Current Occupation: PhD student and instructor at The University of Rhode Island. Adjunct instructor at Three Rivers Community College in Connecticut.
Former Occupations: telemarketer; farm-hand in rural Ohio; Rip saw and cross-cutter in a sawmill; steel mill; furniture deliveryman; furniture upholstery; warehouse at DHL and W.W. Grainger; janitor / maintenance in a nursing home; janitor in a catholic primary school; landscaping, porter, laundry, janitor at a hotel; laborer; private tutor.
Contact Information: Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, floor_plan_journal, The Manhattanville Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Janitor Hiding in a Locked Closet
This switch pulls the strips tight.
Carved Li Po on the back of my left
Could teach you these anatomies in the dark.
Could tell you about certain Eastern
poets who’ve died surrounded by millions
of tiny worms spinning silk.
Read these things: how to paint the sky
after a hurricane; how to untie four
hundred different knots; the perfect fold.
Rustling out away from here, adjacent
Wet wax basketball glides by my door.
I’ve worked for this family made of thick
skin & rock. In this building met Tim
who has an owl’s head. I was a painter once,
cupped a candle in cobalt blue, spread its X
across the lunch-room’s wall for you.
Place the nail overhead.
Fire in a circle requiem
Placeholder holds her old picture.
Leonine body with hair twisted
I’m paid to do it this way.
4 x 4 firecracker held straight for seven days.
Burning the edges until
they are round.
Nails overhead upside down.
From a basement the sky looks
You’re paid to do it this way.
Picture frames her body with my arm
around her waist.
Metal square there to hold the wall in place.
My arm wrapped tight twisted
I never meant. Didn’t mean to say.
I’m paid to do it this way