Kurt Newton

kiss the sky what the fuck I always get this Hendrix thing happeningwhenever I've had a few too manyguitar notes by the fistfulfilling my drive hometransporting me to somemindbent dimensiontimewarp sixtiesfree-spiritedfly on my sweet angel driveno cares no worriesjust me and the road and the nightand the crown prince electric telling me"there must be some kinda way outta here..." and for a moment I wish there wasand for a momentthe street lights grow purple halosand the white lineslift up off the pavementand scatter like startled dovesand I feel if I could just take my handsrelease them from the steering wheeleverything would take care of itselfI would rise up into the nightto kiss the sky but the song endslanding me hard like an albatrossthe purple halos liftas the radio jock eases me backand I take my exit hometo the world I've grown accustomand I tell myself next timeI'll call the radio stationa half hour before I leaverequest a double shot"Castles Made of Sand""The Wind Cries Mary"see how far I get snakebit my brother was sevenwhen he picked up a large garter snakedown by the lake.he only wanted to be its friendin fact he loved snakes so muchhe wanted to kiss itfeel the flick of its tongue against his lips but another seven year oldfascinated by the glistening toy-like thingpulled on its tail and it reactedbit into my brother's lipblood spurting like a rupturedcatsup packet when the snake dropped onto the sandsunbathing mothers screamedcorralled their infant childrenmy brother shouting"It's okay...he didn't mean it..."his blood-smeared mouthstating otherwise meanwhile the snake slithered across the roadtoward the bushes where it belongeda Good Samaritan in a pickup truckdid his best to kill the monster"Leave him alone! He didn't mean it!"my brother screamedbut the rev of the pickup truckrolling back and forthdrowned him out forty years laterin the year before my brother diedhe would lie on the basement floor of his home in Idahoand let a dozen rattlesnakes he keptslither out of their cages and find himthey would coil between his legssettle on the rise and fall of his chestnuzzle against his head and neckheat-seeking he had names for each onethe way people name catsWhiteyCrazyMaximusFlinteach one a storyeach one a gifta way of making up for that summer daywhen curiosity turned to screamsand a sense of wonder ended with death a year laterwhen his wife found himhe was in the basementthe paramedics were warnedthe snake cages had been left openbut the snakes were away in dark cornersmy brother no longer able to offerhis warmth Kurt's poetry has appeared in The Dream People, 1/25, Paper Crow, A Sea of Alone: Poems for Alfred Hitchcock, and Death in Common. He has written several novels and a multitude of short stories, but poetry is his first love.