You swan dive into a spoonful of Drāno

Three poems by Kevin Opstedal

Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks.
  • Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks.

Spilling the Kool-Aid

  • You can count your blessings
  • if you have any
  • or shut down in the neon haze that invades the
  • parking lot and changes the way you think about
  • moonlight knocking around at the bottom of a rain puddle
  • even when it hasn’t rained
  • and the way you might say it your voice
  • trailing off into the ozone
  • and how I follow it there
  • like those who know or those who don’t but wish they did
  • a block from the beach
  • where the sky sometimes is like
  • a polished spoon
  • and the tripped-up sidewalk
  • conversant with eucalyptus leaves and damp footprints
  • is often swept with a whisper of tar-streaked sand
  • not to mention misty catalogs of ocean sunsets
  • embalmed in vaseline

Folded into the azure origami of twilight’s last gleaming

  • To understand the relevance of monastic
  • palm trees outside the Kung-Fu Taqueria
  • requires the application of counterweights
  • along with enough saltwater tequila
  • to strip the paint from
  • the walls of your soul
  • or at least enough to skim the
  • bliss off our inherent failure like mist
  • sheering the sky from the pavement
  • There are other more expedient methods
  • I’m sure but
  • as for me I’ve
  • always preferred the scenic route

Mona Lisa in a Sombrero

  • You swan dive into a spoonful of Drāno
  • and from there it’s a clear shot to the
  • ramshackle tenements of Shangri-La
  • A psychosomatic bait and switch
  • Rainwater with a morphine drip
  • Squalor is perhaps the more
  • accurate description
  • inside the shadow of a left-handed tortilla
  • and the sunlight bending that way at Venice pier
  • no different
  • in the dark mirrors that are her eyes
  • sworn to an almost
  • perfect thirst

Poet Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks, including three full-length collections: Like Rain (Angry Dog Press, 1999), California Redemption Value (University of New Orleans Press, 2011), and Pacific Standard Time (Ugly Duckling Press, 2016). He is the editor and publisher of Blue Press Books and has also written a literary history on the poets who lived in Bolinas during the 1970s. Born and raised in Venice, CA, Opstedal currently lives in Santa Cruz.

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