Casey Killingsworth’s poems have been published in Kimera, Timberline Review, and other journals. He has also released a book of poems, A Handbook for Water, (Cranberry Press, 1995) as well as a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). He graduated from Reed College.


Casey Killingsworth


I remember the

contestants in the princess

pageants at school

and the heavier

and the stringy-haired

girls in their back row

smiling over the crowd but

really dreaming about almost-

boyfriends until it hurt

in their sleep, young

women whose beautiful

round faces had been

stripped to only a phrase

that whispered they would not,

ever, be chosen, understanding

what the audience pretended

not to know until the

envelope was opened.

Life coaches

Casey Killingsworth


I’ve never been to a Tony Robbins’

revival, but I know how those

participants must feel. Once,

Tony came to me as my ex-wife.

She was inspirational at telling me

how to live my life better, to recognize

what the world wanted me to have,

how to be--here it comes--successful.

Sometimes I could even hear the

Robbins’ cheerleaders cheering me on:

come on, they said in the background

of this poem, you can do it. All I had

to do was sign up for the program and

my successes would have to follow.

Except when you leave the packed

auditorium and it gets all quiet,

maybe late at night on your front porch

maybe in a small town and nobody’s

there to cheer you on, even Tony,

who has left for another tour, then you

start to see that when you signed up

it’s Tony who is getting successful

and you end up back at your day job,

alone, wondering what the hell

just happened.

Two friends in Bend

Casey Killingsworth


For whatever reason my two childhood

friends ended up in Bend, a place


I have never lived. One just retired

from being some bigshot in some


big company and the other is there

because that’s where they place people


who no longer remember their names.

Sometimes I go and visit them,


the one to remember the old times,

and the other to remember the old times.

The Lodge

Casey Killingsworth


The workers at The Lodge

treat me like a guest when

they see me running

around the golf course.


I wonder how they

would react if they knew

I just sneak in to run

the trails, or worse


I’m just a worker like them.

I want to tell them

hey I work graveyard

and my boss is a piece of shit too,


but sometimes I like

being treated like I’m

a gold club member or maybe

I’m just tired of the looks


I get because of my car

or maybe just tired of how no

money defines me. I tell my

wife poor people don’t envy


rich people; they just

want their Porsches. The Lodge

workers never get called

by their last names and the jobs


they do don’t have last names

and we say we’re sick of them

not smiling when they greet

us at the big fat front door.