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:

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

April 12, 2012

Happy Birthday!

When my son Connor was born - 12 years ago today, the medical staff at the hospital immediately put him under a heat lamp and inserted a tube down his throat since he had swallowed some amniotic fluid. 
About a minute later, the nurse gasped, "Oh my god!"
I looked down at my newborn son and he had grabbed the tube and pulled it out of his throat.
The nurse reinserted the tube and said, "It must have gotten caught in his hands because newborns are just not able to grasp objects like that."
30 seconds later, Connor grabbed the tube and pulled it out again."
"That's just not possible," the visibly shaken nurse said.
Since that day, Connor has been showing me that nothing is impossible...

Happy birthday to my awesome son Connor who never ceases to amaze me!

In Connor’s honor, I’m reposting a link to a poem I wrote about him about a year ago:

April 9, 2012

the ledge

young lady
in a business suit
sitting quietly on the narrow ledge
her feet dangling 
far above the earth
wind blowing her auburn hair

she looks down at all the 
people scurrying
to get from point a
to point b
she closes her eyes
and lets a sigh escape

up here she is free
she is removed
from her pain
from her disappointment
from her sadness

she smiles 
feeling the warmth of the sun on her face
she breathes in the cool afternoon air
spreads out her arms
and jumps

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

March 21, 2012

Graybar - pt. 1

My name is Graybar.  Graybar Morningside.

“What kind of name is Graybar?” a teacher once asked a much younger version of me loudly in front of my new 4th grade class. 

Unfortunately, I was always the “new kid” and had to reenact different versions of this scene multiple times in my young life.  I stood there nervously in front of the class wearing my brand new t-shirt and Sears Toughskin jeans, grasping firmly to my 3-ring binder and my Scooby Doo lunchbox. 

“Umm... It’s a family name.” I murmured quietly.  “My Grandfather was named Graybar.”

My new teacher looked at me with disdain.

Ms. Anita Stipple was a miserable, sorry excuse for a human being.  She was even a worse teacher.  She was only 38 years old, but looked at least 20 years older.  She was 5 foot tall and weighed 90 pounds.  She never wore makeup, always wore her stringy black hair in a tight bun perched on the top of her head and she smelled faintly like cat pee.  Her narrow lips were eternally pursed together in a look of scorn. She detested children and secretly loved to torment them.  She had no friends, no family and no lovers.  Even the other teachers avoided her.  The only things that brought any happiness into her wretched life were the 15 cats with which she shared her small house.   Her ex-husband, Stan, fed up with her prudishness, her frigidity and her constant accusations that he was cheating on her, had (several years before) finally decided that if she was going to accuse him of being unfaithful, he might as well be.  When he announced that he was leaving her and moving to Tulsa with a 20 year old stripper named Carmella, she tried to shoot him with the small caliber handgun that she always kept in her purse - just in case someone tried to rape her.  However, instead of shooting her husband between the eyes like she had wanted, she accidentally shot herself in the thigh.  The bullet had lodged itself into her femur and for the rest of her life, she needed to walk with a cane.  From that moment on, the children in her classes (along with most of the staff members and some of her neighbors) called her “Stipple the Cripple” (or just “Ms. Cripple” for short) behind her back.

 “Graybar…”  Ms. Stipple spat my name out like it was a rotten apple that she had just bitten into.

“Well, it’s not really a proper name - is it?”

She looked down and cocked her head at me like a crow.

“Gray.  Bar,” she enunciated, “Kind of sounds like gay bar.”

The classroom erupted into jeering laughter.

That small, stupid action by that small, stupid woman seemingly green-lighted several tortuous months of bullying that only ended with Chaz Fabiano screaming and clutching desperately at his bloody face on the playground one day at recess. 

That was my last day at that crappy school, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

March 20, 2012


so you think you've got all the
to questions that have
never been asked
floating through life
scattering your cookie crumbs
for all the ants to fight over...

i pray
for the ability to forgive
i pray 
for the ability to forget

i remember the good old days
when i was happy
to be just another ant
clutching frantically to any crumb
you'd drop for me
the days before I realized
just how many other ants there were...

i am thankful
for the ability to grow
i am thankful
for the ability to go

the good old days are gone
they weren’t so good after all
i am no longer an ant
following you blindly
while you float through life
spreading your 

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

March 9, 2012


My kids and I will be on a much needed vacation and 'unplugged' starting tomorrow.
I will return with new poems, stories and stuff the week of March 18th.

March 6, 2012

morning jog

dancing lightly across my face
the breeze whispers secrets in my ear

the purplish night starts to fade
as the stars looking down disappear

the trees rustle and start to wake
the birds start their joyous song

this morning starts another genesis
this day is reborn young and strong

sleepily i stretch my weary frame
i raise my face to the rising sun

i fill my lungs with the cool dawn air
and i start my morning run

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

February 27, 2012


i trip and fall
down the eternal staircase
of this marriage
my bones popping and snapping
like kindling
as i bounce and spin
and twist
i am a dancer in a grotesque 

as my body
comes to a stop
on the landing
my crumpled form is a symphony
of pain
i slowly turn my head
and look up
i strain to see
what unseen forces caused me to fall
and there i see you
standing at the top

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

February 17, 2012

crocodile tears

the night was hot
nobody slept
the moon was full
the crocodile wept

the crocodile weeps
an ache in his heart
for the croc and his love
have been torn apart

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

January 30, 2012

white wave

as i walk along the craggy coast
cold rain falls from the sky
i listen to the waves crash in
and to the seagulls cry

the icy wind wails the sad, sad news
the young girl has been snatched away
she left this world much too soon
on a cold, gray winter day

she rode in on a white wave
but now she is no more
she walks along a different path
upon a distant shore

thunder rips the skies above
the heavens cry tears of rain
the white wave has taken the young girl
to a place with no more pain

raise your head and lift your voice
sing out loud and true
the ballad of the white wave
and the girl that we all knew

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

January 25, 2012

her eyes

her eyes
sensual and mysterious
so alive with fire and passion
grab me from across the crowded bar
and capture me with a fleeting look
i am taken prisoner 
by those eyes
i stumble forward in a hypnotic trance
when i reach the eyes
i smile and start to talk
but they turn to ice
the eyes dismiss me with contempt
and turn away
only to latch on 
to another

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

January 13, 2012


the sad smile on your lips and
the tears in your eyes
mean nothing
to me

the half hearted apologies and
the irrational explanations
mean nothing
to me

my heart betrays my anger
i want to hold you tight
as i flirt with forgiveness

but the images of your betrayals and
the sounds of all your lies
mean nothing
to me

because the years we spent together and
all the love that we shared
meant nothing
to you

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

January 5, 2012


*Note:  This poem isn't meant to offend anyone's religious beliefs.  I don't want it construed as an attack on religion.  I simply wrote it because crucifixes have always freaked me out.  I don't know why - they just do.  I'm cool with people believing in whatever they want...

the man on the cross
glares down at me
i try and ignore him
and sit quietly in the pew
but he sees through my charade
as i stand to sing the
oft repeated hymns
and mouth the
oft repeated prayers
he leaps off the cross
and runs up to me
he screams
as he pulls me to my feet
exposing my lack of faith
for all to see
their judgmental eyes bore into me
how can they all be so sure?
he places my hand on his wounds
but still
i hesitate 
my questions
this manikin
this cosmic referee
standing before me

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh
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