December 28, 2015 – January 3, 2016: Len Kuntz and Gayle Bell


Len Kuntz and Gayle Bell

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Len Kuntz
lenk98290@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Len Kuntz is a writer from Snohomish, Washington and an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans. His story collection, "The Dark Sunshine," debuted from Connotation Press in 2014. You can also find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com

The following work is Copyright © 2015, and owned by Len Kuntz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Executor of the Will

Bills keep coming through the mail
for my dead father.
They remind me of carpenter ants dancing drunkenly in the sun.
The bank doesn’t want to go without.
The insurance company can’t stand to go without.
Every institution is ravenous and desperate.
You can smell impatience on the envelopes,
a frayed corner here,
a blood smear there.
But it’s not just them.
After we’d buried him,
interested parties kept telling me,
“I know you’ll be fair,”
as if I know what the hell that means,
as if I’m Bruce Almighty
or the new pope.
I’m telling you,
people are really hungry.
They haven’t eaten in years.
Someone wants to swallow a car,
the other a rifle,
or guitar,
a shiny set of Allen wrenches.
What I think I’ll do is push it all into a pile–
the collection notices
and Peterbuilts,
the pyramid of rusted beer cans
as well as every sin I’ve ever seen.
I’ll burn it all,
throwing Dad’s will in last.
I bet that ash
is going to be the most beautiful ash in the world,
wafting in in the air like a flock of gold coins
just out of reach.
If I can,
I’ll take a picture for you.


True Detective

We carry the casket hip high,
all of us looking forward,
not wanting to trip
or speak or make eye contact,
old feuds quashed by the death of our father,
and a brother,
all in one week.
In a nearby tree
three black birds list on a limb,
watching us with their necks craned
as if we’re the most interesting TV show ever,
True Detective, maybe,
maybe not,
who knows?
We set the casket on rollers
and it aligns perfectly,
the only perfect thing I’ve ever seen
in our family’s imperfect past.
The pastor asks if anyone would like to say a few words
while we stare at our shoes
and the birds fly away soundlessly,
too frightened to hear
what we might confess.


Therapy

My brother started grass fires
the summer he realized there was no way out,
no proper future,
our future sutured by the past,
time stuck in quicksand
He burned acres
while cackling like a demon.
Head raised toward heaven,
he shouted, “How about them apples?”
The police showed up at our trailer
A few hours later–
serious, and unfriendly men
with badges and warrants–
but my brother had run away by then
with Mom saying, “Good riddance.”
My therapist runs a pen tip along his lower lip,
eyes narrowed to slits.
“And how did that make you feel?” he asks.

 

 



Gayle Bell
taurusdagger@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Gayle Bell’s work has been featured in numerous anthologies. In 2013-2014 She was a co-docent for “My Immovable Truth-A Dallas Lineage”. She facilitated her and other GLBTQY’s oral history and performance, sponsored by (MAP-Make Art With Purpose) and displayed at the African American Museum in Dallas, Texas..

The following work is Copyright © 2015, and owned by Gayle Bell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Afterword’s and Beyond

This is the definitive soundtrack
for the life and  times of Gayle ‘lefty’ Bell. 
57 years the dust still hasn’t settled. 
my inner Gayle’s seated at my honors table
praised for their resiliency,
cunning smart/toughness
couldn’t/wouldn’t break
walk with dignity
through dese streets so mean
so mad
Fela Soul DeLaSoul Fela Kuti
wild out music revolutionary
on the make/semi retired
loving me immovable
put the panty drop song on
sway on the tip
sway on my thigh
sway my body
sip my lemon tea lime
subversive head
LaWanda Page listening to Wolfgang Mozart
listening to it pierce the morrow of my heart
Luna sweet like my AfroCuban Soul
big leg hot water sweet potato
honey sticks smokin hot
laughing at the shadows
big 6 deuces
twenty twins
snapping snapping
I dance the pain out
I dance the pain out