Three Poems by Luke Kuzmish

a hipster reads Bukowski


she wears glasses
carelessly describes her anxiety
as constant

she freely voices
her anger
at the patriarchy
and at the Republican establishment

she posted a photo
of the Bukowski book
she was reading

I asked her next time
we were face to face
what she thought about it

and she said
“is he gay?”

and I said
he just
hates women”

Jesse Says


this money is burning a whole
in my pocket
Jesse says

rather than spend it on
burgers wrapped in paper
or dope cut with sugar
Jesse says
he buys some pills

not the kind
you suck on
and then wipe the coating off
staining the inside of your t-shirt

not the kind you crush
in a dollar bill
and snort while you landscape
for the summer

not the kind you dissolve
under your tongue and start
to feel alive again
after 20 minutes
of tasting lemon disinfectant
in your thick saliva

the kind of pills
they sell
at the pharmacy
over the counter

the kind of pills
that rebuild your prefrontal cortex

the kind of pills
to fix the problems
they don’t tell you about
in welfare rehabs

Jesse says this
and that
but to me
it sounds like bullshit
the exact kind of bullshit
I fired off
when I was in early sobriety,
—too heady—
to prove
I was too smart
to ever be saved

the bullshit
that stopped me
from hearing anyone else

I want to advise him
to be open minded
but I’m either
too humble

Jesse says
when people say open-minded
that means
they want you
to believe what they believe

Jesse says a lot
but I can’t say
it’s all bullshit

Wall Street


seasons in this bar
the bartender sips her coffee
it’s just hardly 1am
‘nother hour to go

her straw colored hair
isn’t styled like when she was young
money won’t stay in her pockets
what’s tomorrow anyhow?

it’s in her clothes
the smell of wood, cigarettes, and rum
she makes the drinks strong
the girls look better when it’s dark

politics of today’s disguises
just wishing they’d change the records in the jukebox
bartender has no name
’cause no one ever asked

Luke Kuzmish is a new father, recovering addict, software developer, and writer from Erie, Pennsylvania where he was a finalist for 2018 Erie County Poet Laureate.  He has been selected for publication by Rigg Welter, Beatnik Cowboy, Poets’ Hall Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, Call Me [Brackets], Ink Sweat and Tears, and many others.  His first full length poetry collection, “Little Hollywood,” was published by Alien Buddha Press in 2018.

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