"Basically Almost Definitely Not Enough Times," "Steer Us Adrift" and "A Chance Encounter"

Basically Almost Definitely Not Enough Times

You want it to be one way, but it’s the other way

                                              -  Marlo “Black” Stanfiled


We thought

          we made progress



We know now

it was spurious



We are exposed to


               allowed baby steps

until they are retracted



So here we are

           in a place forced upon us

           in a place where we have never been fully welcomed


contradictorily attempting

                                     to make our way



You say the road not taken

we say the only option



                     So we persevere

                                           as long as we’re allowed

          our allowance

is shortening


   shortening to the point of nonexistence


Land of the free…

… a dream

We thought


We are not machines

                                 nor is life


You make us need to win

                                 though we don’t want it


Winners versus


has been created

             by man

                       by you


so you can continue

            to win


                        and look down

on us



Steer Us Adrift

To support these claims

only evidence will suffice


          A fortunate opportunity

          will only steer us adrift


                     A humbling experience



                     a humbling experience



So do you think

                      they actually listen to you



I’m hungry enough

          to listen

though all I hear






Mandatory floggings and flaying take the place of response

                                                        while the senses dull


          And we are here

                    a semblance of community

                               though I don’t know your name


I recognize your existence

                                     it’s greatly appreciated


No need for two sides

                     one will suffice

                                           at this juncture of almost



A Chance Encounter

The light catches

           the melanin

                                it’s mid-afternoon


The promise of the sinister

                                        holds no relevance

and you decide to say “hello”

           “How you doing?” – without consideration

           “Great.  Thank you?” – quizzically would be an understatement


There is a difference between

                                            being stuck

          and being         trapped

                                            the latter

                     is painful


A sensationalized sense

                             of otherness

                                 exercises a stubborn consistency

deflecting                   inclusion

               even as we  sit

               in close       adjacency


                     We occupy an in-between state

           can diversity actually be

a bad characteristic of our existence


We move                     towards



                     - as far as we’re allowed -

to find            ourselves

to find            you



          Do you speak my language


          Do you operate in my space

                                          do you even exist in my space


Are you isolated due to your curiosity


I am a witness to the flow of this stone


Isolation is a constant

          you don’t look like me

                        think like me

                        feel like me


                                          Nor do you understand


This place was built for you

                      our plight is contemporary



Calvin Pennix is an educator and creator living in southern California with his wife and two children. His first project, Grounds, was published by Argotist Books in 2011. Calvin has had two other full length projects published – Around/About (Differentia Press 2012) and On Reaction (Differentia Press 2013). Other works of Calvin’s have been published by Upstairs at Duroc, Certain Circuits, Otoliths and Counterexample Poetics among others.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 22:34