By Kevin Drzakowski

Just like everyone else, I
played that game Around the World,
the one where you shoot
baskets from different points
on your driveway, starting
with the intersection of cracks
forming your makeshift free throw line,
then around the perimeter—
layup, then back
against the garage door, then one foot
on the grass, then the tarred pothole,
then the second sidewalk square, then the street,
and maybe the neighbor’s yard
to wrap it up if he’s not home
to yell at you.

Like every other kid,
when the light was fading and the sky
changing from purple to black,
I imagined the whole world
depending on me
making that final shot.

Sink it, save everyone.
Brick it, the whole world goes
up in flames.

Now, I am troubled
by scientific theories suggesting
all possibilities are realities somewhere,
meaning maybe there were worlds
teetering on the brink
between total annihilation and nothing
but net.

How many must I have destroyed?
Night after night, shot after shot,
running to retrieve brick
after brick, convincing myself
there was light enough for one more shot,
while, worlds away,
they cringed in horror,
awaiting the inevitable end.


Apples are like apples.
Oranges are like oranges.

Apples like apples.
Oranges like oranges.

Not to say an apple
cannot love an orange,
nor suggest that oranges
are bigoted little fruits,

but apples are most comfortable
when they’re among their own,
and oranges associate
with those who cannot rhyme.

But once in a blue moon
(your blue moon being even less common
than your reddish-orange)
an apple falls far from the tree,
neither red nor golden, delicious though it may be,
but with skin approaching a polished bronze—
an orange apple.

Is this orange apple not like an orange?
To be fair, an orange apple may be more like an apple
than a reddish orange, but an orange apple can safely be called
more like an orange, even an orange one,
than a red apple is like an orange orange.

And in this age of genetic splicing,
the long-established boundaries between produce becoming porous,
are we comfortable labeling an apple
an absolute apple, an orange
an absolute orange?

Shall we put the orange apples in a bushel with the red ones,
the red oranges with the oranges,
or the red oranges and orange apples together in some box called misc.?
Perhaps best to sweep them all up in our arms
and sample, letting sweetness carry the day.


It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day again
and all these arrghs and me mateys are
starting to make my throat hurt.
Yesterday was National Talk Like a
Normal Human Being Day, but
nobody came out of their houses.
Today people in three-piece suits keep pointing out
their parrots, peg legs, and eye-patches,
but the only pirate curse I have is for the parents
who named me Roger Jolly without ever realizing that
once every year fifteen dead men in a row
would poke their heads into my office
just to say avast.


About the Author
Kevin Drzakowski is chair of the Department of English and Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he teaches composition and creative writing.  He has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Missouri State University and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University.  His plays have been performed around the Midwest and in New York City, while his poetry and prose have appeared in such venues as The Wisconsin Review, The Offbeat, Spectrum, and Verse Wisconsin.

Read an interview with Kevin Drzakowski in our INTERVIEW section