You are tracking a veery
you realize you have always been
after the singing near the excellent sea
excruciating reflection of the sun
on the water & you staring
at an oblique tree after a trill—
The sea never mattered. Your friend
last night said the coast was the only
reason she could stand as she stood
under a tree smoking, & you looked
behind her at a grafted branch
braced & tied to a driftwood splint
as if it could heal
or maybe since it never will.
You aren’t listening,
Listening never mattered, only
standing under a broken limb
as she talked about some other boy.
Somehow you all manage to be friends
though she used to get blitzed
& kiss you. Never sober.
You love her. You love veeries. inchworms.
Why? The bird illuminating the tree
the bug folding & pressing until
if wind conditions, if travel plans,
the weather cooperating just right.
Then the veery bolts over the sound,
unimpressive to look at, sure,
but tugging long after you lose sight.
Joey Gould is a poet, produce clerk, & educator living in a town called Hopedale. He is a longstanding contributor to Mass Poetry & Mass Leap efforts, writing for Masspoetry.org, leading workshops for Student Day of Poetry events, & helping to coordinate every Massachusetts Poetry Festival since 2011. You'll probably bump into him if you're headed to a Mass Audubon sanctuary.
I have never slaughtered a pig.
My hands, though slathered with a sheen
Of melted flesh, are swiftly cleaned
With a simple paper towel.
The cottonwood trees watch. Whisper. A
lyrical business, theirs. Bored by the Wind
River, they turn toward the termite-nibbled
The Pacific begs me to swim away, anything
to keep us from strangling each other
on the boardwalk. The Freakshow
is where our love belongs, a two-headed
oddity feasting on dust and bone
This is how pleasure goes marauding
thinking twenty was happy
thinking faces you won’t believe
wrapped in a smell of hand
When she reeked of distraction, a dozen fools
set out to decant her childhood.
You work with doll pieces and cigar
boxes. Mirrors reflect limbs
suspended on toothpicks.
It’s easy to forget how weird Elvis was, sitting in the Atlanta airport on a Sunday morning, Viva
Las Vegas on every screen,
lined up at the bar with fellow travelers recently notified that alcohol is not for sale until 12:30 this afternoon.
Come chill with me and watch a show
Tonight, whenever, I don't know;
We'll listen to the new J. Cole,
And I will judge your nipple mole
look back, look back
you will be Rorschach
a print of a man
She’s not my aunt by blood,
so I’ve a chance to taste her.