William J. Karnowski



William J. Karnowski




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William J. Karnowski is the author of six books including Pushing the Chain, Painting the Train, Catching the Rain,True Tales Hard Tails and Highways, The Hills of Laclede and Dispensation.  A seventh book titled, Sodhouse Green, is being drafted.


He has published over 90 poems in the Kansas Plus Weekly Capital-Journal Magazine and numerous websites.  He is a frequent reader at Classic Bean in Topeka, a member of the Kansas Authors Club and The Academy of American Poets.


Karnowski lives in the Wamego, Kansas, vicinity, near the unincorporated village of Laclede with his wife, Sue. They have three children.










Flat Water


Aging Adonis

Ghost rider

Parting the

Dark asphalt

Warping the


Turning the heads of the young girls

With the

Stereo of

His exhaust pipes

Seeing their


Cross their faces slowly

But then recognizing beauty behind an old manís face

He has this

Will power

To defeat

The wind and

Boar closing in

The air

Making his jacket

Flutter and eyes sparkle with defiance

It does not matter

Where he is

Going as long

As he is going

Shooting live

Bullets at the

Flat water to scare away his reflection.






Does the tree know when

It is dying of the seeds

That it has spent?


Does the baby know when

Crying, that his father

Pays the rent?


Does my family know

Iím lonely, when they are

Sleeping, oh, so sound?


Does my spirit live

Forever, when my

Body is in the ground?


I think, Iím going to

Miss me, when I

Am not around.


I hope, these lines

Are lost forever, and

Never will be found.




In my land

Of flush excess,

I only dare

And have elected,

To speak frankly

From the start.


Here I stand

My sweet princess,

I lay it bare

And unprotected,

So walk gently

Upon my heart.






Four steps sounding like two,

He crossed the frozen lake.

He howled his presence known,

And entered the fallen brake.


The air had bite of blade.

Ice stole its ride unwanted.

His belly only wished a morsel,

And speared him as he hunted.


Three cries, then silence.

He ate without a whimper.

Sleep dragged away his senses,

And hid this night of winter.


A snarl tore his eyes wide open.

Two fires of hate and welcome.

The bear had no pride, nor thanks

Nor question of a bum.


In the pink of black of morning,

Yet, silence of the night,

He knew there was no health

In staying for a fight.


Four steps sounding like two,

He left the fallen brake.

He howled his presence known,

And crossed the frozen lake.









All poetry on this page
© b
y William J. Karnowski, 2006 


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