:: Article

Four Poems

By Ed Makowski.

Revolutions are Revolting

Modern art might take it personally when you admit
anyone could have done what you’re doing right now

sometimes history made the man great
because nothing else was happening

History class taught me how to deal with guys like Napoleon

America bought the Bikini Atoll to blow it up,
now we sell our daughters to bikini carwashes.

Revolutionary girls of that age write Herstory

I grew up in a place where watching NASCAR is a sport
I consider billiards an activity

it’s cute when activists sit around activating

Why don’t we get honest and call it Acoustic Breakup Music?

I used to date a girl who would wake me up
to apologize for waking me up
I’d tell her it was ok,
then get up for the toilet.

When you’ve got little to cling to, it still feels like progress
if there’s ice melting in the urinal.


Genetic Lottery

at the beach
with my toddler son
on my hip

we’re standing in line
under the shaded
snack bar canopy
for ice cream
when I hear a familiar voice.

I begin trying to place the
cadence and tone,
leaning my weight on one foot
then the other foot
then again,
the backs of heads
hair color and texture
how the bodies fit together.

I gradually recognize
the stance
of one of two women
in bikinis.
her gestures and
head bob
match the voice.

I used to be with her
pretty regularly.

Off and On for a few years.

She looks well.
probably better than
when I saw her without a bikini.

Except now
there is a
giant octopus tattoo across her entire back.

I look down at my son

a pitbull dog has caught his attention
and he’s pointing Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah!

I wonder how he would feel
if his mother’s back was an octopus tattoo.

I wonder
if someday
it will ever occur to him
his mother does not have an octopus tattoo.

We share a dreamsicle.


Turning off the Television

my little brother talked
about some television show.

I didn’t know anything
about the characters
or the time period
the cultural references
or why anything he laughed about
was funny.

At some point I interrupted him
said I didn’t care about
the goddamn television show,
didn’t have a television,
didn’t want one,
didn’t want secondhand news reports
of something I’d never care about – The same reason

I never talked his ear off
about motorcycles
or poetry or my kid or
French film noir subtitle fonts.

we kept walking
my pace grew faster
he didn’t say anything
for a bit, then he spoke
each word tumbling out
slower than the last.

“Yeah,” he said,
“but you


didn’t know what to say
but I stopped walking.


Working at it

Walt Whitman finished
Leaves of Grass
when he was
37, and lived

to be 72.

He spent the remainder
in between
coddling and pruning
that one book.

What an awful feeling
half-way through life, to know
you’ve already made
your best work.

Depending on the season, Ed Makowski currently works as a bartender, moped salesman, lumberjack, mover, and doorman. He has two books out as Eddie Kilowatt; Manifest Density and Carrying a Knife in to the Gunfight. Ed lives in Milwaukee, WI, US and rides an old BMW.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, September 26th, 2009.