Poems by Kenneth Kesner

Pic by Sharon McCutcheon


charts and voyages

between thoughts you might come across
a dedication
the type you see inside a museum or library
and wonder whether you should continue on
or return to the sunlight blue sky
that harbors cathedral bells for those in a plaza
or those on their way to or from
chatting about what to do next
how to spend their morning
once in a while when you sense the world
run into a breeze that brushes you aside
you leave yourself for just so long
almost steady enough to say things unsaid
we’re sometimes afraid of shadows
at least falling into them
as they wander about or stand their ground
images just like us somehow
we close our eyes and face the sun unaware
wanting to be seen waiting for them to speak
long enough to believe they’ll stay with us
for an hour or a day like this one


to breathe

so I walk along the edge it’s all I know
smile to myself

are they listening down below

I watch a September wind gathering
dream of shadows

everyone’s nearly gone

would you sacrifice forever
surrender for a moment alone

and I still don’t understand

who’s that turning around again
reaching by herself

close eyes balance almost done
remember to begin and end
learn of heartbeats count no longer

maybe it’s all she knows

what to think about a voice leaving
who’ll save it from memory


on occasion

you look far away everything turns into lines
quiet meridians asking where to go
you want to keep still reaching for them
is it disbelief maybe something like it
when you hear of someone quite close or
another starting to fade
somehow faced with the traveling of an hour
a sundial you piece together always too late
so nothing’s to be remembered
you might see those gathered on legend street
stand there long enough to finish their thoughts
watch their expressions leave as you go


isn’t that

she carries a smile she made
a couple of hours ago
wants it to last through the night
return home with it at dawn
madeleine’s that way sometimes
somehow you know
she tumbles into herself by sunset
reaches herself just in time
to lose everything in silhouette
won’t tell them anything at all
here nothing has to be said
to surrender yourself away
and the ones who keep leaving
everyday at the edges of her life
break madeleine’s dreams
where she belongs somewhere else
madeleine sprawls on those places
and won’t let us in


window sill

on a morning at the courtyard of dreams
near an exit you can see some visitors
posing for a photograph they’ll put off
for another hour or a day when they’ve time
or when they’ve gone somewhere else
some are walking forward looking back
wanting to be part of their own past
all too familiar to remember
they’re telling stories you can never follow
a zen drama but it’s nothing to talk about
near a fountain the last ones move in circles
mostly come and gone just catching up
they want to speak about tomorrow
i can’t always see their faces
but i know they’re not like mine
i guess their names not wanting to disturb
wandering in thoughts of hope and loss


About the Author

Kenneth Kesner has lived and worked in Asia for several years.  He’s twice received a publication award from National Cheng-chi University (ROC) and accepted academic placements through the State Administration of Foreign Experts (PRC).  He received but declined a one-year appointment to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.  Some recent works have been featured in Indefinite SpaceInkwell JournalSublunary ReviewSubterranean Blue Poetry, and Taj Mahal Review.