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Three Poems by Justin Hyde

locust july

by JUSTIN HYDE

 

the little

rough looking blond

tells me

her kidneys

used to be stacked up

on the left side.

 

surgery

straightened it out

but now she’s got this scar

and can’t drink

hard liquor anymore.

 

her and her husband

live up the hill

 

nights like tonight

when they can’t get a sitter

for their three year old

they take turns

coming down.

 

sure-yea

-intonation

-reciprocity.

 

the bartender

and a few other guys

stare up at the tv:

 

some

best-of

prank show:

 

a woman

smears butter

on the bathroom floor

while her husband

takes a shower.

 

pratfall-guffaw

-chasm

 

-suicide

via neutered

group-think

 

-their hyena laughter

hits me

like blood spatter.

 

i’ve spent the last

ten years

in bars like this.

 

i used to think

it was

regenerative

 

catalytic

 

a plausible means

for approach

and dissection

of truth.

 

but it’s

just another

false canvas

where unoriginal souls

lick recycled

wounds.

 

are you always

so quiet?

the blond asks.

 

yes,

i tell her

turning my shot-glass

upside down.

 

i set it

on the bar

 

and walk out

into a

locust july.

 

 

if i catch the right on 27th a little behind schedule

by JUSTIN HYDE

 

i get stuck behind a school-bus.

 

it makes four stops

down a seven block stretch

before i can hang a left on mlk

and dip down to work.

 

they get off

in small clusters

 

shoving each other

 

shouting things like:

 

gimme me that phone nigger

 

&

 

bitch

better have my sweater

monday.

 

none of them

carry school bags

of any kind.

 

today

a kid broke out

the back window of the bus

with a rock

as it drove away

(it didn’t stop).

 

as i drive by

they shoot me

grim insect death.

 

i just smile back lamely

trying to be broad-minded

as to their potentiality

down the road.

 

but some ancient coal

fans

down near the bowels.

 

not that i personally

wish them harm

 

or that i entertain

the merits of

selective genocide.

 

but  neither

am i immune

to this taste of homicide

on my tongue.

 

 

twenty-two

by JUSTIN HYDE

 

drunk

in downtown chicago

with my bank-examiner coworkers.

 

married

 

fifteen years older than me

 

you held me tight on the dance floor –

 

fingernails in my back

like an owl’s talons.

 

that look in your eyes

confused me –

 

at that age

i still didn’t really understand passion

 

let alone passion

under wax

in a loveless

middle aged marriage.

 

you probably thought

i was queer

leaving you

in the elevator

like that.

 

but i was just too naive

and scared

to invite you

to my room.

 

Justin Hyde lives in Iowa where he works as a correctional officer. He’s had work published in a wide spectrum of magazines ranging from The Iowa Review and the New York Quarterly to various on-line publications.  More of his work can be found here: http://www.nyqpoets.net/poet/justinhyde.

 

 

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

To submit to Poets’ Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at counterpunchpoetry@gmail.com with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work).  Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where.  For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights.  Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx – use “Save As” to change docx or odt files to “.doc”).  Expect a response within one month (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).

 

Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.

 

For more details, tips and suggestions, visit CrowVoiceJournal.blogspot.com and check the links on the top right. Thanks!

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