Philip Kienholz — Five Poems

Triggers and Consequence

Even con­fuza­tion­al cur­tains drawn aside
manip­u­lat­ing the punch-up show stayed hidden
Fogged atmos­pheres, the con­coct­ed nar­ra­tives baf­fled audiences,
dis­tract­ed atten­tion, fooled under­stand­ing the maraud­ing scenes,
mutat­ing plots

In mul­ti­pli­ca­tions of sto­ried dra­ma     mur­der­ers    drift­ed away,
rapid­ly changed cos­tumes, adopt­ing mil­i­tary uni­forms, or disguised
as wealthy cit­i­zens, bought secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies, weapon­ry enterprise

The leader’s brain: bullet-driven—vision of peace
blown from the skull to organ­ic debris mist­ed behind open
and paus­ing limousine—that high noon of blood

imaged decades lat­er into seething jet fuel fire­ball writhing
from a tower’s side—new morn­ing of incen­di­ary snakes
star­tling the sus­pi­cious world   asleep

The leader’s brain     stolen from study—
as steel beams and columns of the bro­ken tow­ers were taken—
con­firmed state pref­er­ence: hazy doubt over clear inquiry.
Heart’s glow pro­hib­it­ed from incip­i­ent wars

—moans of soft songs to shel­ter­ing night cradles—

Half-cen­tu­ry past now      mys­tery failing
avalanche of fal­si­fied jus­tice leaves memory’s image
black glass shards      trau­ma­tized fragment
shot the old women cow­er­ing in the ditch     so did many
half mil­lion children’s deaths a wor­thy price     genocidal
drone slaugh­ters hide in degrad­ed words     col­lat­er­al     killings

Spy-run pro­pa­gan­da outfits—insult it is to call their prod­ucts news
intel­li­gence, or art

Death squad stalk­ers of resis­tance     killing peasants
killing water and land pro­tec­tors, organizers
jour­nal­ists, schol­ars, killing priests and poets

Malevolent colos­sus is groaning
flex­ing steroid-pumped muscles,
show­ing its teeth against a mirror

War-tox­ic greed zones advance a ven­omous suckering
dis­con­nect     sep­a­rate and hide
thun­der­ous net­works of our knowing
the moist­ened mer­cies that intersect
the lamps     that flick­er off     at dawn


Relaxing the Heart

storms rag­ing
boats a‑burning
stop watch­ing flexed muscles

a spark

walk in garden
emp­ty handed
hold­ing a hoe


Paint in the Wreckage

In all the wreck­age sparkle shots and bangles
tat­toos     hair­styles     straight-on cam­era angles
triply vio­lent      lan­guage of the gut
buck­et blam bucket
tell a lie     in the groove bucket
face ful­la juice bucket
shuck bucket
empire punch
a post     chain
a shack­le     set­tle down
in the nosecone’s nacelle

You just a vid trip     in some­one else’s drama
we’re at ring side seats me nd mar-a-lago blondie
hootin’ n tootn’ the slav­ish scene

I’m’a catcha breeze take me on out

Outside the shirt­less sun
paces back and forth barefoot
beg­ging on the hot pavement


From the Wounds: Quaker Oats Factory

Yeah you know for sure
putting our minds together
we’re con­nect­ing with mind itself
mind that per­me­ates all matter
earth     the universe
yeah you know for sure but
yeah you know for sure but
the can­ni­bal spir­it has stolen our face
smil­ing on every pur­chased package
We’re still here in the cur­rent, minds of one mind
sit­ting coun­cil on new ground
where air’s the exchange, water is traded
minds togeth­er see our minds apart
kind­ly face the for­mer­ly world
kind­ly face the for­mer­ly world



Lost sheep that seek their fold wan­der among editors
passed hand to hand
as iras­ci­ble coat-soiled vagrants

Eventually incre­men­tal­ly home bound, learned, bleating
mapped pas­tures to the poet of where they might live,
gam­bol, frol­ic and bounce, con­tent to be viewed, loved,
even chant­ed or sung, filed, or ear-marked, forgotten
after only one verse, but that one verse: trip­ping­ly cool


Philip Kienholz received a B.Arch from the University of Manitoba, and was for­mer­ly a Registered Architect in Manitoba and Northwest Territories, Canada, and a Certified Project Management Professional; now retired he is still a Certified Arbitrator, and Certified Permaculture Designer. He prac­tices gar­den­ing. A favorite author is Gerda Lerner; inspir­ing artists: Thomas McGrath, Charles Bukowski, and Rosebud Ben-Oni; a favorite book: The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision by Fritzjof Capra and Luigi Luisi. Periodical poet­ry of past two years is at Wild Roof Review, Gravitas, Train: a poet­ry jour­nal, Free State Review, Unpsychology Magazine, The Write Launch, Genre: Urban Arts, The Halcyone Literary Review, Burningword Literary Journal, and forth­com­ing at Lucky Jefferson and Nine Cloud Journal.