pro­vides that input, and direc­tion that inspires.

Constantly pulling the strings and map­ping the strat­e­gy of what­ev­er empire afford­ed him this maroon Dodge Spirit and un-ironed, cor­po­rate-logoed knit. The light changed and I hit it, want­i­ng to have a clear lead at the first turn.



A poem, hmmm,

hug­ging your new­ly won
green stuffed Kermit
to your pale blue tank top

and play­ful­ly tonguing
his black and white but­ton eye.

you take an idea
and you wrap your mind
around it, right?

like they twirled
your pink cot­ton candy
around the white spindle
from which you now plucked
sweet puffs of metaphor
as the Ferris wheel stopped
at the top.

It’s a lit­tle piece of peace
up here,

still a qui­eter pop,
crack, pop
from the shoot­ing gallery
and an occa­sion­al whistle
from Tom Thumb.

we swung the met­al love seat
to the cal­liope of Lovin Spoonful
and Kermit grinned when
the humid August air
thick with caramel and crackerjack
whooshed your den­im skirt
fur­ther up your thigh,

pro­vid­ing a whole new view
of the car­ni­val below
which now need­ed only a title
and a great ending.


Craig Kirchner has writ­ten poet­ry all his life, is now retired, and thinks of poet­ry as hobo art. He loves sto­ry­telling and the aes­thet­ics of the paper and pen. The beau­ti­ful­ly par­al­lel, hor­i­zon­tal, blue lines on white legal, star­ing left to right, know­ing that the ink, when it meets the resis­tance of the page will feel extro­vert­ed, set free, at lib­er­ty to jump, the two skin­ny, ver­ti­cal red lines to get past the mar­gin. He was nom­i­nat­ed twice for the Pushcart Prize, and has a book of poet­ry, Roomful of Navels. After a writ­ing hia­tus he was recent­ly pub­lished in Decadent Review.