Excerpt from Abandoned By All Things by Karl Koweski

abandoned by all things

my brother phones
late at night,
he’s been drinking again,
asking if I might write
a few poetic lines
in honor of
our dead father
so Richie G can
temporarily immortalize
the words on
his forearm below
the half-finished angel,
a tribute to a dad
he vaguely remembers
from his early youth.

I haven’t written
in nearly a year.
not sure I want
to start now
with this.

no angel of the
heavenly variety
ever gazed favorably
upon the actions
of our father.
his prayers
never extended beyond
the patron saint of
fast women
and slow horses.

thirty years dead, now,
he lorded over nothing
more regal than
a push broom
and mop bucket.

his navy blue shadow
and watchmen cap halo
have receded into
a dull oblivion
of purposefully
forgotten memories.

I have nothing
more to offer
as eulogy.
he lived and died
as we live and die,
abandoned by all things.

there is no money in coloring for the flipper-armed masses

I learned the correlation
between art and commerce
at the age of seven years
when, having crayoned
through an entire Black Hole
movie tie-in coloring book
I showed my work to Dad
for his artistic critique.

a day later, he gave
a dollar to me, saying
he sold the coloring book
to a lady at his job site.

even so young, my father’s
words struck me as implausible.
why would anyone want
to buy a coloring book that
had already been colored?

my father furrowed his brow,
said something about the
woman’s son having been born
with flippers for arms
unable to color his own.
the explanation was
good enough for me.

I rifled through my room
gathering all my old coloring
books and during a hand
cramping Crayola marathon,
managed to fill every
blank page within.

I presented the eight book trove
to my father the next evening
estimating enough capital
represented by that artwork
to purchase three Star Wars figures.

he returned home from work
empty-handed, citing
market saturation and
an increase in supply
versus a decrease in demand,
there being only so many mothers
raising flipper-armed children.

but I figured he just
took the money he earned
from my artistic endeavors
and spent it on booze,
and I vowed from that moment
on, never again to use an
intermediary to sell any
of my masterpieces, again.

Now available at https://www.magicaljeep.com/product/abandon/164

Karl Koweski is a displaced Region Rat now living in rural Alabama. He writes when his pen allows it. He’s a husband to a lovely wife and father to some fantastic kids. He collects pop culture ephemera. On most days he prefers Flash Gordon to Luke Skywalker and Neil Diamond to Elvis Presley.

“Unless you’re Charles Bukowski (dead) or Billy Collins (alive) the world doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your poetry. Instagram and TikTok poets may be taking the world by storm but I don’t know about it. Karl Koweski gets it. I adore the lack of pretension in this collection. No pretense, no bullshit, no pulpit. These are not the holier than thou words of some hipster poet speaking down to you from the heights of an overturned craft beer crate but the real words of a writer who has fucking lived and loved. A lot of poetry collections I’ve read in recent years have ended up in the free library at the duck park. I’ll hold onto Under Normal Conditions and Abandoned By All Things because several of the poems made me laugh until I cried and as I read I thought, “I have got to share these with my son.””—Misti Rainwater-Lites, Author of Clown Gravy and others

“Karl Koweski’s latest book Abandoned By All Things is Karl at his best. It reads as a poetry memoir, maybe embellished or maybe just fact the way he remembers it. It doesn’t matter it is written with a poet’s eye and it will have you turning the page, wanting more from the very first poem about coming of age with rolled up socks to burning hipsters alive to of course the Cubs losing to the true mission of all cub scouts. It is not always politically correct and that is what makes it good. It is every boy growing up and reflecting back on what was lost and found. It is being honest about the dumb things we did growing up, about being a father. It is the origin, the birth of the Polish Hammer. But most of all, it is without a doubt a great collection of poems that you will be happy to read more than once.”—Scot Young, author of They Said I Wasn’t College Material and others

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