Kevin Ridgeway

Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press) and nine chapbooks of poetry including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press, UK). His work can recently be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Trailer Park Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.


the lunch lady 
has a head of hair 
like Harpo Marx,
so I call her Harpo, 
which always makes 
her smile as she 
shows me her tots


I bleed silent music 
from my trembling fingers
unable to reach people
who became too frustrated
with this mess to help me out
of it anymore, but they can all 
still hear me even when they 
don’t see my face as it kisses 
the air in front of me, alone since 
my mother’s own crescendos 
led to her early grave, a grave
I want to grow too old and wise
enough to share with her 
and all the other brilliants kids
who never learned how to shine
their own inner lights to lead a 
more righteous path where they 
were no longer misunderstood.  


Justine put the music on blast 
and wrapped her arms around me
in a beautiful, after-work wine drunk slur.
She told me it was our new theme song,
a hard grit spirit to fight off the demons 
who've haunted us over a twenty year
friendship, and after not seeing 
one another for a decade where 
when we gained, lost and
got ourselves back up again, having
survived the good fight of hearts
unbroken, glimmer twins who come
from the dead every single time to tell 
the tale and wait for the fallen angels
to join us in our swank mosh pit,
no longer trapped in the gutters 
and slums of the blue collar world
we stepped away from.  She
whispered in my ear words written
in the same kind of isolation 
where the grim pallor of my 
melancholic grief caused my 
spiritual death, one I was revived, 
from that night when Justine 
gave me enough strength 
to start wrestling myself 
from ghosts who kept me away 
from her and my other friends 
as she welcomed me back.  

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