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Category: Paul Killebrew

Anyone’s Two Minutes


The moon is empty,

whatever else may be happening

in the change of setting.

He removes his hand

from the inner pocket of his blazer,

and it is empty.

Her hand finds its way

from her hip to his

and then across his back,

flat and moving upward

until her fingers hook

just over his collar

and tug just barely.

“I just thought,” she continued,

“we could extend to each thought

the courtesy of completing it.”

The small crowd

that had coagulated around her

broke into laughter. The ceiling caved right in.

Pure imitation is only possible

in the cult of authenticity,

for these are the flowers of our youth,

the cant of glorious magmas

instantiated in molecular puzzles

of personally offending highwire commentary

delivered in drollest New England chowder.

Exhale of concept.

The future of the worker is closing its doors.

It’s fine with me if nothing happens.

I expect some feelings of disappointment,

but they won’t encompass us,

not with so many dots to fill in

and the regular accomplishing of sentences

in the high-spirited yellow living room,

steam of small dishes

against the cold weather,

children’s desperation, a loosening

of screens, a face at the window

receding. The darkness,

as they say, abounds within us.

He choked to death on his own joke.

The dogs had some kind of dispute.

Choose a glass from this tray and wait.

She smiled from the corner of the stadium.

I borrowed this car from a sick neighbor.

The signs insist all they like.

I think we know better.

No one delivers a punch like me.

I can’t even feel my hands.

It’s been ages since I thought of this.

Please help.

We’re desperate for your love.

Revise at will and send on.

I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Then I consider explaining to him just how awful he is to me.

I lost all interest in ever saying anything.

I just sat there and took it.

I don’t expect to stay much longer.

I just don’t see how I could.

from To Literally You Find more by Paul Killebrew at the library

Copyright © 2017 Paul Killebrew
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Actually Present


I don’t remember you, but you keep coming back.

Is that what you think of me?

I’ve got two sick children. My little girl

has a hole in her belly

and we have to pour milk down her throat.

So much the better, make it difficult and meaningless

as when we turn into the park and hope

the conversation picks up somehow.

My heart wasn’t in it, I think you knew even then,

but I wanted to rearrange thin bars of thought

into a ladder-like system of total devotion to the present

in its fabulous vanity. You were beautiful to me,

your lapel against your chin and the orange light

flinging itself from your mouth.

At the top of the hill you could see all four walls,

it was windy,

the ceremony was invested with deepening resolve,

reflection, amazement, cast out of the boredom

at the center of all things.

I walked down the middle of the bus.

I took a photograph.

I read about a town in East Texas

where a crust lowered onto all nakedness,

then dusted away with every glance.

I plugged in my computer

and looked around at the mess

as you moved

through subtle modulations of texture

from one end of the room

to the other. Something

something something, something

something something.

from Ethical ConsciousnessFind more by Paul Killebrew at the library

Copyright © 2013 Paul Killebrew
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Really Isn’t


It is such

a beautiful world,

and yet

I treat

so many things

as emblematic,

as if each

teardrop on

the brim of

his lies

spoke for

a large and

shadowy theme,

like the mind


with its

backdrop of sleep,

black wave-shaped

cutouts in

cardboard bobbing

in asynchronous

ovals and

staggered to

the back of

the stage,

as if depth

were only a

matter of

layering planes.

from Ethical ConsciousnessFind more by Paul Killebrew at the library

Copyright © 2013 Paul Killebrew
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.