The Poet Spiel

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

Kenny Kenny and Kenny

Kenny has finally reached the ridge road. It is the ultimate. Although his fingernails feel like stomped ice Kenny is relieved to be here. Kenny has struggled to pull his long chin over the top of the sheer rocks along the ridge road. Another ten feet. Another twenty feet. Kenny is here because he needs to see the other side. 

There are no cigarettes on the ridge road. There are mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are so large Kenny yanks their eyes out and still has enough meat for skeeterballs. There is no spaghetti but the worms are like wormy grass. The worms would not make good spaghetti. He has to eat the mosquitoes to keep them from eating his eyes. He has to have his eyes to see over the tops of sheer rocks along the ridge road. He believes The Men reside there. Maybe he should’ve brought some Kryptonite.

Where Dorothy is, far below the ridge road, Dorothy combs the windows of the room where she whacked the tiny fanny of her Kenny with a talcum sack. Where Dorothy whacked his crack with talcum then sniffed his little crack. Then she tossed Kenny in the air with talcum raining down into her hair. “Oh Kenny Kenny Kenny’, she’d shout, “my sweet stinky Kenny.” And then she’d whack his crack with talcum and parade him round town for everyone to sniff him—her darling Kenny—smelly Kenny. Everyone would “ooooo! Is this your own Kenny Kenny this time?”

Now Dorothy combs the windows of the room where Kenny’s jockstrap smolders in a closet. Where Kenny’s football ring is wrapped inside his strap but Dorothy does not know about his strap. And Dorothy does not know Kenny’s traveled to the ridge road because he wants to pull his long chin up and over sheer rock all along the road. He still needs another ten feet—maybe twenty—but what he has is two feet and one is in the left side of his mouth as ballast for the heavy mosquito meatball which he cannot chew within the left side of his mouth. He cannot salivate. There’s no Gatorade on the ridge. His teeth have grown so stiff he cannot open them. He’d like a Marlboro but there are no cigarettes up on the ridge road—only the eyes of mosquitoes. They make him slip and fall on his mouth. He’d gladly smoke a stick but on the ridge there’re no sticks. Not even toothpicks.

Kenny is sad for all his Kenny’s who never got to come all the way up to the ridge. Kenny #7 would’ve loved it there. Would have seen right through all the sheer rocks. Would have known if The Men were on the other side but Kenny #7 would not’ve told his Kenny #1 what he’d seen. Kenny #3 would have cried: and cried. Kenny #5 and Kenny Kenny would have been sort of the same. Pretty much the same with Kenny #2 and Kenny #10 but less ears. Kenny has to keep his foot out of his mouth to think of all his Kennys. His foot is orange. He fears his toes are like melty Popsicles—only the orange ones. When he tries to engage all his Kennys, he slides down the wrong side of the ridge on slippery eyeballs where he can hear Dorothy combing windows.

Dorothy’s been telling everybody she’s making walls for something else. She will be getting to his jockstrap in his closet very soon. She will find his football ring. It was Kenny #12 who tackled the ring—who smoldered the strap. Frank is not at home. Frank is somewhere else. Frank is always not at home. Frank is hunting for a change but in a custom size. Frank and Dorothy don’t need Kenny anymore. Kenny needs to be “none of their goddamn beeswax.”


The Poet Spiel is a master at risk taking an uncertain world where, harboring the visceral paranoia that accompanies surveillance at our every turn, we wish everything would turn out ok but we are too often disappointed to find out that it does not. “Bad Things/ Good Things” is from his chapbook, Come Home Cowboy: poems of war, evoking life and times in Bush the Second’s administration.