The King of Hearts is the Loneliest of Kings and other poems by Steve Passey

The King of Hearts is the Loneliest of Kings

Scars and Tattoos:
Every scar is a story; a tattoo is just someone else’s art, so
The King of Hearts rests on my shoulder.
He’s called “The Suicide King” because his sword runs through his own head.
It means something.
There is a red scar across the knuckles of my right hand.
My first six stitches, opened on some guy’s helmet after a dirt-track confrontation.
It taught me something
There are three stitches above my right eye from a car accident.
Dash met face, no seat belt.
Fortunate in a small way,
I learned something.
Right here, here where you cannot see, across my heart, from when I told her I loved her.
She said she loved me too.
She won’t even speak to me now.
I don’t know anything,
I don’t understand.
I probably never will
The King of Hearts is the loneliest of Kings


Unspoken in the Frame

Her mother was raped
At seven years old
By her own uncle, then
When she was raped she told me only that
She could only think about how
This is my rape, happening now
I look at our daughter and I think
If ever
Ever
I will kill
I mean it
But that’s a man’s response
Someone once said that rape is a woman’s curse
So someone should explain why that is
There is a picture of her Grandmother
On the living room wall
No one has ever said anything
She never spoke of anything
But I have to wonder
What is unspoken in the frame


Vision of the Rapture #3

I’ve seen
Kids with empty hands just waiting to freeze, on
January afternoons because
The power’s shut off at home, and they
Have nowhere to go
I’ve seen
Three homeless men walking
One fell down and died
The others waited a bit, then
Kept going
They had nothing in their hands
Where are they going?
The shelter?
Fuck no, they’re walking to
The park to sniff glue
I don’t even care
I’m just telling you what I’ve seen.
I‘ve seen you too,
I’ve seen you look away
I’ve seen you step over a man with no legs
Sitting on a curb,
Asking everyone coming by
For money to get something to eat
I’m not blaming you
I’ve seen it all, and
It is as God intended
How could it not be?


Black and Red and Blue

All my friends are dead
All my friends are black and red
They walked across a thin blue line,
They’re gone away now, for all time

Let me explain:

No, I can’t explain

All my friends were black and red
Now all my friends are dead.

Steve Passey is originally from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the short-story collection “Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock” (Tortoise Books, coming in October 2017) and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction. His fiction and poetry have appeared in more than forty publication worldwide, both print and electronic.

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