Poem 301 ± March 31, 2016

Ken Pienkos
Three Poems


Side Street

Side street call my attention
away from the brooding mind’s
path of tedious Tuesday.

Tree-lined and linear as
kittens and mirrors stopping

the tension. This is how the loss wears
in a moment there, to a

side view open.
Relieving vistas,

and in its range, rather
strange yet conversant.


Hollywood Home

There are three to five riding
at two and the air feels

like there is no hurry for a few
miles, until after Washington Boulevard.

Middle school faces fill the seats
and the aisle with a post learning barb and the

air smells like washed chicken
skin and Downey, standing room only.

Hold tight to the skeleton of bars
that is the frame of Jonah’s whale.

At Fairfax and Olympic there is Union
Pawn Shop in Little Ethiopia,

Intermediate Algebra, Jansport backpacks,
braces and hoodies as the city roams.

You have been chosen the Immortal
Instruments, City of Bones by this

whale. Free STD check dot org. Fairfax
and First safety please watch your step,

pull cord for the next stop to Baba
Sale Congregation fear of god.

In Oakwood stretch it all the way
to the back of the bus.

Where have you been all of my
life bubblehead near Sunset.

Hollywood and Vine by the way of
the nursery take this whale dead-home.


Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone? – James Thurber

Look me over
Take it all in
The veins in my hands
The spots on my skin

See the spirit in my eyes
Note the power
Of my calves, lean
Well taught.
Life in the second half
I intend no surprise

See the spirit in my eyes
Then walk away.

I remember you.


Ken -PienkosKen Pienkos is a former public library director from rural Pennsylvania with BS and MLS degrees in Library Science and a 2009 Library Journal/ALA “Mover and Shaker” Award. He recently completed the MFA Creative Writing Program at Antioch University in Los Angeles where he is currently the Reference & Instruction Librarian and on the Management Team of the University’s online writing program, inspiration2publication.com. Ken and his family live among the potatoes in a lettuce crisper at their Los Angeles home. He performed a solo one-act at Skylight Theatre and joins Queerwise LA in spoken word readings. Pienkos has been living with HIV since December 1985.

These poems are not previously published.