Fall 2018, Volume 25

Poetry by Kevin Ridgeway

Local G

"I’ve been gangbangin’ since 
I was a juvenile,"
the high-wired figure said
from the dark over a 
chain link fence
at my friend
Don Juan's,
his face scarred
from acne
his hair cut
from a soup bowl
and his teeth
as he moved
back and forth
in Bruce Lee kicks
ready to ask
me what the
fuck you
lookin' at,
white boy?

Pretty Boy Slumlord

twitches to the side of his neck
when he speaks to me about
smoking pot while living under
the roof of his wet sober living
where people swig methadone
and inject speed on the side
but he gives me a fucking hard
time for trying to forget all the 
back rent he's never going to
repay me because he's got an
in with the big boys downtown
as he calls it, twirling his curls
like a fractured washed up old 
Adonis in search of new prey,
and he leaves with the pretty 
young social worker so I can 
finish putting my trousers on.  

She Was the Man

I followed my brother and his
gang of friends around, often 
excluded from their misadventures, 
most notably when they pitched 
a tent and camped out in our
mother's backyard in the 
spooky wilderness of blue collar
suburbia. I hung out with my 
mother in her red satin nightgown, 
her hair in curlers to remain 
beautiful for my father when he 
got out on parole.  The guys ripped 
a huge hole in the tent and decided 
on a night in front of the Atari
instead, playing Fight Night with 
a phallic cherry joystick, my brother
motivated to pummel his pixelated,
slow moving opponents after his 
friends teased him with a cassette 
recording they found of him 
beat-boxing and doing a falsetto 
rendition of Stand by Me, which 
I thought was the Holy Grail, 
superior to the Whoopee Cushion 
in its joy born out of all that is 
off key and wrong about the
sound in the world, our former 
blues singing prodigy of a Mom 
smoking her Marlboro and 
teaching my brother's friends 
who Big Mama Thornton was.  
A Mom who was cooler than 
her sons could ever dream to be.




BIO: Kevin Ridgeway lives and writes in Long Beach, CA. His work has appeared in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Main Street Rag, The American Journal of Poetry, Spillway, Plainsongs, The Cape Rock, San Pedro River Review, Cultural Weekly and So it Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. His latest book is A Ludicrous Split (with poems by Gabriel Ricard, Alien Buddha Press).