by Steven Kenworthy

we’ll run through the sprinklers
until we bleed the colors of the flag.

Betsy has our backs, and that’s enough of that.

we’re covering the universe with warm blankets and empathy
force feed you culture with concrete technology.
it’s deathly sexy revealing canvas stretches and new m-4s
5, 6, 7
we are not posing before black and gold polka dots because
we count our rounds very carefully.

we do not box. we do not float like butterflies.
on occasion sting like bees.

our glands are swollen
we need pollen.

mixing elements and pieces, we are stream-lined chess chemistry sets.
homemade science videos a proton next to this nucleus, and an electron
next to that. here or there,

during the county fair, or the Macy’s Day parade,
we show off our hope floats and safety sinks
we take risks like essential daily vitamins.
it is just the same to throw cheap candy as expensive grenades.
we’ve champagne taste, we are your beer budget.

ooh dissected love, didn’t you know how much you need us?
never say enough, this is the toolset you can’t give up.
we are falling apart
we are the stitching in the seams

we are precisely half of the reason why the Japanese love levi strauss jeans.

there will be pepsi bottle rockets coming off of our fingertips
we can sing hallelujah with hand and arm signals, and
dance to the inconvenient whistling of an overslung hero.

it is like a genuine rash being this bold but our minds wander
and we’d rather set everything on fire than sit back and watch.


Author's Note: for my co-workies...GUNS BLAZING.

Posted on 08/12/2010
Copyright © 2020 Steven Kenworthy

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by George Hoerner on 08/12/10 at 03:56 PM

This is really a very strong piece. I love it. We need direction because we don't generate our own and haven't had it for decades if then. Great write.

Posted by Linda Fuller on 08/16/10 at 12:35 AM

It's great to see something new from you (I've been in awe since Edna) - this is terrific.

Posted by Frankie Sanchez on 08/23/10 at 04:47 AM

this is fantastic. a step away from your usual. a vivid commentary on our consumerisms. i love this a lot and i will definitely read it again. nice work, boss.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 08/29/10 at 01:39 AM

So many great lines here. It stings, SK, it stings.

Posted by Laurie Blum on 09/03/10 at 12:05 PM

You already know this is a personal favorite of mine for many reasons! Your poems are always so Kenworthy! :)

Posted by A. Paige White on 09/10/10 at 01:43 AM

It is with great joy I am allowed to hike the heights of Worthy poetry again. Here, hold my hand while I recover from a shortness of breath at this altitude. What a lovely view, Worthy! You had me from the second line. Bee stings when you stop to smell the wild roses? How could this be? "we’d rather set everything on fire than sit back and watch"... Betsy sewed it into our banner with threads she probably spun herself. Bearing arms and hand signals of homegrown hallelujahs... Did you know I saw a billboard for a pawnshop/gun retailer in Kentucky that offered machine gun rental? I kid you not. Makes me look a little more carefully at them folks from Kentucky, let me tell you. Love this Worthy!!! Encore! Encore!

Posted by Becca Kinser on 09/18/10 at 04:58 PM

I definitely love your rhythm in this, the whole thing is fantastic. Wonderful job. :]

Posted by Christina Bruno on 12/30/10 at 03:54 AM

i'm not surprised by the intensity of this piece...i love the references and images to American cultuer....fabulous sk!!

Posted by Nancy Ames on 02/05/16 at 07:33 PM

this is so good, no wonder it is popular

Posted by Kris Mara on 09/19/18 at 12:35 AM

you cut through it all so vividly with your keen, powerful words/imagery/sounds...just as I was reading through your work with awe, wondering why I ever picked up a pen or plucked a keyboard to try to make a squeak when you're roaring down each page, I come across this jaw dropping piece...incredible....

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