Curtis Dunlap: Two Poems


Kung Fu Disco

The 70s,
when disco
and martial arts movies
assaulted our senses
with an array
of ballet-like moves
and even a few of us
hard core, high school
Rockers in our
cheap imitation
leather jackets and
Disco Sucks t-shirts
secretly danced
a few steps to
the one-hit wonder
Kung  Fu  Fighting...

But I knew better
than to mess
with Ethan Harris in
a playful way;
the thought of
kicking, chopping,
kung fuing the air
around the sullen boy
with the wild hair and
olive green army coat
never entered my mind.

Kirby Smith
made that mistake,
pulling his David Carradine
kicks and punches
inches from Ethan’s face,
practicing his Bruce Lee
fighting yell.

showing-off for the girls,
the teacher having stepped away
from her desk.
disco dancer,
self-proclaimed ladies’ man,
budding kung fu master,
demonstrating his skill
at just how easily
he could dispatch Ethan who,
having sharpened a pencil,
was on his way back
to his desk.

Ethan grinned devilishly,
a hint of something
in his eyes,
walked around Kirby’s
flurry of punches
and roundhouse kicks,
sat down at his desk.

bowed to the class,
strutted back to his desk,
winked, grinned at the girls,
opened his history book,
felt cold blue steel
against his temple,
heard the .22 calibre pistol’s hammer
into place
and the slow
deliberate words
of Ethan Harris,
“You got any kung fu
for that motherfucker?”

Kirby’s body shuddered.
“I-I was just playing, Ethan,”
he whimpered like a child,
the fresh stench of urine
darkening his blue jeans.

Ethan laughed,
uncocked the hammer,
brought the gun barrel
up to his lips,
blew once at invisible smoke,
“You better go home
and change your britches, boy.”


ocracoke island

sunlight filters thru
the bamboo blinds
striping her nude body
with horizontal lines…
she looks like a sleeping tigress
and the sigh that escapes my lips
becomes a growl