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Prolific Ghost Fuel

Bob King

For Dean Young (1955 -2022) : Cor Cordium. And for Dobby, Jamie, Karen, Chrissy, Allison, & William.

The five -point palm exploding heart    technique, quite simply, is the deadliest   blow in all of martial arts. He hits you        with  his fingertips at five different       pressure points on your body, & then       lets you walk away. But once you’ve           taken five steps, your heart explodes         inside your body & you fall to the floor,     dead. One space, no longer two, end punctuation. The same thing happens       when someone who inspires you dies,       even if it’s been a minute or decade     since you told him so. The CliffsNotes version of The Remains of the Day equal, Wait! I may have misperceived the      people & values I built my entire life around. Upon. Inside a friendship                 I discovered a teacher with relentless belief in his flock. Transpose the last sentiment. The falsity of the exclamation point because only after we see it               do we realize that we were supposed         to be excited from the start. No do       overs & you’re out of mulligans.             And what the day remains are, are          the hours lefts after you do everything busy busy busy & then in the evening    you finally get to sit in your favorite      chair with that favorite drink & the cat that’s shitty to everyone but you & you’re finally present in that stress -releasing moment rather than busy busy busy. Maybe stop using busy as an excuse         to take a break from caring so much?     We all want to be a comma, not a full 8 stop, but in all likelihood we’re just   another unanswered question mark, negatively capable more than positive, more unpositive-red-squiggly-line,     unsure of anything ever anywhere.       How Microsoft Word now dictates mechanics, copyedits, & since Word          is now the lead vehicle in the parade         of interpersonal communication &          since communication is the vehicle connecting the battery terminals to        your friendship, the truth is now    algorithm updates are seeping into             if & how we tell those we love that             we love them—in a way they’ll always remember. Soon enough we’re all CliffsNotes, obituaries of longing.        Spoiler: it takes two movies to finally        kill him. A collection of all the moments right before the moment where everything changes. Dear Teacher, whose name      isn’t written in water? Woven through       it? So, we tell him. So we tell them.           We tell them in a way that when               we finally do walk away, just before          we take that fifth step, we remember,  they remember our earnest & electric gratitude for the fact that the last thing they did for us was to lay their hand,  gently & violently, across our chest.

+ Inspired by Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989), “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” by Coldplay (2011), Keats: A Brief Life in Nine Poems and One Epitaph by Lucasta Miller (2021), & Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything Was Different by Chuck Palahniuk (2020).

Bob King an Associate Professor of English at Kent State University at Stark whose recent poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Full House Literary, Curio Cabinet Magazine, Olney Magazine, Moot Point Magazine, The Gorko Gazette, Drunk Monkeys, JAKE, Paddler Press, Aôthen Magazine, The Purposeful Mayonnaise, Spare Parts Literary Magazine, The Viridian Door, Ink Sweat & Tears, Bullshit Lit, The Red Ogre Review, The Dillydoun Review, Emergence Literary Journal, Narrative Magazine, Muleskinner, & Allium: a Journal of Poetry & Prose. He lives on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife & daughters.

Diego Gonzalez

Bob King
Dear Sadness

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