Three Poems by Ken Poyner

The Covenant

There is a beautiful woman
Undressing in the Home Depot parking lot.
I am going to watch her.
I have to watch her.
It is a part of my biology.
I have been married many
Many years, and had the wife and I had
Children, this woman could be my daughter.
Her persistent breasts bounce with the effort
Of her casting off her shoes,
Her beginning to unstaple her jeans.
Most people are staring only nervously,
The men with the blood rising in their groins
And the women with thoughts
Of this could be me, or this
Could be my daughter. Do not think long:
We are about to find out
How close she shaves. The end of this
Will be police officers and a blanket.
Imagine a time
When this act would not be illegal,
When any woman could disrobe
In a parking lot inhabited almost
Exclusively by men. Imagine.
But know as well that in the few loitering minutes
Between undress and arrest
This woman will change from a woman
Taking off her clothes to
An entertainment.
She pops out of her jeans
Like the last unspent kernel of corn
In an industrial grade hot air corn popper.
How each of us will notify
Our spouses of this parking lot inconsequence,
Man to man, woman to woman,
Will vary like our descriptions of the last clothing to go.


The Disappearance Of The Beer Truck Driver

They faked my death.
Stole someone else’s body,
Fudged all the records, falsified
X-rays and dental prints. I went
To South America and opened a bar.
There was a funeral and real people spat
Real tears, my family was worked up,
Collected the life insurance, no
Questions asked. I was still
On the payroll. Years later
My daughter would blame her early pregnancy
And shallow marriage on the lack of my presence,
Come to believe I had died
Just to keep her life from being successful.
I cashed the checks, kept the accounts,
Hired a crown breasted local to tend bar.
I talked to the expatriates and looked
Like someone they once knew. I bet
More than a few of them had died, too.
My wife
Four years later remarried. It was
No one I had known. The company
Always knew where I was, needed
The address to send my unchanging salary.
I think a few of my alleged customers
Were merely sent to see how I was doing,
If I were happy enough, if the trade
In lives had gone well enough that at least
I wouldn’t make waves. I guess
It has, but being dead sometimes really sucks.


The Eighty Year Old Porn Star

Her contract always states
She does not appear for old men alone.
At least half of the audience
Must be under forty; and some number
Of the print edition, mail order customers
Should be below twenty. She wants to be seen by a few
For whom masturbation is still a rocket
And not a wire, balsa and struts biplane.
She plays the shorter films, has
Her own special category at the Porn Star
Awards. Her body of work
Is as serious to her as an academic’s
Publications list and she considers
Her recent efforts to be her best.
Admit it: this now must involve
More acting, more art, more unpaginated deference
To interpretation. Oh, all the parts
Are still there: the anatomy persists
Beyond the physiology. But what
The audience comes to see
Is the sterling adaptation, the surgical presentation
Of fact: the “I am still here”,
The “I am still doing this”,
The “I think you want to watch.”
She collaborates only with directors
Whose bedmates are a quarter of her age:
She doesn’t abide the competition.
Initially you don’t want to watch, but you do:
And there is artistry here, yes, tenacity,
And you find amazingly stirring in yourself
The saddest studded thimble
Of the tiniest beginnings of arousal.


In the last century, Ken Poyner used to publish in places like West Branch, The Iowa Review, Colorado-North Review and about fifty other offset venues. Since returning to writing in 2009, he has been appearing on the web, as well as in physical ink and paper, both with poetry and fiction. Latest work can be found in Subliminal Interiors, Garbanzo, Poet Lore, Menacing Hedge, Corium, Danse Macabre, Café Irreal and dozens of others. He is married to one of the world’s premier female power lifters, a woman with multiple world raw power lifting records. He goes to her contests as the brooding anti-eye-candy.

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