Two Poems by Carolynn Kingyens

by: Carolynn Kingyens ((Header art by Arthur Robins.))

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 –
all the boys’ 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
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, a stale cookie
shaped like a deformed
pilgrim collar tells me:

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 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.

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.

2 replies on “Two Poems by Carolynn Kingyens”
  1. says: Paul Negri

    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.

  2. says: carolynn Kingyens


    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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