Kyle Vaughn



I just try to have this serious face all the time,
but she just keeps telling me to cheer up,
but what she doesn’t know is I’m really laughing on the inside,
and to keep from laughing out loud
I have to think of something horrible
like someone being flattened by a steamroller,
but then I remember this funny Steve Martin bit
where he gets flattened by a steamroller
and a little girl comes and peels his body off the pavement
and folds him up and takes him home in her pocket,
and then I think how nice that would be
to be able to fit in someone’s pocket
and not have to be so large all the time,
and then I remember there’s someone standing in front of me
waiting for me to say something,
waiting for me to engage in conversation,
so I start telling a story about
my father finding some jewelry hidden in a bag of nails
only I worry she’s not interested so
I start talking
about the bums I saw fighting in Harlem,
only I don’t start at the beginning and I leave out details
and the stories are all mixed up
and my neighbor just looks at me
not knowing what to say
because talking to people is so damn difficult


KYLE VAUGHN’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Poetry EastConfrontationThe Sentence, and Firewheel Editions’ Introduction to the Prose Poem.  His prose has appeared in the English Journal, where he won the Paul and Kate Farmer Award for his article “Reading the Literature of War:  A Global Perspective on Ethics.”  His photography has appeared in Annalemma, and his book The Children of New Light, featuring photos and stories about the children of sex workers and the children of crematory workers in the Kalighat district of Kolkata (co-photographed and co-authored with Breanna Reynolds), is forthcoming in late 2012.


Read more by Kyle Vaughn:

Poems in battistrada