Poems from Kendall A. Bell

What is left behind

You remove the adjectives first,
tell me how useless it is to have
them in a poem, extract the gerunds
and whittle them down to two, maybe
three. Next, you become the cliche
police and tell me my metaphors are
droll and overused. You slice my
stanzas with your sharp, red lines
and what is left is a hollowed out
fruit, a petri dish with a crumb.



Those days when you walked meekly with
a tawny pony tail and a baseball hat,
kicking dirt and concealing your pain
in hide-and-seek games where you never
wished to be found, seem a distant reality
now that you have surfaced across my screen,
across miles and miles of terrain that
keep our fingers from touching, that
keep me from lifting you off your feet
in a long embrace. The years between us
are worn into our faces, both of us are
blonde now. I wait here for you to
uncloak me from the fog of your absence as
you announce your brazen, nomadic ways
to the world, make literal red marker
lines across the country and stick
temporary pins in cities, smuggle your
unrelenting warmth to the coldest regions.


That poem I trashed

Decided to come back and demanded to
know why I gave up. I tried to reason
with it, tell it that it was just going
nowhere, but it wouldn’t listen. It
called me a quitter and coward and slapped
me in the face. I was a little surprised
that something with such minimal power could
cause me to recoil, but then, it broke down,
started sobbing. I tried to console it, but
it swatted my hand away and screamed at me,
telling me that it was too late and that it
only came over to tell me that I’d regret
giving up on it, told me that its words would
fit better in the hands of a better, more
seasoned and lauded poet than I. That was
what stung me the most. It turned away from
me, told me it was spending the night at a
hotel, and slammed the door.

Kendall A. Bell’s poetry has been most recently published in Up The Staircase and X and Friends. He was nominated for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net collection in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012. He is the author of thirteen chapbooks. His current chapbook is “The Sound of Cracking Bones”. He is the founder and co-editor of the online journal Chantarelle’s Notebook and the publisher/editor of Maverick Duck Press. His website is www.kendallabell.com and his chapbooks are available through www.maverickduckpress.com. He lives in southern New Jersey.

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