Hey Joe

by on October 12, 2009 :: 0 comments

To Johnny Olson from Mad Swirl magazine, whose poem “Joe” put me in such a mad swirl.

I have been down back one ways
I have faced the odds
Within, those without too.
Joe, john, johnny, or hello Joe.
I have know hunger
the odds within me
Would always get me, Joe

hello, Joe.
“It hurts when a mate dies
Does it not?”
are all our dreams fading?
Sometimes, I do not
Want to be here,
I have always been a lonely poet,

an exile, a stranger to myself,
Or what I was expected to be.

This nation was baptized in blood
in Turkey.
Some we look up for failures;
Ned Kelly, Les Darcy,
Lenny McPherson,
hey Joe.

I raise my glass again to the God Dionysus
The God of the vine
who taught us to turn the fruit of the vine
into wine.

What you you think, Joe,
the land of the brave and free is it fading?

“The Leaves of Grass”,
Billy Holiday,

“The Death of a Salesman”,
Lenny Bruce,
Martin Luther King.
are our dreams dying?
are they, Joe?

Well Joe,

what is it to be a man?

What is this thing or something else,

this phantom or ghost that haunts us,

that we must yield to

but nothing else not even death.
Hey Joe?

I have felt you here around me.
I caught a glimpses of sparkling light.
I am used to having the dead around,
I live with them.
They can do me no harm;
and besides I need the company,
Could only have been you or Ricky,


Ricky died last November.
For Ricky

enough was never enough.
He died from a toxic tonic.
It is not Ricky,

it could only be you


Ricky told me with relish,
the last time he had plenty,
how he fucked his brains out.
Ricky was a lost soul

he needed his tonics.
The only way

To escape the voices
in his head.

Hey Joe,
I know you are listening.
All my heroes

died at Gallipoli.

I have never met my real father,
or had a mother’s love;
hey Joe

My first father my uncle
he use to go to Tommo’s,

A two-up game;
Used to drive the coppers crazy;

it did,

the location changed daily,

they could never find it,

to bust it.
it was invitation only,
in a day before mobile phones;
that meant you had to be in the know.

Lenny McPherson,
Joe Misner,
Tom Domican,

Tilly Devine,
Kate Leigh;

Hey Joe,

The world is stranger than fiction.
is it not?
I know
how fate can turn in upon us;
you do, too,
don’t you


Birth is woman’s business,
death is the only thing for us.

It just is how it is.
Women must yield to the pain of child-birth;
we are taught to yield to nothing.

Love is always stronger than pride
is it not?
let me tell you about an angel
the fact is I do not know her
but I know she is beautiful with a delicate touch
as only a woman can have;
I who have loved and lost,
as love always does;
we expect too much from it;
but what there.

what else is there,
hey Joe?

Hey Joe.

The mind is the last boundary
and where it will take us,
I do not know.
I do not know anything;
not even if it is the mind or the heart.
all I know is that we must love;
is that not so,
hey Joe.

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