Heritage: Kobiety- Timothy Tarkelly


I don’t know the women,

but I picture them strong.

Their names are echoes

of patron saints,

or famous travelers;

the heroines of cabbage eating people.

The men, though:

Vladislav, Vostok,



They saw men

on wood and linoleum stages.

They saw themselves

pulled by an aluminum bridle.

Men need nourishment,

even before the sun can shake its disapproval.

Electric veins course until lunch time.

Refill! Beer run!


under the gut and ready to burn

at a moment’s notice.


Time cards:

the analog tick of sore bodies

and shameful performance.

“Refill!” “Set them free!”

Off to feel the gentle ease

of tension being replaced

with expectation.

Which echo will they hear after dinner?


or the nymph?


Musical interludes

of sweat and fun abroad

delay the inevitable.

The day isn’t over

until vibrato folds to chemistry,
wife and babe feel the result,

and grow the bruises to prove it.


The drive —

we’ll call it work ethic —

to do it all again,

in spite of sorrow and having anything better to do,

is something to be admired

in a cutesie, but dark denial-laden fashion.


I guess I’m doing okay.


Image courtesy of Pinterest

Timothy Tarkelly has had poetry featured by Paragon Journal, GNU, Whisper and the Roar, Haunted Waters Press, Cadaverous Magazine, Poets & War, Cauldron Anthology, Lycan Valley Press, Fourth & Sycamore, and Aphelion. When he is not writing, he works for a non-profit that serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence in western Kansas.

Away Then-1Wise-Woman


Then, the day to day

All I could do was go


Fear clouded memory

Duck and cover

Mind fucked like

A ravenous lover

Leaving me helpless


On the floor

A sobbing heap

My truth

Should be a lie

Just let me be free

The shape of fear

The shape of me

Hollowed eyes

Skeletal remains

Unknown depth of violence

The cage that kept me

Isn’t enough to protect me

The ones who are stronger

Yell louder

Throw harder

Stay away better

They mattered

I could be that


I was tough


I couldn’t be that at home

Among the ghosts

Of a catacomb

Never touched by sun

Taking out my rage on anyone

Except those who deserved it

That’s how it works, right?

Find the weak, the helpless, the slight

And let them have it

Reign down on the innocent

It’s easy


It’s not you, it’s me

It’s my family

But you, brother

Where are you?

I thought we were in this together

I remind you of them

Of then

So you leave me


Standing in the middle

Of a battle field

We never asked for

Bodies cover the ground

And I recognize their faces

Fading and tragic

Lost in black magic

It’s almost over

The end of that circle

Only shadows for cover

Turned to dust

The cage of mine

Emancipated by rust

The makers will die

With tears in their eyes

Of guilt and regret

I won’t forget

Or walk the scar

Of that grievous history

I wished to be away

I can feel it now

As I drift out of the arc

Away from the dark

To the light

Of my own making

Changing the trajectory

Re-writing the story

Re-loving the testimony

(Image from Pinterest)

1Wise-Woman: “I am living, fighting, and thriving with mental illness and chronic disease and a need to express myself. Writing eases some of the weight I carry.” When she isn’t yanking shadowy strands of leathery clumps of unconscious, and tenderly placing them into word documents, she is creating at A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave.