Two Poems by Andrew Kuhn


After the last of him, it was good
to go away. Change the sky—just like that.

Thorn scrub, lizards, mystery pieces
of rotting fruit knew nothing
about her, cared less. She approved.

Half-wild, skinny horses didn’t startle,
scrounging along the pitted roads.

Long, empty beaches brimmed
with coral smithereens.

Afternoons held enough heat to prove
the futility of doing much.
Through brush and gutters and sandy lots
sifted ordinary collections of trash.

All that week nobody showed any interest
in her: the anglo bartender
with his matted rasta swirl,
the chesty fellows at the beach drinking beer,

the fishermen, who didn’t show off
their fish but hefted closed coolers
from their boats to the wharf
as the sun went down, without ceremony.

It must have been hot that time of day,
walking the winding, sandy track
into the zone no longer forbidden.

The old ammo bunker was overgrown,
and the last man out had spray-painted clear
above the stone lintel that framed no door.

On the threshold, facing the dark,
Did heavy sun fall on her shoulders, her neck?
Maybe she hesitated, listened for snakes.

Park Avenue, espresso

I saw doormen sad-eyed as cashiered caudillos,
puff-eyed bullfighters down on their luck

stoic doormen like statues of liberty
one upthrust arm saluting the traffic

lean, canny doormen quick to the angles
commanding the curb like retired squash champs

loafing, lollygagging, laughing doormen
lunching outside with a view of the talent

doormen scarily, uncannily large, built
to step out and stop cabs with their hands

skittery, twitchy doormen with that junkie sidle
doormen who anyone could see should not be doormen

tragic doormen with secrets
philosopher doormen with limpid lives

family-man doormen, doormen roués
gnostic doormen

doormen dull and lumpen, submerged
in flesh, appliances with no pilot light

drink-blasted doormen scored and scoured
capillary disaster-red roadmap faces

angelic doormen sexually gifted
laid each and every day of their lives

doormen who once in other places killed men
and more than once but don’t dwell on it now

inscrutable doormen of unknown provenance
taking it in, giving nothing away.

About the author

In his knockaround days, Andy Kuhn fixed up an abandoned building, ran a firewood business, worked as a tutor and a journalist, and traveled…

Read the full bio

Issue 12 · June 2011

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