| words that get in your teeth

The Usual by Ken Pobo

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I’m walking up to
the convenience store
wearing a pink shirt,
it’s suspicious, where’s
my MAGA hat, guys
don’t do pink, guys are blue

I walk faster–a couple
follow close behind,
it’s broad and narrow
daylight, they get closer,

it’s like this almost everyday,
walking while gay,
avoiding eye contact,
camouflage for an invisible
escape, maybe, probably not,
like the last time.


Kenneth Pobo began writing poetry on July 4, 1970, song lyrics in the style of “Crystal Blue Persuasion” by his still-favorite band, Tommy James and the Shondells.
He is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections. Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), Dindi Expecting Snow (Duck Lake Books), and Wingbuds (cyberwit.net), and Uneven Steven (Assure Press).
Human rights issues, especially as they relate to the LGBTQIA+ community, are a constant presence in his work. In addition to poetry, he also writes fiction and essays. For the past thirty-plus years he taught at Widener University and retired in 2020. Find him on Twitter @KenPobo

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