Where Do People Go When They Die? | Kevin Ridgeway

Image: Pawel Czerwinski

his lips were purple
and his breath was gone
after I tried to blow it back inside of him
but it blew my hair up over my crying eyes
as I listened for his heart and checked
for his pulse, a man so full of life
the night before, but a heart attack woke him
long enough to reach over to my bed
to wake me up so I could save his life.
I remained asleep as we both fell out
onto the floor in between our beds
his dead body pinning me into a rug burn
that did not heal for weeks after his life force
passed through mine and left me standing there,
gazing at him there in the middle of the floor–
done and over with and never again–until
I realized his life force found refuge in mine
when I heard him laughing inside of me.


Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press) and nine chapbooks of poetry including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press, UK). His work can recently be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Trailer Park Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.

chinatown syndrome – kevin ridgeway

image 3

I got so drunk
I thought the
the manager
of the Chinese
takeout was
my psychiatrist
and I told him my
recent symptoms
and he increased
the dosage of my
fortune cookies,
but I was not
compliant and
barely even gave
General Tsao
a chance to kick
in and my bags
of unused ancient
medicine left an
oil stain on that
that nicotine yellow
hotel carpet with
my other unopened
prescriptions for
sushi and many
other potions from
far reaches of the
world colliding
several stories
beneath us on
the metropolitan
island streets
that breathe dirty
steam we are too
weak to breathe
in as we overdose
on over the counter
bullet proof glass
medicine with very
unpredictable side
effects that make
us hide here in
search of the
healing energy of
an uncharted sky.


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Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press). Recent work has appeared in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly, Gasconade Review, The American Journal of Poetry and So it Goes:  The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, among others.  A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, he lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.

Top Photo: Khachik Simonian

SBGS December