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Thursday, August 13, 2015

I Dare You To Kick Sand In the Face of These Poems By Joseph Reich

Joseph Reich has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals
both here and abroad, been nominated five times for The Pushcart Prize, and
his most recent books include, "A Different  Sort Of Distance" (Skive Magazine
Press) "If I Told You To Jump Off The Brooklyn Bridge " (Flutter Press) "Pain
Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times Of The Man Sawed In Half"
(Brick Road Poetry Press) "Drugstore Sushi" (Thunderclap Press)  "The Derivation
Of Cowboys & Indians" (Fomite Press) "The Housing Market: a comfortable place
to jump off the end of the world" (Fomite Press) "The Hole That Runs Through
Utopia" (Fomite Press)  "Taking The Fifth And Running With It: a psychological
guide for the hard of hearing and blind" (Broadstone Books) "The Defense

Mechanisms: your survival guide to the fragile mind" (Fomite Press)

C.Atlas fig. #83


*


Somehow i have developed affection
for my threatening mother-in-law
seeing myself resting my head
in her morbidly-obese belly
in her motel room atop
hospital hill looking
out the portholes
waiting for food


*


Always loved the smell
of those ragged torn rugs
with slabs of seashore sifting
through the bathroom window
felt like an instant rebirth forgetting
everything that happened before and after
something to be said about the blessed middle


*


Those desperate older women
who used to pick me up
at the movie theater
and bring me back
to their cozy ranches
tucked in some surreal
barren manicured suburb
as if there has been a murder
and nothing ever gets mentioned
and just like this sort of situational
depression or denial would only blow
me in their silk pajamas with a fragile
glass end table all filled up with their
missing-in-action salesmen husbands


*


You leaving feeling
just as empty and vacant
guilty and taken advantage


*


We don’t see the dew form
and fall off the fragile petal
anymore but right around
dawn infomercials telling
us–“i saw the dead skin
just fall right off”
finding yourself
at a loss some
where between
the law and the lord
that silly pretty weather
girl with the small talk
and that very serious weather
man waking us up for the morning
commute with bumpa ‘da bumpa
on bridges and delays at airports
somewhere between the near
and remote future to make
us feel a part and involved
safe and secure souls shut
real-life ghosts former shells
of selves marching off to war


*


Rolling with the punches
staggering down some long
hot anonymous hallway
where the only sound
is the distant muffled
whistle of trains fading
away and you with your
simple holy and sacred
postcard heading towards 
some lobby in some heatwave
in some insane sleepwalking city
last in a chain of command
like one of those chain
letters like some long
lost ecosystem or evolution
or could even be apocalypse
as if that would make a difference


*


Palm trees
of decadence
poverty-stricken
roaming through
the most dangerous
sections eventually
feeling like buddha
without hope or fear


*


So poor surviving off
the greatest story ever told
and kool-aid without sugar…




C.Atlas fig. #77


Summer mantras in america:

 ~

I have decided for the next presidential election
they should combine it with like some reality show
like throw them all in the middle of the galapagos
islands just off the equator smack-dab in the
middle of the rainforest and see how they
survive and make it after couple weeks
time in the dense jungles or do they
most likely end up just finding and ripping
off water from some water source and don’t
even tell their female counterparts (then play
dumb something they got the market cornered…)
and see if they are still worthy to win our trust
and usually in the end end up trusting the females
so much more all america taking a poll to see if the dugger’s
should still be on tv after finding out he had a history of
molesting young girls wonder if ghosts ever get erectile
dysfunction or suffer from side effects like nightmares
or suicide ideations see where on the news how
one of those jumpy houses got sent flying out
of control into mid-air with the kids still in them
sailing over the park and then strip mall and then
ocean (wasn’t even on america’s funniest videos)
and the cameras following them like one of
those moronic tornado chasers wonder which
news team was the first on the scene with
exclusive reporting and if everyone ended
up just living happily ever after like those
action heroes in those video games or
do they call them movies? pretty much
the exact same thing just like everything
else in higher than holy heroic “let’s do this”
(just another expression they stole from
the black man) in white man america,

 ~

And so it’s summer in america and while on your treadmill in your basement
you hear about those fugitives still on-the-run from the clinton correctional
facility and believe they’re closing in, as bloodhounds are on the trail sniffing
out the candy wrappers (you wonder which ones? snickers whose commercials
appear to indicate that it can quell your hunger and turn you into a new man?
three musketeers with all that delicious nougat whatever the hell that is? twix
the only one with that cookie crunch?) and may have crossed over from
plattsburgh, ny over lake champlain to vermont (as always in america
becomes something of a comedy of errors where any two males possibly
spotted strolling together, whether staggering home from some midnight
bar or broken tractor become instant suspects or warhol’s instant 15
minutes of fame, while the news will instantly report any claims like
searching for weapons of mass destruction) any which way the kids
got real lucky, as all the schools got shut down and front doors of
houses shut, while the tailor shop instructor who thought she was
in love got cold feet and like some slapstick comedy they popped
out the manhole cover and she was nowhere to be found. last we
heard she’s been taken into custody, while they’ve taken convenient
pics of that g.i. joe swat team in all their stylish looking clothing
and gear and equipment and positions always after the fact
to make us feel more safe and secure about the facts
ex: in fact only in america do they find the need to provide
you the necessary statistics or demographics or infrastructure
of how the prison was created in 1865 and that the previous
longest escape was for only 3 days, and now we are going into
week 3 with the average or median amount of time of a convict
being found is in less that 5 hours all to objectify or placate or put
in perspective probably just to keep it all grounded and the illusion alive
they said it would have made a great movie
if not for the nature of their crimes…

 ~

One wonders if as a kid bent over diligent and meticulous
with your magnifying glass trying to burn leaves in the sun
wasn’t some form of acting-out or payback or sublimation
for feeling your whole life under the microscope judged?

 ~

As a reallife
runaway
life seemed
so real
back then
older women
trying to
pick me up
in misty buses
in portland
oregon
reading
biographies
on brando
and galileo
coming
back from
putting up
cubicles
in business
parks back
to the jack
london,

 ~

Front porch in reno really wasn’t much of a front porch
at all, but one of the best front porches i recall in my
consciousness where you’d conk-out with strangers
and hustlers and wanderers who all seemed on-the-run
and had something in common with a view of the sidealleys
and backs of casinos in the sweltering afternoon before the neon
went on and the spines got all lit up and the cookie-cutter drunken
schmucks showed up to make spectacles of themselves who had
nothing to say about life in general all in hi-fi stereo; pharmacies
with carousels of romance novels and you had to stick a quarter
in the slot just to go to the bathroom; all those glossy postcards
without having a single soul you cared to send them out
to, which felt like the best and worst feeling in the world
something thank the lord they couldn’t even begin to know,

 ~

Today i dropped my wife and kid and parents off at one of those
retro diners because just don’t function or perform particularly
well in those sorts of environments with alienating tourists who
thrive off following and came upon classic ‘americana’ with all these
snarling wannabe alpha-males looking and acting all angry and hostile
sitting in their lawn chairs with their miniature american flags waiting
for the parade to show up so they could have their pathetic, absurd
moment in the sun and wave at the floats and hope they might get
a wave back (live the dream; the american dream, the delusion,
and if you only knew what a bunch of hypocrites and phonies
and cut-throats they were on a daily basis, as it just felt like
the classic metaphor for america, simply sitting there with their
wooden expressions, passive-aggressive, waiting for some parade
to appear; these scum bags; the microcosm and machinations
and psychodynamics of the repetitive patterns of the vicious
cycle of abuse, overcompensating and trying to get approval
from the original abuser) when i finally took that u-turn and took
off and could feel that revulsion and nausea pass passing through
some token exclusive country club with its manicured lawns i found
myself fantasizing about hitting some schmuck in his golf cart when
he was crossing along the crosswalk (pretending like i didn’t see him
like he’s done most of his existence) and doing the perfect hit and run
(hearing and feeling every specific part of the hit and then the infamous run)
and interestingly instead of experiencing the phenomenon of feeling any sense
of guilt or remorse feeling this keen sense of relief and freedom and liberation
reflecting, and having an instant revelation that my whole existence has been
something of a veritable ‘hit and run’ and could actually only function and move
forward by acting-out (fulfilling the self-fulfilling prophecy) due at the time
to an impossible and overbearing authority figure constantly putting me under
the microscope, dreaming of being engulfed and eaten up and swallowed whole
by one of those angels with the flowing curly hair and blushing cheeks and
ecstatic smile pumping away madly on top of me instinctively forgetting it all
and knowing in truth and reality this is the only thing worth living and dying for,

 ~

Whenever it’s pouring rain
i love to take my kid out
through misty summer
mountains to the library
to go on the computers
and just watch the rain
pour past those
library lattices
yet today it was
one of those wicked
authoritarian zombie
librarians with her clipboard
and clock and signs on the wall
like some sort of nazi quoting rules
and regulations (why do they love
to do that so much as think they
are doing something higher than
holy and virtuous and for the greater
cause but clueless while ironically
slaves without an imagination or
original thought and such a herd
of fucken hypocrites full of
contradictions overcompensating
pretending to act all classy
with their fellow witches and
must be one of the nicest guys
in the world) but eventually
was just able to blow her
off and watch this gorgeous
girl couldn’t have been anymore
than eighteen years old simply
sitting there at the end of the room
at the end of the table all alone
like some soft blushing angel
just studying being pensive
and reflective doing a little
stretching and flirting and
looking at me every so often
i think seeing me as something
of a bad boy but nice father
with his kid and now at the end
of the evening in the middle of the
lightning just sitting back in my easy
chair i dream of her; the best thing
about lovemaking or lustmaking
was just lying there naked with
her in bed bullshitting with all
the bullshit and issues of people
off your chest and your heart and
soul finally open again forgetting it
all like some drug free-associating
and you think about that simple girl 
with the long chestnut hair flowing
down her breast and that sly grin
flirting at the end of the room
at the end of that table
in the library in
the pouring rain,

 ~

Coming up: weather
 ghosts

 ~

Horses transported through torrents
in the change of seasons
from dusk to evening,

 ~

Yesterday the wife and i were watching these three wild turkeys
who always just show up on our lawn coming out of the woods
and saw them very gingerly and cautiously inching towards
the road wondering how they were gonna do it and if they
were gonna make it across then they suddenly took off
and flew over. we had no idea wild turkey could fly,

 ~

Why i want someone like buster keaton for prez
half-crazed, athletic, malleable, all-weathered
with the melodramatic wind constantly blowing
through his hair on some runaway train, plane
or ship, well-equipped ‘cause always in crisis
or the punch line to that quip ‘trouble always
seems to find me,’ finding ingenious and easy
ways out of it due to repetition and experience
holding on for dear life, always seeming to get
the pretty girl in the end, all heroic and slapstick
as i feel absolutely nothing for our new old batch
of candidates jeb and hillary who are supposedly
supposed to represent our best interests, but got 
no idea and just don’t feel it and feel like i been
through this type of shit before, and back then
trust me wasn’t impressed; perhaps even get
his stepbrother w.c. fields to be speaker of the
house, literally nodding-out beneath derby hat,
strawberry-nosed, bloated, blush-faced, dozing
off off a jug of moonshine with one of those long
hilarious tremendous three stooges’ snores which
always seemed to say it all; his stud-gigolo cousin
infamous, self-destructive, deathwish d.w. griffith
for vice president, spinning on the top of his head
slipping and sliding somewhere between stoic and
sympathetic on some 76th fl. ledge on top of some turn
of the century black and white skyscraper looking down
on all of humanity really knowing it all, quick and clever
hustler, while ironically feel so much more comfortable
and better represented, muted, and with the sound off,

 ~

See where some punks from nasa
down on earth are getting a little
freaked out by some image they
think they see on the red planet
of some tall skinny girl with long
hair they believe might be living
up there alone and i think wow
pretty damn cool and have a
trigger of old girlfriends i once
loved and what happened to them
and leave her the fuck alone as good
to know there’s some tall skinny girl
with long hair up there keeping an eye
out for us poor lost souls from the stars,

 ~

Little boy blue
behind the blinds
hiding on the moon
dead or alive next door,

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