October 19, 2015


the politicians look blankly over their podiums

they are hollow reflections of each other

their strings are barely hidden

the puppet master guides their movements from above

they open their mouths and spew meaningless words

the same voice coming from both mouths

the pundits and the fear mongers eagerly take notes

so they can later scream out why their candidate won

and why you should be angry

or afraid

the politicians shake hands and clumsily walk off stage

headed to the next debate

while in the distance the puppet master laughs

copyright © 2015 Kevin Routh


i live in this prison of fear

my mental straightjacket keeps me bound

the walls of this cell were built with my pain

and the bars are my insecurities

the guards all wear my face

they snear at me as i cry out for help

i know i must  break out of this place

and even though the keys are pressed firmly in my hand

i am trapped and cannot escape

copyright © 2015 Kevin Routh

October 28, 2014

oh say can you see...

the streets are on fire
engulfed in tear gas and rage
a tattered flag flies upside down

young men with no future
full of fury and hate
their anger threatens to drown

a reporter tells the tale
with an evil glint in his eye
in high definition stereo sound

a boy lies dead
his mother wails in the night
while the city burns to the ground

copyright © 2014 Kevin Routh

December 19, 2012


My awesome son, Forrest, turns 15 today. He is one of the best people I have ever known and I am very proud of the man that he is rapidly becoming.
In his honor, I am reposting a poem that I wrote about him a few years back:

my son

yesterday i held you
as the nurse placed you in my arms
amazed by your beauty
my heart sang a song of joy
as you slept

yesterday i watched you
as you took your first steps
amazed by your curiosity
my heart sang a song of joy
as you explored

yesterday i comforted you
as you said goodbye to your pet
amazed by your tenderness
my heart sang a song of joy
as you cried

yesterday i encouraged you
as you read your first book
amazed by your intelligence
my heart sang a song of joy
as you learned

yesterday i tickled you
as we wrestled on the floor
amazed by your silliness
my heart sang a song of joy
as you laughed

today i try to hold on to you
as you go out into the world
amazed by your independence
my heart sings a song of joy
as you leave

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

Original post:  http://kevinrouthpoetry.blogspot.com/2011/09/my-son.html

October 11, 2012

act ii

my muse has abandoned me
leaving me alone
in the darkened theater

my insecurities
and all my fears
litter the stage
they are the broken props
from this failed play

a lone spotlight illuminates
my naked form
lying on this stage
curled into a ball
i look up through the light
and see the audience sitting silently

slowly, shakily
i stand
bearing my nakedness for them
hiding nothing
the muse no longer defines me
i define myself

my scars and my imperfections
belong to me
my pain and my darkness
belong to me
my beauty and my light
belong to me
belong to me

now as i look out
at all the expectant faces
waiting for the next act
i smile and continue the play 
because the show
go on

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

September 11, 2012

September 11, 2001

Reposting this link to a poem I wrote last year about the terror and confusion the survivors must have felt that terrible morning:


copyright © 2011 Kevin Routh 

September 7, 2012


steel against her temple
beckoning her
pleading with her
sadness pain frustration confusion pain
no more
she screams
but no sound comes
a tear rolls down her cheek
help me save me love me help me help
one squeeze
one last goodbye

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

August 7, 2012

these women

I recently had the honor of hearing 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee speak.  
This poem is dedicated to her.

these women dance
in the dusty streets
singing their songs of sadness, anger
and forgiveness
these women dance
they refuse to be silent anymore
no more rapes
no more mutilations
no more murder
no more war
these women dance
as tears roll down their faces
no more children with guns and machetes
taught to kill their neighbors and friends
taught to kill their own families
these women dance
as they shake their fists
at the warlords
at the soldiers
these women dance
even though some are killed
others take up this dance of peace
they are mothers
and daughters
and sisters
these women dance

Leymah Gbowee

Related links:

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

June 28, 2012


her crimson cape
is pulled tight against her body
the hood covers her golden yellow locks
as she runs beneath the harvest moon
her heart beats faster and faster
she knows the wolf is close
she can feel him

his controlled, even breathing
and the sound of new-fallen snow
crunching beneath his paws
are the only sounds he makes
as he swiftly lopes down the hillside
he knows the girl is close
he can feel her

they run through the snow covered fields
predator and prey
hunter and hunted
suddenly in a clearing they both stop
as they come face to face
they both know
that the chase is now over

a cacophony of howling, screaming
bloodlust and pain
instantly fill the once peaceful valley
the pure white snow 
is forever stained red
as the sound of ripping flesh
eventually replaces the screaming

the two forms are now still
silence fills the valley
the girl’s red cape
and the wolf’s brown fur
are melded together
under the grey winter sky

the young girl lays in the snow
her once beautiful face and ivory skin
is now stained with blood
her eyes flicker open
she raises her face to the moon and howls
as she licks the blood of her foe from her ruby lips
she smiles triumphantly
now she will take care of those 3 bears…

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

June 7, 2012


she talked to herself
shuffling through the 
fluorescent aisles
in her slippers and
mismatched neon socks
her stringy gray hair 
was tied up in crooked pigtails
like a small girl would wear
she wore an old tee shirt and
sweatpants that had the word
printed across the butt
she made people extremely
by smiling and winking
as she pushed her empty cart
past them
she snatched a can of kidney beans from the shelf
and proclaimed loudly
to no one in particular
that she could not eat kidneys
because she was a
not a cannibal
she flirted brazenly 
with a stock boy
while eating a handful
of grapes
she then left the store
smiling and singing to herself
without buying

Written for the Thursday Think Tank:  Eccentric at Poets United...

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

May 23, 2012

old song

he sits alone with his bottle
and his self pity
on the musty
ancient couch
lights turned off
shades pulled tight
johnny cash on the record player
crying about love lost
she done him wrong
she up and left him
the lyrics and the whiskey
wrench his broken heart from his chest
he pulls his memories of her
over his head
like a blanket
and sobs
as the record keeps spinning

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

May 16, 2012


old man
sitting on the ground
he begs for coins
he begs for change
but people just look straight ahead
stepping over him
walking around him
so the change never comes
he begs to be noticed
he begs to be seen
but he is only a shadow
a ghost

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

May 2, 2012

the escape

timid footsteps
careful not to wake him
she inches out of her bedroom
out into the long, oppressive hallway
holding her breath
as every creaky floorboard screams up at her
her heart is beating so loudly
she is sure that he will be able to hear it 
echoing off of the nicotine stained walls
she inches past his bedroom door
where his drunken snores rumble like thunder from the other side
she stands in front of his room for an eternity
her small fists are clenched and trembling with rage
she pictures herself opening the door
and smothering him in his sleep
so that he will never
be able to hurt anyone else
but she doesn’t
she just takes a deep breath
clings tightly to her worn, stuffed bear
and slowly creeps past his bedroom
past his violence and abuse
she moves more quickly as she descends the stairs
she is sprinting by the time she gets to the front door 
bursting forth into the world
she is reborn
leaving behind this house and all of its
dark secrets
she now runs as fast as she can
down the gravel lane
towards freedom

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

April 26, 2012

multicolored raindrops

My daughter asked me the other day why I haven't written any children's poems lately, so I promised her that I'd write a new one just for her.  
This poem is for Sammi:

multicolored raindrops

falling on the rooftop

are they ever going to stop?

maybe i should get a mop

multicolored raindrops

falling on the bus stop

this crazy rain may never stop

maybe i should call a cop
to stop

little girl in flip flops

dancing in the rain drops

hoping that she’ll never stop

maybe i too will start to hop

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

April 20, 2012

pretentious twit in a coffee shop

if you gaze long into an abyss
he paused
taking a drag from the
unfiltered turkish cigarette
“the abyss will gaze back into you"
he looked at her with an
sideways ironic glance
his left eyebrow was arched
and his legs were crossed indifferently
he wore a knit hat
very carefully made to look
like it had been
thrown on at the last minute
the smoke from his cigarette
floated around his head like a
gray nicotine halo

“that’s nietzsche
he continued
as if he knew who nietzsche 
actually was
he gave her his best smoldering look
and then started to talk about jazz
when she eventually sighed and
turned away
he looked down
took a sip of his double espresso
and continued
pretending to read

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh
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