How Continue Now Saying
By Philip Kienholz

How continue now saying we are separate from the storm
when it envelops our entire being,
sweeping away our vehicles, carries them off
          down the torrent of the streets;
catches our loved ones, torn away

We became grieving atoms in the maelstrom
                     each a contributor
                                      in our grasp for matter, for goods,
                                                 for economies of scale, for the caress
                                                        of that invisible hand of commerce
                                                              depositing products into our
                                                                        holiday basket

Driven before the drenching weather,
      tossed part and parcel of a reclaiming unity
magnified in awe:
                                                    alienated expellees’
                                                                                              ceaseless hungering –
and as we have turned away from the wild
it has returned upon us,
                                                                              saying to embrace me, to be with me,
                                                                                      no longer enemy,
                                                                                              now compatriots
                                                                                                      in field of relation

Vietnam Emigres
By Philip Kienholz

The man’s scream flags through the air.
Ragged laundry drying on a windy line.
His wife thinks of feeding gruel
off a banyen leaf to her unborn baby
while bitterness chews in her husband’s brain.

Nets of scar begin to enmesh us:
coarse and broken tissue as of rough fish,
                the two plus of them,
                single man of me
                listening in my Winnipeg apartment.

For two weeks the luckless one gropes blindly in darkness.
–by the bridge, a stray bullet fell among sleeping beggars.
Old bones rotted in a heap.
Crowds of headless
wandered aimlessly in the rain.

                                the soldiers came
                                          the way that soldiers will

                                              we were farmers
our village grew a little food
                                for us to eat
                and making sandals
                    to sell our neighbors
                      and buying weaving
                      buying jugs of clay
                      and selling sandals
                          long wearing sandals
                                    to walk from place to place
                                              we sold them
                                                         our village sold them

and then the soldiers came
                      the way that soldiers will
                      with guns from israel
                          o israel
              bought with dollars
                                                         from america
they put us in the church
                      all that they could find
                      in the church by the village plaza
                      put us in there
                          then dragged them out
                                    to die a few at a time
                          they dragged them out there
                      into the plaza
                                                         until all were dying.

–where the man’s scream is coming from,
through the floor, but not from
the suite below me.
The man opens the door.
A woman hovers on the far wall:
                                                         six or seven months pregnant.

“Hello,” I say, “I live up there, one apartment over.
Do I ever make too much noise for you?”
“No,” he replies, shaking his head, “No problem.”
“Well if I do, just come up and knock on my door and say so.”
“OK,” he says.
“Thank you,” I say.
He closes the door.

But the violently insane raging continues–
days later after a spaced-out jibe I shout back,
“Please! I’m a sixties American draft dodger!”
which brings a lull, a lull only.

Composure eroded I explain, “pornographic audio…,”
an investigating police sergeant
agreed we shouldn’t have to take it,
began knocking on nearby doors,
me being yet unsure which neighbor it really is.

The war nightmare slackens then.
The man falls silent through the floor and walls.
The innocent ones killed weigh less around our necks.
Beside the road the graves of unclaimed bodies,
a flickering parade of hired mourners,
in the torch light
someone counts the pennies
                                    a life is worth in war,
someone pushes a corpse into a grave.

But the cop’s warning does not ease the man’s pain and again
come waves of flaming children–skins scaled with tv flakes,
an overturned blue rice jar, exploding temples…

–that only in our farthest weather
a tornado’s edge may intrude.
And the whirr of a nighthawk’s hunt:
wired bullet at midnight as the bird swoops
like a jet over the black river.

I meet both of them
in front of our apartment buildng.
He says, “Hello,” smiles, and bows. So do I.
When I step by to go inside he
sneers and snarls below his breath
about the evil dark men he thinks we are.

Twice I met the woman on the streets in the weeks after they moved.

Big as a

house, a house
and friendly.

nuclear enigma
By Philip Kienholz

the dirt on the plow
has human faces
I tried to seduce the gay hag

Taller than me she was
and with skull face
half-fleshed loomed over

Why didn’t
you want
me yesterday?

I didn’t have it yesterday
I said
Today I have it.

changed shape and reason
between doors and disappeared
with excuses

Abandoned on
the straightened plot
missing herds of horned bison
and antlered whistling elk
the only gender earth
was tearing
from my feet

Philip Kienholz was born in 1944 in Norfolk, Virginia. Youth in Minnesota. Three years architecture studies, one year creative writing at North Dakota State University, Fargo. Poetry chapbook, The Third Rib Knife, published by North Dakota Institute of Regional Studies 1966. Immigrated to Canada resisting Vietnam war 1967. B. Arch University of Manitoba 1970. Ordained as Buddhist lay monk 1975. Registered architect Manitoba 1979-2006, Northwest Territories 2000-2014; registered as NWT retired architect since 2012. Married 1991. Most recently employed seventeen years managing design and construction projects for Government of the Northwest Territories. Permaculturalist since 2009.