Two Poems / by Joseph Anderson

Elegant Degradation

On April 8th
She was so upset about 
all the beautiful red doors being painted white,
that she kissed one for 4 hours and 32 minutes,
until the brute force of her lips
made the door
the way it was when she loved it.
The next week it was white again.

On August 12th (300 miles away)
She read her poems at a bar. 
They were about her childhood lizard
Eric (she'd walk him on a matching green leash)
missing the feeling of falling asleep to scales against skin.
Her words fell on to silence. 
The only comment she received was from 
a greasier-than-pizza bar fly who spat the words
“not bad” into her chest.

On December 4th
 Her birthday was dampened
 because there were no more tubes 
of her favorite blue lipstick.

On January 2nd
Her father died.
As a practice of mourning
she spent two hours everyday
digging a hole 
in her backyard for an entire year.
In the beginning her hands
 would grow red and bloody. 
She wrapped herself in bandages 
just the way 
her father had always shown her.

In the spring they both went looking 
for exotic birds
she in Maine he in Paraguay
two piping plovers three tiri tiris
one chimney swift one picapalo colorado.

On April 8th (238 miles away)
He was lonely
so he became born again christian.
He wrote an album 
as a born again christian rapper.
He didn't understand the bible
and at his shows
he sang alone
to empty chairs
 that would have left if they could.

On August 12 
He sang karaoke on a business trip.
No one approved of his song choice.
He embraced the drizzle 
from the beer cans thrown
 singing “So please please please
Let me get what I want”
He closed his eyes
and tried to imagine
 he was far away 
His copy of Sexton
 was stolen when he returned to his seat.
 In it's a place a note 
 “Fuck off *****”.

On December 4th (10 minutes away)
His day was just a little bit brighter because
 he had just snagged the last tube.

On January 2nd (across an ocean)
He woke up in a hostel
to a text from a doctor
“your mother is dead.”
He would wake up a second time that night
to witness a cat
swallow a live mouse

In the spring they both went looking 
for exotic birds
she in Maine, he in Paraguay,
two piping plovers, three tiri tiris,
one chimney swift, one picapalo colorado. 





Sound and Vision

You used to play 
that Eddie Murphy song
Boogie in Your Butt.
Say, put a tree in your butt
Put a, a bumblebee in your butt
Put a clock in your butt
Put a big rock in your butt

Late at night now
Under the pale blue light of my laptop screen
I remember the way your face twisted
tracing the movements of your eyebrows
in my minds eye
when you when used to sing along.

No matter how many things 
I put or don't put in my butt,
it will never bring you back

and listening to Eddie Murphy
on repeat
will not reconcile the space between us
or the sky which received your first exhale


Joseph Anderson is a writer living in New York. When he isn't reading or writing he is slowly dragging his cursor over your profile pictures.