Three Poems by Kevin Chesser


A tough old crawler
leaking prison ink –

full of blown apart babies’
dolls and muttering bricks.

Pulls mountain and moon
out of the opiate ditch

of the past, re-stacks them
for the re-ribbon cutting.

As ugly as the world is full
of specters and trash. Here to help

you move out of hell and back
in with your parents.

Wise old birds, should’ve
listened to them the first time.

When it pulls up next to you
in the diamond dark,

your tongue lolls
and you climb in.

When you put your hand
on the wheel, you can see

the back of your head
with the backs of your eyes.


Oh my god, it was
a good painting.

The man and the woman and the cat and the barn and the lightning.

I stood in front of it for a long time,
let it consume me – heart
to heart, face to foot.

Lost in the air there,
I was sure I would never
ever go back to my own man
woman cat barn or lightning.

But when the feeling began to fade,
when the lift lifted,
I saw my man,

his eyes deader than pebbles.

Saw my woman, her face some rotten pancake batter.
Saw my cat, the infinite hellscape of his tongue.
Saw my barn sinking, O irrevocably sinking.
Saw my lightning, making the sky darker.

When I saw them, I turned to no one and said

I am so far from home and these are real tears.


The pilot takes some interesting and expensive medication to help him be a better pilot,
soaring through the air blood vessels exploding cockpit rattling sun dropping
its odorless tasteless petals into the winter oceans above and below.
Something sticky in his memory, the winding mountain path
of his memory covered in evil goo. Look at him,
this wrung-out pathetic failure doesn’t
even fantasize about killing
the same person
every night.

Image: Burnt Canvas I, 1973, Joan Miro


Kevin Chesser is a poet and musician living in Elkins, West Virginia. His poems have appeared in Hobart, Still, Empty House Press, Dinner Bell, and elsewhere. He’s toured all over West Virginia & the upper south with the Travelin' Appalachians Revue arts collective, and holds an MFA in poetry from West Virginia Wesleyan College.