KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 1: Fall 2014
Poem: 157 words [R]

Alpha Centauri

by Steve Kowit
We were down at the Hungry Hunter’s 
after a peace march, when Danny, 
whose passions are social justice 
& roast Cornish hen, 
starts whipping himself into a frenzy 
over the President’s lies, 
multinational greed, 
the Pentagon’s homicidal agenda. 
“The exploitation of anyone,” 
Danny says, lifting that small bird’s body 
in both of his hands 
& tearing a wing off, 
“oppresses us all!” 
& with that he starts in on the rape of the Congo, 
slavery in Cape Town, 
torture in Turkey, 
El Salvador, 
Alpha Centauri...
Ripping the last bit of flesh with his teeth, 
Danny says there are millions 
of corpses 
under our noses 
that nobody sees. 
& when everyone else at the table agrees, 
he shakes his head as much as to say 
it’s beyond comprehension, 
& wipes a trickle of grease from his chin, 
& crumples his napkin onto a plate 
full of bones & pieces of skin 
& leftover peas. 

— From Kowit’s collection, The Dumbbell Nebulla (Heyday Books, The Roundhouse Press, 2000); reprinted by author’s permission

Steve Kowit
Issue 1, Fall 2014

A member of the Jewish Voice for Peace, Steve Kowit lives in Potrero, California and teaches poetry workshops in San Diego. His handbook for writing poetry, In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop, is widely used. His most recent collections are The Gods of Rapture (City Works Press, 2006) and The First Noble Truth (University of Tampa Press, 2007).

Kowit’s book of new and selected poems, Cherish, is forthcoming from the University of Tampa Press in spring 2015.

[Reprinted in this issue: A Few Words about Steve Kowit by Duff Brenna, a micro-review of The Gods of Rapture and The First Noble Truth.]

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Five Skunks by Steve Kowit, featured in “A Poem for Commencement” by Robin Bates in Better Living Through Beowulf (May 2013)

The Prodigal Son’s Brother in Words That Burn (19 November 2011)

The Grammar Lesson, villanelle in Poetry 180

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