"Late Arrival" and "Galapagos"

Late Arrival

Step to the side for screening sir, it’s necessary with late arrivals.

Empty your pockets, take off your jacket, sit over there.

Big boned and brusk, like the nurse in Cuckoo’s Nest points to a wooden bench. Sitting upright, I think how I have not been able to write anything of 9/11 and it’s more than twenty years now, and then a short squat man, with an accent and a wand, tells me to stand up, wands me twice – legs, arms, front, back - actually, tugs at my belt buckle like there might be something behind it.


Take off your shoes – well, the right brown suede was knotted, and I honest-to-God couldn’t get it off. I have trouble masking contempt and frustration, and Mr. Short-Squat picks up on it and says he’s sorry, just as I get the shoe off. Big-nurse is going through the Ghurka bag, and Short-squat is holding my shoe up about forehead high and peering inside. And he’s sorry. I wouldn’t scrutinize his shoes like that for six figures…. and he’s sorry. I close my eyes as Big-Nurse with a Sieg Heil motion directs me back to the end of the boarding line. I think about my window seat, the layer of smog over LA, the unbreathable air of falling towers, the incredible mountains and green grid between San Jose and LAX, assuming the plane don’t crash.




Wandering through Westminster Abbey,
this long-bearded fellow leaning
against a gravestone, arms folded,
looks at me like we’d been talking for hours.
My son’s feet are wider than mine
and mine wider than my father’s.
He needs the girth to control
the accelerators and brakes,
he’s not mobile without them.
We all duck under colonial doors
and mourn over graves
wider than our grandfather’s.
You know, organisms will increase
faster than the food supply,
but many young then die,
to control the population.

I’m reminded of all the Food Fairs and Acmes
at home, and wonder if they build them to keep up,
or we procreate to make sure they have customers.
I think about the gangs, drive-bys, governments
and presidents treating children like cattle.
Those that possess the characteristics,
most useful in their environment
 produce more offspring.
They pass on those attributes
to the next generation,
ultimately creating new forms
so different in structure and behavior
that they can’t breed or communicate
with the originals.

At home we preach racism and hate\
and are lied to by leaders sent by God.
We have progressed to total apathy,
to the subversion of truth.
We no longer need the Bill of Rights -
that was for the short guys,
we need a Patriot’s Act, and the fear of
terrorists who hate us for our superior characteristics, immigrants looking for a home.
He says to call him Charles,
and he is much more animated now.
He strokes his beard and seems to wonder,
whether I understand.
You are like giant tortoises driving cars,
that widen your feet and ass.
You have evolved over two hundred years,
not as specie, but as bloated Americans,
hated for your size and strength,
and for the deaths of unknown sons and daughters.
You are willing to give your own,
for oil and revenge so as not to lose face,
or mobility in the driveway.
Do you think your new selves could discuss
the needed cultural abilities of today,
with the founding fathers of 200 years ago?
What language would you use?
Do you think they would feel dwarfed at the meeting?
Do you think they would even come?



Craig R. Kirchner

Craig Kirchner thinks of poetry as hobo art, loves storytelling and the aesthetics of the paper and pen. He has had two poems nominated for the Pushcart, and has a book of poetry, Roomful of Navels. Craig houses 500 books in his office and about 400 poems in a folder on a laptop. These words tend to keep him straight. After a hiatus he was recently published in Decadent Review and several dozen other journals. Craig recommends Feed the Children.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, June 26, 2024 - 21:03