An Earnest Exodus: Directions To One Final Humiliation

by Kym Cunningham

drive stilettos over sunset until you reach the golden city that’s sold winter as vacation from sweating concrete and financed armageddon in the brittle grass of self-esteem

find prejudices lying in the cliff-side cheekbones of broken mountain ranges as you breathe sulfur and sea at the world’s end

watch mona lisa smiles climb up distilled glass cages, suffocating from egos too super for transcendence

believe in religion birthed from steel crates and know even the palm trees are transplants, appropriating the natural by pacific-named parasites as if you could master by name the accusation you can’t shake

defraud yourself: inject death into sunken lips and seek life’s pretense in hunger’s denial while you gnaw fat from your arms and fry your wrinkles like dollar-store chicharrones

throw lizards into the fire while you hurtle towards words scorched in storm-cloud throats, mistaking the crow’s flight for the prodigal rainbow

choke on the fall of ashen fruit as you watch yourself watch others sell your life in passing pea soup cemeteries, your body pressed against other bodies inside penitentiaries too dry to dissolve your sins

accept it’s no use crying over collapsed bridges as you wipe dusty slates, leaving your children ripe with rags

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Kym Cunningham earned her MFA from San Jose State University with emphases in creative nonfiction and poetry. She acted as the lead Nonfiction Editor of Reed Magazine, the oldest literary magazine West of the Mississippi. She has received multiple awards for her writing, including two Pushcart Prize nominations. Her writing has been published in more than two dozen literary journals and anthologies. Her first poetry chapbook was published in February of 2018.


Wow - a flashback of dropping LSD in downtown San Jose 1989, a time sealed in amber and from which came out the other side kicking and screaming. Good stuff.
Rale Sidebottom, Nov 09, 2020
i luv this poem reminds me of a place i used to live!
Jason, Sep 18, 2019
Thank you Kym for sharing with us your interesting and twisty piece. I love the societal observations interspersed with the the bizarre, imaginative images. And the way you read it really brings it out.
Victor D. Sandiego, Dec 16, 2018