A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 


Kim Malinowski


Failing Romantic Relationships and Paintball


The correlation between paintball
and a failing relationship is messy. 
The couple wants to build communication
and team building skills, while trying to obliterate
each other with garish paint.  The whole thing
is about togetherness, a melding of identity.


The man approves of the “mannish”
sport—rationalizes the thrill of the hunt,
at a time when he is getting very little other thrills.
There is mud and paint and skin,
logical complications of bruises
blossoming on breasts and thighs. 


His pellets burst yellow and hers neon green. 
It gets messy.  They are supposed
to be shooting each other,
meant to be embracing
sniper skills and competiveness. 
Each score elicits a bellow of triumph.
And really, their aim is not so good
and they aren’t even playing by the rules.
They blast away, painting each other into canvases.


There is half a canister of paintballs left—too expensive
to blow away at some tree.
So they divide it up, begin their game
of hide and seek again. This time, for real.
Head shots, in the back, anything goes this last
fifteen rounds.


After the massacre, they wipe off the war paint.
His hand brushes her cheek, hers his hip.
The whole forest is brimming with messiness. 
After war, separation is only logical. 
They squeeze hands, walk to their vehicles,
only the bruises will remain.


My favorite souvenir is a finely crafted leather journal. I received it for my first professional reading.

Kim Malinowski received her B.A. from West Virginia University and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing Poetry from American University. She is currently studying with The Writers Studio. Her work has appeared in Mad Poets Review, Mythic Delirium Minas, Tirith Evening-Star: The Journal of the American Tolkien SocietyThe Battered Suitcase, and others. She lives in Laurel, Maryland.