Christopher Kennedy

poor excuse

My head began to fill with a mixture of concrete
and helium. I drifted heavily above the earth.
It was as it always is. I was far above and feeling unsure.
My ego stuck in a small air pocket where helium
displaced concrete. I saw my mother, pinning
my father's ghost on a gray rope between two silver poles.
It's hard to impart the fear of mooring inappropriately
on someone's clothesline, another faded unmentionable.
Then I thought to anchor myself with the help
of a Good Samaritan. I called out to every passer-by
to grab my ankles. Only children responded. All of them
too short, following along below me. They were thought
to be frivolous by those who watched from their windows.
I was considered a poor excuse for a parade.

the riddle of self-worth

By cannibal standards, I'm dinner for six.
My pet vulture has the disconcerting habit of staring
at the clock and then at me. In terms of sun,
I plan for a long Alaskan winter. Insurance salesmen
slink away from me at parties. A stiff breeze
blows away my weight in gold. In the world of before
and after, I remain steadfastly before. Last session,
my psychiatrist shook my hand and thanked me
for curing his insomnia. If I had a nickel for every time
my name was associated with greatness, I would owe
someone a quarter. My mother called recently and asked
for her umbilical cord. Yet I'm resilient, a human cockroach.
I'll be here for awhile, blocking progress in a black leather jacket,
switchblade quick and ruthless as a jar of pennies.

the alchemist's lament

All I dream of is chemical changes, animals coaxed
into hybrid shapes, one shifting molecule
in a piece of metal. I squint to see the diamond glint
on a piece of unearthed coal. I long to invent
a framework for transcendence, the illusion
of flesh melted away, a man transformed
beyond the narcotic world. Yet I'm resigned
to failure, to the earth's inertia. I curse
the certainty of decay, the irrevocable loss of matter.
I open my eyes in the morning to find things in order,
the illusion of the bright earth exactly as it was
the day before. Still, I hold out hope for permutation,
like a man in his kitchen with the lights out,
opening the refrigerator door, about to enter a silver spaceship.