Two Poems by Carolynn Kingyens

by: Carolynn Kingyens1

These two poems by Carolynn Kingyens are meditations on the passage of time and the inevitable loss that accompanies it. The stories we tell ourselves about who we are (or were) only get longer as we age and come to realize that “…beauty has less of shelf life/ than vegetable oil or MSG.”

Break the Mirror in Your Youth

I used to go without a bra once, too;
breasts – smooth and shiny as two eggplants
under a tank top, under the umbrella –
their stares, heavy as breath on my back.

The beauty of babes is currency.

But beauty has less of a shelf life
than vegetable oil and MSG.

Tony Tucci once confessed to me
that he takes all his first dates
out for Chinese food:

You know, he said,
those shitty ones with the fluorescent lights;

real, unattractive lighting.

If she still looks hot under them lights,
then I know she’s a keeper.

Fluorescent lights don’t lie like we do.

Today, I read my fortune from a stale cookie
shaped like a deformed pilgrim collar:

Break the mirror in your youth.


Coney Island

Tonight, I will blame
the oysters and then again,
I always have the rain.

It’s raining cats and dogs.
It’s raining bullets.
It’s raining men – hallelujah, Amen!

I want to go back in Time
where hope hangs heavier than the moon;
when love is hard as a fist inside the throat;
a time when real butterflies replace the redundancy of roller coasters.

Once I read a Heraclitus quote that was spray painted on the side of a Bronx bodega:

No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

What if String Theory is nothing more than dissociation?
Chaos nothing more than singularity?

I drive to Coney Island to smell the piss and pot
on the way to forgetting your name.


Carolynn Kingyens lives in NYC with her beautiful family. Her poems have been featured in Boxcar, Word Riot, The Potomac, Glass Poetry Journal, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and her poem, Washing Dishes, was nominated for Best New Poets by Silent Press.

  1. Header art by Arthur Robins. []


  • Marvelous poems by Ms. Kingyens and love the art by Arthur Robins. I lived in Brooklyn in the 50’s and my parents would take us to Coney Island on the subway as a special treat. It still resonates in my mind as a hallucinogenic melding of sights and sounds, a vibrant swirl of memory. Thanks for this.

  • Paul,

    Thank you so much for your comment.

    It still resonates in my mind as a hallucinogenic melding of sights and sounds, a vibrant swirl of memory. – Are you sure you’re not a poet, Paul?

    Try to come back to Brooklyn, and relive all those archived sights and sounds of your childhood. Coney Island, the last stop on the F train.

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