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

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

Dust, Butterflies, Rain | #NaPoWriMo

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Your first kiss had me dying
Your second kiss had me breathing
With your third kiss my walls fell down
All of me was shivering in tension
My veins felt like tightly wound violin strings
My heartbeats were an orchestra in my ears
You lay me down in your bed
I could feel where your body must have lain
There was still a soft embrace of warmth
The room was filled with your scent
It smelt like the fall of a rainstorm
I could smell the dust that is your daily companion
You lean down and kiss me tenderly
Your lips feel different now, like a butterfly’s wings
They flutter across my face, closing my eyes
They feel like the dust of the earth, warm and alive
Everywhere your lips land a circle of warmth begins
Your lips leave soft tattoos of butterfly wings on my skin
The night is cold and dark outside
My skin is warm with your butterfly kisses
A heat starts searing through me, deep in me clouds are breaking
I feel like the scent of the rainstorm has entered my veins
The thunder of my heartbeats drowns out my thoughts
The lightning bolts flash through my flesh, I feel aflame
Your kisses are now too gentle
I arch my chest impatiently waiting for you to lift me
My heart beats out of me wanting to pull your kisses within
You kiss my skin and I wonder why you don’t burst in flame
I think the storm within is going to rip my body apart
I ache and everywhere hurts until your kisses become sharp and violent
Now your kisses become lightning bolts
Our bodies fuse into an ancient dance filled with the storm’s rhythm
The clouds burst and my skin becomes liquid rain
The butterfly tattoos are drowned in the storm that pours through me
I cannot hold my body on the bed anymore, it aches to have you
Swirls of dust blind me and I enter the sun, purple clouds break within
My soul reaches paradise,
my body is heavy lying in your embrace,
the rain quietens, I breathe

*Published in “Lines of Light & Shade” 2010

*International Anthology – Forward Press

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Thief | #NaPoWriMo

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The moment our lips touched
I felt ancient drumbeats beat painfully at my chest
Terrible wild things raced through my blood
I died then your lips pressed mine
I became your creature that night
Death was sweeter than breath
Then you cruelly tore the end away
I was left barely breathing
You brought me back from the edge of this world
Life could not offer me the succour this dying could
I would have gladly died with your lips stealing my breath
Death would have been welcomed
I knew perfection in the instance you stole my breath
It is sweetest to feel the succour of being quenched
It is sweetest when you steal my breath
You opened my eyes and I glimpsed my edge
I knew then I was mortal, nothing more than a pulse
Your breath in my mouth shattered all strength
I felt that violence as your breath warred with mine
Your breath won and I was ready for you to finish me
As I waited for the drumbeats to destroy my chest
The violent music pierced my soul and I knew my end
Then just as the wild things threatened to carry me away
You pulled your mouth away and I could breathe
I never knew kindness could be so cruel and cruel would be my wish
The moment our lips parted
I felt the ancient drumbeats wake my frozen heart
Terrible wild things quickened my pulse into life
I breathed and your warm lips left mine filled with ice
You became my prison that night

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

? [ #NaPoWriMo ]

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When I open my eyes, do I see?
When I open my ears, do I listen?
I look but my focus is blurred
I hear but space drowns out all sense
Am I awake or am I dreaming alive?
Is the door behind me still open?
Am I allowed to step back through time?
Is the heart within me still unbroken?
Is the spirit deeper still untouched?
Who have I become and where have I gone?
There seems to be space before me
I could step back from the edge
And give in to all my fear
But the gypsy spirit within me shouts out No
Fear has no hold on this girl, I step out

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Drakensberg Triptych | Night | #NaPoWriMo

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I do not have a name for this feeling,
This deep wide open space within me
My eyes search for blood saturated sunsets,
My mouth yearns for the raw taste of dust.
My ears listen for the screech of crickets
They hear the rustle of grasses
My skin aches to feel the gentle heat of its sun
I see endless plains behind the veil of closed eyes
I dream of the acridly fresh smell of a summer storm
My spine shivers as the sky turns dark green
I watch forks of electricity shock the noon sky
And the ancient dragon cocoons into a blue chameleon
An eggplant curtain is torn open as showers of hard stones bruise the earth
Steam rises as the hard ground melts before baking
I fall asleep to an orchestra of sound and chaos
Crickets screeching, frogs bellowing, snakes hissing
I hold my hand in front of my face and all I see is a vacuum of shadow
The eye cannot measure the boundaries of this night shadow
Only the fireballs of space draw its shadow in pieces of light
These ancient guards of the night know the depths of Africa’s soul
As I know the untameable wildness within my African heart…bani gama lako

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Drakensberg Triptych | Afternoon | #NaPoWriMo

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I feel dreams cascading down the waterfall of my memory.
I feel the power of life terrible in its fragility.
I look inside myself and feel the whisper of sadness raining beneath tears
of joy.
I close my eyes and I am covered in sound.
I remember the strength of Africa –
An aged land that holds the key to the mysteries of life and death,
Love and hate, joy and fear, quiet and chaos.
I shut my eyes and see the brilliant white light caught in the forked
As the air crashes around me with the thunder of her power.
I hear the echoes of silence caught between the whispers of God’s heartbeats
Then Africa rains, freely and unashamedly she mourns the death of another day.

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Drakensberg Triptych | Dawn | #NaPoWriMo

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Lost in the mists of time
The dragon lies sleeping,
His hot breath forms clouds
Holding the fierceness that is his beauty.
Dawn dances over his scales
As his muscles ripple in harmony,
Her soft light touches each horn
And his heavy tail slides into sight.
The walls of air fade into sky
While dawn blushes in joy,
Her lips curve into a smile
Anticipating his wakefulness.
As dawn’s sweet singing
Fills the dragon’s lair,
His eye opens to gaze on her
With a passion aflame with fire.

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.