Bill Kinsella Died Today

by Axel Howerton


Bill Kinsella died today

leaving, as he always did,

when he was damned good and ready

It broke my heart a little to hear it

little cracks forming, splitting, glowing red from underneath

at the idea that he chose to leave us behind

Those cracks were already forming

the last time I saw him

tall and thin as ever

paper thin and faded like an old page

more crooked and folded and dog-eared than I remembered

Bill told me he was tired

worn through

and I nodded, as one does

as if I knew the weight of the years he’d lived

Bill taught me

A long time ago

about the Music of Words

about the Magic that glows behind Life

and Baseball

and Brautigan

Bill taught me about Love and Loss

about Moonlight

and the hanging curve

and the terrible joy of hitting it square on

Bill wrote stories of regret and redemption

and the writerly things about writers

because that’s what he was


He took me on trips to Frank Pierce, Iowa

and Hobbema and Vegreville

and the weird back rooms of Vancouver

I rode with him across pages

from our own hometown in Alberta

to the jungles of Courteguay

where voodoo chiropractors turn out iron-armed infielders

and Dennys Kelly turned into a wolf

Bill showed me the world

with all of its cracks

and the Magic glowing red underneath

the hot stuff

and the thundering tempo

and the seventh-inning stretch when we all get to look

and feel the heat on our face

Adios, Teach

Enjoy the next game

and save me a seat

  • For Bill 9/17/2016

Bitter Congratualtions

FB_IMG_1455469104587This Valentine’s Day, I’m happy to report I’m in a healthy, loving relationship. But it took a lot of bad experiences to get here.
For A.F. Stuart’s Bloody Valentine Horror Event, I’m going to share an old poem, on the theme of Bad Love. Taken from my latest book, The Love Poems, here is one I call Bitter Congratulations:

I have a lot of reasons to still be bitter against you
As far as I see it
You did a lot of wrong to me
No matter how much you try and deny it
But one thing that boils my blood
Causes anger for myself to rise up in my chest
More so than fury for you
Is that you dug a little too deeply
So far I can’t scratch you out
Your name is hidden in crevices in my soul
Never to be spoken about
Never acknowledged in the light of day
Yet still there To slip out in the most private moments
On the tip of my tongue
At the pinnacle of losing control
It comes out
Those two little syllables
Riding the crest of the wave of my ecstasy
Tarnishing it
Like you tarnished my life
You’ve ruined me


Oppressive heat of the high Devil sun

Fire breaching sky

-Everything ends as dust-

Vast and eternal ocean of sand

Bone white planet

-The endless death of passing Time-

No creatures breathe this salted air

No heartbeats quiet

-The scorching winds of hateful Gods-

Gods that were once men

Ghosts made of dust

-Casting shadows on the deserts they have made-

© 2013 Axel Howerton

Originally published in “Night Shade” Volume One

Little Bird Publishing House, 2013

Cold Sunrise

Black thought pierces night

Summer dreams turned red with blood

Dead lips pull at heart

Pumping for the hunger-beast

and left spent to a cold sunrise

© 2013 Axel Howerton

Originally published in “Night Shade” Volume One

Little Bird Publishing House, 2013

A. U.

I wish I could know what it’s like
To live a life, in which:
My parents loved each other
And my siblings were not strangers
Where people didn’t shoot other people in the streets
While yet more people shrugged and denied there was a problem
I wish I could know a world
Where bad things didn’t happen
But it eases my soul, a little
To know that I’m not alone anymore
And that I don’t have to face any of life’s harsh realities without you
I’m glad to know our children
(Whether they be human or feline)
Will have certainty of their parent’s love
And that they will, at least, see some good in the world
For all the badness, I’ve got just enough hope to get me through

Fury Road

On the edge of the precipice
and stared into the desert
Shall all the eyes turn
or watch the world burn?

Inhaled the diesel fuel, the oil;
fire smoked beyond the sands
Shall all the eyes turn
to watch the world burn?

Primal scream shook the land,
madness snaked into the brain
Shall all the eyes turn
and watch the world burn?

© All Rights Reserved A. F. Stewart