Two Poems by Kip Knott

Somebody Somewhere

           for Sam and Joel

Someday, when someone tells me
out of the blue that they love me,

somehow I’ll stop myself from turning
and walking away the way I sometimes do

when love threatens to blow apart my heart
with something too much for me to hold inside,

something like—but not exactly like—fullness,
something like an emptiness of emptiness,

something that I know we all deserve,
but something that far too many of us fear,

something that somebody somewhere
once told me was happiness.


When I Play Leonard Cohen the First Time for a Friend

Yeah, my friends are gone and my hair is gray
I ache in the places where I used to play . . . .
           — Leonard Cohen, “The Tower of Song”

She winces and grits her teeth. “Who is that?
His voice creeps me out!” she says, shaking
her head as if trying to cast out a nightmare.

She isn’t wrong. But she isn’t right, either.
Where she feels the unpleasantness that creepy
can cause, I feel the unease of someone

approaching the end of his life at the speed of death;
the unease of someone whose body has taken
over rather than be overtaken by its owner;

the unease reverberating like a cry behind every note
sung with a voice raw with knowing, raspy with regret,
yet somehow resolved to keep on singing

until every breath is gone and all that remains is
the long, slow, lingering fade out.


Kip Knott’s most recently full-length book of poetry, The Other Side of Who I Am, is available from Kelsay Books. A new poetry chapbook, Little Hiroshimas, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2024. You can follow him on IG at @kip.knott and read more of his work at

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