January 6-12, 2014: Ron Kolm and Melanie Browne

Ron Kolm and Melanie Browne

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.

Ron Kolm

Bio (auto)

Ron Kolm lives in New York City. He is one of the founding members of the Unbearables literary collective, and an editor of several of their anthologies; most recently The Unbearables Big Book of Sex! Ron is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin magazine and the editor of the Evergreen Review. He is the author of The Plastic Factory and the co-author, with Jim Feast, of the novel, Neo Phobe. A collection of his poems, Divine Comedy, has just been published by Fly By Night Press. He’s had work published in Live Mag!, Gathering of the Tribes, the Poetry Super Highway, Urban Graffiti, MungBeing and the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. Ron Kolm has worked in many of the signature independent bookstores of New York City over the years: The Strand, St. Mark’s Bookshop, Coliseum Books, Shakespeare & Co, and currently, Posman Books in Grand Central Terminal. Kolm’s papers were purchased by the New York University library, where they’ve been catalogued in the Fales Collection as part of the Downtown Writers Group.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Ron Kolm and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Incident in a NYC Bookstore

for Anne Waldman

I’m sitting behind the cash register
In an East Village bookstore
On St. Mark’s Place
Near Second Avenue
Looking at a postcard
That’s taped to the wall
Of Anne Waldman, topless–
It’s been there a long time
But I’ve never actually read
The message she wrote on it.

So I’m kind of distracted
And I almost don’t notice
A guy duck into the office
Where the manager’s bike
Is chained to a desk.
I’m alone in the store
And I don’t think Anne Waldman
Will be coming to my rescue.

The guy comes out of the office
Wheeling the bicycle –
He must have cut
The lock somehow.
“Hey,” I shout at him,
As he approaches the door,
“That doesn’t belong to you–
Put it back where you found it!”
He leans the bike
Against a shelf of books
And walks slowly over
To where I’m perched
On my stool.

Gripping the edge of the counter
I look down at him. He’s short
And stinks of alcohol–
His eyes glazed over.
But he lashes out
Amazingly fast
With a knife that sinks
Into the top of my right hand.

The blade gets stuck in the cartilage
And he can’t pull it out,
So he simply lets go
And stands there motionless,
Like a toy whose battery has died.

There must be something
Seriously wrong with me,
Because I suddenly find myself
Lecturing this neighborhood junkie.
“I could do anything I want to you,”
I tell him, picking up the club
We have under the counter
And waving it for emphasis.
“You’re small and drunk and stupid.
I could probably even kill you
And get away with it,
But that would be pointless.”
I yank the knife
Out of my hand
And give it back to him.
“Just get the fuck out of here.”

He exits the store,
Slashing some flyers
Posted near the door as he does so,
Leaving me and Anne Waldman
Alone again.

Melanie Browne

Bio (auto)

Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer living in Houston.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Melanie Browne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Lady Named Dorothy

according to the news,
they left her ashes in
a cardboard box in
a grocery store parking lot,
when they called her
family they said they
didn’t want them,
and maybe they have
nowhere to put them,
maybe they had them
long enough,
on a shelf with little
knick-knacks, and
figured it was someone
else’s turn,
her life was finished,
the leaves had turned,
i think about heaven,
and a woman i don’t
know named Dorothy,
did she like Gondolas?
did she play the flute?
Did her laugh make your heart explode?
I guess we will never know.

George Clooney gave me a bad tattoo

I told him what I wanted &
showed him a picture;
an alien with radioactive eyes,
that shape-shifts into a falcon,
draped in an American Flag,
but he argued with me,
said it made no sense,
said it might turn out hideous,
He was so well built
that I could not shield my eyes
from his bulging muscles and
forgot all about the pain
he was inflicting on me,
he was honest,
"I’m kind of new to this," he said
the needle kept falling to the
ground and he was eating
enchiladas but I wasn’t worried,
it was George Clooney for God’s
Sake! what could go wrong!
Later, in the plastic surgeons
office, I try to explain
what happened,
they ask me to count backwards
from 10 and I fall blissfully asleep


we watch a robot prepare
our soft serve ice cream
and buy up
goodies at the gift shop,
including a coffee table book
about space discovery
and my son is having trouble
sleeping that night so I show him
pictures of an astronaut
but he is still dreaming
about the robot,
how useful it was,
how it got his ice cream just right,
with the perfect amount of sprinkles,
and I remind him a robot
can never retire,
can’t ever stop making ice cream,
can’t ever stop adding sprinkles,
decide to go
swimming or riding bikes
or let the warmth of
the sun tickle
it’s eyelashes,
“so what,” he says

The Baseball Player

Is waiting for his wife
to return from the bathroom,
using his time wisely,
he is chatting up any woman
he can find,
oozing charm,
he tosses compliments
in the air like spit-balls,
hoping a few of them
will stick,
he casts a long shadow
across the dirty
linoleum floor,
the women start
to giggle and toss
their hair,
one of them enters
a phone number into
his cell before his wife
saunters back on spiked heels,
a Faustian bargain
the young woman
will surely regret


Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: