Kevin Ridgeway

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Mindfulness Training

will not help meArtwork by Gene McCormick
when i am swishing
a gin and tonic
around in my mouth
to notice the flavor
and sensation
before i swallow
it and pray for
the effect
that numbs
me to this
mind and
the endless
that it's
full of.


Let's All Go Out to the Lobby and Have Ourselves Some Smack

Dad kept leaving the movie
turns out he was shooting up
he nodded off and i thought he was bored
but in reality he was chasing a high since 
he was the same age as i was, fourteen years old
when he began stealing and committing robberies
to support his escalating habit
i dressed like a combination between Dennis the Menace
and Steve Urkel
was a member of the Marx Brothers Fan Club
hung out with my 87 year old grandmother
more than most other people
and had not even kissed a girl, 
let alone had the courage to talk to one.
but my Dad's life became a movie
at fourteen years old when i still daydreamed
of when life was going to finally
start really happening
Dad was bored with the Woody Allen movie
he preferred Hell's Angels and gritty stories 
about dope fiends or gangsters
or movies laden with dick jokes
so he shot up in the cinema restroom
and his face rested on top of a large tub 
of popcorn and yelled fuck at the top
of his lungs when my mother nudged
him in the ribs to snap him out of it
and he complained that she was 
messing with his high but for me
he was ruining what was really one
of Woody Allen's lesser efforts 
at the time and I daydreamed that 
my life would be a better movie than 
it and my father's movies ever were.


Kevin Ridgeway lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.  Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, Main Street Rag, American Journal of Poetry, Lummox, Big Hammer, The Cape Rock and So it Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.  His latest book is A Ludicrous Split (with poems by Gabriel Ricard, Alien Buddha Press, 2018).