Coleman Larkin is an award-winning journalist, a freelance writer, an amateur artist, a stand-up comedian and a cook.  He grew up in Pike County, Kentucky, and currently resides in Lexington.



In a Volume Sufficient


As a first-blizzard ritual the young father dipped his naked son into
the snow and the baby’s body was of such insignificance that it
fairly hovered above the white, pinkening, unable even to make a
mold of itself until the new sensation fired muscles he’d not had to
before and sank him, almost, to the dead grass below.

This all occurred in modern times and the young father’s neighbors
to the North saw him standing there like an Abraham with his legs
wide and his arms crossed, unconcerned it seemed while his child
floundered and began to wail.  They did not understand the ritual
and thought it an unheard-of cruelty, which from behind their
fences they more or less said in a volume sufficient for the young
father to hear.  And he did.  But still he stood there like a righteous
sentinel, knowing well both ends of the spectrum and maybe, some
wondered, that was the wisdom he’d hoped to impart.




The Other Paris


Their homes float like luxury liners on frozen swells of green, and
at week’s end they drift into town and dock their Japanese SUVs
and cobalt Beamers and their overkill trucks with calfskin insides
in front of historic storefronts where Mexican horsemen wait for
the working months, their jagged teeth and sagging pawn shop
sorrows imparting an uneasiness to the fur-clad women of The
Other Paris.  “Can’t nobody do nothing ‘round this place,” say the
men, because they are not yet accustomed to good old Kentucky
where looking is a bigger sin than doing, so they jingle the bells on
their way into the Alta Vista where their wives align pastries and
fumble with money they don’t understand but nevertheless earned,
and everybody falls in love with everybody all over again because
they remember how rare it is to find a soul that’s solid.  Especially
here.  Especially in The Other Paris where they only plow the main
street so the furry sailors might row home to their grassy Atlantis
while wet-bellied dishwashers with bad knees and brothers in need
of chemo treatments carry their cold discs into the dark and stuff
their cheeks with chaw, screaming “Never again!” again and again
and again, their hearts steaming away, leaving nothing but syrupy
reductions of present hurts and forgotten joys.  If there’s a god he
should bless them all, by god.  Their wrinkled palms are gospels.




The Cold Black Yawn


Sometime you should stand at the mouth of a forgotten mine and
feel the breeze from nowhere, the cold black yawn from the center
of the seed, and consider what I mean when I say emptiness is not
a void but a thing that can be held in your hand.




A Fountain Dedicated to Youth


James Lane Allen was plum full of shit and so is anybody else who
says things like “Kentuckians are a hearty breed” and that we all
love cornbread and that our negroes are somehow better than your
negroes or whatever the hell else it was he told people to make it
seem like our Commonwealth was an Eden and he was its Adam. 
On a related but still possibly irrelevant note, the other day I was
on my way home and horse-drawn carriages were lining up for the
night in front of wi-fi hotspots, the swept-up hair outside a black
barbershop rode a windy vortex, skateboarders cussed brick
sidewalks and a father dared his daughter to jump into a fountain
dedicated to youth.  He said, “Go for it, honey.  Cool yourself off.”
But she was already in there, her skirt a cotton lillypad emanating
from her waist and, come to find out, that idiot James Lane Allen
is the one who put that fountain there, as if being young needed a
monument to make it seem appealing.