two poems by ken poyner


Call your Mastodon out of my yard.
I don’t care that he is one of a kind,
That his species is otherwise extinct
And that for preservation at best you could try
To clumsily cross-mate him with a circus elephant.
I’ve cleaned from my driveway,
The flowerbeds, the porch, the yard,
Enough of his thunderous droppings. The grass
Is dying in all of his favorite places.
I don’t think you realize
How heavy he is. I think
Of all the things he has crushed,
Of all the things he still could crush:
I’ve got good, decent shrubbery;
A bird bath; a bird house;
A stray cat I feed on the stoop.
I know the scientific imperative
In his being the last Mastodon:
A genetic storehouse, a behavioral treasure,
His deep set eyes looking back
Ten thousand years, back and back, always back.
But I work hard.
I pay for what is mine.
I enjoy puttering in my front yard.
Just because what you have might be special
Do not pride that I am required to put up with it.

The crabs click mine mine mine
And a man in coveralls
Uses his heel to crush their shells:
Not harvesting, but simply to crush
And demonstrate that he can. I
Am waiting for something more,
But the man in his boots
And second hand t-shirt
And coveralls with both work
And lunch ground into them
Walks half-cocked off,
And that is all there is to it.
Ken Poyner has published in places from “The Alaska Quarterly Review” to “Yarrow” and most recently in “Eclectica”, “Cafe Irreal”, “Full of Crow”, “Corium” and a mid-sized army of elsewheres. He is reaching that point in time where, if he ever manages to finally get at what he is trying to get at, he does not know if he will have the skill to operate it. He lives with one long-time wife, five rescue cats, and a dominant fish. His last book was “Sciences, Social”, but he is threatening to do another one.