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Old Town Fashion Show

I get off the southbound track at Old Town San Diego
Station, which looks just like a toy train set under a glorious
Tijuana Christmas tree full of hidden goodies that I would
get arrested for playing in public with.

I climb a long set of stairs and begin to turn onto the main
drag, stopping to rest right behind a trio of foxy women in
mini sundresses snapping pictures of every random
surfer dude or seagull, gusts of air picking up slowly
until all three of their dresses fly upward over their heads,
their stunned screams catching my attention
and I proceed to lazily admire their multicolored bras
and panties.

they turn around to see only me standing
there and spying on their breezy lingerie fashion show;
all three of them give me six beautiful stink eyes
and as their husbands begin to appear from the bathroom around
the corner, I run like hell towards that little historic adobe
village overlooking the Pacific where I can hide behind
a parade of margaritas until they all disappear away from
that great prankster and outlaw wind that makes
fools of us all.

(Originally Published in The Mas Tequila Review)

  Kevin Ridgeway__

Anger Management

we all sit in a circle around
a table reading out loud from
handouts about assertiveness
and passive aggression when
the eyes of the kid tattooed in
teardrops show me
the hellhounds inside of him
who are ready to chew me apart
for making him look stupid
in front of the hot counselor
in the short red skirt
who is leading our group session,
both of us daydreaming about
fucking her, when all of a sudden
a woman in her sixties who never
talks begins screaming at the top
of her church choir lungs after
the recovering meth head spills
off-brand soda all over her
leopard print fake leather pants,
and she strikes him repeatedly
with her purse as her
eyes roll back in her head,
in dire need of an exorcism.

  Kevin Ridgeway__


Nepotistic Scourge

i wanted to start my own franchise
get married to my college sweetheart
have kids
and stand out from the shadows
of a family who splintered
into opposing teams

i fumbled beyond the altar
drank scotch to impotency
and took up smoking
on my wedding day

i sit here, divorced

sixty days off drugs
and i wonder what
my dead mother is up to
and if i should write
my father a letter
while he ages in prison

while i ponder another
bump in the lonesome road
and break every link of
these chains
and pump the gas
on this lagging wagon
toward a destiny
behind the fog of
this life to a corner
of time's sandbox
where I belong

(Originally Published in The Cape Rock)

  Kevin Ridgeway__

One Paycheck Wonder

the training video
said to turn away from
the meat slicer, smile
and show the customer
the thickness of each cut
for their approval, which
I did, but not only had
I forgotten to wash my
hands and put on gloves,
but the not even remotely
slice of Italian prosciutto
was a crude hunk of fat
pulsating in my hand,
when my housewife customer
mad dogged me and said
I had to be fucking kidding
her before she asked for
the manager, who sent
me on a break where
I went out back and hid
inside of a walk-in freezer,
sweat frozen in icicle
formations on my nose
as my nervous half boner
shrunk back down to calm
flaccidity in my fifteen
minute reprieve from a
part-time minimum wage
hell where the customer
was always right, even
when they were wrong,
so I lied through a shit eating
grin when I told an old geezer
who'd given me a hard time to
have a "nice day" before I
punched out of my final shift
as one of the only vegetarian
non-union deli front counter
boys in Price Chopper history
when I tossed my hair net on
top of a trash can of rejected
meat that spoiled my appetite
although I didn't have a
paycheck to buy food.

  Kevin Ridgeway__


I never thought I’d make
it this far. My habits were
so deadly and my will to
live in my twenties brought
me the closest to death
that I’ve ever been.
I was convinced I’d be
dead by 27 or 33.
But I even survived a
horrid 34th year to make
it to what has got to be
the most fucking boring
non-milestone birthday
of all, and I get to spend
it with a bunch of mental
patients, who will sing
me happy birthday
and drool all over me.
At least I won’t get
lonely, and I’m positive
all of the old people
in my psychiatric
program will laugh
when I tell them
how old I am, and
they will say that
I’m still a baby.
I’m more like a
King Baby,
with childlike
demands and
hissy fits to
prove it.
That’s what
they tell me
in Alcoholics
And well,
it’s good to
be the King.

(Originally Appeared in Cultural Weekly)

  Kevin Ridgeway__