Kaleidoscope by Richard D. Houff


There were several pool halls
in the town, and our tin badges
kept a close vigil on them

Other than 8 ball or snooker
nothing much ever happened;
the occasional wise guy might
show up and flex his muscles,
but they didn’t last nor return

And I never heard crimes being
planned or drug deals coming down

And there were no girls playing
at the tables; the pool halls were
boring as the day before yesterday,
or the day after tomorrow
in our town’s monotony

I wanted something faraway
and out of touch

I wanted to see the world
and move to the edge

To put a dent in what was
or could be held close

Years later while reading Hesse’s Siddhartha,
the title character crosses the river
to begin his journey

My own enlightenment came by way of car
and ended with this cryptic children’s ditty
ingrained in my head:

“The bear went over the mountain…
to see what he could see… the other side
of the mountain… is all that he could see. “

And that pretty much says it all.



Richard D. Houff was the former editor of Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press Books, from 1986
until 2010. His poetry and prose have appeared in: Aldebaran, Brooklyn Review, Conduit,
Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Rattle, Sutter Town Review, and
many other fine magazines. His most recent books of poetry are The Wonderful Farm and Other
Gone Poems from Flutter Press, and Dancing on Rooftops, from Homage Press.

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