Scoundrel Time

Three Poems by Kevin McIlvoy

Checklist sharpied on the inside lid of a hatbox


This crèche will make nothing happen when you take the fourteen parts from the hatbox and unwrap the news of ‘42 covering 1) the manger made of tongue depressors given to Grandmother as a small child for sticking her tongue so far out and saying ahh and not dying except almost many times later from her miscarriages. Unwrap the tissue paper around 2) Joseph & donkey & 3) lamb & 4-6) three camels & 7-9) three empty-handed wise men & 10) Mary & infant-cemented-in-crib. Item 11 is the model race car brought by her wayward grandson out of prison in ‘97. Hesitantly welcomed home, Frank introduced 12) the fourth wise man who wears a long, striped robe and is swaddled in 13) a hand-inked handkerchief drawing of King Herod. Seek until you find 14) the blue star-bulb that fits the manger’s roof-hole. See, Assembler, you have proven nothing at all by bringing light here for a little while.




Sharpied on a damaged MAGA car windshield


I can explain this – I walk our neighborhood with a pickaxe as company good for destruction or protection but heavy – this terror is an Act of God you could say if you were an insurance agent or arch-evangelist – I do not employ this weapon unless necessary – satisfying to use but unwieldy my immigrant grandmother left it to me – I don’t mean she was unwieldy or heavy or good for destruction or protection she was though before breakfast with my grandfather before giving birth before bar hours or night class before church or auto service or after a wedding or divorce in the family or parish wake or an election day or fourth of July – she never said to me “I have only this one pickaxe” because she had many – the note she left me said “B this here will come in handy at the right moment in history when racist religious fascists place themselves everywhere every school every church every parking space” – an axe a pick a long thick handle rough grip she taught me force precision speed grit – I don’t mean she was speedy precise a spiritual force a handshake or oak handle or pick or axe – she was she was though – “You will regret it if you leave any inch undamaged” she said – who knows how much injury can be done in a short while with the exact right domestic tool – Grandmother knew – I know – now you do too.




Sharpied under a mirror, men’s restroom,
Prairie Chapel Ranch Portrait Gallery


Hey George how about giving up your artiste life & going back to sucking Cheney’s dick in the oval office the third booth there where the crude drawings of you make your paintings look like what they are – portraits of you – every one of them – you’ve made how many now? – a man stunned wounded as still as undeliverable mail the smug mission-accomplished grin your grin the lifeless eyes your eyes your retractable slug-gaze wiped and redrawn and default features painted on every still life portraying how posthumous you’ve become – more than you have already been Mr. heritage-Yalie born-again ranch-hand commander – how many armless spine-blasted legless you-hundreds have you made so far for numerous commissioned exhibitions your necks and heads tensed against the same generic desert backgrounds? Murdering Brother I too am killed in lying night after night about what is and what lies ahead every Veterans Day parade – asking myself How many must I make to make this right?






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