Chuck Joy at the Literary Cafe – photo by Chandra Alderman


Nine Ways


          1.


this turbulent mystery


life, unfolds like a metal flower


I’ll tell you what


living in the present means


sucking every drop of celebrity


from simply pulling words together


or even working by the hour



          2.


even sleeping, my sister


making the best of this hand we’ve been dealt


moving the cards around


staring out over their tops


at the dealer, at the handsome stranger across the table


I love it here in Las Vegas




          3.


a lonely man


probably grew up in foster care or


never met the right girl


sent himself a greeting card


it read, remember


when you think something positive


something you admire or


it feels good


always say the words out loud




          4.


words, the molecular basis


of language as chemistry


at least in English


how do you describe


the bow-wave curving from the prow


of your particular Wolverine


in Urdu or Swahili?




          5.


love is a word, also


an experience, so is sex


sometimes I have to bury my heart


and my penis so deep into the present moment


only my eyes are left


but it feels good




          6.


hate is another word, red lights


flashing at the scene of an accident


blood splashed on wet pavement


a slender body oddly sprawled


halfway on the sidewalk


somebody’s daughter, her future


over, the driver nowhere


and everywhere, drunk as a lord


laughing at the misfortune of others




          7.


a daughter is the apple of her father’s eye


Dean Martin said that, I think


in fact Dean Martin crooned that line


to a silver microphone


in the backroom at Patsy’s Paradise Club


all low ceilings and red tablecloths


on Bloomfield Road, where the Sinatras


were celebrating Nancy’s christening




          8.


cousins and lovers were busy


all over the city, reading


the newspaper at Starbucks


delivering pizza


to the Lutheran Hospital, performing


antique drama, dreaming perfect


behind-the-back lay-ups




          9.


all of us, mutts


and blokes, each at the center


of our perceptions, exploring


the full range of human emotions


sometimes lost between the intentions


of others and our projections


but with the effort that is no effort


mostly found 



* * * * *

Chuck Joy
authored All Smooth (Destitute Press) and Key West Quartet (Edinboro Book Art Collective).  He has read at every Snoetry, the Confluence, two International Festivals, The Erie Book Store, Poets’ Hall, Mac’s Backs, Mahall’s 20 Lanes and Woodlawn Diner. 

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