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There is a bonfire in your eyes
Barbwire for a brow
Spiked teeth
With blue-black saliva
Dripping off your chin
Anger and residue are your
Closest companions
Each day finds you hating more
Wanting nothing but destruction
I’ve seen what you’re up to–
Pipes and pressure cooker bombs–
And so it’s time I burned your room down
Take you hostage
Re-engineer the false poetry inside your head
Remind you that you were once
A wide-eyed boy
A pacifist to the core
My son
If only through genetics

Monkey Children

When they ran out of other names,
they called us that–monkey children–
because our lunch sacks held only bananas
what fell from the tree
bruised boomerang fruit
that we’d eat during recess in the far corner
of the gymnasium
But I had one pair of jeans with deep pockets
and being skinny I could slip between
the seams and store aisles
pinch chips and candy from rows
easily escaping each stocky clerk
In time classmates gathered round
wanting to see the loot
bartering for Mars and Snickers bars
And just like that my brother and I became boys
with real names
like anybody else


Oh, I know what they say
That escape is futile and stupid
How the alleys will swallow you whole
Marauders lurking beneath the shadows
That it’s best to stay put
Get a hot meal at least
Even if it’s akin to prison food or poison
Still the fists keep coming
The belt and latch key strap
A chair leg once
And so uncover of the night
I make myself a slender shadow
And tip toe past the slumbering beast
Where outside nothing is daunting
The clouds like arms that want to hug
The stars grinning right at me

Len Kuntz Photo

Len Kuntz is an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans and the author of the story collection THE DARK SUNSHINE. His latest story collection, I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND NEITHER ARE YOU, was published by Unknown Press in March of 2016. You can also find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com.

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