Like Lazurus rising from the grave…

Hello, welcome back to Lit Up Magazine. It’s been awhile, well five years or so. But alot happened: 1) my father died, that was sad. Kinda lost my reason to write. Sons tend to want to make their fathers proud. 2) I fell off the roof, fractured my skull and many bones in both feet. Didn’t die, but had brain surgery (didn’t find anything) and was in a wheelchair for six months. So, I couldn’t walk, but I could crawl; seems like a metaphor for something or other. 3) I had an eight-month custody battle for my granddaughter. Went through 5 lawyers or so, finally ended up representing myself, and eventually got custody.

Anyway, you can see where publishing an on-line magazine got lost in the shuffle. Oh, forgot to mention: had severe anxiety/depression for about 6-7 years. Couldn’t even go outside, or do much of anything. Plus, all my teeth fell out. Kind of a bitch, but apparently they don’t grow back. So what happened was, I gradually got off all the prescriptions for bad back, bad knees, insomnia, and so forth. And years later, woke up from all that misery, and started to feel alive again.

So, what I thought I’d do is to start writing – how I feel about stuff; and also to promote my books, and those of some friends. And see where that goes. Whatcha think? So here’s my first book, Out There. You can read a few pages fer free, if you want, or log in to Amazon and review and rate the book. Plus… you can buy it! My second book Princessa is also available at Amazon. And you can find one or both at Barnes and Noble, and other book places.

And Joe Ridgwell recently published a new book (I guess he gots a whole closet full of ’em according to Lee Rourke) so you’ll want to check that out too. But as this is a literary magazine, here’s a poem.

Bartholemew, a short story

my granddaughter said
“remember that transient kid,
whose mom became a stripper,
and we played together when we were kids.
I heard from him,
he’s hooked on fentanyl now.”
and i guess he’s trying to destroy
what God made mockery of.
I guess he’s trying
to eradicate
the only eternity he ever knew
or ever will.
I guess he’s trying to punish
all that wrong, and wipe out
wipe clean his knowing it,
and feeling it, and being it.
This wretched cursed disease
that is at once and all the same,
embarrassed and ashamed
and ridiculed ridiculous
and living it
because that’s what he is.
And all his little life
will ever be.

 

two poems by Karl Koweski

the hyena in winter

the walls of his mental palace
are adorned with golden scenes
depicting his life’s seminal events
that almost could have might have
happened if things
were a little bit different

the hyena in winter
surveys his bar room veldt
and wonders how it came to be
even the early summer hippos
refuse invitations to his den

he’s spent a lifetime
nipping at the flanks
of alpha males only
to trot away at the
first gleam of barred teeth

his mobility
now hampered by
multiple knee surgeries
football injuries, he claims
face haunted by the ghost
of a shit-eating grin
though how a man can tear
his ACL while watching the
Crimson Tide on television
is left unexplained

for now Crown Royal crutches
and Hydrocodone braces
keep his haunches secure
he smiles out of context
the hyena in winter
imagining the shadow of a lion
hunting small victories
in a jungle of
continual defeat
unaware of the moment
his desperate roaring
segued to bitter braying

off brand cigarettes

pale blue eyes
ornamenting
the petrol
refinery
illuminates
the wet asphalt

from where I stand
in the doorway
of the Twilight Lounge
I watch the
cars streak past
interior eyes
alternating
between curious
and menacing
implacable
and apathetic

across the street
a rodent
scurries along
the gutter
as though it
has someplace
better to be

the slight pang
of envy I feel
chases me back
inside

Gretchen by Karl Koweski

I know I’m in
for a bad night
when Gretchen hobbles into work
sobbing and clutching her belly.

I have to give the jackass
she’s shacked up with some credit;
he’s wily enough to keep
his punches centralized
around her abdomen.

black eyes, split lips
and blood-ringed nostrils
(unless dope related)
doesn’t sit well
with the clientele.

even the Industrial Strip
has some standards.

Bennie calls me into his office,
a closet-sized room identical
to the private dance “lounge”
we call the bj parlor.
Bennie sits behind
a seventies era teacher’s desk.
since I’m expendable
I get to sit
with my back to the door.

“what we gonna do
‘bout Gretchen?” Bennie asks.

what do you mean?

“well, we can’t have
some cocksucker busting up
our girls, making it so
they can’t hardly move around.”
I don’t see where
it concerns us
unless he comes in here.

“you like women getting
the shit knocked outta them?”

of course not

“then why wait for it
to happen here where
it can disturb the customers?
this is what I like to call
a pre-emptive strike..” Continue reading