Hunter in the Sky with Cordite — By Guinotte Wise

By accident or design he took his life

and turned Owl Farm to icon, Johnny

Depp and friends shot his ashes into

the sky and swirled them like a flock

of birds or leaflets a ticker tape parade

of ball-drop confetti that came to rest

on aspen meadows, thickets and on

the backs of leaping deer who took

it to the roads and threw themselves

at trucks in throes of actuarial herd-

thinning and very little thought to the

gonzo genius whose ashes rode them

to their own felo de se in headlights

grille and fender mauling endgame.


Deer aside, the wake is the thing and

this one was classic HST red white

and blue lit the sky and then the famed

flamed exitus flagrante in preplanned

thundrous salute a single salvo that

said I left the way I lived, out of my

way you bastards and a long cigarette

holder whipped through the night sky

slamming into place on the bear Ursa

Major pointing forever at Polaris the

star that guides lost sailors, writers,

bikers and artists, those voyagers who

step into the unknown with nothing

but their try, their lashed-together

boats of sticks and hubris to float

them all the way to Styx and maybe

who the hell knows, to Elysium.

~ Guinotte Wise


Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Southeast Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. A double Pushcart nominee, his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Santa Fe Writers Project, Rattle and The American Journal of Poetry. His latest collection of poetry, Horses See Ghosts, was published in 2018. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work is at 


James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.


4 thoughts on “Hunter in the Sky with Cordite — By Guinotte Wise

    • I will consider doing that. And I will consider that a compliment. Of the Quimbyesque variety.

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