May 1, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Markus Meier photo



Carolynn Kingyens




Of Mice, Of Men, Of Chickens



I come from a long line

of women who can break

a man’s heart,

and a chicken’s neck.


Their gingham aprons,

full of white feathers;

small hands,

full of beating hearts.


Bowls of blood sausage

and stale bread

for days.


Of mice and men;

of men and mice,

of chickens,

it doesn’t matter.


And my father,

a projection of defeat

inside the house he built

with his own hands


Somewhere along the line,

I jumped the continuum.


Not all invasions are Trojan.

Some are innocuous

as a slip of skin

at the right time.






Freakish Accidents



Six months after my move to Manhattan,

a gust of wind blew down a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood

from atop of a condo conversion

in the West Village,

striking a woman in the head –

killing her instantly

as she walked on the sidewalk below,

at the clearing of scaffolding.


The headline in the morning paper

included the words “freakish accident.”


While living in overcast Ithaca,

before the move Downstate,

I watched a wind storm,

from the safety of my living room,

blow down a grand ash tree;

my pitched roof breaking its fall.


After the storm,

whenever the winds picked-up

at the back of the house,

where my daughters slept,

I’d move them, still sleeping,

to the middle of my bed.


The pine trees on pine tree

swayed in the black hole wind at night;

their haunting sound reminiscent

of ceremonious gongs.


Each gong for a loss.

Each gong for a betrayal.






You Can’t Handle the Truth



Tell me the truth,

and I will follow you

through wormwood, wormholes,

to the place where their worm

never dies.


I’ve looked for Christ

inside the echoes of St. John the Divine;

inside cerebral chat rooms,

and their theological debates;

in the downcast eyes of the homeless.


Salvatore – salutation – salvation.


I used to believe salvation was simple

until I read the demons believe and tremble.


What does it mean

to work out your salvation

with fear and trembling?


The senses lie by omission;

ask any pilot who has pulled themselves

out of a graveyard spiral –

spatial disorientation.


The ego, the door I stubbed my big toe on.


Yet I am to trust I’ve been born

of water and the Spirit?


Christ says His sheep will hear His voice;

I am listening.






High Anxiety



Squinting into the white horizon

just over the sand dunes,

down the street from the dive bar,

where I’m an F-bomb away from spontaneous combustion –

exploding particles – gun smoke,

a sneeze, the way a shaft of light illuminates the dust mite;

static energy, neediness, sleep paralysis;

the jump-scares from dollar store, bake pans

springing inside preheated ovens;

a heart grown tired of its chronic techno, house beat;

the pet bird made bald from missing its master;

movie trailers, sleep-eating, raw juicing;

the incessant meows of a deaf cat;

fingers gesture a flesh-gun

now pointed to the head,

a thumb hovers over an invisible trigger,

before the BIG BANG ever makes a sound.







Carolynn Kingyens

Carolynn Kingyens lives with her beautiful family in NYC. Her poems have been featured in Boxcar Poetry Journal, Glass Poetry Journal, Word Riot, The Potomac, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Across the Margin, and The Orange Room Review. Her poem, “Washing Dishes” was nominated for Best New Poets by Silenced Press.

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