I am in a screaming match
with the motherfucker next door
both of us mad dogging each other
from windows in locked down houses
across from each other, bored
and paranoid and half naked.
we promise each other
if the world doesn’t
come to an end,
we are going to fuck
each other up because
my Amazon Prime order
was delivered to him
by mistake, and to be
extra careful, he will not
give it to me because
of the possibility of
and I can swear
I hear him watching
the movies I ordered
for myself as a way
to escape from
assholes like him.
We Clean Up Good
the old Mexican lady showed us
the laundry bill for the formal outfits
we wore on that day when my brother
told her we were running late
for our mother’s funeral.
the old Mexican lady froze into place
and performed the sign of the cross.
She tore up the bill, and insisted
that her services for us in our dark hour
were free of charge. My brother
tried to stop her but she interrupted
in Spanish before holding her hand
in front of her tears as she told us
to look our best and to make our
mother prouder of us than she was
when she was still alive, still folding
our laundry and still shaking her head.
Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose
My girlfriend and I used to picnic
on the rugby field of Pomona College
where the man who wrote my mother’s
favorite song was victorious in his athleticism,
an over achiever who freed kindred spirits
like her onto the open highway
with the love of her life on a high-speed
gypsy chase to prove to the naysayers
her love for my father will last forever
as she belts out the pain she conquered
in the vibrato of her epic voice
She blew my friends away
when she rocked the fuck out
of that song and I listened to
it with everyone else
at her funeral,
when she was gone
and off in the great beyond,
followed shortly after
by my girlfriend.
But that rugby field is still there
and the songwriter an old man
whose music transformed
my mother into a champion.
a deaf kid sees my
Bob Dylan t-shirt.
he thinks it is cool
but I realize he’s never
even heard Dylan’s voice
and will never know
such rock n roll poetics
quite like I can hear them
on my record player
which makes me
he must imagine
what all of this noise
really sounds like.
Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press) and nine chapbooks of poetry, including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press, UK). His work can recently be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Sheila Na Gig, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Trailer Park Quarter, Main Street Rag, Into the Void, Cultural Weekly and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.