November 2003, #11                          
Poetry__________________________________________                                                                                                                                                                Gene Kimmet                                                                    


Gene Kimmet was born and raised in Lima, Ohio, an industrial town crisscrossed by five railroad lines. He has held a variety of jobs, including foundry worker, service station operator, lens grinder, and salesman, before entering Ohio Northern University where he earned a B.A. in Economics from Case Western Reserve University and a Post Master's degree in Economics from Northern Illinois University. He has also done graduate work in English and Creative Writing at Northern Illinois University and University of North Virginia.
   Now retired, Gene was Professor of Economics at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, where he served as Chair of that Department.
   He was a member of the Governing Board of Illinois Writers. His poetry has appeared in a number of journals and collections, including SOU' WESTER's 40-th University Collection, WHETSTONE, and Spoon River Review.



           Pages of a manuscripts,
           thick-stacked like yellowed
           leaves, chapters turning
           repetitious now, the writers
           raspy voices hard.

           The words grow quarrelsome.
           Spit that strikes like sleet
           on dry November stalks.
           yet habit guides the hand
           toward some finality.

           Perhaps the ending is a Summer
           scene. Perhaps the print thins
           out until the letters scribble
           on unseen, like wind scrawls
           on the emptiness of snow.


            This year the cold is dry,
            no snow to hide the rusted
            tracks grown high with grass
            or soften grime of empty
            shops where stooped men
            walked at five o:clock.

            This place that haunts with
            cries of sullen thin-clad
            boys, is older now, houses
            grayer, shingles scattered
            through the vacant yards.

            I stand here one more season
            picking through these hard-edged
            memories in search of peace,
            but there is only empty slag,
            fused by fire, the metal gone.

         Dog Days

           Grass dies, mud dries, the cat
           lies flat on the kitchen floor.
           Butter runs, the cellar holds
           a sour smell, the river
           creeps deep in its bed.

           Our father eats his supper
           by habit, sweats a dark oval
           on the back of his green shop
           shirt, glares at a dropped spoon.

           At night we sit in quiet circles,
           shunning sticky beds,
           not daring games or laughter
           in these mean times.

         Memory of Smells

           Iron in the foundry,
           coal smoke in winter,
           the faint freshness
           of new snow, mud
           in an April sun.

                          UP                                           RETURN



Green grass growing,
rain scent reaching
ahead of a line storm,
sour alleys steeping
in the town summer,
sweat on a hot bus,
tar on July streets

and old Aunt Anna
who smelled
like a moth ball.

The Killing Of Elmer Monforts Old Dog

How fast were you going?,
Elmer asked. Not more than
forty-five, the Lutz boy lied,
fearing the old mans great
red hands, but Elmer only shrugged.
Get the other end, he said.

When the sound of shovels stopped
they rolled him in like an old
gray rug and pounded the dirt
into the wounded turf.

That night at supper, Elmer told
his wife, who sat in her gray dress
eating sausage and fried potatoes.
Hes been standing in the road
for the last two month, she said.

At sunset Elmer stood a
while behind the barn, and his wife,
washing the dishes alone, wiped
her eyes once with her apron -
they never mentioned it again.

Central Illinois

Everything seems surface here,
spaces roll away in soft curves,
repeating patterns, broken now
and then by spare oak stands.

The wind, unhindered, drifts slopes
of snow across the north-south roads,
bends solitary trees like compasses
that home on east, in Summer skips
tornados from the thunderheads across
these miles, splintering the barns.

You have to walk this land to feel
its depth, to sense the bones
of bison, the husks of unfenced
miles of bluestem, the memories
of men who held no written claims.

They are still here, deep
in the black muscle of this soil.


           From the book  'In Fee Simple' , Stormline Press

I wish to thank Jean Tolle for her generous help and assistance regarding this publication. G.Mesh