by Fredric Koeppel



“… the consciousness that my guilt is beyond question.”
Franz Kafka, Diaries 1914 to 1923

          When a couple of punks in their cups
          are beating the crap out of you in the alley
          behind the bar, for no reason except their belief
          in the process and a salute to camaraderie,
          so no hard feelings, chum, you feel each thud
          of a boot to your gut, each smack of the bat
          to your face, as rebuking your life of thoughtless
          illegitimacy. Not that this debacle is entirely
          your fault—there’s such a thing as being
          in the wrong place at the wrong time, but we’re
          not looking for a handy definition of history
          here. By the way, an Uber driver at the front door
          wonders where the fuck you are, and if you
          manage to crawl into the back seat of his car,
          he may whisper to the rear view mirror:
          You reek of fear and stink of joy. There’s
          plenty more where that came from, boy.

Fredric Koeppel has had poems recently in Vox Poetica, Bare Knuckle Poet, Typishly, Peeking Cat and Right Hand Pointing. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where he and his wife maintain a pack of rescue dogs, and he writes the wine review blog biggerthanyourhead.net. “Episode” is part of a sequence of poems that bounce off passages in Kafka’s diaries.
%d bloggers like this: